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4! 3! 2! 1!
A long running meta-series by Tatsunoko Productions, the Time Bokan meta-series typically involves a Battle Couple, a Robot Buddy, and Mini-Mecha based off animals stopping a Terrible Trio (maybe even THE Terrible Trio) from doing misdeeds.
The first in the series was the aforementioned Time Bokan in 1975. It involved the aforementioned Battle Couple traveling through time to find a Plot Coupon and a missing scientist, while racing and going up against a Terrible Trio consisting of a Fat and Skinny male duo and a Stripperiffic female. Following this it was decided that Time Bokan would become a meta-series and each of the sequels would carry the name as a subtitle.
The second series in 1977 would become longest and arguably most memorable in the entire meta-series: Yatterman. While maintaining a similar plot as well as having and Expy of the heroes and villains, the story this time didn't involve time travel. Yatterman would eventually get a Revival in 2008, as well as a live action adaptation in 2009.
The rest of series: Zenderman, Otasukeman, Yattodetaman, Ippatsuman, and Itadakiman would more or less feature the same concept. Some series would feature time travel, and others would be set in the present day. Yattodetaman and Ippatsuman are the only two series to not have a Battle Couple but rather a titular hero fighting the antagonists. They are also the only two series to feature Humongous Mecha. Following a 1993 OVA involving the then seven Terrible Trios in a parody of Wacky Races, the eighth and final series Kiramekiman aired in 2000.
As of 2011, there are no plans to make another Time Bokan series not counting the Yatterman remake.
Tropes found in most or all the series of Time Bokan:
- Battle Couple: Standard formula found in almost all series.
- However, Ippatsuman and Yattodetaman have solo heroes.
- Clothing Damage: To the villains. The female leader tends to get the "worst" of it.
- Fat and Skinny: Found in ALL installments.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Often shows partial nudity to the female lead villain. Can be averted since Japanese television standards aren't as high.
- Mini-Mecha: Rode or driven by the protagonists and antagonists. Usually based off some form of animal.
- In Ippatsuman and Yattodetaman, the mechas are larger and form into a Super Robot.
- Naked People Are Funny
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: All three members of each Terrible Trio in starting from Time Bokan have been voiced by the same seiyuu, for the past 30 years.
- Robot Buddy
- Stripperiffic: All female leaders of the Terrible Trio
- Terrible Trio: Can possibly be the Trope Codifier, if not Trope Namer.
- Inverted in Kiramekiman - the trio is still comedic and rather incompetent, but they're technically the good guys (being detectives), while the heroes are thieves.
- Time Travel