Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain (特救指令ソルブレイン), or simply Solbrain, is exactly the kind of Metal Hero show I was expecting and I enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s the kind of show I expected Winspector to be but didn’t get but it still defied some of my expectations.
We kick off with a seeming alien invasion and the Special Rescue Command scrambling to combat the threat and assist civilians. There’s a real Gerry Anderson vibe going on and I really appreciate that. A familiar-looking commander dispatches his top agent, Daiki Nishio, to interrogate a professor who created the space station that is suddenly going mental above the city.
Turns out that Dr Inagaki has gone full mad scientist and is allowing his AI creation to run amok in the name of scientific progress, consequences be damned. He even tries to sacrifice his son to his new AI overlord and I can’t believe he doesn’t get arrested immediately afterwards. It baffles me that his realisation that maybe he was a bit wrong to create a murderous AI and want his son to have his brain scooped out is enough for the Solbrain team and he isn’t in cuffs.
The Solbrain team is pretty cool. You’ve got Daiki (aka SolBraver), your typical hot-blooded hero, Reiko Higuchi (aka SolJeanne), the medic/support heroine, and then there’s Jun Masuda who, surprisingly, isn’t the pilot of the yellow construction suit. Why? He seems cool! Give him a suit!
The Solbrain team also has a Thunderbirds-esque vehicle called the Solid States piloted by a bunch of no-names and is essentially a giant fire engine that can fly. That’s brilliant and I immediately went looking for a toy version!
After the day is saved, and Daiki takes off his helmet to reveal a sweat-drenched horror grin, is when I realised that the commander is the same guy from Winspector. I thought he looked familiar but didn’t want to say because “all Japanese toku commanders look alike” isn’t a great stance to have but blow me down, it was! This is a sequel to Winspector! The episode ends exactly the same way!
Solbrain is the better version of Winspector to me. It plays out in much the same way as Winspector’s first episode does but with better pacing, establishment of threat, and no comedy robots. Even the sole child actor serves a purpose!
It’s a fun first episode and I may continue on and see where it goes and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves!
You can now find Solbrain, as well as many other tokusatsu shows, on the TOEI Tokusatsu World Official YouTube channel to watch for free with English subtitles.