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Steel Jeeg (鋼鉄ジーグ Kōtetsu Jīgu ), also known as Kotetsu Jeeg or Koutetsu Jeeg, is a super robot anime and manga series created by manga artists Go Nagai and Tatsuya Yasuda. The anime television series was produced by Toei Doga (now Toei Animation). It was first broadcast on Japanese TV in 1975. The series lasted for 46 episodes. Steel Jeeg also ran as a manga in several children's publications.
Hiroshi Shiba is a young car racer who is mortally wounded. His father Professor Shiba, a talented scientist and archaeologist, manages to restore him to life by means of a powerful relic from the ancient and mysterious Jamatai Kingdom, a bronze bell which is hidden inside Hiroshi's body and turns him unknowingly into a sort of cyborg.
As the ruler of Jamatai, queen Himika, reawakens from her slumber in the underground, it is revealed that the bell is also key to the reconquest of the Earth surface. Her henchmen kill Prof. Shiba in vain pursue of the artifact, barely leaving the scientist time to upload his thought on a supercomputer at a specially built defense base. Anticipating the hidden menace, Professor Shiba has also prepared a giant fighting robot, Steel Jeeg, composed of interchangeable magnetic limbs and for which Hiroshi Shiba can become head and conscience. His mission is to defend modern Japan from the invaders, who also dispose of similar giant monsters (haniwa) and an army of minions. In such battles, Jeeg is also aided by a robot horse known as Panzeroid, and a fighting jet capable of shooting replacement components and specialized weapons for his body.
The series follows Hiroshi's character development and the underground civilization's efforts and subsequent failures to return to power causing internal civil war.
Steel Jeeg is formed by combining the parts released by the Big Shooter jet, piloted by Prof. Shiba's young assistant, Miwa Uzuki. Hiroshi Shiba becomes the head of Steel Jeeg by bumping his fists together.
- Series director: Masayuki Akechi
- Episode directors: Kazuya Miyazaki, Masamune Ochiai, Masayuki Akechi, Yoshikata Nitta, Yugo Serikawa
- Writers: Hiroyasu Yamaura, Keisuke Fujikawa, Toyohiro Ando
- Music: Michiaki Watanabe
- Original creator: Go Nagai, Tatsuya Yasuda
- Character design: Kazuo Nakamura
A complete and original intro theme called "El Vengador" (The Avenger) was composed and sung by musician Memo Aguirre for the Spanish dub of the series released in Latin America.
Ending theme: "Theme of Hiroshi" (ひろしのテーマ Hiroshi no Tēma ), by Ichirou Mizuki with Koorogi '73
Steel Jeeg was televised in many European countries, especially in Italy (known as Jeeg Robot d'acciaio), where it is still widely popular and has a huge fanbase. In the 1980s, the series was shown in Latin America as a part of El Festival de los Robots (Robot Festival) a giant robot show fashioned in the style of Force Five, in which it was called El Vengador (The Avenger), along with Gaiking, Starzinger and Magne Robo Gakeen. The anime has never been released in the United States.
On April 5, 2007 at 11:30 p.m. JST a sequel of Steel Jeeg called Koutetsushin Jeeg began airing on the satellite network WOWOW.
The Italian film They Call Me Jeeg (Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot) is a tribute to Steel Jeeg, from which takes up some thematics. The plot concerns a lonely misanthropic crook named Enzo, who gets superhuman strength after being affected by radioactive waste in the Tiber waters; he gradually loses his disinterest towards people thanks to Alessia, a mentally handicapped girl who has mistaken him for Hiroshi Shiba, and gradually shifts from supercriminal to superhero in order to save her from a psycho gangster known as The Gipsy.
- Anime!Anime! Staff (2007). "鋼鉄ジーグ 30年ぶりに復活!4月からWOWOWで(1/26)". Anime!Anime!. http://animeanime.jp/news/archives/2007/01/304wowow126.html. Retrieved January 26, 2007.
- El Festival de los Robots, la entrada del anime a Latinoamérica