Rafael Galvão de Almeida
Centro de Desenvolvimento e Planejamento Regional, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.
Email: rga1605 (at) gmail (dot) com
Humanity’s technological progress is nothing short of incredible. If we consider that civilization is 12,000 years old, the vast majority of technological advances was produced in the last 200 years. 90% of all scientists that ever lived are alive today (Gastfriend, 2015). The stylized facts of growth, made possible by technology, are omnipresent in introductory economics courses (Fig. 1).
There is no doubt that technology changed our lives. Therefore, culture also reflected these new relationships between humanity and its creations, including in the area of philosophy and religion. The genre of science fiction is defined as an exploration of the relationships between humanity and technology. This is clear in the “mecha” genre (メカ), which was inspired by the relationship between Japanese culture and technological advances, becoming a symbol of the anime industry.
The origins of the genre are in Astroboy (鉄腕アトム), by Ozamu Tesuka, first published in 1952, with its animated adaptation airing in 1963 (Hikawa, 2013: p. 1, 6; Gigguk, 2018). Built by professor Tenma to replace his dead son, Astro’s inner conflict on being a symbol of progress and discovering if he can ever aspire to be truly human resonated with the post-war Japanese public, as “a gatekeeper of peace and democracy” (Nakao, 2014: p. 118). While, it did not focus on giant robots, Astro, being powered by nuclear energy, represented the hopes that the technology that once devastated Japan could lead it to a brighter future.
Although the first true giant robot series was Tetsujin 28-go (鉄人28号), published in 1956 and airing in 1960, robot anime would only become popular icons in the 1970s, with the airing of Mazinger Z (マジンガーZ) in 1972, written by the legendary Go Nagai. Mazinger was not controlled remotely, but its pilot, Koji Kabuto, joined together with it in the battlefield, after attaching in the Hover Pilder into Mazinger’s head, as if he were its brain.
Soon, mecha anime was defined by three main tropes: 1) the gigantic size of the robots; 2) the fact they were piloted; and 3) their ability to transform or combine (Hikawa, 2013: p. 13). The last trait would be popularized by Getter Robo (ゲッターロボ ), which stands out as a unique series. Created by Ken Ishikawa (1948–2006), with input from Nagai, Getter Robo started out as a manga in 1974 and quickly gained an animated adaptation (Fig. 2). It was the first series to use combining mecha (Hikawa, 2013: p. 18). Getter stands as an icon of Japanese culture, having influenced many creators such as Kazuki Nakashima and Hideaki Anno (Mrcheese, 2021: 4:00). Ever since its first issue, the Getter universe gained many spin-offs, but the manga continuity – the Getter Robo Saga – is Ishikawa’s magnum opus.
The Getter series has a distinctive format: because the Getter machines are too powerful, they need a strong and insane enough trio of pilots, each representing the body, brains and heart of the machine. Ishikawa always had influences from Japanese history – as shown in some of his works such as Yagyu Jubei Dies (柳生十兵衛死す) and The Samurai of the Meiji Restoration (サムライたちの明治維新). As Mrcheese (2021: 2:47) said, “Ishikawa writes most of his characters as if they were modern-day ronin”, doing what they want, but living through their unique moral code, while showing heroism when the situation gets tougher. This trait might be inherited from Nagai, who had a similar approach (Di Fratta, 2013: p. 4).
Ishikawa was one of the most talented manga artists of his time. Mentored by Nagai, they worked together in the Getter Robo animated adaptation. Nagai had the general idea of a new mecha show and they had the idea of combining mecha after an accident during a test-drive, wondering how cool it would be if the cars combined into each other from different angles (Mrcheese, 2021: 10:10). At this point, Getter became Ishikawa’s main work. When talking about his student and friend, Nagai always emphasized Ichikawa’s talent and how well both his and Ishikawa’s style complemented each other (Anonymous, 2021). The manga also took in more elaborate discussions on philosophy, religion and the nature of technology.
A synopsis of the Saga continuity is warranted. Be warned that from this point on there will be spoilers. If you want to experience the Saga unspoiled, please stop here and return when you finish. If you do not mind, however, there are studies that argue spoilers might enhance the reader’s experience (Leavitt & Christenfeld, 2013), especially if you are inclined to the analysis of themes in fiction.
