TCJ / Eiken Studio
54 years ago today, Tobor The 8th Man made its debut on Tokyo Broadcasting System. The story focuses on Detective Tobor, an officer who is killed by gangsters. His life force is transferred into an android body by Professor Genius, which makes Tobor impervious to bullets and gives him the ability to shape shift and to run at top speeds. This anime was ahead of its time with elements that can be seen in works such as The Six-Million Dollar Man, Robocop, Mega Man decades before their existence.
My first experience with this anime was in December, 1988. I had just been given a VCR for my bedroom as a Christmas present (one of the best gifts I had ever been given, then or since), and my grandmother bought me a few tapes from the drugstore so I would have something to watch on it. The one that jumps out from my memory was Tobor.
Not only was this unusual for the fact that the cartoon was black and white, and that it had an other-world feel (it would be years before I had ever heard of the word "anime"), but the tape was released in an oversized box that also contained a bag of microwave popcorn. It was released by New Age Video in their Kiddy Popcorn Classics series, which was comprised of public domain cartoons packaged with popcorn. What more could an 8 year old ask for!
I've looked for this particular VHS tape in the years since, but no luck. In fact, this tiny gif is the largest photo I could find to confirm that this wasn't a figment of my imagination. The series has since found its way to the Dollar DVD rack, and many episodes have been uploaded to YouTube, though you'll have to supply your own popcorn for each.
The entire series can be seen on YouTube from 8thManDVD.com.