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Power Rangers: A Morphenomenal History

Since 1993, Power Rangers has been the primary form of hero Toku most people in the West have access to. This legacy has spanned 24 tv series, 3 theatrical films, and multiple comic book series from multiple publishers. Changing hands at various times during this 25 year period, Power Rangers has gone through distinct phases, tonal shifts, and reinventions as the brand has evolved. Let’s take a look back at where we have been, and where we are going as fans of this long-running series.

 

Power Rangers as a franchise began in 1986, when Israeli-American television producers Haim Saban and Shuki Levy attempted to adapt the eighth Super Sentai series, Choudenshi Bioman, for American audiences. This project failed in the pilot stage, but laid the groundwork for everything that would come later. A second attempt would be made in 1993, after Fox finally picked up the rights to the series. By then, the Bioman pilot had been lost, and the cast of that series was considered too old to play Rangers. Thus, the whole cast was swapped out for the pilot of Power Rangers as we know it, and many of those cast members were replaced again for the series proper.

 

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Choudenshi Bioman

 

The pilot for Saban and Levy’s Bioman concept has been lost to time, with very few consistent details even from those who claim to have seen it. Shuki Levy once remarked that the special effects used made the notoriously low-budget look and feel of some Power Rangers scenes look like a hollywood blockbuster by comparison. A proper pilot for the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was pitched to Fox in early 1993, before the series was picked up and began the legacy we all know. For the pilot episode, some names were different, as were some casting choices. Audri Dubois stood in for Trini, prior to the casting of Vietnamese actress Thuy Trang for the series, and Zordon was originally called Zoltar. Most of the other elements, as we know them, remained unchanged in the transition to series, and the original pilot was eventually shown on TV in the US in May of 1999.

 

 

Believe it or not, though, Power Rangers as we know it was almost a very different series. Had things gone differently, the original Power Rangers series would have premiered in 1985, and been headed up by Marvel (yes, that Marvel). In the end, though, Marvel’s adaptation of an unknown Super Sentai series, presumed to be either Gorenjer or JAKQ, was rejected by every network it was pitched to at the time. Since the beginning, Power Rangers continuity has been split into three phases, the Saban era, Disney era, and Neo-Saban/Nickelodeon era, respectively. Here, we will take a look at each.

 

The Saban Era (1986-2001)

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The original Saban era of Power Rangers shows all exist in a single timeline, beginning with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and ending with Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. While Rangers from this era, most notably Tommy Oliver, continued to be recurring characters throughout the full span of Power Rangers, this series was meant to have a definitive conclusion at the end of Power Rangers in Space, with the death of Zordon of Eltar and the erasure of evil energy from the galaxy.

Power Rangers in Space turned out to be such a hit, though, that Fox renewed the series and ordered three more seasons, which became Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, and Time Force, respectively. After buying the rights to the franchise from Saban in 2001, Disney allowed Fox to broadcast one more season, Power Rangers Wild Force, before moving the broadcast to their own network, now called Disney XD, for the Disney era.

 

During the Saban era, two films were released in theatres. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie served as a cinematic setup to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3, which featured the introduction of the ninja forms and mecha used in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, as well as new mentor Ninjor. The second film, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, acts directly as the transition between Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers Turbo, featuring the introduction of blue Turbo Ranger Justin, played by Blake Foster, and new villain Divatox.

 

 

In the Saban era, the show found its footing, but not without production trouble behind the scenes. Various accusations have been thrown around over the years, ranging from pay disputes to outright homophobia directed toward original blue ranger David Yost. Through all the trials and tribulations, though, the show remained consistently entertaining, and the quality did not decline noticeably. The end of the Saban era series was meant to tie up loose plot threads, but left the door open for additional seasons, which now followed the Super Sentai model of year-long, self-contained stories that existed largely in their own continuity. However, up to the current day, each Power Rangers show can be tied together, if only loosely.

