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tokusatsu

First Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

Aug 18 // Salvador GRodiles
If there’s one thing that hinted towards a big change in the story, it’s that the Main Character Shang Bu Huan was placed in an unfortunate situation that made him a part of the group that plans to stop the evil sword collector known as Mie Tian Hai from awakening the Tian Xing Jian, a powerful sacred sword, from its seal. The unfortunate thing about this was that Huan was just a swordsman who just wanted to wander, but he was placed in an unfortunate circumstance where he ended up becoming an enemy of Hai’s evil group, the Xuan Gui Zong. Since Urobuchi loves to make his characters suffer, the idea of the hero having to give up on his routine to fulfill a specific task works well in this favor. Hell, this format tends to lead to some interesting development with the main characters than one where the lead wants to do something good from the get-go, as it shows that an unexpected journey could help someone grow. In Thunderbolt Fantasy’s case, Huan's growth will likely be related to how he handles the ordeals when the group is close to Hai's castle. Even though the majority of the show’s story focused on the main cast formulating their party to stop Hai, the mysterious character known as Gui Niao holds the title of being the possible catalyst in changing the way how people view Pili and Urobuchi’s action-packed puppet show. He was the main reason why Huang is part of the campaign to fight the Xuan Gui Zon, and there are a few characters who have problems with the guy. Depending on how the story goes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the spot as the show’s final villain. That, or we might have different factions and Niao will lead one of them. For now, his connection to the story is a factor that could elevate the series to a higher level and the suspicious vibe that he gives off contributes to the program’s entertaining aspects— especially with his persistent tendency to make sure that he has the prerequisites to overcome the trials that lead to Hai’s lair. While we’re on the topic of characters that could change groups at any time, the addition of a demon and a man who calls himself the Screaming Phoenix Killer contributes to the show’s idea of a group that’s united by a common motive. The idea that the party has their own toxic environment to deal with makes one wonder how things will change when the first major arc comes to a close. These aspects continue to push the audience towards being suspicious of Gui Niao; thus leaving people with the joy of trying to figure out where the story could go. For a team that could turn on each other, their teamwork somehow works out well, as a few of the show’s characters can give it their all when another comrade instigates them into doing something dangerously. Overall, this concept is what makes Thunderbolt Fantasy’s cast great since they’re all in it for a specific motive. Depending on how the direction the story will go later, I’m hoping that this aspect continues to be a recurring element since the team made these segments fun to listen to. Speaking of worthwhile things, the puppetry in Thunderbolt Fantasy gives off a breathtaking feeling. The actions scenes feel like an over-the-top Hong Kong film and the special effects (such as the magical flying weapons and powerful shockwaves) make every action scene a marvelous spectacle that never disappoints its audience. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this is that the show’s puppeteers are doing these segments in real time; thus resulting in a puppet show with one hell of a performance. Aside from the puppet’s impressive movements, the cast’s designs feature some highly detailed clothes and weapons. The craftsmanship in each puppet makes each of them look like a wonderful work of art. Not only that, the fact that the show’s staff uses weather and environmental damage is a solid feat, as the shots and lighting bring life to Thunderbolt Fantasy’s man-made sets. All in all, the team’s combined hard work with the puppetry, special effects and environments work hand-in-hand in creating a stage that grabs the audience's attention. Also, the idea that a majority of the show’s characters are left handed is a nice treat for lefties everywhere. As a person who never got to witness that many action puppet shows (such as The Thunderbirds) before, Thunderbolt Fantasy’s story and action left me blown away with the effort that went into the sets and action scenes. The violent puppets segments and Urobuchi’s writing serve as the true strings that’ll expose the nature of this series, which has started to unravel with Screaming Phoenix Killer’s actions and motives. With Hai entering the battlefield, it’ll be neat to see how everyone bypasses this trial. From the looks of it, this might be the opportunity that’ll allow for Huan to prove to everyone that he isn’t lying about his backstory. No matter what direction the series will take, Thunderbolt Fantasy will remain as a title that I never imagined as a medium that I needed in my life. [Get blown away by Thunderbolt Fantasy’s puppet action on Crunchyroll.]
Thunderbolt Fantasy photo
Lefties rule!
Ever since Urobuchi was involved with Kamen Rider Gaim, my desire to see him tackle other types of mediums outside of his usual things went up since it would be great to see how his writing style would cut up those stories. S...

