News from Kochi-power Research Institute (Part 24)
■“Hoshi no Ko Chobin" (Star Child Chobin)
Today, I’d like to introduce the anime “Hoshi no Ko Chobin," which was aired on TBS from April to September 1974.
What kind of story is it?
The main character is Chobin, the prince of the Fairy Star, who has a strange appearance with arms and legs attached to his face, but he seems to be a cocoon, and when he grows up, he will take on the form of a human with wings on his back. One day, the Fairy Star is attacked by the villainous Brunga's gang, and Chobin’s father, the king “Papa-ue," who fought bravely, is killed in battle. Chobin and his mother, the queen “Mamma-ue," escape in a rocket, but they are attacked by Brunga’s chase boat, and the escape capsule they are in falls separately to the earth, separating them. Chobin crash-lands in Japan’s Tonkara Forest and moves into the home of Dr. Amakawa and his granddaughter, Ruri. In order to rob the “Star Drops" which Chobin wears on his arm, Brunga sends monsters and robots one after another into the Tonkara Forest, but Chobin cooperates with the forest animals to defeat them. Eventually, Chobin defeats his nemesis Brunga, reunites with “Mamma-ue," who was being captured by Brunga and they return to the Fairy Star. That’s the rough story.
The story is set in a forest where animals that speak human language live, so the work seems to be suitable for girls.
It is true that Shōtarō Ishimori (later Shōtarō Ishinomori) serialized this manga in “Weekly Shōjo (means girl) Friend," but it is a work that is difficult to categorize. Many of the mechas and monsters that appear in this series have authentic designs that are comparable to other science fiction works by Ishimori. I guess you could call it a hero/monster program that girls can watch too.
What was the reputation at the time?
"Chobin" starts at 19:30 but “Ultraman Leo" was broadcast until the previous week from 19:00. Since the broadcast of the work in which monsters appeared continued, “Chobin" was accepted by boys. What’s more important than that is the theme songs sung by Miyoko Ai. She sings really well, and I can’t help but listen to her. Two original songs are included in the CD “Nostalgic TV Manga Theme Songs Collection: Anime Edition" (vap), which is still available, so please listen to them.
The voice actors are all big names, too.
All doing great jobs. Fuyumi Shiraishi (deceased) as Chobin, Mari Okamoto as Ruri, and I can’t think of any other voice actors who could take their places. The film is also flanked by veterans such as Kōsei Yagi, Kōsei Tomita (deceased), Yasuo Yamada (deceased), and Ichirō Nagai (deceased), giving the viewer a sense of security.
Mari Amachi, who was very popular singer at the time, also narrated the opening and the trailers.
The appearance part of Mari Amachi was all cut in the rebroadcast, but now it can be watched on DVD etc. However, the only visual medium currently available, the DVD “Anime Library of Memories Vol. 5: Hoshi no Ko Chobin," is terrible.
Believe it or not, the trailers aren’t included in this DVD. Plus, the opening to introduce the sponsors has been cut. Recently, there have been cases where parts of the film that have little to do with the main story (such as the monster opening of “Mirrorman“) are simply given up on because the film doesn’t exist, but I’d like to tell them to go to local stations and find it. Because domestic DVDs and BDs are priced exorbitantly unlike overseas. A company, which ignores the demands of fans and sells copied videos at a high price without much effort, is not qualified to handle old masterpieces, I think.
※A series of group photos were taken with a camera directly from a rerun TV screen about 40 years ago. The color tone is poor, but I am posting them as my own memories. Please forgive me.
⭐Episode 1 “I’m a Prince!" (From TV recording)
⭐Opening and Ending (everything not mentioned is from TV recording)
※Sponsor introduction Opening is an image picked up from the net, Mari Amachi Opening is from DVD “Anime Library of Memories Vol. 5: Hoshi no Ko Chobin" (Publisher: Bestfield Co., Ltd., Sales cooperation: TC Entertainment Co., Ltd.)
⭐Materials related to “Hoshi no Ko Chobin"
(1) “EXTRA Roman Album: Shōtarō Ishimori’s Anime World" (Tokuma Shoten)
Published to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Shōtarō Ishimori’s career as a manga artist (1981). For “Chobin," there are 4 pages in color, 2 pages in two-color, and 11 pages in black and white, including a review of the last episode and setting materials.
(2) Power Comics “Himitsu Sentai Gorenger ⑤" (Shōtarō Ishimori, Futabasha)
For some reason, the last volume of the “Goranger" book (published in 1978) included all 14 episodes that were serialized in “Weekly Shōjo Friend.” You can read the “Chobin" manga in the appendix booklet of the DVD introduced below, but this covers only four episodes in total.
(3) “Anime Library of Memories Vol. 5: Hoshi no Ko Chobin"
(Publisher: Bestfield Co., Ltd., Sales cooperation: TC Entertainment Co., Ltd.)
Released in 2012. Currently the only video medium in which “Chobin" can be watched. I have already mentioned that no trailer has been recorded, but moreover there are no special videos, so I have to make a strict evaluation. I heard that the LD-BOX (Kitty Film, 1994) included as much footage as possible, which is even more disappointing. With a list price of 24,200 yen (including tax), it’s not easy on the wallet.
Celebration! “Return of Ultraman" 50th Anniversary.
The project to make soft vinyl monster dolls walk on batteries
（No.18 Phosphorescent monster “Granadas"）
There are only two monsters left. This time, it is the phosphorescent monster Granadas that appears in episode 44, “To the Starry Sky with Love," which depicts the tragic love between Kishida, a member of MAT (Monster Attack Team), and Akane, the Alien Kentauros. Granadas is a strong monster that even Ultraman couldn’t defeat, and is characterized by its eerily glowing eyeballs that look like fireballs said to be the human soul. As the material for the motorization, I used a soft vinyl doll “Granadas clear version" manufactured by Marmit.
There were three points to the modification. First, I wanted to make the body completely transparent. For this reason, I tried to use as much colorless materials as possible for the internal drive parts, but after completion, I somehow felt inadequate and painted the whole thing with clear paints. Next, I made the eyeballs glow brightly with blue LEDs. A cam is attached to the rotating shaft of the Tamiya “Single Gear Box Clear," which was used as the main engine for this project, and the LEDs flashes mechanically by repeating ON-OFF of the switch for the lights at high speed. Finally, I used soft materials (rubber) for the connectors that connect the crank pins to both limbs, just as I did for the “Terochilus." Usually, the arms and legs of soft vinyl dolls are movable by mating, but their rotation axes are not parallel, and it is difficult to move both arms and legs with a gearbox that has only one rotation axis. For this reason, in the past of this project, I have inserted parts into the gap between the limbs and the body to adjust the rotation axes of both limbs to match, but as you can see in the example of “Arstron," there was a case where the monster had to walk with a scissor gait. This time, however, I used soft materials so that there would be no problem even if the connectors were twisted due to the difference in rotation axes, and I succeeded in making it motorized without destroying the proportions of the soft vinyl doll.