Goldorak (Yūfō Robo Gurendaizā, literally Grendizer, the UFO robot) is a Japanese anime series made by Tōei animation in 1975 based on a manga by Gō Nagai. The series has 74 episodes of 26 minutes. It was broadcast in Japan from 05 October 1975 to 27 February 1977. In France, it made its appearance on Antenne 2 in the program Récré A2 on July 03, 1978.
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A belligerent alien empire, the forces of Vega, have enslaved and ravaged the remote, advanced, but peaceful planet of Euphor. The prince of Euphor, Actarus, however, was able to escape the massacre by fleeing aboard the battle robot Goldorak, which can travel through space in its carrier saucer. Actarus, a refugee on Earth, is cared for and adopted by a humanist scientist, Professor Procyon, director of a space research center and Goldorak, hidden in an underground base under the center. Human in appearance, unlike the hideous humanoids of Vega, Actarus poses as an Earthling and works as a stable boy at the nearby White Birch Ranch, owned by the irascible old man Rigel. When the Vega empire turns its thirst for conquest towards Earth and establishes a military base for this purpose on the dark side of the Moon, Actarus and Goldorak oppose their plans and fight their saucers and robotic monsters. They are helped at first by Alcor, the former pilot of Mazinger Z and protagonist of the series of the same name, at the controls of a saucer built by him, the OVTerre.
As the series progresses, Actarus' secret identity becomes less and less secret and two young girls join them: Venusia, Rigel's daughter, and Phenicia, Actarus's sister, found late, who also escaped the massacre. The quartet becomes the Eagle Patrol, equipped with three machines that join Goldorak for aerial, underwater and underground battles as Vega's schemes become more complex. The Great Strategist (Vega) eventually abandons his planet to ecological destruction to personally command the invasion of Earth. At the end of the series, he and his entire fleet are wiped out in a final battle between Earth and the Moon. Coming out of this last battle victorious, Actarus and Phoenicia can return to Euphor, in order to start a new civilization.
Main characters (possible spoilers)
Actarus (Daisuke Umon) / Prince d'Euphor (Duke Fried, Dyūku Furīdo)
Crown Prince of the planet Euphor, who fled aboard Goldorak after the destruction of his civilization by the forces of Vega. He is taciturn, introverted and melancholic, dreaming only of peace and love, but relentless in battle. His alien nature also gives him superhuman physical abilities. He also frequently suffers the consequences of a life-threatening radioactive injury.
Alcor (兜甲児, Kabuto Kōji)
Former national hero (see Mazinger Z series) and NASA engineer, back in his homeland to investigate recent UFO sightings in the Mount Fuji area. Alcor is an impetuous young man with a passion for justice. Brave and talented, but also impulsive, he goes into battle without thinking and often puts his life in danger. His fight with Actarus will teach him wisdom and patience. He first fights at the controls of a small experimental saucer called OV-Terre, before designing a much more powerful machine, the "Alcorak".
Vénusia (牧葉ひかる, Hikaru Makiba)
Daughter of Rigel and in love with Actarus. At first unaware of Actarus's true nature, she will then gnaw at herself every time he goes into battle. Seriously wounded during a Vega attack, she will be saved thanks to a blood transfusion from Actarus, and will take part in the fight thereafter, at the controls of the amphibious ship "Venusiak".
Phénicia (Grace Maria Fried, Gurēsu Maria Furīdo)
Princess of Euphor and little sister of Actarus, who also found refuge on Earth. Dynamic and intrepid, Phenicia also knows how to be gentle and sensitive at the right moment. She adores her big brother Actarus, and seems to have feelings for Alcor; in combat, she pilots a machine with an auger called "Fossoirak".