 

The Disney Era (2002-2009)

Disney Logo

Beginning in 2002 with the end of Power Rangers Wild Force, production of the series under Disney moved from Los Angeles, California, USA, to Auckland, New Zealand. Each subsequent series from Ninja Storm all the way up to Super Ninja Steel has been produced in New Zealand, using a mixture of original actor footage and Super Sentai action scenes. This time period nearly saw the death of Power Rangers as a whole, as Disney had elected to cease production on Power Rangers series after 2009’s phenomenal series Power Rangers RPM. For the 2010 season, Disney elected to re-broadcast the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, rather than trying to adapt Samurai Sentai Shinkenger for a Western audience, presumably because of the series’ heavy roots in Japanese culture and Shinto mythology.

 

The early years of the Disney era of Power Rangers produced quality shows, with the best of these easily being 2004’s Dino Thunder, which featured the return of series veteran Tommy Oliver, played here as previously by actor Jason David Frank, and 2005’s SPD. Each of these series leaned heavily on their Super Sentai roots, but were still able to create lively, vibrant characters and stories that were uniquely their own, with Dino Thunder channeling much of the nostalgia that came with a returning original cast member. In addition, in recent years, Dino Thunder has begun to raise some speculation about new possible plots, and fan theories, based on later viewing.

 

SPD, for its part, crafted a believable, encouraging near-future scenario in which Earth has become a member of something akin to the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek, and joined a galactic society. The Rangers in this future, now acting openly as police, become a symbol of hope for those in need while protecting ordinary citizens, and as such inspire their society in a different way, slightly less traditional. Additionally, the first three series in the Disney era have a definitive timeline, and the plots of these shows bleed over into one another seamlessly, similarly to the series in the Saban era. Beginning with Ninja Storm, the plot carries through all the way to the end of SPD, before Mystic ForceOperation Overdrive, Jungle Fury, and RPM all become their own continuities in their own universes.

 

The only major carry-over here is the crossover special, Once A Ranger, that aired toward the midpoint of Operation Overdrive and featured a team made up entirely of veteran Rangers.

 

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The team featured in Once a Ranger, comprised of (left to right) Dino Thunder Yellow, Mystic Force Green, Mighty Morphin Black II, SPD Red, and Ninja Storm Blue

 

This era and the franchise as a whole, however, did end on a very high note, with 2009’s Power Rangers RPM originally meant to serve as a swan song for the franchise.

 

Set in a pocket dimension separate from the rest of the Power Rangers canon, RPM follows a team of survivors living in a domed city, around which is a Mad Max-inspired hellscape of scorched earth, sand, and desperation. In this world, which is decidedly much bleaker than other Ranger series before it, an AI has taken over the technology of humanity and begun to conquer the world, committing unspeakable atrocities in its wake. The AI, called Venjix, has already wiped out all but this last city worth of humanity, the population of which appears to be under one million.

 

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Power Rangers RPM

 

RPM is also notable for bringing three famed actors into the spotlight in the US for the first time, by way of Eka Darville, who plays red ranger Scott, Rose McIver, who plays yellow ranger Summer, and lastly Adelaide Kane, who plays villainess Tenaya 7. Darville is now best known for his role as Malcolm Ducasse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Jessica Jones and Marvel’s Defenders. McIver, on the other hand, has been in numerous series and films, but is perhaps best known for her role as Olivia Moore on the CW series iZombie. Kane has been in a few tv series outside of her native Australia, as well, but is perhaps best known for her lead role in the CW Series Reign, as well as a brief reunion with Rose McIver on the ABC/Disney series Once Upon a Time, where McIver played Tinkerbell.

The Disney era ended in 2010, when Haim Saban bought the rights to Power Rangers back from Disney, and began to pitch new ideas to networks. The series was ultimately picked up by Nickelodeon, and the Neo-Saban/Nickelodeon Era began in 2011.

 

The Neo-Saban/Nickelodeon Era (2010-2018)

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After Disney had completed their re-broadcast of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 2010, Saban and Nickelodeon began work on the first of the Neo-Saban series, Power Rangers Samurai. With this series, Nickelodeon took over a large portion of production and distribution, and the series moved to a two-year adaptation format, which holds to this day. Samurai began broadcasting on Nickelodeon in 2011, with Super Samurai following the next year. This was followed by Megaforce, and Super Megaforce, which are looked at by many fans as the lowest point in the series history.

