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This Week in Tokusatsu – Week 1, 2019

With the New Year’s holiday this past week, it was a light week for Tokusatsu. We’ll be discussing the finale of Jinga. Spoilers for the series finale of Kami No Kiba: Jinga below.

Lupinranger vs Patoranger and Kamen Rider Zi-O are off this week for New Year’s Day.


spoiler-warning


Kami No Kiba – Jinga Episode 12 (End)

The finale of Jinga picks up in the same scene the previous episode ended on. Jinga’s horror side is able to provide the human Jinga, and the audience, with some insight into how the restoration abilities work within the context of the universe.

Essentially, Jinga has been manipulating time for the affected humans, reverting them to the moment right before the horror takes hold inside them. At a snap of his fingers, Horror Jinga resumes the process and every previously rescued human, including Toma, becomes a horror through a montage of scenes culminating in a confrontation between the Mikage brothers.
The rest of the episode focuses largely on the impact of Jinga’s failures as a Makai Knight, and leaves the franchise very open to continue into the next Garo Series. One thing is for sure, though. Jinga as a villain is here to stay, and the franchise as a whole will seemingly be all the better for it. Leaving off on a somber note, the Horror Jinga has won handily, by season’s end, and the Jinga we saw in the summer Garo movie, Kami No Kiba is back in full force.

As of yet, the 2019 Garo series has not been announced or confirmed, but a reveal will likely not be far behind, now that Jinga has concluded. With every major character from this season dead, apart from the Horror form of Jinga and the Horror Banbi, will we see perspective shift back to Dougai Ryuga? Or would you prefer to focus on another new group of Makai Knights and widen the scope a little more? Leave your thoughts below.

Supaidman in the Spider-Verse Sequel?

A quick hit, a note that came up recently suggests that Sony and film producer Phil Lord have worked out an agreement for the 1970’s era Tokusatsu Spider-Man, Supaidaman to appear in the sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. While this would be the first appearance of Supaidaman in film or tv in a proper Marvel property, he was a part of 2015’s comics arc Spider-Verse, which saw Spider-people across the whole of the Marvel multiverse come together to battle an enemy hunting Spiders across dimensions.
Supaidaman is famous within tokusatsu circles for being the first tokusatsu hero to use a mecha, The Marveler, which had a combat form called Leopardon. Prior to this series, no toku heroes used Mecha, including the ones who are now arguably the most famous for it, Super Sentai teams of the era such as Battle Fever J, JAKQ, and more.

The deal reportedly hinges on Into the Spider-Verse grossing over $200 million at the global box office. As of this writing, the global box office for Into the Spider-Verse stands at just over half that number, hovering around $110 million.

What did you guys think of this week? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Source: The Tokusatsu Network (Supaidaman)
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This Week in Tokusatsu – Christmas 2018

The police and thieves take a break from the action for a Christmas special, Jinga ramps up to a thrilling conclusion and Zi-O continues the battle against his future self! Let’s dive in, shall we?

Lupinranger vs Patoranger Episode 45

Obligatory Christmas special! There is a major shift in tone this week, as we take a step back from the darker, grittier, almost film-noir action of the previous few episodes to celebrate Christmas with the Rangers. Though the episode does advance the plot, in the beginning and end, not much happens of note in the middle. To start out, Sakuya receives a request from a child to have the Patorangers throw a Christmas party, complete with holiday cake and chicken dinner, both Japanese traditions at Christmas. The bulk of the episode focuses on a Gangler called Sahmon, whose driving purpose is to replace the traditional Christmas chicken dinners with salmon for everyone in Japan.

At worst, this Gangler is a minor inconvenience, even acknowledged by civilians with a few casual phrases such as, “This wouldn’t be so bad if chicken wasn’t a Christmas tradition,” or even by Noel and Sakuya with, “Salmon is my favourite food most of the time, but chicken at Christmas is tradition.”

Over the course of the episode, Sakuya and Noel focus on taking Sahmon down, with eventual help from the thieves, who are the ones to ultimately defeat him. There is no Lupin collection item this week, no larger stakes, save for the knowledge from the police of a string of missing persons cases set about a year earlier. At the end of the episode, having skipped the party to do research into the cases, Keiichiro is finally able to put together the identity of the Lupinrangers.

That’s right. We’re five episodes from the end of the series (six, if you include this one) and one of the police officers has just now confirmed the identity of the thieves. This is a reveal that would have been much better served by coming far earlier, though the next episode promises to expand on this even more.

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Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 16

The 2068 arc of Zi-O continues this week, with the fallout of Sougo meeting his future self. Now knowing fully that he has the potential to become the genocidal tyrant called Oma Zi-O, Sougo resolves himself to give up on his dream of becoming a king, and goes so far as to have Geiz destroy his belt. After this succeeds, Sougo begins to think he is free and the future is safe. There is even a moment where Oma Zi-O begins to fade away, laughing as he awaits Sougo’s ultimate decision. Sougo’s resolve is unshakable, even in the face of an assassination attempt by the Time Jackers.

