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- This article is about the series. For the robot itself, see Great Mazinger (mecha).
Great Mazinger (グレートマジンガー Gurēto Majingā ) is a manga comic book and anime television series by manga artist Go Nagai. The story is a sequel and direct continuation of the successful Mazinger Z series. The anime was aired on Japanese television in 1974, immediately following the end of the first Mazinger series, and ran for 56 episodes.
The story centers on Tetsuya Tsurugi, an orphan raised by none other than Kenzo Kabuto (兜 剣造 Kabuto Kenzō), the once thought dead father of Mazinger Z pilot Kouji Kabuto. Kenzo Kabuto is the creator of the new, improved version of Mazinger, made by refining his father's Chogokin Z (Super Alloy Z) into a new, stronger form, designed to fight against humanity's new enemy, the Mycenae Empire, led by the Great General of Darkness and his army of Warrior Beasts. Kenzo gives the Great Mazinger to Tetsuya to pilot, who is accompanied by a new token female companion, Jun Hono (an orphaned half Japanese, half African-American girl), in her feminine robot, Venus A.
Both Great Mazinger's and Tetsuya's training are completed just in time to come to Kouji's aid as the Mycenae Battle Beasts overwhelm Mazinger Z. With the original Mazinger destroyed, Kouji went to America to study space travel and left Japan's defense in the hands of Tetsuya and the Fortress of Science. Tetsuya battles the Mycenae Battle Beasts and even their mighty generals, cumulating in a bitter final battle with the Mycenae's military leader, Ankoku Daishogun (Great General of Darkness). After the Great General of Darkness' defeat, the Mycenae forces are led by Doctor Hell, the villain from Mazinger Z, back under the guise of the Great Marshall of Hell.
Produced as a direct sequel to Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger also includes some cast members the original series, including Shiro Kabuto (Kouji's little brother), and comic-relief robot Boss Borot. While Great Mazinger did not achieve the same astronomical ratings as Mazinger Z, but was still highly popular to run a very successful 56 weeks, and spawned a line of best-selling toys and merchandize as did its predecessor, as well as several spin-off theatrical featurettes, and allowed for the creation of UFO Robo Grendizer.
Originally, Great Mazinger was to be included in Jim Terry's Force Five series, but was eventually swapped out with Spaceketeers, and was never aired in the United States. It was however successfully broadcast, unedited and in its entirety, as was Mazinger Z, in Italy, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. Eventually, footage from Great Mazinger's sole appearance in the final episode of Mazinger Z, was aired as part of the US version of Mazinger Z, known as Tranzor Z. But, Great Mazinger had already been introduced to millions of American children under the name of Mazinga as one of the imported, 24" Jumbo Machinder toys released in the US by Mattel as part of their Shogun Warriors line in 1976.
Great Mazinger was also the star of the short theatrical "team-up movies" features released in Japan like Great Mazinger versus Grendizer, Great Mazinger versus Getter Robo G, etc., based on anime crossovers of the manga creations of Go Nagai. Tetsuya and the Great Mazinger are featured, along with Jun in the Mazinkaiser OVA and movie Mazinkaiser: Death match! Ankoku Daishogun. The characters have been also a mainstay in Banpresto's Super Robot Wars, a popular battle-simulation/RPG series of video games based on many anime mecha shows, including the original Mazinger Z and many others like Getter Robo, the Gundam series, and Neon Genesis Evangelion among others. Tetsuya also appears in Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen. Tetsuya also pilots an earlier version of Mazinger Z called Energer Z.
In the 2002 OVA Mazinkaiser: Tetsuya again fights alongside Kouji against Doctor Hell's forces. The OVA version of Great Mazinger is physically identical to the original, but with black coloring on the arms and legs instead of blue. Great is seriously damaged during the initial battle in the series, and later, when the captured Mazinger Z attacks the Photon Power Labs, Tetsuya does his best to defend the lab against Mazinger Z and later the rampaging Mazinkaiser, leaving him badly injured and Great Mazinger a complete wreck. Afterwards, he leaves together with Jun for treatment for his injuries.
Near the end of the OVA, Tetsuya returns with a new, much more powerful Great, discovered in Doctor Juzo Kabuto's laboratory; this is said to be the real Great Mazinger (or "Shin Great Mazinger"). The "true" Great is structurally the same as the earlier version, but the color scheme for the forearms and legs is blue, as in the original 70's version. It is explained that the Great Mazinger made by Doctor Kenzo Kabuto (Kouji's father) is the prototype version, seen in the early episodes, whereas Doctor Juzo Kabuto (Kouji's grandfather), secretly working in an underground laboratory, managed to finish the final version of Great Mazinger. It has tremendous power compared to the prototype version, and its armor is almost identical to the new Z Alpha armor used by Mazinkaiser. This Shin Great Mazinger was able to defeat an entire army of Doctor Hell's super robots single handedly, including the possessed Venus Ace (although most of the battle was not shown). It suffered no damage and after the battle, Great Mazinger decided to find and help Kouji in the Floating Fortress of Dr. Hell. The concept of Shin Great Mazinger is to bring Great to the ranks of modern and more powerful robots such as Mazinkaiser and Shin Getter Robo.
Great also returns in the 2003 movie Mazinkaiser: Deathmatch! Ankoku Daishogun, where Tetsuya once more fights the Mikene Empire (using the prototype Great Mazinger for unknown reasons). This time, however, Great is incapacitated rather quickly, surviving battle but unable to continue fighting. However, the battle did display Tetsuya's skill, as he was the only member of the Mazinger Army (made up of Great, Venus A and three mass-produced and significantly weaker versions of Mazinger Z) to defeat his attackers and survive.
Roles in Super Robot WarsEdit
Most of the time, Tetsuya Tsurugi is assigned with the position as the team coach and an expert pilot, both on his classic and modern version. Tetsuya is usually potrayed as a lone wolf, and a respected experienced pilot as seen in Super Robot Wars J. Classic Tetsuya always started the game with Great Mazinger, often getting the Great Booster upgrades or the Final Dynamic Special and having numerous amount of Combination attack with Koji Kabuto. Tetsuya usually is introduced during a dire situation where he come and turns the situation around, usually by using the Thunder Break move in the process, as a nod to Tetsuyas potrayal in the series
A notable thing about Tetsuya is his prominent role in Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden where he is majorly featured in the story of the game. Thanks to the lack of an Original Character for the place, some considered that Tetsuya as the main character of Alpha Gaiden. Tetsuya is the only character in Super Robot Wars franchise who get the luxury for having a special boss fight conversation despite having a small role in the Mazinkaiser OVA.