 

Megaforce and Super Megaforce adapted Tensou Sentai Goseiger and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, respectively, with a concurrent plot and cast running between both seasons. These two series relied heavily on nostalgia that many of the Nickelodeon audience members would not understand, as well as what is widely considered to be lazy writing, poor characterization, and paint-by-numbers plot developments, including Zordon having a mentor called Gosei, who had somehow never come up in the series even as a throwaway line before.

 

 

Many fans felt that the adaptation of Gokaiger was handled very poorly, especially the Legendary Battle sequence, which promised to unite every season of Rangers up to that point in a single encounter, but ultimately ended up being a lackluster affair. One good thing Super Megaforce did for the franchise, though, was introduce Sentai series that had not been adapted previously to the West, as the Super Megaforce Rangers often used powers from teams like Gosei Sentai Dairanger, Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan, and Dengeki Changeman, on the premise of these teams being non-human or alien rangers, like the Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers, who had used Ninja Sentai Kakuranger as a base for their powers.

 

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A battle scene in Super Megaforce, showing the Rangers using the powers of Flashman, Turboranger, Zyuranger, Maskman, and Fiveman

 

For every weak season, though, there come two strong ones, this time in the form of Dino Charge, Dino Supercharge. These two series featured immensely likeable characters and actors, well thought-out plot elements and stories, and just the right amount of nostalgia, while being distant enough from previous Power Rangers series to stand on their own. Dino Charge and Dino Supercharge did not have a crossover episode, though the ending of Supercharge is believed to have reset the entire Power Rangers timeline, in some way, altering at least that tangent of it irrevocably.

 

dino charge 1

 

In addition, 2017 saw the release of the rebooted Power Rangers film, featuring a much darker take on the series, with more nuanced and modernised characters. The film is completely separate from the TV series. However, it stands on its own as a new continuity, featuring Rita Repulsa as a former green ranger, and changing or adding to the personalities of the Rangers themselves. Some of these changes include making Trini a Latina LGBT character, making Zack and Billy different races, and emphasising that this version of Billy is severly autistic. The most faithful recreation of the bunch is easily Kimberly, who retains much of her popular, Mean Girls-esque personality traits, which soften over time. The setting of the film is changed from Angel Grove, California, which is seen as a small subset of Los Angeles, to a small fishing town in the Pacific Northwest region of America, and the Rangers’ families are given more of a backstory as well.

 

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The next season, Power Rangers Ninja Steel, elected to ignore much of the previous canon, like many others existing in its own timeline. This series made history for featuring the first set of siblings to become Rangers, with Peter Sudarso stepping into the role of Ninja Steel blue, taking over for his older brother Yoshi Sudarso, who played Dino Charge Blue in the previous two seasons.

 

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Peter Sudarso (Left) and Yoshi Sudarso (Right)

 

Ninja Steel had many of the same flaws as Samurai and Megaforce before it, yet retained much of the nuanced character writing of Dino Charge for some of its protagonists.

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The second season of this series, Super Ninja Steel, is currently airing as of this writing, and will be followed up in 2019 by Power Rangers Beast Morphers.

 

Beast Morphers and Beyond (2019-???)

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Beast Morphers marks a turning point for the series, as it will be the first series in the new Hasbro Era of Power Rangers, while retaining much of the creative staff of previous seasons. Beast Morphers is also the first Power Rangers series to adapt Super Sentai out of order, by backtracking to 2012’s Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters for inspiration. In a turn of good news for the series as a whole, Power Rangers Global Franchise Creative Director Jason Bischoff has officially made the jump from Saban Brands to Hasbro after Saban Brands was purchased in full by Hasbro in early 2018.

 

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As something of a jack of all trades, Bischoff has been responsible for overseeing many of the creative decisions surrounding the Power Rangers license, including events, digital media, series writing, and products such as figures, toys, and cosplay props, which will all now be made by Hasbro. Bischoff has previously worked on TMNT, Ben 10, and Blues Clues, as well as the hit video game Overwatch and DC Comics Wonder Woman brand, as well as his own original series Shadowpiper. Hasbro has committed to continue making Power Rangers series and films, and with Bischoff at the helm, the future is bright.

