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Daikū Maryū Gaiking (Great Sky Demon Dragon Gaiking) was a Super Robot mecha anime series produced by Toei Animation, credited as an original idea by Akio Sugino. However, in reality the original idea was Go Nagai's. Toei deliberately took Nagai out of the credits in order to avoid paying him royalties. Because of that, Nagai sued Toei and refused to collaborate with them for many years. The legal battle lasted over a decade. Nagai himself confirmed that he was the creator of Gaiking at the 2007 Naples Comicon.

It ran from April 1976 through January 1977 and consisted of 44 26-minute episodes. Gaiking was notable for being one of the few super robot series to take place in real places outside of Japan, and for being the first Super Robot series to have a mobile carrier for the chief robots. In the USA, Gaiking was part of Mattel's popular Shogun Warriors import toy line of the late 1970's and Jim Terry's Force Five anthology series. In 2005, an In Name Only reimagining titled Gaiking: Legend of Daikuu-Maryuu was produced.

The original story chronicled the battle between the crew of the semi-transformable carrier Daikū Maryū (called both the Great Space Dragon and Kargosaur in the US version) and the Super Robot Gaiking invented by Dr. Daimonji (Prof. Hightech in the English language version of the show) against an invading race of aliens called the Dark Horror Army in the dub from the planet Zela which is facing destruction by a black hole as their population starts to mutate (the fact that their bearded ruler now wears his face on upside-down is considered only a minor mutation). Notable aspects of the series include the dinosaur-based designs of the Daikū Maryū and its support machines and the use of part of the carrier to form the main robot.

Gaiking was piloted by former baseball star named Sanshiro Tsuwabuki (Aries Astronopolis in the dub), who was drafted for the job because his latent psychic powers made him the only one capable of doing so. All other similarly empowered candidates having been assassinated by alien agents with Sanshiro himself having been injured in an attack that ended his sports career. Gaiking is most easily distinguished from other mecha by its skull-shaped golden torso formed from the head of the Daikū Maryū and its golden horns.

The leader of the alien villains was named Prince Darius, and all of their ships and mecha were fish-shaped, which most likely inspired the Darius series of video games. It was also dubbed in Latin-American Spanish as El Gladiador, which aired as part of a showcase called El Festival de los Robots. In this version, Sanshiro Tsuwabaki was called Brando Drummond with the Daiku-Maryu itself called "El Gran Dragon del Espacio".

And in a rather surprising twist over other Super Robots, Gaiking is getting a CG movie remake. Watch the trailer here. In January of 2011, Toei put up the entire Legend of Daikuu Maryuu series subtitled[1] on Hulu. People living in the United States can view it here. The show is also available on Crunchyroll[2], Crackle and the U.S. Playstation Video Store.

Tropes used in Gaiking include:

Tropes associated with the 2005 series: Gaiking: The Legend of Daikuu Maryuu

  • A Day in the Limelight: Yanma, Hacho and Bubi trying to become more useful. They end gettting a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: Proist is a blonde in the anime (though her hair looks pink sometimes) but pink-haired on Super Robot Wars K.
  • Alternate Continuity / In Name Only: The only things the two shows share in common are the mecha (obviously including the Daikuu-Maryuu and Gaiking themselves), and Daiya's last name among other things. Otherwise, the second series is a completely separate series that has no relation to the original.
  • An Axe to Grind: Gaiking and Vulking's Great Axes. Surprisingly, despite being on the cover art for Super Robot Wars K, Gaiking's axe does not show up in the game. In episode 14 Shizuka arises from scrap and seems to be dual wielding two that appear to be Getter Tomahawks of the Shin Getter - Armageddon variety...
  • Ascended Extra: Kain started out as one of Nouza's direct subordinates. Very, very quickly, all the other subordinates got killed off. Kain, however, sticks around and pretty much is the only reason Nouza got over his Heroic BSOD. Daiya's childhood friend also becomes very prominent in the last eight episodes.
    • Kain is also the only one of Nouza's lieutenants that actually makes it into Super Robot Wars K.
  • Bad Export for You: Toei has released the entire series on Hulu....only with the 16:9 aspect ratio squished into a 4:3 ratio for no apparent reason. Additionally, the subtitles are full of typos, plus some words, even entire sentences are either left out completely (sometimes with no subtitles appearing at all), or are given the wrong translations.
  • BFG: The Serpent support ship can dock with Gaiking's right arm to be a gun
  • Big Bad: At first, Emperor Darius 17th who spends most of the series focusing on other matters, so his generals take center stage. Later on Proist ascends to being The Dragon, again near the end to being the Big Bad after Darius reveals his intentions
  • Breather Episode: A whole lot of them take place after Proist becomes the Emperor's Dragon. Arguably too many.
  • Calling Your Attacks: It is a Super Robot show, after all.
  • Capulet Counterpart: Vestanuu to Lee's Romeo
  • Chest Blaster: The Hydro Blazer and the Zaul Geyser.
  • Combining Mecha: Gaiking, Vulking, Raiking, and Gaiking the Great.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: the black flame of the Darius is not inherently wrong or evil, although Proist's was potent enough to kill her father without even noticing
  • Darker and Edgier: Especially beginning in episode 27.
  • Darkskinned Blonde: Puria, but not in Super Robot Wars K for some reason.
  • Designated Hero: Double-subverted hard in-universe. Daiya finds out fairly quickly that the people on Darius view the Daiku Maryu as invaders and he has to face the fact that technically they are the bad guys. And then we find out they're just helping out a pre-existing rebellion that got started by inhabitants of Darius anyways and the Darius Empire isn't as noble as the citizens think.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Face Open at first. During his first time using it, Daiya had no way of turning it off and was exhausted of all possible strength. It wasn't until later that an emergency shut-off was installed.
    • Super Robot Wars K omits this little detail as the emergency shut-off is in the attack's animation all the time, including when it first debuts in the game proper.
  • Distant Finale: One that combines with the Here We Go Again ending.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chouryu Dborak is a lesser version of one, but it's still overpowered
    • Its head is also a Shout-Out to the original Gaiking, as it matches the "Face Open" mode found there and in SRW.
  • Empathic Weapon: the various machines respond to certain people's "Fire", which is why Rongo is the only person that can steer the Daiku Maryu even though he's not the strongest.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Inverted. Proist is rotten to the core.
  • Eye Beams: The Despair Sight on Gaiking. On Raiking and Gaiking the Great, they are stored in the fingers.
  • Fastball Special: The Shinryu Hydro Blazer and the Death Fire attacks are variations. While Daiya doesn't exactly throw an ally at the opponent, he does throw a ball-shaped Hydro Blazer either directly at an enemy or towards Dick to launch back at the enemy.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Proist generally maintains a cool, regal air about her person, masking her ruthless nature with a persona of elegance. The illusion shatters whenever she loses face and succumbs to her inner rage.
  • Fragile Speedster: In premise Raiking and Tenku Maryu are supposed to be this. In execution, they're freaking Lightning Bruisers that shrug off some of Gaiking and Vulking's best attacks
  • Gainaxing: Proist, twice.
  • Genre Savvy: Proist. All. The. Freaking. Time. Eventually the heroes shape up too and start keeping up
    • Well, up until the end, at least. Kinda loses it with the whole "power is everything" credo.
  • Gratuitous English: Duh, this is a Super Robot series.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Ruru. Becomes a minor plot point later on
  • Hannibal Lecture: Proist rarely does this... but god DAMN they're effective
  • Heel Face Turn: Vestanuu, Nouza, and all their subordinates including Kain
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Prof. Sakon until episode 23.
  • Heroic BSOD: Nouza does NOT handle the fact he's just spare parts for Proist to claim if she ever gets injured very well.
  • Jerkass: Dick. Puria starts off like this, but eventually mellows out and becomes more likable.
  • Important Haircut: Ruru after becoming the Daiku Maryu's Captain.
  • Improbable Age: Daiya's piloting a Super Robot at the age of nine. his best friend ends up piloting a Cool Ship and The Captain has his equally-young daughter fill in for him
    • They're actually 14 according to official material, but thats still pretty young.
  • In Name Only: Aside from Daiya's last name, the Daiku-Maryu and Gaiking themselves (which both use the same attacks) and the names "Darius" and "Death Cross", this series has no other connections to the original series.
  • Jack of All Stats: Gaiking and the Daiku Maryu, of the three sets of Combining Mecha, are considered the most balanced of the three
  • Killed Off for Real: Dick... or maybe not
  • Les Yay: Proist seems just a little too interested in Vestanuu
