Before anime went crazy, there was a small little cast of unique cartoons on display here on U.S. TV from the Land of the Rising Sun. Among them, one of the most memorable and enjoyable was Marine Boy.
To take a gander at it, let’s walk down the halls of the
The lovable adventure toon revolves around a talented boy who is enhanced by some sophisticated inventions. With these, he serves with an underwater policing agency, the Ocean Patrol, in making Earth's oceans safe.
Marine Boy is set in the future, when humankind has pioneered the world's oceans, establishing great facilities for undersea ranching, mineral and oil exploitation, research and some under-ocean communities. In this era, the OP protects all in the sea from danger.
Most of the activity we witness of the OP is that of policing the world's oceans, for this affluent frontier and its resources seems to have produced a startling number of megalomaniacs—it seems hardly a week goes by in which the Ocean Patrol doesn't divert someone with an impressive private military force from taking over the world. That being the case, the Ocean Patrol is also an impressive military force with small and large subs, war ships, and even ... an air force! (Yep.)
The military branch of the OP includes researchers and scientists who are constantly developing their defensive and offensive arsenal as well as new research vehicles and devices. Key people in this department are Marine Boy's father, Dr. Mariner, as well as the brilliant Professor Fumble. However, there are non-military branches of the Ocean Patrol which conduct some of the aforementioned ranching, research, oil drilling, etc.
The series follows the Ocean Patrol's patrol boat, P-1. The patrol boats are small submarine craft, comfortably sized to be manned by three or four people. They are also capable of flight for limited times using retractable wings. Patrol boats may be heavily armed, most commonly with small "rocket torpedos," but optional weaponry is sometimes mounted. The crew of the P-1 includes Bolton and Piper (reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy) and often Marine Boy!
The aqualad is an extremely intelligent, strong and athletic boy of perhaps 13 to 15. He is a martial artist, football player and an accomplished pilot whose talents are further enhanced by the inventions of his father, Dr. Mariner. He has a great affinity with sea life, most particularly with a white dolphin he calls Splasher who Marine Boy occasionally seems able to communicate with quite clearly. He also wears a ring with a dolphin-calling whistle.
It is perhaps because of his skills along with his avid insistence to get involved with trouble that his father, along with Professor Fumble, invented for him the red wetsuit which protects and equips Marine Boy, allowing for him to use his talents to perform dangerous duty. With his headstrong personality, he hardly seems able to avoid it.
The suit is highly resistant to penetration (it appears it may be bulletproof) and temperature. The boots have propeller packs built into the heels which are so efficient they can enable Marine Boy to move huge boulders and break free from metal manacles. When the power units are exhausted, Marine Boy has spares in his belt. He also has retractable flippers, released at the click of his heels. The headgear includes a radio transceiver, but most remarkably, there is no breathing apparatus or face shield. Oxygen is supplied through another of Professor Fumble's inventions, "oxy-gum," which Marine Boy can chew and receive hours of oxygenation.
Marine Boy also has a friend in Neptina, a young bare-chested mermaid who was always kept decent by her long flowing hair. Neptina wears a magic pearl around her neck, which could be used for various purposes including creating an envelope of protection and deterring dangerous animals, as well as working as a crystal ball to see events. She also seems to understand Splasher and has an innate understanding of sea life. (During battle, Marine Boy always directs her to safely stay out of harm’s way, and Neptina always submits, then almost inevitably ends up saving Marine Boy.)
Like Astro Boy, Speed Racer, 8th Man and Prince Planet, Marine Boy was a stranger in a strange land, and as a young viewer I could not have been happier.