 

Jason Bischoff
Jason Bischoff

 

Under his supervision, the brand has flourished in recent years, including a new film reboot, and a very lucrative partnership with Boom! Comics that has led to some of the best Power Rangers media to date. This publication deal includes a more adult-oriented, slightly more Marvel or DC-esque depiction of the Rangers across three series published by Boom!, and even led to the creation of fan favourite character Lord Drakkon, an alternate universe version of Tommy Oliver who did not reject Rita Repulsa’s gifts.

 

The first comics crossover event, Shattered Grid, began in April of 2018 and has played out largely akin to DC Comics’ storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths, including all of the time travel, multiverse hopping, and dramatic character death a comparison like that entails.

 

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New Power Rangers villain Lord Drakkon

 

As of July 2018, the future looks very bright for Power Rangers as a brand, and as a series that many of us have grown up with and loved for most of our lives, I know I am not alone when I say that this can only mean good things are in store for the future.

 

What does Power Rangers mean to you? Has it affected your life in some way? 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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Tsubaraya Productions Win Momentous Rights Battle in Court

After a long and drawn out legal process, Tsubaraya Productions claim the worldwide rights to their early Ultraman series

Following a weekend marathon of Ultraman Leo done by Shout! Factory and Twitch in association with with Tsubaraya Productions, Takahashi Ryota, Tsubaraya’s business manager, staged a press conference on the 24th April where he announced the long-awaited final verdict on in regards to the legal showdown between Tsubaraya and Thai-based company Chaiyo! in regards to the licensing dispute over the on-going Ultraman franchise. It was settled at a California Federal Court where it was declared that an alleged contract held by the Thai-based company is null and void. Tsubaraya Productions also summarily published an English press release on their own website at 10pm PDT.

NOTICE OF WINNING JUDGEMENT IN U.S. LAWSUIT REGARDING “ULTRAMAN” RIGHTS

In the copyright-related lawsuit that took place in the United States between Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. (“TPC”) and UM Corporation (“UMC”), the United States District Court, Central District of California, entered a final judgment on April 18, 2018 affirming the entire claim of TPC, including that the supposed agreement dated March 4, 1976, claimed by UMC as the basis for its alleged rights in “Ultraman,” was not an authentic contract.

In addition to confirming that TPC possesses all the rights to develop and expand any audio-visual or other creative works or products based on “Ultraman” characters or stories, the judgment required UMC to pay damages for its infringement of TPC’s rights.

1. Court and Date of Judgment Given
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
April 18, 2018 (local time)

2. Developments Thus Far
On May 18, 2015, UMC filed a lawsuit against TPC in the above court, seeking confirmation of its alleged rights to use the “Ultraman” series and characters created by TPC. On September 11, 2015, TPC filed a countersuit against UMC and its licensees to confirm TPC’s exclusive worldwide rights in “Ultraman” and to recover damages from UMC and its licensees for their infringements.

In support of its assertion of rights, UMC claimed that there was an agreement signed in 1976 (the “Document”) by Noboru Tsuburaya, who was the representative of TPC, which gave Mr. Sompote Saengduenchai, a Thai businessman, rights to use and exploit “Ultraman” worldwide, excluding Japan, and that UMC had succeeded to Mr. Sompote’s alleged rights.

TPC asserted that the Document was a forgery, such that UMC had no rights to use “Ultraman,” and that UMC infringed TPC’s copyrights by doing so. Therefore, the principal point of dispute in this lawsuit was whether the Document was an authentic contract signed and sealed by Noboru Tsuburaya, or whether it was forged.

The dispute between TPC, UMC and Mr. Sompote has continued for more than 20 years. The background of the dispute is as follows.

In 1996, the year after Noboru Tsuburaya passed away, Mr. Sompote suddenly presented to TPC a copy of the Document that was supposedly signed by Noboru Tsuburaya in 1976, and claimed that he possessed in perpetuity the right to use the “Ultraman” series worldwide excluding Japan. The Document presented by Mr. Sompote was a mere one-page document, and the original was not disclosed.

There were many misstatements in the Document regarding basic matters that would never have been made, had Noboru Tsuburaya actually prepared the Document, such as errors in TPC’s company name and the names and episode numbers of the works of the “Ultraman” series. In addition, specific licensing fees were not provided, and there were no provisions for matters that would certainly be provided in genuine licensing agreements.

