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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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Toei Announces 100 hours of Heisei Kamen Rider for Golden Week

100 Hours of Heisei Kamen Rider episodes will be aired during Japan’s Golden Week!

With the Heisei Generation of Kamen Rider coming to an end in April 2019, Toei will be doing a campaign called “Thank You! Heisei Kamen Rider” where they will be airing 100 hours of Heisei Kamen Rider over ten days during Golden Week to celebrate.

The Riders will be from Kuuga through to Zi-O and fans on Twitter are allowed to choose a mix of 200 episodes to air. Special Episodes and movies will not be included. The selection campaign runs from March 1st till March 15th.

Below is a list of the available episodes to choose from:

Kamen Rider Kuuga #1~#49
Kamen Rider Agito #1~#51
Kamen Rider Ryuki #1~#50
Kamen Rider 555 #1~#50
Kamen Rider Blade #1~#49
Kamen Rider Hikibi #1~#48
Kamen Rider Kabuto #1~#49
Kamen Rider Den-O #1~#49
Kamen Rider Kiva #1~#48
Kamen Rider Decade #1~#31
Kamen Rider W #1~#49
Kamen Rider OOO #1~#48
Kamen Rider Fourze #1~#48
Kamen Rider Wizard #1~#53
Kamen Rider Gaim #1~#47
Kamen Rider Drive #1~#48
Kamen Rider Ghost #1~#50
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid #1~#45
Kamen Rider Build #1~#49
Kamen Rider Zi-O #1~#26

The Episodes will be aired from April 27th 2019 till May 6th 2019 in Japan.

What episodes do you want to see aired? Do you wish specials and movies had been included? Let us know on our social media pages!

Source: Daisuki Toku
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Three Super Sentai Strongest Battle Episode Summaries Revealed

The plot of the first three episodes of the upcoming Super Sentai Strongest Battle miniseries have been revealed with a ‘Marvellous’ kick off!

The summaries were revealed by Japanese site, AkkiNews, but were later translated by Rangerboard user, Dukemon.

Battle 1 – Episode Name TBD, airing on February 17th in Japan:
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger are suddenly attacked by a mysterious warrior named Gaisoulg. Captain Marvellous feels guilty of not protecting his team and crosses swords with Gaisoulg. During the fight, a mysterious “Shining Plate” appears, Marvellous/GokaiRed touches it and is transported to Planet Nemesis. He then discovers that many Sentai heroes from the past received that same plate, and have all been called there.

The heroes were gathered by the Watchman of Time, Rita. She informs the heroes that she gathered them to participate in the “Super Sentai Strongest Battle” and the winners will be able to ask for any wish they desire, using her miraculous powers. With each hero having their own wish to fight for, they are divided into 32 teams of 5, mixing and matching the various Sentai teams. The first match is between Zyuohger’s Zyuoh Eagle and Patranger’s Patoren #1!


Battle 2 – Episode Name TBD, airing on February 24th in Japan:
In the middle of the battle, Gaisoulg interferes and challenges GokaiRed to a battle. Ninninger’s AkaNinger is injured protecting GokaiRed from his attack.

Battle 3 – Episode Name TBD, airing on March 3rd
Dekaranger’s DekaMaster and ToQGer’s ToQ #5 are set to battle, but in fact, this fight is use to lure out Gaisoulg!

What do you think about the special mini series? Are you excited to see a Ryusoulger be introduced outside of the new Super Sentai? Let us know on our social media pages!

Source: AkkiNews / Dukemon @ Rangerboard
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Kaito Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger: Epsiode 1 Review

It’s that time of year again and it’s time to meet our new Sentai team, or teams I should say: Kaito Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger.

For this Sentai series, which is the 42nd series, Toei has decided to give us two new teams for the year ahead and the theme is pretty interesting as it is essentially cops vs robbers.

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We begin in a casino and seeing a man lose all his money on roulette in a casino and he’s about to get taken away when we see three strangers break in through the window. After they get up, they reveal themselves to be the thieves that everyone has been talking about then the one dressed in red throws a card at the manager, revealing him to be a Gangler, part of a multi-dimensional crime syndicate.

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The lady dressed in yellow then points out the safe in the Gangler’s belly which he reveals can only be opened by Ganglers before ordering his goons, Pondermen, to attack the three strangers. The trio respond by pulling out their mysterious-looking guns and fighting back against the Pondermen and the Gangler when the one in red presses a plane against the Gangler’s safe, opening it and removing a weird looking die from within, much to the Gangler’s surprise.

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The die in question is then revealed, by the one in red, to be a piece of something called the Lupin Collection. After the lady in yellow says they are taking it back, the Gangler attacks, causing an explosion.

We then cut seeing a police car speeding out of its garage to an unknown location with three police officers inside. A lady in a pink jacket and two men, one in green and one in red.

