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Toei Tokusatsu World Reviews: Space Sheriff Gavan

Gavan is a hard show to watch in 2020. This piece of Showa-era Tokusatsu, the first of the original Metal Heroes, did not age well when compared to even the more modern incarnations of its lead hero. The Gavan of 1982, at least in its first episode, employs a lot of jarring edits, cuts, and shakycam to achieve effects such as a spaceship being hit by laser fire, or reactions from characters to actions done by others. Steady shots rarely last for more than a second outside of the initial fight scene midway through episode 1, and for me, at least, had a dizzying effect that meant I was pausing the episode or looking away from the screen often.

For all its flaws in cinematography, though, the plot setup of Gavan is easy enough to follow, even for newcomers. Gavan is a space sheriff (Toei’s Youtube channel refers to him as a space cop, though the Japanese word keiji can be translated either way) from the planet Bird, at the far edge of the Milky Way, who is assigned to track down an organisation on Earth called Makuu. Makuu are loosely described as a “space crime organisation” early on, but are framed as your standard tokusatsu villain organization, complete with villain names like “Hunter Killer” among others to really drive the point home. To give it a Western allegory, the Space Sheriffs in this context are most akin to the Green Lantern corps, of DC Entertainment fame. The key difference is in the tools though. In just the first episode, Gavan is shown to use power armour with bionic enhancements for vision, strength, and even Ultraman-esque laser attacks. In the midst of the battle, Gavan also displays his signature weapon, a lightsaber, and his mecha, a dragon that reveals itself out of the contents of his ship.

On Earth, Gavan uses the name Retsu Ichijoji and spends his civilian time working at a stable, meeting with children and working closely with horses he is frequently seen riding in the end credits sequence of each episode. Gavan’s partner, Mimi, is a shapeshifter with a skill set of her own, largely based on illusions that allow her to turn into a bird among other things. Gavan’s battles, though shot with Toei’s trademark shoestring budget and focus on pyrotechnics, are meant to be cosmic in scale even as early as the first episode. Dimensional barriers are crossing, the rings of planets are used as staging grounds, and more.

It’s been 38 years since Gavan debuted in 1982, and in a lot of ways, it shows. Gavan oozes Showa-era toku cheese, sometimes to its detriment but only in certain fast-paced sequences to the point where new viewers would actively be turned away. The second episode is a vast improvement over the first, as the creators clearly attempt to find a voice and identity to set them apart from their contemporaries at Toei, with two Super Sentai series the same year (Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan ending and Dai Sentai Goggle-V beginning). Kamen Rider and Ultraman were not running at this time, and on the anime side of things, Mobile Suit Gundam was re-releasing its original 43-episode series as a trilogy of films, so Gavan only had its brothers at Toei to compare to. Both Super Sentai and Metal Heroes evolved with time into what we know now, though Metal Heroes are now relegated to cameos in Super Sentai shows or standalone films.
Overall, Gavan is worth a watch to see the history of the genre, if you can get past the jarring cuts and edits.

The first two episodes of Gavan are currently available to watch via Toei’s official tokusatsu YouTube channel.

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Going ガガガ – A Tokusatsu GaGaGa Series Review

Channelling the fandom troubles of geeks and nerds everywhere, Tokusatsu GaGaGa was a series that kept us feeling gaga from start to finish.

We’ve all seen Akibaranger, right? I feel confident making that statement to the toku-watching community as a whole and, at the very least, you’ll be aware of it’s themes or those wacky GIFs of the “Powerful Rangers”.

So what if I told you that there was a show that captured the toku otaku experience even more-so than that? A show that dealt with tokusatsu as a fandom, fandom as a stigma, camaraderie, societal and familial pressures, and living up to the ideals that inspired us as children?

That show would be Tokusatsu GaGaGa; an adaptation of the Niwa Tanba manga of the same name that follows Kano Nakamura as she navigates her mid-20’s in a serious career while hiding her geekiness from her co-workers and family. It’s a very engaging story for me personally but I think it’s broader implications are what make it stand out amongst the J-Dramas aimed at people who like rubber monsters and explosions.

