Saturday, November 5, 2011

Forgotten Science Fiction Classic - Fang Of The Sun Dougram

Back in the early 90s when anime was just starting to come into the fore & it wasn't even easy to get to see this stuff on VHS. I used to get into my car on a Saturday evening & drive down to Wallingford, Ct. for the weekend. There was a comic shop that used to show Anime with a capital "a". We would all gather round with snacks & such. I'd stay with a friend & his wife for beer & pizza along with Cyberpunk 2020. We'd play  40k till 5:00 am after getting back from the comic shop. The anime nights were popular & interesting.
One series we got to see on bootleg VHS from Japan was Fang Of The Sun Dougram. 

Plot :
Major Spoiler Alert Ahead! 
he series begins in a desert on the colony planet Deloyer, where the remains of a destroyed robot are resting as a red-haired woman is standing in front of it. The woman hallucinates what appears to be a group of armed soldiers alongside the robot in a non-destroyed state. A man named Rocky appears, leading to the woman running into his embrace where she cries tears of joy. After this, the series flashes back to a earlier time, in order to explain the circumstances leading up the first episode.
Malcontents on the Deloyer colony agitate for the independence of their world from the EarthFederation. In an unexpected coup, the elected Governor declares martial law and sets himself up as absolute dictator. With the approval of the Federation, he rules the planet with an iron fist. In reaction, a ragtag group (including the governor's estranged son) rises in open rebellion, using a powerful prototype Combat Armor: the Dougram. Their goal is the end of the dictatorship and total independence from the Federation's influence.
The story follows the actions of the guerilla freedom fighters known as "The Deloyer 7." The war is fought across the planet Deloyer as the Federation vigorously pursues the rebels. The series is noted for its realistic use of not just the combat armors and support vehicles, but also military tactics. The series also followed a wide-range of characters and political intrigue, with many shady characters switching sides throughout the series.
As the series progresses, the Deloyer 7 team battles with the Federation forces assigned to hunt them down, and then as part of a large rebel army made up of Deloyer rebels and even ex-Federation troops who oppose the dictatorship. Major battles such as The Battle of Stanrey and The Battle of Kalnock anchor much of the plot, with minor battles being fought throughout the story. Eventually the rebels lose too many forces to the Federation, who are continually producing newer and more powerful Combat Armors in the numbers the rebellion cannot meet. Ultimately this leads to an unfavorable truce between the main rebel political leaders and the Federation. When the Deloyer 7 hear this, at first they decide to fight it out to the end, but once surrounded by overwhelming Federation forces, they, including Cashim, are convinced to surrender and Cashim self-destructs the Dougram, ending the rebellion.
The final scene of the series is the Dougram lying still in the desert, with the members of the Fang of the Sun all having died as time passed
Characters - Not only Dallas there lots! 
  • Crinn Cashim: the show's main character. Son of Governor Denon Cashim, he becomes trained in piloting the Soltic Roundfacer by Jacky Zalshiev, a Federation Ace, because of his father's political connections. When his father appears to be overthrown by a coupe led by Colonel Von Stein, he pilots a Roundfacer while Federation forces battle Garcia's forces. He is stunned to learn that his father has actually sided with Von Stein in a secret plan, and eventually becomes angry at his father's forces in how they deal with the rebellion following the coupe. Following a meeting with Dr. David Samlin, who introduces him to a combat armor he has designed, the Dougram, Cashim and his friends form The Fang of the Sun and join the rebellion against the Federation.
  • Rocky Andrew (or Andor): red-haired leader and founder of the Fang of the Sun rebel group.
  • Canary Donetto: The Fang of the Sun's second-in-command and Rocky Andor's lover. According to the first episode, Canary outlived the other Fang of the Sun members in the end, despite most of the group surviving the rebellion.
  • Chico Biento: rebel weaponeer, carries a powerful portable laser cannon called the Big E-Gun which is capable of piercing weak points in many Combat Armors with a single shot.
  • Festo Bronco: A feisty 18-year-old passionate bicycle rider; he developed a love/hate relationship with Heckle.
  • Billy Hall: 16-year-old rebel auxiliary, he looks and acts more like a 12-year-old and hero-worships Crinn. Typically wields a missile launcher and teamed up with Canary in a support role.
  • Nanashi: An infantryman, heavily built. Provides some comedy relief among the rebel group.
  • Heckle G. Thompson: 24-year-old rebel engineer who defects to the Guerrillas after being captured by the Fang of the Sun. Responsible for maintaining Dougram for most of the series.
  • Daisy McDonalds: Crinn's love interest and last tie to his Earth background, she travels to Deloyer in hopes to rejoin with him.
  • Dr. David Samlin: former professor at Deloyer University and chief designer of the Dougram. He becomes a powerful leader within the rebellion.
  • Denon Cashim: Crinn's father and the Governor of Deloyer. Co-conspirator with Helmut LeCoque and Brudoran Garcia to stage a false coupe attempt, and then use it to solidify the Federation's control over the colony of Deloyer.
  • Helmut J. LeCoque: Secretary to Denon Cashim and later the Federation's Representative to Deloyer. The true villain of the story. He plays the Federation against the Rebels in hopes of winning absolute control over both Deloyer and Earth.
  • Brudoran Garcia: Mercenary commander of the Garcia Company. Killed while pursuing the Fang of the Sun, after going so far to sacrifice most of his force and betraying the Federation army.
  • Dick Lertoff: APU reporter and war correspondent. Helps Crinn and the Guerilla movement
  • J. Locke: Experienced military commander who leads a band of well equipped Guerillas. Supports the Fang of the Sun on several occasions.
  • Rick Boyd: Federation Major, fiercely loyal to Locke. Ultimately defeated by Cashim.
  • Von Stein: Federation Colonel. A self-serving gloryhound who hopes to take Locke's place and, eventually, displace Garcia.
  • Jacky Zaltsev: A Federation Major who is tasked with defeating the Fang of the Sun; after failing to get results he is replaced. In frustration, Zaltsev launches into an outburst; this helps the rebels frame Zaltsev, forcing him to defect to the People's Liberation Army, of which he is given command.
  • Blink: Federation Korchima Pilot and commander of the 24th Battalion who pilots the powerful Roundfacer Korchima Special. Rarely seen without sunglasses.
