“The 8 Man” Character Bio:
8 Man (8マン) or Eightman (エイトマン, Eitoman) is a manga and anime superhero created in 1963 by science fiction writer Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata. He is considered Japan’s earliest cyborg superhero, predating even Kamen Rider (later that same year, Shotaro Ishinomori created Cyborg 009), and was supposedly the inspiration for RoboCop. The manga was published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine and ran from 1963 to 1966. The anime series, produced by Eiken with the TCJ Animation Center, was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System, and ran from November 17, 1963, to December 31, 1964, with a total of 56 episodes (plus the “farewell” special episode, “Goodbye, Eightman”).
Murdered by criminals, Detective Yokoda’s body is retrieved by Professor Tani and taken to his laboratory. There, Tani performs an experiment that has failed seven times; Yokoda is the eighth subject to have his life force transferred into an android body. For the first time, the experiment succeeds. Yokoda is reborn as the armor-skinned android 8 Man, able to dash at impossible speeds, as well as shape-shift into other people. He shifts himself into Yokoda, this time christening himself as “Hachiro Azuma”. He keeps this identity a secret, known only to Tani and his police boss Chief Tanaka. Even his girlfriend Sachiko and friend Ichiro do not know he is an android. As 8-Man, Hachiro fights crime (even bringing his own murderers to justice). To rejuvenate his powers, he smokes “energy” cigarettes that he carries in a cigarette case on his belt.
In Japan, the character’s origin actually varies significantly between the original manga, the TV series, and the live-action movie. In the original Japanese manga and TV series, the character’s name does not change when he is reborn as 8 Man. The “Detective Yokoda” name was created for the live-action version. In the manga, Detective Azuma is trapped in a warehouse and gunned down, while the TV series has him killed when he is run over by a car. Also, in the Japanese story, the character is called “8 Man” because he is considered an extra member of the Japanese police force. There are seven regular police precincts and 8 Man is treated as an unofficial eighth precinct all to himself.
The Japanese manga was presented as serial novella stories along with a set of one-shot stories. Many of the stories were edited down and adapted for the TV series, but not all of them. The novella stories were originally printed on a weekly basis in Shukuu Shōnen Magazine in 16-page increments that consisted of 15 story pages and one title page. Ten additional one-shot stories were presented in seasonal and holiday specials of Shuukuu Shōnen Magazine. These stories were generally between 30-40 pages in length.
In the North American version of the series the resurrected detective/android is known as “Tobor” or the word “robot” spelled backwards. Tani is referred to as “Professor Genius” and the sobriquet of 8-Man is changed slightly to “8th-Man”. The story content was clearly directed toward a wider audience of both young and adult viewers. Due to changes in cigarette advertising laws in the 1960s, television characters were not allowed to be seen smoking. As this was a major plot device in the series, the show was forced to be removed from broadcast in the United States.
8 Man After Movie Info:
In mid-1993, the mantle of 8 Man was taken up by Hazama Itsuru in the OVA series 8 Man After. Existing in a world far more corrupt than that of his predecessor, the new 8 Man had no qualms about being extremely violent towards the cybernetic criminals who had murdered him previously. The movie aired on the Syfy Network, as part of its animated Sci-Fi Saturday program block. Licensed by Streamline Pictures where it went out of print until being released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 2001. It has since been released by Discotek Media in 2016 with Japanese audio and English subtitles for the first time.
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