Toei Tokusatsu World Reviews: Thutmose

Mysterious Nile Girl Thutmose (不思議少女ナイルなトトメス), or just Thutmose for short, is the twelfth installment in the Toei Fushigu Comedy Series that was broadcast in 1991. The name Thutmose is Egyptian, meaning Born of the god Thoth, and was the name of four Pharoahs. Thutmose is to Pharoahs as Henry is to the British crown, i.e. there have been quite a few of them.

I’m struck, instantly, by the opening credits of Thutmose; a stop motion animation in which a stereotypically Egyptian character, whom I must assume is Thutmose, crushes monsters with her crotch while doing the splits in Egyptian baggy pants. There are goofy faces superimposed on skinny cartoon bodies, too… the supporting cast, you’d surmise. This episode is going to be a ride. The music is jazzy as hell, though, and I can imagine kids all over Japan bopping along to it in 1991.

The episode is narrated by Sanae Nakajima, the eldest sibling in her family and starts with Sanae describing her family’s move into a new apartment. After she’s done introducing us to her father, mother and younger sister, the building manager pays them a visit and reminds them of the hikkoshi soba tradition. In Japan, for some reason, it is customary for new residents to eat soba (buckwheat noodles) upon arriving in their new home as well as offer it as a gift to their neighbors. Sanae heads to the shop to get their order in and, on her return, is ushered to the graveyard near their new home. It’s all go in the Nakajima household!

They’re visiting the Nakajima family grave but first they need to find it. It’s buried under years of weeds and overgrowth… very bad juju. When the family finally do reveal the grave, it’s modelled after a pyramid and guarded by sphinx. Papa laughs and casually drops that their family are descended from Egyptians, as you do. As the family leave, younger sister, Manami, realises that she’s dropped her brooch and Sanae, as the family slave, is sent back to retreive it.

“Help me, Obi-Wan… you’re my only hope.”

On reaching the grave, Sanae trips and smashes open the pyramid with her, apparently, rock solid head releasing the 51 Demons of the Nile – devils who ruled the Earth before humans began to record their history. Also in the pyramid is the spirit of Sanae’s distant grandmother who tells her off for getting to familiar and gives her the power of Thutmose to fight the 51 Demons. Grandma will wait in the pyramid as Thutmose sends them all packing.

Back at the apartment, the building manager is pretty annoyed that he was overlooked in getting the hikkoshi soba and is possessed by one of the 51 Demons. The apartment building is promptly cursed by a plague of haunted hikkoshi soba, of course. Sanae and her sister are chased out of the building by the soba and, in the park, Sanae transforms into Thutmose for the first time.

In a moment that actually made me laugh out loud, Thutmose summons dipping broth and chopsticks and defeats the hikkoshi soba by… eating them. It’s an utterly ridiculous attack but it tickled me far more than it should have. Thutmose confronts the building manager, frees him of the demon and traps it. All’s well that ends well.

Thutmose isn’t the show I was expecting. Frankly, I don’t know what I was expecting but I think I might give this show more of a shake. It’s not your traditional tokusatsu in terms of rubber monsters and elaborate fights but I think the comedy element of Thutmose defeating the demons by utterly hilarious means will carry this show forward. Give it a chance to make you laugh yourself.

Mysterious Nile Girl Thutmose is one of the many Toei Fushigi Comedy Series available for free on the Toei Tokusatsu World Official YouTube channel.

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