September 13, 2006

MARINE BOY (1969) - UK TV's first anime

(1966, Japan, TV)
(1969, UK version, TV)
(UPDATED June 20th, 2013 - Season 1 DVD boxset news)

In the 1960s, while the US was already enjoying Gigantor, Speed Racer and Astro Boy on TV, the UK didn't get any anime on TV until 1969, when Marine Boy was shown on the BBC in Children's Hour (before the evening news).

I enjoyed it then, already thinking that the animation was a little jerky - my first exposure to the 8 moves per second that I now understand to be the standard rate for Japanese TV animation.

Marine Boy worked with the world Ocean Patrol to protect the human race from danger and catastrophe from under the seas. He did this with his underwater jet boots and boomerang, while chewing oxy-gum, aided by his trusty dolphin sidekick Splasher. Occasionally a mermaid, Neptina, would have to bail him out.

I enjoyed it for the sci-fi look, particularly the flying sub "P-1", and of course hoped that there'd be sea monsters, which often only appeared in the title sequence.

The theme tune used on the BBC showings that I remember is a catchy, twangy instrumental, not the annoying song that was used in the States.

The UK version of the theme tune is here on YouTube.

Details of Marine Boy's complex transition from Japanese TV here on Glen Johnson's Anime page.

In all, there were 78 (25 minute) episodes made in English and in colour). The series was first released on DVD in three Japanese boxsets, all without subtitles or English audio. An example of the cover art is pictured above.

Then a single episode surfaced (sorry) in this Saturday Morning Cartoons collection.

But now (June 2013) Warner Archives are releasing the first series as a DVD boxset. I let you know more when I get it!


  1. hi there i remember it well what a brill series for kids shame kids dont watch this sort of thing now Lee Knapp age 42

  2. Great series.

    I have two different themes (from different seasons).

    One has lyrics -- one doesn't.

  3. I saw "Marine Boy" in 1969,and it is now clear that it is the originator of future "animi" films in the 1980s onwards.

    I haven't seen it in over forty
    years but I remember it was very surreal. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  4. Somebody from Australia posted a Marine Boy episode on youtube, they were showing it on their GO channel.