BOOM! Studios brings fans another new Power Ranger in their newest outing for fan favourite Tommy Oliver in Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon!
The latest graphic novel to be released by BOOM! Studios will see an adult Tommy Oliver go out on a quest to find his missing son, JJ Oliver, a cadet within the ranks of S.P.D. In Tommy’s quest to find his missing son, a new Power Ranger will be created. The graphic novel is written by veteran Kyle Higgins and will be a nice surprise for fans. Spoiler warnings for what is ahead.
Here is a look at the description for the storyline in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon:
As a young adult, Tommy Oliver set upon a journey that would inspire hundreds of Power Rangers that would come afterwards, thwarting evils like Empress Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, and King Mondo of the Machine Empire. Now, Tommy’s retired with Katherine and leaves protecting the world to Space Patrol Delta–including his son, JJ. But when Jake disappears, presumed dead after an undercover mission goes wrong, Tommy will call on all his training, his friends, and maybe even some of his enemies as he sets out on one last mission: find his son and bring him home. From writer Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Nightwing) comes the final story for history’s mightiest Power Ranger.
In the series, we will be starting with JJ Oliver as a cadet in the ranks of S.P.D but at the end of issue one, he replaces Bridge Carson as the S.P.D Green Ranger when Bridge gets promoted to Red Ranger (see Once A Ranger….). In a rather surprising twist however, JJ finishes the story arc by morphing into action as the S.P.D. Green Ranger – but not quite the same suit. The final panel of the book sees the S.P.D. Green Ranger with the Mighty Morphin Green Ranger’s iconic Dragon Shield.
With the creation of this new S.P.D Green Ranger, Tommy, 25 year legacy is finally complete with him finally passing the Dragon Soul onto his son. For fans, this will be the first time the Dragon Shield can be seen on any Power Ranger suit outside Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This also continues the mythology for Power Rangers S.P.D. taking the team to new heights. Commander Cruger now runs S.P.D. after Commander Birdie’s retirement, Sky Tate has filled Cruger’s spot as base commander and filling the void as Red Ranger is Bridge Carson, with JJ Oliver now taking over as Green Ranger. It is assumed that Syd Drew and Z Delgado remain as the team’s Pink and Yellow Rangers respectively. The only unknown Ranger on the team now is S.P.D Blue.
What do you think of the fact Tommy has finally passed on the Dragon Shield? Do you think this really is Tommy’s last outing as a Power Ranger? Let us know on our social media pages!
Dinosaurs? Yep. Dinosaurs. Time for our first look at the upcoming Super Sentai: Kishiryu Sentai Ryuusouger.
Early this morning, various online sources revealed the first scans of the new toy catalogue for items coming out in the first quarter of the upcoming Sentai team, Kishiryu Sentai Ryuusouger. We also get a look at the suits as well as what colours the new team will start with.
In the first image, we get a look at the new henshin device, the RyuusouChanger, the team’s basic weapon, the RyuusouKen, as well as a bundle including the pair.
In this image, we can see the first two sets of the series’s gimmick, called Ryuusouls, as well as the belt, called the RyuusouBuckle.
These next two images give us a look at the base mecha for RyuusouRed, KishiRyuuOh, as well as the mecha for the other four members of the team.
ToriCane (RyuusouBlue’s mecha), Ankyrozay (RyuusouPink’s mecha), TigerLance (RyuusouGreen’s mecha) and MilNeedle (RyuusouBlack’s mecha). The images also show what KishiRyuuOh will look like when it combines with the other mecha.
Last but by no means least, we get a look at the first figures of the base team, giving us a look at how the suit will look from the front.
What do you think of the revealed toys so far? Will you be collecting the newest Sentai team’s gimmicks? Chat with us on our social media pages!
Bandai Japan has put up oversized billboards to advertise their upcoming movie: Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER!
As the Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER movie fast approaches in Japan, Toei have decided to show off the Kamen Riders by putting up oversized billboards for the Riders at Nagoya Central Park in Nagoya City in Japan.
The billboards will each be made up of an image of the Kamen Rider, their Heisei number (starting with Kamen Rider Kuuga starting at number 1 and finishing with Kamen Rider Zi-O at number 20) as well as when they aired on TV.
The billboards will be visible everyday leading up to the theatrical release of the movie between 10am and 9pm. Fans of the Kamen Riders that are visiting the area are encouraged to take pictures with their favourite Kamen Rider.
The individual posters for Heisei Generations FOREVER.
What do you guys think of the billboards? Are they a nice way to advertise the movie? Share your thoughts with us on our social media pages!
BOOM! Studios are set to introduce us to the newest team of Rangers: Power Rangers Supersonic!
Just recently, a brand new team has been added to the Power Rangers mythos thanks to BOOM! Studios via Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Year Two. If the team looks familiar to you then that would be because they are being adapted from the Super Sentai team, Chikyu Sentai Fiveman, which aired all the way back in 1990. They are one of the many unadapted Sentai teams that came before Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, known as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers overseas, thanks to Saban.
When the newest team are introduced in BOOM! Studios newest story, they will be hailing from a planet called Xybria, the home world of Trip, the Power Rangers Time Force Green Ranger. The team’s names are as follows:
Ace – Red Ranger
Brute – Blue Ranger
Gent – Black Ranger
Pyre – Yellow Ranger
Star – Pink Ranger
Trek – Green Ranger
During the storyline, the team’s sixth Ranger, Trek, becomes jealous of the romance between fellow Rangers Ace and Star, which will lead him to betray the team, using an explosion to kill them. In response to that event, he submits to Dark Specter, returning from Power Rangers In Space, who rewards Trek by turning him into the Green Psycho Ranger we all know, giving the villainous Ranger an origin story.
This is the first time in Ranger history that a Super Sentai team predating Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has been adapted but this isn’t the first time that fans will have seen the team. One of the suits did appear in Power Rangers Super Megaforce, as an unnamed Legendary mode used by Gia for a fight scene where she declared “Supersonic Yellow Ranger!”
The introduction of the Power Rangers Supersonic team may make fans of both Super Sentai and Power Rangers wonder if BOOM! Studios plans to introduce any other teams from before Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Other potential teams that got names in Power Rangers Super Megaforce include Power Rangers Prism (Choushinsei Sentai Flashman), Power Rangers Dragon Blitz (Dengeki Sentai Changeman), Power Rangers Lightning (Hikari Sentai Maskman), and Power Rangers Squadron (Gosei Sentai Dairanger).
The story for BOOM! Studios will be written by Trey Moore. In Chikyu Sentai Fiveman, the Rangers are all school teachers and their forms are all based on different school subjects. The Red Ranger is Science, Blue Ranger is Physical Education, Black Ranger is Modern Foreign Languages, Yellow Ranger is Music and the Pink Ranger is Maths. It is unknown at this time whether that will play into the backstory for the Supersonic Rangers or whether they will have any further appearances in the comic book series.
What do you guys think of a Super Sentai team being adapted via the comic books? What other Sentai teams would you like to see BOOM! Studios adapt next? Join the conversation on social media!
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.
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)
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)
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 Force, Operation 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-???)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!