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File:Betterman1 4818.jpg


Ordinary High School Student Keita Aono falls into the cockpit of a Humongous Mecha, copiloted by his childhood friend, Hinoki Sai. After getting beaten up by a giant animatronic fish-man, our heroes are saved by a shapeshifting Bishounen called Betterman. Jungian symbolism, Fan Service, and Body Horror ensue. The anime consist of 26 episodes. It was aired in Japan on TV Tokyo from April 1,1999 to September 30,1999. The series made it's North American debut on the G 4 TV's (Tech TV) Anime Unleashed block on December 30,2002.

On par with Neon Genesis Evangelion as the darkest mecha anime of the 1990s. It shares a universe with GaoGaiGar, despite the two being very, very different.


Betterman provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Keita Aono when he is not piloting the Neuronoid. Episode 8 "Poison" is a prime example as Keita is pretty much running for his life while avoiding attacks from that episode's enemies.
  • Almost Kiss: There are three instances in which Keita has come close to locking lips with Hinoki.
    • The first instance occurs when Hinoki visits her own house only for both of them to be restained by an old monk. Hinoki is too distraught to kiss but ends up with a nice scene between the two.
    • The second instance occurs in a dream in which Keita attempts to kiss Hinoki only to have her turn into his best friend at the last instance. (The friend is from the GaoGaiGar series.)
    • The last instance occurs at Keita's home and ends up with Hinoki being kidnapped.
  • Anime Hair: Hinoki's multicolored bangs are out of this world. Betterman has a similar deal going on. Hmm...
  • Anyone Can Die: This anime ends with a lot of death. Of the cast introduced, Keita, Hinoki, Sakura, Shigeru Akamatsu, and his two workers survive. And given that Keita and Hinoki are on a desert island and Sakura and Shigeru are lost at sea, they might not last much longer. Not to mention those who were killed by the "Algernon" virus and those killed by Dr. Umezaki and Mamon.
    • Sakura and Shigeru were rescued, as mentioned in the Audio Drama, however Sakura is still in a coma.
    • According to the timeline provided on the US DVDs, both Keita and Hinoki met Papillon a couple months after series end.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: The series loves these. Crash dummies, worms, bees, animatronic fish people...
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Sakura Akamatsu is diagnosed with this, and requires heavy medication.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis / Mega Manning: Both the Betterman and the Neuronoid analyze their enemies to customize their attacks to match.
  • Assimilation Plot: Kankel.
  • Badass Adorable / Little Miss Badass: Chandi
  • Battle Couple: This occurs when the Dual Kinds couples are piloting their Neuronoids. (Kaede and Sho, Hinoki and Keita.)
  • Book Ends
  • Body Horror: Professor Umezaki. Just...Professor Umezaki.
    • Mamon can be added to this. After losing the first Brahman summon to Pachira, Mamon‘s second attempt at summons fails when Keade‘s unborn child instinctively protects the mother by disrupting the ritual. Even though the summons failed, Mamon (using himself as the conduit), gains the ability to turn himself into a Brahman creature. His appearance looks like an advance origami design, but the skin of the creature turns out to be similar to that of the urinary bladder.
  • Cool Old Guy: Yakusugi, who saves the entire cast on several occasions.
  • Cleavage Window: Some of Sai Hinoki's outfits fit this trope.
  • Clothing Damage: Keita and Hinoki's dive suits from the beginning episode and final episode.
  • Distressed Damsel: Miyako Asami, Kaede Kurenai, Hinoki Sai, and Sakura Akamatsu. For some reason, the three well endowed girls get mutiple episodes to be saved while the loli of the group gets only one.
  • Eldritch Abomination: True to being a bio-horror series, there's a ton of nightmare inducing monsters. Kankel takes the pick, being a being that seeks to assimilate all Earthy life.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The main reason why the antagonists are doing the things they do is to ensure the survival of humanity.
  • The Faceless: Cactus, the Head Diver paired with Hinoki before the Bottom World debacle. While many non-important characters' faces are forever covered in shadow (see the trope immediately below), Cactus doesn't get a face for no readily apparent reason other than creepiness.
  • Faceless Masses
  • Fan Service: This series had plenty of it.