Simply put; Tokusatsu GaGaGa is about feeling ‘other’ in what most would define as ‘regular’ society. It’s about hiding something core to your self-identity out of fear of rejection, being ostracised by your peers, or as just being too childish, something many in the Western toku fan base has bemoaned when Power Rangers is derided in mainstream consciousness.

These themes are explored in the show in a number of different and unique ways, from metaphorical cuts to the in-show Sentai and Metal Hero series (Bestial Storm Jushowan and Emerjason, respectively), delusional instances of superheroes appearing to Kano to inspire her, or how certain characters compare experiences in differing fandoms. [Warning: Character and Plot SPOILERS AHEAD]

Lead actress Fuka Koshiba, and the rest of the cast to an extent, excel in bringing to life these relatable characters and making their respective journeys truly engaging. Kano Nakamura is a fantastic character who and the expressiveness of Fuka’s acting highlights both her dramatic and comedic elements. Frankly, I’d love to see Fuka in a proper Toei show, she’s got the chops to be a fantastic Sentai Red.

Joining Kano are “Sentai Sempai” Hisami Yoshida, an older sister-type with a fondness for butts. Her relationship with Kano is sweet and almost borders on the homoerotic sometimes and I honestly can’t tell if that’s intentional or I’m just reading too much into the long, lingering looks that they share frequently. I’m just saying, this show is already one big analogy to being LGBTQ+, I wouldn’t put it past author/directorial intent (I haven’t read the source material to confirm if it’s like that there) that it is.

There is also “Stoic Idol Fan” Yuko Kitashiro, Kano’s hard-nosed co-worker who hides a love of J-Idols The Bee Boys behind her Aubrey Plaza-esque looks. “Mr Yakuza” Masaaki Matsumoto, a crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside shop owner who feels great shame for his love of magical girl shows and “Damian” Taku Tamiya, a cram school kid who befriends Kano and acts as a mirror to Kano’s own childhood experiences. Each highlights an aspect of her personality and allow us to explore Kano’s views on life.

There are other ancillary characters who act as plot points or comic relief but the only other character of note is Fumi Nakamura, Kano’s mother. Often represented as the ever-present villain of Jushowan, Genka Shogun, Fumi is an over-bearing traditional mother who projects her values onto her daughter and much anxiety ensues. This is an experience that I’ve had and I’m sure it’s something many who love superheroes into their adulthood have had to deal though with the genre becoming more mainstream, this is being mitigated somewhat.

Kano’s arc with her mother is pretty compelling and you almost begin to sympathise with Fumi until a fateful lunch date when she goes too far and then IT IS ON. Seriously, there’s a moment in episode 6 that made me scream “Get ‘er, Kano!” as the show’s theme song (performed by Golden Bomber, whose lead singer performed Life is SHOW TIME) kicks in and it’s absolutely brilliant.


In terms of being a tokusatsu, there’s plenty of references, homages, and production details that call back to the long history of toku in Japan. Cameos of suit actors, beloved voice actors, and the action director himself being a suit actor alumni all give this show a pedigree to rival that of any official Toei production (Toei did lend their aid to this NHK production though to what extent, I don’t know). The suits look just as good as something Toei themselves would produce and I would definitely watch an Emerjason show!


I heartily recommend checking out Tokusatsu GaGaGa if you’re looking for something out of the usual toku shows that has a lot of heart and a genuine love for the genre. The 7 episode show was subbed by both Big Nova Subs and TV-Nihon and can be found wherever you’d usually find fan-subs.

Have you seen Tokusatsu GaGaGa? What were your thoughts on it? Let us know!

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Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Final Review

Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Final is something of an odd film, an ambitious crossover akin to The Avengers, but also in the very familiar style of past Super Hero Taisen or Kamen Rider Generations films. We open on a battle between Ex-Aid’s Mighty Brothers XX form and several of the chicken-headed minions from Ex-Aid, then cut to Build, in his base forms of Rabbit/Tank and Gorilla/Diamond, defeating Kamen Rider Paradox to take the essence of the Ex-Aid legend bottle, which has now been on the market for several months.

