Another oddity from toku past, Tokkei Winspector (特警ウインスペクター), or simply Winspector, is one of those toku shows that everyone and their dog has said to me to watch at some point and I’ll admit I was interested because the Winspector designs were pretty solid. After one episode, I don’t think I’m going be continuing.
Winspector doesn’t waste any time with set-up and kicks off in media res with a rampaging truck and a kidnapped baby and continues on in a “day-in-the-life” style like this is Dredd or something. There’s little-to-no establishment of the Winspector team or what their modus operandi is, just bang – straight into a plot, try to keep up.
They appear to be a special branch of the police department like Special Investigation Unit in Kamen Rider Drive except these guys appear to be running a crèche as a side hussle.
The kidnapping is a revenge plot by a scientist who is petty as heck but he knows how to make a non-copyright infringing Terminator, I’ll give him that. Because of the threat, the Winspectors are deployed in a two-pronged attack; the robots Walter and Bikel will intercept the terminator while resident special agent Junko Fujino will apprehend the mad scientist responsible.
Meanwhile, we’re introduced to the most generic leading man ever, Ryouma “Fire” Kagawa. He’s got a well-meaning sister, a sweet car, fingerless gloves, and he’s not a robot.
This is what threw me for a loop when initially watching this pilot because I thought all the Winspectors were henshin heroes but only Ryouma is, Walter and Bikel acting more akin to the comedic Buddyroids/Beast Bots. Their antics were funny but their movement quirks weren’t endearing to me.
There’s not so much a traditional fight in this episode as there is a team working together to stop the runaway truck and that’s not a bad story overall. The set pieces are great with sneaky bits of model work for moments they couldn’t really get away with during the live action segments so that’s a great positive.
But my overall takeaway is that this show feels very out of time. The effects are bang on for the 1990s but the plot and acting comes across a little more dated, especially the inclusion of the child character. I thought they’d have gotten over that trope by the 90s but I guess not.
Winspector has a solid enough pilot that can be enjoyed if you don’t mind the foibles that bugged me about it.
You can now find Winspector, as well as many other tokusatsu shows, on the TOEI Tokusatsu World Official YouTube channel to watch for free with English subtitles.