Fang of the Sun Dougram (太陽の牙ダグラム Taiyō no Kiba Daguramu?) is a 75-episode anime television series, created by Ryosuke Takahashi and Sunrise, and aired in Japan from October 23, 1981 to March 25, 1983 on TV Tokyo. A 1983 full-length feature film, Dougram: Documentary of the Fang of the Sun, summarized the series.
Malcontents on the Deloyer colony agitate for the independence of their world from the Earth Federation. In an unexpected coup, the elected Governor declares martial law and sets himself up as absolute dictator. With the approval of the Federation, he rules the planet with an iron fist. In reaction, a ragtag group (including the governor's estranged son) rises in open rebellion, using a powerful prototype Combat Armor: the Dougram. Their goal is the end of the dictatorship and total independence from the Federation's influence.
The story follows the action of the guerilla freedom fighters known as "The Deloyer 7." The war is fought across the planet Deloyer as the Federation vigorously pursues the rebels. The series is noted for its realistic use of not just the combat armors and support vehicles, but also military tactics. The series also followed a wide-range of characters and political intrigue, with many shady characters switching sides throughout the series.
As the series progresses, the Deloyer 7 team battles with the Federation forces assigned to hunt them down, and then as part of a large rebel army made up of Deloyer rebels and even ex-Federation troops who oppose the dictatorship. Major battles such as The Battle of Stanrey and The Battle of Kalnock anchor much of the plot, with minor battles being fought throughout the story. Eventually the rebels lose too many forces to the Federation, who are continually producing newer and more powerful Combat Armors in the numbers the rebellion cannot meet. Ultimately this leads to an unfavorable truce between the main rebel political leaders and the Federation. When the Deloyer 7 hear this, at first they decide to fight it out to the end, but once surrounded by overwhelming Federation forces, they, including Cashim, are convinced to surrender and Cashim self-destructs the Dougram, ending the rebellion.
- Crinn Cashim: the show's main character. Son of Governor Denon Cashim, he becomes trained in piloting the Soltic Roundfacer by Jacky Zalshiev, a Federation Ace, because of his father's political connections. When his father appears to be overthrown by a coupe led by Brudoran Garcia, he pilots a Roundfacer while Federation forces battle Garcia's forces. He is stunned to learn that his father has actually sided with Garcia in a secret plan, and eventually becomes angry at his father's forces in how they deal with the rebellion following the coupe. Following a meeting with Dr. David Samlin, who introduces him to a combat armor he has designed, the Dougram, Cashim and his friends form The Deloyer 7 and join the rebellion against the Federation.
- Rocky Andrew (or Andor): red-haired leader and founder of the Fang of the Sun rebel group.
- Canary Donetto: The Fang of the Sun's second-in-command and Rocky Andor's lover.
- Chico Biento: rebel weaponeer, carries a powerful portable laser cannon called the Big E-Gun which is capable of piercing weak points in many Combat Armors with a single shot.
- Festo Bronco: A feisty 18-year-old ex-classmate of Crinn.
- Billy Hall: 16-year-old rebel auxiliary, he looks and acts more like a 12-year-old and hero-worships Crinn. Typically wields a missile launcher and teamed up with Canary in a support role.
- Nanashi: An infantryman, heavily built. Provides some comedy relief among the rebel group.
- Heckle G. Thompson: 24-year-old rebel engineer who builds, modifies and maintains the rebellion's Combat Armors.
- Dr. David Samlin: former professor at Deloyer University and chief designer of the Dougram. He becomes a powerful leader within the rebellion.
- Denon Cashim: Crinn's father and the Governor of Deloyer. Co-conspirator with Helmut LeCoque and Brudoran Garcia to stage a false coupe attempt, and then use it to solidify his power over the colony of Deloyer.
- Helmut J. LeCoque: Vice-governor of Deloyer. The true villain of the story. He plays the Federation against the Rebels in hopes of winning absolute control over both Deloyer and Earth.
- Brudoran Garcia: Military Chief Of Staff. A pompous windbag, firmly in LeCoque's pocket. He stages the initial coup against the government of Deloyer, and then becomes the chief military leader against the rebellion.
