Taekwondo robot kicks its way backRobot Taekwon V could easily be mistaken for Mazinger Z, a Japanese fighting robot, which was hugely popular here right before the Korean version came along. But if you tell that to most Koreans who grew up in the ’70s, you can expect an ear-drubbing on the uniqueness of Korea’s favorite robot.
In fact, the first episode of Robot Taekwon V, the shorts by Kim Cheong-gi that became a milestone in Korean animation, drew 180,000 people in Seoul alone when it was released in theaters in Jongno in July 1976.
To celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, a local producer arranged a screening of the film, which has been digitally restored, at Seoul Animation Center.
The screening was following a business deal signed by Shincine Communication earlier this month for producing music videos, computer games, commercials and films using the animated character.
The digital remastered version of the animation first came into the public spotlight last October, when the first episode of the film was screened at the Pusan International Film Festival after the Korean Film Council had discovered a negative. The screening was big news, because the original copy of the film was sold to the United States in 1978, along with the copyright.
On the opening weekend last week, the theater was jam-packed with viewers ranging from young children to older office workers.
“I feel like I traveled back 30 years ago in a time machine,” Mr. Kim said. “It reminds me of all the times I saw kids having fun with the robot. Three decades have passed since then, but something has stayed the same.”
by Park Soo-mee
The screenings of “Robot Taekwon V” will continue through Aug. 27 at Seoul Animation Center. For more information call (02) 3455-8341~2. The center also features an exhibition made up of stills and cartoons by contemporary comic artists mimicking the first Korean animation.