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After that, we go back to the Casino and find out that the mysterious trio have changed into their Sentai forms, Kaito Sentai Lupinranger. They then resume the fight against the Pondermen and the Gangler, swiftly defeating them and launching the Gangler across the room when the three officers from earlier burst in and try to arrest everyone, including the Lupinrangers, but they defeat the Gangler and escape while the officer in the red jacket curses them.

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After the title screen, we are taken to a park where people are talking about the Lupinrangers when we meet Lupin Red, Yano Kairi, the thief in the red suit, and Patoren Ichigou, Asaka Keiichiro, who was the officer in the red jacket. They swap a small amount of dialogue then part ways when we meet Kogure, who is a butler helping the Lupinrangers collect the missing Lupin Collection from the Ganglers by supplying Kairi with information on targets.

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We then go to a restaurant called Bistrot Jurer, which looks pretty busy, when we meet Lupin Yellow, Hayami Umika, the lady in the yellow dress who also works as a waitress at the restaurant. We also meet Lupin Blue, Yoimachi Touma, the male in the blue suit who is also a cook.

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After Touma and Umaki exchange some dialogue, we arrive at a police station where we meet Patoren Sangou, Myoujin Tsukasa, the officer in the pink jacket, and Patoren Niigou, Hikawa Sakuya, the officer in the green jacket. We also meet their boss, Commissioner Hilltop, who gives them some yokan as a present. We also get to meet their robot assistant, Jim Carter.

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Keiichiro walks in and Jim Carter explains that the Lupinrangers have been chasing down the missing pieces of the Lupin Collection for a while now.

We then return to Kairi and Kogure in a limo, where Kogure places the die from earlier into a book. When Kairi asks him about the Lupin Collection and Kogure warns him against asking too many questions before saying he’s grateful to Kairi and the Lupinrangers for their help.

After Kogure and Kairi finish talking, we arrive at a sinister looking mansion which is revealed to be the Gangler’s headquarters. We meet their boss, Dogranio Yabun, who’s 999th birthday is currently being celebrated. We also meet Goshu Ru Medu, who congratulates Yabun on his birthday, as well as Destora Mazzio, Yabun’s bodyguard. Yabun then reveals that he will make the Gangler that takes over the human world the new boss.

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We then return to Kairi and Kogure, who hands Kairi an envelope containing their next target then drops him off at the restaurant from earlier. Kairi walks into the restaurant and declares that everyone needs to leave because of a group reservation which turns out to be their other job as Lupinrangers. We then see them suit up as Kairi explains the mission.

After that, we see them skillfully infiltrate the building where the Ganger is hiding. They eavesdrop on him but he knows they are there and destroys the vent. They then get into a fight with some Pondermen when we suddenly cut to the police station and Jim Carter suddenly shouting that he’s detected a Gangler attack.

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As the Patorangers prepare to leave, Commissioner Hilltop arrives with some bulky cases, saying new equipment has arrived just in time to be tested.

We then go back to the Lupinrangers and their fight with the Pondermen when the Gangler catches Umika and Touma and tries to threaten Kairi. Kairi then blasts the roof which buries Umika, Touma and the Gangler. It’s then revealed that Umika and Touma had blasted through the floor before being crushed and we get to see the transformation sequence for the trio, becoming Kaito Sentai Lupinranger.

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After that, we see the Lupinrangers take the fight outside when the Patorangers arrive and reveal that they now have VS Changers as well and transform into Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger which where the episode ends.

So what did you think of the new Sentai teams? Looking forward to seeing what happens in future episodes? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kamen Rider Build Episode 11 Review

This is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. Cross-Z’s introduction was hyped up since the first catalogue scans. And, after 11 episodes (and even more name-changes), he’s finally here. Let’s find out what his introduction was like.

The episode starts at the cafe, where Sentou details his plans to turn the Cross Dragon into a henshin device for Ryuuga to use. They hear about a SMASH attacking at a cliche tokusatsu warehouse and go over to investigate, despite the dragon bottle’s danger. Sentou and Ryuuga arrive at the warehouse where they find Night Rouge. Sentou uses the Dragon and Lock bottles to transform but they over-power him. Ryuuga tries to use the dragon bottle to transform but he can’t, this is later revealed to be because Ryuuga can only transform when he wants to help someone. To be completely honest, this just seems like a lazy way to stop him from transforming until the end. Considering what his motivations are, they’ll probably forget about this later in the series.

Back at the cafe, Misora notices Sawa try to place another bug. She tries to confront her about it but she leaves, and alerts Nanba that her cover may have been blown. Later on, Misora tries to warn Sentou about Sawa. He gets a message from Sawa with a video of her being turned into a SMASH. Even for Faust this seems a little harsh to me. One possible screw up and you’re a SMASH, they don’t even know if her cover was definitely blown yet.

