Steel Jeeg (鋼鉄ジーグ Kōtetsu Jīgu?), more commonly known as Kotetsu Jeeg or Koutetsu Jeeg, is a super robot anime and manga series created by manga artists Go Nagai and Tatsuya Yasuda. The TV anime was produced by Toei Doga. It was first broadcast on Japanese TV in 1975. The series lasted for 46 episodes. Steel Jeeg also ran as a manga in several children's publications.
The story tells about Hiroshi Shiba, a car racer who is mortally wounded on a laboratory accident, but restored to life by his father, Professor Shiba, a talented scientist/archeologist, who is incidentally investigating the relics of the ancient Yamatai Kingdom. The professor discovers a tiny bronze bell with sorcerous powers, and shortly afterwards he is murdered by the henchmen of Queen Himika, the ruler of the Yamatai, who wants to seize the ancient bell and its power.
Hiroshi learns about his father's death, and his legacy: after the accident, Hiroshi was turned by his father into a cyborg, the bronze bell hidden in his own chest, able to transform into the head of a giant robot, the Steel Jeeg, created by Prof. Shiba with the purpose of stopping the Yamatai invasion of modern Japan. Jeeg is also assisted by a robot horse known as Panzeroid. The minions of Queen Himika have huge haniwa robots, called phantom gods buried thousands of years under Japan's soil, and only Jeeg can destroy them and save the world. Therefore, Hiroshi must roughly try to live his double life as his career as a racer who takes care of his mother and sister and a hero who fight to save the world. After episode 29, the Yamatai invaders were replaced by the Ryoma Empire and used robot monsters, which all but replaced the phantom gods as the series' monsters of the week.
Steel Jeeg is formed by combining the parts released by the jet Big Shooter, piloted by Prof. Shiba's lovely assistant, Miwa Micchi Uzuki.
Steel Jeeg was later broadcast on some European countries, and was quite successful, especially in Italy, where it still has a huge fanbase. In the 80's the series was shown in Latin America, where it was part of a giant robot show fashioned in the style of Force Five, called "El Festival de los Robots" which translates to "Festival of Robots". Steel Jeeg was called "El Vengador" (The Avenger) along with four other anime shows including Gaiking, Starzinger and Magne Robo Gakeen. The names were translated in Spanish to "El Gladiador", "El Galáctico", and "Supermagnetrón" respectively. Like many popular 70s super robot shows, Steel Jeeg has never been released in the US.
Series director: Masayuki Akihi
Music: Michiaki Watanabe
Character Design: Kazuo Nakamura
Ending theme: "Theme of Hiroshi" (ひろしのテーマ Hiroshi no Tēma?), by Ichirou Mizuki with Koorogi '73
In Italy, the toy company Gig Co, who had the European rights to the Micronauts at the time, made three more figures using the Jeeg toy as a basis; King Atlas, Green Baron, and Emperor. These toys (with the exception of Emperor, who was released in very limited numbers by a company called Lion Rock Toys) were never released in America due to the fact that Mego went bankrupt before the toys could be unveiled to the US market, while Gig kept the Micronauts license going for a few years afterward in Europe.
- Steel Jeeg's website at Toei Animation (Japanese)
- JEEG, THE STEEL ROBOT at Toei's corporate website
- Kotetsu Jeeg (Japanese) at allcinema
- Kotetsu Jeeg at Animemorial
- Kotetsu Jeeg (Italian) at the Enciclo'Robopedia website
- Kotetsu Jeeg (manga) (Japanese) at the World of Go Nagai webpage
- Kotetsu Zieg (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- A potential realistic interpretation of Dr.Shiba's Steel Jeeg
- 3d Jeeg in CGI (Italian)