A brief line to end the scene reveals it was a dream, but we learn that Sento did, in fact, take the Ex-Aid legend bottle, which was then purified by Misora into the Doctor/Gamer Best Match pair.

Based on the dialogue between Sento and Banjou in the next scene around the whereabouts of Isurugi Souichi, and Banjou becoming a Rider, it is safe to put this film in the timeline of Build somewhere around episode 22 or 23, shortly after Isurugi’s disappearance and the debut of Kamen Rider Cross-Z. Sento tells Sawa that he has been pulling all nighters to finish a power up item for Build, shown here to be Rabbit Tank Sparkling, and after getting an alert, the pair rush into a battle against familiar looking minions that are clearly not Smashes. If anything, they most closely resemble the basic grunt enemies from Ex-Aid, though with white chicken heads instead of brown.

The setting of the battle is reminiscent of Build’s first appearance, near the end of Ex-Aid in Ex-Aid’s own world, and when Sento uses the new Doctor/GamerBest Match, we are treated to Gashat activation sounds, before Sento turns into Ex-Aid’s level 2 form, Mighty Action X.Screenshot_2018-05-25-10-49-25


The antagonist for the film is introduced as he takes the Ex-Aid bottles to try to open a portal. He succeeds and launches Banjou through said portal into another dimension. His design is very much like that of HellBros, but with a brighter colour. The scene when Banjou awakens on the other side of the portal, in Ex-Aid’s world, uses a few cutaway shots to establish that Ex-Aid, Ghost, Gaim, Fourze, and OOO may all exist within the same dimension. Decade’s usual universe hopping may not even be necessary this time.

It is wholly refreshing to see the entire, wonderful core cast of Ex-Aid’s main riders be given the spotlight here, even briefly, and their efforts to save people near their hospital are a welcome return to the world of doctors and gamers.


The three men who can transform hold nothing back, while nurse Asuna (Poppy Pipopapo) evacuates civilians. They are met by another of the Hard Smash characters, Right Kaiser, whose design is identical to his counterpart, but red instead of blue. The two earths of Build and Ex-Aid are crashing together, quite literally, because of a mysterious entity called Enigma.

Before the battle can progress too far, the Ex-Aid gang is de-powered and needs to be rescued by Ghost.


They meet Banjou next, and the confusion over Ex-Aid vs Build continues. As Banjou learns about Ex-Aid’s world, Parado learns about Build’s. He confronts Sento outside of Cafe Narascia, saying he has been wandering Build’s world in search of Build for two years. This single plot point opens up so many interesting possibilities in the Kamen Rider multiverse that I can’t even begin to speculate. It would seem the appearance of Sento as Build in the final episodes of Ex-Aid had more impact than just a simple cameo, by far.

After hearing a story from Isurugi about a physicist named Mogami Kaisei, Sento is given the PhoenixRobo Best Match, a set we know he keeps until episode 36 of Build. Back in the other world, Kami-sama himself, Shin Dan Kuroto, enters the fray, using two Gashats: his trademark Dangerous Zombie and the Build legend Gashat that was included with the first wave of Build Drivers.


Dan Kuroto is as over-the-top as he ever has been, shrieking and dancing, unable to be consoled into calmness except by Onari, who tries to appease Kuroto by acknowledging his godhood.


Even if you are openly part of the community that despised everything about Ghost, it is easy to acknowledge the levity and comedy in this moment.

Mogami Kaisei, while working as a researched for Nanba Heavy Industries, came up with a way to fuse the Bugster Virus into samples of Nebula Gas, giving us the Kaiser system we see the Kaisers using in their attempts to activate Enigma, and it seems he had help from Katsuragi Takumi. Together, the two built Enigma and the research began into Ex-Aid. Sento theorizes that Build, as Katsuragi Takumi, is the one who stole Ex-Aid’s power two years earlier.

Three things strike me as very unique about this film, as it goes on, and the writers do a good enough job of tying it all back together. When OOO is introduced to save Banjou, he reveals that Foundation X, the Shocker allegory from Kamen Rider OOO, may be involved in Mogami Kaisei’s work, and a side character in a throwaway line sets up the implicit connection between OOO and Fourze in that they are both chasing Foundation X. The group on Ex-Aid’s world begins to come together, while Sento and Parado chase Kaisei himself.