Power Rangers Ninja Steel photo
Power Rangers Ninja Steel

Power Rangers Ninja Steel shows off its cast


Can you spot the Dino Charge connection?
Aug 13
// Salvador GRodiles
It's a known fact that the coolest ninjas are the one who don't hide. With Power Morphicon '16 happening as we speak, the actors for the 2017 Power Rangers series, Ninja Steel, have revealed their identity in front of a live ...
Suzaku photo
Suzaku

Get fired up for Garage Hero's new tokusatsu short


Olympic Flames!
Aug 08
// Salvador GRodiles
As the summer season continues to get hotter, the folks at Garage Hero are turning up the heat with their new hero known as Suzaku. Of course, this fiery warrior happens to be a hot-blooded individual. So far, I'm loving the ...
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid photo
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

2016's Kamen Rider series gets Lupin the 3rd Part 4's Writer


Press start to transform
Aug 01
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that most of my favorite Rider shows have in common is that they're written by folks who were involved with anime, such as Kamen Rider Fourze and Gaim. Speaking of which, it turns out that Yuuya Takahashi...

Gun Caliber photo
Gun Caliber

Catch Gun Caliber this Saturday at Anime Festival Orlando '16


It's time to drink some Kung Fu Whiskey
Jul 29
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like the people of Florida are in for a treat, as Garage Hero's Indie Tokusatsu Film Gun Caliber gets a screening at this year's Anime Festival Orlando. To top it off, Bueno (Gun Caliber's Star, Director, and Pr...
Wota Senshi Center photo
Wota Senshi Center

Idol group-themed Indie Tokusatsu Wota Senshi Center gets a teaser


Extremly catchy music included
Jul 24
// Salvador GRodiles
Back when Wota Senshi Center was first announced, I was down with the idea of an idol group-themed hero that uses Mix CDs to activate his moves. Of course, Garage Hero Alumni Daryl Delosreyes' (Gun Caliber's Sky Bla...
Red Sun photo
Red Sun

Garage Hero's Red Sun is ready to slice up evil


Looks hot so far
Jul 09
// Salvador GRodiles
At long last, the first episode of Garage Hero's new short known as Red Sun has launched on their channel. Just like their Inzector Alpha series, the title will likely focus on Red Sun showing us how he takes down h...
Red Sun photo
Red Sun

Here's a quick look at Garage Hero's new red samurai hero


Does this make him three times faster?
Jun 30
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like the guys at the Indie Tokusatsu Studio Garage Hero have a new short in the work, as they show off their new hero known as Red Sun, which was made by Former Rainbow Zoukei, the team behind the suits for the Kamen...
Choriki Sentai Ohranger photo
Choriki Sentai Ohranger

Ole: Shout! Factory grabs Ohranger


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

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


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

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


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

Grab your supplies: Tokusatsu Film School has begun


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

Awaken your instincts with Zyuohger's 8-bit opening


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

First Impressions: Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger episodes 1-3

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

Ultraman photo
Ultraman

Streaming GET: Ultraman Ginga and Ginga S head to Crunchyroll


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

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


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

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


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

Rejoice: Ultraman Gaia unites with Crunchyroll


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

Over Ray Storm: Ultraman Nexus finally lands on Crunchyroll


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

Rest in Peace: Creature Artist Yasushi Nirasawa passes away


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

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


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

Zyuohger's full trailer shows off its blocky gimmicks


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

Evil gets slashed: Kakuranger heads to North America


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

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


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

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


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

Final Impressions: Ultraman X

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

Kamen Rider photo
Kamen Rider

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


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

Strike: Animals go bowling in the new Zyuohger trailer


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

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


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

Kamen Rider Ghost's chiptune opening will brighten your soul


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

Annotated Tokusatsu: Ultraman X episodes 14-20

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

Impressions: Kamen Rider Ghost episodes 1-9

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

Dobutsu Sentai Juohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Juohger

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


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

Ultraman Nexus gets an official YouTube stream before it hits Crunchyroll


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

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