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on February 19, 2003
I'm a long time fan of the Masked Rider and live action Kikaider shows, and imported the animation discs from Japan as soon as they were released! I was very impressed!
Android Kikaider is a dark, often violent, and incredibly stylish series based around the comics and television series by Shotaro Ishinomori (the creator of "Masked Rider" and "Cyborg 009"). Intelligently written and sometimes quite touching, "Android Kikaider" breaks away from its super hero roots and explores the question of what it truly means to be human.
It's a short series (only 12 episodes), and I believe this first disk has eps 1-3.
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on November 11, 2003
I am not normally a fan of anime and I am not a fan of fighting
robot transformer type shows, but Kikaider is different.
Based on the Japanese live action show from the 1970s that inspired George Lucas to create the character, Darth Vader and the visual progenitor of Heim Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and dozens of other cartoons and live action series, Kikaider asks the Asmovian question, what is the difference between man and machine when the machine becomes the equal of
man.
The series also has many other themes. The loneliness of the children of workaholics, a major issue in both Japan and the United States. What happens when someone sent to spy falls in
love with the victim and how that tears the spy apart. How an evil man can manipulate both machine and man to the point that the influence cascades to effect everybody related to the ones being manipulated. The pain of the individual who has to deal with the negative reaction of others to his ugly appearance.
A child's shock at learning the truth about a fathers misdeeds.
The sad tale of Android Kikaider is one in which a machine actually becomes more human that the humans surrounding him. And this is a tale worth hearing.
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on July 4, 2003
Jinzo Ningen Kikaider--Humanoid Kikaider, Android Kikaider...the show goes by numerous names and began airing Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The series is a remake of a 43-episode live action series popular in Hawaii called "Kikaida," which played out similar to "Ultraman" or "Power Rangers" in terms of the cardboard-box suit robots. Depending on how Bandai plans on packaging the rest of the Kikaider DVDs, it could come out as anywhere from a 13- to a 16-episode series that, while introducing a powerfully deep story, falls victim to too many common anime cliches.
The story opens with a scientist, Dr. Kyomoji, attempting to finish a young android. A robot attack orchestrated by the show's biggest villain, Lord/Doctor/Professor Gill, presumably kills off Kyomoji and throws everything into chaos. Later on, his daughter Mitsuko, having found the young android named Jiro, proceeds to try and find what has happened to her father. This constitutes the first main driving force in "Kikaider," the search for Kyomoji, and the protection of his children. The second deals with what Mitsuko finds out about Jiro: inside him is Kyomoji's ultimate creation, the Gemini or Conscience Circuit that allows him to feel emotions, and have a sense to distinguish wrong from right. However, should this circuit malfunction, Jiro must be destroyed because of the danger he presents with his incredible powers, as well as his battle form called "Kikaider."
This first volume, and most likely half of the next, will contain your standard hero-vs-villain battles featuring Jiro battling various androids from Professor Gill's DARK organization, each with color/animal related names like Carmine Spider, Golden Bat, Orange Ant and Yellow Jaguar. This is standard, and annoying to a point--you know Jiro is going to win, and you hardly ever get the sense like he is truly in peril. However, everything else aside from the fights and build-up to the fights are excellent. Jiro begins to overhear conversations about "puppets" and returns again and again to a "puppet clock," beginning to question how much of an abnormality his existence is.
An extremely important point to the series takes place when Jiro overhears a man playing a guitar and asks to learn how to play. He learns with little difficulty (two lessons maybe) prompting the man not to be amazed, but frightened. Two things grow from this: Jiro's attachment to the guitar, and fear of alienation and discrimination (therefore his desire to become real instead of humanoid, the so-called Pinocchio element of the series). The guitar will play (forgive the pun) an important role in the series, and originally was used in the opening sequence not shown on Cartoon Network.
The later episodes turn more serious, more than just your fighting-robots-type anime. Mysteries, all the unanswered questions posed in the earlier episodes, begin to unravel; characters learn new things about themselves and their connections to each other and to other organizations; characters die, re-appear and vanish. There are enough surprises packed into the second half of "Kikaider" to carry it to its heart-wrenching, surprising finale.
