Robotboy is a American animated television series which is produced by company Alphanim for, as well as the studios LuxAnimation and for France 3 and Cartoon Network Studios Europe.
The show itself is about a battling and defensive robot called Robotboy, he is the latest creation of the world renowned scientist Professor Moshimo. Due to fears that Robotboy would be stolen and get into the wrong hands by his arch-enemy Dr. Kamikazi and his main henchman Constantine to be used to take over the world, Professor Moshimo entrusts Robotboy to a 10-year-old boy named Tommy Turnbull, his biggest fan. While being protected by Tommy and his two friends Lola and Gus, Robotboy learns how to behave and act as if he were a real boy but also protect his friends and the city of Bay Area from the dangers of the super-villains out there.
The series was first aired November 1, 2005 on Cartoon Network UK, each new season came each years afterwards. There were only four seasons produced, it included episodes well as episodes featuring space.
- Robotboy - The robot title character of the series is best friends with Tommy Turnbull. Robotboy has three modes: deactivated, activated, and superactivated.
- Tommy Turnbull - Robotboy's 6-year-old owner and human best friend.
- Augustus "Gus"/"G-Man" Turner - Tommy's funny, obese, sometimes rude, self-centered, and neurotic best friend.
- Lola Mbola - Tommy's unofficial girlfriend who has discreet romantic feelings for him.
- Robotgirl - A super fighting robot just like Robotboy, who was introduced in the episode of the same name "Robot Girl" and her last appearance was in "The Return of Robotgirl". She quickly made good friends with Robotboy and was only seen superactivated twice, both times in episode "Robotgirl". In the first place, she had to be convinced by Moshimo to use her ultimate powers, otherwise she would never see her friends again. In "The return of Robotgirl" she was brought back to Tommy with a distress message by Moshimo, she could not be activated until she was repaired by Tommy and she suffered from a major memory loss, but was convinced by Lola to use her emotions in favour of the kids' team. In the end she was defeated in a fight against Protoboy and then was saved by Robotboy.
- Dr. Kamikasi - A small old man with thick glasses and a suit/bathrobe combo who is a self-proclaimed evil genius and the main antagonist of the show. He wishes to capture Robotboy to create a template for an army of super robots, with which he will be able to achieve his dastardly goal of world domination. Most of his henchmen have a large letter K on their uniforms, to show that they are on Dr. Kamikazi's side. He has had many pets, ranging from snakes to cats, but as a running gag they usually always hurt him.
- Constantine - A fat hunchbacked hitman of Dr. Kamikazi who also is a master of sumo wrestling (though it is unknown if he has ever been a yokozuna, or "grand champion"). He is a sensitive and none too threatening sidekick to Dr. Kamikazi who mainly acts as his muscle power as well as his assistant. Constantine is also a refined chef, being able to create dishes ranging from Sashimi to tapas. It was seen in one episode that Constantine used to be an orphan before working for Kamikazi. Despite looking like a Japanese version of a hitman, Constantine is actually Spanish, suggesting that his outfit is simply a uniform assigned to him by Dr. Kamikazi.
- Donnie - Tommy's older Brother and secondary archenemy, he is a constant bully to every child in the neighborhood, including Gus and Tommy himself. He frequently calls people names, threatens them etc., and yet despite this, Tommy still treats him as family. Some people exploit his attitude for their benefit, usually Dr. Kamikazi. His bullying backfires in the third season after Robotboy tortures him when he decides to play hooky from school in order to humiliate and possibly destroy Robotboy.
- Kurt - A sadistic bully at Tommy's school, he has blonde hair and wears a hat. He constantly bullies Gus and Tommy, as well as any other kid he finds. His dad is a spy who has used Kurt to try and capture Robotboy. Tommy sometimes has outsmarted Kurt and his cronies by outwitting them, usually with Robotboy.
- Björn Bjornson - An evil boy who is about Tommy's age and claims to be a greater genius than Professor Moshimo. He has his own prototype robot named Brother Björn or Bjorn-Bot. Both were first introduced in the episode of the same name - "Brother Björn". Their mission is to destroy Moshimo's creation - Robotboy, so Bjorn-Bot would remain the only fighting robot in the world.