Additionally, during the 20-year period between 1976, when the Document was supposedly prepared, and 1996, the year after Noboru Tsuburaya died when it was first presented to TPC, Mr. Sompote had not exercised his alleged rights based on the Document, nor referenced the existence of the Document even once.

During this 20-year period, Mr. Sompote never developed a global business for the “Ultraman” series, as he later asserted he was entitled to do.

On the other hand, even after 1976, including while Noboru Tsuburaya was the representative of TPC, TPC made considerable investments to produce and globally distribute the “Ultraman” series and build an international brand. In response to those activities, neither Mr. Sompote nor anyone affiliated with him ever claimed the existence of the Document or Mr. Sompote’s alleged rights.

Based on such facts and others, TPC firmly believed that the Document was a forgery, and it has therefore been in dispute with Mr. Sompote and UMC. Whether or not the Document was forged has been disputed in the courts of Japan, Thailand and China in the past.

In Japan, TPC requested a handwriting analysis by the court regarding the Document, but an analysis was not conducted, and a decision that the Document was an authentic document was therefore rendered without a confirmation of the original Document being made.

In Thailand, handwriting analysis procedures were conducted, and, as a result thereof, the TPC’s claim of forgery was recognized and TPC won the lawsuit. In Thailand, the forgery of the Document was not only decided in a civil case, but also became a criminal case, and Mr. Sompote was convicted of forgery.

In China, while TPC won the lawsuit in the first instance, the judgment was reversed at the higher court so it would be consistent with the judgment from Japan.

In the Chinese and Japanese judgments, it was recognized that the Document, even if not a forgery, granted only limited rights to use “Ultraman” works from the early-Showa era series (mid 1960s to mid 1970s). In the judgments of all of the countries, it has been recognized that, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuits, the copyrights in “Ultraman” belong to TPC.

3. U.S. Judgment
In the lawsuit in the U.S., enormous amounts of documents, materials and communications that both parties had in their possession were disclosed and analyzed over a long period of time through a procedure called “discovery,” which was not available to the parties in any of the other lawsuits.

As a result thereof, new facts and evidence, which had not become apparent in the lawsuits in each of the other countries, were revealed.In addition, depositions (testimonies conducted under oath before trial) and witness examinations of numerous witnesses from both parties and of handwriting analysis expert witnesses were conducted.

Furthermore, Mr. Sompote, who is the alleged recipient of, and the only living alleged witness to the creation of, the Document, refused to accept service of the complaint for the U.S. lawsuit without reason, and refused to appear in court as a witness.

In November 2017, a trial was held before a jury of 8 members of the community. On November 20, 2017, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of TPC on its claim that the Document was not an authentic or valid contract that had been signed and sealed by Noboru Tsuburaya.

After the jury reached its verdict, UMC filed motions to try to overturn the verdict on the grounds that it had been reached through error and was not supported by evidence. On March 28, 2018, the district court denied UMC’s motions and maintained the jury’s verdict.

On April 18, 2018, the district court entered a Final Judgment which, consistent with the jury’s verdict, states that the Document is not an authentic agreement that was signed and sealed by Noboru Tsuburaya, and that the Document is invalid, and which prohibits UMC and its licensees from using “Ultraman.”

We believe this victory in the U.S. lawsuit solidifies TPC’s decades-long efforts to fully and finally resolve this dispute and confirm its worldwide rights in “Ultraman.”

4. TPC Comments
The above judgment recognizes TPC’s claim in its entirety.

This complete winning judgment was rendered after numerous witness testimonies and analytical opinions of handwriting analysis experts, in addition to the detailed evidentiary disclosure proceedings that lasted a long period of time and required enormous efforts. We believe that the credibility of such judgment is extremely strong. Based on this judgment, TPC intends to actively proceed with the further overseas expansion of the “Ultraman” works.

We are grateful for the continuous supports of all our customers, stakeholders, and fans of the “Ultraman” series.

-End Quote-

With that declaration, Tsubaraya Productions are now finally fully free to distribute their first 6 entries to the Ultra Series: Ultraman, Ultra Q, Ultraman Taro, Return of Ultraman, Ultra Seven and Ultraman Ace, in North America and beyond. While this is good news for all the Ultraman fans out there, with any luck the franchise won’t hear from Sampote Saengduenchai, TIGA International or UM Corporation ever again.