THE GETTER SAGA
- Getter Robo (1974): the beginning of the series, it follows the pilots Ryoma Nagare, a genius martial artist, Hayato Jin, high schooler and terrorist, and Musashi Tomoe, judo practitioner and survivalist. Together, they form a dynamic trio and they are able to pilot Getter Robo against the Dinosaur Empire.
- Getter Robo G (ゲッターロボG, 1975): the first sequel to the series, after Musashi’s death, he is replaced by Benkei Kuruma. The new antagonist is the Hyakki Empire, based on the folkloric oni, led by Emperor Burai. While the first series art style still was almost indistinguishable from Nagai’s art, starting with G Ishikawa develops more his unique style.
- Getter Robo Go (ゲッターロボ號, 1991): set 16 years after the events of G, Hayato becomes the boss after everyone in the Saotome Institute vanished when a Getter ray experiment went wrong, according to official sources. Plasma technology has progressed to the point even small nations such as North Korea have their mecha corps. Go resembles more a political thriller in the beginning, with Japan not acting alone in the grand scheme of things anymore. The new enemy, professor Rando, launches attacks using his mechanical beasts from his base in the Arctic. The new Getter machine is not presented as a Super Robot anymore, but as a Real Robot and it even has to be bailed out by the international team. The new pilots are Go Ichimonji, talented high school athlete, Sho Tachibana, daughter of the main scientist, and Gai Dado, the mechanic of the base, enamored with the Getter machines. However, the plot changes significantly in latter chapters. It is here that Ishikawa’s philosophical tropes start to appear and the implication of a “cosmic” scale in the
- Shin Getter Robo (真ゲッターロボ, 1996): an interquel between G and Go, it deals with an invasion of insectoid aliens after the defeat of the Hyakki Empire, which are revealed to be part of a confederation of aliens called the Andromeda Country. It also details the events that led to the Institute’s desolation in Go. While it has the same cast as G, it is also where the nature of the Getter rays is explored in more detail.
- Getter Robo Arc (ゲッターロボアーク, 2001): the last work of the Saga, it follows the new Getter team: Takuma Nagare, son of Ryoma, Kamui, a half-reptiloid, and Baku Yamagishi, younger brother of Messiah Tayel from Go, and himself a religious figure. In Arc, the main antagonist is still the Andromeda Country; their attacks became so relentless that it called for a truce between humans and reptiloids. Unfortunately, Arc was left without a proper conclusion because of the cancellation of its magazine and Ishikawa’s death.
Due to matters of space, only the original and parts of Shin and Arc are relevant for this text. The reader can be redirected to Mrcheese’s (2021) retrospective on the entirety of Getter and Ishikawa’s legacy.
The plot of the original Getter Robo manga is wild and very different from the anime. While the anime was aimed at young kids and resembled more a Saturday morning cartoon in the style of Mazinger Z, the manga was aimed at an older audience, with an edgier plot and gorier elements. The protagonists’ manga incarnations are also more insane compared to the anime, bordering on unlikeable sometimes, but this makes their character development even more compelling.
The first chapter opens in the dead of the night, when the Saotome Institute, led by professor Saotome, successfully experiments with a new type of energy called “Getter Rays”. The shadows of what seem to be dragons are sighted eclipsing the moon. Led by Emperor Gore, the Dinosaur Empire declares war on humanity. They are remnants of an civilization that once was and that were annihilated by the arrival of Getter rays to Earth, 65 million years ago. They only survived because they used their technology to build ships that could withstand the magma of Earth’s mantle. Now, they seek to take over the surface and extinguish humanity from it.
The manga portrays the Empire as totalitarian invaders, in the same way many enemies in mecha anime were, like the Vegans from UFO Robo Grendizer (Pelliteri, 2009). Emperor Gore has no intention of dialoguing with the human race. For this reason, the reptiloid forces execute attacks with extreme prejudice and engaging in hostilely terraforming the Japanese islands. Besides attempts at xenocide, torture and unethical experimentation are amongst the crimes committed by Gore. The organic quality of reptiloid technology is like the Vegan one: “melting, fleshy, and cybernetic forms versus the clean, rational, Japanese technology that is separate from, but implicates, humanity” (Pelliteri, 2009: p. 278). This organic technology gave rise to Ishikawa’s most detailed panels and would be a staple of all antagonists in his works.
