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tokusatsu

Choriki Sentai Ohranger photo
Choriki Sentai Ohranger

Ole: Shout! Factory grabs Ohranger


The Machine Empire is going down
May 21
// Salvador GRodiles
Don't you love it when your prediction comes true? In this case, I had a hunch that Shout! Factory was going to give us a special surprise during their Dairanger stream. Lo and behold, it turns out that their next Sentai ...
Kamen Rider W photo
Kamen Rider W

S.H. Figuarts (Shinkocchou Seihou) Kamen Rider W gets a half-boiled trailer


Now, count up your sins!
May 20
// Salvador GRodiles
To this day, Kamen Rider W still holds the top spot on my list of favorite Kamen Rider series. Due to my love for the show, I always feel joyful when a new thing that's related to the detective-themed tokusatsu gets announce...
Gosei Sentai Dairanger photo
Gosei Sentai Dairanger

Check out the trailer for Shout! Factory's Dairanger streaming event


Can we expect a special surprise?
May 19
// Salvador GRodiles
You gotta hand it to companies that decide to people a taste of one of their titles since it exposes more folks to said property. As we get close to the weekend, Shout! Factory has uploaded a trailer for their upcoming Gosei...
Tokusatsu Film School photo
Tokusatsu Film School

Grab your supplies: Tokusatsu Film School has begun


Class has now started
Apr 29
// Salvador GRodiles
Listen up, people! It's time for us to head to our desks, as Bueno teaches us about the essential elements that go into creating a hero helmet during Tokusatsu Film School's first session. The best part about Bueno's demonstr...

Tokusatsu Film School photo
Tokusatsu Film School

Prepare for Tokusatsu Film School with Garage Hero's Inzector Alpha short


The orientation has started
Apr 22
// Salvador GRodiles
Whenever a person gets ready to start school, they usually go through a brief orientation to get acquainted with the facility they'll be studying at. This same principle applies Garage Hero/Garage Pro TV's upcoming Tokusatsu...
Tokusatsu Film School photo
Tokusatsu Film School

Here's a quick look at Garage Hero's Tokusatsu Film School series


The class bell is about to ring
Apr 15
// Salvador GRodiles
As Bueno and the rest of Garage Hero/Garage Pro TV are working hard on Strega, the group launched the first trailer for their tokusatsu tutorial series, Tokusatsu Film School. Since the first episode will focus on teach...
Legend Hero photo
Legend Hero

Three Kingdoms-themed Tokusatsu Legend Hero's official stream now has English subtitles


Romance of the Three Henshins
Apr 14
// Salvador GRodiles
You gotta hand it to companies who decide to make their works viewable to people from other regions since it lets them expand their audience. One fine example of this feat is that the YouTube page for the Korean and Chinese&n...
Godzilla Resurgence photo
Godzilla Resurgence

Godzilla Resurgence's new trailer will bring fear to your heart


The King of Monsters looks intimidating
Apr 13
// Salvador GRodiles
I might be a minority on this view, but I wasn't a big fan of Garreth Edward's Godzilla movie. Even though the film did justice to the King of Monsters, the film failed to make me care about the movie's main character, Ford,...
Strega photo
Strega

Happy Bothday: Gun Caliber's sequel is now in pre-production


More bullets are heading our way
Apr 07
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since I watched the original Gun Caliber film, its sequel became one of the tokusatsu projects that I'm looking forward to the most. Part of it had to do with the way how the Main Hero Soma's development from a washed-up...
Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger photo
Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger

Bakuryu Change: Abaranger's 8-bit opening is out on a rampage


ABARE, ABARE, ABARE!!!
Apr 03
// Salvador GRodiles
I'm not sure if this is a coincidence or not, but I find it too convenient that Studio Megaane's latest chiptune song happens to be his take on Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger, which happens to be a hot-blooded ridiculously over-th...
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Awaken your instincts with Zyuohger's 8-bit opening


Retro Kingu!!!
Apr 02
// Salvador GRodiles
It's time for us to unleash our loudest Tarzan yell as Studio Megaane uses his Retro Cube to turn the opening of the animal and cube-themed Super Sentai series, Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger, into a chiptune that'll make anyo...

First Impressions: Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger episodes 1-3

Mar 02 // Salvador GRodiles
Luckily, the time to tap into our inner beasts worked out perfectly, as Zyuohger’s introduction to the Zoologist Yamato left us with a good impression. One thing that went well in his favor is that the staff didn’t exhibit the medical condition where they’re trying too hard to replicate the aspects of a successful Sentai series. On top of that, the guy’s passion for studying animals and their wildlife made him feel right at home with the show’s theme about two different races working together to protect the planet. Due to Yamato's dedication to his job, he reminded me of Ryoga/Aba Red from Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger, who was a wildlife investigator, along with being a committed father to his adopted daughter. The idea of him taking care of his animal comrades, the Zyuman, while they protect the Earth from the Dethgaliens places him in this parental role since he has to make sure that his new buddies blend with society. Like with any concerned parent in a series, the zoologist's reactions to his allies' antics are priceless. When you look at everything the show has to offer, Zyuohger manages to make its elements complement each other. The Dethgalien’s invasion is similar to how hunters partake in events where they take down a specific target, and the main heroes are the prey that's fighting back. Thanks to this great flow, the series left me intrigued with what it had to offer. Also, the villains use coins to revive their subordinates as giants; thus adding a video game twist to the evil group's pastime. In regards to the other team members, the Zyuman showcase a lively attitude so far. From their shocked reaction to Yamato entering their land to their childish nature on Earth, the whole angle takes me back to Shougeki Gouraigan and Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger since their reaction to humanity’s way of life leaves us with a good laugh. Perhaps the silliest thing about the guy's new friends is that they'll cost him financially as they're all broke. While I wasn’t a fan of the main robot’s toy, the actual Zyuoh King suit doesn’t look too bad since it’s almost like a cube-shaped version of the Shinken-Oh from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. For the most part, the issue with the machine is that it doesn’t translate well into a combining toy, as the bulky look present in Sentai mecha figures made it look like a rectangular cube with arms and legs. Despite the robot’s issues, Zyuoh King still has the potential to be a fun machine when more of its gimmicks are revealed throughout the series. The mecha’s recent combinations show that it’ll have various finishers and special attacks based on its fighting modes, which might result in some combining sequence similar to the Getter Robo series. Since the team will obviously get more robots in the future, I'm hoping that the designs could evolve into something that works better in merchandise form. Aside from the machines, the Zyuohger’s chest section of their suits continues to be one of the weaker parts of their design. I guess it’s the staff’s weird choice to place a detailed animal illustration on the costume, which throws the whole look off balance. Hell, I still think that they feel like something you would see on a cheaply-made sports team shirt. At least, the helmets are fun to look at, as they live up to the franchise's reputation of having cool masks that resemble a creature biting a head. Thankfully, the team’s fighting style made up for the costume’s flaws, as the gang utilizes their signature animal traits in battle, which resembled the Abaranger’s Abare Mode. As a big fan of the latter, it was nice to see another group use a similar ability since it lets the staff experiment with other types of action scenes outside of the hand-to-hand and weapon-based fighting styles. Even though Zyuohger sported a few average designs for the heroes, the overall presentation left us with a potentially fun title that’s filled with themes that complement each other. The main Zyuman group's fish-out-of-water story opened up to some funny segments with Yamato, and the cube motif’s purpose connects nicely with the animal people’s dilemma. As Yamato starts to develop his own animal abilities, the 40th Sentai series might place him in a strange situation down the road. Just like an actual cube, this show has every face, corner and side distributed evenly. Luckily, the time to tap into our inner beast worked out perfectly, as Zyuohger’s introduction to the Zoologist Yamato left us with a better impression on his character. One thing that went well in his favor is that the staff didn’t exhibit the medical condition where they’re trying too hard to replicate the aspects of a successful Sentai series. Complimenting the animal theme, the guy’s passion for studying animals and their wildlife made him feel like right at home with the show’s theme about two different races working together. To some extent, his personality was a callback to Ryoga/Aba Red from Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger, who was a Wildlife Investigator, along with being a dedicated father to his adopted daughter. Even though the first episode didn’t cover much of this similarity, the idea of him taking care of his animal comrades, the Zyuman, while they protect the Earth from the Dethgaliens that are invading the place as part of their little game. Also, the villains use coins to revive their subordinates as giants. When you look at everything the show has to offer, Zyuohger manages to make its elements complement each other. The Dethgalien’s invasion is similar to how a group of hunters hold an event to take down a specific target and the main heroes are practically the prey fighting back. Thanks to this great flow, the series left me intrigued with what it had to offer. In regards to the other team members, the Zyuman showcase a lively attitude in both episodes. From their shocked reaction to Yamato entering their land to their childish nature on Earth, the whole angle takes me back to Shougeki Gouraigan since their reaction to humanity’s way of life gives off a good laugh. While I wasn’t a fan of the main robot’s toy, the actual suit doesn’t look too bad since it’s almost like a cube-shaped version of the Shinken-Oh from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. For the most part, the issue with the machine is that it doesn’t translate well into a combining toy, as the bulky look present in Sentai mecha figures made it look blockier than usual. Despite the robot’s issues, Zyuoh King still has the potential to be a fun machine when more of its gimmicks are revealed throughout the series. The mecha’s recent combinations show that it’ll have various finishers and special attacks based on its modes, which might result in a formation sequence similar to the Getter Robo series. Depending on the types of robots the team gets later on, there’s a chance that the designs could evolve into something that works better in merchandise form. Aside from the machines, the Zyuohger’s chest section of their suits continues to be one of the weaker parts of their design. I guess it’s the staff’s weird choice to place a detailed animal illustration on the costume, which throws the whole look off balance. At least the helmet and the rest of the body look fine; thus leaving us with an above average look. Thankfully, the team’s fighting style made up for the costume’s flaws, as the gang utilizes their signature animal traits in battle, which resembled the Abaranger’s Abare Mode. As a big fan of the latter, it was nice to see another group use a similar ability since it lets the staff experiment with other types of action scenes outside of the hand-to-hand and weapon-based fighting styles. Even though Zyuohger sported a few weird design choices, the overall presentation left us with a title that’s filled with themes that complement each other. The fish-out-of-water story with the Zyuman opened up to some funny segments with Yamato, and the cube motif’s purpose connects nicely with the animal people’s way of life. With the sixth Ranger being foreshadowed early in the game, the 40th Sentai series is looking to be a beastly good time. Just like an actual cube, this show has every face covered nicely.
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Please insert coin to continue
It’s hard to believe that the Sentai franchise is now airing its 40th installment. Honestly, this feeling comes from the fact that the previous series, Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, was celebrating the franchise&rsquo...

Ultraman photo
Ultraman

Streaming GET: Ultraman Ginga and Ginga S head to Crunchyroll


Tsuburaya keeps on giving
Mar 02
// Salvador GRodiles
With Crunchyroll achieving its new form as the go-to place to watch the Ultra series, the group has united with two more titles in the franchise. This time around, Ultraman Ginga and Ginga S are now on Crunchyroll; howev...
Kamen Rider Den-O photo
Kamen Rider Den-O

Kamen Rider Den-O Actress Rina Akiyama's first child has arrived


Congratulations on achieving Mother Form
Feb 22
// Salvador GRodiles
I may not have gotten the chance to watch all of Kamen Rider Den-O, but my experience with the franchise's films that featured the show's fun cast has ensured me that I'll love the actual TV series. So why am I bringing up th...
Kamen Rider photo
Kamen Rider

You don't need a mask to watch this Kamen Rider Valentine's Day video


Rider Pun!
Feb 14
// Salvador GRodiles
I love it when a good pun comes into fruition. When it's done right, the person telling the joke always find a way to make his/her words flow in a way that brings a smile to everyone's face. In light of today's special occas...
Ultraman Gaia photo
Ultraman Gaia

Rejoice: Ultraman Gaia unites with Crunchyroll


Tsuburaya is on an amazing roll
Feb 12
// Salvador GRodiles
Man. I need to cross my fingers more often now. Why's that? It turns out that Crunchyroll has added Ultraman Gaia to its streaming library. In other words, the Website is now becoming the perfect go-to place to watc...
Ultraman Nexus photo
Ultraman Nexus

Over Ray Storm: Ultraman Nexus finally lands on Crunchyroll


The Space Monsters are doomed
Feb 11
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since Tsuburaya temporarily added Ultraman Nexus' first four episodes on YouTube, it felt that the show's debut on Crunchyroll was going to happen within that timeframe. While this never occurred, the series has finally ...
RIP photo
RIP

Rest in Peace: Creature Artist Yasushi Nirasawa passes away


An amazing monster designer has left us
Feb 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Sad news, everyone; it turns out that the great creature illustrator Yasushi Nirasawa passed away at the age of 52 on Feb. 2. According to his Twitter page, his passing was caused by kidney failure. In case this is your first...
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger photo
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger

What's that? Kakuranger pre-orders have revealed their location


Insert cheesy sound effects
Feb 04
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that I've learned in my life, it's that you never underestimate a ninja's ability to strike from the shadows. As I was rejoicing over Shout! Factory's plans to release Kakuranger this year, the group caug...
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Zyuohger's full trailer shows off its blocky gimmicks


How to use a Rubik's Cube as a weapon
Feb 01
// Salvador GRodiles
Whenever I get to see Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger in action, my interest in the show starts to rise slowly. With Toei uploading a three-minute trailer of the program on their YouTube channel, they manage to hit us...
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger photo
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger

Evil gets slashed: Kakuranger heads to North America


Kakuranger, Ninja Ninja!
Jan 24
// Salvador GRodiles
You know that Shout! Factory's Super Sentai releases are doing fine when they throw a big surprise announcement at our faces. During their special Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger streaming event on Saturday, Jan. 23, t...
VS GAG photo
VS GAG

What if Darth Vader and Kamen Rider Black RX crossed swords?


Wake Up, the Hero!
Jan 18
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit theaters last month, I was in the mood for seeing someone do a video where a Jedi or Sith fights one of the various heroes from tokusatsu who wields an energy sword. Lo...
Garage Hero photo
Garage Hero

Watch indie toku studio Garage Hero train in the ways of wire action


Keep it up, GPTV!
Jan 17
// Salvador GRodiles
There's something awesome about seeing a production team honing their own techniques on their own time, Seeing their regimen gives people the chance to see the hard work they put into mastering their skills, and it work...

Final Impressions: Ultraman X

Jan 12 // Salvador GRodiles
From day one, it was obvious that Ultraman X was going to go down a full circle, as the return of the villain that X knocked into Earth’s Sun ended up being a huge thing. Despite, the final villain Greeza resembling a random tokusatsu grunt character, the gang at Tsuburaya made sure to turn this guy into a menacing entity. From the moment it stepped foot on our planet, we were treated to a hopeless scenario where many defense facilities fell to this powerful entity. Like with many giant monster shows and movies, all we heard was a creepy screech that when an area was about to go bye bye. Throw in a major loss for the home team, and we’re taken back to the most of the franchise’s intense finales (such as the original Ultraman series). Going back to Daichi’s character, I was surprised by how much is defeat affected me during the show’s last moments. Yes, his character comes off as a bit of an avatar for the viewers to witness the situations around them, but his will to see his dreams come true shined through the image that his presence gave off. Despite my slight issues with how they didn't give Daichi’s personal dilemmas the spotlight too much, this didn’t stop me from being affected from his defeat. That being said, this shows that Tsuburaya added enough spices to make us feel this way. Going back to a thing I said in a previous post, the thing that made Daichi’s character great for me was his ideals and the way how he bonded with the entire cast. For a guy to gain the trust of a giant dinosaur monster deserves a huge freaking medal. Through his role as a scientist at Xio, we grew to love Gourman and Rui’s antics. In combat, we saw him bring out the best out of Asuna, Hayato, and Wataru. On top of all that, his pact with X helped the giant learn more about Earth customs and mannerism, which is something that a bland character could never achieve. While the series mostly centered on the random monster attacks caused by the Ultra Flares, the amount of screen time that each character was given gave us that wonderful sense of family and teamwork that XiO uses during each big crisis. The science division gave us Rui’s huge obsession with nonhuman lifeforms and the amazing timing behind Dr. Gourman’s random appearances, which made them one of the great representations of the show’s concept of being able to live alongside other creatures. With segments like Tachibana's dilemmas as a parent and Wataru having to accept that he might not get to date his childhood friend, the show’s brief character-focused episodes brought life to the cast, as we see them deal with other issues outside of protecting the city from danger. Everyone’s working towards the same goal and the contributions of each member play a role in saving the day— regardless of the size of their task. Aside from the gang’s teamwork skills and dilemmas, X’s segments where humans bonded with the franchise’s monsters were some of the most heartwarming segments of the series. The Houlinga and the Pigmon episodes were two moments where one can’t rely on stereotypes to judge the world around you. In this case, the common misconception was that almost all creatures want to obstruct everyone’s way of life. This also goes back to the franchise’s idea that most of the show’s giant monsters are like animals. You have your vicious territorial creatures and you have those who tend to be peaceful around others. In the end, I found these segments to be the ones that express the show’s coexistence theme the most. Despite Tsuburaya’s tendency to cut corners on certain segments (such as reusing older monsters from the franchise), Ultraman X’s new angle shined well through in through, as the potential shown from day one continued to go higher each week. The Mons Armors allowed for the crew to experiment with different action scenes and attacks, an element that helps many of the Heisei Kamen Rider shows in promoting their toys. This also allowed for X to use a variety of moves outside of the Ultra Warriors' usual beams and wrestling moves that they're known for. Since each form had a cool gimmick, I’m hoping that this could evolve into a new trend for future Ultra titles— as long the gang continues to show the same passion that went into X’s different transformations. With the few original designs that entered the show’s realm, the team didn’t hold back with these arcs. These segments mostly gave off a ridiculous finale type of feeling, as they ended up being played during the key points in the series. Overall, Gargorgan, the Gua Army’s updated look, and Greeza’s final form all had some neat designs that gave off that menacing feeling that many major adversaries from giant monster titles exhibit. Other than the powerful bad guys, Demaaga, Rudian, and Houlinga were some other great examples of some nice costume work that was put into the franchise’s new characters. as a guy who loves great-looking monster suits, the costume team deserves some praise for their work on the X-exclusive creatures. When I first decided to watch Ultraman X, I came for the fierce giant warrior on monster action. However, I ended up staying with a fun tale about a group of people who fight to protect the peace while doing their best to turn the world into a place where all types of life forms can live together. Sure, the story with Daichi’s parents was never resolved, but we can only hope that the show's upcoming film will give our hero the ending that he deserves. With Tsuburaya doing some interesting things with the series, let’s hope that this is a sign that they’ll keep this rainbow strong with their later installments. In the meantime, X got me more interested in the Ultra franchise, so I plan to dive further into it in the future. Thanks to its fun run, I guess you could say that it’s one of my favorite tokusatsu shows from last year. [You can unite with Ultraman X one last time at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya’s YouTube channel]
Ultraman X photo
Somewhere over the rainbow
This might just be me, but 2015 felt like an average year for tokusatsu. The usual stuff ranged from average to enjoyable, and only one of them was consistently fun. However, things weren’t too bad, as I discovered the ...

Kamen Rider photo
Kamen Rider

Kamen Rider Battride War Genesis' opening will turn the world into your stage


Gotta Break Those Chains!
Jan 07
// Salvador GRodiles
After hearing Kamen Rider Girls in the first two Kamen Rider Battride War titles, it feels a bit strange that the group didn't return to sing Battride War Genesis' theme. My guess is that it might have to do with their album...
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Strike: Animals go bowling in the new Zyuohger trailer


Who invited the zoo?
Jan 03
// Salvador GRodiles
With one month left until the 40th Sentai series' premiere, another wild Zyuohger trailer has appeared. Right now, I'm still on a neutral position on how I feel about the show; however, the series' idea of having four of the...
Mythos photo
Mythos

Let's kick off the 2016 year with a sweet new Mythos trailer


Myth Form!
Jan 01
// Salvador GRodiles
This might sound weird of me to say this, but one of the things that I'm excited the most about the 2016 Tokusatsu Year is that we might see more independent toku projects enter the scene. In regards to these indie prod...
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Kamen Rider Ghost's chiptune opening will brighten your soul


Pixels Open!
Dec 25
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that I love about watching Kamen Rider Ghost each week, it's the show's opening by the ouendan group Kishidan. On a joyous Christmas day, Megaane has used his Retro Eyecon to turn "We Think, Therefore We...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Ultraman X episodes 14-20

Dec 16 // Salvador GRodiles
One of the deal breakers for this decision was that the show’s 14th episode presented us with another fight that’s on par with most final battles in tokusatsu. The Spectre siblings fused into a powerful entity, and we got to see Victory and Ginga perform their little fusion routine. Of course, this segment worked out nicely, as we got to witness an overkill of ultra proportions. I mean, if you have Exceed X and Ginga Victory together, whoever’s facing up against them is doomed. Honestly, it’s this type of action that gave this bit a fine closure to the Gua Army’s attempt to conquer Daichi’s world. While the next episode to follow was another recap, I guess this served as a point for the staff to gain extra time to finish up the rest of the show’s content. Again, X always manages to make up for these segments when it delivers something that makes up for it. This time, the highlight was its team doing a fine job with conveying Kamiki’s issues with trying to save the city while attempting to attend his daughter’s marriage. All in all, this episode managed to show us the struggle that many working parents have— especially when Japan is being attacked by giant monsters every week. Of course, the team’s decision to hold a giant monster boxing match made way for some great scenes of the Captain showing us his moves. Add an episode where we see an incident being told through the perspective of a reporter, and we have another fine addition to X’s track record of experimenting with its format. Even though this show mostly revolves around XiO thwarting stand-alone threats, the real treat is the way how they handle each segment, since each crisis makes a specific character the star. Of course, the big thing that’s making things exciting is that the Dark Thunder Energy seems to be the bridging element that’s setting up for the appearance of the program’s final catastrophe. Along the way, we cried over the bond between a young girl and classic Ultra series monster Pigmon. Not only did the creature sport a distinct type of cuteness, the show got us to care about it, as we're reminded of that warm feeling that comes from having a special friend that sticks by our side. This actually adds a nice layer to the icing on the Ultra cake. Thanks to my love for these types of moments, it was certain that X’s love dilemma and his fight against Gomora would hit me as well. With a romance-themed episode thrown into the mix, we now have a combo that teaches us about the life’s cruel moments. Honestly, it’s always interesting to see a children’s show cover these types of themes since many fictional titles tend to focus on the person we’re following getting the girl. Of course, Mu-chan is probably one of the silliest looking monsters to date, as she happens to have very cartoony cat look. And to think that her abilities played an important role in the episode’s topic. Back to the emotional segments, one recurring theme in X is Daichi’s connection to Gomora. The creature represents the final thing that his parents left behind, and it’s also the first monster that he bonded with. Of course, this resulted in another emotional moment for our hero, which contributes the series theme of coexistence. More important, it’s hard to go wrong with a segment where a large dinosaur-like creature performs special tricks for its best buddy while giving him a big thumbs up. It’s thanks to these themes that Lt. Tachibana’s moment was another strong moment for the series. Due to the way how Ultraman Nexus’ powers work, this was a neat way to write the Silver Giant into the series— even if it was for a brief moment. In a way, this segment showed us that distance can’t stop a mother from wanting to save her family from danger. Hell, the show deserves some props for retaining the Space Monster’s desire to eat other humans intact. Even though this contradicts with the group’s idea of coexistence, it shows that there are just some beings that can’t be persuaded. Based on my brief experience with the series, it’s practically impossible to make friends with a group of creatures that act as humanity’s predators. On top of that, they're considered to be evil creatures in their corresponding show. Despite the franchise’s recurring theme of reusing older monsters, the way how X gives them the spotlight makes up for this money-saving decision. Each episode depicts the creatures in a different way than their predecessors, and we get to see how they impact the main cast, along with the civilians who get to interact with them. During these last few weeks, the show treated us to a dynamic fight, the concept of making big sacrifices for the greater good, and the strong moments that come from a powerful bond. In a way, these aspects act as the bridge that connects most of the show’s episodes that seem like stand-alone segments at first. Because of the program's format, this resulted in each chapter being a blast. With two episodes left until Ultraman X ends, the show has already proven to us that it’ll likely end on a high note. Seeing that the Dark Thunder Energy occurrences are the major thing that’s affecting everyone right now, this means that the program’s last arc should put an end to its source. One thing for sure, I can’t wait to see X’s main adversary in action, as it’s going to be a fight to remember. [You can unite with Ultraman X at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya's YouTube channel]
Ultraman X photo
Never doubt a mom's love for her family
It’s been a while since we took a look at Ultraman X’s progress. Let’s just say that a few obstacles got in the way of this segment. Aside from being treated to a nice finale to the Gua Army Arc, a bunch of ...

Impressions: Kamen Rider Ghost episodes 1-9

Dec 10 // Salvador GRodiles
Giving off a bit of a YuYu Hakusho vibe, Ghost starts off with a guy called Takeru Tenkuji getting killed by some ghostly creatures called the Ganma. Thanks to the work of the Sage, the guy’s now a ghost and he has to collect the spirits of fifteen heroic figures. If he succeeds, he can use their power to grant himself a wish, which could restore his life. However, he has 99 days to accomplish this goal; otherwise, he’ll remain dead. Since the hero needs to be challenged, he also has to obtain them before his enemies and rivals do. If there’s one thing that I love about the Kamen Rider franchise, it’s when they implement gimmicks where the tide between the heroes and villains changes each week. Kamen Rider OOO did this with the Core Medals and Gaim’s tendency to have characters switch factions while backstabbing others were two great features that made it hard for the audience to guess how the overall story would turn out. With Takeru having a time limit to collect the heroic spirits, this element gives the show that spice that can make people want to keep up with each episode. Not only that, both Riders are able to turn them into eye-shaped items called Eyecons, which goes well with the title’s spooky motif. Add the show’s second Rider, Kamen Rider Specter, to the mix early on, and we ourselves the perfect mix to challenge our main hero. Just like Takeru, Specter has his own reason for wanting to collect the heroic spirits. In fact, the guy has a few of them on his side already. Due to this rivalry, the show has that OOO feeling where anyone could lose their powers at any time. This format works nicely since it affects both sides’ fighting capabilities and the progress of their main objective. Unfortunately, the program’s super low budget prevents it from reaching its true potential. Likely because of the Ghost’s tinier budget, the series’ villains are all mostly the same Ganma grunt creature design, except that they gave them different molds and/or outfits. If you look at the creatures’ basic features, such as the Mozart Ganma and the Lewis Carol Ganma, the differences between the Monsters-of-the-Week are practically nonexistent. In fact, it makes the show look cheaper than your standard Heisei Rider show, which is unfortunate since the bad guys from the first episode sported one design that did a decent job in masking the basic Ganma design. That, and the Tesla Ganma was another one that stood out from the rest. Even though we’ve had shows like OOO or Drive where the monsters would evolve from their henchmen form, the team would make sure that each enemy has their own unique look and body build. Even if the series has to work with less money than usual, it could be possible for them to create an array of different bad guys if they would’ve utilized the two-part format again. Right now, the Ganma’s giant forms are the closest thing to them having something that’s doesn’t look the same, so let’s hope that we see some new changes down the road. This problem doesn’t just apply to the bad guys, as the action and visuals suffer dearly as well. Usually in these types of shows, the first few episodes would always have the heroes performing an array of ridiculous moves to get everyone excited. Not just for wanting to get them to buy the toys, but to make sure that they’re in for a good time. With over eight different Forms shown in the series so far, Spectre’s finishers are the only ones that almost achieve this spark. These mostly apply to Ghost’s scenes, which lack that ‘Oomph’ or ‘Bam’ that many Riders' special attacks have. For example, his first Rider kick during episode 1 had him do his finisher after barely jumping off the ground. While Riders like Kabuto have done finishers where they do a simple move like a roundhouse kick, the attacks are still enforced with good action direction, effects, and camera shots. Perhaps if they experimented with some effects and camera angles, we might’ve ended up with something better, since they could utilize special techniques to make up for the program’s low budget. In this case, this seems to be more of a case of poor action direction that doesn’t focus much on the flashy moves, since smaller titles like Fujiyama Ichiban and Garage Pro TV’s shows have been able to create cool-looking scenes and attacks with their limited funds. That being said, there’s a chance that a few members of Ghost's staff aren’t having fun with the production since that’s a factor that can make or break many projects. Other than that, the wire work for Ghost’s flying scenes felt strange, as his body movements are inconsistent while he's flying. Honestly, this could’ve been fixed with some effects to make him look more phantom-like during these segments. Hell, the typical ghost tail would've made these scenes amazing. On top of that, the fact that the team recycled an entire scene from the Kamen Rider OOO movie during episode 4 is a sign that the show’s production is going through a major struggle. However, things start to get slightly better in later episodes, though the obvious signs of the cheaper look still remain. Despite the show’s cost-related issues, Ghost still has some decent things going on. The main Rider’s hooded jacket looks cool, and his Halloween color scheme work well with the ghost theme— seeing that the show premiered in October. While it’s obvious that Specter’s design having similarities with Ghost’s looks is the result of a smaller budget, it’s still neat that they have a Kamen Rider #1 and #2 vibe going on, as the two classic heroes shared similar design features. At the moment, these two suits are the best costumes in the series so far, which will likely improve when they get their stronger forms. To an extent, both characters' costumes remind me of Kamen Rider Wizard's stylish looks, which remains consistent in Ghost and Specter’s different Souls that represent various historical figures. As the for the show’s story, one of its best elements is Specter’s backstory and reasoning for wanting to obtain the special wish. For a character that’s only been around for four or five episodes, his alignment is an interesting one since the villains don’t see him as a huge threat. Aran seems to know Specter and it looks like Saionji wants to manipulate him as well. Since it’s hard to pinpoint the second Rider’s alignment, this conflict serves as the main piece that save Ghost from its sad state. Even though the group’s mysterious actions are still on track, it’s a bit sad when the supporting cast outsmarts Saionji, who happens to be the main villain at the moment. For now, the only thing that could make him threatening is that he might become an evil Rider or a threatening creature later on. Seeing that Aran has his own motives, this element takes us back to how OOO and Gaim had a few of its characters switch sides or form new factions. Based on the new character Javel’s appearance, the show hints that they’re likely inhabitants of the Ganma’s world, which I could see becoming a big thing soon. Sadly, Ghost’s supporting cast doesn’t hold the same strength as he potential that the evil side has. Akari is your person who refuses to believe that spirits are real and Onari is the ridiculous buffoon that happens to be a monk. They may have been helpful to Takeru from time to time, but they seem to have those same aspects that made most of Wizard’s cast weak. Hopefully, this flaw is temporary, since a good dose of character development can solve this problem right away. I guess the Sage and his ghostly partner Yurusen are alright, as their appearances tend to have some amusing comedic timing to them. Speaking of which, Takeru could use this as well since his basic personality doesn’t make him stand out that much. Even though his quirk is that he brings hope to the people who’re being manipulated by the Ganma, he’s missing that special touch that made most of the franchise’s protagonists great. On the bright side, his quest and will to return to the world of the living could make him better later on. For now, he seems to be on the same level as Haruto from Wizard, which means that he’s close to hitting that same level of blandness that the title’s hero has. Due to its low budget and possible issues with the production’s management, Kamen Rider Ghost continues to suffer from being an average show in the eyes of its predecessors. Perhaps if Kamen Rider Drive’s second half didn't put the toys in the backseat, then the program would’ve gotten higher merchandise sales to would've allowed the latest installment to look better. However, it’s still too early to dismiss the series as a disaster, since there are many elements that can turn things around. With the program starting to shed light on Takeru’s dad’s experiments with the supernatural, I could see this aspect opening up to some shocking surprises that’ll lead to a frightfully good time.
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
G-G-Go Ghost!
If there’s one thing that’s scary about an ongoing franchise, it’s when the latest series gets a budget cut. In some cases, this scenario won’t stop the team from delivering an entertaining program; ho...

Dobutsu Sentai Juohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Juohger

Check out the 40th Sentai series' animal-themed suits and robot


Can we expect a farm setting?
Dec 09
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since I watched the Go-Busters V-Cinema, a part of me wished to see an actual series was similar to the alternate Go-Busters featured in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters v.s. Dobutsu Sentai Go-Busters. My wish may not have...
Ultraman Nexus photo
Ultraman Nexus

Ultraman Nexus gets an official YouTube stream before it hits Crunchyroll


Space Monsters beware
Dec 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Once again, it's a great time to be a fan of tokusatsu, as Tsuburaya uploaded four episodes of Ultraman Nexus, one of the first Ultra TV shows that's targeted towards an older audience to prepare for its upcoming debut on Cru...
Garo photo
Garo

Aww yeah: Next year's Garo projects give us more Zero and Leon


All part of a good Thanksgiving dinner
Nov 25
// Salvador GRodiles
You know that the end of November's gonna be amazing when we learn about the new Garo-related announcements. While three projects were announced during this year's Garo: Golden Wolf Thanksgiving festivity, only two of them a...
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Carve out history with Kamen Rider Ghost's full OP music video


Get ready to shed tears of joy
Nov 23
// Salvador GRodiles
As the single for Kamen Rider Ghost's full opening gets ready to hit Japan on December, the full music video for Kishidan's latest song, "We Think, Therefore We Are," has materialized in front of us. Of course, the tune...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Ultraman X episodes 8-13

Oct 17 // Salvador GRodiles
You know that a segment is gonna get serious when you bring out a monster that literally wiped out the original Ultraman. While I never got around to watching the second Ultra show (Ultra Q is the first), I remember hearing about Zetton being one of the Giant of Light’s toughest adversaries. That being said, this sort of element is the kind of thing that one usually saves for a big moment. Unfortunately, the impact wasn’t as big as the one during the battle against Gargorgon. Yes, there was a twist during Daichi’s quest to create the Cyber Zetton Card, but this type of thing felt a little too sudden at this point in the game— unless if they're building up towards the appearance of an evil force that’s planning to invade the planet. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop the episode from having a few fun moments. Whether it was X using the Zetton Armor to reflect attacks and a ridiculous energy tornado attack or Ultraman Max’s cameo, the action side of things was enjoyable. Luckily, the series decided to change things up to prepare for its next phase. Considering that most of Ultraman X’s scenarios were catastrophes caused by large monsters and/or aliens, it was neat to see that the team left us with a few humorous segments. Honestly, I never imagined seeing an episode that’s dedicated to a guy helping a group of extraterrestrials win a game of rugby. For the most part, it served as a great diversion from the show’s usual formula, as it gave us the chance to see a bunch of people in monster suits acting like fools. Speaking of which, the situation with the creature Houlinga served as a fine example of a crisis where one has to investigate the situation before acting. While XiO’s members lost some points for the way how they handled the crisis, this was one of the few moments where Daichi showed more personality. Sure, his stunts have made him an okay person to follow, but there aren’t enough scenes where we actually see the guy stand out. In this case, he was the only person who put the effort in understanding Houlinga’s motives, which is a step in the right direction for his character. Other than that, I was surprised to see that the episode showed us a scenario where humans and large monsters can coexist. If anything, this might lead up to an interesting scenario later on. Speaking of Daichi, his whole bit with trying to summon Cyber Gomora reminds us of how he’s suffering from a case of wasted potential. From the moment that his backstory was revealed to be a sad one, the staff has avoided this element in favor of making him a character that people can insert themselves into. Sure, he isn’t a completely blank state character, but it’s getting to this point where his performance doesn't make him stand out too much from the rest of the XiO's colorful members. At least his actions and reactions to things make him a decent person, so we can only hope that he gets better as the story behind his parents becomes more relevant later on. Despite this plot element being a little too late in the game, it’s hard to deny that Cyber Gomora’s debut was in battle was quite a treat. I mean, the guy’s already a formidable beast in previous Ultra installments, so it was inevitable that his new variant would kick all sorts of butt in his debut. To an extent, it gave off a nice Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend and Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle vibe, since the idea of summoning a large creature to fight an enemy gave off a Rei vibe. Even though Daichi’s method is different, there’s something magical about seeing a non-Ultra Warrior as a good guy. Of course, this isn’t the height of the series’ latest progress, as it started to take things up a notch. Usually, the segments where X would be in peril would last one or two episodes; however, with the introduction of Gina Spectre, the team has outdone themselves again.  This is thanks to her being part of an empire known as the Gua Army, which already makes her presence bigger than the previous the show’s previous baddies. Combined with the fact that she’s played by Minami Tsukui (Kamen Rider W’s Grasshopper Woman/Hopper Dopant and Kamen Rider Gaim’s Yoko/Kamen Rider Marika), Tsuburaya managed to hit us with another solid entree. For once, the team was able to make this situation into a major event for Ultraman X. I mean, if you’re going to bring in a previous Ultra Warrior to the mix, you know that something big is about to go down. This happened with Zero and Max's cameo appearance, which were both amusing on their own behalf. If that doesn't happen, then you're likely left with a terrible scenario where we end up with a huge pile of garbage *cough Toei’s Super Hero Wars movie series. In this case, Ultraman Victory only made this arc more exciting— especially when Daichi thought that he couldn’t speak Japanese. Also, the idea behind Victory’s flute sword and his ability to perform special attacks with the Spark Dolls left me with a good impression on the character. Going back to Daichi, the weakest part of the arc was the staff pulling off another last minute attempt to emphasize on his character. Even if this scene wasn't that emotional, the idea behind Ultraman X’s Exceed Form worked as a decent way to show that his bond with the alien has grown stronger throughout the series. That and to show off his determination to find his parents. Again, these segments would’ve shined well if we saw him deal with his personal problems earlier in the series. But hey, Ultraman Exceed X uses his headgear as a sword, so something good came out of this event. Based on Exceed X’s debut, it looks like his style mostly involves using his sword and fabulous rainbow energy. Not that it’s a bad thing since his segments were pretty flashy; however, with Ginga and Victory’s more versatile skills, I’m hoping that Daichi will get to use the Cyber Monster Cards with his new Form. That way, the series won’t neglect the toys that it’s been marketing to people during these past few weeks. Even though the Ultra franchise was stuck in a situation where it production staff couldn't manage its budget, Ultraman X continues to take the brand to new heights. While the Gua Army was another example of the company recycling assets from previous shows, the team still managed to bring a new spin on Andro Super Warriors’ major villains. Since the series’ heroes were four Ultra Warriors who fought evil while donning special suits, I guess this still count as them bringing back older bad guys, except that they’re given an updated look. If the show’s 14th episode marks the end of this group, then their presence proved to us that the staff is willing to have segments that extend beyond two episodes. From the looks of it, the second half of Ultraman X might top this moment easily. Who knows, that one villain that X knocked into the sun could return after this next week's episode; thus resulting in a climactic moment for the series. [You can awaken Ultraman X's Ultimate Form at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya's YouTube channel]
Ultraman X photo
A chokehold that transcends dimensions
Man. Ultraman X has gone through a lot during these past few weeks. From intense major event battles to sports games, the show is packing a ton of different elements recently. Perhaps the biggest thing to happen is that we mi...

Final Impressions: Garo: Gold Storm Soar

Oct 05 // Salvador GRodiles
When you look at the big picture, it makes sense that Garo: Gold Storm Soar was going to have the heroes win earlier than before. Not that it’s a bad thing, as the show has been doing a great job in handling the segments that made way for Zinga becoming the owner of Ladan. Since each episode served its own purpose, the whole thing didn’t feel like it was rushed. One moment, Ryuga and the gang are trying to save Rian. Then we see them get ready to confront the show’s main adversaries in a fight that’ll determine the fate of humanity. Also, we had a scene with a guy protecting the city with a massive magical electric guitar; therefore making this finale an exciting moment for the series. Compare to Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness’ Zedom battle, the staff pulled no punches with Ladan’s designs, as we’re treated to a giant castle with Gothic architecture that’s fused with a grim reaper. All in all, it managed to recapture the magic that makes from the franchise’s final fights worthwhile, which shows that they were able to make it up to the viewers for how they used the program’s budget in the third installment. Even though Ryuga didn’t get a one-time Super Form, it was still cool to see his use his Dark Armor again. If anything, this probably makes him the second Makai Knight in the Garo toku franchise to be able to fly. Again, the staff’s decision to bring back this design was a fine way to give folks the suit that they missed out on during the series’ third installment. In a way, it almost cancels out the lack of him having a special transformation that’s exclusive to this installment. I guess the giant Garo that's made of people's lifeforce counts as something too, so there's that. If there was one issue to be had with the show’s resolution, it’s that we didn’t get a proper closing to the cast’s story. Yes, the city was saved and everyone went back to their normal lives, but I felt that we were deprived of a proper closure to Ryuga and Rian’s relationship. Then again, you have to give the show some props for having the girl focus on her other priorities, which implied that she’s saving her big move after she accomplishes her dream— especially with the way how the two main characters interacted towards the end. Come to think of it, Gold Storm Soar's ending was almost similar to the original series. Our heroes walk off into the horizon while they prepare for their next journey. In the end, this segment tends to work well since a Makai Knight and Priest’s job never ends. As long as people with malevolent intent exist in our world, the Horrors will continue to terrorize society. When this happens, the Makai Knights and Priest will always be there to protect the planet’s citizens from their danger. That being said, it might be a while before Ryuga and Rian’s journey ends, so there’s a chance that they could return in a new series, special, or movie. Part of the thing that made the series fun was how each episode slowly unraveled the mystery behind Zinga and Amiri’s plans for awakening Ladan. Even though it was obvious that they were meant to be a Ryuga and Rian’s evil opposites, the Destroyer of Worlds alone was enough to make the bad side interesting. Whether it’s his psychotic expressions or his tendency to taunt his opponents, Masahiro Inoue nailed his role well in Gold Storm Soar. At the same time, it shows how much he’s evolved from when he played as Tsukasa/Decade from Kamen Rider Decade. While Garo: Gold Storm Soar’s quality felt like a step down from Garo: Makai no Hana, the series somehow showed us that it had what it took to dominate the spring and summer season. The small amount of Horrors-of-the-Week comprised of people in creepy suits may have been smaller than its preceding live-action installment, but there was still a great amount of variety between the CG creatures and the costumed ones. That and we had not one but two Makai Knights that weren’t 3D models, which is a step in the right direction. Because of these elements, this shows that the franchise is at its best when its creator, Keita Amemiya, is part of the show’s staff; otherwise, the team might have issues if they’re working with a smaller budget than usual. Of course, the only downside of this scenario is that in exchange for the guy being involved with the franchise, Amemiya ends up being stuck in the Garo loop again. Hopefully, there'll come a time when the staff could pull off a great show without his involvement. That way, he could focus on his own projects— just like the time when he worked on Shougeki Gouraigan. Since the first Garo anime did well without his supervision, the tokusatsu side of the franchise might achieve this goal one day. At the end of the day, I think it's safe to say that this year’s live-action Garo installment was still a fine treat for fans of the franchise. Considering that Sho Aikawa (Kamen Rider Decade and Eureka Seven AO's Writer) and Toshiki Inoue (Kamen Rider 555 and Kamen Rider the First's Writer) are part of the second Garo anime's staff, this is a sign that it’ll be a disaster. On a more positive note, we can rest assure that Garo: Gold Storm Soar left us on a good note; therefore leaving us satisfied until the next set of Garo-related goodies. When you look at the big picture, it makes sense that Garo: Gold Storm Soar was going to have the heroes win earlier than before. Not that it’s a bad thing, as the shows been doing a great job in handling the segments that made way for Zinga becoming the owner of Ladan. Since each episode served its own purpose, the whole thing didn’t feel like it was rushed. One moment, Ryuga and the gang are trying to save Rian. Then we see them get ready to confront the show’s main adversaries in a fight that’ll determine the fate of humanity. Also, we had a scene with a guy protecting the city with a massive magical electric guitar; therefore making this finale an exciting moment for the program. Compare to Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness’ Zedom battle, the staff pulled no punches with Ladan’s designs, as we’re treated to a giant castle with Gothic architecture that’s fused with a grim reaper. All in all, it managed to recapture the magic that comes from the franchise’s final fights, which shows that they were able to make it up to the viewers for how they used the series’ budget. Even though Ryuga didn’t get a one-time Super Form, it was still cool to see his use his Dark Armor again. If anything, this probably makes him the second Makai Knight in the Garo toku franchise to be able to fly. Again, the staff’s decision to bring back this design was a fine way to give folks the suit that they missed out on during the series’ third installment. In a way, it almost cancels out the lack of him having a special transformation that’s exclusive to this installment. If there was one issue to be had with the show’s resolution, it’s that we didn’t get a proper closing to the cast’s story. Yes, the city was saved and everyone went back to their normal lives, but I felt that we were deprived of a proper closure to Ryuga and Rian’s relationship. Then again, you have to give the show some props for having the girl focus on her other priorities, which implied that she’s saving her big move after she accomplishes her dream— especially with the way how the two main characters interacted towards the end. Come to think of it, Gold Storm Soar almost ended like the original series. Our heroes walk off into the horizon while they prepare for their next journey. I guess this segment is perfect since a Makai Knight and Priest’s job is never over. As long as people with malevolent intent exist in our world, the Horrors will continue to terrorize society. When this happens, the Makai Knights and Priest will always be there to protect the planet’s citizens from their danger. That being said, it might be a while before Ryuga and Rian’s journey ends, so there’s a chance that they could return in a new series, special, or movie. If not, then we can still rest assure that Gold Storm Soar ended on a fine note for the entire cast, which resulted in a great year for the franchise. Part of the thing that made the series fun was how each episode slowly unraveled the mystery behind Zinga and Amiri’s plans for awakening Ladan. Even though it was obvious that they were meant to be a Ryuga and Rian’s evil opposites, the Destroyer of Worlds alone was enough to make the bad side interesting. Whether it’s his psychotic expressions or his tendency to taunt his opponents, Masahiro Inoue nailed his role well in Gold Storm Soar. At the same time, it shows how much he’s evolved from when he played as Tsukasa/Decade from Kamen Rider Decade. While Garo: Gold Storm Soar’s quality felt like a step down from Garo: Makai no Hana, the series somehow showed us that it had what it took to dominate the spring and summer season. The small amount of Horrors-of-the-Week comprised of people in creepy suits may’ve been smaller than its preceding live-action installment, but there was still a great amount of variety between the CG creatures and the costumed ones. That and we had not one but two Makai Knights that weren’t 3D models, which is a step in the right direction. Because of these elements, this shows that the franchise is at its best when its creator, Keita Amemiya is involve is part of the show’s staff; otherwise, the team might have issues if they’re working with a smaller budget than usual. Since the latest Ryuga series was an improvement over the third Garo TV show, this year’s live-action installment was still a fine treat for fans of the franchise. If the second Garo anime’s writing staff is a sign that it’ll be a disappointing title for the brand, the viewers can rest assure that Garo: Gold Storm Soar left us on a good note. 
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
It never hurts to smile
Have you ever had that feeling where a show that you’re keeping up with ends sooner than expected? In my case, it feels stranger for the latest Garo toku series to end at episode 23, since each installment of the franch...

Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Raise your hoodies: Kamen Rider Ghost's new preview has entered the building


Just in time for Halloween
Sep 28
// Salvador GRodiles
As Kamen Rider Ghost gets ready to materialize in our world this Sunday, a new preview has arrived from the spirit world to give us a better look at our new spooky hero. So far, it's doing a fine job in giving us the main th...

Impressions: Shuriken Sentai Ninninger episodes 1-30

Sep 27 // Salvador GRodiles
At one point in time, a man with the title of the Last Ninja managed to seal away a group of Yokai that were lead by a ruthless warlord called Gengetsu Kibaoni. Flash forward to the present, and a mysterious fellow who goes by the name of Kyuuemon Izayoi has awakened most of the creatures that were sealed away.  Standing in his way are the five relatives of the legendary shinobi, who are also in training to become great warriors. As they work hard to save humanity, the team is also competing to see who can become the Last Ninja’s successor. From the get-go, the main thing that sets Ninninger apart from most other Sentai shows is that the five heroes are also rivals. Despite their ambitions for wanting to become the next Last Ninja, the group still has to work as a team to overcome all odds. Because of this format, this lets us see the main cast’s relationship exhibit different levels of chemistry during training and in real battle. Hell, the team’s trials are played out like an actual school, since students are ranked by their grades and overall performance until they graduate. At the same time, they still help each other out during tough situations, which brings us an interesting take on the franchise's teamwork theme. Even through the series features a neat take on the team’s relationship, it’s unfortunate that the staff is trying too hard to replicate Kyoryuger’s over-the-top aspects. Obviously, I love it when a Sentai program has off-the-wall elements, but it’s important for these aspects to come off naturally. For example, Takuharu Igasaki/Aka Ninger gives off a Daigo/Kyoryu Red vibe, but the guy’s overly exaggerated enthusiasm and his tendency to use the phrase ‘fired up’ and ‘hot’ lacks that special zest that made the King's hot-blooded phrases great. Instead, his actions make him a bit annoying at times. Speaking of attempts to replicate successful elements, the final part of the team’s roll call has to do with running wild and the show’s sixth Ranger made his debut early in the series. Based on these aspects, it’s likely possible that Ninninger’s staff is hoping that these elements will replicate Kyoryuger’s success. Luckily, the show doesn’t come off as a poor excuse to market merchandise to kids based on the brand name alone, since there are a few moments that stand out on their own. Despite Takaharu’s slightly irritating habits, the rest of the cast manages to balance out his negative traits. With two young heroes that provide great support, a magic ninja, a scientific genius, and a cowboy that loves to take selfies with monsters, the rest of the Ninninger balance out the red shinobi’s bad qualities. I guess you could say that each member covers their own weaknesses in battle and in life. All in all, the group’s interactions play off for some good laughs here and there, which helps keep viewers entertained before the action kicks in. As for Kyuuemon’s group, the show’s format prevents them from being fleshed out too well. This was due to the fox demon’s tendency to revive Gengetsu’s Generals one at a time, which prevented most of the major bad guys from reaching their full potential. One villain that suffered dearly from this was Raizou Gabi, who seemed like he was going to be Takaharu’s rival throughout the entire show— kind of like Takeru/Shinken Red and Juzou’s encounters in Shinkenger. Even though the later Commanders are still alive, their role hasn’t reached the same pinnacle as the blood-thirsty samurai. For now, Izayoi shows some promise, since his backstory is connected to the Igasaki Ninja Clan. That and it’s cool to see that Gengetsu’s high-ranking members wear broken Noh masks; thus adding a neat aesthetic to the group’s Warring Era theme. Perhaps if Gengetsu and his top officers were awake from the get-go, Ninninger might’ve had a stronger villain cast. Then again, Ninja Sentai Kakuranger featured a similar format to the latest ninja team’s adversary, so the issue here is how the bad guys interact with the heroes. Hell, in titles like Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, a series with a small general count, the thing that let Enter stay strong throughout the series was his constant interaction with his enemies. Whether he was eating a pizza while commencing his evil scheme or greeting the team in French, his presence was a welcoming aspect for the show. Sadly, the Kibaoni Army’s commanders (except Raizou) weren't able to deliver a great dynamic between them and the good guys, which was due to them not crossing swords with the heroes too often. Where the villains were lacking, the Monsters-of-the-Week managed to keep the series’ conflicts entertaining. Besides being actual yokai crossed with random objects, most of these creatures leave us with some silly moments here and there. I mean, we got to see Frankenstein's Creature become a fan of cute 2D girls, a moment that I didn't expect to see outside of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger. Due to Kyuuemon’s desire to collect people's fears, we get to see these baddies scare humans through actions like using walls to crush people’s dreams or trapping people inside of difficult board games. Even when the Izayoi Clan ninjas took over as the weekly adversaries for the heroes, they still managed to carry the spirit of the other bad guys. Going back to Kyuuemon, his role in the show is now one of the bigger things that could turn the villains around. Aside from his mysterious motives, he played a decent role in giving the show’s sixth Ranger, Kinji/Star Ninger, a challenge while he was trying to become the Last Ninja’s student. As the ninja fox demon starts to show more of his true colors, I could see him becoming a bigger villain than Gengetsu later on. For now, this is aspect is something that could turn the evil side into a more lovable group. In regards to the team’s weapon designs, their #1 Sword sports a colorful look, which goes well with its role as a changing device and main combat gadget. Just like Ninja Sentai Kakuranger’s heroes, the Ninninger all have the same gear, since their other tools include a transforming shuriken and a frog gun. Nonetheless, each member’s strengths and weaknesses allow for everyone to use the items in different ways, such as Yakumo/Ao Ninger combining magic with his special attacks. Thanks to their special shurikens that can be inserted into each weapon, the show’s staff has ensured that the Ninninger are able to add some more flair to the action scenes on screen. Of course, these segments go well with the group’s usage of ninja techniques like substitution and clone move; thus acting as another decent callback to the two previous ninja-themed Sentai shows. As for the gang’s costumes, the suits manage to compliment the show’s motif, as each hero’s helmet has a different shuriken that acts as their visor. On top of that, the scrolls on their chests complete the great package that makes up these great designs. While Star Ninger’s attire lacks these features, his cowboy elements were a clever way to utilize the sheriff’s star as part of the team’s association with spiked throwing weapons. While we’re on the topic of Star Ninger, the hero’s cowboy hat-shaped helmet and poncho work as a great way to compliment his American origins. Sure, he’s a parody of Texan and Wild West stereotypes (the guy transforms with a freaking cheeseburger cellphone, for crying out loud), but it’s these aspects that make his character fun. In a way, he’s like a glorious fusion between Ninpu Sentai Hurricanger’s Shurikenger and Shinkenger’s Shinken Gold, since he likes to add English words to phrases and he has a gold costume that has blue on it. Just like Kyoryuger’s mecha dinosaurs, Ninninger’s signature robots also feature a colorful toy-like design. If there’s one thing that sets them apart from the samba dinosaur show, it’s that the team’s Ninja Allies don’t share a similar motif. When you think about it, a giant ninja, a dragon, a dump truck, a dog, a train, an elephant, a U.F.O., a surfer, a lion fortress, and a Western ninja that rides a buffalo A.T.V. wheeler have nothing in common. Then again, most of these things are seen as cool things, which might’ve been a factor in their decision to give the gang machines that lack a common motif. Even though the Ninninger’s Ninja Allies look like something to come out of a ‘Cool Japan’ campaign, the shear ridiculousness behind these units using each other as thrones is both an awesome homage to its ninja theme, along with being a great way to replicate the great aspects from show like Gurren Lagann into a live-action series. From day one, this was an idea that I was on board with from the beginning, and Ninninger has yet to disappoint me with this theme. With all said and done, Ninninger may be a show that tries too hard to replicate Kyoryuger’s zaniness, but its other ideas prevent it from being a disappointing Sentai series. Based on its progressions, it’s not the right kind of bread to complete the sandwich that contains ToQger and its predecessor, since its major villains lack the elements that made the ones from the two previous shows great. However, this could change with Kyuuemon’s new ninja clan and Gengetsu’s true debut, so anything could happen at this point. Another great thing that kept the series fun was its return to the family theme present in Sentai titles like GoGo V and Magiranger gave the series its own charm, since it gave the main cast the chance to partake in lots of silly segments. Whether it was Kinji’s attempts to defeat the other heroes or the group’s early reactions to Takaharu’s old friend/possible love interest, these aspects continue to remind me why I find this format to be great. Based on the way how things are going now, the show’s looking to be an enjoyable title by the time things get super real— especially with the whole ordeal with Kyuuemon creating ninjas out of Tsumuji’s ninja abilities. If the show's staff plays their cards right with this one, we might be in for a cool scenario soon. While it might not reach Tokusatsu of the Year quality, the series has enough decent content for many folks to enjoy. In other words, hiding doesn't stop party night!
Shuriken Sentai Ninninger photo
It's all about that Shinobi Love
When it comes to delicacies that blend things together, the sandwich is one of those meals that smash a bunch of stuff in between two slices of bread. So what does this have to do with tokusatsu? Well, one thing that I’...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Ultraman X episodes 6-7.5

Sep 06 // Salvador GRodiles
Luckily, the new characters ended up improving things in the long run. Even though the beginning of tE rU’s (yes, that’s how his name is actually spelled) story wasn’t on the same level as the last two episodes, both segments worked well as a great build-up to the climatic showdown against the alien’s true adversary. This was thanks to the series of events that got us to know the inhabitant of Planet Gold. One thing that every episode of Ultraman X had in common was that the Spark Doll monsters were involved in some sort of destructive action. While I haven’t watched the two Ultraman Ginga shows, it was neat to see that these sofubi figures can be used for good from the get-go. Sure, tE rU and his giant robot-turtle Rudian decimated the city during the first part of the story arc, but that was the result of some misunderstandings caused by his predicament. In tE rU’s case, his early actions were out of self-defense. Honestly, it didn’t help that he faced discrimination early on in the episode. Come to think of it, this situation could play a major role in the series later on; thus placing XiO in a situation where they’ll have to assess future situations before taking action. While Daichi hasn’t done much to stand out from the other characters, it’s his willingness to understand others that make him a decent person to follow. At this point, he still lacks the aspects that make the rest of the cast fun, but his strengths lie in the way how he defends everyone as Ultraman X. Of course, the guy also contributes to making the Giant of Light’s random antics being better than ever. So far, this chemistry has been the thing that lets Daichi hold the fort during these past few weeks. Unlike the show's previous episodes, we’re finally treated to a new original monster in the form of Gargorgon. Compare to the older Showa Era creatures, the three-headed monster has one of the fiercest-looking designs in X. In fact, the creature looks like an endgame villain, which shows that Tsuburaya has a few aces up their sleeve that they’re saving for important moments like this. Speaking of which, Rudian was another fine specimen since it’s basically a gold turtle that looks like a fusion between Gamera and Anubis. On top of that, the mecha has giant freaking Gatling gun arms! Thanks to these suits, episodes 6 and 7 of Ultraman X had some great designs. Once again, this arc’s strength was that they gave XiO the spotlight in the same manner during the episode when they had to save X from Bemstar’s grasp. Come to think of it, the build-up to our hero using his new Mons Armor might be a callback to that segment. While we're on the topic of references, the way how he stopped Gargorgon was reminiscent of the story of Perseus; thus adding a nice Greek mythology nod to the series. Even though the series has been getting stronger, it’s unfortunate that a recap segment came by and ruined the show’s momentum. Since the reason behind these episodes is understandable, I guess it’s something that will never go away. At least, they gave us a preview of the newer goodies to come which worked well in raising everyone’s appetite for the show’s ridiculous content, such as Cyber Gomora appearing as an actual monster later on. Despite its loss in momentum, Ultraman X continues to pull through as a show that’s slowly living up to its potential. With the Ultra Killer getting ready to make its return again, I believe that we’re in for another intense storyline. Combined with the other promising goodies, this show already has what it takes to be ultra phenomenal. Let’s just say that everyone’s urge to buy more Ultra sofubi monster toys and cyber cards will continue to go up again. [You can join forces with Ultraman X at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya's YouTube channel.] Luckily, the new characters ended up improving things in the long run. Even though the beginning of tE rU’s (yes, that’s how his name is actually spelled) story wasn’t on the same level as the last two episodes, both segments worked well as a great build-up to the climatic showdown against the alien’s true adversary. This was thanks to the array of events that got us to know the inhabitant of Planet Gold. One thing that every episode of Ultraman X had in common was that the Spark Doll monsters were involved in some sort of destructive action. While I haven’t watched the two Ultraman Ginga shows, it was neat to see that these sofubi figures can be used for good from the get-go. Sure, tE rU and his giant robot turtle Rudian decimated the city during the first part of the story arc, but that was the result of some misunderstandings caused by his predicament. In tE rU’s case, his early actions were out of self defense. Honestly, it didn’t help that he faced discrimination early on in the episode. Come to think of it, this situation could play a major role in the series later on; thus placing XiO in a situation where they’ll have to assess the situation before taking action. While Daichi hasn’t done much to stand out from the other characters, it’s his willingness to understand others that makes him a decent person to follow. At this point, he still lacks the aspects that make the rest of the cast fun, but his strengths lie in the way how he defends everyone as Ultraman X. Of course, the guy also contributes to making the Giant of Light’s random antics being better than ever. So far, this chemistry has been the thing that let Daichi hold the fort during these past few weeks. Unlike the previous episodes, we’re finally treated to a new original monster in the form of Gargorgon. Compare to the older Showa Era creatures, the three-headed monster has one of the fiercest-looking designs in X at the moment. In fact, the creature looks like an endgame villain which shows that Tsuburaya has a few aces up their sleeve that they’re saving for important moments like this. Speaking of which, Rudian was another fine specimen since it’s basically a gold turtle that looks like a fusion between Gamera and Anubis. On top of that, the mecha has giant freaking Gatling gun arms! Thanks to these suits, episodes 6 and 7 of Ultraman X were a nice treat. Once again, this arc’s strength was that they gave XiO the spotlight in the same manner during the episode when they had to save X from Bemstar’s grasp. Come to think of it, the build-up to our hero using his new Mons Armor might’ve been a nice callback to that segment. Hell, the way how he stopped Gargorgon was reminiscent of the story of Perseus; thus adding a nice Greek mythology nod to the series. Even though the series has been getting stronger, it’s unfortunate that a recap segment came by and ruined the show’s momentum. Since the reason behind these episodes is understandable, I guess it’s something that won’t go away forever yet. At least, they gave us a preview of the newer goodies to come which worked well in raising everyone’s appetite for the show’s ridiculous content, such as Cyber Gomora appearing as an actual monster later on. Despite its loss in momentum, Ultraman X continues to pull through as a show that’s slowly living up to its potential. With the Ultra Killer getting ready to make its return again, I believe that we’re in for another intense storyline. Let’s just say that everyone’s urge to buy more Ultra sofubi monster toys and cyber cards will continue to go up again.
Ultraman X photo
Perseus the Tokusatsu
At long last, Ultraman X has finally pulled out some original creatures out of their hat. Again, it’s understandable why they couldn’t have done this earlier in the game. Either way, this hasn’t stop Tsubura...

The Ultraman photo
The Ultraman

Animator Expo's Ultraman short is chock-full of toku goodness


The courage you gave me was 110 Million!
Sep 04
// Salvador GRodiles
As Ultraman X continues to rock the airwaves with its hero that fights bad guys with his sweet-looking monster armors, the Japan Animator Expo project has united with the Giant of Light to bring us a short that'll make any Ul...

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