Are you excited by the prospect of getting the early Ultraman series on official DVD or via streaming services? Let us know your favourite Ultra in the comment section below!

[Ultraman Leo & Ultraman Astra art Source: Jacksondeans]

[Article info Source: augustragone.blogspot.co.uk]

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Fujioka Hiroshi suffers minor traffic accident

Fujioka Hiroshi, best known as Hongo Takeshi or Kamen Rider Ichigou, was recently in a minor traffic accident.

One of toku’s favourite sons, Fujioka Hiroshi was in a minor car crash involving himself and a taxi on April 18th, 2018.

The accident happened on a junction with no traffic lights in Tokyo. According to Tokyo Police, the car Hiroshi had been driving had crashed into the taxi. The taxi driver had reported a minor neck injury while Hiroshi said he was unharmed. Thankfully, the taxi had no passengers when the crash happened.

When questioned about what happened by police, Fujioka Hiroshi told them “I paused and proceeded slowly, but we collided.”

After it was revealed that the crash had happened, the news spread quickly and some managed to misinterpret the news, believing that Hiroshi himself had been hit by the taxi. The conjecture led some fans to suggest that being the original Kamen Rider allowed him to walk away unharmed where the taxi and driver where damaged instead. There’s a Chuck Norris style joke in there somewhere.

The accident also reignited the debate about being allowed to drive after a set age. Some argued that despite being a Kamen Rider, Fujioka Hiroshi can’t win the fight against aging and brought up the argument about the elderly returning their driving licenses after a certain age.

We will keep you updated as and when more details become available.

[Source: Daisuke Toku]

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Potential New Kamen Rider Build Toy Listings Includes Final Form For Grease

New Toy listings have come out detailing the last few Kamen Rider Bulid Toys.

These were leaked by a 2chan user who has shared correct info before, however, it is worth taking this with a grain of salt anyway.

DX KarasuRobot Sclash Jelly

Price- 3,200 Yen

Info- Transforms grease into his Final Form. To use, the cap is spun, and then inserted into the SclashDriver.

DX RabbitDragon Bottle

Price- 3,200 Yen

Info- Special item that appears in the summer movie! Insert into the driver to henshin, and into the FullBottleBuster to activate a finishing move!

DX EvolBottle Set

Price- 1,800 Yen

A set of 4 bottles belonging to the exclusive Movie Riders appearing in the summer film. Insert into the EvolDriver to henshin.

Campaign item:

Via Gambarizing, people can obtain the F1 bottle! Using it together with the Keisatsukan Full Bottle will activate the Kamen Rider drive form!”

All of these toys will be released in July.

Will you be getting any of these toys? Let us know in the comments!

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Two Power Rangers are Potentially Going to Return for 25th Anniversary Episode!

Two Power Rangers have been confirmed to potentially appear in the 25th Anniversary episode of Super Ninja Steel.

Thanks to Joe Deckelmeier of the YouTube series, That Hashtag Show, two past Rangers have basically been confirmed as returning in the special anniversary episode. When he attended YesterCon in the USA, at the event’s Power Rangers panel, which had Carla Perez (5th anniversary Rita Repulsa, Mighty Morphin), Tracy Lynn Cruz (Ashley, Turbo & In Space), Christopher Khaymen Lee (Andros, In Space), Ciara Hanna (Gia, Megaforce), Brennan Mejia (Tyler, Dino Charge) and current Pink Ranger Chrysti Ane (Sarah, Ninja Steel), who confirmed Saban had plans for the anniversary, he asked if any of them would be part of the planned 25th anniversary episode. When they answered, everyone had said no except Ciara Hanna who played coy when asked the question.

Ciara Hanna had been one of the Rangers who returned when Saban did the 20th Anniversary of the show as well as appearing in the Legendary Battle, which has very mixed reviews from fans. Ciara’s character, Gia, does seem to be a popular Ranger so it would be good to see her return for the Anniversary episode. Saban is yet to confirm anything officially in regards to the 25th anniversary episode but with any luck, fans will hear something soon.