Many of their experiments made on humans remind us of the experiments made by Unit 731; the terraforming of Japan is similar to the imposition of Japanese culture over Korea and Manchuria. These are still topics of contention on manga and Japanese culture in general (Morris-Suzuki & Rimmer, 2002). By making these crimes similar to the ones committed by Imperial Japan, Ishikawa is not just showing how urgent the reptiloids need to be defeated, but he is also trying to warn his readers of the dangers of imperialism that once infected his country, in an indirect way to not attract the ire of the revisionists.
Many times, the Getter team was cornered by the Dinosaur Empire. With a 65-million-year head start, the Empire’s technology was superior and, if it was not for their weakness against Getter rays, the series would be short. They had a massive arsenal of mechasaurus that could be deployed with incredible speed. Not only that, they could send highly-trained infiltration soldiers or just overwhelm the humans with mutant newts or even a jellyfish that could just eat Japan whole. Only through sheer determination and cunning can humanity stand a chance; they put their faith in the unlimited potential of Getter Robo – “Believe in Getter!” It is really the fight of an underdog against an apparently invincible enemy and this costs dearly to the human protagonists. In a desperate attempt to stop a full invasion, Musashi overloads his Getter core and executes one of the greatest heroic sacrifices: “This is Getter’s final power! […] Even I couldn’t believe the Getter was this powerful at maximum potential!” (Ishikawa, 2002: v. 2, p. 369–373).
At the moment the heroes defeat Emperor Gore, the threat of the Hyakki Empire emerges. The series enter its first sequel, Getter Robo G. But, as mentioned above, I will skip G and Go, and focus on Shin and Arc.
While the nature of the Getter rays is foreshadowed throughout the series and revealed in Go, it is in Shin that it is further developed – in fact, it might be argued Shin was written to wrap-up the events from Go’s last part. Getter G opens its “eyes” and Saotome realizes that it has somehow acquired a will of its own. Meanwhile, Ryoma sees visions of the future, of a massive Getter beast. A giant space cicada appears and tells humans to cease all research on Getter rays or else they will continue sending forces to destroy the Institute. The ghost of Burai calls Getter “the cancer of the universe” (Ishikawa, 2002: v. 7, p. 227) and Ryoma has another vision of a massive Getter machine annihilating an entire planet.
These enemies, a detachment of Andromedans led by sergeant Gimbug, came from the future, with the objective of destroying the Institute. The Getter team repels each attack, but, unlike the previous enemies, the Andromedans are not fighting for conquest. On the contrary, their dialogue implies they are fighting a losing war and have to take desperate measures. They are filled with as much determination as the heroes. Gimbug even proclaims: “we will save all of the inhabitants of the universe!” (v. 7, p. 338). All of that happens while professor Saotome becomes more and more unhinged in his desire to make the Getters stronger.
The reader is invited to question what is happening: why are the Andromedans so determined? What is the point of getting stronger? The Andromedans are defeated because an entity that could defy space appeared to lend its hand to the Getter team: Getter Emperor (Fig. 3). All of Ryoma’s visions led to Getter Emperor obliterating all “enemies” of humanity, with himself piloting the Emperor.
After the battle, Ryoma says something ominous: “You can’t control Getter rays… What’s going to happen to humanity if we continue to use Getter rays?! It may become a threat even greater than nuclear weaponry” (v. 7, p. 393–394). It is worth noting that the series has showed weapons that long surpassed nuclear ones in terms of destruction. Given the effects of the atomic bomb on Japanese culture, Ryoma is addressing the reader. He learned the same harsh truth Go learned in Go: Getter rays are evolution themselves and, somehow, sentient. They “chose” humanity. All the moments when an apparent deus ex machina saved the day, it was because the Getter rays responded to the prayers of determination of the protagonists. Hayato, on the other hand, takes Ryoma to a graveyard of prototype Getters and lists all the sacrifices made, saying “No matter what future lies ahead of us, we have no choice but to advance” (v. 7, p. 398). He does not believe humanity is “being used” by the Getter rays, but if you read Go you know he will change his mind. Is “obeying” the Getter rays humanity’s destiny? Or should humanity defy them? But if destiny can be defied, was it because it was its destiny to be defied?
