One of the first robot anime I ever saw was Macron 1, shown rediculously early (5am) on the Super Channel back in the 80s. Of course I didn’t know it was an anime then. To me it was a cartoon with fighter jets that combined into a robot or more often, just docked into the legs and chest of an even larger super robot MacStar (GoShogun) that fired beams from its eyes, had a Photon Battle Axe, and Sword and a gigantic Bazooka that fired a huge energy beam, not to mention it’s trademark lazer bombardment (GoFlasher).
Accompanying the awesomeness of being one of the first super robot shows I saw, it was given a soundtrack comprised of covers of then contemporary music. To this day I still hear the voices of Kathy and Jason as they shoot robotic skeleton warriors whenever I hear “Hit me with your best shot”. Other 80s songs covered included Beat It, The Reflex, Electric Avenue and more.
A Bit of History
At this point I will admit that Goshogun isn’t particularly well loved in Japan but they had had Mazinger Z and countless other super robot shows. Us UK cable TV viewers had Transformers, Voltron, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Macron-1 and Robotech and I’m not sure that some of those weren’t after Macron-1 (my memory sucked when I was 7 too). Anyway, I loved and still love robot shows and being one of so few I saw in my highly impressionable youth definitely helped make this all the more memorable.
Macron-1 had some nice bits of editting, where you’d see the action split screen for each fighter jet and with some other little bits that at the time weren’t used in other series and gave the show a fresh look that coupled with the background music helped the show stand out from Voltron and Transformers. Robots aside, the main pilots Kathy, Scott & Jason have some great interactions and the customary kid Nathan isn’t the worst kid in a robot series by a long way.
The english dub is actually very good but your milage will vary on the translation depending on if you see the US or European versions of the show, more on that later…
Unavailable Everywhere, and Different Too
One of the few things I can state that I would definitely do if I could go back in time would be to video tape and protect the tapes of this show with my life. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Macron-1 had a couple of VHS tapes released in the UK which I managed to snap up over the years. I also managed to track down a few tapes from America only to find out that replacing the music and changing the names of everyone and everything was barely touching it compared to the brutal butchering Goshogun received Stateside.
Remembering this was before Wikipedia (dark ages indeed), imagine my shock when I watched the first of my US tapes, happy that I was finally getting more Macron-1 only to find that midway through, they cut to scenes from another anime altogether! Parallel Universe it seems… I have nothing against Akū Daisakusen Srungle but it had no right being inserted into Macron-1. As such I am supremely sorry for all Americans that had to sit through this version of the show. It doesn’t make sense and is sadly the likely reason why it isn’t well remembered Stateside and isn’t available on DVD. The bad news continues as the show isn’t loved enough to be fansubbed and the rights for it have no doubt expired decades ago.
While he is certainly not revered in Japan to the extent of my love for him, MacStar, sorry Goshogun did receive a magnificent die cast figure in the Brave Gokin toy line. I managed to track him down on a visit to Akiharabara and can only feel sorrow for the poor shop clerk that had to listen to my broken Japanese excitedly shouting Goshogun kudasai and pointing towards a locked glass display cabinet. The figure was absolutely fitting of my 20+ year wait for a toy of of MacStar-1 and even if you don’t like the anime, the robot is superb and looked glorious going through the metal detectors at Narita airport
The 3 mini jets combine into a robot and also are able to be stored inside Macstar who is a die-cast figure with enough articulation and a great likeness. He comes with all his weapons and is easily one of my favourite 3 toys.
At least I know I am not the only one who thinks this robot is in the top tier of robot toys, check out this review for an in depth look check out
(Some great toys there)
Goshogun : The Time Etranger
There was a movie sequel made but it took everything that was good about the show (badass robot obliterating masses) and umm, ignored it. Well that’s being harsh, it followed on years after the series ended and chose to not ignore the ending of the series or just cheaply bring back Macstar. Instead it was a re-union of the characters. While the lack of super robot in a super robot show is mind blowing, this is actually a good film although it took me a couple of watches to fully appreciate it.
Even by standards for the time, Macron 1 has a large amount of animation re-used in battles but that isn’t anywhere near enough to make me not recommend this to anyone who likes their super robot shows. It’s a fun show with plenty of action and laughs and I did I mention the cool looking super robot?
If anyone comes across a download of the entire series in either the raw Japanese version of Goshogun, or the European version, link me up. If you have the entire series on dodgy DVD, VCD or even VHS let me know. If you have the US version, well I can always fast forward…