Sentou goes to fight the SMASH but ends up being overpowered by the bottles again. Ryuuga comes in and takes the bottles and uses them to become Kamen Rider Cross-Z. I really like Cross-Z’s design. It looks a bit like an upgrade for Build, but considering it uses mostly the tech I don’t really have a problem with it. The colours work great with each other and his sword, the Beat Crosser, is one of the coolest in the season (and this season has some pretty nice swords). He defeats the SMASH and rescues Sawa, who reveals to him and Sentou that she’s been a spy this whole time.

This episode was okay. Personally, I think that a secondary rider introduction should be a little better. It would’ve been nice to see more of Cross-Z or at least Ryuuga trying to get used to the suit or something first. It also would’ve been nice to see a brand new character become a rider but we still have Grease to look forward to. The episode works fine on it’s own though, just slightly underwhelming for what is meant to be an information to a new rider.

What to do you think of Cross-Z? Let us know in the comments!

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Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Episode 13 Review

To most of the fandom’s disappointment, Power Rangers Ninja Steel had an inauspicious start to the season. It arrived with very little hype or fanfare and, regrettably, the content of the show did little to enthuse even the most forgiving viewer. The story was thrown together haphazardly with little attention paid to integrating some of the eccentricities of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger (Ninja Steel’s parent series) and many balked at the repetition of the ‘Daddy issues’ used so regularly in recent memory. In short, the series just wasn’t much good. That’s all changed within the last few episodes, though, and the quality of the show has drastically improved. Episode 13, Ace and the Race, is no exception to that and builds upon the good work we’ve seen as of late.

The episode opens with the Mayor of Summer Cove welcoming us to the Lake Sunshine Fun-athalon, and the Rangers are preparing to compete in a relay race. As the race calls for three person teams, the team split in half with Preston, Hayley and Sarah comprising one team and Brody, Levi and Calvin making up the other. Moments before the start of the race, Calvin is distracted by a guy named Ace and his beautifully detailed car. Calvin goes to speak with Ace and his crew but promises to return in time for the race.

Meanwhile, on Galvanax’s ship, Cosmo Royale is introducing his newest contestant, Shoespike. The monster of the week bursts on to the stage with two Basherbots trailing behind him and rejoices at the fact he won the race. The peril our Rangers will face this week becomes clear as Shoespike exclaims, “You know what happens when you lose a race to me!” and the Basherbots are turned into trophies. Shoespike – whose Arnie-impersonator voice is reminiscent of Mighty Morphin’s Lizzinator – takes human form, declaring that once the Rangers touch his baton (careful) they will not be able to resist racing him.

Back on Earth, Calvin is taking a look under the hood of Ace’s car. He notices an oil leak and is talked into repairing it, but not before he pushes the car and its three occupants back to the school workshop. With Calvin missing, Brody and Levi are down a teammate. Enter Bob Shoespike, who volunteers to join the team. The pair touch Shoespike’s baton and are instantly transformed into douchebags, calling Sarah a loser before heading to the start line. During the course of the race, Brody shoulder barges Preston into the bushes and Levi launches a random competitor into the lake. Preston, obviously, takes exception to their behaviour and confronts them. Brody and Levi give Preston, Sarah and Hayley a hard time, again calling them losers. Bob Shoespike looks directly into the camera and adds “and you know what happens to losers…” before the three are turned into trophies before Levi and Brody’s eyes. The other competitors are also turned into trophies including Victor, who gets taken away by a stray dog. Shoespike reveals himself to be a monster and challenges the Ranger brothers to a three-legged race. The Rangers gladly accept.

Ninninger Gekiatsutou Ichibantou

Subsequently, at the school workshop, Calvin is finishing off the work to Ace’s car. Ace misnames Calvin as Malvin and Marvin during the course of the ensuing argument, caused by Calvin’s realisation that Ace is a fraud and that he hasn’t completed a single piece of work on his own car as he claimed. Calvin feels let down by his supposed friend, Ace, but Mick reminds Calvin of his own failures in friendship, having bailed on Brody and Levi in the relay race. He concedes and dashes off to rejoin his teammates. Trophy Victor is shotput into a fish tank, meh. Victor and Monty continue to be one of the main problems with this series but I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

Calvin happens upon Brody, Levi and Shoespike warming up for their race. He discovers the three Ranger trophies and they catch him up with the story so far. Calvin confronts Shoespike and joins the team. The Rangers struggle to run cohesively at first before noticing that Shoespike is cheating; his Basherbot teammates are in face dummies and Shoespike is running alone. Despite the booby-traps set by Shoespike, the Rangers win the race in a photo finish. A Basherbot delivers the Ranger trophies, for no reason other than they needed the Rangers present to match the Sentai footage, and the team morph to fight Shoespike. The battle itself, in fact, is a carbon copy of its Ninninger counterpart and culminates in Levi and Brody working together to destroy the monster.