Both groups find Kaisei, in both worlds, split into two distinct versions of himself. The one in Build’s world is a cyborg, metallic face and robotic personality, and the other is a lively figure, much like the Joker, who has managed to replicate the Core Medals used by OOO to make Greeeds with the help of Foundation X. It’s through these artificial Core Medals that Ankh is revived. The transformation of Eiji into OOO leads to Fourze’s entry, and after saving Banjou and Emu, the group heads to AGHS to battle four Zodiarts and stop Enigma at its power source, AGHS’s energy field.

Finally, late into the third act, Kamen Rider Gaim makes his entry into Build’s world in time to pull off a daring rescue for Sento and Parado. To make the movie even remotely fair, Gaim has been considerably nerfed, back to his basic Orange Arms form and without the godhood he attained at the end of his own series. When all the Riders from both realities finally gather, the two halves of Mogami Kaisei have combined to form Bi-Kaiser, using the Kaiser System later employed by the Washio brothers during the Nanba War arc of Build.

There is a dramatic, all rider henshin, followed by simultaneous use of all the catchphrases, to comedic effect, and the final battle begins in fittingly cinematic fashion.


The final battle plays out similarly to Marvel’s Avengers movies, and when all is said and done, the six Riders go their separate ways. The film ends on a high note, each man returning to his own life and a sense of normalcy, and we get a glimpse of Great Teacher Gentarou in action at AGHS. Personally, I would watch an entire series of Great Teacher Gentarou, being himself and being Fourze and going through the generation of AGHS students after his own. There’s a lot of potential there.


Overall, Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Final – Build, Ex-Aid and Legend Riders is a fitting send off for this series of crossover films, and does its best to tie missing elements of the Build mythos together on the way. Seeing previous riders return and combining elements of those series with Build and Ex-Aid makes for a fun ride, and I highly recommend that any longtime Kamen Rider fans check out this film, if for no other reason than to see how the different main series Riders interact.

What did you guys think of this movie? Do you have a favourite rider in the group? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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How To Spot Fake Tokusatsu Leaks

How to get through the coming months without being fooled by fake news!

Kamen Rider Zi-O has just been trademarked meaning that, for the next few months, news will be coming out all the time in the run up to the first episode. Of course, most it of this news will be real but we all know that fake news is far from uncommon in tokusatsu. These can be so convincing to the point that people may still believe it months after it was debunked. A lot of this “news” is just an occasional rumour on a forum or website, but sometimes a lot of effort is put into these fakes. You can sometimes see future episodes or even future seasons faked. With fabricated catalogues, episode listings and even trademarks becoming increasingly common, I’ve decided to compile a list of different methods to identify them.

First of all, obviously, If you first hear about the leaks on or around April Fools Day, it’s more than likely fake. Secondly, if you hear the news too far before the time you would expect to hear it, it’s also likely fake. An obvious example would be hearing about the plot of the final episode just after episode 5 airs. However, even if it seems like the perfect time for certain types of news, sometimes fake news starts circulating a while before the real news comes out but still end up at a convincing time. To help identify the time you should expect the real leaks, I’ve made a calendar using the average month some official news comes out:

February: Super Sentai second quarter and Kamen Rider fourth quarter catalogues

March: Trademark for new Ultraman

April: Super Sentai third quarter and Ultraman first quarter catalogues

May: Trademark for new Kamen Rider

July: Kamen Rider first quarter, Super Sentai fourth quarter and Ultraman second quarter catalogues

September: New Super Sentai Trademark

October: Kamen Rider second quarter catalogue

December: Kamen Rider third and Super Sentai first quarter catalogues

For plot details of future episodes, don’t expect news about episodes more than 6 weeks after the last episode to be true. Finally, expect about 90% of the information leaked between the new name trademark and the first quarter scans to be fake. A common thing you can expect is a “leaked” image of the new supposed Sentai Red. This has been happening since at least Go-Onger, and they have all been fake. The only real first image of the Sentai Red will be a still of an actor in the actual suit. You can expect this image to appear sometime before or at the same time as the first quarter scans.

