previous article | | next article
Johnny Sokko and his Amazing Flying Robot!
Matt - 08/17/00

If you've heard of Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot before, you've led a charmed life. See, you've already witnessed the absolute height of comedy. Consider yourself charmed. If you haven't, sit back and enjoy the strange ride as we present to you - the absolute worst Japanese monster series of all time!

Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot

The story about how I got into this one takes us way back to the early 80s...for some reason, they always showed this series on Thanksgiving. My older brothers for years had regarded Sokko as, bar none, the funniest thing ever created. The video I have of it is kinda choppy - I missed out on the first 10 minutes or so of the story, making everything seem that much more ridiculous. But I've researched this god have I researched, trying desperately to piece it together to find out what the fuck is going on. To their credit, I've realized that yes, the movie does have a plot! But then again - so did Jaws IV...that doesn't make it good. :)

Here's the very short plot...I'm here to make fun of the movie, not give an in-depth synopsis: Futuristic Earth is plagued by the evil doings of the so-called 'Gargoyle Gang', lead by the ridiculous Emperor Guillotine - who kinda looks like a cross between an octopus and a solid gold dancer. Johnny Sokko, or U7, has the ability to call upon the power of Giant Robot, a robot who can fly and suspiciously looks like an Egyptian pharoah. The robot is the Unicorn Agents' - the good guys - only hope at stopping the villains, because as fate would have it, the bad guys have more stupid giant monsters in their arsenal than the entire cast of Amen!

That's the plot, now here's all the wonderful characters and plot oversights...

That's U7 (Johnny Sokko) and U3 (Gerry), otherwise known as the main good guys. Gerry gets jealous because Johnny controls the robot - but that's not the only reason for Gerry to get jealous. In one scene, Johnny takes a shotgun blast to the skull, and all he needs is a little rest time at the hospital! I should mention that whoever dubbed this flick did a really shitty job. I'm not saying that they just speak when their lips aren't moving - I'm saying that there's no way that could possibly be what they're saying. Whomever dubbed this evidently didn't know Japanese from French, and just used their best judgement to come up with the lines.

That's Emperor Guillotine - the main bad guy. While his costume leaves a lot to be desired, understand that this is one powerful motherfucker. At the end of the movie, he becomes a giant version of himself complete with the ultimate weapon: the ability to rip off and throw his fingernails, causing huge explosions. An avid collector of Egyptian art, Emperor Guillotine seeks to make Giant Robot his own, with the sidebar goal to simply crush the people of Earth under his mighty squid grip.

Emperor Guillotine's not an idiot. He knows he can't accomplish his goals alone, so he's hired some of the best guns money can buy - including this guy, Dangor the Executioner.
A guy with beer bottles for feet who wears a giant plastic fish on his shoulder. You know how we always talk about how screwed Skeletor was when it came to his hired help? Well, he ain't got nothing on Emperor Guillotine. Dangor not only looks like an idiot - he talks like one too. When he's able to actually stand up - and trust me, this is a big challenge - the best he can offer up is a bunch of inane giggling.

Along with Dangor the Executioner comes this guy. I don't know his name, but we'll call him Destro. Simply because he's obviously an inspiration for Cobra's number one son. Destro is probably the most vocal about wanting to kill everyone, which does lead to a problem because, when he talks, bad translations follow. An example, direct from the show:

Destro: Dey embarass me! Dey won't get away with that!
Gargoyle Guy: This...isn't...exactly what you doctor?

I guess you had to be there. But Doctor Destro is not only a powerful higher-up in the Gargoyle Gang, he also wears a cape that has two big scary plastic arms on it. When U7 and U3 rip the cape off him, shock and despair follow!


Now, no bad guy team is complete without filler. Filler being the guys who get killed that nobody cares about. In this case, it's the Gargoyle's human bad guys, who for some reason all look like German war heroes or French painters...take a look:

See the guy in the sunglasses on the right? He dies pretty quick. I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem with him turning up in the next scene unscathed, only to get killed again. And while I don't have a major problem with that, I do have a major problem with him turning up in every scene, unscathed, despite dying at least 136 times in the course of the series. He may dress like a cool cat, but rest assured, a cat he ain't. He don't have no nine lives.

The good guys aren't without a lot of agents either. Agents who for some reason wear motorcycle helmets and pink scarves while flying battle jets. This is the only series in history where the costume and props came exclusively from the old lady's garage sale down the street. As a general rule of thumb, any Unicorn agent who isn't known as U1, U5, or Usomething, is a pretty safe bet to be dead on arrival. These guys drop faster that kids playing Photon by the 9th precinct.

Now it's time to talk about...the monsters. The backbone of the Gargoyle Gang. It's at these points where the line between science fiction and hilarious comedy becomes really thin...

The Nucleon! Sadly, this is the best monster we'll get in terms of credibility. I say 'sadly', because it's nothing but a ball with some spikes that you can clearly see being puppeteered by strings in at least 5 different shots. To it's credit, it gives us one of the lamest special effects sequences ever...

Giant Robot throws the Nucleon at the Gargoyles. Notice that some of the Gargoyles have decided that it'd be best to try hiding under the car instead of inside it. But, then again, they're safe. It's not the Gargoyle's car that's being destroyed, but obviously a Hot Wheels car. Kickass.

This one, who we'll call the Water Monster, is also pretty interesting. See, it's inactive in the water and without power. The natural conclusion would be for the monster to drink all the water. That's like someone saying that they're in pain in a pool of acid, so they better drink it all up quick. This was probably the lamest of all the monsters, simply because it didn't even fight back. As soon as Giant Robot hit the scene, all it had to do was punch the fucker a few times.

Another terrific effect came to us from the Dog Monster, who eats a train. Or I should say, eats a model train so small that even I'd eat it on a dare. If that's not enough for you, the monster appears to be made entirely out of paper mache. The thing looks like a fucking animated pinata, so obviously, Giant Robot has little trouble punching holes through it.

Opticon was pretty cool. Reminds me of Digdogger from Zelda. A giant eye with tentacles and virtually no offense. I don't know why anyone was even remotely concerned with it. It was about as effective in battle as a Macy's Day Parade balloon. You know, now that I think about it, maybe Giant Robot wasn't all that powerful afterall. Anyone could take these monsters.

I won't spoil the end for you, but I will say that it involves them throwing in a plot twist, and then completely abandoning it for the sake of ending the abomination. If there ever was something in dire need of the MST3K treatment, this is it. And if you ever feel like becoming bulemic without shoving your fingers down your throat, simply pop this video into the VCR player.

Dr. Dorian knows just how it grows!

- Matt