(#MechaMarch2023) Future Robot Daltanious

The History of Daltanious

I swear that everything will always be connected to my Sakuracon 2022 visit in some way. Daltanious was a series that I was interested in watching when I heard about it from the 1970’s anime panel that I went to. That was a day that I was severely on a budget, so I only came home with this Blu-Ray disc that has 47 episodes on one disc. Something that I was pretty excited to have because I wanted more contemporaries of Mobile Suit Gundam in my anime collection. This series, which was heavily influenced by Tadao Nagahama of the Robot Romance Trio fame, was produced by both a young Sunrise and the more established Toei animation.

What makes me laugh is the history of this series in the west. Or what could have been the history of this show in the west. You know, just to be specific. This show could have been localized in the west as Voltron. World Events Productions, originally requested a show with a Lion in it. Toei gave them a show with all the Lions in it, Go Lion, and the rest is history. What makes it intriguing is that Daltanious is very 1970’s Hanna Barbera in the first half so it might have fit a little better in the United States. A lot of the episodes in the first half of its 47 episodes are slice of life comedies with a big robot brawl at the end of the episode. 

Daltanious’s First Half

Set in the past of 1995, so apparently we were already invaded by aliens, it starts with an already decimated Earth. Every single city on the Earth is turned into rubble and every living human is surviving by slumming it. The great Zaar Empire from the planet Akron destroyed Earth civilization because they were afraid of humanity or something; we don’t really know. All we know is that the show follows a young street urchin by the name of Kento who stumbles his way into a strange area where he can escape from being caught with food. What he finds is a mysterious doctor named Earl who has a robot, the Atlaus, ready for him to pilot. 

The real adventure starts when Kento, with his friend Danji piloting the fighter Gumper, fights against the Zaar. By taking out their first enemy, the Zar finally sent their forces directly into Kento’s area. Of course, Kento proves that he is the prince of a space nation that he himself has never heard of before, Elios, when he summons the giant Lion. Combined together, they form the powerful giant robot, Daltanious based on the three musketeers, and begin the slow journey of Zaar’s destruction. We also explore the many sides of Kento and his friends through a journey that he never expected to have because of the genes he doesn’t care about. Yet, the mysterious Kloppen on the Zaar’s side wants him dead. 

Slice of Life and the Cast of Daltanious

I really liked the slow pace of the first half, even if it was too slow and formulaic at times. Daltanious was taking advantage of its setting to tell the tale of the people of Tokyo and the cast that Kento is around with some robot vs monster fights at the end of an episode. What if there was a festival in town that people wanted to happen? Or perhaps returning power to the city after so long. There are so many things going on that provide so much life and world construction our cast members get a chance to grow a little bit. Possibly finding something new about themselves that they didn’t have before from their rough backstories. Possibly even seeing some romance bloom even if it never goes anywhere. 

I really like the side cast too. Especially since they were street urchins and they’ve reformed themselves since making it to the secret base. For instance, Danji’s past life about his father being wrongly incriminated is really compelling. Or Manabu’s slow rice in gaining Dr. Earl’s trust in being in charge of technological things because he is a technologically inclined kid. The rest of the stores with Sanae, Scamp, Tanosuke, and Tanjiro are  pretty cliche but they are cute kids that I like seeing happy and possibly getting an education. Tanosuke is kind of annoying because he is the cliched fat kid who is just hungry all the time. Really hate the humor. 

Kento Refusing the Call

Of course, Daltanious’ main character is still Kento Tate. He isn’t always the main focus of an episode, but he is the main pilot of Daltanious so obviously the lead character. The one kid from the streets whose father has been missing for twelve years. A father that, as stated before, was the prince of Elios. All of which means that Kento is the current heir to lead the Elios empire if it gets returned. At least that is what Dr. Earl is trying to do because of the blood in him. The guy never sees Kento as the young teenager still not even grown up yet. Something which becomes a main theme of the series which is dug into more in its second half.

But Kento is just a kid. Why should he have this huge mantle of a roll that he never wanted to have in the first place? Sure, there are instances of the Elios former empire showing up when some nobles show up. Especially Gascon, a general in the Elios army on the run,  who Kento forms a really tight relationship with through their mutual immaturity. At those moments, the weight of everything never hits Kento at all because it never feels real for him. That is until Kento’s father does show up from escaping a Zaar prison and supposedly dies in the same episode from enemy attack. That was when it finally became real for Kento Tate. 

Kento Tate and Real Drama

The tone shift of Daltanious’ first half to second couldn’t be any stronger than it is. Gone are the days where the talks of rebellion against the Zaar were just rumors. Everything is real now. There is no play time, there is only the Zaar and their many admirals after Kento’s life even harder than they were beforehand. The episode that really changed everything for me was when Kento accepted a duel with an enemy admiral, but ended up in a sewer heavily injured thinking about shooting himself. Not only has the weight of the universe on him now, he didn’t even know if his life was valuable anymore. He was saved, but that was so heavy.

The biggest thing for me is that Kento survives that drama by just living his life as he was in the first half. His found family is still with him and they provide support to Kento when he needs it. Even if a lot of them disappear from relevance other than just showing up on screen at times and having a place, they are still there and want to help Kento and Danji whenever they can. Or the older adult figure in town that Kento has made friends with as Kento grew into someone respectable. In this corner of the world where the state of the world truly changed in terms of stakes, nothing from the first half is truly left behind. Even Gascon understands Kento’s trauma before being killed off.