Inconsistent or missing information isn’t uncommon in fake Toku news. Take, for example, the fake catalogue scans from earlier this year depicting a supposed new Kamen Rider series (see featured image). Some of the pages had release dates while others didn’t. Another notable thing about those scans is that they weren’t actually scans, they were low-ish quality photographs taken in a way to exclude some information. This is common with fake scans across all different forms of media to make it appear like it was taken in a hurry. Most real information is scanned before it is leaked. The final key piece of evidence that this was fake was that the background was quite bland. Most catalogues are usually a bit more creative with the backgrounds. If you encounter a new name for a Toku series, double check the twitter account @trademark_bot to see if the name is there. While there is a chance that rumoured names are real, it’s not worth believing them if they haven’t been trademarked yet.

These next few aren’t generally used for when forging Toku leaks, but I’ve often seen these in fake video game leaks so these may be helpful. Some images might be fan art passed of as scans. You can find out if these images appear on other websites by cropping out the part of the image you believe is fake and running it through a reverse photo search. Google has a built in reverse photo search function on its image page, but other websites dedicated to reverse photo searching exist, such as TinEye and Image Raider.

Finally, the most important tip, trust your gut instinct. The human brain is amazing at detecting abnormalities in anything so if you think it’s fake, it almost certainly will be.

What are your favourite ways to spot fake Tokusatsu leaks? Let us know in the comments!

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New Images Show Potential New Kamen Rider

Do these new images show off a new Rider, or is it just a well-made prank?

Since it’s April Fools Day scans and rumours have been popping up recently, 99% of these are almost certainly fake. However, these images have really stood out among the rest and probably has the highest chances of actually being real. Supposedly, this is concept art from the new season of Kamen Rider to be aired late this year. While it is still best to take these images with a grain of salt, they’re still really well made and worth talking about.


The first image shows a nameless new Rider with a handful of its forms, one of them being a base form and the others being combinations of three previous riders suggesting that this is an anniversary season. Similar to OOO, the three riders that make up the form are all set to a certain body part, either the head, torso or legs. The first of these new forms is a mix of Stronger, Kabuto & Blade, the second being a mix of Shin, Gills & Amazon, and the last one being a mix of Mach, Accel & Lazer. What’s interesting is that the riders that make up the forms all have a common motif. The riders that make up the first form are all based on the Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle, the Riders that make up the second form are all mutant-type Riders, the Riders that make up the last form are all Secondary Riders based on motorbikes. This means that other forms will likely also consist of riders with a common theme. With this in mind, it’s going to be fun to speculate what new forms could be made out of what riders. Personally, I would like to see a form made up of Riders that started off evil and eventually redeemed themselves (Zangetsu, Genm & Chaser), all female Riders (Poppy, Marika & Necrom P) and Riders that are controlled by two people (W, Den-O & Drive).

Above the Forms is Eyecon like devices that are supposedly this season’s gimmick, three of the devices represent the new Rider’s base forms while the other eighteen represent the other Riders. Unlike the OOO medals, the devices don’t seem to have any indication of what body part they are used on, possibly meaning that they could be used in any order. Along with the previously mentioned forms, there are also forms representing Knight, Baron & Brave (Knight themed Secondary Riders), Beast, Kaixa & Ixa (All Secondary Riders) and G3, Drake & DiEnd. Because the Secondary Rider forms seem to be connected to the main rider, it could suggest that this season will only have 1 rider.


The next image shows two other forms or possibly two other new riders, the first of which is next to a silhouette of what appears to be an upgraded version of the form. The other seems to be a form based on Kamen Rider Decade, if these are new riders than this could actually be a new form of Decade. Since the devices in the first page seem to be connected to one of the three forms, some of the Past Rider forms could be exclusive to one of the other Riders/Forms. If these were new riders, then the movie exclusive rider would likely use forms based on other movie exclusives (Bujin Gaim,
Dark Drive & Dark Ghost, Idunn, Mars & Kamuro or New Den-O, Nega Den-O & G Den-O).


