Robot Keiji or Robot detective is a 1973 tokusatsu show from, who else, but Shotaro Ishinomori and is an homage to the works of Asimov. After all his cyborg heroes an android seems like the logical next step.
The series is a superhero crime show and puts more effort into being a crime show than a lot of other police toku which just have more of a police theme than anything quite often.
It focuses on Robot Detective K and his colleagues as they try to maintain order despite the best efforts of the evil organisation BAD (yes, really) who hires out their robots to further their own nefarious ends.
K is partnered up with Daizo Shiba, a tough detective who’s been on the force for 25 years and by now everyone can see where this is going. That’s not to say that this pairing is bad by any means though in fact the sincere and slightly naïve rookie robot and gruff stick in the mud make quite a compelling duo as Daizo very clearly wants nothing to do with this which provides plenty of room for character growth.
Rounding out the cast are Daizo’s two daughters Yumi and Nami, Daizo’s previous partner Go Shinjo. Former detective Keitaro Shinjo (Go’s brother) and informant Mimihei Jigoku.
Robot Detective’s greatest strengths would definitely be its strong atmosphere and very tight pacing. It feels like a detective show with toku elements rather than the other way around and there’s no wasted space in the run time, every scene serves to push the narrative forward or introduce new compelling characters in organic ways and to top it off the episode ends with a cliffhanger that leaves you no choice but to want to see this case continue.
My only complaint is that there’s only one episode up so far however I can definitely recommend that you give Robot Detective a watch, if you love 70s tokusatsu or detective shows you’ll love this.
The first episode of Robot Detective is available to watch now on the official Toei Tokusatsu World YouTube channel.