The Superficial Nature of Nobles and Titles

I love the way that Kento meets the nobles when they first show up. He is just in his underwear and just greets them as is. Yet all the nobles with their respective armies have to somehow abide by what they consider this person who has noble blood, but was raised on the streets, because of his title and nothing else. Even if none of them like it, this is the heir of lost prince of Elios to them and they want to be on their good sides. There is literally no effort in characterizing them at all like Zaar’s admirals. They only serve as plot elements. Important to the story of Daltanious yes, but they still mean nothing to Kento himself.

What amuses me more is the princess that tries to court Kento is even more hilarious. Especially since she never sees Kento as a person, only as an asset for her to rise up in ranks. Even her attendant flirts with Doctor Earl because they assume that Kento will be king and Earl will be the guy Kento turns to. So for a few episodes, the princess tries to figure out how to live the way Kento lives. She even gets in the way of one of Kentos’ battles thinking that it would impress him and she doesn’t even know how to pilot a mecha. Then the turn around happened and she left Kento thinking that her harsh words would hurt him. Guys, Kento never cared.

Before mentioning why the turn around happened, which will be the next part, it’s hilarious how every single noble just left or were confused when the Zaar announced everything they did. People were genuinely more attached to titles and lines of succession than who people were. The biggest thing that shocked me was that Doctor Earl faced it too. In a pivotal battle in a town of people that he started to care for, he almost turned on his own team and Kento instead of deciding what to do. This was the guy who got to know Tokyo and his team for many episodes, yet he almost did it anyway. That was crazy. So glad he didn’t.

The Nature of Clones and Humanity Life

Ok, now to release that cat out of the bag. Daltanious’ very nature is about the concept of nature vs nurture. Clones are used by nobles to provide organs when the original is seriously hurt. So when the Zaar mentioned that Kento was born from a clone, even though the truth is revealed later, everyone leaves. No one cares about the son of a clone. Even if that son of the clone is fighting and defeating every single beast unit that is sent after him by the Zaar and is the farthest thing from the tyrannical overlord, they all just either not join a side or side with the Zaar because Kloppen is apparently the true ruler so each of them just accepts tyranny. 

Major things happen though. Kento’s dad is actually alive and I thought that the story would change focus, but then suddenly Kloppen is the clone and his side completely turns on him. Do you know who would not, though? Or even just support Kloppen when he had no other place to go? Kloppen joins Kento’s side to take down the emperor and bring peace to the galaxy. It’s legitimately crazy but in a good way. Kento’s father kind of helps with that by getting Kento to not kill him, but it was Kento still motivating and treating Kloppen as a human and that changes the entire course of the War in Kento and his father’s favor.

This is why all the slice of life elements in the first half make sense. We see the tale of a hero who was nothing all his life and then thrust into something else. Something he didn’t want and never found value in being told he had a title. Kento just wanted to be a person who lived his life with his friends. So the show eventually destroyed the system and Kento’s father started his work on building a galactic republic instead of living with the hierarchy system. We never figure out if that actually happens, but we know it’s starting and that’s the point of the entire series for more. People are people, no matter where they come from. 

Concluding Future Robot Daltanious

This show is so interesting to look at. Yes, it’s from 1979. Yes, it’s ancient and there are lots of scenes where its characters are goofy and off model, but it’s still really good. There is something about it that gives the show life. Especially a lot of the mecha battles that, while using a lot of stock footage, still give me such more stress. They are up close and personal fights that I never not felt some stress from concluding. Especially since the Daltanious is constantly pushed into corners all the time. Then when the Daltanious goes into space, the animation kicks in so hard and I’m going to have so many sequences stuck into my head for my entire life. It’s good stuff.

One thing that I should mention, because it’s important to me, is that this is one of a few giant robot series not helmed by Tomino, that had a giant robot doing work related things that aren’t fighting. Sure, Patlabor exists, but the entire point of that show is that Labors do construction work and the Patlabor users make sure they aren’t handled by the wrong people. The Daltanious was used for a lot of construction work around the city of Tokyo and that was so cool to see. I am glad that people actually know how to use a giant robot other than fighting. 

I really liked my time watching Daltanious. This show feels like a show where the creators felt a massive change in how robot anime is going to be soon and tried to go in a different angle than before. It still had a lot of the classic super robot formula with the episodic stories, but it was so much different in that it was like a Hanna Barbera cartoon in a lot of ways. Especially in its first half. It also tackled a lot of topics about monarchs and hierarchies, eventually deciding that neither of them are important, humans should just live their lives without caring about what other people feel about you. It has lots of pacing flaws and parts that I don’t like, but the series itself is just really good. 


  1. First off, I’ve probably re-read this post half a dozen times (along with all your Mecha March posts) trying to find something to say of substance. That still has not happened other then I really appreciate you digging into these older series and shining a light on them each year. There’s something just really touching about reading your thoughts on these series I would have never even heard about, let alone consider watching, if I hadn’t come across your posts.

    Secondly, tangentially related but while thrifting in Japan the other day I actually came across a set/figure (not quite sure) of Daltanious! It was one of many moments where I saw it and immediately thought of you and your post. If I hadn’t read your post I don’t think I would have appreciated the figure for what it was (or understood why it was in case and it’s price…). So that’s a weird little tidbit for you I guess?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh jeez, thank you. I have taken a bit of a stats drop as a result of going after these shows, but I still love writing about these shows. There is a lot of fun in all of it honestly.

      That’s crazy, I love it. I’m glad that Daltanious is being represented like that in Japan. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome welcome! It’s always rough seeing a stat drop when you’re passionate about you’re posting. The most important part though is the fun of watching and sharing it though!

        You’re totally welcome on that front too!

        Liked by 2 people

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