This past Saturday, September 2nd, the cast of Gosei Sentai Dairanger, as well as alumni of various other Super Sentai series attended the memorial ceremony of their former teammate, Tatsuya Nomi. In attendance were the other four Dairangers, Keiichi Wada, Ei Hamura, Keisuke Tsuchiya and Natsuki Takanashi, as well as Ryousuke Kaizu & Kei Shindachya (Red & Blue Mask), Keiya Asakura (Blue Turbo), Michiko Makino (Pink Five) and Takeyuki Suzuki (Bioman producer).
In tribute to Nomi, who played ShishiRanger, Daigo during Gosei Sentai Dairanger, the team performed one last roll call and laid an Aura Changer alongside a glass of beer on the altar.
Tatsuya Nomi passed away on May 18th this year, reportedly of suicide. His brother, Koichi Tatsuya, announced the actor’s death on Twitter. Following Dairanger, Tatsuya returned to Super Sentai during Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger where he protrayed Sanpei Hamada, a disguise for Shurikenger, as well as in GoGo Sentai Boukenger as Manager Wakabayashi.
What are your memories of Tatsuya Nomi? Reminisce about the actor’s great Super Sentai legacy in the comment section below.
Tokusatsu or “Special Effects Filming” is probably one of the most misunderstood genres in the west – assuming enough people are even aware of it to misunderstand it. We’re all familiar with the “Is that Power Rangers?” enquiry and, while it doesn’t bother me as much as it does others, it highlights an interesting disparity between toku in the East and toku in the West.
In the West, tokusatsu is only ever Power Rangers and Godzilla… maybe Ultraman, but that’s pretty much it, and it always carries with it the connotations of being campy, cheese or for younger audiences. In the East, however, there is a much greater selection of tones, genres and demographic appeal and it’s not just limited to Super Sentai or Godzilla. For example, Garo, which is most certainly aimed at adult audiences, is classed as tokusatsu but has a much darker and serious tone than something like Robotack. This is the case even within the same series, for example Ultraseven is a lot darker and serious than Ultraman Taro, for example.
Another factor in this cultural misunderstanding is that the meaning of the word Tokusatsu has different connotations in the East than it does in the West. Over here, we tend to think toku as being only a select few TV shows and movies, however, in Japan, it’s a much more inclusive term (e.g. Doctor Who, Thunderbirds and Star Wars are all considered tokusatsu). It would be like if we considered a sci-fi film to only be something like 2001: A Space Odyssey, ignoring films like Star Wars and Arrival altogether.
Since Tokusatsu is such a misunderstood genre, that also means that more people enjoy it than realise it, and why wouldn’t they? We all love a good explosion, well done practical effect or nicely choreographed fight scene. So, we must be kind when people ask if Ultraman is like Power Rangers because, chances are, outside of those few shows they like special effects just as much as you do.
What tokusatsu do you enjoy? Share your likes with us in the comment section below!