- Protoboy - Robotboy's evil brother, who was created by Moshimo in his earlier years, but later stolen by young Kamikazi and Constantine and turned too evil to control. He was then forcibly deactivated by Constantine and stored in a large storage room inside of Kamikazi's quarters in Kaziland until he was saved by Robotboy. His first appearance was in episode "Brother", but he returned in episode "The Old Switcharobot" and was later permanently destroyed by Robotboy in "The Return of Robotgirl" - the last episode of the series. He also has the ability to superactivate just like Robotboy, but the cannon built into his left arm is static and cannot be switched with an arm or another weapon. Robotboy was seen superactivated in Protoboy's body in "The old swticharobot" but his cannon was damaged because Protoboy (in Robotboy's body) had removed some of its parts prior to the body switch.
Production and inspirations
Jan Van Rijsselberge has stated on an interview that the idea of Robotboy came from one of his children, whom was often bullied in school at the time and wishes he could have a robot as his bodyguard. He also believed that combining both the action-packed scenes with the comedy would make an entertaining show as possible.
The series was first announced in 2002 when the idea for the series was picked up by Alphanim. Following a co-production deal between Alphanim and Cartoon Network Europe for Spaced Out, the animation company teamed up with Cartoon Network US on the original 26x13, later changed to 52x13 in 2004.
On January 9, 2003 the first character designs, character names, background designs and plot of the series were brought out by Cartoon Network. Only the original design of Robotboy and the original logo can be found online this day As seen on this page's gallery. All the other designs are not online to this day. Originally the series would center on three eight-year old kids, named Eric, Lola, and Chuckles. Eric receives a boxed package from his uncle Moshimo, a Japanese scientist. Inside the box is a prototype toy robot with battle capabilities, that Moshimo shipped to him to hide from his enemies, who want their hands on the technology. Later on in production, the series changed drastically. Eric became Tommy, and Chuckles became Gus. Moshimo was changed into a professor as opposed to an uncle, and instead of a criminal organization, they now faced various villains like Dr. Kamikazi, General Yakitori and Bjorn Bjornson, among others.
In February 2003, Cartoon Network US officially presented the new cartoon on their February initiative. After that the series got some new designs and changes, but it became quiet about it in the media or from CN itself. In 2004, France 3 announced to collaborate with Cartoon Network and Alphanim to produce and air the series.
According to Robert Mittenhal. The show was produced entirely in France, however, the writing came from the US, though with a lot of French writers, the executives and directors of Cartoon Network UK were the driving force behind the series.
On May 9, 2005 the Toon Boom Animation company announced that their software will be used to complete the series. Other animation duties divided among LuxAnimation in Luxemburg, Digital eMation in Korea and Monigotes in Spain. Jean-Pierre Quenet, director of operations at Alphanim at that time, quoted Opus enables us to maintain a high level of quality throughout the entire production process and facilitate the production coordination between all parties involved. The new names, character designs and the final plot of the series were also revealed that day. In August of 2005 it was announced that the series was almost finished and that the premiere of the series would start at November 1, 2005 on Cartoon Network UK. Robotboy later aired in the US in December 28, 2005. Before Cartoon Network aired the series, the France broadcaster MIPCOM first aired Robotboy on October 12, 2005. After season 1, it was broadcasted on other Cartoon Network in other countries in December 2005-February 2006. The last premiere of the series was with the launch of Cartoon Network Pakistan in 2010.
Before the launch, Cartoon Network started a big campaign to promote the series. CN took over all seven pages of advertising, including covers, using a series of comic strips, display ads and competition pages within the magazines Beano and The Dandy and their websites.
In 2006 the first big, live competition for Cartoon Network Europe was launched with Robotboy and the Island of Doom.
Series 2 (Seasons 3 and 4) was produced in late 2006 and 2007. Luxanimation and Cofinova cancelled their collaboration for unknown reasons, and the animation studio changed. Therefore series 2 (Seasons 3 and 4) looked similar, but noticeably different in style from series 1 (Seasons 1 and 2). Charlie Bean stated in a interview that new writers for episodes were added to the series as old ones didn't return. Alphanim and Cartoon Network were very strict and precise with the stories and writing for series 1. According to Bean, the writers and directors gained more freedom to do what they wanted with series 2. The episodes in series 2 therefore are a lot different in style and tone then in series 1, having a considerably "cartoonier" style, more interested in comedy then action. However, some are still in a similar style, such as Rowho?. New characters were also introduced, now possible due to more freedom.