  • Rad, Barrel and Tennisn: Federation Korchima pilots who serve under Blink, all who pilot the Korchima Special.
  • Destin: Samlin's assistant and LeCoque's spy.
    The real stars of the show  - The Mecha Designs! 
    In S.C. 140 (Dougram time system, meaning Space Century), the Federal military asked for an all-terrain heavy-weapon system to deal with the varied geographic conditions of the colony worlds. Only two companies made it through the extensive requirements testing: Abitate and Soltic.
    Abitate's F44A "Crabgunner" was a 12-meter, 4-legged walking tank. Soltic's own H8 "Roundfacer" was humanoid, with a single pilot located in the head. The simpler Crabgunner became the mainstay of the early Federation forces, but it was the Roundfacer that would revolutionize mechanized warfare. As the rebellion grows in number, the Federation introduces new models of Combat Armors to oppose it, many of them designed to fulfill specific roles (desert fighting, cold weather deployment, etc.). Unlike other anime, these new machines are production models and rarely one-of-a-kind prototypes (the Dougram itself being the most notable exception).
    The following list showcases the machines seen in the show. The terms "Soltic," "Abitate," and "Dougram" actually represent the names of the companies that built the combat armors, not the names of the machines themselves. The "common names," if any, are given in quotes.
    • "Dougram" - Exclusively developed by Samlin, the Dougram is based on the Federation's Roundfacer, and is able to use parts from salvaged Roundfacers to keep it running. During the series the Dougram is customized for various missions, such as utilizing a Hang Glider like the Roundfacer, or a set of anti-aircraft guns to combat the Federation Duey helicopters that Cashim faces all-throughout the series. The final version is known as the JAKT Type which replaces a set of smoke launchers on the side of its head with a rocket pod similar to those mounted on the Roundfacer.
    • Abitate F35C "Blizzard Gunner" - Deployed late in the series, the Blizzard Gunner becomes one of the main weapons used by the Federation in the region of Kalnock.
    • Abitate F44A "Crab Gunner" - The first Combat Armor, its design nevertheless influences further designs, although its shortcomings become apparent in battles facing other Combat Armors.
    • Abitate F44B "Tequila Gunner" - First introduced in by Locke, the Tequila Gunner is used in a support role, much of the time battling the Deloyer 7 team from a distance. Once the Desert Gunner is developed, the Tequila Gunner is phased out.
    • Abitate F44D "Desert Gunner" - One of the more powerful Combat Armors in Dougram, the huge spider-like Desert Gunners come close to defeating the Dougram. For whatever reason, they do not make much of an appearance later in the series.
    • Abitate T-10B "Blockhead" - Really a prototype than a production model, this version of the Blockhead sports a red paint job and appears in a group of three that surprise the Deloyer 7 team. Future Blockheads appear as the C Type.
    • Abitate T-10C "Blockhead" - When the B Type proved successful, the Federation mass produces the C Type, and it becomes one of the main weapons used by the Federation along side its Roundfacer units.
    • Hasty F4X "Ironfoot" - Originally a Federation design, the rebellion incorporates a number of them when an entire Federation army group switches sides during the conflict and joins the rebellion.
    • Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" - The mainstay of the Federation's Combat Armor forces, the Roundfacer is versatile and easy to produce. Its service runs right up to the final fight against the rebellion.
    • Soltic H8-RF "Korchima Special" (24th Battalion Custom) - This is an upgraded version of the Roundfacer, and only four of them are produced, and used by am elite Federation unit known as the Korchima Battalion. It incorporates a Laser on its forearm inplace of the Roundfacer's Linear Gun, and a powerpack for extended service. The Korchima Special is arguably more powerful than the Dougram, although Cashim's piloting skills gives him the upper-hand.
    • Soltic H404S "Mackerel" - The only amphibious Combat Armor shown in the series, and is used in conjunction with the Federation's Naval Fleets and during a massive D-Day type of landing against rebel forces.
    • Soltic H-102 "Bushman" - A light-weight Combat Armor originally designed for mountainous terrain.
    • Soltic HT-128 "Bigfoot" - The largest and most powerful design of the Combat Armors developed by the Federation, it is used in winter conditions high up on the Kalnock mountain range. While able to contribute to rebel losses, they too are unable to defeat the Dougram.
    • Nicholiev AG-9 "Cabarov" - A support Combat Armor that rarely appears in the series, and one of the few Combat Armors not designed by Abitate or Soltic.
    Combat Armors used by the Sun Fang rebels are marked with a gold-bordered red triangle. The Federation Occupation Forces use gold chevrons to indicate the division they are assigned to (1st, 2nd, or 3rd).
     Fang Of The Sun Dougram - The OSR - Minor Cultural Impact 
    From Wiki : The popular technical designer Kunio Okawara produced the designs for both shows. Dougram featured a similar plot centered around a small team fighting a running battle with a powerful enemy, using an advanced giant robotic prototype combat armor. The show was a surprise success, especially considering the heavy emphasis on military tactics which slowed the pace of the story, and further confirmed that military 'giant robot' science-fiction was here to stay. Takahashi and Sunrise would go on create a follow-up series, Armored Trooper Votoms, which used similar styling and themes but was otherwise unrelated in plot, characters or setting
    Now if you've gotten this far your probably thinking to yourself. What the hell is this all about & why does that stuff look familiar? The answer is simple really. In the mid -80s FASA borrowed from the series as well as Robotech, Crusher Joe, & a few others. FASA was later sued by Playmates Toys and Harmony Gold USA for using designs from Macross (for example, Valkyrie fighters renamed Stinger,Wasp and Phoenix Hawk). The lawsuit was settled, and as a result post-lawsuit Battletech products no longer feature the designs taken from Macross. However the designs from Dougram and Crusher Joe have since been re-introduced.
    Consider the model for the show for a moment - it 
    centers around a small team fighting a running battle with a powerful enemy, using an advanced giant robotic prototype combat armor.
    Imagine a campaign of Mutant Future which used a similar model. Does it have to end happily? Not necessarily. There was another successful science fiction television show that ended like a punch to the gut! 

