You will have one of two reactions when you hear that Gaiking may become a feature film: “What’s Gaiking?” or “Gaiking? Really?” Which one you have depends on your general familiarity with animated Japanese giant robot television series (Of which there are many). For myself, I had both reactions. I’m familiar with the names of most of the major robot shows (Like Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Mazinger, Voltron, etc), I hadn’t heard of Gaiking. So it sort of baffled me that this is the property that’s going to be headed to the big screen first.
Gaiking (Full title: Demon Dragon of the Heavens Gaiking, which I would kill to see become the title of this movie) was produced by Toei Animation and originally aired from 1976 to 1977. It followed the tribulations of humanity attempting to defend itself from an alien invasion, with the titular giant robot at the head of Earth’s defenses. The movie will presumaby follow a similar plot.
There have been attempts to get this film off the ground before, but it looks a whole lot more likely now that Gale Ann Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment have put it into development in partnership with All Nippon Entertainment Works. The image you see above is concept art of Gaiking. For comparison’s sake, here’s what it looked like the cartoon:
Notice something? Yeah, it has color! Heaven forbid anything have a look other than gunmetal these days. Otherwise, how could we take the enormous robot with horns and a skull on its front seriously?
Anyways, it’s not at all shocking that we’re seeing more giant robot movies in the wake of the success of Transformers. Frankly, I expected the wave to roll in sooner. If Pacific Rim does well, it could even solidify the genre as here to stay, maybe even make giant robots the new superheroes (but I’m spitballing). We’ll see as this project moves forward.