A Viewer’s Guide to RobiHachi: Episode 9

A Viewer’s Guide to RobiHachi: Episode 9

August 12, 2019 Anime Blog Hizakurige Japan Jippensha Ikku RobiHachi Tōkaidō Viewers Guide 0

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***SPOILER ALERT***
This episode guide may include plot and/or character reveals.

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Japanese Title: 亭主の好きなヒザクリガー

English Title: The Family that Stays Together, Hizakuriger

Characters: Robby Yarge, Hatchi Kita, Ikku/JPS-19, Yang, Allo, Gras, Rock Kita*, Alien*, Yuma Yarge*, Armeni*, Tiani*, Takuo*, Animes*, Jimanshi*, Rock (youth)*, Yuma (youth)*
*Indicates the first appearance in the series.

Summary: The episode opens with a flashback of how a maverick astronaut beat the Apollo 11 crew in becoming the first human on the Moon. The Japanese astronaut also made first contact with aliens and marked a new era, Galaxy Century (GC) 0001.

At Ikku’s urging, the Nagaya Voyager stops at the industrial planet of Yokkamarché for much-needed repairs to their battered mecha. They are greeted by Armeni, the engineer who built Hizakuriger, Nagaya Yoyager, and Ikku. Years ago, he met Robby’s father Luci and traded the mecha, spaceship, and cash for a dozen boxes of original materials.

In exchange for a box of anime memorabilia, the ecstatic Armeni agrees to repair Hizakuriger. Robby realizes his grandfather Yuma Yarge was the director of the Hizakuriger TV series and his father became wealthy by selling Yuma’s belongings. While the mecha is repaired, Ikku, Robby, and Hatchi drive around Yokkamarché. The streets are lined with shops and billboards promoting vintage anime. Returning to the hanger, Robby is invited to visit the HIzakuriger Archive, and Hatchi and Ikku remain with Hizakuriger.

After arriving on Yokkamarché, Gras and Allo spot a poster for a Hizakuriger screening that promises a special guest. Yang surmises this must be Robby, and they head for the archive.

Following the screening, Armeni and his otaku friends bemoan the “lost episode.” Robby remembers watching this episode from the master tape, which ended up in his grandfather’s casket. Armeni sneaks behind Robby and tasers him.

Robby awakens strapped into a machine the fanatical otaku claim will retrieve the lost episode from his memory. In the nick of time, Yang bursts in and frees Robby. The terrified Robby finds Hatchi and Ikku, they recover Hizakuriger, and escape in the Nagaya Voyager.

Back at the archive, Yang has strapped Armeni into the memory extraction machine. He eagerly anticipates watching his favorite childhood anime, which was banned for inappropriate content.

Robby looks out into space and remembers the “lost episode.” The young protagonists, Rock and Yuma, dream about what they want to do when they grow up. Yuma wants to make manga movies, and Rock is going to be an astronaut. Rock proposes they blast off into space together, “On a journey of adventure!”

Notes

See “Getting Started” for background information on the anime, which is based on an Edo Period fiction series called Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige.

Astronaut Rock KitaThe Japanese astronaut’s character design and voice actor (Keisuke Kōmoto, who voices Hatchi) imply Hatchi’s grandfather Rock Kita was the first human on the Moon.

Rock Kita on the MoonContrary to the anime, a Japanese astronaut has yet to set foot on the Moon. Japan’s current space program is attempting to reach the Moon by 2030.

Alien, Rock KitaThe stricken alien with a case of “chronic cramps…” parodies a theatrical device used to create a chance encounter between characters in jidaigeki (historical period) dramas and rakugo (traditional storytelling). A traveler, frequently a woman, collapses from chest or abdominal cramps and is rescued by a passerby. An anime version of the chance-meeting trope involves a girl who’s late for school running down the street with toast hanging from her mouth. At a blind corner, she crashes into someone, usually a boy, coming from the opposite direction.

Opening preview commentsIn the episode preview, a sidebar comment notes the year G.C. 0051 is the first year of the Reiwa Era. Reiwa (“beautiful harmony”) marks the reign of Japan’s newest emperor, Emperor Reiwa, which began on May 01, 2019. The era name was announced on April 01, barely two months before this episode aired on June 03.

Approaching YokkamarcheYokkamarché is a parody of Yokkaichi, post-station 43 on the Tōkaidō Road. Yokkamarché is an industrial planet without tourist attractions, reflecting the heavily industrialized modern city. Yokkaichi tourism agencies promote night-time cruises that showcase brightly lit petroleum refineries. 

ArmeniArmeni is an otaku—an anime/manga/game enthusiast—who collects anime cels, drawings, scripts, figurines, etc. In his backpack is a toy Hizakuriger javelin. Armeni’s character design resembles series director Shinji Takamatsu.

Luci's radish farm Radish boxes, basket of cashThis episode reveals Robby’s father Luci was a daikon (radish) farmer prior to his lucrative meeting with Armeni. The boxes filled with anime memorabilia are labeled “Nerima Daikon.”

Young Rock Kita Young Yuma YargeDirector Takamatsu explained creating the RobiHachi character names in a tweet.

  • In the Kita family, grandfather Rock comes from roku (the number 6); father Shicchi from shichi (7); son Hatchi from hachi (8).
  • In the Yarge family, grandfather Yuma comes from yajiuma (sightseer); father Luci, pronounced rūshi, from yajirushi (arrow symbol); son Robby from Yajirōbei (of Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige).

Anime billboardMost of the vintage anime mentioned in this episode are parodies of shows that aired in the 1970s and early 1980s. Some connections are more apparent in the Japanese titles (in parentheses):

Yokkamarche streetThe Yokkamarché street is a parody of Akihabara in Tokyo, widely considered to be the homeland of otaku culture.

Hizakuriger shopThe Hizakuriger Specialty Shop is a parody of the memorabilia shop Gundam Base Tokyo.

Hizakuriger shop windowHatchi spots Hizakuriger monaka in a shop window. These are a parody of Gundam-themed ice cream sandwiches.

Galaxy Traveler Hizakuriger opening screenThe clip of the vintage Galaxy Traveler Hizakuriger! anime shows opening credits. Here is an English translation with additional notes in parentheses:

  • Original Work: Manga: The Galaxy Travels of a Chestnut Horse’s Knees, Madani Publications
  • Theme Song: Galaxy Traveler Hizakuriger!
  • Song Composition: Kōsuke Okui (RobiHachi insert song composer.)
  • Song Lyrics: Studio Comet Literary Club (aka, Shinji Takamatsu.)
  • Song Performed by: Akira Kushida (Hizakuriger voice actor), Madani Records
  • Director: Yūma Yāji
  • Production: Studio Comet (RobiHachi animation production company.)

Otaka fan clubIn addition to portraying stereotypical otaku characters, the episode is filled with anime jargon. For example, a cour is a season run of 13 episodes. Opening (OP) may refer to the opening animation sequence or opening theme song. A recap episode uses clips from previous episodes to review a story line. Corrected cuts are what they sound like, edits applied to fix an animation sequence.

Hatchi and RobbyThis episode reveals Robi was five years old 26 years ago, which makes him 31.

Binan Shonen Love LoveYangYang’s beloved episode 4 of Binan Shōnen Love-Love is a parody of Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! Love! Shinji Takamatsu directed the Cute High series and Yang’s voice actor Tomokazu Sugita had a recurring role. Episode 4 guest stars Takehito Koyasu. Koyasu, Sugita, and Takamatsu worked together on the Gintama anime.