The plot continues in Arc. Hayato becomes the new executive officer of the Getter team. Due to the constant Andromedan attacks, humans and reptiloids join forces. Kamui is a young pilot, highly popular among the reptiloids. His mother was brought as a test subject, in a situation that disturbingly resembles the “comfort women” from World War II (Morris-Suzuki & Rimmer, 2002). There are even sympathetic reptiloids, such as Professor Han, who regrets the crimes committed by the Empire and wants to make amends for a future where both races can coexist. However, the new emperor, Gore III, does not believe in that and wants Kamui to betray the humans after the Andromedan threat is over, using his mother as a hostage.
The Human-Reptiloid Getter taskforce arrives in the future where the Andromedan attacks come from. They are overwhelmed by the enemy after landfall, but they are rescued by a military force, with helicopters, tanks and human soldiers, using apparently late 1990s military hardware. From one chopper, comes out no one else than Musashi Tomoe to greet the protagonists.
Arc’s chapter 12 is aptly titled “The Alien ‘Holy War’”, with Musashi calling the protagonists’ Getter machine, a “warrior of god” (v. 9, p. 254) before coldly executing the Andromedan prisoners. When confronted, Musashi casually explains this is a “holy war”. In chapter 13, Musashi explains the backstory of how Getter Emperor saved humanity from hostile aliens and “ordered” them to conquer the universe. As humanity defeated more and more enemies, Getter Emperor grew stronger and larger. The conquest of the stars became humanity’s “meaning of life”: “We have been chosen by the god called Getter to become the greatest lifeform in the universe! The pinnacle of evolution is… universal domination!” (v. 9, p. 281).
Gone was the fun-loving heart of the original team’s Musashi, who gave his life for his friends. This Musashi is a clone, created from the memories of Getter. He is humanity’s representative, so all humans are just like him: having no purpose other than evolve, even at the cost of what makes them human. In many sci-fi works, humanity is portrayed as fighting a Locust-like enemy: the Zerg in Starcraft, the Tyranids in Warhammer 40K, the aliens in Independence Day. This time, humanity is the Locust.
Neither Takuma nor Kamui like what they see. Kamui gets separated from the team and is brought to a Andromedan location, where he meets an oni. The oni gives Kamui a device that would allow him to construct “Bug” and to have a chance of defeating Getter Emperor in the past and crush humanity’s sleeper imperialist ambitions.
The protagonists manage to return to Earth and Kamui enacts a coup to take over the Dinosaur Empire. There are panels of Kamui fighting Takuma and Baku: while Kamui does this for the universe, Takuma agrees with him and announces he will not let the future they saw happen. Unfortunately, we will never know the conclusion due to Ishikawa’s tragic passing.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN THE PROFANE AND THE SACRED
One of biggest consensus among students of the economy is the importance of technology in the economic growth and development. Evolutionary models found a strong correlation between income and technological development in a nation, indicating that building a national system of innovation is a fundamental part of sustainable long-term economic development (Ribeiro et al., 2010). Most economists have been aware of the deep impact technology had in the human mind ever since the so-called Industrial Revolution. But what caused this?
Joel Mokyr has made a case that the Industrial Revolution was not a single event in Britain, but rather a cascade of many events that had their starting point in some English regions and extended through decades. They were translated into an open-access availability of scientific knowledge, political changes that gave protection to innovators – who, in many cases, had modest objectives when introducing an innovation, to either save labor or to make the production process more comfortable – in addition to the inventions themselves. They expanded the possibilities of production and society adjusted to this expansion, which caused the growth. In other words, what caused development was a “sharp decline in access costs” (Mokyr, 2010: p. 39). Greater availability of knowledge was translated into better access to tools that could create development. Soon, the innovation process could be rationalized, without depending of single entrepreneurs. Firms started to build entire departments to turn the innovation process into routine (Schumpeter, 1942 [2003 ed.]: p. 132).
This process is clearly seen in the evolution of the mecha anime genre and Saga in particular: a miraculous resource – the Getter rays – is employed in a “entrepreneurial” prototype in the original and, by the time of Go, the traits that made the Saotome Institute the forefront of innovation become diluted. The Getter designs become almost public domain, allowing different nations to catch up. The upward spiral is only stopped in Arc because the Andromedan attacks devastate civil society.
