Shippu Iron Leaguer

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Shippu Iron Leaguer (Whirlwind! Iron Leaguer) is a 1993 shonen sport anime series created by Sunrise. Not really well known in the west. The anime combines mecha genre and sports together initially in the form of good vs cheater type of story. The series is debutted in Super Robot Wars NEO for Wii.

In the future, mankind has developed a multi-sport tournament known as Iron League, using living robots as the players instead of humans. The competition is very popular. However, its huge support comes from Dark Organization, the organization that produces cheating Iron Leaguers that use dirty and violence playing methods in games as a sure ticket for fame and popularity. While the sport community has been turned into a dangerous and bloody stadium, Silver Castle, a team with the lowest winning rate, tries to prove the true sportmanship by playing sports by their original rules without any cheating or violence. The team's fate as well as the tide of the Iron League is changed when two Iron Leaguers, Mach Windy, an ex-Dark Prince FC's ace striker and Magnum Ace, a mysterious but skillful sportman, join the Silver Castle, and gradually lead the team to its forgotten glory. However things are more than just normal sport; as the story goes on, it is revealed that the Iron League itself is a masquerade for something more sinister from behind.

The series later got a six-episode OVA, Under the Flag of Silver Light, which is a direct sequel to the TV series. Silver Castle, after being bought by otehr Universal Corporate becomes the team that employ Blood Sport while other teams stayed clean due to Silver Castle's contribution. Mach Windy, who can't stand up to such change (and while Magnum Ace becomes frustrated about their way to go), decides to leave the team with some other members and search for a team to defeat the corrupted Silver Castle.

Main Iron Leaguers of the Silver Castle are:

