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Influence and success of the Arabic edition of UFO Robo Grendizer: Adoption of a Japanese icon in the Arabic-speaking world

Karim El Mufti

Mutual Images Journal, no. 9, Dec. 2020, pp. 3-37 

Available on this link


UFO Robo Grendizer, a Japanese anime character produced in 1975, was immensely popular in Arab countries. Adapted into Arabic in Lebanon as it was enduring a devastating civil war, the program was broadcasted in 1979, then during the 1980s across many Arab audiences (mainly Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf). 

The cartoon’s narrative of alien invasion and heroic resistance, using cutting-edge technology in the form of Grendizer the super-robot, mirrored the harsh reality of war and occupation that so many Arab populations endured during the same period. 

This paper aims at uncovering why Grendizer struck such a profound echo in the minds and hearts of the generation of children who found in the character a super hero figure as an escape route to their world’s problems. It will also address the impact of this Japanese cultural reference onto Arabic audiences and highlight how the cartoon came to be domesticated for an Arab context, thus leaving its original universe and encompass the mindset, reflections and expectations of many Arab generations.



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