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Korean ripoff


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  • 9 months later...

The '80s' was quite volatile but in particular to the Koreans... politically and otherwise. Right after the president of the country was assassinated, there was a "coup d'etats", "civilian massacre", "student protests", "move towards direct presidential election"... and then there were the Asian Games ('86) and the Olympics ('88)... inaugrations of the Korean professional baseball league, Soccer League (Super-League later renamed K-League) and the professional basket ball league. Amongst all that, the ban on all things Japanese, including Japanese pop culture (J-pop, animation, movies, TV dramas, etc.), was still in place but a select few were able to get their hands on some of these in the black market.

Interestingly enough, the military dictatorship government that was in power during the '80s banned all TV shows (including cartoons and animations) that were deemed "militant". All robot-related animation were banned from TV broadcasting (including Mazinger, Grandizer, etc.) For example, Macross (in the form of its US version "Robotech") made the TV screen when Korea introduced its 3rd TV network but was pulled off after the first dozen episodes or so.

Spotting the niche market in Korea, i.e. the video rental market catering to the generation who had been watching Mazinger Z on TV only a few years before and who had longings for good old busting and blasting action of robots, and having the minimal skillset of producing animation (having been a subcontractor of the Japanese animation industry for several years), some of the Korean studios produced these robot animations in the '80s with a minimal budget. The results are the likes of Space Gundam V. (I don't recall any "Raiders of Galaxy"). Some were sponsored by mid-sized toy companies. There were a few that had characters or mechas licensed from Japanese companies in exchange for royalties. Since Japanese companies couldn't export them into Korea to reap 100% of the profits anyway due to the ban of all things Japanese, this was a way for the Japanese companies to make more money and the only way to do so in Korea. Then, of course, there were the true knock-offs/rip-offs but then again, the concept of "intellectual property" and the real enforcement mechanism was non-existent of flimsy at best (much like or even worse than what is going on in China or other Asian countries).

So it helps to know a little background behind these shows. I doubt that any Korean would be proud of these creations/copies. But then again, it was a necessary step leading to where the Korean animation industry is today.

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  • 6 months later...

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