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Microid S (Toei, 1973)

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Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
Cel Number: B4 END
Standard size

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Added 1/7/2011
Updated 8/14/2016
This preliminary sketch of this character, in a very typical pose and expression, came stuck to the back of the cel of Ageha. You can see the very strong influence of the Disney Studio’s animation style in this drawing, especially in the "chipmunk" buck teeth and the posing of the foreshortened left hand.


Mamezo functions as a likeable troublemaker in this series, and his boyish personality is clearly projected even in the brief OP sequences available online. His new insect identity is less easy to identify than the older two, and websites differ quite a bit over what exactly he’s supposed to be: a ladybug? a scarab?

Even the Japanese Wikipedia entry goes no further than to say that he is modeled after some species of Coleoptera . These are “sheath-winged” insects, as seen by the stiff outer wing cover, raised here, which protects the more delicate wings used for flight.

However, as Coleoptera is the largest order of insects, this doesn’t help much. Nor does the fact that Mamezo’s name is always spelled out in katakana [マメゾウ], making searches tricky. Nor does the added fact that the same name is used for a variety of video games and creatures in more recent anime series, notably Kekkaishi.

But “mame” means “bean,” and a little hacking confirmed that “bean beetle” in Japanese is “mame-zōmushi” [マメゾウムシ] So the human boy Mamezo has been cyborgized into some species of Callosobruchus [hard-shelled gluttons], a bug family of ravenous agricultural pests widespread in Asia and other parts of the world.

That’s important, for ladybugs are beneficial insects and scarabs are religious symbols in Egypt. But bean beetles are nothing more than unwanted nuisances with a long juvenile period, during which they do nothing but eat stuff out of your cupboards. (Y’know, kids really are like mame-zōmushi, when you think about it.)

Even the Handbook on Bean Beetles (indispensible if you are creating your own mini-cyborgs to help you conquer the world) asks at one point what purpose these pests serve, other than to annoy soybean farmers.

Of course, all living things exist to reproduce their kind, the handbook explains (true of kids as well), and a lengthy juvenile stage is not unusual in the insect world. Moreover, these bugs serve an important part in “food webs,” as other insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians eagerly eat both the larvae and adult beetles. “So they do have the purpose of providing food for other organisms,” the handbook concludes.

So while you snack, Mamezo, watch your back! Otherwise, you might end up being someone else’s next munchie.

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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