The final image shows brand new forms for different riders, supporting the idea that the Decade themed rider might be Decade himself. The new rider forms are Kamen Rider Cyclone, A new OOO combo with an insect theme, Fourze Launcher States and Zangetsu Jinba Melon Arms. Since this is likely an anniversary season, Riders from Wizard and Drive-Build would also likely get new forms. I would personally like to see Necrom get his own equivalent of the Mugen Damashii or a Super Dead-heat Mach.

So, Is it a fake? Because of the time of year, It probably is. The Background seems a bit plain for a catalogue and some pages have information missing (Price and/or release date etc.) and it’s also quite strange that some images don’t even show the full page. However, it’s art style is really similar to other art shown in real catalogues so I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being real. We’ll probably have to wait until the summer to get proper confirmation but this could be a look into what the final Heisei Rider Season could be like.

Do you think this is real? What forms would you like to see? Let us know in the comments!

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Pacific Rim: Uprising – Trailer Analysis

It should come as no surprise that the Toku Toy Store team dig giant robots to a level that can only be rivalled by Megas XLR. However, it’s fair to say that only the biggest and baddest robots can be found wading around the Pacific Rim and with a brand new trailer hitting our screens, I think it’s time I entered the Shatterdome and gave you the run down for Pacific Rim: Uprising.

YEAH BOY(ega)!


With a tasteful lick of the original Gipsy Danger theme on a mournful guitar (followed by the most god awful trailer song I’ve ever heard), we get a look at, and some sweet monologue from, John Boyega as Jake Pentecost and boy(ega), is he a fantastic choice to play the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, in the original film). We’re treated to what I imagine is his own rallying cry and while it’s no cancelling of the apocalypse, it shows that Jake is already a fine leader and is more than up for the task of filling daddy’s Drivesuit.

Old’s Cool

With only ten years passing between films, we thankfully get some returning characters in the form of Mako Mori, Newt Geiszler, and Hermaan Gottlieb (played by their reprising actors; Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, respectively). Shame Charlie Hunnam couldn’t make an appearance and somewhat redeem himself for his performance in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movie.

Teenagers with Attitude 


No one man makes an army (even if it’s Boyega playing Elba’s son) and we need to fill out the cannon fodder – cast with more Jaeger pilots. Not much to say on them since I bet most of them will barely make an impact outside of their respective robots but they’re really pushing the “New Generation” thing hard.

Wir sind de Jaeger!


Intercut with shots of kaiju destruction we get glimpses of the new Mark 5 and Mark 6 Jaegers. It’s interesting that these newer models are literally launched like rockets into crisis zones. I’m not a fan of most of their names – Gipsy Avenger, Saber Athena, Guardian Bravo, Titan Redeemer, and Bracer Phoenix – they lack the lunacy of the likes of Brawler Yukon, Matador Fury or Striker Eureka but I will admit that Gipsy Avenger is a belter of a name.

Dark Rangers


Something the trailer hints at heavily is the inclusion of an antagonistic force of Jaegers but I can’t find any information about them or their seeming leader who goes toe-to-toe with Gipsy Avenger in multiple different battles. Are these new Jaegers man-made or have the kaiju reverse-engineered their own super-robots? Hard to say until the film gets released but I’m sure it’ll be fun finding out!

Monster Mash

PRU7The last few shots of the movie give an indication of what the actual fleshy kaiju have been up to and, frankly, they’ve been taking cues from the giant robots because now they can COMBINE! That’s a neat new twist on the giant monster genre and I can’t wait to see how that fight plays out.

PRU6Overall, Pacific Rim: Uprising is being targeted to a much younger demographic while trying to maintain a series continuity and retain the original’s audience. Bringing back original cast members and casting John Boyega as the Son of Pentecost will go a long way to do so. Despite it’s new Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, I can’t wait for this movie to be released on March 23rd, 2018!

What did you think of the trailer? Excited for the movie? Hungry for all those delicious Bandai toys? Let us know in the comments below!