- Dick Lertoff: APU reporter and war correspondent. Amoral opportunist who will do anything for a headline.
- J. Locke: one-eyed commander of the Federation Occupation Forces assigned to hunt down the Deloyer 7 team early on in the story. First to employ the Federation's Tequila and Desert Gunners in combat. He is able to defeat Cashim in combat, but is then surprised by the rest of the Deloyer team and killed in his Desert Gunner.
- Rick Boyd: Federation Major, fiercely loyal to Locke. Ultimately defeated by Cashim.
- Von Stein: Federation Colonel. A self-serving gloryhound who hopes to take Locke's place and, eventually, displace Garcia.
- Jacky Zalshiev: Federation Combat Armor pilot and ace who pilots a Roundfacer, who also taught Cashim how to pilot Combat Armors. In a twist, his loyalty to the Federation forces a one-on-one fight with Cashim. Cashim is able to gain the upper hand in the Dougram, and reluctantly kills Jacky.
- Blink: Federation Korchima Pilot and commander of the 24th Battalion who pilots the powerful Roundfacer Korchima Special. Rarely seen without sunglasses.
- Rad, Barrel and Tennisn: Federation Korchima pilots who serve under Blink, all who pilot the Korchima Special.
- Destin: Samlin's assistant and LeCoque's spy.
In S.C. 140 (Dougram time system, meaning Space Century), the Federal military asked for an all-terrain heavy-weapon system to deal with the varied geographic conditions of the colony worlds. Only two companies made it through the extensive requirements testing: Abitate and Soltic.
Abitate's F44A "Crabgunner" was a 12-meter, 4-legged walking tank. Soltic's own H8 "Roundfacer" was humanoid, with a single pilot located in the head. The simpler Crabgunner became the mainstay of the early Federation forces, but it was the Roundfacer that would revolutionize mechanized warfare. As the rebellion grows in number, the Federation introduces new models of Combat Armors to oppose it, many of them designed to fulfill specific roles (desert fighting, cold weather deployment, etc.). Unlike other anime, these new machines are production models and rarely one-of-a-kind prototypes (the Dougram itself being the most notable exception).
The following list showcases the machines seen in the show. The terms "Soltic," "Abitate," and "Dougram" actually represent the names of the companies that built the combat armors, not the names of the machines themselves. The "common names," if any, are given in quotes.
- "Dougram" - Exclusively developed by Samlin, the Dougram is based on the Federation's Roundfacer, and is able to use parts from salvaged Roundfacers to keep it running. During the series the Dougram is customized for various missions, such as utilizing a Hang Glider like the Roundfacer, or a set of anti-aircraft guns to combat the Federation Duey helicopters that Cashim faces all-throughout the series. The final version is known as the JAKT Type which replaces a set of smoke launchers on the side of its head with a rocket pod similar to those mounted on the Roundfacer.
- Abitate F35C "Blizzard Gunner" - Deployed late in the series, the Blizzard Gunner becomes one of the main weapons used by the Federation in the region of Kalnock.
- Abitate F44A "Crab Gunner" - The first Combat Armor, its design nevertheless influences further designs, although its shortcomings become apparent in battles facing other Combat Armors.
- Abitate F44B "Tequila Gunner" - First introduced in by Locke, the Tequila Gunner is used in a support role, much of the time battling the Deloyer 7 team from a distance. Once the Desert Gunner is developed, the Tequila Gunner is phased out.
- Abitate F44D "Desert Gunner" - One of the more powerful Combat Armors in Dougram, the huge spider-like Desert Gunners come close to defeating the Dougram. For whatever reason, they do not make much of an appearance later in the series.
- Abitate T-10B "Blockhead" - Really a prototype than a production model, this version of the Blockhead sports a red paint job and appears in a group of three that surprise the Deloyer 7 team. Future Blockheads appear as the C Type.
- Abitate T-10C "Blockhead" - When the B Type proved successful, the Federation mass produces the C Type, and it becomes one of the main weapons used by the Federation along side its Roundfacer units.
- Hasty F4X "Ironfoot" - Originally a Federation design, the rebellion incorporates a number of them when an entire Federation army group switches sides during the conflict and joins the rebellion.
- Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" - The mainstay of the Federation's Combat Armor forces, the Roundfacer is versatile and easy to produce. Its service runs right up to the final fight against the rebellion.
- Soltic H8-RF "Korchima Special" (24th Battalion Custom) - This is an upgraded version of the Roundfacer, and only four of them are produced, and used by am elite Federation unit known as the Korchima Battalion. It incorporates a Laser on its forearm inplace of the Roundfacer's Linear Gun, and a powerpack for extended service. The Korchima Special is arguably more powerful than the Dougram, although Cashim's piloting skills gives him the upper-hand.
- Soltic H404S "Mackerel" - The only amphibious Combat Armor shown in the series, and is used in conjunction with the Federation's Naval Fleets and during a massive D-Day type of landing against rebel forces.
- Soltic H-102 "Bushman" - A light-weight Combat Armor originally designed for mountainous terrain.
- Soltic HT-128 "Bigfoot" - The largest and most powerful design of the Combat Armors developed by the Federation, it is used in winter conditions high up on the Kalnock mountain range. While able to contribute to rebel losses, they too are unable to defeat the Dougram.
- Nicholiev AG-9 "Cabarov" - A support Combat Armor that rarely appears in the series, and one of the few Combat Armors not designed by Abitate or Soltic.
Combat Armors used by the Sun Fang rebels are marked with a gold-bordered red triangle. The Federation Occupation Forces use gold chevrons to indicate the division they are assigned to (1st, 2nd, or 3rd).
Dougram was one of the first successors to the "Real Robot" genre created by Mobile Suit Gundam. The popular technical designer Kunio Okawara produced the designs for both shows. Dougram featured a similar plot centered around a small team fighting a running battle with a powerful enemy, using an advanced giant robotic prototype combat armor. The show was a surprise success, especially considering the heavy emphasis on military tactics which slowed the pace of the story, and further confirmed that military 'giant robot' science-fiction was here to stay. Takahashi and Sunrise would go on create a follow-up series, Armored Trooper Votoms, which used similar styling and themes but was otherwise unrelated in plot, characters or setting.
Toymaker Takara was the show's main licensee. They made a very successful plastic model kit series, a large number of diecast toys, and also released several strategy wargames set in the Dougram world. The latter included tiny, unpainted diecast combat armors as playing pieces; additional scale accessories were available separately.
The diecast toys were produced in three sizes. The 1:144 scale "Collection Series" featured a hollow diecast body and leg structure, with plastic detail parts. The "Dual Model Series" (in two scales, 1:72 and 1:48) featured a zinc-diecast endoskeleton upon which plastic armor pieces were attached. Although the imported toys were physically identical to the Japanese ones, the packages were modified for American shelves. The 1:144 scale boxes had sleeves to be hung from pegs, while the larger toys had English-language stickers glued over the original boxes.
Takara also produced a magnetically-jointed Dougram and several soft-vinyl toys. Although the vinyls did not have specific scales, they appeared to be between 1:100 and 1:60 scale. Toy manufacturer Seven, a Takara spin-off devoted to low-end toys, produced several plastic and rubber Dougram toys as well.
Release outside of Japan
Neither the film nor the television series were released in North America. However, plastic model kit manufacturer Revell released many of Takara's Dougram kits as characters in their Robotech Defender series, and Takara sold much of their diecast toy line through American toy stores in the mid-Eighties. The detailed construction of the toys, the lack of any background info on the characters, and the revolutionary slogans printed on the boxes ("Fight! Dougram to save independence of the Deloyer!" or "We will never approve independence from our federation!") confused many.
In the mid 1980s, American gaming company FASA Corporation used the vehicle designs of the show for its Battletech miniature wargame and role-playing game. The first edition, then named BattleDroids, actually included two Japanese 1/144 model kits from Dougram. FASA was later sued by Playmates Toys and Harmony Gold USA for using designs from Macross (for example, Valkyrie fighters renamed Stinger, Wasp and Phoenix Hawk). The lawsuit was settled, and as a result post-lawsuit Battletech products do not feature the designs taken from Macross and other anime.
The Dougram tabletop battling game also came out in 1984, the same year Battletech (Battledroids) was released in America.