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Ninja Senshi Tobikage (忍者戦士飛影 lit. Ninja Warrior Tobikage?), also known as Ninja Robot Tobikage and Ninja Robots, is a Japanese anime television series, produced by Studio Pierrot, which aired from 6 October 1985 to 14 July 1986 on the Nippon Television network.
It was also broadcast across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia by Cartoon Network, under the title Ninja Robots, across Russia by Ren-TV, across the Philippines by Solar USA after Cartoon Network Philippines removed it from it airwaves, across France by TF1, under the title Tobikage, and across Chile by TVN de Chile , Mexico by Televisa Canal 5 and Peru by América Televisión 4 .
The events of Ninja Senshi Tobikage take place in the 23rd century, an age when Earthlings have colonized both Mars and the Moon. The Martian colony is a harsh environment where, like old Australia, all of the settlers are convicts. Given a choice between prison on Earth and helping to build and maintain the colony on Mars, they chose the latter... and soon came to realize they'd chosen poorly. The Martian colony is run by the military dictator Hazzard Pascha, who tests every settler to decide whether they should be part of the oppressive military or live a life of hard labor as a Worker.
The story starts off on Mars and follows 16-year old Joe Maya, who lives with his father. Joe's biggest dream is to return to Earth. Joe has two best friends - his sworn brother Mike and a girl named Renny - who prove to be helpful allies since, like him, they later turn out have the unusual power to operate the series' three giant robots.
During a hair-raising escape from Martian military police, Joe and Mike stumble upon a crashed spaceship - the Ellshanc, personal craft of the princess of planet Ladorio. The Ellshanc is targeted by another alien craft lurking in Martian orbit - a space fortress of the Zaboom army. The Zaboom base-ship sends out humanoid robots to attack the Ellshanc. Joe investigates and ends up being chased by one of the robots. Having no choice, he hides in the damaged Ellshanc.
Inside he encounters three human-looking aliens: the young Princess Romina (whom Joe instantly finds attractive), her willowy attendant Schaffe, and young red-headed general Yllbora Saro. Before the language barrier can be overcome, Joe's robot pursuer bursts in. The three aliens run away, and Joe scrambles to hide inside some unrecognizable machine. This machine turns out to be a humanoid robotic weapon. Joe quickly grasps the controls and fights the killer robot.
The battle leads outside the ship, where suddenly a mysterious robot ninja appears. This machine, Tobikage, wipes out several Zaboom robots before merging with Joe's super robot, changing it into a mechanical lion. The Zaboom attackers are eradicated by this new form, and Tobikage returns to wherever it came from.
After the attack, the visitors from Ladorio calibrate their auto-translators and presuade Joe, Renny, and Mike to help them. It seems only the three teenagers have the innate ability needed to operate the three super robots which are the Ellshanc's cargo. Inevitably, our heroes' fate becomes entangled with that of the aliens; they agree to travel with Princess Romina to protect her and the Ellshanc from the Zaboom army during the long journey to reach Earth. Along the way, new friends are made, old wounds are opened, and the mystery of Tobikage itself looms ever in the background.
- The Open Door
- The Unknown World
- The Parting
- Two Souls
- Battle at Polar Cap
- The Terrestrials
- Return to the Planetoid
- The Wandering Warriors
- The Wounded Princess
- The Legendary Ninja
- Murmurs of the Devil
- Time to Leave
- Destiny's Torrent
- The Secret Disappearance
- So Far Away
- The Unwelcome Return
- Never-ending Relationship
- Old Soldiers Never Die
- Powerful Enemies
- Grathan's Gone
- The Shocked Universe
- Run Towards the Hope
- The Recorded Road Mark
- Dropping Wings In Dance
- A Short Meeting
- Heavy Quickening
- The Transform of Position
- New Arousal
- The Forgotten Agen of Seventeen
- The Closed Legend
- The Respective Confusion
- The Endless Fight
- The Walk by Oneself
- Women Ninja. Red Shadow
- Small Cranny
- Collapsed Authority
- The Expanding Ambition
- The Final Harmony
- The Final Battle of Defence
- End of Aggression
- Another Door
- Summary & Preface
- Limitless Milky Way
Colonists and Earthlings
- JOE MAYA - Jō Maya (ジョウ・マヤ?) - Voiced by: Kazuhiko Inoue
- Age 15~16. A boy living with his father in the colony on Mars. His father is a calm, thoughtful figure, almost his opposite. He lost his mother when he was young but often reminisces about the fun he had on Earth. His rebellious and impulsive behaviour lands him in the adventure of his life. He is the first to discover and operate the robots on the Ellshanc, becoming the pilot of the Kurojishi.
