Machine Robo: Battle Hackers (cartoon)
Machine Robo: Battle Hackers (マシンロボ ぶっちぎりバトルハッカーズ Mashin Robo: Bucchigiri Batoruhakkāzu, Machine Robo: Overwhelming Battle Hackers) was a 1987 cartoon commissioned by Bandai from Ashi Productions, the second to be based on the Machine Robo brand.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Production[edit | edit source]
The series effectively rebooted Machine Robo continuity once again - vaguely handwaved by the characters crossing a dimensional barrier in the final episode of Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos, though it wasn't an area studied in any detail. Instead the show relocated the cast to the Electronic Planet B-1 in the year 406AE, where the Machine Robo Algo Army were under attack from the alien Gurendos gang.
The main focus of the series was two-fold - the titular Battle Hackers led by R. JeTan, an initially rebellious unit of misfits consisting of Garzack and the Gattai Saurer team. As others fell foul of not following the orders of the Algo Republic's command computer RIM - Pro Truck Racer, Mach Blaster, Drill Crusher, the Wheelmen and the Winner Robo - their ranks grew, as did their important to the Algo Army.
The other was a group of human astronauts were drawn into the battle - Akira Amachi, Luke Stewart, Mia White, Patricia Longfellow and Zen Ogawa - strayed into the middle of the battle when their ship, the Good Luck, malfunctioned and landed on B-1. They were drawn into the conflict between the Algo Army and the Gurendos, eventually joining the Battle Hackers in Riser Suits.
Much of the supporting cast from Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos were carried over, although none had any memories of the previous series, and reorganised into teams that made up the Algo Army. Most of these had small roles due to the large cast of new toys, with many treated as interchangeable generics and creating the same curious approach to continuity among minor cast members than seems to be compulsory for any cartoons based on any Machine Robo toys.
- Silver Wolves: Made up of the former Battle Tribe characters, led by Rod Drill.
- White Thunder: Made up of the former Jet Tribe characters, led by Blue Jet.
- Red Knights: Made up of the former Cronos Tribe characters, led by Kendō Robo.
- Blue Dragons: Made up of the former Rock People characters, led by Dia Man.
Like the Gyandlar, the Gurendos consisted mainly of characters created by Ashi for the series, though Devil Satan 6 and some of the Devil Invaders were among their troops - presumably as their figures were still in stores. Ashi seem to have had fun making the Gurendos, who are more like space gangsters and featured numerous comments on Japanese culture of the time with a series of memorable and or utterly bizarre character models. The main officers were answerable to the computer Dylan and had a gigantic number of generic troops which the Battle Hackers massacred by the hundred.
The most prominent absentees were Rom and Leina Stol, who were instead span off into a separate series of OVAs. Rumour has it that Akira Amachi and Patricia Longfellow were initially planned as human versions of the characters before the decision was made to take them in a different direction. Baikanfu meanwhile is cited frequently by RIM and others as a legendary historical figure, usually represented by stock footage from Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos. Whether this was building up to some sort of return that never came about, a fun reference or just because Bandai still had expensive Baikanfu figures on the shelves is unknown.
Hiroshi Yoshida remained as series director and Hideki Sonoda continued as head writer for the series, while a large number of the other technical and voicing staff had also worked on the previous show. The series was again narrated by Show Hayami.
Broadcast[edit | edit source]
Machine Robo: Battle Hackers began broadcast on 3 June, 1987 on the TV Tokyo network with a new episode each Thursday at 6:00pm (an earlier time-slot than its' predecessor) until it concluded on December 30, 1987 after 31 episodes. Two clip shows were made during the production; while how many episodes the series was meant to be is unknown it certainly wasn't 31 (Japanese shows of the period were made in "cours", blocks of 12-13 episodes; a series completed without interruption is therefore usually some multiple of those numbers), and the concluding episode packs a lot in.
Episodes[edit | edit source]
- Burning Electronic Planet
- Jet Riser! Scramble!
- Heavy Wind, Mach Blaster!
- Strongest Warrior - R.JeTan!
- Crystal Eavesdropping Strategy
- Jet Riser - Full Fire!
- Return to the Good Luck
- Stolen Garfire-SP
- Rotary Kid and Twincam Jimmy
- Crystalium Recovery Operation
- A New Machine Robo Team Appears!
- Muddy Duel
- Dangerous Grand Whale
- Drill Crusher's Wrath
- Save the Electronic Furnace of Death!
- Destroy the Fortress Satellite
- R. JeTan! Run!
- Go Go Go Mach Blaster!†
- Quickly, Gattai Saurer!
- Riser! Power Up!
- The Stolen Secret Weapon
- Target: Grand Whale
- The Flower of Hope Blooming on the Battlefield
- Let's Do It!
- Special Command - Destroy RIM
- Fire Warrior R. JeTan†
- Break Through the End of the Earth
- Iron Eagle - Lonely Hunter
- Hot Sand Battle, Hurry Jet!
- Captive Mach Blaster
- Goodbye - Battle Forever
† = Clip Show
Cast[edit | edit source]
‡ = voice actor unknown † = character has no dialogue
Music[edit | edit source]
Background music for the show was again composed by Tachio Akano. As is common for anime series, Machine Robo: Battle Hackers had pop songs as start and finish music.
Opening Theme[edit | edit source]
Ending Theme[edit | edit source]
- "Ato Ichi-byō" by Ema Watanabe
Insert Songs[edit | edit source]
- "Hoshi no Etranger" by Ema Watanabe
- "You Are My Friend" by Toshiya Igarashi
Sequels[edit | edit source]
- A continuation/sequel of sorts came with continued coverage of Machine Robo in TV Land. However, this focused almost entirely on the Winner Robo in an unsuccessful attempt to bring the brand " back to basics" after the disastrous sales of the large Battle Hackers figures.
- The Battle Hackers made a brief cameo in Leina Stol in Wolf Sword Legend II.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Poor toy sales appear to have been the biggest factor in the premature cancellation of the series; Machine Robo Wedge states the show scored high ratings, with episode 18 scoring a 10% audience share, a huge figure for a kids' mech cartoon. While this sounds counterintuitive if it was the case it wouldn't be completely unprecedented; the original Mobile Suit Gundam show was cancelled partly due to poor sales of toys meaning sponsor Clover withdrew their support.