||"Kikaida - The Animation" ( aka "Kikaider" ) was one of the odder anime series on TV in Japan in 2000. This 12-part action series about an android that changes from human to robot in appearance started out as a comic in the 60's, then as a live action TV series in the early 70's in Japan. ( The live action series is apparently currently being re-broadcast on some channel in Hawaii. ) The TV animation series was broadcast on the Japanese satellite channel "Kids Station" - for some reason I was only able to get the first 9 episodes from TV and had to wait for the DVD releases to see the end of the series.
Note - there are a few spoilers below, but certainly not all of them. I do have to give a general synopsis of the TV anime for my comments on the OAV to make any sense, but I leave most of the "surprises" as such.
"Kikaider" was done in a moody, dark and melodramatic manner which was complemented by its oddly old-fashioned character designs, despite the otherwise generally modern animation. The characters all had round faces, sort of like Disney or Fleischer characters from the 30's and 40's and some of the supporting characters were even very "cartoon-like" with comical faces. The story was about Jiro, who looks like a teen-aged boy, but can turn into the Kikaida, a robot with super powers, and his interactions with his creator's teenaged daughter Mitsuko and her little brother Maseru as they search for Mitsuko's missing father. Jiro and Mitsuko run into danger due to the multitude of insect-like robots that are sent at them by Professor Gill, who was once the partner of Mitsuko's father. Professor Gill is searching for the secret of the "Gemini" device that will allow Jiro to be more human.
The story deliberately contrasts itself against the "Pinocchio" story - in fact, Maseru's favorite story is "Pinocchio" and Mitsuko reads it to him at night from a copy of the original Italian version. There is also a "what really makes someone human?" subplot going on. With the assistance of Hakaida, another of the creations of Mitsuko's father, Jiro eventually stops Professor Gill's nefarious plot, and then leaves to find out more about himself. ( BTW, near the end of the story, we do get a "hint" that Jiro is "anatomically correct" and "functional". )
The TV series had a fairly clear-cut ending, despite Jiro "driving off into the sunset". ( BTW - this is one of the few series that I've seen where they animators didn't try to "hide" the names of some of the products in the show - Jiro's motorcycle clearly says "Kawasaki" on it. And Kawasaki gets a credit for the design of the motorcycles in the series. ) But now an OAV series has come along that appears at first glance to be a sequel, but maybe not.
The first OAV comes on an R2 DVD from SME Visual works - # SVWB-1480, 4:3 aspect ratio, 25 minutes, 4,800 Yen, with character designs and scene analyses as omake. The animation is slightly clearer and brighter than the TV anime. The story starts out with a monster robot ( looking like one of the enemy monsters from "Neo Ranga" ) attacking and destroying a seaside petrochemical plant. Unfortunately, the energy source for the robot isn't stable, and the robot blows up, causing even more destruction. The unseen operator of the robot comments upon a picture of a little boy, that the boy holds the secret to stabilizing the energy source.
The scene shifts to Jiro racing along a cliff-side roadway, with a teenaged girl and little boy ( not Mitsuko and Maseru ) in his side car while flying animal-like robots chase them. The boy is the same one as in the picture in the opening scene. While taking a break, Jiro asks the girl who the boy is, and she tells Jiro that the boy is Professor Gill's son. Jiro disposes of more robots and follows a strange signal in his vision circuitry that leads him to an isolated temple. In the temple Jiro finds an "older brother" named Ichido, or Kikaida 01.
Ichido behaves much differently from Jiro - a strange monk appears to tell why - Ichido doesn't have a "Gemini" circuit. ( This monk looks so much like a serious 1940's version of Elmer Fudd that I expected him to say "You wacky wobot" at any moment. ) A new robot with only one eye appears along with hordes of flying animal-robots to threaten everyone. Jiro and Ichido fight them for a while, and then try to escape, only to run into the cyclops robot again. But Ichido's fight against the cyclops robot is interrupted by the sudden appearance of Hakaida and three fellow "brain head" robots ( robots with human brains ) who finish off the cyclops. Ichido makes a rash and futile attempt to attack the "brain heads", but is rescued by Jiro who drives away with the unconscious Ichido and the mysterious girl and boy.
The OAV is very different in mood to the TV anime - whereas melodrama predominated in the TV anime, pure action takes precedent in the OAV. We don't even get to know names of the girl and boy, nor why Jiro has them with him. There is also no explanation of why Hakaida is back. And then there is that unexplained brief image of a "familiar-looking" figure with short hair and a short skirt who leaps over the gate of the temple just before the attack of the cyclops. At this point I'm just not sure if the OAV is purely a continuation or if it is something of an alternate continuity. One thing is for certain despite those questions - if you haven't seen the TV anime, you won't have a clue what is going on in the OAV.
So, all-in-all, the OAV was nice to look at, with ambitious animation, a suitably menacing BGM ( although I definitely missed the "Gemini" theme from the TV anime ) and lots of action. I'll continue to follow it for a while to see what is the real connection to the TV anime. But if you are at all curious about this series and you haven't seen the TV anime, watch the TV anime first.