And, just like in Saga, there are costs to be reckoned. Joseph Inikori has argued that popular economic history tends to ignore that the British Industrial Revolution only happened because of the Atlantic slave trade (Inikori, 2020). The capture of Africans to serve as slaves developed a price mechanism to organize the production and trade of products and low-cost labor, allowing the regions of England that had direct contact with the Atlantic networks – Lancashire and Yorkshire – to be the focus of industrialization. In the end, this helped to develop technologies that allowed more developed nations to “crush resisting governments” in later imperialisms (Inikori, 2020: p. S168).
The Industrial Revolution itself evoked the image of “dark satanic mills”, from William Blake’s (1810) famous poem, a lament for a lost, more innocent time. The doubts about the project of technology have been studied by dozens of scholars and artists. Both Blake and Ishikawa’s fears are similar because they touch upon the intersection between religion and the nature of technology. In a provocative essay, Rivers (2006: p. 519) argued that “technology has become a most powerful force because it challenges religion wherever it appears, but at the same time, it lays the foundation for itself as a religion”. Because we have expectations on technology, because we believe in it, it will take on religious traits. Szerszynski (2005: p. 817), reminding that “profane” comes from the Latin term pro-faune, the area in front of a temple, is puzzled that “modern secular thought and action understands itself as secular or profane in absolute, not relative, sense”. The appeal of many forms of popular science, such as cosmology – which has the most visible and awe-inspiring technology and is a large source of inspiration for the mecha genre – “seems to be its power to provide an overarching narrative for reality without making apparent normative prescriptions” (Szerszynski, 2005: p. 821).
Man creates Tool. What if Tool creates Man?
But there is an elephant in the room. Saga and the entire mecha genre is embedded in the Japanese culture and, as Kim (2015) argued, most discussions of religion and science and technology end up focusing on worldviews related to Western Christianity, Western secularism included. Although Kim makes sure to note that the word for science “kagaku” (科学) was introduced after translating Western texts, proper non-Western ideas must also be considered.
DEUS EST MACHINA: MECHA AS A MEDIUM FOR SCIENTIFIC-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
Some would argue that mecha can be kami as well, for the sense of awe they can inspire. Unlike Western robots, Japanese ones are “exceedingly human” (Holland-Minkley, 2010: p. 38). They do not tend to work with Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, because they understand that their choice to do either good or evil is not very different than that of a human. Remembering the titular Big O is called a “megadeus” (megagod), Holland-Minkley (2010: p. 42) noted how the show’s characters pronounce the term with the same reverence for gods. In fact, a megadeus can judge whether the pilot is worthy, with either a “CAST IN NAME OF GOD, YE NOT GUILTY”, allowing the pilot to use its massive power, or a “YE GUILTY” that may even kill the pretender. Angelic imagery is prominent in many designs, even in the Gundam universe, which is famous for having introduced the Real Robot genre (Fig. 4). In Mazinger Z, it is explicited that, while Koji is Mazinger’s brains, he cannot be Mazinger’s heart: it already has one of its own (Fig. 5).
Reviewing the work of the Japanese Buddhist philosopher Keiji Nishitani, Kim (2015: p. 163) argued that a possible Japanese relationship between its religious concepts and science would be the concept of sunyata, or “emptiness”. From the standpoint of sunyata, “life and death, and spirit and matter are taken as a mutually dependent relation”. Purely secular science is considered a (religious) problem because it is a science that makes its growth an end in itself, to satisfy ultimately selfish objectives. Sunyata allows one to understand the impersonality of the universe, that nothing can be its center, not even scientific progress. Thus, a bridge between science and religion can be built.
Would sunyata be a good source of applicability in Getter? References to Buddhism are abundant in the Saga (Fig. 6) and in Ishikawa’s series Void War Chronicles (虚無戦記) (Mrcheese, 2021: 46:26). As said by Nagai himself, “Ishikawa Ken always sought a universal theme, an essence that pervades everything that he interpreted more as a form of energy instead of a spiritual entity like God” (Di Fratta, 2013: p. 21, translated). Go’s climax illustrates this, of how Go can see how everything in the universe is united by a single thread. If “true” science unveils the truth about the universe, then “false” science is nihilistic, like a cancerous cell that forfeits its functions for chaotic growth, whose only objective is “universal domination”. Getter Emperor will continue growing. At this point, it is only bigger than planets but it is estimated it will keep growing to the point of becoming a great attractor, like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann could be (Tomotani, 2016). Therefore, when Burai called Getter the “cancer of the universe”, the metaphor is more than adequate. Unenlightened technology is the downfall of humanity.
