Grendizer: Where does it stand in terms of popularity among the Mecha fandom?

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BBally81
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Grendizer: Where does it stand in terms of popularity among the Mecha fandom?

Post by BBally81 » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:09 pm

This is a topic that's been bothering for a while now, just how popular is UFO Robo Grendizer among Mecha fans in general?

UFO Robo Grendizer was the second longest running animated Mazinger series in Japan, having 74 episodes. Several people however complained about its connection to the other Mazinger series in the franchise, especially with Koji's status as a mere sidekick and giving him a different romantic interest who wasn't Sayaka as well as the lack of the other Mazinger mechs.

This created the popular assumption that the anime wasn't a success in Japan especially since the merchandise based on the anime didn't sell as well as the merchandise for both Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger. However Go Nagai disputes this, saying the anime was actually quite successful in Japan; “It was actually a hit in Japan. Maybe some people thought it was not as popular as Mazinger Z, because Mazinger was super popular.”

Regardless of its disputed success in Japan, Grendizer was one of the first anime programs to be a major success in both Europe and the Arabic regions of the Middle East and continues to have a strong following in those parts of the world to this day.

In Europe, it was a major success in France and Italy, there known as respectively Goldorak and Goldrake.

The Italian dub was titled Goldrake, it changed all the characters names and created a whole new the soundtrack for the series. It was so popular in Italy that random episodes were compiled into films that was released theatrically in Italy and both the Italian theme songs were among the best-selling singles of 1978 with the first selling over seven hundred thousand copies and the second selling over a million copies. It would also get its own comic series titled Atlas UFO Robot Presenta Goldrake (Atlas UFO Robot Presents Goldrake), whose story diverged even further from the source material. This comic ran for 89 issues and spawned several other similar comic adaptations of anime airing on Italian television at that time.

The French dub titled Goldorak was the first anime series to be telecast in France and legend goes that the series was so popular among French viewers that several episodes scored an 100% TV rating. Like the Italian dub, it changed all of the character's names and insert songs although it did translate the opening and ending themes, however versions of the dub had a completely different theme simply titled "Goldorak", which was sang by Franco-Israeli singer Noam Kaniel. Noam's performance earned him unprecedented celebrity status in France; by the time Goldorak had ended its original run on French TV, its theme song had gold status four times in France. It was also one of the first anime programs to be a major success in Canada, where the French dub was broadcast in Quebec airing on TVA (Canadian TV network), where it continues to have a strong following to the point of news of the DVD release and returning broadcast getting major coverage in Canada.

It was also extremely popular in the Arab World, first airing in Lebanon on Télé Liban under the title مغامرات الفضاء: يوفو - غرندايزر (Moghamarat Al Fada: UFO - Grendizer, Adventures In Space: UFO - Grendizer) before being distributed to most Arabic speaking regions. Unlike the Italian and French dub the Arabic dub retained the characters names and insert songs from the Japanese version, also unlike most Arabic dubs of anime, it has retained most of its plot details without any altering or censorship (with the exception of some markets like Saudi Arabia and the UAE that censored some scenes). Grendizer was so popular at the time that it spawned several long running Grendizer comics published for the Arabic market, many of translations of the Italian produced comics, the most well known of these being ما وراء الكون (Ma'Wara El Koun, Beyond The Universe), a Lebanese anthology comic magazine that published Arabic translations of Science Fiction comics ranging from one off short stories to licensed titles like Star Trek and Star Wars before expanding to non-Scifi comic series like Marvel superhero issues like Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and The Incredible Hulk as well as TV licensed comics like Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, Grendizer didn't make its appearance until the fifth issue but was so popular it became the top feature on the title, which ran for over 140 issues. It later spawned its own comic series titled مغامرات غرندايزر (Moghamarat Grendizer, Grendizer Adventures) that ran for over 70 issues. The series' popularity continues on in the region, Lebanese popstar Sami Clark who sang the Arabic version of the opening and ending in the Arabic dub continues to sing the songs in his concerts, there's even a store in Kuwait that mainly started mainly selling Grendizer merchandise for expanding to selling other Anime merchandise

It however had limited success in the United States, where it was one of 5 mecha shows included in the 1980 tv anthology Force Five, where it was renamed Grandizer and only had 26 episodes dubbed out of order. Despite the low episode count, it enjoys a small but dedicated cult following among East Coast American viewers who saw the show as children as well as children who grew up with military families as Force Five was frequently aired on the cable tv feed of US Military installations in Europe. This was the version of the show seen in the United Kingdom, and in India as well as in The Philippines (though an earlier local Filipino English dub of the show existed before it was taken off the air by orders of the Ferdinand Marcos regime).

So taking this into account, how popular do you think Grendizer is among the overall fandom?

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Seto Kaiba
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Re: Grendizer: Where does it stand in terms of popularity among the Mecha fandom?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:46 am

BBally81 wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:09 pm
This is a topic that's been bothering for a while now, just how popular is UFO Robo Grendizer among Mecha fans in general?
Now? Or back when it was new? In Japan, or outside of it?

I ask, because those are radically different answers.


BBally81 wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:09 pm
This created the popular assumption that the anime wasn't a success in Japan especially since the merchandise based on the anime didn't sell as well as the merchandise for both Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger. However Go Nagai disputes this, saying the anime was actually quite successful in Japan; “It was actually a hit in Japan. Maybe some people thought it was not as popular as Mazinger Z, because Mazinger was super popular.”
To put it in objective terms, the Kanto area average viewership metrics for UFO Robot Grendizer put it at a whopping 20.9% audience share across its 74 episodes with a peak share of 27.6%.

The rebroadcast of Mobile Suit Gundam that brought about Gundam's explosive popularity? In Kanto, it got 17.9%.

With viewership numbers like that, you'd have to be clinically insane - or talking about the American release - to say that Grendizer wasn't a success.

Broadcast as part of the Force Five anthology series, it tanked in the American market.



Nowadays, however, I think UFO Robot Grendizer has been pretty severely overshadowed by Mazinger's fame... for reasons that are pretty obvious.
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AceWhatever
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Re: Grendizer: Where does it stand in terms of popularity among the Mecha fandom?

Post by AceWhatever » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:57 am

Did you really have to copy the whole "Reception" section from Wikipedia?

Regardless of its success upon airing, there's no doubt that Grendizer has generally always been way more popular in the Middle East and Europe compared to Japan. Mazinger (and by extension Great Mazinger) regularly get new manga and anime adaptations, a perfect (?) attendance record in Super Robot Wars, and are usually the first release in any super robot themed toyline. Grendizer doesn't even get a fraction of that attention.

With that in mind, unless you grew up somewhere that had a full run of Grendizer, you'd have difficulty trying to get into it. For a long while all access people had to both Mazinger shows and Grendizer was the infamous HK subs for Mazinger Z and its various crossover movies. Discotek has since gave us official releases for both Mazinger shows but not Grendizer, although the latter has become available in English on the methods network several years ago. With modern anime fandom being as fickle and riddled with short attention spans as it is, watching a 70+ episode show from the 70's is a tall order.

I mean it's not like alot of people saw all of Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger either.

BBally81
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Re: Grendizer: Where does it stand in terms of popularity among the Mecha fandom?

Post by BBally81 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:42 am

AceWhatever wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:57 am
Did you really have to copy the whole "Reception" section from Wikipedia?
Well, I'm the one who actually added most of that that info on the wiki page. :wink:
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:46 am

Now? Or back when it was new? In Japan, or outside of it?

I ask, because those are radically different answers.


I'm referring to now.

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