Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Marine Boy - bloody fantastic ...

Marine Boy - he was bloody fantastic

In an earlier post I made reference to Marine Boy and it's dawned on me that many people may not remember him. Shame on you.

If you don't remember Marine Boy (aka Kaitei Shonen Marien aka Marine The Sea Bottom Boy) key Marine Boy biographical facts are available here:
Marine Boy was my first introduction to Japanese Manga. Even as a confused 5 year old, it was obvious to me that somewhere far, far away, there was a strange island inhabited by people very different to the ones around me. I approved. Appreciation of sake, helicopter porn and raw fish came later with adulthood.

The tales of his adventures with his friends Neptimea and Cli Cli were massively popular in their day. Sadly, Marine Boy is no longer shown on TV, partly because the animation looks a little shonky these days but mostly because of the Oxy-Gum thing.

Unlike Neptimea and Cli Cli, Marine Boy could not breathe naturally underwater and instead relied on copious consumption of special 'Oxy-Gum'. Unfortunately, Oxy-Gum was not available in UK sweat shops, sweet shops even. So, five year olds around the World being what they are, including myself and several school chums, tested out their own domestically available brands of chewing gum to see if they too enabled you to breathe underwater. In the face of repeated failures, in the bath and on school visits to the local swimming pool, we still persisted with our experiments; reasoning that we probably weren't chewing hard enough. My perplexed mother caught me on several occasions with my face in a bowl of water chomping madly on a Bazooka Joes and Chiclets.

Marina Boy was popular in the pre micro-chip era when children had to make their own fun and really did risk their lives, rather than act out reality on computer screens. In my day you really did die if you lost the game; entombed in abandoned refridgerators on rubbish tips, sucked down into local canals or lacerated and poisoned by cheap, lead-painted clockwork toys imported from the Soviet Union - your last view of this earth being the garishly painted laughing face of the metal drum-beating clown that had opened up your arteries. This environment encouraged resourcefulness and self-reliance. It also weeded out the morons who today survive to infest our city streets and shopping centres.

I don't have the exact statistics to hand but my understanding is that Marine Boy was directly responsible for several toddler drownings around the world and so the show was pulled - another innocent victim of Political Correctness gone mad.

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