Daikū Maryū Gaiking

Daikū Maryū Gaiking (Japanese:大空魔竜ガイキング; In English "Great Sky Demon Dragon Gaiking") was a Super Robot mecha anime series produced by Toei Animation on an original idea by Akio Sugino (not Go Nagai, contrary to legend, even though his company, Dynamic Productions, co-produced the show from Episode 22 on, but he had no direct involvement), which ran from April 1976 through January 1977 and consisted of 44 26-minute episodes. Gaiking was notable for being one of the few super robot series to take place in real places outside of Japan, and for being the first Super Robot series to have a mobile carrier for the chief robots. Gaiking was part of Jim Terry's Force Five anthology series.

The story chronicled the battle between the crew of the semi-transformable carrier Daikū Maryū (also called the Kargosaur) and the Super Robot Gaiking against an invading race of aliens from the planet Zela, whose home planet is facing destruction by a black hole. Notable aspects of the series include the dinosaur-based designs of the Daikū Maryū and its support machines and the use of part of the carrier to form the main robot. The robot Gaiking was piloted by a baseball star named Sanshiro Tsuwabuki (Sanshiro's name was changed to Aries Astonopolis for the English version of the show with the carrier being called the "Great Space Dragon", a literal translation of "Daikū Maryū". Likewise, for the Latin America version the main character was called Brando Drummond and the carrier "Gran Dragon del Espacio"). It is most easily distinguished from other mecha by its skull-shaped golden torso, formed from the head of the Daikū Maryū, and its golden horns.

The leader of the alien villains was named Darius, and all of their ships and mecha were fish-shaped, which most likely inspired the Darius series of video games.

Gaiking is Toei Animation's first super robot series not based on an existing manga (the company's previous super robot anime Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, etc. were based on manga series by manga artist & writer Go Nagai). It was shown in English internationally as part of Jim Terry's Force Five lineup, and was also broadcast in Latin America as "El Gladiador" as part of a 4 anime mecha show called El Festival de los Robots (with the other 3 being "Starzinger", "Magne Robo Gakeen" and "Kotetsu Jeeg", known as "El Galactico", "Supermagnetron" and "El Vengador" respectively). Daikū Maryū Gaiking was aired also in Italy, on the local networks, under the name Gaiking.

A new Gaiking series ("Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu") premiered on TV Asahi on November 12th 2005 (replacing Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo). This version, also produced by Toei, features a completely different story and main character, However, some of the names are very similar to the original series. Both Daiku Maryu and Gaiking have similar designs to the originals; Gaiking's torso is still skull shaped and the support machines come from Daiku Maryu and the open face form of Gaiking is a tribute to the old Gaiking. This series ended September 24, 2006 with the 39th episode.

5 years ago, the main character Daiya Tsuwabuki was on a fishing trip with his father when giant monsters attacked. Daiya was saved by the crew of Daiku Maryu. Present Day, Daiya believes that his father is still alive but no one is prepared to believe him, even his own mother. But when the same monsters attack the city Daiya becomes the pilot of Gaiking and joins Daiku Maryu as they go to the world of Darius to stop them from taking over the surface world.

Despite the similarity in family name, Daiya and Sanshiro from the original Gaiking are NOT related at all.

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