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Marine Boy – 1970’s Japanese Anime

March 14, 2012 2 comments

Here’s one for all you Forty something’s out there..

For most people my age and born in the UK, I might suggest that the first time they became aware of the existence of the wonderful world of Japanese animated manga or anime, was when and if they watched the masterpiece that is Marine Boy…

Created originally in Japan by Minoru Adachi and animation company Japan Tele-Cartoons between 1964 and 1971,  Marine Boy ran for three series and over 100 episodes, and having looked into it all now for this post, it seems that there were 78 episodes of the final third series, that were dubbed into english, syndicated by Warner Brothers for the US, and it was these that made it into my mum and dad’s living room in the early 1970’s and so into my eager young brain…

Marine Boy was an apparently nameless teenager who wore an impenetrable orange wet suit, used a sonic boomerang as his weapon of choice (grabbed from a pouch on the arm of his suit), chewed oxy-gum to allow him to breathe underwater, and was usually joined on his dangerous missions by his friends Splasher the white Dolphin and Neptina the mermaid who could also see into the future using her large peral necklace…

Marine Boy worked for Ocean Patrol, an orgainsation run by Dr. Mariner (also Marine Boy’s father) and travelled to the seemingly endless sea based threats to world peace from sea monsters/ green slime/ irradiated animals/ mechanical icebergs/ mustachioed baddies etc. etc. etc..  via a fantastic underwater sub crewed by Piper and Bolton (think Laurel and Hardy in sailor suits). The whole team was rounded off by Professor Fumble the obligatory crazy/ genius inventor.

Strangely for something that I remember so clearly, and was arguably culturally significant in that it was one of the very first colour Japanese anime shows to be dubbed and shown in the west, there is very little online about the actual shows. To my knowledge it has never been reshown on UK TV since the early 70’s when I watched it, and it has never been officially released on DVD. A massive oversight and no mistake.

It seems that some of the episodes were shown again fairly recently on Australian TV (2009/2010) and as you might suspect with this kind of cult stuff, there are a number of sites lobbying to get the copyright owners to at least make it available on DVD…

Luckily there’s always YouTube to stir the memory cells and whet the appetite.. The video below is the first half of an episode called “The Land of the Strange Vikings” from the recent Australian run, and is very good quality.

So sit back and enjoy Marine Boy, a huge part of my childhood. And remember, if you ever manage to invent oxy-gum, I think you’d be onto a real winner…

UPDATE:

As of March 2014, the Australian episode is no longer available. HOWEVER, Warner Brothers have finally started to make Marine Boy available on DVD (at least in the US) So here’s a link to their site and the series trailer is below… Marvellous…

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