Grendizer on DNA: the unusual anecdote behind the French name of the giant robot …

Why is Goldorak called that in France? We can decipher the origins of his name!

Grendizer, the giant robot invented by Go Nagai in the 70s, is in the spotlight right now! On September 21, ADN uploaded the latest episodes of the cult series, now available in entirety on the platform. Excellent news to see or review this anime that rocked the childhood of a whole generation, but also to introduce it to young people.

The marvelous genius of infinity, as the cult credits sung by Noam called it, is also celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first broadcast in France (1978). For the occasion, the Maison de la culture du Japon in Paris is devoting an exhibition to him, the Goldorak-XPerienZ, which will be held until October 30.


The event highlights the importance of the work of Go Nagai, a pioneer of the manga and japanimation phenomenon in France. Goldorak is an extremely rich series in terms of the themes addressed throughout the 74 episodes.

“There is a very pure, very noble message. It is for example a certain code of honor conveyed by Actarus, the pilot of Grendizer. There is also the idea that we must protect the Earth, that this one is fragile and that we must help each other among humans to repel threats that risk destroying us “, analysis Ivan Jablonka, writer and historian, at the microphone of France Inter.

As for Sarah Hatchuel, author of the book Grendizer, the adventure continues (with Marie Pruvost-Delaspre), she explains to Point that Goldorak is an “ecological epic which touches the myth”. According to her, Goldorak also summons the trauma of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “This nuclear theme is omnipresent in Grendizer, whether it is the planet of Actarus ravaged by radiation or those Golgoths which always end up exploding in huge atomic mushrooms”, confides the academic.


If the formidable robot of the new times has marked the spirits so much, it is also thanks to its name, quite simply. But where does the term Grendizer come from? Who chose to baptize the metallic hero this way? Indeed, in Japan, Goldorak is called Grendizer, not very selling for an export in the country of Molière.

We are in 1978. Jacques Canestrier, manager of Pictural Films, bought the rights to the anime (with Bruno-René Huchez) to broadcast it at Dorothée, in Récré A2. He then seeks to rename the series for the French public. For human characters, it’s easy. The team in charge of the adaptation chooses names linked to space and astronomy: Actarus, Procyon, Alcor, Vénusia … However, for Grendizer, the task is more delicate. How do you find a striking name that the public will easily remember?

Grendizer on dna: the unusual anecdote behind the french name of the giant robot...



Canestrier then scratches some names of well-known heroes of the pop culture of the time, all mixed with terms present in the anime: Tarzan, Zorro, Drakkar, Goliath, Golem … The businessman is hollowing out the head, supported by Jean-Pierre Steimer, director of the dubbing company Interfilms.

They then put on paper the name of Goldfinger, title of a James Bond released in 1965. Another hero slips into his list: Mandrake, a comic book magician. Jacques Canestrier decides to mix these two names, which gives Goldanrak.

He then calls his 8-year-old daughter, Stéphanie, and tests his find on her. The little girl, who has difficulty articulating this name correctly, finds it easier to call it Grendizer. Eurêka, Jacques Canestrier validates this pronunciation! A mythical hero was born, thanks to the help of an 8-year-old girl! On Monday July 3, 1978, Goldorak was broadcast for the first time on the small screen. The rest is history.

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