Friday, December 22, 2006

Yoko Tsuno & Grendizer : My Superheros

Last weekend we were clearing the attic when I chanced upon some old comics in French and dusty VHS cassettes labelled Mughamarat Al-Fadaa ( Space Adventures).

The French comic strip called in French 'bande dessinees' were what was left of my collection of my favourite heroine :) Yoko Tsuno.

While 'Space Adventures' , brought back the memories of my cousins, neighbours and siblings all of us gathering in front of the TV everyday to watch the episode of the giant UFO robot superhero , Grendizer. When the theme song would come up, we would all shut up and watch raptured. I loved Grendizer, but not the robot I loved his master the 'alien' Dok Fleet who was driving him , I had a big crush on the guy . In those times we in the Arab world did not know anything about this type of Japanese cartoon and that it was called anime or manga in French, except that we enjoyed them and that many international stories had been 'animated' . Here is a non-comprehensive list of anime, many of them have been shown and re-run in the Arab world in the 80s and 90s even though some went back to the 70s:

Remi, the homless boy, Candy Candy, Gatchaman, The Princess Knight, Maya the Bee, Triton, Mazinger, ZArcadia of my Youth, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, Heidi, Adventures of Pepero the Andes Boy, Josephina the Whale, Chapy the magic use, rConan the future boy, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Kimba, Koncho, Monogatari Shin Minashigo Hatchi, Astroboy (60's anime), Time Bokan. Mahou no Mako-Chan, Mahou Tsukai Sally (60's anime), Arrow Emblem Grand Prix no Taka, Kerokko Demetan , Minky Momo, Ranma 1/2, Yawara!,Kimagure Orange Road, Captain Tsubasa, Princess Millenia, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Saber Rider, Maison Ikkoku Touch, Dr. Slump, Macross,Southern Cross, Mospaeda, Saint Seiya, Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Cats Toninden Teyande, Urusei Yatsura, Mermaid Forest, Laughing Target, Fire Tripper, Maris the Chojo, Hello! Sandibelle, Mahou Shojo Lalabelle, Lady Oscar,Treasure Island and many more...

Now back to Grendizer, in my opinion the Arabic dubbing of Japanese anime was the best, as I've watched them in at least English, French and Italian ( in Rai TV and Rete Quatro ) . Arabic stations have broadcast the complete Grendizer episodes , funnily enough I never to this day saw the final one. The Arabic version of Grendizer kept the original Japanese names of the characters.. But never mind if you missed some , this guy has compiled them on DVDs and I will buy a set one of these days .Here is a nice website about the whole Grendizer memorabilia and plot.

Do you recall the unforgetable Smurfs( alsanafer) which lent its name to term sanfoura to describe a cutie , Sindibad, Adnan wa Lina, Sasuki, Captain Majid :) tell me about your memories and your favourite anime . Grendizer was so populat in Libya that the children made funny rhymes about it . Unfortunately I can only remember 4 lines -

dayski dr. amoun
kuji mekahal li3oun
dambi dmegh il batata
hikaro 3itrit fi shkara

So if you have more please add them in the comment section ...

I'm here blowing a kiss to my crush the famous Dok Fleet - I will always love you.
Ps a question ? can you seriously 'love' a comic hero ?


Anonymous said...

you know what? I wanted to write something about it today and I really did, I'll post it later

many memories just came back to my mind

Anonymous said...

Nice post, did you read about the Libyan girl who is publishing a Manga novel on my blog, it seems we Libyan like cartoons that we produced a new talent in the field.
I remember one night I was visiting a friend and there was a bunch of other guys sitting chatting, we were all doctors of different ages and we started to talk about cartoons and challanged each other to sing the theme songs of every cartoon we remember seeing as children. we had a nice time..
As for me my best Cartoon besides the all time best Grendizer, is Takaya Todroki the F1 car racing series which the called Alja`eza Al Kubra (or Grand prix) I was so obsessed last year to find it, that I started searching for it on the net to get a copy, at the end I bought an English dubbed DVD of 1 and 1/2 hour of the best episodes, but it wasn't good, I wanted the whole thing in Arabic, and I am still trying to get it. one of the best slogans form Cartoons is from Bashar the honeybee who was lloking for his mum. (بشار ابحث عن امك ولا تيأس) Ahhh those were the days..

Anonymous said...

well, I made my topic here

Anonymous said...

Kimba? Kimba the White Lion? Wow. I had no idea that was a Japanese cartoon! I used to watch that in the 1970s (I think) when I was a little kid. I bet I could still sing the theme song, badly :P

How about Speed Racer? That must have been Japanese. That was big here in the US too. My cousins used to watch some ridiculous cartoon about "Voltron" in the 1980s.

Did they ever show a series called "Ultra Man" in the ME? It was popular here, but it wasn't a cartoon. It was a bunch of Japanese guys wearing silly costumes. Super cheezy, but a good program anyway :)

Anonymous said...