The big issue for anime fans here has to be the art. Drawn in the old Osamu Tezuka style of AstroBoy, "Kikaider" brings the old-style manga and anime drawings back with all the polished movement of modern anime. The characters aren't correctly proportional or drawn to appear like normal humans. They're drawn similar to the characters in "Cyborg 009" also airing on Cartoon Network, or in "Metropolis" (I recommend picking up an old AstroBoy manga from your local bookstore to see what I mean--plus it gives you perspective on where anime and manga really took off). Noses are too long and pointy or too big and rounded. Hair points sharply to the side or to the back, and will, more often than not, drape "coolly" over the eyes of the show's hero. Eyes are large and expressive for the good guys, slanty and emotionless for the bad guys. The robot drawings--be it the giant robots, the Kikaider combat forms, or the DARK villains--are nothing impressive. The colors are also overdone, sometimes featuring more than six or seven different and strong colors on a single character. You can't see the struggle or the emotion on the face of most robots, meaning you'll have to rely heavily on the vocal performance. Thankfully, the English vocal cast steps up to the task, meaning you won't have to resort to reading subtitles in the always superb Japanese performances.
If you're in the older age range that was exposed to "Kikaida" or the older cartoons and anime, this will be something that will definitely interest you. The movement and animation is up to par with the newer animes out there, just with the old-style art, and a good storyline, especially in the second half of this series. If you're younger, you might struggle with the art that isn't quite "DragonBall Z" or "Outlaw Star" or "Trigun." If you can get past that and keep an open mind on the art, you'll enjoy the series.
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on April 30, 2011
I have never read the original 1973 manga of Kikaider. Watching the live action TV series as a kid in Hawaii, I never realized that the story of Kikaider is a love story between an android and the daughter of his creator. The TV show was mostly taken up with fight sequences, whereas in this anime, the fight scenes are subservient to the love story. The anime makes the parallels between Pinocchio and Frankenstein much more obvious than they were in the TV show.
I'm not that familiar with anime, so I can't really compare it with other ones, but the animation is nothing to write home about, with many scenes in which the only moving object is a character's mouth. The opening theme song sets the melancholy tone of the series, but for the closing theme song, well, I listened to it once. I could feel my gonads shrivelling up and decided it just wasn't my cup of tea.

I find myself liking this series in spite of the negatives. It grew on me. Jiro is a humanoid android who starts existence pretty much as a blank slate, and he gradually learns what it means to be human. Dr. Gil Helbert, leader of the criminal organization DARK, wants to kill Jiro, and sends various anthropogenic-animal robots after him. To become stronger, Jiro transforms into Kikaider, the half-blue, half-red android. This all makes sense if you watch it, trust me. I don't want to give you too much background information, since a lot of the plot involves discovering why Jiro/Kikaider was created and what Gil is up to. Rounding out the cast are Mitsuko (the aforementioned daughter of Jiro's creator), Masaru (Mitsuko's kid brother), Hattori Hanpei (a detective Mitsuko hires to find Jiro at one point), and Saburo/Hakaider (an android built specifically to kill Kikaider).

If you're not already into anime, this is not the best introduction to it. If you're not already interested in the Kikaider character, this may or may not be a very good introduction to him. I'm giving the series as a whole 4 stars, but if you aren't into this kind of thing, you would probably only give it 2 or 3 stars.

The back cover rates this as "13 up." This is mostly due to violence, I suppose, but on disc 4, there's a scene of sensuality (in which nothing is actually seen). There really aren't any special features worth talking about. You can watch the show in either English or Japanese, with English subtitles on or off. I don't know why you would buy the complete set for $100 when you can get these individual discs so much cheaper.
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on September 11, 2003
I have to say that I truly love this series that recieves little credit for its greatness. At first, the art style of the animation confused me for a bit and I thought it was one of Tezuka's works. Well, I like Tezuka so I thought I'd sit down and watch it. Besides, I'd always loved Pinocchio and have had an interest in robots/robotics for a long time... I was hooked.