American directors Heath Kenny and Bob Camp were introduced as the new directors for series 2. According to Elger, Charlie Bean "wasn't interested" in directing. New techniques were also used while others (like 3d designs) were not used again for the remainder of the series. Unlike Series 1, whitch went smoothly, there were production issues during the making of Series 2, Bob had "ambitious direction" which made Alphanim worry that he would overwork the crew (who unlike Bob, had more of a factory mentality) and they would all quit. The issues ultimately ended in Bob Camp (not publicly) being fired by Alphanim near the end of production. Series 2 aired at 4 pm every weekday on Cartoon Network UK until its end. Jan later stated he felt series 2 was inconsistent in quality and would criticise elements of it, such as several redesigns and less action elements.
On March 5, 2008 Cartoon Network created its first viral marketing campaign, featuring Robotboy, and launched the (now defunct) website robotboy.co.uk. The website contained the game Robotboy: Professor Moshimo's Robot Testing Lab, to raise the profile of the cartoon.
Cartoon Network stopped ordering new series after series 2 (seasons 3 and 4) as they felt 4 seasons was enough, and therefore left the production. This may be because Cartoon Network ended many series and co-productions in 2008 like to start a new line of fresh original shows, including Adventure Time, Regular Show and The Amazing World of Gumball, among others.
Jan Van Rijsselberge announced in 2016 that there are no future plans for any new episodes, and that they will never resume production, and therefore the series, has officially been ended.
In popular culture
In the Nintendo DS game; Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, there is a place with some thin towers with white balls on top attached to blue tubes, resembling Robotboy's head. It hasn't been confirmed if this was intentional or not.
The series and in particular the episode Christmas Evil got a chapter in the book ''How the Movies Saved Christmas: 228 Rescues from Clausnappers, Sleigh Crashes, Lost Presents and Holiday Disasters''. This book was released in 2017 and written by William D. Crump.
- There were brief but unspecified rumors that Robotboy might have had a 5th Season, but it was never confirmed or produced as production ended with Season 4.
- In some episodes where videogames are played, music and sound effects from Nintendo's Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins can be heard.
- This series was originally planned to be a 26x13 production, and later became, in 2004, a 52x13 production. After seasons 3 and 4 were produced, it was changed to a 104x13 production.
- The original design for Robotboy hasn't changed a lot since it's first reveal in 2003. The designs and names for Tommy, Lola, Gus and Professor Moshimo on the other hand were changed. The original design for Robotboy can still be found online (see the gallery at the bottom of this page) but the other designs are completely gone for the time being.
- Contrary to belief, the show never had an American dub version of it.
- According to Jan Van Rijsselberge, there was never an unaired pilot for the show; they went straight into production on it.
- The designer of the logo is Rian Hughes, known for his work as a British graphic designer, illustrator and comics artist.
- Series 1 (Season 1 and 2) got in the U.S. a 6.4 rating among boys from ages 6-11 and a 4.5 among kids from 4-11. Both for the Saturday morning block rating. This was concluded after a online poll from Cartoon Network US in assignment of Alphaim.
- All the dubbing rights for the series are property of The Turner Broadcasting Company, with the exception of the French dub. This is the reason why Robotboy was aired (and still is airing) on other channels in France besides Cartoon Network France. This is also the reason why Dvd's of the series only were sold with the French language and not any other, with exception of two CN related DVD's with the English, German and Polish dubs.
- Series 1 was the number 1 prime-time show in 2005 on Cartoon Network UK.
- Robotboy was the number 1 rating program among kids 4 to 14 on Cartoon Network France.
- Robotboy got a 8.5 rating and a 43.6% market share on France 3 .
- Robotboy was nominated for the cartoon awards Cartoons on the Bay in Italy in 2006 but lost to Camp Lazlo, another Cartoon Network show. The show was also nominated in 2006 for the category best cartoon in 2006 in Tunisia and in 2006 in Annecy, France. Robotboy also lost in these two countries, but received a honorable mention in France.