Tatsunoko Production is currently in the midst of its 60th anniversary festivities. Fans can look forward to a celebratory Yatterman drama, for example. If you’re feeling a little lost, or aren’t sure what this is all about… we’re here to tell you that, actually, you’re probably a fan.
This company is a bigger part of the history of anime than some people know. And you’re sure to have seen, or at least heard of, one or more of their big hitters. For example:
Depending on your age, you may know Gatchaman as G-Force or Battle of the Planets. Or maybe you’ve seen the original in all its unedited glory. Either way, you’ve likely encountered this Tatsunoko classic in at least some form.
And if you haven’t? You should. The tokusatsu-flavored adventure, about science ninjas dressed up like superbirds, must be seen to be believed. It’s silly in the way that only a 1970s anime can be. See if you can get your hands on the old DVD box set. The localization team had a great time spotlighting weird quotes from each set of episodes.
Robotech, sort of
We all know by now that Robotech was, originally a trio of shows: the first installment of the enduring anime franchise Macross, coupled with unrelated series Genesis Climber Mospeada and The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross. As it happens, we have Tatsunoko to thank for two of those three series… and, in part, for the existence of Robotech overall.
While Macross hails from Studio Nue and Artland, it was included in the package deal to Harmony Gold. The existence of Robotech as regards the future of Macross‘s global distribution is a thorny topic. But either way, the metaseries was a major shot in the arm for early anime fandom in the U.S. And even earlier than that…
The history of anime-watching in the U.S. has a few grand old forefathers. Astro Boy. Kimba. Star Blazers. And, most of all, Speed Racer. The series is such a mainstay, Hollywood brought us an adaptation that’s Actually Pretty Good. The earworm of a theme is known to just about anyone who’s ever watched a cartoon. And it comes straight from Tatsunoko.
Released in Japan as Mach GoGoGo, Speed Racer began its run in 1967. It hit American airwaves in the same year, with the late great Peter Fernandez directing, co-writing, and starring in the dub. And, bringing this all back around to the beginning, it shares a writer with Gatchaman. Which may explain a lot of those stories.
The Tatsunoko catalog is vast and varied, and there are sure to be other titles you know within it.
Speaking of anime studios we love, here’s some great stuff about Studio Trigger.