- His best friend is Ronin, a long-lost childhood pal. Among his other friends are Renny and Mike. Joe and Mike refer to each other as "brother". At first Joe leaves his friends behind in order to defeat Hazzard but they carry on to help him later, especially when his father is kidnapped.
- He often teases Renny about his friends' interest in her. He also treats her like one of the guys. Joe shows romantic feelings for both Renny(Jenny) and the Princess. He is attracted to the Princess from the very first meeting and is willing to do anything to protect her, but during the last episode, he confesses his love for Renny(Jenny). He develops an enmity with Yllbora from the beginning due to his rude and rash behavior and his interest in the Princess. He is also very curious about the Tobikage, who continuously appears in battle to aid him.
- RENNY AI - Renī Ai (レニー・アイ?) - Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka
- Age 17. Renny ("Jenny" in the English version) is portrayed as a tomboy, but is actually a very sweet girl. However, like any girl, she also gets jealous. and is possessive about Joe. She is a good fighter and almost as daring as Joe, although she is extremely concerned about her family who stayed behind on Mars. She is the second to operate a robot, the Houraioh.
- She acts as a sister to Mike and helps him get the girl of his dreams - Schaffe. Local boy Kenji has a crush on Renny, which she doesn't reciprocate. She gets irritated when Joe teases her about him. When the princess hugs or flirts with Joe, Renny becomes upset and hurt. She believes Romina has feelings towards Joe, which is proved to be true later on. She asks Joe how he feels about her many times and even says that she loves him and just wants to be with him, even if he went to Ladorio. She is hopelessly in love with Joe, which later on he reciprocates her feelings for him.
- MIKE COIL - Maiku Koiru (マイク・コイル?) -
- Voiced by: Masami Kikuchi
- Age 15. Mike is the pilot of the Bakuryu and is portrayed as a younger brother to Joe Maya. He is soft and reserved in contrast to Joe's character. He is in love with Schaffe, Romina's aide.
- DAMIAN - Damian (ダミアン?) -
- .Voiced by: Masamichi Satō
- Age 18. Son of the Martian north pole's Guerilla leader, Damian first mistrusted Joe and the others but later ends up joining them. He is not very prominent during the early part of the series, but when Joe permanently takes control of Tobikage, Damian succeeds him as the pilot of the Kurojishi. He falls in love with a female ninja who was sent to trap his friends, but she sacrifices her life due to his love.
- RONIN SANADA - Rōnin Sanada (ローニン・サナダ?) -
- Voiced by: Masashi Hironaka
- Age 18. A childhood friend of Joe, Mike and Renny, Ronin is the son of an Earth military commander. He's always sincere with his friends and, through his father's connections, supports them by providing necessities and assisting in their struggle.
- KEGARE SANADA - Kegare Sanada (ケガレ・サナダ?) - Voiced by: Rokurō Naya
- Age ?. Ronin's father, an Earth military commander.
- HAZZARD PASCHA - Hazādo Pasha (ハザード・パシャ?) -
- Voiced by: Takeshi Aono
- Age 46. Hazzard Pascha is one of the series' main antagonists. He was driven to Mars by the Earth's people and he became the commandant of the Mars colony. He is shown as power-hungry and opportunistic. During the first few battles on Mars he allies himself with the Zaboom army to gain greater power in his aim of conquering Earth. He is also shown to be very manipulative as he often took innocent people into his side by clever tactics. He is at last killed by the fearsome Houraioh when he tried to kill everyone aboard the Ellshanc. His rise and fall is highlighted well in the series. In fact he was the enemy of all.
