When I think of an older anime, there are many animated shows that come to my mind. From Dragon Ball to Slam Dunk. I watched many of them as a child in Arabic. I re-watched many of them in Japanese as I grew older. So I decided to talk about an anime I rarely speak about: هزيم الرعد.
As I child, I loved watching Spacetoon. It was the home of anime/cartoon shows for Arab audience at the beginning of 2000s. Probably the only channel that aired animated shows for children for the whole Arabic world using the region-neutral MSA-dialect at that time.
Hazeem Al-Raad (هزيم الرعد Lit. "Voice of Thunder,") is such a show I watched as a child. It's originally called Ginga Sengoku Gun Yuuden Rai in Japan. I also heard that it's called "Thunder Jet" in English.
Hazeem Al-Raad tells a story about Galaxy war between planet rulers with their spaceships. What makes it unique is the historical themes and the fantasy elements in it. The show is a mix between Star Wars & Romance of Three Kingdoms that came before it,
When I first watched a few episodes of Hazeem Al-Raad, I hated it! It felt so dark, so "black" to my pre-teen self. Not because the show was actually dark, Spacetoon always made sure that they're not showing inappropriate things for their young audience. Hazeem Al-raad story takes place in space, and everything was dark in color, I never found that appealing.
So, I hated and avoided this anime for the first quarter of its run. One day my cousin told me about how good it is. To give it a chance... I watched a few episodes of it, but they were halfway through the story. It took me a long time to understand what is happening, and what had happened.
By the time Spacetoon aired the final episode, I was a fan of Hazeem Al-Raad. I made sure when it was re-aired years later to watch it from the start, and that gave me a better context. Loved the story much more because of it!
What I like the most about Spacetoon version is the Arabic Language used in this show: It was one of the few dubs of Spacetoon to heavily use "war speech." It felt epic because of it. The characters who had Arabic names are war-theme-named. (Spacetoon had a habit of mixing Arabic names for some characters with Japanese sounding names for others in early 2000s.)
The opening of Hazeem Al-Raad uses a lot of ancient words that I only understood the full meaning of the lyrics when I was in my twenties. Won't be surprised if I understood of it more than most kids my age though:
The name Hazeem Al-Raad "هزيم الرعد" means "Voice of Thunder." Most of the fans think that هزيم is just the main character name. The word is a true Classical Arabic term that actually means "The sound that thunder makes." Most of Arabians these days don't know that meaning. (In my whole life, I only saw the word هزيم outside of this show once. It was in a book published before 1990...)
I didn't know that Hazeem Al-Raad was an anime, I didn't know what's the difference between anime & cartoon were. Spacetoon called every show: Animated Pictures, so we followed that distinction. I didn't know that it was based on a manga, and that the anime is very different from it.
Spacetoon changed many things in the anime. They made it much less violent! They removed some of the scenes deemed not suitable for Arab children. They changed the dialogue so it can be understood by children. Spacetoon ver. dialogue highlighted the good and evil more clarity.
They changed the personality of the main characters to be more heroic. (Bear in mind, the original anime in Japan was more heroic than the manga version.)
Still, I think Spacetoon preserved the heart of the series... Many of the moments stayed in my memory until now. The death of Hazeem's wife Simone. The death of Rojina. The death of the final antagonists right hand man. The death of that evil tiger guy who I can't remember the name of. (I'm using the Arabic names, and I just noticed my favorite scenes are all deaths.)
Another thing I loved about Hazeem Al-Raad is the setting: It's in space and most of the battles are between spaceships with the leaders strategizing and. Only few of the fights are fought with swords either on land on one of the planets or inside the ships.
My favorite thing about the setting though is the politics. Significant parts of the story are spent talking and knowing the characters and their motivation. The clothes everyone wears is remisenic of old east asia...
The story starts when most of the galaxy was unified under the empire the hero was a soldier in. After the emperor's death, the factions started fighting each other. Enemies used the opportunity to fight the empire and the rest of the story is focused on the aftermath. The heroes and the antagonist all have the same goal of unifying the galaxy under one ruler but each one wants that ruler to be themselves.
The last part, I didn't really understand until I became adult. The story is not lack and white but it's framed as such, for my child-self: It was epic. For my adult self. It's deep!
There are many dubs I liked from Spacetoon. Many dubs that I didn't like, but if you ask me: Hazeem Al-Raad is one of the dubs that did the job perfectly considering the situation, and it's opening remains one of the best Arabic Opening I watched my whole life!