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“Hey Kids, Get Ready For Doozy Bots!” - What Might Have Been The American Gundam

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"Letters from the New York Otaku"

By David Cabrera


#43: “Hey Kids, Get Ready For Doozy Bots!” - What Might Have Been The American Gundam

One of the things that American fans often say about Japanese anime is that the situations are much more honest than the same situations in American animation. Titles like Star Blazers (Yamato) and Robotech (a rewritten combination of Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada) actually depicted death and the consequences of war, and this was unheard of in American cartoons. The classical American cartoon example would probably be the 80s' GI Joe, a series where the battles were fought with color-coded lasers and nobody ever died.

Star Blazers and Robotech were unique and their popularity endured, but they didn't change much in American kids' cartoons... which brings us again to Mobile Suit Gundam. In 1991, Sunrise was apparently convinced that American kids wouldn't want Gundam's complex, angsty teen war stories in space. They weren't thinking putting out of a Star Blazers or a Robotech at all: they were looking to play it safe. In the name of selling toys, they were ready to introduce Gundam to America... but they were going to call it Doozy Bots.

(Calling something “a doozy” is an uncommon way of calling something unusual and impressive.)

Rather than adapt the existing Gundam series, Sunrise was selling a completely new show for kids based on the SD Gundam franchise. Only the pilot film was ever produced. (https://bitly.com/mld7J) Not a lot of Gundam fans know this even exists, and showing it off is a good way to get a lot of Gundam fans to bury their faces in their hands. Why? Well, it's pretty terrible.

In the world of Doozybots there's no Earth Federation or Zeon or space colonies or war of independence, or anything complicated like that. There's a team of stock high schoolers, a wacky professor named Doozy, and some annoying kids. Every week, the high schoolers would have “transmogrified” into SD Gundams-- led by the RX-78 itself-- in order to stop “misguided robots” from “robbing the world of fun!”

It was the most typical American kids' cartoon you could ever imagine-- it has more in common with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than Gundam-- and that's why it's such a travesty to Gundam fans. This wasn't going to be some side franchise for Gundam like SD Gundam: it was going to BE the American Gundam. If this had gone on the air, it might have been all we ever got of Gundam. That would have been quite a loss. One could probably argue that America's pop culture is actually very slightly better off because Doozybots never aired. Of course, nobody saw Doozybots until years after the point, and I have no idea how Sunrise's original pitch tape made it out there...
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