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Five Go Nagai Adaptations That Went Kind of Off the Rails

Go Nagai adaptations like Getter Robo High put a new spin on his classic works

Manga and anime master Go Nagai has a number of classic titles to his name. From Mazinger Z and Getter Robo to Devilman and Cutie Honey, he revolutionized how we think of many anime genres. And, over the years, these series have gotten a number of adaptations… some wilder than others.

Here are a handful of titles that have reinterpreted Nagai’s work in interesting ways.


Cutie Honey: The Live

Cutie Honey the Live

Go Nagai’s 1973 manga and anime Cutie Honey laid the groundwork for what would become the modern magical girl. The android heroine has starred in several series and movies, but 2007’s Cutie Honey: The Live took Honey Kisaragi’s story in a completely different direction.

It wasn’t the first live-action take on the story, and wouldn’t be the last. But this iteration introduced two more girls who could transform the way Honey did. The presence of these girls — called Sister Miki and Sister Yuki — puts a new spin on Professor Kisaragi’s experiments. (Also look out for Nagai in the role of Kisaragi himself in flashback!)


Devilman Grimoire

Devilman Grimoire

Written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Go Nagai masterwork Devilman, Devilman Grimoire puts a unique spin on the classic story of humans and demons. This time it’s hero Akira Fudo’s childhood friend, Miki Makimura, who kicks off the action. She’s a self-proclaimed witch, but one of her rituals is interrupted by demons. This event leads to the appearance of Amon that we all recall from other series.

Devilman Grimoire ran for five volumes. While several elements of the original are gone, the central themes are still present. Dig in, and watch the war between demons and humans unfold in a whole new way.


God Mazinger

God Mazinger

Go Nagai classic Mazinger Z already has a lot of mythical influence, but 1984 series God Mazinger takes it one step further. Nagai created the new series, in which modern-day teen Yamato Hino is transported back to an ancient world beset by draconic monsters. Only by fusing with the statue of the great god Mazinger can he save the empire of Mu.

God Mazinger has little to do with the original Mazinger Z on the surface. But the godlike protector, steered by a young man who must come to terms with his darker tendencies, does align with the original thematically.


Getter Robo High

Getter Robo High

Triple-changer robot Getter Robo is another big hitter, the co-creation of Ken Ishikawa and Go Nagai. It’s had plenty of remakes, but none quite so unique as the one starring mahjong-powered mecha.

Written for the magazine Kindai Mahjong, Getter Robo High presents a world where monsters are attacking… but robots can be controlled to fight them by playing mahjong. That means humans can fight back from a safe distance. The unique take on the series even got its own event in the mobile game Super Robot Wars X-Ω!


CB Chara Go Nagai World

CB Chara Go Nagai World

All these adaptations may play fast and loose with their source material. But even the original concepts change from inception to production. That comes into play in CB Go Nagai World, a chibi crossover of Nagai’s greatest hits.

Without giving too much away, there’s more to this cute crossover than fanservice. It has a lot to say about the creative process, a creators’ relationship to their characters, and how concepts change over time. But, yes, it’s also super cute.


What Go Nagai titles would you like to see a new spin on?

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Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.