Getter Robo, Makai Tensei Co-Creator passes away

On Thursday of this past week, Ishikawa Ken, who did the artwork on the manga Getter Robo『ゲッターロボ』 with the father of the Super Robot subgenre of mecha Nagai Go, passed away [animenewsnetwork.com] after collapsing at a speech. Cause of death is reported as heart failure. He was 58.

Getter Robo is one of the pinnacle Super Robot shows of the 1970s. The first TV series began in 1974 and was followed by another TV series, Getter Robo G, in 1975 where the first series left off. Through the 1970s, Getter Robo appeared in many of Nagai's Cross-over storylines. A third TV series, though more unknown in the US, was Getter Robo Go from 1991~92. Starting in 1998, a series of Getter Robo OAVs have been produced.

However, Getter Robo (the robot, mostly) has reached its way into American fandom via two methods. Older fans may remember the old Shogun Warriors comics from Marvel designed by Hasbro to sell imported toys from Japan - Getter Robo was included in the package, along with other Nagai works, such as Mazinger Z (Tranzor Z) and Gaiking. A number of other popular Super Robots from the same era were included as well, such as Raideen, Combattler V and Danguard Ace. More recently, though, Getter Robo has found its way to mecha fans via Banpresto's line of Super Robot Wars video games featured on every major console from Nintendo's Famicom through the XBOX360. There, Getter Robo can be sed to fight alongside both other Super and Real Robot alike and it has been featured in, as best I can tell, every single game.

Getter Robo's lasting popularity in Japan is mostly attributed to nostolgia. Adults now who watched television as kids in the 1970s probably remember the excitement of three separate robots combinging and transforming based upon tactical need, the shouting of special manuevers such as "Tomahawk Boomerang!" and "Getter Beam!" and the creepy, sci-fi, plots of monsters and aliens wishing to take over the planet and erradicate humanity. What keeps Getter Robo in my mind, and probably always will, is its main theme song from the orignal 1974 series and Getter Robo G.

And Ishikawa helped bring it to us. Thanks should go out to him for helping create one of the essential titles that helped make anime now - in the mecha genre - what it is today by venturing off with the master.

Our thoughts and wishes go out to his family. Here's his concise obituary from Asahi.com.

And a video of Getter Robo's memorable theme song.


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