Kikaider is unlike most animated series I've seen in that it deals with concepts through metaphors, (second only to Revolutionary Girl Utena, in that aspect) for example: Kikaider's belt buckle that turns as he transforms, I believe, represents the struggle between good and evil within him self.
It also introduces various philosophies of the relationship between humans and robots. As was stated by the Bat-type robot that to create an artificial conscience was an example of human conceit. (That episode still gives me cold chills.)
I also like how Ishinomori combines elements of mecha-style anime with more shonen/shoujo style emotional levels. The romance between Jiro and Mitsuko represents the ideal relationship that humans and robots really could have. I'd have to say, that I have no negative comments for this series, what-so-ever. I just wish that other viewers would take the time to analyze it and discover that it truly is a work of art.
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on July 2, 2003
I watched all of Kikaider, season 1, on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Though I'm neither a fan of dubbed anime, nor the older animation style, I have to say Kikaider is outstanding! The plot is very deep, and in no way entertaining to just children. It's about the goodness and evil inherent in all of mankind. I can not wait to see the raw Japanese sub version of the classic animation.
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on November 2, 2003
Kikaider is a wonderfull anime if you dont mind the graphics. The message that is sent is powerfull and the action and music and drama.For me, it is one of my top ranking along with inu- yasha, Rurouni Kenshin, trigun and tenchi muyo. I wait anxously for the next dvd and the soundtrack.
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on November 11, 2003
I am not normally a fan of anime and I am not a fan of fighting robot transformer type shows, but Kikaider is different.
Based on the Japanese live action show from the 1970s that inspired George Lucas to create the character, Darth Vader and the visual progenitor of Heim Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and dozens of other cartoons and live action series, Kikaider asks the Asmovian question, what is the difference between man and machine when the machine becomes the equal of or even superior to man.
The series also has many other themes. The loneliness of the children of workaholics, a major issue in both Japan and the United States. What happens when someone sent to spy falls in love with the victim and how that tears the spy apart. How an evil man can manipulate both machine and man to the point that the influence cascades to effect everybody related to the ones being manipulated. The pain of the individual who has to deal with the negative reaction of others to his ugly appearance. A child's shock at learning the truth about a fathers misdeeds.
The sad tale of Android Kikaider is one in which a machine actually becomes more human that the humans surrounding him. And this is a tale worth hearing.
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on July 22, 2003
As I said in the title, Kikaider is arguably one of the best animes ever. It has all you could possibly want from an anime, in my opinion. I am 11 years old, and when I told my dad that there was this great anime called Kikaider that I wanted to watch, he told me he remembered a show called "Kikaida."
Anyway, Kikaider has a storyline that no other anime, or anything, could possibly live up to. It has a plot that doesn't seem original at all, but exceeds expectations by going far beyond Pinnochio.
My personal favorite episode is near the end. It's the one where Mitsuko and Masaru meet their mother. She has a heart of gold hidden beneath a black veil, and any innocence that was there at the beginning seems to fade through this episode. Her kind heart shows itself as motherly love, through her confession to Mitsuko. It made me cry at the end when she gave Masaru those boots, and said, "A spy should never fall in love with her target." as her last words.
Truly a remarkable series, I reccomend Kikaider to anyone who doesn't judge by the art style.
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on September 4, 2003
When I first saw this anime on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim program block, I thought it was an old anime remastered. The style of the characters is reminiscent of Osamu Tezuka, a pioneer of anime and manga who created 'Astro Boy' (Tetsuwan Atom). Needless to say, the pretty style and the angsty storyline drew me in, hook, line and sinker!
This is definitely not a children's cartoon! I saw the most shocking moment I've ever seen in an animated film in the episode featuring Mitsuko and Masaru's mother. There is also some implied sexuality of a very...odd...sort, but it's done tastefully. Mitsuko is also a bit too angsty at times, but the soundtrack and the sort of ethereal style makes it worthwhile.
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