  • The Hero: Magnum Ace, specializes in baseball. Originally known as Silver Frontier, and was an Iron Soldier before becoming Magnum Ace.
  • The Lancer: Mach Windy, specializes in soccer.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk : Kiai Ryuken, specializes in karate.
  • The Big Guy: Bull Armor, specializes in american football.
  • The Lancer No.2 or The Smart Guy: Jurota Kiwami, specializes in kendo.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Top Joy, specializes in basketball.
  • Sixth Ranger: GZ , specializes in ice hockey. Former Iron Soldier as of Magnum.
Tropes used in Shippu Iron Leaguer include:
  • Ax Crazy: The Gold Brothers, at first anyway.
    • Brainwashed and Crazy: Gold Arm and Gold Foot when they're being modified into Iron Soldiers; GZ became an oil-thirsting vampire for an episode, and in OVA Magnum Ace subjected to this in episode 5.
  • Beneath the Mask: Seagal is a polite and handsome guy who is also a well-known actor. Turns out he's the son of Girochi, the resident Big Bad, and is actually a cruel, calculating man who decides to use Leaguers under his command to destroy Silver Castle.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Magnum Ace, put as a reserve, appear and save a goal from the bad guy. No body expects this, not even the manager. The Gold Brothers pull this out occationally after the first arc.
    • Episode 41 has all wandering Leaguers they met in the Java arc (in addition to Gold Brothers) come to Silver Castle's aid.
  • Blow You Away: The Gold Brothers use this as signature techniques for soccer and baseball games.
  • Calling Your Attack: FORTY-FOUR SONIC!! Or just any other "attacks" used by any characters.
  • Character Development: A staple for the series but notice that bad guys also do this, notably the Gold Brothers. Even Big Bad turns good at the end.
    • Almost every named characters will have some sort of development throughout the story. Even some of the mooks.
  • Combination Attack: Lots. Most promiment are Tatsumaki Formation from Gold Brothers, and Lightning Crush/Supernova from Silver Castle.
  • Chasing a shadow: Girochi tries to find Ricardo Ginjou, who was supposed to be dead after a lab accident, to help him finish the unfinished Leaguer engine. Turns out he is really Not Quite Dead.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: 44 Sonic, so much that it brings prolonged damage to Magnum; Gold Arm also suffers from it.
  • Demoted to Extra: In-universe example, The Gold Brothers are put into unsuitable positions and even reserves after being beaten so many times, and are even fired from the team.
    • In-universe explaination is that all leaguers who're playing well in their fields will be "retired" and being modified into Iron Soldiers, before being sent to the battlefield.
  • Friendly Rivalry: The Gold Brothers, who saw Silver Castle as their enemy initially, treats them as Worthy Opponent later, and after they defect from Dark Organization they become this to Silver's members.
  • God Mode Sue: Strongly subverted. Even at their full team, Silver Castle will still occationally lose games, and their victories are usually close calls.
  • Heel Face Turn: Windy's initial action is ditching from the Dark Prince. Later on Top Joy, the Gold Brothers decide to leave Dark Organization for good, as of some wandering Leaguers in Java arc.
    • The OVA portrays Silver Castle as a team turned evil (sort of) and Seagal near the end.
  • Heroic BSOD: Bull Armor as his Berserk Button had caused him to destroyed his friends. This is also the reason who he hesistated to join Silver Castle in the first place.
    • Magnum Ace also suffers from one as his 44 Sonic is finally defeated by Jurota, who called him out since Magnum is too frustrated by his arm injury.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: It is repeatedly mentioned that a Leaguer's power is not just their initial build and specs, but also their state of mind: only their love and concentration on the game will grant them power that exceed scripted specs or calculations. Later on we find out Magnum Ace, Fighter Brothers and Ryuken have a prototype reactor inside them, and will boost them to full power once they affirm their personality and mentality.
    • Special mention goes to Jurota, who tries to seek for a mental state which can makes him to counter opponents' moves, despite he's just a robot.
  • Hidden Depths: In the first few episodes, Ryuken feels frustrated about his identity since he can't play soccer well. He soon finds out he's a karate leaguer, and Ricardo installed a powerful prototype reactor inside him, making him a very formidable fighter as shown in Java arc.
  • Hot-Blooded: Seriously. It's one of the best example in the Nineties.
  • Humongous Mecha: Subverted. Iron Leaguers are only slightly bigger than humans, and they have SD portions.
  • Killed Off for Real: Napalm Head. For some reason, nobody cares to rebuild him.
    • Well, new Leaguers rolled out every time and then, and Seagal despises him and Gold Brothers anyway.
  • Lighter and Softer: As the show continues, less crashing happens, and the genre slowly swaps fronm Blood Sport to a typical shonen anime like Captain Tsubasa and Inazuma Eleven. Justified, since various Leaguers learn to play fair and clean, and even the Big Bad are gradually accepting this way of playing games, making less bloody affair on the field.
    • Darker and Edgier: Anything related to the interstellar war and its relations with Iron League itself, boy GZ was so hurt by that.
  • Limit Break: Almost everyone has one or more of it.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Fighter Brothers are Magnum's long lost brothers.
  • Mega Manning: Gold Arm copies Magnum Ace's 44 Sonic. He evantually develop it into his own style of movement, namely 44 Sonic of Thunder and Rising Blast.
    • Subverted, as Magnum Ace (who was still Silver Frontier) promised the rookie-at-moment Gold Arm this throw after he learns to play by heart instead of just sheer force.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots
  • The Ace: Magnum, it's in his name.
  • The Lancer: Windy and Jurota actively switch this role.
  • The Mole: Top Joy, out of his scare toward the Dark Organization. He eventually does his Heel Face Turn.
  • The Load: Top Joy, specding more than 4 episodes acting like an idiot who doesn't know how to play soccer.
  • The Virus: Shock Circuit, a black box implanted on every Dark organization's players, letting the big brother torture them anytime they're straying out their routes and orders.
    • Elizabeth's Seducion is a literal example, which turn leaguers into oil-thirsty vampires.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Magnum hits it hard during the baseball matches against Dark Swan by abusing his Limit Break despite a serious health impact when doing it too much. Gold Arm does it too. Apparantly, no pitcher in this show knows how to pitch a curveball.
    • To be fair, 44 Sonic is their best bet of keeping their opponent from scoring. And any ball slower than that can be easily defeated.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Silver Castle's initial GK, Silkey, has a pink body; Top Joy as well.
  • Rule of Three: Iron League's three main sport events: Hockey, baseball, and soccer.
  • Serious Business: Dark Organization has a secret department, Section X, to investigate stray or rival Leaguers as they need it. They also have Leaguers as assassins for dirty jobs, to ensure their lead on the board.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them: Girochi, taking advantage of his position, occationally calls for an Owner Meeting to bend the competition rules as he likes, like what portrays in the World Cup. He also uses this trope to prevent Silver Castle from being fully took over by Universal Corporate in the OVA.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Mach Windy in the first episode, as he's fed up with his teammates' method of crashing other robots to death in a soccer game.
  • Something We Forgot: Silkey and others (the initial members of Silver Castle), at one point, thinks they've become stronger after other seven arrives, and forget how they're supposed to play games with spirits as before. The coach called them out for this, and they decide to accept Seagal's challenge against his Shark Suits. This match put them severely injured and was unable to play in Dark Prince's last game, but they recalled their spirit and keep hardworking in the team until the end.
  • Strictly Formula: For some reason, the Silver Castle almost never plays with any team outside of those from Dark Organization. Sometime they fight the very same team twice or trice in a row.
    • They do play with other teams, but they're usually carried away by just a few scenes and words, not more than half an episode at most. Their "war" again Dark Organization is the major plot of the series, after all.
  • Super Robot Wars: Debutted in Neo of Nintendo Wii.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Every now and then, if you heard the chords of the themes or even the song itself, something awesome will happen.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Bull Armor. When his horns flips downward, he'll attack anyone in his way, enemies or allies. This is fixed soon after he joins in.
  • War Is Hell: GZ was quite mentally scarred from his experience on the interstellar battlefield. You will be traumaized too if you're forced to kill your teammate after the mission was complete (as he is pointing his weapon to you), or you have to drain your companion's oil in order to survive back to the base.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Jet Setter, Bull Armor's former teammate, despises him after the laters' rampage on the field (which destroyed most of the team) and his retirement, seeing him as a friend-deserter and untrustworthy. They get better later on.