Anime nostalgia moment – Kiteretsu Daihyakka
I spent most of my childhood in Japan. And yes, I did watch lots of anime. I was a big fan of “Dragon Ball” before you American kids were, and also got to see lots of shows that will never be imported here. (They did air some American cartoons, like Disney stuff, but for the most part I wasn’t introduced to them until I was 7 or 8).
One particular series that I remember loving as a kid was “Kiteretsu Daihyakka” (Kiteretsu Encyclopedia). It ran for 331 episodes from 1988 to 1996. It was created by the same author that did “Doraemon” (which is licensed to America, although nothing’s being released yet) and the characters and settings were very similar. It had a rich kid (Suneo in “Doraemon”, Tongari in “Kiteretsu”), a big bully (“Gian” in Doraemon, “Buta [Pig] Gorilla” in Kiteretsu”), the girl (Shizuka in “Doraemon”, Michiko in “Kiteretsu”). The only big difference was probably the main kid, Kiteretsu. Unlike Nobita, who often gets bad grade, Kiteretsu is a child genius, and that’s the main plot point in the series.
Kiteretsu’s ancestor was an inventor who created numerous “bamboo technologies”. One day he found a set of “encyclopedias” that outlined many of them. The only person who can actually read them is Kiteretsu, who has the necessary glasses needed to read it. His first invention made out of the book was in fact another main character, Korosuke, a little robot who is very much like a child.
In the early episodes of the series, the kids would go on an adventure using whatever Kiteretsu cooked up from the book. Later on, though, it went to the “mystery” formula where one of the kids is suspecting that something is bad happening to the other character, and the said character would go up to the titular character to build something up to investigate, and in the end it turns out to be nothing sinister (usually, at least).
I haven’t seen the show in years, but I still remember it fondly. I even watched the finale the day it aired, where Kiteretsu’s encyclopedias gets stolen and destroyed, so he uses the time machine to go back in time to get the set from the man who wrote them in the first place. Alas, it turned out the man is too sick to actually write the books down. I’m fuzzy on the details, but if I remember right, Korosuke decides to stay behind to help treat the man. Kiteretsu and friends agree and they go back to present time as they say goodbye to their robot friend.
The show had six different theme songs during its 8 years on television, but the sixth one is the one I remember the most, and here it is: