tokusatsu

Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Full Throttle: Garage Hero takes a look at Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future


Shift Car sound effects included
Sep 02
// Salvador GRodiles
Bueno of Garage Hero/Garage Pro TV has returned to share his thoughts on another tokusatsu movie. This time around, he's taking Kamen Rider Drive the Movie: Surprise Future for a joyride with his comrades Michael (Gun Calibe...
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Kamen Rider Ghost's special video takes us back to outer space


It's Spooky Space Time!
Sep 01
// Salvador GRodiles
Now that September has started, the folks at Toei have spooked up a new video for Kamen Rider Ghost on their tokusatsu YouTube channel. Apparently, there seems to be a spaceship involved in this segment. Wait a minute... Isn...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo: Gold Storm Soar episodes 17-19

Aug 27 // Salvador GRodiles
You gotta hand it to Gold Storm's staff for having multiple events from previous episodes that seemed unrelated come together. When done right, these twists fill the audience with a shocking feeling as their mind wraps around the events that have occurred. In this case, the show's recent big twist was obvious from the beginning; however, what made this scene shine was the motive behind the specific action. Originally, I felt that the team was going to make Zinga and Amiri similar to Barago/Kiba the Dark Knight from the original series since their motive involves freeing a threatening force for their own gain. Aside from their method of becoming evil, the other thing that improved the main villains' character was that their path was triggered by a tragic event. I mean, losing a kid is no easy task to endure— especially when he’s murdered by the very people they tried to save. At the same time, it added a new layer to Gald and Haruna’s backstory, since the intersection between the two groups predicaments increased the show's drama levels. Speaking of surprising elements, did anyone expect to see Ryuga’s old Garo Armor design return as an actual suit? Something tells me that this moment was an excuse to give the viewers a taste of what the main hero’s costume would’ve been like if Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness didn’t rely on CG for its Knights and creatures. As a person who enjoyed the franchise's third series, it was a nice service to those who wished to see his old form again. On top of that, the aerial battle between him and Zinga was a perfect way to make it stand out even more. Judging by the armor’s design, there’s a good chance that Ryuga’s current suit was what the team wanted the Golden Knight to become after he purified it. Likely due to Garo Season 3’s low budget, the staff decided to reuse Kouga’s version of the costume. I guess this proves that the guy’s current form wasn’t the result of his gear going through an evolution before Gold Storm’s events. Either way, it’s fascinating to see how these details can tell a story through the use of its visuals. Even though Zinga ‘kicked’ the bucket earlier than expected, his latest move almost keeps us guessing on how he’ll inhabit Ladan. Since Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness didn’t wrap up Ryuga and Rian’s relationship, it’s obvious that the guys desperation attack was meant to intensify this moment. One of the great parts about this was Miki Nanri being able to switch between two roles. All in all, she did a good job in expressing the guy’s maniacal way of speaking, which contributed to the dramatic campiness on screen. On top of that, the washed up effect in Rian’s mind served as a neat aesthetic for the scene. At this point in the story, it’s hard to believe that Gold Storm is close to its final countdown. One moment, it was spring and now we’re at the end of the summer season. I guess this is due to time flying fast. Based on the way how things have gone, we might see the appearance of Ladan’s ruler soon. Once the pieces become complete, the real battle shall become a climatic treat that’ll surpass Garo Season 3’s final battle. Hell, it might be a fitting end to Ryuga and Rian’s relationship. For now, we’ll just have to hope that she ends up on the rare list of characters that can be saved. However, a tragic ending wouldn’t be too bad— as long as the right ingredients are put into place. Then again, Ryuga worked hard for his status so a good closing to his journey wouldn’t be too bad right now. You gotta hand it to a show when it pieces together multiple events that seemed like they had nothing to do with each other. When done right, these twists fill the audience with a shocking feeling as their mind wraps around the events that have occurred. In Gold Storm’s case, the big twist was rather obvious from the beginning; however, what made this scene shine was the motive behind the specific action. Originally, I felt that the team was going to make Zinga and Amiri similar to Barago/Kiba the Dark Knight from the original series, since their motive involved freeing a threatening force for their own gain. Aside from their method of becoming evil, the other thing that sets the evil duo apart is that their path was triggered by a tragic event. I mean, losing a kid is no easy task to endure— especially when he’s murdered by the people you tried to save. This event was an example of the show’s staff to flesh out the main villains before the program comes to a close. At the same time, it spiced up Gald and Haruna’s story; thus making the drama even juicier. Speaking of surprising elements, did anyone expect to see Ryuga’s old Garo Armor design return as an actual suit? Something tells me that this moment was an excuse to give the viewers a taste of what the main hero’s costume would’ve been like if Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness didn’t rely on CG for its Knights and creatures. All in all, it was a nice service to those who wished to see his old form again. On top of that, the aerial battle between him and Zinga was a perfect way to make it stand out even more. Judging by the armor’s design, there’s a good chance that Ryuga’s current suit was what the team wanted the Golden Knight to become after he purified it. Likely due to Garo Season 3’s low budget, the staff had to resort to reusing Kouga’s version of the costume. I guess this proves that the guy’s current form wasn’t the result of his gear going through an evolution before Gold Storm’s events. Either way, it’s fascinating to see how these details can tell a story through the use of its visuals. Even though Zinga ‘kicked’ the bucket earlier than expected, his latest move almost keeps us guessing on how he’ll become Ladan’s ruler later on. Since Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness didn’t wrap up Ryuga and Rian’s relationship, it’s obvious that the guys desperation attack was meant to intensify this moment. One of the great parts about this was Rian’s actress being able to switch between two roles. All in all, she did a good job in expressing the guy’s maniacal way of speaking, which contributed to the dramatic campiness on screen. On top of that, the washed up effect in Rian’s mind served as a neat aesthetic for the scene. At this point in the story, it’s hard to believe that Gold Storm is close to its final countdown. One moment, it was spring and now we’re at the end of the summer season. I guess this is due to time flying fast. Based on the way how things have gone, we might see the appearance of Ladan’s ruler soon. Once the pieces become complete, the real battle shall become a climatic treat that’ll surpass Garo Season 3’s final battle. Hell, it might be a fitting end to Ryuga and Rian’s relationship. For now, we’ll just have to hope that she ends up on the rare list of characters that can be saved. However, a tragic ending wouldn’t be too bad— as long as the right ingredients are put into place. Then again, Ryuga worked hard for his status so a good send off wouldn’t be too bad right now.
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
I am GARO!
Once again, Garo: Gold Storm Soar is treading into climatic territories that make us think that we’re in for a final clash. Obviously, these moments are only meant to set the stage for the true finale, but the climatic ...

Gosei Sentai Dairanger photo
Gosei Sentai Dairanger

Tenshin Da: Dairanger is up for pre-order


The five stars have finally aligned!
Aug 19
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a month since Shout! Factory announced that they're releasing Dairanger in North America, and the show is can now be pre-ordered at the company's Website. While it's unfortunate that one can't reserve the serie...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Ultraman X episodes 4-5

Aug 18 // Salvador GRodiles
Right when I felt that Ultraman X was going to only have one huge battle at the end of every episode, the people at Tsuburaya threw a curve ball at me. In fact, this surprise was the right element that it needed to push the story forward. As fun as it is to see Daichi transform into the Giant Warrior each week, the supporting cast still deserves their time to shine. This is where episode 4’s conflict came in since it covered the usual trope where a group of characters must learn to work together. Sure, this element has been done to death in many shows, but the great part about this aspect is the reward that comes from seeing everyone settles their differences. At the same time, it helped establish Asuna, Wataru, and Hayato’s roles as XiO’s combat unit. Because of this outcome, the Musketty’s Forms became more useful in the segment; thus acting as a good way to promote the machine as a toy. Once again, the show resorts to bringing back previous monsters and adversaries from the Ultra franchise. Honestly, I’m going to assume that this will continue to be a recurring thing in this show. Then again, since Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend is the only other title in the franchise that I’m familiar with, seeing these old creatures for the first time has been a nice treat. Koichi Sakamoto's movie also had some classic baddies, which shows that this trend has been around for a good while. At least the human-sized aliens are changing the playing field right now. Unlike the show’s giant monsters, these extraterrestrials are more like the types of villains that inhabit the realm of tokusatsu, such as the generals or the Monsters-of-the-Week. They all have their own agendas and they manage to give the human characters the chance to actually shine. I mean, I didn’t expect to see XiO’s members go toe to toe with one of these villains. In the end, if these guys add more action to the series, then Ultraman X has what it take its entertaining quality to a higher level. Speaking of which, I didn’t expect for Ultraman X to repeat the same format in the next episode. At first, it felt that the staff was running out of ideas this early in the series, but one can never judge an episode by its basic format. Just like the previous segment, episode 5 gave us a better look at Rui’s character. Sure, she’s your usual enthusiastic character that goes nuts over random things, but it’s the way how she expresses her love for her research, comrades, and giant creatures that make her very lovable. In fact, her encounter with Alien Nackle Bandello expressed her sentiments well; thus giving the viewers another good reason for them to care about her. Other than this development, Ultraman Zero’s cameo was a great way to spice up the action. Since his debut in Ultra Galaxy Legends was during the film’s major battle, it was nice to actually see him partake in the show’s story. Mind you, I haven’t seen the other films that he’s been in, so my knowledge of his character is limited right now. But hey, his flaming skills and his various moves that revolve around his head gear were a great addition to Ultraman X's arsenal of ridiculous characters. Another greatest treat was seeing X switch between his Gomora and Eleking Armor when he battled Black King. All in all, this segment was a nice relief since it gives us the chance to get acquainted with his new powers. That and it’s a good way to sell the Cyber Monster cards to people. Again, his transformations gave off a nice Heisei Kamen Rider vibe, which is still one of the show's good aspects. Most importantly, you can’t go wrong with the main hero having an X-shaped body slam and a powerful energy chop attack. Of course, the idea of having giant heroes using wrestling-like moves on huge creatures is entertaining to watch. Now that we’ve flown through five episodes of Ultraman X, it's safe to say is that Tsuburaya hit us with some great surprises. The show’s team is changing up the format between episodes and they did a good job in making us more interested in XiO’s main members. Then again, this sort of style might’ve been present in previous Ultra shows so it might be something that isn’t too new. Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop the current installment from losing its shine. As long as they keep up the good work, I think that I might start to become more invested in the franchise. In other words, I'm now officially a fan of the Giants of Light. [You can take a selfie with Ultraman X at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya's YouTube channel] Right when I felt that Ultraman X was going to only have one huge battle at the end of every episode, the people at Tsuburaya threw a curve ball that defeats my speculation of the series’ format. In the end, this sort of thing was the element that it needs to push the story forward. As nice as it is to see Daichi transform into the Giant Warrior each week, the supporting cast still need their time to shine. This is where episode 4’s conflict comes in since it covered the usual trope where a group of characters have to work together. Sure, this element has been done to death in many shows, but great part about this aspect is the reward that comes from seeing everyone settles their differences. At the same time, it helped establish Asuna, Wataru, and Hayato’s roles as XiO’s combat unit. Hell, they even made the Musketty’s Forms even more useful which shows progress and helps promote the machine as a toy. Once again, the show resorts to bringing back previous monsters and adversaries from the Ultra franchise. Honestly, I’m going to assume that this will continue to be a recurring thing in this show. Then again, since Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend is the only other title in the franchise that I’m familiar with, these creatures have been a nice treat. At least they’re now bringing in the human-sized aliens, who manage to change the show’s playing field. Unlike the show’s giant monsters, these extraterrestrials are more in tune with the types of villains that inhabit the realm of tokusatsu. They all have their own agendas and they manage to give the human characters the chance to actually shine. I mean, I didn’t expect to see XiO’s members go toe to toe with one of these villains. In the end, if these guys add more action to the series, then I’m absolutely okay with that. Speaking of which, I didn’t expect for Ultraman X to repeat the same format in the next episode. At first, it felt that the staff was running out of ideas this early in the series, but one can never judge an episode by its basic format. Just like the previous segment, episode 5 gave us a better look at Rui’s character. Sure, she’s your usual enthusiastic character that goes nuts over random things, but it’s the way how she expresses her love for her research, comrades, and giant creatures that makes her very lovable. Honestly, her encounter with Alien Nackle Bandello expressed her sentiments well; thus giving the viewers another good reason for them to care about her. Other than this development, Ultraman Zero’s cameo was a great way to spice up the action. Since his debut in Ultra Galaxy Legends was during the film’s major battle, it was nice to actually see him partake in the show’s story. Mind you, I haven’t seen the other films that he’s been in so my knowledge of his character is limited right now. But hey, his flaming skills and his various moves that revolve around his head gear were a great to see again. Perhaps the greatest treat was seeing X switch between his Gomora and Eleking Armor when he battled Black King. All in all, this segment was a nice relief since it gives us the chance to get acquainted with his new powers. That and it’s a good way to sell the Cyber Monster cards to people. Again, his powers give off a nice Heisei Kamen Rider vibe which is still a good thing. Most importantly, you can’t go wrong with the main hero having an X-shaped body slam and a powerful energy chop attack. Also, the idea of having giant heroes using wrestling-like moves on huge creatures is entertaining to watch. Now that we’ve flown through five episodes of Ultraman X, all I can say is that Tsuburaya has left me surprised. The show’s team is changing up the format between episodes and they did a good job in making us more interested in XiO’s main members. Then again, this sort of style might’ve been present in previous Ultra shows so it might be something that isn’t too new. Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop the current installment from losing its shine. As long as they keep up the good work, I think that I might start to become more invested in the franchise; therefore resulting in me adding another thing to my list of tokusatsu offerings that I enjoy.
Ultraman X photo
A joyous bond of Ultra proportions
We’re five episodes into Ultraman X, and the show has finally unleashed its good playing cards. Not only did we get to fall in love with the rest of XiO’s crew, the show gave us a cameo appearance in the form...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo: Gold Storm Soar episodes 13-16

Aug 10 // Salvador GRodiles
You know that a show is going to get better when the first thing that it does is to have a fishing segment. I don’t know what it is about these moments, but every time that I see a character attempt to catch a large fish or adversary, I can’t help but to be mesmerized by the dynamic shots between the person and its target. That being said, Gold Storm’s staff hit the right notes in shooting Rian’s brief match against the Horror that was residing in the lake. Not only that, it served as a nice set  up to Raiga’s fight against the creature’s true form. In other words, it was another fine episode for the series. Interestingly, this might be the first time that the Gold Storm TV series featured nudity. Honestly, this came as a surprise since the franchise usually would show four or more episodes that would show a naked woman. My guess is that they’re trying to focus more on the major characters, villains, and monsters since Garo: Makai no Hana kind of followed this format— before the final battle against Eiris. Then again, the show’s finale could cancel my random observation so it might be too soon for me to make this assumption. In all seriousness, this pattern has no effect on the program’s quality in any way. If there was one thing that hindered the series, it’s that we were hit with a recap episode. I understand that many studios have issues with meeting their deadlines, but they should do their best to make it fun. At least the team tried to make it interesting since they chose to have Gold Storm's main ladies talk about the events that have happened so far. In the end, it wasn’t too bad, as there were some parts that moved the story forward. However, I still think that more people need to look at Akibaranger as a reference on how to do an entertaining clip-show segment. Obviously, Gold Storm’s recent strong moments were the episodes about the team storming through Zinga and Amily’s stronghold. Every scene in this segment was fantastic since the coordination between the main cast was at its finest. This was reflected in the gang’s synchronized attack to penetrate the base’s defenses, which worked well in showing how everyone has evolved so far. In terms of character development, this moment shined through nicely. At the same time, the show is telling us that it’s ready to unlock its shackles. Also, you can’t go wrong with a Watchdog showing off her special abilities. To an extent, it was a nice callback to the original series, except that the main hero's superior is supporting the good guys. Due to the show’s recent progress, Garo: Gold Storm Soar is still on a roll. The developing relationship between the characters continues to reward the viewers for investing in the series since their teamwork resulted in tons of solid moments during the counterattack against the show’s main villains. Despite the recap episode’s slight hindrance on the series, the latter segments made up for it because of heroes’ coordinated strike. While it’s a bit of a bummer that Rian was turned into a damsel in distress, I guess that it was a plot element used to develop Ryuga’s bond with the Gunslinging Makai Priest. Either way, the program’s great potential came through and all that’s left is to see it through the end. Seeing that JAM Project’s new song rocked our souls, it’s only going to get even more real. I know I kept saying this a lot in the past, but it’s just the way how I feel at the moment. You know a show is going to get good when the first thing that it does is to have a fishing sequence. I don’t know what it is about these moments, but every time that I see a character attempt to catch a large fish or adversary, I can’t help but to be mesmerized by the dynamic shots between the person and its target. To anyone who enjoys these segments like I do, Gold Storm’s staff hit the right notes in shooting Rian’s brief match against the Horror that was residing in the lake. Not only that, it served as a nice set  up to Raiga’s fight against the creature’s true form. In other words, it was another fine episode for the series. Interestingly, this might be the first time that Gold Storm featured nudity. Honestly, this came as a surprise since the franchise usually would show four or more episodes that would show a naked woman. My guess is that they’re trying to focus more on the major characters, villains, and monsters since Garo: Makai no Hana kind of followed this format— before the final battle against Eiris. Then again, the show’s finale could cancel my random observation so anything is possible. In all seriousness, this pattern doesn’t affect the program’s quality in any way. If there was one thing that hindered the series, it’s that we were hit with a recap episode. I understand that most studios have issues with deadline somethings, hence why these types of segments are made. At the same time, how hard is it to make these moments fun? At least the team tried to make it interesting since they chose to have Gold Storm main ladies talk about the events that have happened so far. In the end it wasn’t too bad, as there were some parts that moved the story forward. Obviously, Gold Storm’s recent strong moments were the episodes about the team storming through Zinga and Amily’s stronghold. Every scene in this segment was fantastic since the coordination between the main cast was at its finest. This was reflected in the gang’s synchronized attack to penetrate through the base’s defenses, which worked well in showing how everyone has evolved so far. In terms of character development, this moment shined through nicely. At the same time, the show is telling us that it’s ready to unlock its shackles. Also, you can’t go wrong with a Watchdog outclassing the heroes in every way. To an extent, it was a nice callback to the original series, except that the special guardian is on the good side. Due to the show’s recent progress, Garo: Gold Storm Soar is still on a roll. The developing relationship between the characters continues to reward the viewers for investing in the series since their teamwork resulted in tons of solid moments during the counterattack against the show’s main villains. Despite the recap episode’s slight hindrance on the series, the latter segments made up for it because of heroes’ coordinated strike. While it’s a bit of a bummer that Rian was turned into a damsel, I guess that it was a plot element used to develop Ryuga’s bond with the Gun-slinging Makai Priest. Either way, the program’s great potential came through and all that’s left is to see it through the end. Seeing that JAM Project’s new song rocked the scene, it’s only going to get even more real. I know I kept saying this a lot in the past, but it’s just the way how I feel right now. 
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
The cute ones are always very dangerous
It looks like we’ve hit a major point in Gold Storm’s plot. Wait a second… Isn’t this show supposed to run for 25 episodes?! I guess they’re planning something huge if the staff is pulling out t...

Mythos photo
Mythos

Indie toku series Mythos continues with its origin episodes


Is Tala going to transform soon?
Aug 08
// Salvador GRodiles
In an era where there's only four or five toku series airing in Japan each year, it feels refreshing when people create new projects about costumed heroes and/or monsters. From Garage Hero to Samurai Action Studio's stuff, t...
RIP photo
RIP

Rest in Peace: Masayuki Izumi passes away


A great antihero has left our world
Aug 04
// Salvador GRodiles
Ladies and gentlemen; it pains me to tell you all that Masayuki Izumi passed away on July 28. Sadly, the guy left to the other side at 35, which was too soon for someone at that age. The cause of his death was an undisclosed ...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Ultraman X episode 3

Aug 03 // Salvador GRodiles
Speaking of goals, this week’s episode was one of the first ones to actually introduce a major conflict in the show’s story. Sure, the idea behind sealing the unsealed Spark Dolls was a big goal for XiO, but there needs to be a bigger element to prevent the course from losing its delicious taste. Thankfully, the mysterious lady that was controlling the nocturnal creature known as Telesdon, a monster that looks like a dinosaur crossed with a giant turd, might become a recurring villain. In all seriousness, the monster shares more similarity with a mole than fecal matter. I mean, the guy burrows underground; therefore making it a ground-based monstrosity. Yes, Telesdon is another recycled creature but at least that gives Tsuburaya the chance to resell more SofuBi figures to people who're unfamiliar with Ultraman's classic creature. Since I’m still new to the franchise, it’s neat to see these old-school suits make a return— even if it’s the result of the series having a low budget. Even though Asuna’s passion for fashion got in the way of the mission at hand, the way how her actions coincided with the important scenes were hilarious. Due to the timing behind her antics, the most annoying segments caused by her were laughable. Honestly, I’m surprised that the lady’s decision to wear high heels while pursuing a dangerous person to be disappointing.  I guess this has to do with the brief moments that we spent with XiO’s members. Let’s just say they continue to show potential. From the looks of it, the whole purpose for her predicament was meant to convey the bond that the organization has. While they could’ve saved this moment after we’ve been acquainted with the crew later on, the staff isn’t running on the same episode count that many long toku shows have so they have to take advantage of their timeframe. For what it was, it gives me hope that the rest of the characters will get a similar treatment to the crew’s action girl. In other words, I’m hoping that we get a Dr. Gourman episode down the road. Speaking of which, the show deserves some props for having Gourman create the Ultlaser, a weapon that pays homage to the original Ultraman. Since I heard that the franchise tends to have lots of scenes where the people shoot at the large creatures, the fact that the gun does the Giant of Light’s hand gestures is a good sign that these segments are capable of being better than before. If anything, this will determine if the studio have found the balance on how to handle the franchise. On the design side of things, the show’s docking vehicles continue to serve their purpose in keeping our giant monster battle appetite in check. Hell, Musketty’s form-changing ability that’s based on the vehicle that it combines with still manages to change up the ante in these segments; thus maintaining its role as the title's appetizer. X’s Eleking Armor has a nice super robot vibe to it. I guess it’s the armored beast head on his shoulder that makes him look like a badass. From his electric gun whip to his shockingly destructive finisher, this week’s battle brought us some neat moments. Even Telesdon got with the program since his burrowing attacks had it do a spinning move that turned the reptilian creature into a drill. To an extent, it was a nice improvement over the last fight. While it seems that Ultraman X’s format might be limited to the hero using a new Monster Armor each week, I’m hoping that they’ll get to have him change Forms on the fly during the later battles. As nice as it was to see them change things up each week, it’s still important for a series to give each power-up more screentime since it can make the toys look cooler. If the show’s opening is anything to go by, the staff is likely saving this feature for the title’s big fights. Seeing that episode 3’s monster had a human sized partner that got away, this is a great sign that Ultraman X is setting up for the show’s first major arc. Considering that the series will likely run for 22 episodes, this gives the team more time to develop the show's story further. Until then, we can count on XiO’s crew to keep us entertained. Not only that, X’s priceless inability to comprehend basic human manners will act as another aspect that’ll tickle our funny bones. [You can catch Ultraman X on Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya's YouTube channel] Speaking of goals, this week’s episode was one of the first ones to actually introduce a major conflict in the show’s story. Sure, the idea behind sealing the unsealed Spark Dolls was a big goal for XiO, but there needs to be a bigger element to prevent the course from losing its delicious taste. This was set up by the fate of the mysterious lady that was controlling the nocturnal creature known as Teresdon, which happens to look like a dinosaur crossed with a giant turd. In all seriousness, the monster shares more similarity with a mole than fecal matter. I mean, the guy burrows underground; therefore making it a ground-based monstrosity. Yes, Teresdon is another recycled creature but at least that gives Tsuburaya the chance to resell more SofuBi figures to people. Since I’m still new to the franchise, it’s neat to see these old-school suits make a return— even if it’s the result of the series having a low budget. Even though Asuna’s passion for fashion got in the way of the mission at hand, the way how her actions coincided with the important scenes were hilarious. Due to the timing behind her antics, the most annoying segments caused by her were laughable. Honestly, I’m surprised that the lady’s decision to wear high heels while pursuing a dangerous person to be disappointing.  I guess this has to do with the brief moments that we spent with XiO’s members. Let’s just say they continue to show potential. From the looks of it, the whole purpose for her predicament was meant to convey the bond that the organization has. Yes, they could’ve saved this moment after we’ve been acquainted with the crew later on, but the staff isn’t running on the same episode count that many year-long toku shows have. For what it was, it gives me hope that the rest of the characters will get a similar treatment to the crew’s action girl. In other words, I’m hoping that we get a Dr. Gourman episode down the road. Speaking of which, the show deserves some props for the Ultlaser, a weapon that pays homage to the original Ultraman. Since I heard from Bueno and his group that the franchise tends to have segments where the people shoot at the large creatures, the fact that the gun does the Giant of Light’s hand gestures is a good sign that these segments have become even flashier than before. Hell, this might be a sign that we’re getting more elements to up the ante in the series. If anything, this will determine if the studio have found their direction on how to handle the franchise. On the design side of things, the show’s docking vehicles continue to serve their purpose in keeping our giant monster battle appetite in check. Hell, Musketty’s form-changing ability that’s based on the vehicle that it combines with helps change up the ante in these segments. X’s Eleking Armor has a nice Super Robot vibe to it. I guess it’s the armored beast head on his shoulder that makes him cool. From his electric gun whip to his shockingly destructive finisher, this week’s battle brought us some neat moments. Even Teresdon got with the program since his burrowing attacks had it do a spinning move that turned the reptilian creature into a drill. To an extent, it was a nice improvement over the last fight. While it seems that Ultraman X’s format might be limited to the hero using a new Monster Armor each week, I’m hoping that they’ll get to have him change Forms on the fly during the later battles. As nice as it is to see them change things up each week, it’s still important for a series to give each power-up the time to shine since it can play a good role in making the toys look cooler in action. If the show’s opening is anything to go by, the staff is likely saving this feature for the title’s major battles. Seeing that episode 3’s monster had a human sized partner that got away, this is a great sign that Ultraman X is setting up for the show’s first major arc. Considering that the series will likely run for 22 episodes, there’s plenty of elements that the team can mess around in the next few weeks. Until then, we can count on XiO’s crew to keep us entertained. Not only that, X’s priceless inability to comprehend human mannerism will act as another aspect that’ll zap our funny bones with laughter.
Ultraman X photo
This guy is no Elekid
Another day, another city to be ruined by a giant monster. Yup, that’s Ultraman X’s format for ya. I guess that those pesky creatures just want to walk the Earth after being freed from their toy-like states. Not t...

Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Kamen Rider Ghost's latest details are to die for


Who you gonna call?
Jul 29
// Salvador GRodiles
For a good while, it's been known that the latest bug-eyed hero in the Kamen Rider franchise was going to sport a supernatural motif. While we've seen glimpses of the show's titular character as a toy and a few ...

First Impressions: Ultraman X episodes 1-2

Jul 27 // Salvador GRodiles
In a clash between a red and purple entity, the two figures collide with Earth’s Sun. This ends up causing the phenomenon that people refer to as the Ultra Flare, which awakens the monsters that were sealed under the planet as Spark Dolls (a.k.a. actual creature SofuBi/soft vinyl figurines). Luckily, a group called XiO was formed to protect the people of our world and our main hero Daichi Oozora ends up become the candidate who unites with the show’s Ultra Warrior. Ultraman X’s plot may sound like your usual setup in a giant monster show, but episode 1’s main charm lies in the battles between the large hero and the huge creatures. To an extent, the battles play out like your action scenes from the Godzilla movies, except that you have a guy who uses martial arts and wrestling moves against his foes. Other than that, the shown didn’t have much going for it since the first episode was focusing on the disaster caused by the Godzilla-like monster known as Demaaga. Sure, we got a glimpse of Daichi’s backstory about his parent’s death, but it wasn’t anything grand to pull most people in. At least his fear of height gave him some flaws that could shape his character later on. Thankfully, the second episode helped raise the program’s quality. If there’s one thing that makes series about an organization trying to save the world, it’s the supporting staff themselves. This was an element that made titles like King of Braves GaoGaiGar and Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters’ first half fun to keep up with. Even though Daichi didn’t stand out much in the beginning, his comrades showed great potential. I mean, this series has a freaking scientist that’s a creepy goofy-looking alien. Honestly, Dr. Gourman’s presence in the show alone was enough to bring in some good laughs while we wait for the huge battle between Ultraman X and the Monster-of-the-Week. Of course, the silly alien isn’t the only character that’s fun since the rest of XiO’s members contribute to the show's segments. Rui’s enthusiasm for research and victory is cute and her interactions with Gourman were priceless. Even though the rest of the team mostly played the role of keeping the dangerous areas under control, the later episodes might flesh them out more. Hell, anyone who fights a giant monster with an advanced bazooka and/or gun deserves some mad props. One of the things that might push Ultraman X is that the hero can summon special armors through the use of the Cyber Monsters, digital creatures that are created from the data of the ones who’re sealed in the Spark Dolls. In a way, it’s almost like they were inspired by the Heisei Kamen Rider shows’ Form-changing gimmick. Sure, this means that the Giant of Light will likely have a bunch of different transformations, but it also lets the team experiment with the show's action scenes, such as the hero gaining the ability to fight with huge claws. Since I’ve heard that Tsuburaya toys mostly focus on the kaiju, this element might help them make the program's hero a more marketable character. Come to think of it, this new path might’ve inspired them to depart from the alien using the main hero as a host (or the Ultra Warrior using a human disguise) since the two Ginga shows and X involve a guy uniting with the Giant of Light through a special device. While XiO’s support vehicles that can dock into other machines are only used to stall the viewers until the big fight, their purpose could help with the merchandising side of things. Who knows, they might pull a Gridman/Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad and have them combine with the hero. For now, they serve as another feature that can help Tsuburaya expand on the show's toys. In regards to the two monsters shown so far, the creatures’ cartoony and pudgy designs give off a nice old-school feeling. While it seems lazy for Tsuburaya to reuse Birdon from Ultraman Taro, the franchise has been known for reusing older beasts, which is usually used to pull older fans in. That and to sell toys of the previous enemies to the new generation of children. Also, the staff's decision to feature a creature that looks like Rodan crossed with a chicken is a nice way to add goofy elements to any action scene. Compare to other children toku franchises like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, I was surprised to see that Ultraman X uses more practical effects than CG. Based on the program's first two episodes, the 3D models might be limited to the XiO defense vehicles. From Birdon’s flying scene to the show’s main fight sequences, the segments ranged from being hilariously cheesy to dynamically entertaining. For example, Birdon's flying segment would've benefited from using a CG creation or having the suit actor flap its wings like an actual bird. Nonetheless, it served as a silly moment before Daichi unites with X. Seeing that this is my first Ultra TV show, I’m not sure if this rule applies to the brand’s previous modern installments. One thing for sure, it shows that relying on mostly practical effects can look great or limit the type of sequences that appear on screen. For the most part, the first two major fights played out nicely and X's new Monster Armors might liven things up even more. With Ultraman X being my second entry into the Ultra franchise, the show has gotten better with each passing episode. Daichi may be a decent character at the moment, but his backstory and his connection to his parents’ Spark Doll might lead to him developing into a better protagonist. For now, the series' neat aspect is that its supporting cast gives off a nice dash of comedy to keep us satisfied until the main battle. Combined with the hero’s ability to equip monster-themed armors, I believe that Tsuburaya’s franchise has reached a new height. I guess you could say that we're in for an Xciting ride. [You can unite with Ultraman X at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya’s YouTube channel] In a clash between a red and purple entity, the two figures collide with Earth’s Sun. This ends up causing the phenomenon that people refer to as the Ultra Flare, which awakens the monsters that were sealed under the planet as Spark Dolls (a.k.a. actual creature SofuBi toys). Luckily, a group called XiO was formed to protect the people of our world and our main hero Daichi Oozora/group member ends up become the candidate who unites with the show’s Ultra Warrior. Ultraman X’s plot may sound like your usual setup in a giant monster show, but episode 1’s main charm lies in the battles between the large hero and the huge creatures. To an extent, the battles play out like your action scenes from the Godzilla movies, except that you have a guy who uses martial arts and wrestling moves against his foes. Other than that, the shown didn’t have much going for it since the first episode was focusing on the disaster caused by the Godzilla-esque monster known as Demaaga. Sure, we got a glimpse of Daichi’s backstory about his parent’s death, but it wasn’t anything grand to pull most people in. At least his fear of height gave him some flaws that could shape his character later on. Thankfully, the second episode helped raise the program’s quality. If there’s one thing that makes series about an organization trying to save the world, it’s the supporting staff themselves. This was an element that made titles like King of Braves GaoGaiGar and Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters’ first half fun to keep up with. Even though Daichi didn’t stand out much in the beginning, his comrades showed great potential. I mean, this series has a freaking scientist that’s a creepy goofy-looking alien. Honestly, Dr. Gourman’s presence in the show alone is enough to bring in some good laughs while we wait for the huge battle between Ultraman X and the Monster-of-the-Week. Of course, the goofy alien isn’t the only character that’s fun since the rest of XiO’s members contribute to the segments on screen. Rui’s enthusiasm for research and victory is cute and her interactions with Gourman were priceless. Even though the rest of the team mostly played the role of keeping the dangerous areas under control, the later episodes might flesh them out more. Hell, anyone who fights a giant monster with an advanced bazooka and/or gun deserves some mad props. One of the things that might push Ultraman X is that the hero can change his fighting style through the use of the Cyber Monsters, which have the data of the creatures who’re sealed in the Spark Dolls. In a way, it’s almost like they were inspired by the Heisei Kamen Rider shows’ Form-changing gimmick. Sure, this means that the Giant of Light will likely have a ton of different transformations, but it also opens the doorways to more unique fight scenes. Since I’ve heard that Tsuburaya has been struggling with having variety in their toys for their titles, this element might push the franchise in a great new direction. Hell, this new path might’ve inspired them to depart from the alien using the main hero as a host since the two Ginga shows and this one have the guy unite with the Ultra Warrior through a special device. While XiO’s support vehicles that can dock into other machines are only used to stall the viewers until the big fight, their purpose could help with the merchandising side of things. Who knows, they might pull a Gridman/Super Human Samurai Cyber Squad and have them combine with the hero. For now, they serve as another example of this show focusing on selling more toys. In regards to the two monsters shown so far, the creatures’ cartoony and pudgy designs give off a nice old-school feeling. While it seems lazy for Tsuburaya to reuse Birdon from Ultraman Taro, the franchise has been known for reusing older beasts, which is a decent way to pull older fans in. At least it was neat to see the classic beast in action since it looked like a goofy Rodan crossed with a chicken. Compare to other children toku franchises like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, I was surprised to see that Ultraman X uses more practical effects than CG. From Birdon’s flying scene to the show’s main fight sequences, it’s impressive to see that the company didn’t resort to using 3D models during the crazy scenes. Seeing that this is my first Ultra TV show, I’m not sure if this rule applies to the brand’s previous modern installments. One thing for sure, it’s a welcoming aspect that shows that traditional practices can still impress folks— even if they’re cheesy and campy. With Ultraman X being my second entry into the Ultra franchise, the show’s first two episodes hold up to where we can end up with a fun title. Daichi may be a decent character at the moment, but his backstory and his connection to his parents’ Spark Doll might lead to him developing into a better protagonist. For now, the series neat aspect is that its supporting cast gives off a nice dash of comedy to keep us satisfied until the main battle, which balances out nicely. Combined with the hero’s ability to equip special armors, I believe that Tsuburaya’s franchise has reached a new height. I guess you could say that we’re in for a show that’s both exciting and excellent. [You can unite with Ultraman X at Crunchyroll and Tsuburaya’s YouTube channel]
Ultraman X photo
Xanidium Beam!
For a good while, my only experience with the Ultra franchise was Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends, which was directed by Koichi Sakamoto (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger and Ultraman Ginga S’ Director). Honestly, I&rs...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo: Gold Storm Soar episodes 8-12

Jul 18 // Salvador GRodiles
For a second, Gold Storm seem like it was going to lower its intensity levels for a while, but the show somehow managed to follow up nicely on Ryuga and Rian’s first major fight against Zinga and Amily. While there weren’t any big action scenes involved, it was great to see that the show was finally putting the spotlight on the mysterious Makai Priest known as Gald. In a way, his hatred for Makai Knights helped spice up the relationship between him and Ryuga. Sure, it wasn’t on the same level as Rei’s rivalry with Kouga in the original Garo series, but it served as a way to deviate from the typical scenario where a major ally joins the hero’s group right away. Perhaps the most interesting reveal is Ladan’s role in the story. In every Garo series, the final adversary always ends up being a super powerful Horror that’s basically on the same level of a demon overlord. Even though the idea behind the Golden Knight tackling a ridiculous adversary is always a sight to behold, it’s a nice sense of fresh air to see the main threat as a demonic tool this time around. At the same time, this information explained the reasoning behind Zinga being a cannibalistic Horror, which makes us question his true appetite. Because of this new angle, Gold Storm continues to be a great improvement over Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness. Of course, you can’t have a good arc without some good old-fashioned character development. Surprisingly, one of the best one came from an episode that focused on Daigo. Part of it had to do with the staff deceiving the viewers into thinking that the Axe-wielding Makai Knight’s master was the child-eating Horror. All in all, the segment worked out nicely as there were many scenes where it seemed that Daigo was in peril. Best of all, the episode still manages to be relevant to the show’s main plot, another feat that the staff deserves props for. In regards to the show’s most recent costume designs, the Monster-of-the-Week that was sent to assassinate Gald’s younger sister sported a nice undead tree-like design. Because of the costumes’ branches and wooden features, the Horror looked like an evil Groot. On top of that, we had a creepy water Horror right in episode 12. From the looks of it, this might be a record for Gold Storm since we saw two suits in a row. While part of the creature’s suit felt like they glued some altered faces of the default Horrors, its design still had that scary feeling that many of the franchise’s non-human adversaries have. Accompanying Gold Storm’s recent development, the program’s choreography mixes it up in some interesting ways. Both Ryuga’s fight against the lighting and water Horror were two great examples of how to handle a scene where the opponent is hard to hit. Hell, the former makes me believe that Makai Knights are trained to endure electricity since a normal person would’ve been dead in less than a second. Then again, the main heroes from the previous Garo shows have been hit with deadly attacks when they were untransformed so we can assume that this element has been set in stone for a good while. On a more positive note, the sword sheathing moment between Ryuga and Zinga was handled well, Even though it only happened for a brief moment, I have to give the two actors and the action team some huge props for pulling a stunt like that— especially the part where they catch their sheaths while in the air. Based on their recurring showdowns, this might be a sign that the show’s final battle won’t disappoint us. Now that we’ve reached Gold Storm’s halfway point, I think it’s safe to say that nothing will prevent the series from losing its glow. Gald’s younger sister Haruna helped move the plot forward and the two characters’ backstory hints at Zinga being the one behind the destruction of their village. Combined with the segments about Daigo, things have been getting juicy lately. Since we’re getting a JAM Project opening theme soon, don’t be surprised if your body experiences a huge surge of golden energy. If anything, summer is looking better than ever right now.
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
Lightning never hits in the same place
It looks like Garo Gold Storm Soar is picking up from where it left off and things continue to get more real. Along the way, we get a tasty serving of story and character development that sheds more light on the show’s ...

The Garage photo
The Garage

Feast your eyes on The Garage: Tokusatsu Tutorial's badass insect-themed hero


Get ready to learn about making toku
Jul 17
// Salvador GRodiles
The folks at Garage Hero may be busy with adding the final touches to Ayakashi Zamurai, but that's not stopping them from showing us some images of The Garage: Tokusatsu Tutorial's hero. For the record, the sho...
Ultraman X photo
Ultraman X

Simulcast GET: Crunchyroll nabs Ultraman X


In which toku fans are given more hope
Jul 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks; I think it's safe to say that 2015 is a great year to be a tokusatsu fan. Last week, Shout! Factory announced Dairanger's North American DVD release, and Crunchyroll has now revealed that they're simulcasting Ult...
Gosei Sentai Dairanger photo
Gosei Sentai Dairanger

SDCC '15: Dairanger fights its way to North America


It's Fortification Time!
Jul 11
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The gang at Ranger Crew have confirmed that the series hits North America later this year.] Congratulations, people! Thanks to everyone who supported Shout! Factory's Zyuranger release, the company has announced at C...
Power Rangers photo
Power Rangers

SDCC '15: Power Rangers Dino Super Charge gets an electrified teaser


Unleash the Power!
Jul 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since Saban got the rights to Power Rangers again, I felt that their latest installments were disappointing. Samurai could've been a decent show, but the terrible acting direction held it back. Right when it s...

Review: Ressha Sentai ToQger

Jul 03 // Salvador GRodiles
Ressha Sentai ToQgerStudio: ToeiRelease Date: February 16, 2014 Focusing on the ongoing battle between light and darkness, ToQger is about Right/ToQ 1, Tokatti/ToQ 2, Mio/ToQ 3, Hikari/ToQ 4, and Kagura/ToQ 5's quest to find their hometown known as Pleiades Shore. During their travels, the group joins forces with the Rainbow Line, a railway that protects people's imagination, to battle the Shadow Line, an opposing railroad that spreads their darkness across the land. As the team works hard to protect the various stations scattered across the region, they hope that they'll encounter their home as one of their stops. While the series' premise showed potential, its execution turned the program's early episodes into a trainwreck. Instead of introducing the viewers to the cast, ToQger hurled the main characters at the audience's face. Because of the lack of a proper introduction, it felt that we were missing an important segment that would make the gang more interesting. Sure, GoGo Sentai Boukenger followed this format, but the main difference is that the group's actions and conversations contributed to the audience wanting to learn more about them. Sadly, ToQger failed to accomplish this aspect-- even if the five heroes are childhood friends who lost their memories. Even though the show's cast gave off a fun vibe, their childish personality made them a bit annoying. Right was too scatterbrained and the other heroes felt like they were trying too hard to be silly. Not that I have anything against immature characters, but it takes a special touch to make these type of archetypes work well in a title. Despite ToQger's issues making its viewers care about the stars, Tokatti's shy characteristics and Mio's willingness to look out for everyone were both two examples of elements that could improve the series' quality. While we’re on the topic of childishness, I didn’t expect ToQger to justify their decision to have the team act immature (in a slightly annoying way). Even though the team’s personality got better as the show neared its second half, it felt strange to witness a group of young adult act more childish than the usual folks who exhibit child-like habits. In fact, this twist and their true backstory improved the show’s emotional moments that took form during the show’s second half. To an extent, it even manages to act as a decent way to convey the importance of needing to become more mature in grave situations. Separated from their home and family, the ToQger had to go through great extremes to find their town. It was this sense of maturity that helped the series up the ante after its quality was going up. Sadly, this change didn’t result in Right becoming a more likable character. Nonetheless, his role in the team was important since he’s basically that one slightly annoying guy who somehow prevents the group from falling apart. I guess his inner conflict during the final arc was a decent way to have him grow since he was willing to sacrifice his childhood to help preserve the happiness of his friends. As an adult who has an active inner child, I found the team’s struggle to be relatable because it covered the foundations of learning to be more responsible in certain situations. Even though life can be tough at times, that doesn’t mean that we can’t spice things up while we’re at it. That’s where ToQger’s imagination theme comes to play since it acts as a tool to help the gang stay positive during any difficult task. In the end, I commend the show’s staff for doing a decent job in conveying this message during the program’s stronger segments. ToQger's major twist may have been a great way to push the series forward, but the program's viewers had to reach episode 31 to witness this element first hand. Even though it was foreshadowed earlier in the series, it was hard for many folks to notice this element since there have been a few Sentai heroes who have childish personalities (in an enthusiastic way). Based on the shift in quality between the title's two parts, there’s a good chance the show changed in direction style. In the third part of my interview with Bueno (Gun Caliber’s Producer, Director, and Star) of the indie toku studio Garage Hero, the guy said that the folks in the tokusatsu industry go about making tokusatsu in the two following styles: Either they think that slapping a well-known brand's name on a product is enough to have it sell toys, or they take advantage of the toy’s designs and create an awesome show that uses these products in a cool way where it makes people want to buy them. Since the show’s plot, robots, and action scenes felt a bit lackluster, it was obvious that the staff was following the former. Even though ToQger had Yasuko Kobayashi (Kamen Rider OOO and Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames’ Writer), a writer known for adding creepy elements to her toku shows, on the writing staff, her contribution to the series didn’t bloom until the second half. Because of the sudden increase in quality, one can assume that the production staff’s attempt to ride on the easy merchandising express didn’t help them much since the later episodes felt like they were putting more effort into the show. From there, the staff used the imagination angle to focus on fleshing out the ToQger, along with introducing new machines with improved designs. On top of that, Kobayashi’s dark elements complimented the show’s more enjoyable second course. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent throughout the whole series, it’s the show’s main villains. The main group consisted of General Schwarz, the guy in charge of the Shadow Line's train division; Madame Noire, the classy lady that wishes the best for her daughter; and Grita, Noire's daughter who has a crush on Schwarz. Each elite villains had their own special moments, which placed the program's viewers on their toes as they're left guessing about their final fate. Whether it was Schwarz’s hints of ulterior motives or Noire's special plans for Grita, the series’ adversaries rarely stuck to the basic role of conquering humanity. Honestly, it was the evil cast’s personality and motives that kept me interesting in seeing how the show developed early on. In a way, they were the only thing that felt like Kobayashi’s signature aspects when the show was off track. Perhaps the best villain of them all was the Emperor of Darkness himself. One thing that made the Shadow Line's ruler great was that he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill evil villain who wants to bring destruction to the world. Throughout the series, the guy only wanted to exhibit his own ‘shine.’ In a way, the Emperor of Darkness’ situation symbolizes the concept of people expectations on certain individuals. Because of his status, the Shadow Line’s top rulers expect him to be a ruthless lord who’s intent on bringing despair to the entire planet. At the same time, his methods exhibit the characteristics of a deprived child who would go through great lengths to get what he wants. Thanks to the way how he was depicted in the show, the staff did a good job in placing the villain in a position where he could switch sides at any given point in time. Speaking of great villains, the Shadow Line’s top member featured some solid designs. The main generals were demonic Victorian/High-Class Wild West creatures that had slight bits of Steampunk and Zed looked like he would be a Devil Trigger Form in the Devil May Cry series. Hell, the great craftsmanship placed into each costume was another great factor that gave me hope that ToQger would improve. Again, this was one of the few things that the show had going for it when it seemed that the show was trying to sell toys based on the Super Sentai name alone. As the program started to improve, we started to see a jump in the robot designs as well. ToQ 6's machine and the other combining mechas were all cool-looking robots since the train features were distributed better across their bodies-- unlike the ToQ-Oh’s Total Recall train chest. For a franchise that’s known for showcasing some fun fight scenes, ToQger fell flat in its early half. While the imagination-based powers sounded like a nifty gimmick, the show’s heroes exhibited clumsy movements that lacked the exhilarating feeling that comes from most Sentai shows. Normally, this sort of style would work great for a good laugh (such as the Go-Onger losing some of their early fights in their show) but the program’s failure to establish its characters properly prevented it from succeeding in this matter. Luckily, the action sequences improved as the series’ quality went up. Part of it likely had to do with the team gaining more experience in battle, along with ToQ 6 changing up the program’s format. Even when ToQger was its worse, the series had a great array of voice actors at its side. Jun Fukuyama (Code Geass' Lelouch, Assassination Classroom's Koro-sensei), Noriko Hidaka (Gunbuster's Noriko and Ranma 1/2's Akane), and Aya Hisakawa (Sailor Moon's Ami/Sailor Mercury, Cardcaptor Sakura's Kero) all did a wonderful job with voicing Nero, Noire, and Grita. Of course, their great performance contributed to the Shadow Line being a great group to follow. For the good side, Kappei Yamaguchi (One Piece's Ussop and Persona 4's Teddie) and Yui Horie (Persona 4's Chie and Golden Time's Koko) both hit the park with their roles as Ticket the puppet and Wagon. With the Conductor by their side, they were the Rainbow Line's best characters during the show's first half.  ToQger may have had a weak start, but the show easily gained the title of the Little Engine that could when it ended its run. ToQ 6's silly backstory and Emperor’s story were two key ingredients that threw the series back on track. Combined with the various power uprisings happening among the main adversaries, the program started to become more entertaining than before. Of course, the program’s theme about children learning to be responsible while retaining their imaginative creativity was another factor that improved the title. Unfortunately, one would have to sit through 12 or 13 mediocre episodes before the train-themed Sentai title picks up; therefore making it a difficult series to recommend to people. However, if a person can endure the darkness that plagues the series early on, then he/she might come out with a smile that’s powered by imagination and rainbows. Once you reach your final destination, there’s a small chance that you’ll reconnect with your inner child. Depending on your experience, you might have a better appreciation of the term ‘IMAGINAAAATION!’ [This review is based on a broadcast of the program obtained by Japanator] If there’s one thing that ToQger shares with Goseiger, it’s that both shows have a weird-looking Super Form for their Rangers. While the team’s Hyper Express Mode looks better than the Goseiger’s Miracle Mode, I feel that it’s lacking since the armor doesn’t complement the suit much. Nonetheless, the new transformation worked well in pushing the story forward as the Marquise Mork entered the scene. In this case, it shows us that an average power-up can improve a program’s plot when used right. It also helps that Zed remains as one of the series’ best villains. One thing that made Zed great was that he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill evil villain who wants to bring destruction to the world. Throughout the series, the guy just wants to exhibit his own ‘shine.’ In a way, the Emperor of Darkness’ situation symbolizes the concept of people expectations on certain individuals. Because of his status, the Shadow Line’s top rulers expect him to be a ruthless lord who’s intent on brining despair to the entire planet. At the same time, his methods exhibit the characteristics of a deprived child who would go through great lengths to get what he wants. Thanks to the way how Zed was depicted in the show, the staff did a good job in placing the villain in a position where he could switch sides at any given point in time. While we’re on the topic of children, I didn’t expect ToQger to justify their decision to have the team act childish (in a slightly annoying way). Even though the team’s personality got better as the show neared its second half, it felt strange to witness a group of young adult act more immature than usual folks who exhibit child-like habits. The idea behind Right and his friends being children who were turned to adults to fight the Shadow Line added to the show’s emotional moments that took form during the show’s second half. To an extent, it manages to act as a decent way to show the importance of kids needing to become more mature in grave situations. Separated from their home and family, the ToQger had to go through great extremes to find their town while fighting the Shadow Line’s forces. It was this sense of maturity that helped the series up the ante after its quality was going up. Sadly, this change didn’t result in Right becoming a more likable character. Nonetheless, his role in the team was important since he’s basically that one slightly annoying guy who somehow prevents the group from falling part. I guess his inner conflict during the final arc was a decent way to have him grow since he was willing to sacrifice his childhood to help preserve the happiness of his friends. As an adult who has an active inner child, I found the team’s struggle to be relatable because it covered the foundations of learning to be more responsible in certain situations. Even though life can be tough at times, that doesn’t mean that we can’t spice things up while we’re at it. That’s where ToQger’s imagination theme comes to play since it acts as a tool to help the gang stay positive during any difficult task. In the end, I commend the show’s staff for doing a decent job in conveying this message during the program’s stronger segments. While the show’s major twist was a great way to push the series forward, the show’s viewers had to reach episode 31 to witness this element first hand. Even though it was foreshadowed earlier in the series, the franchise’s status as a children’s program made it hard for most folks to notice this element since there have been a few Sentai heroes who have childish personalities (in an enthusiastic way). Based on the shift in quality between the ToQger’s early and later episodes, there’s a good chance the show changed in direction style. In the third part of my interview with Bueno (Gun Caliber’s Producer, Director, and Star) of the indie toku studio Garage Hero, the guy said that the folks in the tokusatsu industry go about making tokusatsu in the two following styles: Either they think that slapping a well-known brand name on a product is enough to have it sell toys, or they take advantage of the toy’s designs and create an awesome show that uses these products in a cool way where it makes people want to buy them. Since the show’s plot, robots, and action scenes felt a bit lackluster, it was obvious that the staff was following the former. Even though ToQger had Yasuko Kobayashi (Kamen Rider OOO and Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames’ Writer), a writer known for adding creepy elements to toku shows, on the writing staff, her contribution to the series didn’t bloom until the second half. Because of the sudden increase in quality, one can assume that the production staff’s attempt to ride on the easy merchandising express didn’t help them much since the later episodes felt like they were putting more effort into the show. From there, the staff used the imagination angle to focus more on fleshing out the ToQger and the newer machines featured improved designs. On top of that, Kobayashi’s dark elements complimented the show’s more enjoyable second course. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent throughout the whole series, it’s the show’s main villains. Aside from Zed’s situation, the other big villains had their own special moments. Whether it was Schwarz’s transition from conquering the Shadow Line to avenging Grita or Noire’s attempt to make Grita the head of the group, the series’ adversaries rarely stuck to the basic role of conquering humanity. Honestly, it was the evil cast’s personality and motives that kept me interesting in seeing how the show developed early on. In a way, they were the only thing that felt like Kobayashi’s signature aspects when the show was off track. Speaking of great villains, the Shadow Line’s top member featured some solid designs. The main generals were demonic Victorian/High-Class Wild West creatures that had slight bits of Steampunk and Zed looked like he would be a Devil Trigger Form in the Devil May Cry series. Hell, the great craftsmanship placed into each costume was another great factor that gave me hope that ToQger would improve. Again, this was one of the few things that the show had going for it when it seemed that the show was trying to sell toys based on the Super Sentai name alone. As the program started to improve, we started to see a jump in the robot designs as well. The Build Dai-Oh, Super Duper ToQ-Oh, Hyper Express Emperor, and ToQ Rainbow were all cool-looking robots since the train features were distributed better across their bodies-- unlike the ToQ-Oh’s Total Recall train chest. For a franchise that’s known for showcasing some fun fight scenes, ToQger fell flat in its early half. While the imagination-based powers sounded like a nifty gimmick, the show’s heroes exhibited clumsy movements that lacked the exhilarating feeling that comes from most Sentai shows. Normally, this sort of style would work great for a good laugh (such as the Go-Onger losing some of their early fights in their show) but the program’s failure to establish its characters properly prevented it from succeeding in this matter. Luckily, the action sequences improved as the series’ quality went up. Part of it likely had to do with the team gaining more experience in battle, along with ToQ 6 changing up the program’s format. ToQger maybe had a rough start, but the show easily gained the title of the Little Engine that could when it ended its run. ToQ 6 being a former Shadow Line member and Zed’s story were two key ingredients that threw the series back on track. Combined with the various power uprisings happening among the main adversaries, the program started to become more entertaining than before. Of course, the program’s theme about children learning to be responsible while retaining their imaginative creativity was another factor that improved the title. Unfortunately, one would have to sit through 12 or 13 mediocre episodes before the train-themed Sentai title picks up; therefore making it a difficult series to recommend to people. However, if one can endure the darkness that plagues the series early on, then they might come out with a smile that’s powered by imagination and rainbows. Once you reach your final destination, there’s a good chance that you’ll reconnect with your inner child. Depending on your experience, you might have a better appreciation of the term ‘IMAGINAAAATION!’
Ressha Sentai ToQger photo
Imagining Victory!
When it comes to TV shows that run for a year, it’s hard to imagine that a long series could improve when its early segments failed to impress most viewers. In many cases, if you can’t grab the audience during the...

Texas Toku Taisen photo
Texas Toku Taisen

Here's the Texas Toku Taisen '15's screening schedule for San Japan


Texas is about to get its Henshin on
Jun 24
// Salvador GRodiles
As we get ready to finish off the month of June, the screening schedule for this year's Texas Toku Taisen has hit the Web. This time around, they're showing their stuff at San Japan 8 on July 31 through Aug. 2, whic...
Ultraman X photo
Ultraman X

Ultraman X gets a new trailer


Nice gear
Jun 22
// Hiroko Yamamura
I'm way behind (like decades) on my Tokusatsu selection, but this new Ultraman X trailer is looking pretty good! He's looking like he's got some new gear in his arsenal, and can deliver a pretty sweet side kick. The scene with the ship doesn't look so hot, but who knows.. could be a great romp! The show hits the airways on July 14th, and will be the 41st Ultraman on the lineup!

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo Gold Storm Soar episode 7

Jun 01 // Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks; Gold Storm has delivered a good follow-up to the last episode, as it managed to flesh out Zinga and Amily’s story a bit more. One of the neat things about their characters is that the two villains were a Makai Knight and a Priestess before they became Horrors, since it was an improvement over Garo: Makai no Hana's Monster-of-the-Week that was once a Knight. Sure, they’re obviously meant to be Ryuga and Rian's opposites, but their abilities made way for some great fight sequences. Not only that, it gave us a cool-looking Horror suit during the scene, which had the same Makai Knight vibe as Sonshi’s Horror Form from Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness. Aside from the great clash between two guys in costumes, the intensity behind Zinga and Amily’s actions gave that strange feeling that our heroes wouldn’t be able to escape from this situation unharmed. Of course, the sword clashes and aerial combat maneuvers in this episode were fun to follow. While they could’ve used some green screen techniques to add some special environments to improve the scene, the segment worked nice as a first encounter between the major players in the story, since they got to jump around as they fought to the death. Most importantly, we got the Makai Knight on Horror suit action that the franchise’s famous for, so that’s a major positive aspect about this whole sequence. Thanks to this scenario, Masahiro Inoue finally put his acting skills to good work, which shows how a major confrontation can go a long way. In a way, his performance shared some elements with his egotistical lines as Tsukasa in Kamen Rider Decade (like the segments where he steals the show in the alternate Rider Worlds). Hell, I guess you could say he’s like the evil counterpart of the Destroyer of Worlds. Depending on show turns out in the end, this might be one of the few instances where he’ll end up in a toku series that’s actually good. In regards to Amily's character, she still has a long way to go before she can become a great villain, as she’s still depicted as Zinga’s loyal right hand woman who follows his lead. Other than that, her attempts to one-up Rian were entertaining on their own behalf. This was due to the opposing chemistry between the two ladies, since it complements Rian’s winning streak of being a fun Makai Priestess to keep up with. Gold Storm may be far from reaching its halfway point, but first big encounter between the main heroes and the villains left us on the edge of our seats. Combined with the mysterious Makai Priest’s move to unite the special daggers, episode 7’s banquet has prepared us for the next big course in the series. Seeing that Zinga's the cannibalistic Horror, I think we can assume that he’ll use Ladan to create an unlimited food supply to feed his need for demonic creatures. Once this moment happens, then the show'll get realer than before.
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
Suit on suit action is back, baby
You know that a show still has some tricks up its sleeve when it starts to get even more intense than its preceding episode. Honestly, it’s hard to believe that Garo: Gold Storm Soar’s already placing Ryuga and Ri...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo: Gold Storm Soar episode 6

May 25 // Salvador GRodiles
For a series that’s supposed to run for 25 episodes, Gold Storm is really pushing it to the limit in these past few episodes. Each segment introduces us to a piece of the big mystery, and our main heroes make sure to follow up on every clue that comes their way. Honestly, it was amazing to see that the story hit a major point in the big conflict this early in its run. I mean, did anyone expect for Ryuga and Rian to find the source of the increase in Horror activity so soon? My assumption is that no one saw this coming. Since the secret behind Kiya Antiques felt like a halfway-point twist, the show’s staff has proven to us that things are bigger than they seem. However, what made this chapter interesting was how they grounded the key aspects that Horrors are attracted to. Even though Rian was the kind of girl who flirts with people to get what she wants, her inner desires and actions aren’t classified as Karmic feelings. All in all, it’s good to see this type of trope being implemented in the franchise, as many shows that are about hunting evil demonic creatures tend to force its heroes to be lawful good and/or fully pure. While this element has always appeared in the previous Garo installments (such as Takeru from Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness and Germán from Garo: The Carved Seal of Flame sleeping with various women), there’s something nice about having the series remind its viewers about this rule, since it adds an extra layer of goodness to the experience. Despite the appearance of another CG elite Horror, the action between the suit actors and the models are still an improvement over the third Garo series. Hell, the monster’s multiple arms and elephant-like features made it a neat creature. Perhaps if it was a costume, the fight might’ve been better, since the 3D creature didn’t feel much impact from the Golden Knight’s slashes. Nonetheless, there were some satisfying moments in the fight, and the end result gives us hope that the staff’s holding back their greatest assets. This hidden trump card lies in the mysterious cannibalistic Horror, since the figure's lighting shows that the creature is an actual suit. If this is anything to go by, Garo: Gold Storm Soar’s still holding a few things back from its viewers. Seeing that this new villain sports a cool undead demonic look, it’s safe to say that Amemiya and his team managed to leave us with a tasty sample to get us excited for the next course. Of course, a fight scene that features a classy old dude that pulls off Captain America-like moves with an antique shield is another great sign for things to come. At this point in the game, it’s a good thing that I chose to stick with Garo: Gold Storm Soar. Zinga and Amily may lack the qualities of being great villains, but the show’s plot manages to imply that they hold more control over the city than it seems. Based on the previews for episode 7, their time to shine might finally arrive, and things might start to get more intense. With the special daggers’ role and the mysterious young Makai Priest's motives, there are plenty of potential recipes for the staff to exploit in the upcoming weeks. One thing for sure, my stomach is ready for the next huge meal.
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
Boxes with anteater logos equal doom
I may’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for Garo: Gold Storm Soar to blow our minds with some amazing suit on suit action, but that isn’t stopping me from enjoying the show’s story. Since the series’ ...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo: Gold Storm Soar episode 5

May 18 // Salvador GRodiles
If there’s one thing that Gold Storm does right, it’s that it continues to establish continuity between its episodes each week. Even when a segment feels like a side-story, its key moments somehow manage to link the chapter to the main plot. Hell, I never expected for that one girl from episode 1 to return recently, since she seemed like she was just a random victim. In a sense, this type of format can make a program fascinating, because it lets people ponder on which characters’ll become important later on. This following issue may not affect the show’s quality, but I found it strange that the girl’s sister resorted to fooling around with guys to help her raise money to study abroad. Couldn’t she have gotten her younger sister to sign up for a grant, scholarship, or some other form of financial aid? I guess the show’s staff was trying to convey the concept of going through great lengths to help someone-- even if there were better alternatives to cover this situation. Either way, the scenario helped pave the way for Ryuga and Rian to catch on about the recent increases in Horror activity in the vicinity. Going back to what I said earlier, the way how Gold Storm handles its story allows us to feel amazed when a empty slots gets filled by a new puzzle piece, which works well in taking its viewers along for the ride. While Zinga and Amily haven’t become appealing villains yet, the mystery behind their plan to give Ladan more power is what keeps us on our seats each week. As long as the show keeps linking the Horror activities to their actions, then their first encounter with Ryuga and Rian should lead to a good breaking point in the story. If Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkess' twist is anything to go by, then the Destroyer of World's actions should leave us with a shocked expression. Gold Storm may have not given us a cool-looking Horror suit, but this week’s design is at least a step in the right direction. While the creature was a beefed-up guy with monster arms, the staff’s detail on the man’s face made it seem like his monstrous form was about to jump out of his skin. Since the franchise’s suits are supposed to give off a scary movie vibe, I’d say that episode 5 managed to fill in this requirement, which acts as another beacon of hope. But hey, the big dude made Ryuga’s fights look cool, as they got the right shots and choreography techniques that make a fist fight between a muscular person and a normal-built dude look spectacular. Based on the program's progression so far, Garo’s sixth series is slowly feeling like the franchise we all love, which is a good sign that this'll be a good installment for the franhise. To add to its positive elements, you know a series is promising when the hero partakes in a well-shot game of darts. In actually, any sport or competitive activity could work as well. As we start to see minor characters and events link the show’s main plot together, Garo: Gold Storm Soar should start reaching new heights in the next episode. If the suits show their face again, then we might have a huge winner here.
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
When helping someone goes wrong
Back when I said that Garo: Gold Storm Soar had potential, I wasn’t fooling around. With each passing episode, the show continues to shine brighter than before. As we start to see the series' various story elements come together, the big mystery continues to leave us intrigued. From the looks of it, the franchise is still in good shape.

Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger photo
Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger

It's Judgement Time: Dekaranger to return as a V-Cinema


Chu Chu Chu Deka Deka!
May 15
// Salvador GRodiles
Oh my. Right when it felt that Hurricanger was going to be the only Sentai show to get the 10 Years After treatment, a new beacon of hope has surfaced for toku fans. Seeing that it's been ten years since Tokusou Sentai Dekar...
Events photo
Events

Huzzah: Anime at the Alamo: San Antonio and Texas Toku Taisen are holding a contest


Free goods for two lucky winners
May 12
// Salvador GRodiles
Now this is what I call good news! It turns out that Mecha Gorilla, the masterminds behind Anime at the Alamo: San Antonio and the Texas Toku Taisen, got a sponsorship by IELLO Games. In commemoration to this event, the group...
Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger photo
Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger

Henshin Ninpou: Cellphones and shinobi unite in Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger


True ninjas never miss their dates
May 12
// Salvador GRodiles
Is it me, or has there been a ton of ninja-related content in these past few months? With Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, Ninja Slayer, and the upcoming ninja-themed toku series, Hayate, the warriors who hide in the shadows ...
Fan Expo Dallas photo
Fan Expo Dallas

Heading to Fan Expo Dallas? Come have dinner with Godzilla's staff


Be sure to have a roaring appetite
May 10
// Salvador GRodiles
You know. Meeting your favorite industry people at a convention may be cool and all, but nothing beats the idea of having a meal with the folks you admire. Speaking of which, Fan Expo Dallas' giving people the chance to ...

Annotated Tokusatsu: Garo: Gold Storm Soar episode 4

May 08 // Salvador GRodiles
If there’s one thing that the Garo franchise does well, it’s the world-building aspects in regards to the Makai Knights, Horrors, special realms, and all the other toppings that make up the show’s various settings. To an extent, this is one of the aspects that makes the series’ side episodes shine, since it rewards the viewers for being invested in the franchise. In regards to this week’s adventure, Daigo Akizuki’s introduction helped show off Ryuga and Rian's growth as characters. Sure, it wasn’t a big conversation, but it felt that Daigo's interpretation of Ryuga and Rian was similar to how they were in Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness. In a sense, this episode conveyed the two heroes’ resolve in prioritizing on the important matters during a mission, such as saving lives and what not. Basically, it’s an extra little reward for those who enjoyed following Ryuga and Rian’s development. Perhaps the big surprise this week was that Daigo’s Makai Knight Armor was an actual freaking suit, which means that Amemiya’s likely saving the costume designs for Gold Storm’s major heroes and villains. Better yet, the staff’s decision to give the guy a bulkier suit compliments the warrior’s axe fighting style. To top it all off, the emerald green color acts as the final ingredient to gives the design a badass look. Interestingly, Giga the Beast Body Knight was originally featured in a Garo pachinko game called Makai Kessen Gaoh. That being said, it’s great to see that the show’s steam used a design from the pachinko machines in the toku series, since it gives us the chance to see these characters in action. While there wasn’t a powerful Horror causing trouble in the city, the group’s fight against a horde of normal creatures helped change up the Golden Knight suit on CG Monster-of-the-Week action that’s been going on for three weeks. Hopefully, this type of thing’ll happen in future episodes. That way, the viewers can be blown away by the stunt work done by the actors that are in and out of suit. For now, Daigo's fight scenes in his human and Makai Armored Form left us with some impacting moves, which increases my hopes in him returning later on. When it seemed that Garo: Gold Storm Soar was going to follow in the same footsteps as Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness, the program’s team showed us that viewers are still getting their taste of well-made suits. Even though we were only treated to a new Makai Knight suit and a bunch of recycled Horror costumes, the action that was done with these suits made up for it in the long run. One thing for sure, this scenario was a tasty appetizer to keep us full until the major story with Ladan starts to kick in. Since the plot's beginning to show a transition between episodes, the payoff should be worth our time.
Garo: Gold Storm Soar photo
Hurray for more actual costumes
It may’ve been unfortunate that the latest Garo series hasn’t featured any new amazing Horror suits, but that isn’t stopping the show from bringing us a new costume. Once again, Keita Amemiya might be the gu...

Review: Chroma Squad

May 05 // Josh Tolentino
Chroma Squad (PC) Developer: Behold StudiosPublisher: Behold StudiosReleased: April 30, 2015MSRP: $14.99 Not that they really needed to, of course. Such a "feature" would interfere with play, and there's plenty of service in the game as it is for fans. The play, in this case, is of the turn-based tactical variety, as if Behold took XCOM and ran it through the parodic, pixelated filters of Knights of Pen and Paper.  Like the former, players will manage a small squad of combatants, with unique classes and abilities, running them up against groups of goons and the occasional boss, one turn at a time. Like the latter, every mechanic serves as a distillation of tokusatsu's essence through heavy referencing and a clear, almost palpable appreciation of the source material. The premise alone is ripe enough with potential that it's baffling more games haven't taken advantage: Players manage a fledgling production studio, with each mission treated as an "episode" of an upstart spandex superhero show. Names, casting, and even catchphrases are up for customization, as well as the requisite selection of bright primary colors to outfit the roster with. If players want to commit sentai sacrilege and name a non-red-colored character the "Lead," no one can stop them but their inevitable guilt (guilt, I say!). Cast members can also be selected from a pool of actor candidates, each with their own special qualities.  [embed]33795:4709:0[/embed] When the cameras start rolling and the minions exit wardrobe, the fight is on. The goal of any given mission is to amass as much "audience" as possible, by performing flashy attacks, fancy stunts, and of course, winning the fight. Additionally, optional "Director's Instructions" add extra conditions, such as finishing off boss monsters with a screen-filling finishing move, or not killing off the boss before dispatching the cannon-fodder minions. Such extra goals help introduce variety to the combat, which is more simplistic than one might find in XCOM or other dedicated tactical titles. Enemies follow simple patterns and lack much in the way of extra abilities, so most of the tactics devolve to crowd and ability cooldown management rather than more elegant stratagems. Chroma Squad's main mechanical wrinkle comes in the form of "Teamwork," which allows squad members to leapfrog over each other to boost their movement range, or carry out simultaneous attacks with adjacent teammates. This, alongside somewhat simplistic giant-mecha boss battles, give the game enough of a unique flavor to override its otherwise thin tactical substance.  Following the mission, gained audience is converted into "fans," and also into increased studio funding, the better to buy one's way out of Papier-mâché costumes and into somereal spandex duds. Behind the scenes, the studio itself can be outfitted with various upgrades that improve performance in each episode. Buying health care for the actors improves their health in combat, and improving the lighting on set reduces enemies' chance to dodge or counter blows. Materials dropped in combat can also be used to craft customized gear with semi-random statistics, a useful (and cheap) alternative to costly store-bought costumes and weapons. Fan mail can be answered for flavor and smaller benefits, and players can even choose marketing agencies to confer more benefits. Going with a niche-market enthusiast firm might increase the amount of fans gained after an episode, but will likely lack the mass-audience-gathering benefits of a more mainstream advertising push. Tradeoffs like that characterize much of Chroma Squad's meta-game. Speaking of meta-things, the game's narrative and missions regularly break the fourth wall, and form one of the game's potentially divisive aspects. While the self-aware script and obvious understanding of tokusatsu's many conventions and tropes lend it an endearing level of charm, some players might be turned off by references to dated Internet memes and other metahumor. Personally, I found the story hit quite a bit more than it missed, but I will admit that at times the dialog read more like a forum chat log than a script, and wasn't always helped by rough spots in the localization and editing. Then again, it's not like tokusatsu attracts its fans for complex plotting and characterization, so it may balance out in the end for players in the right mindset. What isn't as easy to let by are some unfortunate, if minor, technical and design blemishes on Chroma Squad's pristine pixelation. Mission scripts would occasionally freeze in "cutscene" mode, forcing me to start the mission over. A nasty little bug accidentally equipped low-level equipment on my giant robot, making some late-game boss battles much more tense than I'd have liked them to be. One bug even gave me control of an enemy unit rather than my own squad members for a few turns! Thankfully, dev posts on the forums appear to indicate that Behold is aware of most of the bugs I encountered, and a patch is in the works at the time of this writing. Beyond that, the lack of a mid-mission checkpoint or save, or a mission-select option is inconvenient for players wanting to explore the game's branching story paths (especially for those curious to see what Behold has to say about Kamen Rider). That said, the team has stated a New Game+ option may yet be in the cards for a future update, so repeated playthroughs may become more appealing in the future. Zordon may have wanted "teens with attitude," but Chroma Squad and its unabashed, utterly geeky love-in for all things tokusatsu shows something even harder to find: A game with heart and soul. That heart shines through the rough edges, and in some ways even turns them to its advantage. It might have taken quite a while in getting here, but fans of spandex-clad superheroic finally have the videogame to help them fill that little fantasy. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]  
Chroma Squad photo
Lights, Camera, Henshin!
Ever since a badly-dubbed lady popped out of a dumpster on the moon, sending a weird computer-man to seek "teenagers with attitude," geeks of a certain age have been on the lookout for a game that can capture the es...

After V photo
After V

Drink Up: Kanpai Senshi After V gets a second season


Stay thirsty, my heroes
May 04
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a year since Kanpai Senshi After V quenched our thirst for a fun Sentai parody show. While the series wasn't on the same level as Akibaranger, the main thing that made it nice was its similarities to the sitcom Chee...

First Impressions: Garo: Gold Storm Soar

May 04 // Salvador GRodiles
Just like Garo: Makai no Hana's early episodes, the sixth series throws us into the main conflict. In this installment, two mysterious figures called Zinga and Amily are behind the increase in Horror activity in the surrounding area, which leads up to them releasing Ladan, another powerful Horror, from its seal. In other words, Ryuga and Rian are in for a mission where they have to prevent these two figures from completing in their plan. Compare to the previous toku series, Gold Storm’s basic premise doesn’t do too much to pull viewers in. Instead, the show’s big appeal is getting to see Ryuga and Rian in action again. Seeing that it’s been a good while since Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness, the staff manage to show us that their characters have grown from back then. Ryuga seems to be more aware of his environment in battle, and Rian continues to mess with her opponents while using a gun and brush in combat. All in all, as a person who enjoyed the third Garo series, the main cast's evolution was a nice way to spice up the story. That, and Ryuga’s shuriken-shooting sheathe is an amazing way to make the guy stand out from Kouga, Raiga, and Leon. As nice as it was to see Ryuga and Rian again, the series fell short of delivering a solid performance. Sure, the show established the main conflict early on, but show’s tendency to rely on CG Horrors prevents it from reaching the same level of greatness found in the Kouga and Raiga Garo installments. Unfortunately, this continues to be a trend in Gold Storm’s second and third episode, which means that the franchise’s team might be saving the Horror costume designs for the upcoming Garo movie that stars Raiga from Makai no Hana. Nonetheless, the action choreography between the human characters continue to be a treat, since the action's still dynamic and well-shot. On top of that, each Horror-of-the-Week sports a unique design, which is an improvement over the third installment's decision to mostly feature the same creature models. Speaking of improvements, Ryuga’s battles as the Golden Knight utilize a new-and-improved Garo suit, which shows that the team’s still capable of creating cool outfits. From the detail in the armor's neck to the shoulders' new shapes, the current costume is a nice change from the one that was featured in the earlier titles. If anything, this is one factor that’s an improvement over the third series in the franchise, since we get to see the Armor’s Suit Actor partake in more stunts. Interestingly, Masahiro Inoue (Kamen Rider Decade’s Tsukasa/Decade) appears in the series as Zinga, which means that he’s retained his title as the Destroyer of Worlds. Based on his performance so far, he might evolve into an interesting villain later on. I guess it’ll all depend on how he interacts with the show’s cast during the first major encounter. For now, it's hard to determine whether he'll be a good or terrible villain, since his appearances have been brief for now. In terms of continuity, Gold Storm doesn’t require for its viewers to be familiar with its prequel film. Judging from the show’s first three episodes, the only thing that people likely missed out on was the introduction of D. Ringo, his assistant Yukihime, and Ryume, the show’s main Watch Dog. While these characters likely played a big supporting role in series’ prequel, the two shopkeepers seem to provide Ryuga with any information about his targets. Nonetheless, there’s a good chance that they’ll be more fleshed out in this installment, so viewers shouldn’t worry about feeling left out. Seeing the Gold Storm TV show’s premise is different from its movie, the program’s timeline won’t be an issue here. Even though Gold Storm lacks the same strengths that made Makai no Hana’s beginning worthwhile, the show still has the potential to be a good installment for the franchise. Since the program’s been leaving us with hints of Zinga and Amili plan for Ladan, I’m certain that the plot’ll get juicier in the later weeks to come. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some actual new Horror costumes in future episodes, since it’s one of the fine ingredients that make the Garo franchise great. Considering that the series’ visuals are an improvement from Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness, this is a great sign that Amemiya’s direction will turn this program into a shining success-- even if the well-designed Monster-of-the-Week suits are absent.
Garo photo
Ryuga is back, baby!
Back when it was announced that Ryuga from Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness would appear in a new Garo series, there are two possible outcomes that could come out of this. On one hand, we get to see Ryuga as a more ex...

Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Get hyped for Chroma Squad's tokusatsu-inspired trailer


Live-action transformation sequence included!
Apr 24
// Salvador GRodiles
Ahem. Excuse me while I go get my transformation device. As the resident toku guy on Japanator, it's no surprise that I'm super excited for Chroma Squad, since the game lets us manage our own tokusatsu studio. Best off all, ...
Hayate photo
Hayate

Garage Hero's upcoming Hayate web series goes on hiatus


There's a good reason behind this update
Apr 17
// Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks; it looks like Garage Hero's upcoming ninja-themed web series, Hayate, has been put on hold for now. The reasoning behind the hiatus is because of the group's production on Ayakashi Zamurai, Garage Hero's sh...
Garage Hero photo
Garage Hero

Watch Garage Hero tear Super Hero Wars GP to shreds


In which Bueno tells a kid to shut the hell up
Apr 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Aw snap, Bueno of Garage Hero and his friends are about to get real, as they share their thoughts on Super Hero Wars GP: Kamen Rider 3, which might as well be called Super Mario Kart: Let's Go Kamen Rider Edition. ...
Garage Hero photo
Garage Hero

Aw snap, Garage Hero share their thoughts on the Ultraman Ginga S movie


Brought to you by Whey Body Protein
Mar 27
// Salvador GRodiles
If you've been interested in checking out Ultraman Ginga S the Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors, Bueno (Gun Caliber's Director, Producer, and Hero), Michael (Gun Caliber's Blue), Max (Hayate's Co-Producer) an...
Ultraman photo
Ultraman

It's Ultraman Ginga S time!


An Ultra good time
Mar 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
Been short on your Ultraman fix? Good! Because Tsuburaya has quite a little treat for you fans, with their stream of the first four minutes of the newly released Ultraman Ginga S: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors! Now that's ...
Gun Caliber photo
Gun Caliber

Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition shoots its way back to YouTube


Spring is about to get filled with bullets
Mar 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Spring may be known as that the Season of Allergies, but Bueno and Garage Hero have decided to overcome this issue with their fourth YouTube stream of Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition. This time around, people can watch...
Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Pull out your Henshin Devices: Chroma Squad gets a release date


Now featuring flashy bucket helmets
Mar 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Heroes and heroines; it's time for us to transform into our Ultimate Form-- excuse me while I change into Crocodile Sunshine. Why you say? Because Behold Studios has announced the release date for Chroma Squad, the...
Power/Rangers photo
Power/Rangers

Check out a Hollywood pro's ultraviolent take on Power Rangers


We goin' grim, we goin' dark!
Feb 25
// Josh Tolentino
Don't you love it when, for some trick of fate or circumstance, the idle fantasies you used to dream up when you were a dumb kid somehow come true? That's what happened for a lot of folks a couple days ago when Director Jose...

We Chat With Gun Caliber's Bueno: Toys, Choreography, and Toku's current state

Feb 16 // Salvador GRodiles
Japanator: If you were given the chance to work on any existing tokusatsu franchise, which one would you do, and how would you make it different? Bueno: I'd make Mirai Ninja, because Keita Amemiya has been talking about making that, ever since he made the first one-- and he hasn't done it. Because all that Pachinko money is funding the Garo shows, so he's stuck in this endless loop where he has to make Garo shows, because the Pachinko games are making the money to fund them. Japanator: Oh! So that's why there's been so many Garo projects lately. Bueno: Yeah. Nobody really understands that. Have you heard my podcast with Mecha Gorilla? Japanator: Yes! Bueno: We talked about the same thing-- I think it was with Mecha Gorilla or Christafurion and Friends. The Pachinko games pretty much fund the series. That's why they have so much series of Garo. Then, it's an endless loop of, "Okay, Garo had a Pachinko game that did well, so it funds the new Garo series." Then the new Garo series gets a Pachinko game based on it, and that one funds the next one. So he's kind of stuck in that rut, and I want to be able to work with Keita Amemiya on Mirai Ninja 2. But I don't know, that brings me to another discussion of if I would want to work on a Japanese production. From my experiences here in Japan, working on somebody else's projects --especially the Japanese ones-- could be really really really tough work, because there's a certain way of doing things. Also, because of the fact that you are a foreigner, working in this industry over here, you're gonna deal with a lot of racism. Bueno with Mark Musashi (Sh15uya's Piece, Garo's Kodama) at Machigaine Hot Dogs in Akihabara Japanator: Based on your experience with tokusatsu and film making, what are your current thoughts on the tokusatsu industry? Bueno: More than the industry, the "fandom" is kind of in a rut right now. The four major franchises in tokusatsu right now are Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Ultraman, and Garo-- as far as like henshin hero stuff goes. People would say Godzilla and kaiju stuff, but when people say "tokusatsu," they're going to talk about Kamen Rider more-- you just gotta face the facts. That's partially the reason why SciFi Japan TV closed down, they had some great content, but nobody gave a shit. They wanted to cover Ultraman and kaiju stuff, and not the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai stuff , because that's what Tokusatsu Network and HJU cover. They wanted to break from the mold. The problem with that is that the fans like to talk about Kamen Rider and Super Sentai more than Ultraman and kaiju, so they don't know who their audience is. The fandom of Ultraman and Godzilla is very small, compared to Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. That leads me to the gripe that I have with tokusatsu right now: The "fandom" consists of consumers, and not enough creators. When I say this, I'm talking about the "fandom," and the fact that they like to talk tokusatsu, rather than try to create it. There's a number of reasons of why this is: "Fans" see it as intimidating, they think it cost too much, they don't have the know-how, or they don't have the time. There's tons of excuses, and sometimes they are good excuses, like it really does cost money. There are "some toku fans" out there who basically say, "Yeah, I could do that, I could do this." I don't know if you remember Carey Martell, but he's a guy who was so full of himself, and he wanted to make an American tokusatsu called Deathfist Ninja GKaiser. He made the effort, but nobody wanted to help him fund the movie. Bueno with Japanese comedian Kaori Takamura at YouTube Space Tokyo Me on the other hand, I just decided to go out there, and stop waiting. I got off my ass, and worked at my job to raise the money to make a tokusatsu. That's pretty much what it is, you gotta to raise the funds til you have the suit. The first step is getting the suit, but "certain toku fans" don't realize that, because they're thinking, "Oh, it cost too much money." That's why a lot of people don't have the resources to make tokusatsu, and that's probably why they only relegate themselves to reviewing or gossiping about tokusatsu, rather than making it. It's sad, because the fandom consists of that, and only that right now. To me, the people out there who're struggling to make their own tokusatsu are the super die-hard fans, because they're inspired by tokusatsu to make tokusatsu that they feel is the kind of tokusatsu that they want to watch. Then there are "certain toku fans" out there who just bicker about that and talk about like, "Oh, well I could make a better tokusatsu." I ask them "Then why don't you?" They go like, "Oh, well I don't have the money, or I don't have the time." It's excuses after excuses after excuses, and that's what really pisses me off about the "fandom." They'll talk about Kamen Rider and all that stuff, but when somebody makes more effort to make something different, it doesn't get recognized. That's why whenever I see somebody making an independent production, I'm like, "Okay, I'm gonna bookmark this video." It's gonna be the same thing every year: There's gonna be a new Rider, a new Sentai, a new Ultraman, and a new Garo. That's it, it's only those four. In the '80s and '90s, there was an explosion of tokusatsu where there were lots of different ones. With the way the economy is right now, there's not enough money being put into entertainment, so there's only a few brands. Japanator: A few years ago, you and most of Garage Hero's members reviewed the Super Hero Wars movies. That said, how bad do you think Super Hero Wars GP is going to be? Bueno: Yonemura's writing it, so I don't think it's going to be all that good. Again, this is one of the things that I was talking about right here. Rather than talking about original tokusatsu, here we are talking about Kamen Rider and Toei. This is what the "fandom" has gone down to-- they have to talk about how good or bad something is, rather than doing something about it. That's what's kind of bothering me about the whole thing with tokusatsu and "tokusatsu fandom." That's why I want to do something about it-- that's why I'm making original content and that's why I'm making the kind of toku that I want to make. Because Super Hero Taisen was shitty, that made me even more motivated to make my own tokusatsu, and that's the kind of mindset that people got to get into. Rather than bitching about something at home in front of a computer, they got to get out of the house; buy some tools, buy all the resources they need, and start making their own tokusatsu. They don't have to, but if there's a lot of people saying, "I could do a better job," they should really step up to the plate and prove it. This is for all the "fanboys:" Shirakura, who is originally the Producer of Agito and Ryuki, is the owner of Toei now. He runs the company, and officially does not give a shit about anything the fans think about Kamen Rider-- that's how jaded he is. That's why Super Hero Taisen was made. He had this brainchild of, "Oh, if I slap Kamen Rider and Super Sentai on it, then people are going to like it-- even if it's a shitty movie." So he hired Yonemura to write this really shitty script, and what happened? It was a shitty movie, but the fans ate it up. All of the interviews that they have went like, "Aw, it was great to see all of the heroes on screen," but they're not going to talk about how shitty the movie is, because that's how Japanese culture is. They do not talk straight like that; they want to be polite. I remember watching Super Hero Taisen Z with Fernando, Daryl, and all them in the movie theater. Then there was this kid right beside me, and I was like, "Hey, you like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai?" He was like, "Yeah." The mom's all like, "We actually got tickets from the Producer, Shirakura." I thought to myself, "Well, it's too bad they're not refundable." They watched the movie, and then the kid was bored out of his mind. He was twisting and turning in his seat, and the mom was like, "For God's sake, sit straight." Then he yawned like five times during some scenes, and I watched carefully. When the movie was over, guess what the kid said. Japanator: He hated the movie? Bueno: No, he said, "That was awesome!" Japanator: WHAT?! Bueno: See, this is what I'm talking about. It's fucking brainwashing, man. All these kids are being brainwashed into thinking, "because there's all these superheroes on screen, it's gonna be good," and it's not. Even though they subconsciously know, and their body tells them, "This movie is shit," they're brainwashed into saying, "That was awesome." This is why tokusatsu sucks right now. Shirakura only cares about two things: Selling toys, so he can get his Bandai check, and selling tickets, so he can get his Toei check. That's his way of thinking in a business. Japanator: So when did Shirakura become Toei's owner? Bueno: I don't know; I don't care. Bueno with Koichi Sakamoto at an Aka x Pink promotional event Okay, here's the two ways of thinking in tokusatsu business: You have Shirakura who's like, "If I put Kamen Rider on it, I could sell toys. If I put Sentai on it, I could sell toys and make money." Then you have the Sakamoto way of thinking where it's like, "I can shoot some cool action utilizing the toys in a way that'll get people to want to buy it, and that'll sell toys." Guess what? That works! With W, OOO, Fourze, and Wizard even, he uses the toys, and it sells. Plus, it has a cool action scene, so it sells the DVDs and tickets. I watched the Fourze movie three times, and it works. At the end of it all, Sakamoto is like a big kid, so he understands what the kids like. The Twelve Horoscopes fight scene from the Fourze movie is probably the best tokusatsu fight scene to date, because a.) it sells the toy, b.) it's a cool fight scene, and c.) each time he uses the toy, it has meaning. I highly recommended movie for anybody who wants to know how to shoot a good tokusatsu fight scene or movie. There's that certain group of tokusatsu fans who're like, "It's all about the toys; I don't like it! It should be about the suits and the story." Little do they know, if you don't have the toys, how are you supposed to make tokusatsu? They'll be like, "Well, there's Godzilla." Godzilla's fandom is fairly big because of the fact it was the first one. But if you want something like Kamen Rider, how are you going to make a decent fight scene without any toys? Basically, if people want Kamen Rider to not be based on the toys, that means that you gotta take away the henshin belt and the suit. If you take away the belt, you have no suit and no Rider, so all of these fans are contradicting themselves. When you take a look at the action in Gun Caliber, what do you see? Japanator: I see that he has a henshin device that's a phone, a pair of guns, and a suit. Bueno: What's the main thing about the guns? Japanator: They can switch through different types of bullets. Bueno: Exactly! Why do you think that they have all of these accessories with Kamen Rider belts? Japanator: Merchandising. Bueno: It's not only merchandising, but it also helps with the action. When you have Gaia Memories that are able to have different attributes to both sides of Double, that switches the action. In the fight scene in the Fourze movie when he uses all 40 Switches, he uses them to counterattack each of the Horoscopes. Now you take a look at the Wizard movie, he failed to do all this. Sakamoto wasn't part of it, it was Ishigaki, he's an Action Director at Toei-- he's been doing stuff ever since Exceedraft. Visually, he's a good Action Director, but as far as concepts go, he's not a good Action Choreographer. He tried to do the Sakamoto thing with the Wizard movie, but it didn't work out. Most likely because you need time to choreograph something like that, and it was something he probably didn't have. To be able to choreograph a good fight scene, it's not just filming the suits and action anymore, it's being able to utilize the props and the character itself. That's the key to making a good tokusatsu fight scene. Japanator: Do you think that your work could inspire others to create their own toku projects? Bueno: Yeah, I hope so. I'm not saying that Gun Caliber is some sort of game changer, but Gun Caliber is the first independently funded tokusatsu film to be shot entirely in Tokyo, Japan; starring, directed, and produced by foreigner. If there's any other movies that could say "they've done that," go ahead. Show me who's done that, and I'll shut up. As far as I know, nobody's done that here. Nobody's had the balls to do it, and I have the balls! Japanator: Aside from tokusatsu and over-the-top productions like Gun Caliber, Hayate, and Yakuzambie, what other types of mediums does Garage Hero plan to tackle in the future? Bueno: We wanna do more stuff like tutorials, because the tokusatsu community right now consists of a lot of people talking about tokusatsu, and not making tokusatsu, You have a lot of people who write fanfics, short stories, or they'll create their own manga. The fact of the matter is that they really really want to make a tokusatsu, like a henshin hero and stuff like that. When they're faced with the dilemma of "Oh, I don't know how," "It cost too much money," or "There's no tutorial," that's where we hope to come in. We're going to make a tutorial series that's going to give people the basic know-how to make to make tokusatsu-- just like how we did. We didn't know what the hell we were doing, but we went on and did it. Then it worked, people like it. It took a long time, and a lot of resources and self study to be able shoot that thing. It took two years to shoot it, but the fact of the matter is that it all boils down to having the guts to do it. For a lot of people, they seem to lack the courage to shoot something like this-- even if it's just a short, because they have to worry about scheduling, paying for people's transportation, and food. That's the kind of things that people don't see behind the scenes-- you gotta do all that stuff. I think when people learn, "Okay, you need to do this and this, but you can add a little bit of you own flavor to it," that's when it becomes a little more interactive, and people want to give it a try. They won't be so intimidated. Right now, if you take a look at YouTube videos of learning how to sculpt a clay head or helmet, it's really intimidating, because the guy's really good. With our video series, we hope to be able to explain techniques, and how to make tokusatsu in the span of a five-minute video that gets straight to the point of what tools you need, what you should do, what to do afterwards, and some shorts to go with that. For example, I have a two/one-minute Gun Caliber action short, and then we focus on his mask or helmet, and then we'll have a tutorial video explaining"Okay, this is how the helmet is made."  I'm planning to produce another series with a person named Max Ellis, so we're hoping to produce more stuff this year for Garage Hero, and more web series. Since everybody automatically thinks that if you say "Bueno," it equals action, I'm planning this series that's in the style of a fighting game. It's gonna be a one-minute, or two-minute fight scene maybe at the most-- even just 30 seconds of two people duking it out fighting game style. It'll just be a bunch of zany stereotypical fighting game characters, and they'll have finishers. It'll be a fun series that'll help us get those creative juices flowing-- aside from just shooting tokusatsu. It'll be a little different, but still in familiar grounds.  Japanator: Speaking of tokusatsu tutorials, do you plan to cover any other aspects outside of making costumes and props? Bueno: Of course. With tokusatsu, there's a lot of areas to cover. For example, cinematography (like how to shoot a tokusatsu fight scene), there's certain techniques that they used from all the way back in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. During those times, they had a bunch of shooting techniques to make people look like they are jumping higher than they are, to make people look like they're kicking high in the air when they're really just a few feet off the ground, and to make monsters look bigger. They didn't have CG, but they made them look huge, and the people look small. It's a matter of being able to how to use your camera, your lens, and how to edit-- also cinematography. We're gonna cover a lot of those aspects as well.  A lot of people are just all like, "Oh. Are you going to teach fight choreography?" Everybody's going to choreograph differently, but we could teach the basics. I'm not making their heroes, so only they're going to know how to choreograph the action for their hero. More than choreography, we're going to focus on the cinematography, and how to Action Direct, and not how to Action Choreograph. We plan to teach CG as well, and the different types of tokusatsu shoots. You have the kaiju shoot, the hero action, and all that stuff, so we'll definitely cover all that.  Bueno with Freddy Wong at YouTube Space Tokyo Japanator: Could you tell us about your process in how you improved in creating tokusatsu hero and monster suits? Bueno: Well, you got to remember Gun Caliber was my first attempt, and I'm still in the learning process. I'm still learning stuff from people, and trying stuff out while buying new materials-- and see what works for decent prices. It's all a lot trial and error. In terms of getting better, you just gotta do it. With tokusatsu, you just have to jump into it-- that's the best way. Do a little bit of research, but jump into things. If you mess up, don't worry about it, because that's what helps you improve. If you mess up something, or find a different way of doing things afterwards, learn from that. Don't just be a downer on yourself, you gotta be able to learn from your mistakes. You got to fail, in order to be able to get better. You got to jump into things expecting to fail, but then figure out, "If I fail, how can I get out of that?" That's one of the key things that making tokusatsu is all about, and that's one of the things that I did. Japanator: So what can you tell us about Garage Hero's future? Bueno: Garage Hero's still an infant, and we only have 1,470 something subscribers. We need to shoot that up to at least 5,000 to get the views in, and more support from YouTube. In order to do that, we need to make more content that's gonna get people to come back, and want to subscribe.  We got a lot of content planned for this year, and we hope to update our channel a bit more frequently with this next G-Rated series coming up, Hayate, and that's gonna be a local hero for Asakusa. It's probably going to be like six episodes, and I think each episode'll be to be two to ten minutes long, or somewhere around that range-- it depends on how much action we have in each episode. I'm currently producing a tokusatsu tutorial series, and it's going to give people the basic fundamentals that they need to learn how to create, shoot, and produce tokusatsu-- all within the span of five minutes each. The least I'll have is five minutes to certain each step, we'll probably have longer episodes, depending on certain topics. It'll cover everything from creating the suit, certain camera angles that you should use for shooting tokusatsu, the kind of camera lenses you should use, how to pitch your idea, choreographing a fight scene, and all that stuff. Then we plan to shoot a Web series of action shorts that are done in the style of a fighting game, so I definitely need more suggestions on what to shoot for those. From left to right: Akiba Idol Mao Makabe, Bueno, and AV Idol Fuzuki If somebody likes certain videos, subscribes to our channel, and shares our content, that means that the more Garage Hero goes viral, the more content we're able to make, because YouTube pushes our stuff out there as recommended features. Sharing our videos, liking our videos, and pushing our channel out there is key to helping us make more original tokusatsu. Support from the fandom is very important to us, and we're also open to stuff that the fans want to see. When I say, "be sure to comment, share, and like our videos," I'm not saying it each time for the sake of saying it, because that's what helps us make more content. When people say, "We want to see more Gun Caliber, I will respond to that. If people want to say, "We want to see more of what Hayate can do," of course, I'm going to read that. I read the comments, and take the time. About the YouTube thing, anybody that can interact with our channel more, and can share our channel and content will help make it viral. That helps us, because it'll let us make more original tokusatsu for you guys to enjoy. Bueno with Kenneth Duria (Kamen Rider 555's Mr. J/Crocodile Orphnoch) Japanator: Once you hit 5,000 subscribers, do you plan to utilize any funding sites like Indiegogo? Bueno: Yeah, we hope to get enough people to fund us through Indiegogo to help fund the release of Gun Caliber on DVD, plus help future projects as well. I have a couple projects that I want to pitch out there, and hopefully, people'll catch wind of them and support our work. Japanator: When you release Gun Caliber on DVD, will it be available worldwide? Bueno: Definitely, I want to show this to the whole world. Garage Hero wants to be able to pride itself as the premier independent tokusatsu resource in Tokyo run by foreigners. Anybody who comes here can come to us for any questions they might have about making tokusatsu or anything like that, and we could fill them in. We want to be able to make that claim. Japanator: Do you have any plans to release Gun Caliber-related merchandise (such as a figure or his guns)? Bueno: Probably nothing on that level, but at least something like t-shirts, travel mugs, and basically stuff that you find on Redbubble. I'm designing some stuff for Redbubble right now, so hopefully some people'll buy that merchandise. Do you remember Vector, the company in Gun Caliber? Japanator: Yes. Bueno: Basically, it's going to be like Vector merchandise, because they're kinda like Smart Brain, Yggdrasill, and Zect. I'm gonna have a lot of merchandise that'll be like character merch, roleplay kind of merch that you could buy, and kind of roleplay in the world of Gun Caliber without having the toys; although I know a lot of people who want the toys. Japanator: What about Hayate: Asakusa's Ninja Hero? Bueno: We'll need to establish a bit of a fandom first on that. Since that's for kids, we'll most likely have to make more merchandise that's for kids. If I could get funded by Bandai, then by all means, I'll have them make some SofuBi. You know SofuBi? Japanator: What's SofuBi? Bueno: SofuBi is like those plastic figurines. Look up SofuBi on YouTube, and you'll see the figurines that people make. Bandai makes SofuBi figures, short term for soft vinyl figures, and those are famous among the kaiju figures, the collectibles Ultraman figures, and stuff like that. For example, the Ultraman Ginga Spark Dolls are all SofuBi. If somebody was willing to make a Gun Caliber SofuBi figure, I would totally be all for that. It's mostly going to be stuff like stickers for now, like a Hayate stickers, iPhone cases, and pillows. Again, this stuff you could buy off of Redbubble, so that's probably going to be the stuff that Hayate'll come of it. Japanator: Can you give us an estimate date on when Hayate's first episode'll be released? Bueno: It'll probably be released somewhere around either the end of March, the beginning of April, or maybe mid April. Again, that's just an estimate, but hopefully we can get it to you at that time, so be sure to like, subscribe, share our channel, and stay tune for Hayate. People can see a teaser on our channel right now. Bueno at The ABCs of Tetsudon screening party Japanator: Do you have any final words that you'd like to say to the readers? Bueno: Making tokusatsu can be very intimidating, because it requires time, money, effort, and resources, but you don't know that until you try it. The best way to do it is to do your research, and get into it. I feel that a lot of people are always intimidated by it. They'll be like, "Wow, tokusatsu looks expensive; I don't know if I could do that." Don't get me wrong, I've seen a lot of indie tokusatsu productions that have that problem where it's shot well, but it looks like crap. The suit will look good, but the show will suck, or the show will look good, but the suit will suck. It's either one of those two. You gotta be able to balance it out by having a good suit with good action, a good story to keep it interesting, and you got to know who your audience is-- that's very important. We have a lot of content coming out this year, and we're gonna have a tokusatsu tutorial series later on in the year. We're shooting Hayate, a local hero for Asakusa. We're going to be having a fighting game style kind of Web series, so be sure to rate, link, subscribe, and share all of our videos and channel with all of your friends. Our goal is to get our subs up to 5,000 this year, so we hope to achieve that, and hopefully, everyone can help us with that.
Bueno Part 3 photo
Bueno reveals the tokusatsu industry's dark secrets
After a long and perilous journey, we've reached the end of our long interview with Bueno. To close things off, the man shares with us his plans for the future, along with his own thoughts on the tokusatsu industry and a cert...

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Mahou Sentai Magiranger!

Feb 13 // Salvador GRodiles
特撮落書き詰め by take 我ら、魔神の王となれ by Lynx 戦隊つめあわせ by SILVIA マジ夫婦 by ビーノ 魔法 by ときえだ 勇気と希望の魔法使い by hiro 【特撮詰め】魔法+特命[バディロイド擬人]+wizard by クサ★審神者♀ 「魔法+特命」黄と金と銀 by クサ★審神者♀ ナイとメア by IWA 緑のあにき by hiro 一目惚れ by hiro 父(修正) by bump 集結 スーパー戦隊ロボ by 佐藤@コミティアQ18a スーパーアニキタイム by 風間 マージマジ!by 津島直人 インフェル雛 by ヨリヲ 戦隊色々詰め by 春眞ナクト ニチアサ過去絵まとめ by 死神 マジ! by 猛禽パンチ マージ☆マジーロ by Izumi Rion うちゅうのほうそくがみだれる!by 秋秀川小早 ぼくらの列車王 by 秋秀川小早 メア by らいすた マジレン ワイバーン擬人化 by ドライマンゴー ファイヤーカイザー by ロボ部のクロ マジキング by BUTA ナイとメア by らいすた 太陽につつまれる by 蒼馬
Magiranger photo
Magi Magi Magiro times Ten!
Today may be Friday the 13th, but that doesn’t mean that we’re in for a heap of bad luck. In fact, Mahou Sentai Magiranger tenth anniversary has landed on Feb. 13, 2015, which means that magic triumphs over random...


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