Duke Fleed! The Prince of Planet Fleed! That's an english version of Highlander's wiki link, by the way. That was the first successful "mecha" (giant robot) cartoon! The Voltron ones my cousins watched in the 1980s was a descendant of that, I guess.


Highlander said...

A.Adam :) Me gonna check your post right now ! Thanks

Ghazi I keep saying that Libyans are multitalented , I don't know if it is the genes or the circumstances ;)
OOOOOOOOOOH you like Takaya , the memories... he was a close runner up to Grendizer I even mentioned it once on Redenclave's blog. I found some stuff in Italian about him . Once I had this brilliant idea to go to the e'da3a here in Tripoli and beg them to let me tape all the anime cartoons they broadcast during those days. You know they have them all, Takaya, Grendizer, Maya, the best of the best. Moreover we have the complete Arabic dubbed series !!!!
ah Takaya the theme song always gave me hope :P

Programmer_Craig :) Ultraman was available in Libya as well . We used to watch it on the English Libyan channel , but it was toooooooo cheesy as you say bunch of people dressed in plastic and silver and big cocroaches .... there was also Godzilla the series showing at the same time , I'm sure Ghazi and A.Adam and the other Libyans remember that . So you liked Kimba too eh ?

Those were the says of innocence ...*sigh* I miss them

Anonymous said...

Twenty-six episodes of Grendizer were shown on American TV as part of the multi-mecha show Force Five, out of the total of 74 in the original series. Many character's names were changed: Grendizer spelling was changed to Grandizer, Duke Fleed was Orion Quest, and then changed his name to Johnny Bryant; Planet Fleed's name was changed to Antares, and so on.

We changed your hero's name from Duke Fleed to "Johnny Bryant" - so sorry, Highlander! :o

white african said...

my god grendaizer, that seriously brings back memories of my childhood, my brother was a grandaizer freak and i have to be honest i prefered the smurfs, fond memories of fighting with my brother over what cartoons to watch, i loved na7ul now that was a classic

Twosret said...


I don't think this was ever on Egyptian T.V. The national Egyptian T.V. had baba Abdou and Boogie and Tamtam :)


I like your blog very much and especially the African writers night, cool indeed!

Anonymous said...

can you seriously 'love' a comic hero ?

It has a name in Japanese, moe.

Anonymous said...

I used to love Grendizer when young and living in Libya, Nice post as usual :o)

red_enclave: From Behind Closed Doors said...

Back in the mid 80's there weren't any cable tvs in Libya, so we either had to perched up our aerials up high on the rooftop in order to watch the Italian @ French channels. I remember watching too many tennis tournaments that it has become one of my fave sports. I remember watching Huck Finn & Adnan on tv. even remember recording them so that we could bring the tapes back & watch it again with my cousins over here.

PC: Ultra Man is popular over here too, I remember watching Smurfs, Jem, He-man, Voltron, there are too many I can't seem to recall all of them. But the ever popular ones with the kids these days are still Doraemon!

Brave Heart said...

OHHH Highlander:God bless you u bring all the old memories, for me Grandaizer is the best ,i remember when i was in the second year in the primary school,the teacher told us we will find every thing in aljana ,i asked her even grandizer ,she told me yea even grandizer ,i remember i was very happy and excited ,and told my mum and dad that i need to go to aljana as fast as possible to meet grandizer,even before 3 years ago,we used to have break between 1pm to 2 pm,all the engineers and the management were gathered in the tv room to see grandizer in art tv.thanks for this post

red_enclave: From Behind Closed Doors said...

I remember having crushes when watching Jap cartoons @ anime, the heros are gorgeous & the heroines are beautiful.

Have you watched Captain Planet? What about Saber Rider & the Star Sheriffs? I definitely had a crush on Saber Rider!

Curt from Houston said...

Great post Highlander. My Favorite was Tobor the 8th Man. Tobor is Robot spelled backwards. When I was a little boy in the mid sixties, I used to get up on Saturday morning before anyone else in the house and try to be quiet so no one else would wake up. I'd go downstairs and sit right in front of the TV and turn the sound down low so I could enjoy my cartoons in peace. I remember that my mom was usually the first on up after me and she would tell me that I would ruin my eyesight sitting so close to the tellevision. Those were some of my fondest childhood memories. Thanks for posting this one H.

Anonymous said...

Highlander! What a wonderful New Year's gift!!! I assure you it brought me several years back with sweet memories indeed! Thank you:)))

Highlander said...

Craig :P Johnny Bryant seriously does not sound like my Dok Fleet :) but hey glad everyone saw it !

White African:) , OH Zena and Nahul was such a long carton ( Maya the bee) - remember 'zena zena ayn anti ya zena ? ' say hi to your brother for me.

Twosret :) hi I saw baba Abdou and Tamtam we boogie later on . I'm not sure why Egypt missed on the anime but Tunis, Libya, Syria, Lebanon , Iraq and the Gulf countries had it all the time, we grew up on those. I think maybe because Egypt had it's own local productions ?

