The King of Braves GaoGaiGar (勇者王ガオガイガー Yūsha Ō Gaogaigā) is a 1997 Mecha anime television series produced by Sunrise‘s internal “Studio 7” division. It is the eighth and final installment in Takara‘s Yūsha metaseries, produced under the direction of Yoshitomo Yonetani, produced by Ryōsuke Takahashi and written by Yasushi Hirano. It aired on Nagoya TV in Japan from February 1, 1997 to January 31, 1998.
GaoGaiGar is composed of 49 episodes, first aired on Nagoya TV from February 1, 1997 to January 31, 1998. It was followed by a number of works across multiple media (one serialized novel, two short stories, one PlayStation video game, at least two serialized manga and four audio dramas). Most of these works contained plot written by Studio 7 staff, and contributed to its canon long after its airing. Each episode has special effects and composed with CG animation
The show’s popularity would soon warrant a new animated work. This resulted in the production of the eight part sequel OVA The King of Braves GaoGaiGar FINAL, released from January 21, 2000 to March 21, 2003. Its story takes place one year following the events of the television series, and incorporates characters and continuity from non-television works. Examples include Renais Kerdif-Shishioh (main character of the aforementioned novel) and Rose Approval (secretary general of the United Nations as seen in the aforementioned PlayStation game).
In its production, Studio 7 further ensured that there were no actual betrayals in the show; any “betrayal” automatically resolves itself as a secret that had to be kept to the main characters’ benefit. This was perhaps partly due to the fact that GaoGaiGar was made as a children’s show, and partly as a commentary on the heavy air of distrust and conspiracy occurring in mecha anime.
In the first half of the television series, other, minor themes are introduced, nearly all of them ultimately discarded in favor of the main themes of courage and bravery. The first episode begins on a place called Garbage Island (“gomi no shima”, an analogue to Japan’s own “Dream Island” or yume no shima found in Tokyo Bay) and speaks about ecology and the environment. Outside of that one episode, this theme is only followed up on briefly, in one other moment of the entire series. Another discarded theme is that of self-betterment: in the first half of the series, the Zonderians mostly make Zonder Robos of stressed-out, discontent “average joe” types—a truck driver who hates traffic, for instance, or a morbidly obese man tired of being picked on. Once Mamoru purifies them, however, their attitudes toward life become less obsessed (and in the case of the obese man, the source of stress is removed), the stress having been exhausted from their system when in Zonder form.
It is also notable that GaoGaiGar’s narrator and its “Jikai” (Next Episode) sequences—and the episode titles themselves, in some cases—rely on extreme hyperbole, even lying to the viewer if deemed necessary. This in itself is a Super Robot trend, dating back to Mazinger Z, the original Super Robot show (which itself used hyperbolic episode titles such as “Kouji Kabuto Dies in Lava”).