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Tag Archives: anime

Drooliver’s Travels

24 May

May 24, 2012

Allan Keyes is back once again to point out some of the more interesting aspects of Japanese culture.

While in Japan, I resolved to watch a lot of the local television, so as to get a better sense of daily life there.  Being the lazy, anti-social couch potato that I am, this was a fine plan. One of the things I was keen to watch was some run of the mill anime. I don’t mean the stuff that we all know here, like Gundam or Sailor Moon or Naruto or One Piece –I was looking for the general filler that runs there but doesn’t cross over big. Think of our Saturday morning cartoons – I wanted to see the Anime equivalent of these:

And shockingly enough….I really wasn’t disappointed. Most of what I watched involved fights between various high school heroes, mechas or space soldiers. Meh. I can see that anywhere. But there was one program that really kept my attention. It was moody and kind of creepy. From what I was able to discern at the time, the plot went something like this:  Generic  high school guy notices the girl next to him in class asleep at her desk.  At day’s end, she wakes up and leaves a small puddle of drool on the desk in her wake.  So like any normal kid, the guy…..decides to take a taste. Of her drool. Left on her desk. Hooooooooookay. Well, the kid gets sick as you would’ve expected, but instead of Hep C or mono, he starts suffering withdrawal symptoms.  If he doesn’t taste this girls’ drool every day, he gets sick. As the story progresses, they seem to share a “drool bond”, where they can sense each other’s emotions through mutual (and clinical) tasting of each other’s drool.  And there’s even more strangeness with hidden scissors that I won’t go into, since I couldn’t adequately explain.

I spent a few days online trying to find out more about this strange show, and I finally found the title: “Mysterious Girlfriend X” – isn’t that a perfectly Japanese title? God knows what kind of wacky title a show like that would have if it was created here – Swappin’ Spit perhaps, or maybe Drooliver’s Travels? (Ok, I admit I’d watch a show with THAT title). Turns out that the anime is based on a popular manga, thereby proving that a large segment of Japan has serious saliva issues

 

Because this is really not cool:

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The Saturday Comics: Bozo The Robot

5 Nov

November 5, 2011

Yes, you read that right. Bozo the Robot.

I stumbled upon this when I was searching for Bozo the Clown. This is way better but if you want Bozo the Clown he’ll come up sometime in the near future. I have a very slight family connection to him, more a seven degrees of Bozo thing, not a direct link, but you’ll read it in a week or two.

Never having heard of Bozo the Robot before, I’ll let wikipedia explain it. I’m sure whoever wrote the entry knows as little as I do but since wiki is public domain no one will scream when I lift it. (Man I hope this information is accurate.) And blame any poor writing on them.

Hugh Hazzard and his Robot, Bozo the Robot (AKA Bozo the Iron Man) was a fictional character featured in issues 1-42 of the Smash Comics comic book from Quality Comics. Hugh Hazzard’s adventures were written and crudely drawn by Quality Comics editor George Brenner. Bozo was featured on the cover of issue #1, the first robot cover of a comic book.

In the first installment, the origin story, Hugh Hazzard is a suit and fedora clad man with connections to a large city police department. He is involved in the investigation of crimes committed by a mysterious robot. Hugh manages to temporarily deactivate the robot, and climbs inside its hollow chest to hitch a ride to the robot’s home base, which turns out to be the laboratory of an evil scientist, who dies in the ensuing battle. The robot is again deactivated, and placed on a garbage scow for disposal at sea, but Hugh Hazzard has ideas of using the robot as a crime-fighting tool. He saves the robot from its watery fate, then names the robot Bozo.

In the next installment, Hazzard is shown examining the robot’s blueprints, and stating that the robot can be modified to fly. The modified robot, shown flying with a spinning propeller on its head, is again used to foil a crime. Flying would be a part of all subsequent appearances.

Hugh Hazzard has a walkie-talkie-like radio that he uses to vocally summon Bozo the Robot, who is sometimes shown standing in a grove of trees when he receives his radio summons. In later stories, Hugh Hazzard would have adventures riding inside the robot, with his voice emanating from the mute robot’s grinning mouth. The robot is shown as human-size in these stories, as if it were a suit of armor. This depiction of the character resembles the Marvel Comics Iron Man character that would debut 24 years later, and anticipates the emergence of the Mecha genre in Japanese manga and anime.

1939 was the year of the New York World’s Fair, which featured Westinghouse’s Elektro robot. This was the major event of the year in New York, and it is likely that George Brenner and most other people involved in New York based comic book industry attended the event. Elektro was well remembered by fair attendees, and could have inspired Brenner to make a robot the star of a comic book feature. Bozo even shares a design element with Electro, a round glass porthole on the chest, which exposes internal circuitry.

That year also saw the release of the movie serial The Phantom Creeps, in which Bela Lugosi portrays an evil scientist that uses a robot and other fantastic scientific devices to take revenge on the world for his wife’s death. An earlier serial, 1935’s science fiction western The Phantom Empire, contained a sequence in which two comedic gangsters wear the shells of deactivated robots to infiltrate a futuristic city. These two serial films contain the story elements of the first Hugh Hazard adventure.

That is totally cool. Here and now, enjoy Hugh Hazzard (OK, even for 1940’s era comics that’s bad) and Bozo the Robot!

Please click on each image to enlarge.

And if you comment, please let me know if you prefer a gallery like this, a slideshow, or my usual method which is just posting everything one atop the other.

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