First of all, for those of you that don’t know what Anime and Manga mean I’m gonna tell you that those are two Japanese words. Anime can be translated as Animation Movie (cartoon) while Manga means Comics. Please note that many people think that Manga are only R-rated or X-rated Japanese comics but this is not true! All Japanese comics book are considered Manga! As far as I’m concerned the great and constant production of Anime begins in the year 1958 when Toei Doga produced the animated version of a famous ancient Chinese legend: The White Snake.
It is from 1963 that the Anime big business started to grow faster thanks to Osamu Tezuka and his house of production (Mushi). Tetsuwan Atom was their first production: the cartoon was done in black and white and was a true success. Atom was the first small robot of Nippon animation and later on, many young authors will be inspired by Tezuka’s drawings. In the same year we also had the first prototype of a giant robot: Tetsujin 28 go created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama. It was however poorly realized and didn’t earn too much success but it’s important to remember because it set the basis for the so called ‘Robot Anime’ a new genre that will flourish around the ’70s when Go Nagai will create the best Robot Anime Series ever done: Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, UFO Robot Grendizer, Getter Robot and GetterRobotG.
Mazinger Z is one of the most popular Japanese mangas of all time, which was originally written by Go Nagai.
Here are the basics of what it is about.Mazinger Z is a giant robot built by Dr. Kabuto to fight the evil mechanical monsters created by Dr.Hell.
Dr.Kabuto and Dr.Hell were two famous scientists: during an archeological expedition in Rhode’s Island they found the ruins of an ancient society that had a technology so advanced to be able to build giant robots (called ‘mechas’).
When Dr.Hell realized how powerful those robots were, he had the idea to rule the world!
Dr.Kabuto didn’t like the crazy ideas of Dr.Hell and decided to retire. However he was still working on two scientific projects:
-a new alloy he called Super Alloy Z processed from Japanium (a new element found only in the stratum of Mount Fuji);
-a new powerful source of energy called Photo-Atomic Energy.
He decided to use his new discoveries to build Mazinger Z: a giant robot even more powerful than those mechas he found in Rhode’s Island. He knew that Dr.Hell was a mad scientist and the only way to stop him was to destroy all the mechanical monsters he found before he could activate them. Mazinger Z made with Super Alloy Z and activated by the Photo-Atomic Energy was the last hope.
Years later when Dr.Hell was ready to conquer the world, he ordered his servant Baron Ashura to kill Dr.Kabuto because he was the only one to know about his monsters and maybe the only one who could potentially slow down his conquest of the world. Baron Ashura destroyed Dr.Kabuto’s house but fortunately just before his death Dr.Kabuto was able to show to his nephew (Koji Kabuto) his secret laboratory and the giant robot he built.
Koji got really mad because of his uncle’s death. He runs toward Mazinger Z willing to learn how to use it as soon as possible. Unfortunately Dr.Kabuto couldn’t explain the complex instructions to correctly operate Mazinger Z but after few tries Koji was able to land with the pilder (also known as Jet Piloter in some version of the series) into Mazinger’s head and from there take control of Mazinger’s body.
Few days later, Dr.Hell showed his monsters to the world; they start destroying everything in their path but a new hero was already there to fight them: Koji Kabuto, now perfectly able to control his Mazinger Z destroyed all of Dr.Hell’s monsters!
The story will be quite the same later, Dr.Hell will build more and more powerful monsters, Mazinger Z will have to desperately fight with all of them, but at the end he’ll be victorious. In the series other two robots are involved: Aphrodite A is a giant robot that resembles a female, it’s driven by Sayaka Yumi, and Boss Borot: a Toy-Robot, built and driven by a fat funny guy called Boss. They will always provide some help to Mazinger Z in its fight for Peace.
One of the most famous animes of the 90’s in North America is Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon is an Anime about a klutzy, crybaby, 14-year-old junior high school girl named Serena/Usagi. She receives special powers from a talking cat named Luna. Her Powers help her in her quest to fight evil and to find the “Moon Princess”. With a locket Luna gave her, Serena turns into the sailor suited “pretty soldier” Sailor Moon. Over time, she discovers other Sailor Scouts/Senshi and another cat Artemis, who join her as a team, called the Sailor Scouts/Senshi.
She also runs into this guy named Darien/Mamoru and this super hero named Tuxedo Mask/Tuxedo Kamen. Coincidentally enough, they happen to be the same person. Tuxedo Mask/Tuxedo Kamen appears constantly to save the Sailor Scouts/Senshi from the generals of the Negaverse/Dark Kingdom who, at first, begin stealing life energy out of people, then attempt to acquire the Imperium Silver Crystal/ginzuishou. At this point Sailor Moon learns about the Silver Millennium/Moon Kingdom.
A Thousand years ago The Moon Kingdom existed and the Universe was at peace. The Moon Kingdom was ruled by Queen Serenity, until the evil forces from the Negaverse/Dark Kingdom decided to try and take over our universe. Queen Serenity was able to repel the invasion, but only by sacrificing herself and sending all of her court and the Imperium Silver Crystal/ginzuishou to the future on Earth.
This is important because much to everyone’s surprise we discover that Serena is the reincarnation of The Moon Princess, Princess Serenity/Princess Serena in addition to just being Sailor Moon. It also turns out that the Sailor Scouts/Senshi are reincarnations of the guardians of the Moon Kingdom, and that Darien/Mamoru is a reincarnation of Prince Darien/Prince Endymion, who was to marry Princess Serenity/Princess Serena. This adds a bit of romance to the series, but in the end, the Sailor Scouts/Senshi and Tuxedo Mask/Tuxedo Kamen are able to use the Imperium Silver Crystal/ginzuishou to annihilate the Negaverse/Dark Kingdom, but at the cost of their own lives.