Kouji Kabuto is the hot-blooded protagonist of the Mazinger Z manga and anime series. As Mazinger Z is anime's first cockpit-equipped giant robot, Kouji can be called the first "true" robot pilot. (The very first giant robot to appear in Japanese media, Tetsujin-28, is piloted via remote.) Mazinger is given to Kouji by his grandfather, before the latter meets his end at the hands of Dr. Hell's minions. Though Kouji initially fights to take revenge for his grandfather's death, he later puts these feelings aside and dedicates himself to saving the world. He is defeated by the Mycenae forces in Mazinger Z's final episode, but his life is saved by Tetsuya Tsurugi and Great Mazinger. Kouji is then relegated to a supporting role in Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer. Mazinkaiser is a new story which sees Kouji inheriting the titular super robot, while Shin Mazinger is a reimagining of Kouji's battles against Dr. Hell.
Super Robot Wars
Kouji is the single most recurring character in the Super Robot Wars series. Though early games in the series used Mazinger Z's antagonists, newer games that feature Mazinger Z simply use Kouji and his friends to support other super robot series. The Mazinkaiser OVA is used, with varying plot significance, in GC and several Nintendo handheld entries, while Shin Mazinger is used in the Z2 duology. After 20 years of never missing an SRW, Super Robot Wars UX will be the first game to completely exclude Kouji; he is replaced by the dual protagonists of Mazinkaiser SKL.
Thanks to a series of crossover movies in the '70s, Kouji is almost always close friends with characters from the Getter Robo franchise. He also interacts with other Dynamic Productions series, such as Kotetsushin Jeeg in Super Robot Wars K and L.