Betterman (TV series)

For the Australian television series, see Better Man (TV series).

Cover art for the DVD release of the Betterman series by Bandai Entertainment
Genre Action, Horror, Mecha
Anime television series
Directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani
Produced by Hiroyuki Orukawa
Shinichiro Kobayashi
Written by Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Music by Kouhei Tanaka
Studio Sunrise (Studio 7)
Licensed by

‹See Tfd›

Network TV Tokyo
English network

‹See Tfd›

Original run 1 April 1999 30 September 1999
Episodes 26

Betterman (Japanese: ベターマン Hepburn: Betāman) is a Japanese anime television series which began airing in 1999. It was created by Sunrise's internal "Studio 7" under the direction of Yoshitomo Yonetani. Betterman uses heavily Jungian symbolism and themes, such as Animus.


The series' plot focuses on the threat of "Algernon," a mutation in the brain which causes an accelerated alteration in the sensory, neural and nervous faculties. Those subjected to the phenomenon become violently hostile, suicidal, and share a hive mind collective with those who share the disease. Akamatsu Industries, a group designated to research and counteract Algernon, head a covert squadron of Neuronoids, robots piloted by Dual Kinds to inspect areas exposed to contamination and neutralize any threats brought thereabout. Keita Aono, a high school student, is brought into the fold after a chance encounter with a childhood friend, Hinoki Sai.

The titular hero of the series, Betterman, is a life form of superior physical and mental capabilities via adaptation of "seeds." Through the resulting consumption of these plants, Betterman can metamorphose into situational combat forms. His most common form is the humanoid "Betterman Lamia." Each transformation allows Betterman to attain distinct physical, psionic, and mobility-related abilities.


Algernon, the name of which itself derives from the book "Flowers for Algernon", is never completely understood until the final moments of the series. Even then, it is left to the viewer to deduce what Algernon exactly is. Algernon seems to be, as mentioned, either a virus, or a sort of mutation. However, it is in fact a natural method of preventing human perfection which is understood to be the root of evil. The battle between Algernon and Betterman is actually the process of human evolution. It is not entirely impossible that Algernon is everything that it is theorized to be.

Victims of Algernon show symptoms like those in the end chapters of "Flowers for Algernon," (loss of intellect and emotional control) but on a larger, more violent scale. Rage isn't the only symptom, as insanity and bodily mutation are evident in many cases.

Shared continuity with The King of Braves GaoGaiGar

Betterman takes place in the same world as The King of Braves GaoGaiGar, as characters from both series make guest appearances in the story, though only a few minor links are visually made within the series itself (and only one minor character from GaoGaiGar appears on a semi-constant basis).




Betterman's Transformations

Betterman NEBULA

Distinctly recognizable by its massive forearms which serve as highly resilient guards against enemy attacks. Nebula's form grants Lamia aerial capabilities and allows him to fly at high-velocity speeds. The signature ability of Nebula, Psycho Voice, first allows Lamia to analyze his opponent’s complete physical structure and to retaliate with a high-pitched voice attack which uses the same wavelength as his enemy's composition, thus eliminating it. This is the most frequently used transformation by Lamia and has shown itself to be the most versatile.

Betterman AQUA

This is an underwater form that can achieve a speed of 600 knots (1,100 km/h). In this form Betterman can inhale and analyze his opponent’s bodily liquids and attack with similar Psycho Fluid, breaking down the opponent's DNA structure.

Betterman TURBA

This orange form of Betterman uses compressed air and razor sharp wind as weapons. Turba's capability is Psycho Calm. In this attack, wind and sound are compressed into a small spherical area. This makes attacks such as Psycho Voice ineffective. The same organs can be used for jet propulsion. It should be also noted that this is a form that Betterman Lamia does not use. Instead it was used by Bodiju (he specifically chose it to counter Nebula). faced with the truth

Betterman LUME

This bright yellow female form of Betterman uses electromagnetic radiation (electricity and various rays) as its weapons. Seeme transforms into this form by consuming pieces of the seed that came from Hinoki's mother.

Betterman FORTE

This is the strongest type of body that Betterman can obtain with common seeds. In this form Betterman greatly increases in height. Forte's method of defeating an opponent involves seeing an opponent's "breaking point" and using the Sliding Saber on his head to strike in this location (referred to as Psycho Glory). Opponents are then reduced to ash. It is also notable that Forte-type Betterman should be used only by "a leader," but Betterman Lamia has broken this rule more than once.

Betterman OLTUS

This the final and ultimate form which Lamia adopts in the final episode. Like "Forte," Betterman grows in size and gains a dark brown color opposing the white "Nebula." Using the ultimate power of "Psycho Burst," Betterman can regenerate his cells indefinitely; even if thrown into molten lava. Lamia gains the power of Oltus when his Master, friend, and his companion give him three seeds, which combine into one. After this, Lamia confronts the final enemy, "Bestman."



Betterman is composed of 26 episodes, first aired on TV Tokyo from April 1, 1999 to September 30, 1999. It was licensed and released in the USA (on DVD) by Bandai Entertainment. The series was dubbed by Ocean Productions at their Blue Water studio in Calgary, Alberta. The dubbed English version from this DVD release has also aired on the US cable network G4TV (Known as TechTV at the time of its airing) during the "Anime Unleashed" rotation, premiering on December 30, 2002. Despite this exposure, it is still a fairly unknown series to American audiences. This is perhaps due to its plot, as it is generally considered quite difficult to understand. Also, many different terms are used that are never explained, but these terms are scientifically based and often require broader knowledge concerning biology and other sciences. Following the 2012 closure of Bandai Entertainment, Sunrise announced at Otakon 2013, that Sentai Filmworks has rescued Betterman, along with a handful of other former BEI titles.[1]

Other media

Although the show is not focused entirely on the mechanical Neuronoids, Betterman made an appearance in the Super Robot Wars series of games. It appeared in Super Robot Taisen Compact 3 for the Wonderswan Color.

The original soundtrack of Betterman was released in 1999.


  1. "Sentai Filmworks Adds Sacred Seven, The Big O, Kurokami, More". Anime News Network. Retrieved 11 August 2013.

External links

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