Brody and Levi summon Robo Red and Bull Rider but Shoespike runs rings around them. Calvin arrives in his Tonka Truck and slows the monster down with makibishi. The team form the Ninja Fusion Zord and make quick work of destroying Shoespike once and for all.

Back at the race, Calvin apologises to his friends and, of course, they forgive him in the usual sickly sweet, saccharin fashion. Victor’s trophy is finally turned back into human form, whilst still in the fish tank, and the episode closes with Victor standing in the tank with seaweed in his mouth.

All in all, this was a solid episode. The Saban team made good use of what was a difficult Ninninger episode to adapt to construct a cohesive story. The highlight of the episode, for me, was Shoespike, who got far more screen time here than in the Sentai. His design was neat and the actor who played his human form did a great job, especially during the fourth wall breaking moments. Here’s hoping that Ninja Steel continues to trend upwards as it has in the last few episodes.

Did you enjoy Ace and the Race? Let us know your thoughts on all things Ninja Steel in the comment section below or on Toku Toy Store’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Kamen Rider Build: Episode 2 Review

This episode did things I wasn’t expecting it to do. It’s not often that we get to see this sort of episode right after the first. Generally, I expect an episode 2 to introduce a new character, start their story arc and/or carry on the plot from episode 1; they took a lot of risks with this episode and they paid off magnificently.

Build looks like it’s going to be a great series. The concept is unique, the characters are likeable and the action scenes are perfect. I know that Ex-Aid seems like it could be one of the best series so far but I think Build will overtake it. The Neo-Heisei era is nearly over but, judging by the quality of Build and Ex-Aid, it looks like it’s going to go out with a bang!

The episode revolves around Ryuuga finding out his girlfriend, Kasumi, is being turned into a Smash. We also get to learn why Ryuuga was arrested in the first place and what led up to it. After some epic motorbike scenes, we meet Kasumi in her Smash form and we get to see an epic fight scene, leading to her defeat. I expected them to rescue her (like the Smash we’ve in the show so far) and make her into a side character; instead, she was killed off right in front of Ryuuga, unsaveable because of a previously established illness. You could argue that the “my girlfriend is dead” plot was copied off Hiiro from the previous season, however, in my opinion, it was done better here. With Ex-Aid, Saki had been dead for a while before Hiiro’s first appearance. While it is a tragic backstory, we don’t get to learn too much about Saki beforehand. Since Kasumi was introduced and killed off in this episode alone, we get to know more about her, making her death more meaningful and making us feel more sympathetic for Ryuuga.

I didn’t want to talk about this episode too much because it’s a fantastic episode that you should watch it yourself. If they take the same risks in the rest of the series, then we’re going to be in for a great series. Let’s just hope that they don’t give up after a few episodes…

What do you think is the most memorable death scene in Kamen Rider? Let us know in the comments!

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Kamen Rider Build Episode 1 Review

This week marked the start of Kamen Rider Build in Japan so I thought I would share my thoughts and views on the first episode. After the emotional roller coaster of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid over the past year, Build definitely had a tough act to follow and, during the lead up to the first episode, we all started to get a feel for our new rider through magazine scans and follow up information, which got the community more excited.

As soon as September 3rd arrived, we all awaited the subtitled versions to become available so we could get a proper feel for our new hero. The wait is now over and now, after watching the debut of Sento and his marvellous transformation, I would like to give a run down of all my thoughts.

The episode in general felt fresh and crisp; the layout and introduction of all the characters was very well executed, even though it feels like they are forcing our thoughts on who certain characters will be in the long run. The use of CGI is starting to be ever more present in Kamen Rider but I feel it adds more detail. For example, Build’s final attack looked amazing with the math equations surrounding the enemy.

There was an obvious nod to classic Showa era Kamen Rider, with humans are being experimented on. Turning them into monsters is a beautiful touch and something I look forward to seeing more of as the series progresses. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was Sento’s amnesia; I understand why it’s being used but I feel that a genius scientist who built a transformation device, a phone that turns into a bike and a system to make use the Full Bottles would be able to make something to restore his memory.

The way the driver worked is simple yet effective and the way his suit forms around him reminds me of Gunpla model sets, which is a very nice touch in my personal opinion. Currently, we have only seen one weapon in use and even though I find the Drill Crusher kind of cool, I find the gun mode a bit of an afterthought. I’m all for weapons with multiple uses but I feel Kamen Rider as a whole needs to stop doing weapons in such a manner.

Overall, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and the directions it will take. The first bat-based villain looks amazing and I can’t wait to see what they will do with him.

Comment below with how you found first episode and let me know what you think will happen in the series.