Panda-Z: The Robonimation (パンダーゼット THE ROBONIMATION, Pandā Zetto Za Robonimēshon?) is a Japanese anime television series. The series consists of short comedy sketches, involving the adventures of Pan-Taron, a super deformed robotic panda, pilot of the Panda-Z mecha, and his equally small cute robotic friends, as they fight the evil Skullpander, leader of the Warunimal forces. The story is confined to the small Robonimal Island (containing Robonimal City and P-Z Labs) and a tiny nearby volcanic island that is home to the Warunimal base. Buildings in Robonimal City are all topped with panda heads.
Never taking itself seriously, the story is often just an excuse to put the characters in common everyday situations, but with a robotic twist, which allows for comical results.
In several episodes the characters can be seen playing the card game Old Maid against one another. The deck they play with has characters from the show on them, including Skullpander as the Joker. In one episode they play Janken which translates to Rock-Paper-Scissors…a game made more difficult by their mitten-like hands.
Being robots, they can often be seen ingesting batteries for their food.
Some other times, the struggle between the two groups is present, but either one of them, or sometimes even both, don't take the fighting seriously. The series is often a parody of super robot shows such as Mazinger Z, popular in the 1970s.
None of the characters are voiced, and the show's infrequent dialogue is instead presented through intertitles. Some episodes have no dialogue at all, relying on mime movement, sound effects, and the show's electric guitar-based blues/rock/fusion soundtrack for expression. Each episode is five minutes long, including both the opening and ending credits. The ending credits also include a profile of one character or set piece from the series.
The series is collected in 6 DVD volumes under Bandai's "Anime Legends" banner, each of which also has a bonus 3-D animated short and a short featuring a large rotocast Panda-Z toy. The first volume is available with a pack-in Panda-Z toy 3" (8cm) tall…and to judge from a short sequence in the opening credits, this toy is as big as the "giant" robot is.
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