- DOG TACK - Doggu Takku (ドッグ・タック?) -
- Voiced by: Takashi Taniguchi
- Age 35. Dog Tack is Hazzard Pascha's right-hand man and military assistant.
People of Lodario
- ROMINA LADORIO - Romina Radorio (ロミナ・ラドリオ?) - Voiced by: Sumi Shimamoto
- Age 15~16. Romina is the princess and future Empress of the planet Ladorio. She is very beautiful: a slender girl with sad blue eyes and a mane of silvery-lavender hair. Romina is modest and sincere. Her home planet of Ladorio was a peaceful planet until it was violently invaded by the Zaboom army. Her narrow escape is actually a mission given to her by her parents: to find 'ninjas' from Earth who would be able to pilot Ladorio's three super robots. She escaped the invaders in her ship, the Ellshanc, along with her two closest friends: Lady Scahffe and Lord Yllbora Saro. She cries over her lost parents, her world and eventually Yllbora. However in public Romina puts on a brave front.
- Romina is a person who is extremely loyal to the friends and expects the same loyalty from them. Joe falls in love with Romina, and Joe always cheers her up and tries to help her out. Although a Princess, she supports her new friend and even risks her life to save Joe. Slowly they understand each other as their romance blooms.
- SCHAFFE - Shafu (シャフ?) -
- Voiced by: Rika Fukami
- Age 18. Schaffe (or "Jade" in the English Version) is the constant companion and maid of Romina and initially didn't believe Joe was actually a ninja. She is always kind, considerate and understanding. She is shown to reciprocate Mike's feelings.
- YLLBORA SARO - Irubora Saro (イルボラ・サロ?) - Voiced by: Masashi Sugawara
- Age 20. Yllbora ("Icelander" in English dubs) is a reserved, ambitious general who can be egotistic and aggressive, but noble and courageous at the same time. He's known as 'The Best Warrior of Ladorio'. He tends to look down on others, nevertheless he seems to be deeply in love with Romina and is determined to fight for her to the end. Although, she remains unaware of his love for her and her own feelings for the commander.
- He becomes very jealous of Romina's attention towards Joe. Both are "people of action" and this mutual antipathy ends up in open quarrels and endless fights - a very upsetting situation for Romina who wants to avoid aggression and violence. He is man of great ambition and he dreams of great power; when Zaboom general Grathan Gryn offers Ylldora power in exchange for princess Romina's life, for a moment Yllbora considers killing her. As a result, Yllbora leaves the Ellshanc for good, but cannot forget his own love for Romina and is racked with guilt.
- Yllbora finally obtain his own robot, Zerokage, and turns out to be a ninja too. But he never chose between absolute power and his love for Romina, no matter how he wanted to forget her in battles. In the end as he was seriously injured he decided to tell Romina about his feelings.
- Age 19. Gamellun is the second in command of the ship Ellshanc, serving under Yllbora. He is shown to be loyal throughout and very protective of the princess. His ego lends towards his hatred of Joe and has sometimes tried to kill him. However in times of danger he has sided with Joe in order to protect the Princess.
- GRATHAN GRYN - Gurasan Gurin (グラサン・グリン?) -
- Voiced by: Hōchū Ōtsuka
- Age 40. Grathan was the first commander of the Zaboom army. He is referred to by Hazzard as a silly commander, and he is killed by Tobikage when he tries to kill Romina.
- CHARME VEKER - Sharumu Bēkā (シャルム・ベーカー?) - Voiced by: Eiko Yamada
- Age ??. Emperor Annex's devoted advisor, Charme is lovely and devious.