    This show remains 
    because of its dystopian themes, moral ambiguity, strong characterisation and its memorable final episode.
     Not every campaign has to end well. But I digress.
    A staple of both Gamma World & Mutant Future is power armor. One step down from Mechs.

    Mecha appears in Star Frontiers, The Buck Rogers 25th Century rpg,etc. Way back in Dragon 101 there appeared "The Empire Of The Sun" -An anime-inspired nation, home of the AATAAVs! ROBOTECH DEFENDERS was the name of a line of model kits distributed by Revell, Inc. in the early 1980s. Many of these were based on mecha from Japanese shows, including Super Dimension Fortress Macross. The model kits were supposed to have been tied to a comic book series, but the initial 3-issue limited series done by DC Comics was so poorly received that the third issue was never released.
    Since Revell was already distributing models using designs from Macross that put a crimp in Harmony Gold's merchandizing plans for their Macross videos. In the end they entered into a co-licensing agreement with Revell and eventually adopted the Robotech name for the syndicated television show the home video line had transformed into.

    If you look in the left hand corner you'll see a robotech changer called Nebo. Nebo is actually the basis for AATAAV. The AATAAV was much more heavily  armed & could with a good deal of dice luck & pilot skill take out a death machine ! 
    Notice I said luck. Lots of it. 
    Anyhow for something different aboard the Warden 1st edition perhaps some of the characters might come across a mysterious deck with a bunch of AATAAVs within. 
    There is a reason for all of this Sunday I have a Mutant Future game with Metamorphosis Alpha elements in it! I'm pulling on my past for this! This is why the  Fang Of The Sun Dougram post.
     I'll be adding some elements from Realms of Crawling Chaos !
    Madness rides the star-wind... claws and teeth sharpened on centuries of corpses... dripping death astride a bacchanale of bats from nigh-black ruins of buried temples of Belial...
    • "The Hound" Written September 1922, published February 1924 in Weird Tales, 3, No. 2, 50–52, 78
     This post from the Savage Afterworld is really what inspired me Here
    Since this is a one shot don't expect a happy ending

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