The other Ranger who is pretty much confirmed to return is Li Ming Hu who played Gemma in RPM. In an interview That Hashtag Show had with co-star Mike Ginn, he wouldn’t say who told him but he has apparently been told by a currently unnamed returning Ranger that Gemma is set to appear in the 25th anniversary episode. That would mean we currently have two Rangers now set to return in Super Ninja Steel, Megaforce Yellow and Gemma the RPM Silver. Tommy Oliver himself, Jason David Frank, is expected to make an appearance, this looking like quite a Legendary team-up.

Who do you guys wanna see appear in the anniversary episode? What do you think will happen to bring these Legend Rangers back to fight Evil once again? Let us know in the comments below!

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“Timeranger” To Get North American DVD release.

Last week, an Amazon listing confirmed that Mirai Sentai Timeranger will be Released on DVD.

The collection of 8 DVDs will be released by Shout! Factory who previously released Zyuranger-GoGoV, making Timeranger the 9th season released in North America. The DVDs will be priced at $59.97 and will be released on the 31st of July.

(Source: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BXZTSNG?tag=transformers-20)

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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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Why Wasn’t Ressha Sentai ToQger Adapted?

Does Saban’s Surprising Announcement Mean New Hope For ToQger?

Not long ago, I made an article talking about why Go-Busters didn’t get adapted. I went through some of the possible reasons about why it was ignored, ending with what it would most likely be like if it wasn’t. That article is now somewhat dated since it was recently announced that the 2019 (And possibly 2020) series of Power Rangers will be based on Go-Busters. Now that we know that Saban isn’t opposed to adapting older seasons, let’s look at why ToQger was initially ignored and what the chances are of an adaptation in the future.

The obvious main explanation for the skip was because of the theme, trains. I’m not going to deny that trains are popular in the west and that Power Rangers is aimed at a similar demographic to those who may be interested in trains (Boys aged 5-11). While this may seem like an obvious choice for an adaptation, not every kid into Power Rangers is necessarily also interested in trains. A while ago, I was talking to someone around this age range about ToQger and he thought it was an unusual concept. The train theme would probably make filming a pain too. It would be harder to film tracks and stations without constantly re-using footage because of the differences between the Japanese rail network and the Kiwi rail network. For example; New Zealand has just over 100 train stations and 1km of track for every 65km2 of land while Japan has 8500+ stations and 1km of track for every 14km2 of land. There’s always the possibility that they could limit the train theme to just the Zords and suits and not revolve the story around them to make filming easier, it worked for Super Megaforce and Mighty Morphin’ Season 1 (To a lesser extent).

Before we knew it was being adapted, both Saban and Bandai had previously mentioned that they wanted to do something with Go-Busters in the future. However, they have not said anything about ToQger. Unlike Go-Busters, there doesn’t seem to be any rejected plans for hypothetical adaptations. It seems like Saban has just given up on it. Ever since they took over from Bandai, Hasbro seems to want to do new things with the series so an adaptation is not entirely impossible. Personally, I would love to see ToQger get adapted, but if Saban and Hasbro did these things, I think the chances of the season succeeding would be higher. Firstly, as I mentioned before, the plot should be focused less on trains. Alternatively, the zords and suits could be used for a “Super” follow up to a different season so fans of the first would watch it, helping it get better ratings. Next, some toys should just not be released at all. For example: the IC card thing the ToQgers have on their belt buckle since IC cards are pretty different and less common in the west. Also, they should wait until the inevitable “Super” season to sell most of the zords, just in case the train theme isn’t popular the first year. Overall, I very much hope Saban decides to adapt ToQger but I doubt that’s it’s definitely happening.

Would you like to see ToQger get adapted? Let us know in the comments.

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New Kamen Rider S.H Figuarts Revealed.

Good news for Dan Kuroto fans, as new figuarts for Genm and Cross-Z have been revealed!

Recently new scans have been released showing off new Kamen Rider SH Figuarts figures. The first figure is Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge, it comes with his twin breaker weapon and will cost 5940 yen (Approximately £39.78 or $55.30 as of writing).

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The other new figure is the Tamashii Web exclusive Kamen Rider Genm Level 0, It comes with his Life Counter and will cost 6264 yen (Approximately £41.90 or $58.38 as of writing).

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Both of these figures will be released in July.

Will you be getting any of these figures? Let us know in the comments!