  • Faux Action Girl: Hinoki Sai. She pretty much gets torched at, is almost eaten by worms, is attacked by out of control machines, is chased by a bipedal elephant type monsters, and survives most of the show's enemies until she is made into a Distressed Damsel near the end of the series.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Fits mostly all the females in this series, but most notable goes to Hinoki. Take your pick out of the outfits she has worn. Her school uniform consist of a very tight fitting shirt that shows off her body accompanied by a very short skrit that leaves alot to the imagination. Her devil costume from the festival episode would make any angel sin. Her white dress was hugging her body so tightly that it was amazing that the viewers did not see what color bra and panties she was wearing when it rained. Her camping outfit consisted of a light blouse that showed off her back, a black sports bra, and skin hugging shorts that were so tight one could have thought that Hinoki goes no-pan since there were no indication of a panty outline.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Prof. Umezaki's monsters are the result of genetic modification.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Hinoki suffers this in the final episodes of the series. She is tazed by Mamon and later wakes up in her dive suit. She is then taken and used as bait for Betterman, all while still dressed in her dive suit.
  • Groin Attack: In the first episode, Keita happens to fall down an elevator shaft only to roll out and land groin first into the "Neuronoid" mecha.
  • Hall of Mirrors
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: In the english dub, Keita is voiced by Matthew Erickson, causing people to either mistake him as Jinto or Shinn. To a lesser extent, journeyman VA Andrew Love as Akamatsu.
  • Hot Scientist: Asami
  • Irony: Both Tragic and Dramatic. Asami of the protagonist group has worked her entire career on solving the Algernon problem only to find out that she part of the cause and creation of the virus. She is killed off near the final of the series by Chandy who was hunting down those who were carriers. Also, Dr. Umezaki created Chandy and is killed of by his creation.
  • Kaiju: Betterman's combat forms and several of the horrors he faces.
  • Kappei Yamaguchi: As Keita.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Umezaki
  • Magic Skirt: Sai Hinoki. Hell, it's amazing with all the running and explosions she goes through that her skrit has yet to be torn or blown off.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The main weapon of Betterman Nebula, which is capable of targeting only specific enemies without damaging anything nearby.
  • Male Gaze: Pretty much Hinoki Sai from the series gets this treatment throughout the show. Episode 18 "Hunger" is known for such scenes and has the most blatant use of this trope as the viewer is treated via Keita's perspective of seeing Hinoki's legs and butt.
  • Meganekko: Asami, again.
  • Mega Corp: Mode Warp, which has enough resources for building high tech robots, easily acquire advanced military equipment, and has Special Forces on hand for emergencies. Not that it matters, as anyone from Mode Warp that's not Asami is fated to be a Red Shirt.
  • The Merch: This series has spun off two drama cds, one set of anime trading cards, various resin kits that involve the girls, statues based of the different forms of Betterman, a manga, and a garage kit of one of the neuronoids. Not to mention two hobby magazines that give information about the show itself.
  • Moment Killer: Keita Aono is a constant victim to this trope when he is alone with Hinoki Sai.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Sakura Akamatsu.
  • Non-Action Guy: Keita is what you would call... a loaner hero that you use until the real one shows up. That never happens.
  • Real Robot: The "Neuronoid" mecha.
  • She's Got Legs: This show really loves showing of Hinoki's legs as much as possible. Hell, out of all the females of the group, Hinoki is the only one that does not own an outfit that covers up to her knees.
  • Stripperiffic: Amusingly averted; Head Diver suits are skintight see-through affairs with little black bits that cover the nipples and genitalia for both men and women.
  • Techno Babble: The series is infamous for the overuse of this. Oddly enough, the technobabble makes some sense, if you've taken College Biology. Not that it matters, most of the fictional elements seem to work based on plot than actual science.
  • Tyke Bomb: Chandi, who is a result of Prof. Umezaki's attempts to create a Superhuman.
  • Super Robot Wars Compact 3: Both "Neuronoids" are playable in the game.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In one episode, Kaede, Shu, Asami, Sakura, and Mr. Akamatsu are all confronted by mirror imags of themselves who rattle off on all their faults and weaknesses.
  • The Stinger: Keita and Hinoki are still alive
  • Together in Death
  • The Virus: "Algernon", which induced homicidal madness in its victims, among other things.
  • Waif Prophet: Sakura Akamatsu.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway??: Other than being able to pilot a Neuronoid, Dual Kinds don't have any other special powers. Unless they happen to be psychic already.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Half the main cast have blue hair. Sakura has bright pink hair (true to her namesake), but subverts Rose-Haired Girl by being introverted and sickly. Par for the course, Asami is the Shy Blue-Haired Girl.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Sai Hinoki
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