Over 20 years ago, when the anime craze was just about to start, one of the first shows to air on TV was the little known Teknoman. I still remember back in the late 1990’s before heading off to school, setting the VCR up to record Teknoman which aired on the popular Australian morning show Cheez TV.
It was based around a mysterious young man named Slade, who had the power to transform into a armored warrior called Teknoman. He fought a race of alien invaders called the Venomoids, who had their own Teknomen (the most notable being Sabre, Slade’s own twin brother). Helping Slade was a group of avengers called the Space Knights, a special task force who not only helped him fight the Venomoids, but also keep hold of his humanity. Slade could only transform into the Teknoman for 30 minutes or it would begin to take over his body and turn him evil.
The anime series was re-titled and heavily edited from the original series that was called Tekkaman Blade. The concept was basically the same, but much of the violence was edited and toned down for Australian audiences. Tekkaman Blade was basically Japan’s equivalent of Iron Man, the only difference was, his armor doesnt cover his body, his armor was his body. The original Tekkaman series was made back in 1975 and ran for 26 episodes. The original was designed by none other than Yoshitaka Amano, of Final Fantasy fame.
Slade start’s the series with a mysterious background, he refuses to trust anyone or accept any help. Mainly because the military sees him as a weapon that they should possess. Eventually though the Space Knights led by Chief Freeman, finally help Slade feel at ease and apart of the team.
As the series progresses, we learn more about Slade’s back story, he begins to trust and open up to others, and we see him bond and build relationships with the Space Knight team. What sets this series apart from most other animated shows was the story development, and the suspense leaving you wanting answers, and you had to watch the next episode to get them. It told a cohesive story based around intrigue and character interactions as much as fighting the alien threat.
The animation isn’t exactly the best, especially with what’s around today, but it’s still pretty good and had some decent epic action sequences. Throughout the three seasons you follow Slade’s journey as he goes through a stages of fear, panic, and while he faces some internal demons while havoc is inflicted around him. It’s this kind of storytelling that makes Teknoman worth checking out.