Professor Procyon (宇門源蔵博士, Genzo Umon-hakase)
Scientist and chief director of the Center for Space Studies located on the White Birch Ranch, Procyon is a scientist of exceptional intelligence, coupled with a great humanist; he is endowed with great cold blood. He took Actarus in when Goldorak crashed on Earth, and raised him as his son. Later in the series, he is forced, to his chagrin, to transform his Center into an invincible metal fortress to fight against Vega.
Rigel (牧葉団兵衛, Danbei Makiba)
Owner of the White Birch Ranch, as well as the land where the Space Center is located. He is an ugly, short, aggressive, stubborn and mythomaniacal old man, whose only obsession for a long time (when he is not watching his daughter Venusia like milk on the fire) is to make contact with UFOs. President - and probably the only member - of the "Spacemen's Welcome Committee", he spends most of his time perched on an observation post with his eye fixed on a telescope. In spite of everything, he has a good heart and is a caring father. Similar to many of Go Nagai's characters, he plays mainly a comical role in the series.
Mizar (牧葉吾郎, Goro Makiba)
Venusia's younger brother - he is still a child -, he idolizes Actarus and would like to be like him.
Vega (恐星大王ベガ, Kyōsei dai-ō Bega)
Generally referred to by his title of Great Strategist: ruler of the Vegan Empire, residing on the planet Stykades; he initially stays out of the conflicts, before taking matters into his own hands in the face of his men's incompetence and the explosion of his planet Stykades, which he reluctantly abandons. Following this explosion, he settles in the Camp of the Black Moon, Horos and Minos creating a base directly on Earth, in the depths of the oceans. In the final episodes, he has to endure the death of his daughter Megalia, and then an assassination attempt.Having gone mad, he eventually launches a general attack on the Earth, which ends in the destruction of his forces and his death.
Minos (ガンダル司令, Gandaru-shirei)
Commander-in-chief of Vega's forces, based at the Black Moon camp on the dark side of the moon. He is devoted body and soul to Vega's cause, and is ready to make any sacrifice to eliminate Actarus and take over the Earth. Minos has the distinction of sharing his body with a creature called Minas, who in the first series is a tiny woman residing inside his skull. When she occasionally speaks in his stead, Minos' head splits open in the middle to make room for her. After an injury (episode 27), Minas changes her appearance and becomes a face that is superimposed on half or all of Minos' face. Minos and Minas, whose relationship is never explained, do not like each other and kill each other in the last episode of the series.
Hydargos (ブラッキー隊長, Burakkī-taichō)
Second-in-command of the forces of Vega. Hydargos is a devious and hateful being who does not hesitate, on occasion, to betray his peers in order to corner all the honors. He finds his death in the explosion of his friendly saucer, after having undertaken to fight Goldorak himself.
Horos (科学長官ズリル, Kagaku chōkan Zuriru)
Scientific officer who comes to replace Hydargos on the Black Moon after the latter's death.He often boasts of being a "man of science," not a military man, and seems to have somewhat different ideas about conquering the Earth than Minos. On several occasions, Horos and Minos, whose military ranks are equal, clash, but they agree to eliminate a rival of Vega's forces who may defeat Goldorak instead. He is also the Vega officer with the most human feelings, as evidenced by his affection for his son Horus, and the copious tears he sheds when Horus sacrifices himself to help him escape Goldorak. In episode 72, Horos is killed on Earth by Alcor, while he was about to kill Actarus.
The opening credits "Tobe! Grendizer" is performed by Isao Sasaki, Columbia Yurikago-kai and Koorogi '73, and the end credits "Uchū no Ōja Grendizer" by Isao Sasaki.
In France, many credits came to punctuate the series with time and revivals. We will particularly remember "Accours vers nous", the first version of the opening credits, taken from the Japanese credits "Tobe! Grendizer". This was the first opening credit to be broadcast in July and August 1978 (performed by Enriqué Fort). "Go fight your enemy", end credits (performed by Enriqué Fort too). And "Goldorak the Great", the second credits which became the official credits of the series from September 1978 (interpreted by Noam).
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