Man creates Getter. What if Getter creates Man?
CONCLUSION: BELIEVE IN GETTER, BUT BELIEVE IN HUMANITY TOO
This article has analyzed Ken Ishikawa’s Getter Robo Saga and hopes to have made some justice to his legacy. While we might never see a proper ending, Ishikawa wanted to create an effective cautionary tale yet full of the mad stuff that makes us fall in love with the mecha genre. Only someone with a great artistic talent and a curious mind to explore distinctive fields such as science and religion could have written Saga.
In spite of Saga’s inconclusive ending, Ishikawa had hopes for the future, to bring light to a dark forest. Throughout the entire Saga, it is constantly shown that what makes humanity unique is not the fact the Getter rays chose them, but rather its determination and capacity to build bonds. Getter may have been what united all teams, but what kept them united was the friendship and camaraderie they built with each other. While there is no in-story point of view from the Getter rays, in their inscrutable reasons to have chosen humanity, it is unlikely they understand this; maybe only on the instrumental level – like a soulless economist who claims friendship only serves to move the economy.
The Arc anime aired in 2021 and has been met with controversy whether it lives up to Ishikawa’s legacy, but the ending still reflects his hope: the last scene is the Arc team about to fight against a “larval” Getter Emperor (Kawagoe, 2021). They all have smiles in their faces. The Getter rays gave humanity the privilege of being chosen to lead a crusade of evolution and power, and yet those humans defied them. It does not matter if the Arc team win or loses, they made their choice. Technology has also evolved humanity in practically literal terms, in contrast with the metaphorical ones of Getter rays. Therefore, it is up to humanity to decide if it will be lorded over by its own creations or take control of its destiny. And that is the parable of technology of Getter Robo Saga.
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I want to thank my friends on Discord for having introduced me to the madness that is the Saga and putting up with my ramblings, Dynamic Pro Scanlantions, a friend who is majoring in Japanese studies who helped me with the Japanese, the kind fans at Dynamic Pro, and a friend that read and commented on an early draft.
About the author
Dr. Rafael Galvão de Almeida is a substitute professor of economics and economic history in the department of economics of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil. His interests are history of economic thought, philosophy of economics, economic history, political economy, cultural economics, interdisciplinarity and how economics relates to works of fiction, including giant robots. He is also a fan of vintage mecha anime.
 There was a small-scale communist insurgency in Japan. From 1969 to 2001, the Japanese Red Army promoted sparse terrorist attacks (Box & McCormack, 2004). Hayato was probably based on them, in terms of design because he turned his schoolmates into militiamen, promising revolution and would have tried to assassinate the prime-minister (out of boredom rather than a message) if he was not recruited by Saotome.
 For an evolution of Super and Real Robots in Japanese mecha culture, see Rusca (2017) and Gigguk (2018).
 While genocide refers to destruction of a nation, xenocide is the destruction of an entire civilizational species.
 Comparisons with Gurren Lagann are inevitable at this point. Both Andromedans and Anti-Spirals have similar objectives, but, while it is never clear what the Spiral Nemesis actually is, we clearly know how Getter Emperor operates. See also the dark forest theory (Hendricks, 2018), in which civilizations will inevitably see each other as existential threats and, therefore, will try to exterminate each other.
 See for example the field of science and technology studies, which analyzes the relationship between people, technology and their production, attributing even agency to study how humans affect and are affected by technology (Latour, 2005). Due to matters of scope, I will not delve further into this topic, but it deserves at least a footnote due to its importance.
 See van den Belt (2017) on Frankenstein. Gigguk (2018) notes that one of the main inspirations for Tetsujin was the classic 1931 Frankenstein movie, with Boris Karloff.
 The launch of the James Webb telescope, in December 2021, was treated as a high-profile event.
 It is worth noting that scientists have strong evidence to believe that cosmic rays have an important influence in life and evolution. The hypothesis is being discussed ever since the 1960s (see Shklovskii & Sagan, 1966: p. 66) and recent research has argued that cosmic rays were important in giving the helix structure to the DNA (Globus et al., 2021) in a way that might remind the reader of Gurren Lagann’s spiral power. It is, hopefully, unlikely that they are sentient like Getter rays.