- ANNEX ZABOOM - Anekkusu Zabūmu (アネックス・ザブーム?) -
- Voiced by: Masaaki Okabe
- Age approximately 40. Emperor Annex, the ruler of planet Zaboom, seeks to become the master of the universe and thus tries to conquer Lodario, the home planet of Romina. He is the arch villain of the series and possesses a large fleet of spaceships and robots. He was killed by the time bomb explosion by Joe in the last part of the series.
- Tobikage - 飛影（とびかげ）
- A small robotic ninja, Tobikage is wholly mysterious. Appearing whenever the Ninja Machines are low on power or are facing overwhelming odds, Tobikage comes to their aid and, at times, combines with one of them to form a more powerful beast mode. Tobikage is very formidable and incredibly fast by itself. In later episodes, it unites with Joe when he calls it. It is later found that the robot comes out from a secret chamber within Ellshanc. Its name means "Flying Shadow" (although it is known as "Cybertron" in the English version of the show). Height: 3.6m. Weight: 500kg.
- Kurojishi - 黒獅子（くろじし）
- The "Black Lion" was the first Ninja Machine to be activated, once it responded to Joe. It is later piloted by Damian. It merges with Tobikage to form the Jyuuma ("Beast Demon") Kurojishi, which is a lion-type formation. The most agile and speedy of the combinations, it is the most frequently-used powered machine. It has an armored mane and shoots bullets from it. Height: 6.5m. Weight: 10t.
- Houraioh - 鳳雷鷹（ほうらいおう）
- The "Phoenix Thunderhawk" is the Ninja Machine used by Renny, and has powers of fire. It merges with Tobikage to form the Kuuma ("Sky Demon") Houraioh, which is a phoenix-type formation. It possesses the power of flight, and can cast a flame from its wings across its wingspan. Height: 7.2m. Weight: 9.6t.
- Bakuryu - 爆竜（ばくりゅう）
- The "Burst Dragon" is the Ninja Machine used by Mike. After it joins with the Tobikage it forms the dragon-type formation Kaima ("Sea Demon") Bakuryu, which is very powerful and capable of casting lighting but is slow and ungainly. It is incredibly large and strong, capable of wiping out entire robot armies with lightning storms, but has minimal mobility and appears only twice. Height: 8.3m. Weight: 12t.
- Ellshanc - エルシャンク
- The mothership used by the aliens from Ladorio. In the English dubs, it is known as 'Xenos 5'. Length: 300m. Wingspan: 250m. Crew: 50 people.
- C-Terahertz - Ｃ・テラヘルツ
- The space fortress used by the Zaboom army. Height: 500m.
- Shaman - シャーマン
- The Shamans (known as Shadow Bots in the English dub) are the generic battle mecha used by the Zaboom army. They are colored red and are small in size. Height: 3.6m. Weight: 750kg.
- Vankes - バンクス
- The Vankes types (known as Stealth Destroyers in the English dub) are a more powerful model of battle mecha used by the Zaboom army. They're usually armed with naginata and are significantly larger than Shaman types (approximately 10m tall).
- Skeleton - スケルトン
- The Skeleton is the giant blue machine that Yllbora initially pilots when he joins the Zaboom army.
- Zerokage - 零影（ぜろかげ）
- The "Null Shadow" (known as the Mantis in English) is a very agile, sentient robot skilled in ninja moves, which merges with Yllbora. It has clashed with Tobikage on several occasions and both the robots seem very equally matched. Height: 4m. Weight: 550kg.
