For an incarnation of the long running Metal Hero Series, B-Robo Kabutack (ビーロボカブタック) is rather a strange one. Broadcast alongside Denji Sentai Megaranger in 1997, Kabutack was created mostly as light-hearted, comic relief, following in the footsteps of Gekisou Sentai Carranger the previous year. The preceding Metal Hero Series, Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto, were adapted in the U.S. as Big Bad Beetleborgs and Beetleborgs Metallix but it seems Kabutack was considered too ridiculous for consideration as a sequel to the moreso ridiculous Beetleborgs. Go figure.
The stakes are not very high for our protagonist, quite honestly. Yuzuru Kouenji is gifted a portly B-Robot, Kabutack, by his eccentric Doc Brown-like grandfather, Dr. Torahiko Kouenji. The good doctor has tasked his grandson with the retrieval of thirteen Star Pieces (スターピース), hidden across Earth. Each piece will grant its finder a wish which is an exciting prospect but Yuzuru’s dream wishes, such as getting 100% on a test or scoring a home run in baseball, seriously lack ambition.
Standing in the way of our “heroes” are other, less sophisticated B-Robots. They were completed without their sleep activation program which means that they’re very naughty robots indeed. In the first episode, they fight over a star piece (which sounds increasingly more like star piss as the episode progresses) attached to a clock, precious to Yuzuru’s parents.
The B-Robots also have a Super Mode and much of the chase for the star piece in the episode also revolves around the need for Yukuru and Kabutack to bond in order to unlock theirs. Once their connection is made, Yuzuru can use the Friendship Commander device to activate Super Mode; I’m sure that was a swell toy in ’97.
While I’ve given this show a hard time for being a bit daft, I did enjoy the first episode a great deal. If you’re the kind of person that enjoyed the shenanigans of Gekisou Sentai Carranger or the child-centred hijinks of Big Bad Beetleborgs, then this show is probably for you. If the on-the-nose comedy of those aforementioned shows made you want to carve your eyes out with a vintage Beetle Bonder, then I’d suggest Kabutack probably isn’t the toku for you…
B-Robo Kabutack is one of the many Metal Hero series available to view on Toei Tokusatsu World’s official YouTube channel.