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Ooooh boy. This series has lots of people in it.
  • Lolicon: Dick seems to be specially interested in Ruru, y'know...
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Again, double-subverted. Captain Garis, despite minor foreshadowing, is not Daiya's father. He's Ruru's.
    • "Minor"? He says the same things and even has the same mannerisms as Daiya remembers his father having. It's even foreshadowed in the opening theme - during the "voice of your father" line, the camera does a close-up on Garis' mask. This was nothing less than an intentional bait-and-switch on the part of the writers, and it was executed brilliantly.
  • Meaningful Name: "Puria" is a subversion; she's not exactly pure in personality.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Superior Stinger (Puria), Vulking and Raiking (Lee and Nouza, respectively). Gaiking the Great sort of counts as well for Daiya.
  • Mighty Glacier: In contrast to Raiking and Tenku Maryu who subvert the Fragile Speedster trope, Vulking and the Daichi Maryu play this one straight
  • Minovsky Physics: Hydroroot, the material that powers Gaiking
  • More Dakka: Vulking's ultimate attack in Super Robot Wars K is basically a "fire all the weapons" type.
  • More Than Mind Control: Proist convincing Ruru not once, but twice to attempt to kill her father
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Daiya has the habit of mispronouncing Puria's last name, Richardson, as "Richard-san". Puria does not like it at all.
  • Off-Model: People do... not watch this show because of its good animation. Except for episode 13
    • There was also the occasional scene where the animation got to episode 13's standards for whenever Daiya pulled off a Big Damn Heroes moment, but they were very rare and often hard to spot.
    • While most of the series was made up of the usual Toei choppiness, pretty much any scene animated by Hiroyuki Imaishi (of Gurren Lagann and Dead Leaves fame) was really fun to watch. Other than that, a surprising amount of scenes actually looked above average.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Mecha variation. Puria is one of the very few people who refers to the Crab Bunker by its actual name. Everyone else pretty much uses Daiya's nickname for it, "Kani Tank", which pisses off Puria. Daiya takes the nickname further when the Crab Bunker docks with Gaiking by calling the new combined form "Kaniking".
  • Orcus on His Throne: Justified Trope. Emperor Darius is attempting to arrange transport for a mass-exodus to another planet so they don't have to invade Earth
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: this series is saturated with them. The Emperor of Darius has his four generals. Nouza, one of them, has five lieutenants under him. Later on, after Proist ascends to being the primary antagonist, Suspage dies, and both Nouza and Vestanuu defect, she gets a new batch of generals to work for her too
  • Real Robot: In spite of being a Super Robot show, the plot really has more in common with one of these shows due to The Battlestar, Minovsky Physics, realistic combination sequences, and emphasis on strategy and teamwork
  • Relationship Voice Actor: One episode features a one off character voiced by Hiroaki Hirata, another One Piece actor.
  • Reliable Traitor: at one point, Proist has Daiya's head essentially handed to her on a silver platter. He was only saved because Suspage thought he could kill Daiya and her in one blow, which obviously didn't work out
  • Rocket Punch: Gaiking's Puncher Grind, although it doesn't come back automatically and Gaiking needs to use its Zector Hooks and/or have a support ship grab them. Gaiking the Great, however, does have Rocket Punch attacks that come back, much to Proist's surprise.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Proist is not only not a robot, but the crowned princess of the Darius Empire.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Episode 23 reveals that Shizuka had these once.
  • Sinister Scythe: Raiking's Sickle Harken.
  • Super Robot Wars: The 2005 series appears in the two of the recent Nintendo DS entries, K and L.
  • The Captain: Captain Garis, of course! Ruru gets to be captain for a day as well, and then fills in for him after he gets injured saving her from getting killed
  • The Faceless: Shizuka's eyes are never shown in the entire series. One episode shows her revealing them to the crew, but we, as the audience, to not see them. Captain Garris also wears a mask, but he's shown without it a few times
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Noza towards Daiya.
  • Theme Naming: The names of the four Darius Generals are all puns on the cardinal directions.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The opening theme appears as a cellphone ringtone in episode 32.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Ruru, of course. This is a Toei series afterall.
  • Tomato Surprise: Nouza being spare parts, Emperor Darius and possibly Proist also being robots
  • Tsundere: Puria
  • Tyke Bomb: Fucking Proist
  • Vocal Dissonance: Nearly everyone who gets a speaking role in the epilogue.
  • Wham! Episode: When Proist gets Vulking. And then convinces Ruru to try to kill her father. And then gets Raiking. And then convinces Ruru to try to kill her father again. And then nearly kills Daiya. And then reveals the fact she has a Cosmic Horror at her disposal. And then sends Daiya and Puria back to Earth with no way of getting back. Yeah. All those things happening one right after the other too.
  • Wicked Cultured: Proist.
  • Worthy Opponent: Daiya and Nouza's former boss develop this kind of relationship during their duel. After Nouza kills him, he falls into the same trap and develops a similar rivalry
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: What makes Proist so dangerous. It's not the fact that our resident Big Bad has these long and elaborate plans, it's the ability to nearly instantly remove any advantages you pull. Destroy the Empire's Cosmic Horror? Sure, we'll just activate the even stronger guardian machine of the emperor. Destroy that and mortally wound Proist? Her generals will just sacrifice their lives and revive her.
    • And yet, all the protagonists are equally capable of coming up with their own plans (or in Daiya's case Indy Ploys), making the entire series a constant back-and-forth of each side one-upping the other.
  1. badly
  2. although the version shown here may actually be worse than the Hulu version