- Producer: Yuji Nunokawa
- Producer: N. (NTV), Akira Masa yield River, Tadashi Taki Suzuki (studio Pierrot)
- Series Composition draft: Yuki Watanabe, self
- Character Design: Shigeru Kato, Hiroshi Takashi Hirano
- Mechanical design: Moriki Osamu, Oohata Kouiti
- Music: Kawamura Eizi
- Sound Director: Naoko S. Pear
- Art director: Geki Katsumata
- Director of Photography: Tadashi Tadashi Miyakozima
- General Director: Osamu Masami plan
- Assistant director: History Miyashita Ken, Yokota Kazu
- Animation Supervisor: Hiroshi Takashi Hirano
- Superintendent Mechanical work: Masami Hiroshi Tiyou
- Check Video: Akira Akira Nishida, Toshima Mitsuko, Nakamura Hiroshi, Tomoyuki Ayu, I'm filling slope, Hiroyuki Sonoda, Oota Hisashi fall, Ootomo Zyuniti
- Video: Oh Pu-production procedures, production Miyuki, Sutajiodabu, anime romance, Look Studios, Studio Hisashi Motoe Luo Sutajioki whip, land art, waiting for a dream, thumb tack, the Japanese video company, OH! Production, CNC, random bugs production studio Hapi, gossip, Al Wakaba studio Janguyado
- Coloring: Utita Tiyoko, Iwami Mika, Betsushiyo Hidehiko, Nakayama Kumiko, Yoko Yoshida, Katsunuma Madoka
- Special Effects: Teraoka Nobuharu township, Abe, Sakakibara Toyohiko, Tiba Toyo
- Finish Inspection: Maehara Hiro Yuki, Kazunori Suzuki, Emi Hasegawa, Iwami Mika, Emi Yamauchi, Seki Mayumi, Kaneko Mihoko, Nagao Setsuko, Shibata Satoshi, Hara Atsushi Arrow, Matsuno Ryuuzi, Yoko Yoshida, Oonuki Yoshiko, Kota Toshihiro, Satoshi Matsunaga Hikaru
- Finish: Studio Pal, Pasu me, mac studio, CAT, Yatiyo color centers, K-production, finishing room Studio Pierrot
- Art Set: Yoji excused Iwasa Tadashi
- Background: Cosmos Studios, and there to try -
- Photographer: Production Ogata, professional barefoot, Sanko production, Toransuatsu, ACC production studio Hara Tani
- Editing: Morita Editing Room, Henmi Toshio
- Record: Omnibus Promotion
- Adjustment: Kuwahara Kunio
- Effect: Matsuda Akihiko (Fizz Sound Creation)
- Studio: New Japan Studio
- Developing: Toukyou processing station
- Assistant Producer: Sakuma Toshio
- Production Desk: Honma Mitiyuki, Sannai Takuzi
- Production Progress: Umetsu Toshiharu, Tsutomu Akira Kan, Honma Mitiyuki, Sakaguti Kazuhisa, Kuroda Tatsuzi, M. Nakazumi, T. Aoki Satoshi, Inokuti Noriaki, Kuramoto Hitoshi, K. Saito, Abe Yoshiharu, Yoneda Katsumi
- Literature in charge: Hisashima Kazuhito
- Set Progress: Sum Yokota, Aoki Saeko
- Communications: Azuma Yoshiko (NTV), Umezaki Hiroshi (Pierrot Project)
- Co-production: Wave Productions, Ashi Production
- Producer: Studio Pierrot
- Opening theme
- LOVE Survivor (LOVEサバイバー, LOVE Sabaibā?)
- Lyrics: Kumiko Aoki, composition and arrangement: Yūichirō Oda, performance: HIT BOY
- Ending theme
- Ichi Seikime no Angel (一世紀めのエンジェル, Ichi Seikime no Enjeru?)
- Lyrics: Kumiko Aoki, composition and arrangement: Yūichirō Oda, performance: HIT BOY
The series was broadcast across certain countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, under the title Ninja Robots, on Cartoon Network. Approximately 10 years after it was originally aired in Japan. The dubbing directors also changed the opening theme, and made numerous significant changes to the characters and robots involved. For example, Tobikage's name in the English dub is Cybertron.
The English dub was produced and recorded at Sonic III Studios in Miami, Florida. Main character actors included Omar Garcia as "Joe" and Kelly Parker as the princess of Planet Radorio.
The English script was loosely translated from the original Japanese and adapted by the actors and interns on the day of recording.
- Pierrot's official website for Ninja Senshi Tobikage (Japanese)
- Pierrot's official English website for Ninja Robot Tobikage
- Japanese Ninja Senshi Tobikage fan page - packed with information (Japanese)