Mitchell , so I have Grendizer-moe ? cool :) thanks for that info.

Redenclave :) yes the days of the antennae ? would you believe if I said I miss those ? I did watch Saber Rider yes ..

Braveheart :) i need to go to aljana as fast as possible to meet grandizer that is so cute.. but what is cuter is thinking of a group of fullgrown engineers taking a break to watch Grendizer . We need to petition to have it on again !

Curt, :) you are welcome , Tobor was too far before my time . But you know what ? my mum still tells me I will ruin my eyesight sitting in front of the computer screen Nothing ever changes eh ?

Hannibal :) my friend where are you ya ould el nass ? did you like Grendiser too :P confess !

Anonymous said...

Highlander: I visit your blog not as frequentlty as I used to, it's only beacuse I am always busy and I am sorry if I missed your always interesting posts. and now do I like Grendizer??? You kidding me, I adore it!!:)) and My goodness Lady Oscar she was my dream girl:))As a kid I was always trying to draw her:) now we have the internet!:)

Michael said...

Highlander, I got your email. Unfortunately I can, on this computer at least, only receive emails and not send. Will have to solve that soon. I can send from another one, but give me some time yet, we're busy preparing to visit my wife's family in Poland for the New Year, I'll do it when we return. Happy Eid El Adha and, btw, I read all Yoko Tsuno books too when I was a kid. Was very fond of 'em too.


Michael said...

Oh, and btw Highlander, Yoko Tsuno is NOT a French cartoon. It's a Belgian one. Yoko's creator is Roger Leloup, from the town of Verviers in eastern Belgium. He's a Walloon (a French-speaking Belgian), maybe that's why you took him for a Fwenchman.

Highlander said...

Hi Michael , thank you for your good wishes, and happy to see you here. I do hope you enjoy the festive season and holidays with you family and inlaws.
Thanks for explaining about Yoko , yes since I read it in French as a kid I assumed wrongly it was French :).

Libyan Warrior( The King Of Al-Andalaus) said...

Yeppe Finally something I like.

To answer your Question h, about the possibility of loving a comic hero, the answer is YES. I have always had a crush death from neil Giamens sandman, and I also had a thing for Rogue from X-Men when I was like

I Personally have never really got into anime of Manga, comics have always been my number one specility, fascination, hobby, and quite frankly obsesion. Ofcourse I am a fan of the great Anime masterpeices such as Akira, and the likes, but as far as modern stuff, i would say Cowboy Bepop, and Vampire Hunter D, are my cups of tea, when it comes to anime.

Ghazi- Dude i love the idea of what this girl has in mind, i always hoped that someone would come along and present something from our point of view, how about a whole series of muslim American kids, and their daily lives and adventures at high School, sounds pretty cool. It would make for a amazing Indie release, and I am sure it is a recipe for a cult classic, and if someone wanted to add a dominate political subtext, it could possibly become as large as V for Vendeta, i still belive the film missed the whole point of the comic, but then again I hate comic book movies, they never do any real justice to the comics, they always deviate, and in the case of V, a certain group of people used it to push their agenda, neglecting the massive context of the whole work. God knows what they would do if the made a movie out of Garths Preacher.

Anonymous said...

Instead of milk as a baby I was fed on comic strips!

When I first came to Denmark in 1979 I actually learned Danish simply by reading Donald Duck comics, and the (old) World of Walt Disney is still my all time high.

Second I craved for the adventures of the Phantom, the Fishboy, Dave Crocket, Tarzan and Kojak, Silver Arrow and of course, M.C. Gaines wonderful world of horror comics. Couldn´t get enough of MC Gaines and I really, really wish someone would revive EC Horror Comics !!!!!!!!
As a kid I was a member of The Phantom Fan Club (blushing!)

I never learned to love Manga or any other Japanese comics; they have all small noses and oversized eyes and freckles. Yuck!
Although I did kinda enjoy Yoko Tsuno..

For many years I have tried - in vain - to find the entire collection of "FishBoy", because the story was cut out of "The Phantom" in the 80ies and I never found out if FishBoy ever found his parents or nor!

Other comics I loved was Tintin, Blake and Mortimer, Asterix (I learned Latin that way), Lucky Luke, Blueberry, Maja the Bee, the Mercenary, Linda and Valentin and finally...the SMURFS!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,

Does anyone remember the name of the anime called something along the lines of "Raed"? It's this kid who, via a remote control, has his own personal oversized robot that saved the day.

The robot is Dark blue, with some sort of a face mask.

I do apologize for the sporadic explanation - I am just typing all this as its coming to me (it's been a while since I've seen it - in the alley of 15+ years!).

If someone knows what I am talking about, I'd appreciate if you told me the name of it so that I can find video clips of it - it will definitely bring back memories!!!

Thanks everyone in advance!