Sougo refuses to fight, running and protecting a child from a stray attack, even without the power of Zi-O, prompting Geiz and Tsukuyomi to delay their return to 2068 and intervene. The attack, having been set up by Woz, is intended to force Sougo’s hand and get him back on the track that will lead to his future as Overlord. This episode features a lot of character growth for both Sougo and Geiz, with some big moments shared between them as well as an interesting shift in viewpoint for Geiz.

The biggest moments for Sougo come at the tail end of the episode, with renewed resolve and returned power as he remembers his dream. It all comes together in a satisfying way, and the preview for the next episode promises the debut of Kamen Rider Woz.

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Kami No Kiba – Jinga Episode 11

Picking up where we left off last week, Jinga struggles against Rozen while Fusa and Toma debate the merits of simply going to the Watchdogs, themselves. Another Makai Priest opens the episode with a brief moment spent trying to prove Jinga’s power is real, but we are not shown the conclusion of the test. Instead, the episode focuses squarely on Jinga and his reluctance to give up against Rozen. Though he begins fighting back using strictly non-lethal measures (his sword never leaves the scabbard and he focuses on dodging), the battle takes a darker turn at the midpoint of the episode.

Through sheer resolve, Toma makes the choice for himself and Fusa to willingly go to the Watchdogs, even as Alva protests to Jinga to give up. When Jinga refuses and keeps fighting, he ends up killing one of the knights in Rozen’s squad, before turning his blade another way. A shocking, sudden death leads to the battle that caps off the episode, and will seemingly be the focus of the series finale, which airs next week.

The Jinga we have followed, the knight, fights hard against the horror within, the Jinga from the summer Garo film, Kami No Kiba. When the series concludes next week, we will see which side prevails, and ultimately the beginning of the future of Garo as a franchise. Personally, I do not want to see Jinga redeemed. He has made for a compelling primary antagonist, both to the other Makai Knights and to himself. This shifting dynamic has proved to be a breath of fresh air for Garo as a franchise, and I hope it will continue.

Stay tuned here after the finale next week for more.

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Ultraman R/B (End)

Ultraman R/B has now officially concluded, and thoughts/reviews will be coming once the series is made available with English subtitles past episode 19. Stay tuned for more!

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Confirmed

On Christmas day, the leaked images of next year’s Super Sentai team, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger were confirmed to be accurate, along with a story synopsis and official romanization of the name, per Toei. This will be the 43rd Super Sentai series, and the fourth to feature a dinosaur theme. The writer, producers, and showrunner have also been revealed, listed below.

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Story:

65 million years ago

An era when dinosaurs were everywhere. When attackers sought to take over the world, bringing war, knights were selected to stand against this threat. A meteor falls to the earth and brings the era of the dinosaurs to an end. Those chosen knights then chose to live the rest of their lives quietly on earth. In preparation for the return of this enemy, dinosaurs with great power were made to sleep in a temple.

Now, at the end of the Heisei era, the attackers have returned to Earth, pushing their evil to the limits of the universe. Now, it’s time to grasp the powers of the dinosaurs!

“Knights” x “Dinosaurs”

Now is the time to protect earth’s peace with that power!

(TV Asahi)

65 million years ago, the immensely powerful Druidon Tribe reigned over Earth. The tribe abandoned the planet when a gigantic meteor approached, vowing that they would return as the rulers of the world again as they headed into space.

The Ryusou Tribe who battled against the Druidon Tribe stayed on earth, along with their dinosaur companions, the Kishiryu. The Ryusou Tribe withstood the ice age brought on by the gigantic meteor. They placed their Kishiryu companions into the Ryusouls and sealed them in temples throughout the world.

Time has moved on and the Druidon Tribe has returned after fighting in harsh environments across space, totally increasing their powers. The Ryusou Tribe that kept the Earth safe in the past have selected new knights: the Ryusoulgers. They have been revived by their mission as the battle against the Druidon Tribe begins.

Staff:

  • Kiyoshi Yoshikawa (Iryu Sosa, Cop Seven) Music
  • Takahashi Kazuhiro (Kamen Rider Ghost) – Producer
  • Maruyama Shinya (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) – Producer
  • Kazuya Kamihoriuchi (Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Kamen Rider Build) – Director
  • Junpei Yamaoka (Tsuribaka Nisshi: Shin’nyû Shain Hamasaki Densuke) – Lead Writer

Ryusoulger marks the first entry into Tokusatsu for veteran J-Drama writer Junpei Yamaoka, but with a solid crew bringing his vision to life, only time will tell how Ryusoulger is realised. Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger will premiere 17th March, 2019 on TV Asahi, with English subtitles like to follow.

What did you guys think of this week’s shows? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Source: Toei/TV Asahi via The Tokusatsu Network (Ryusoulger story and staff)
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This Week in Tokusatsu – December 14th, 2018

Lupinranger vs Patoranger’s final arc continues this week, with a revelation about a longtime ally. Zi-O’s Ghost Arc closes out and Decade joins the cast. Let’s dive in, shall we?


Lupinranger vs Patoranger Episode 43

A second French operative for GSPO returns to Japan this week, and is revealed to be none other than the previous Patren # 2, the first member of the GSPO tactical unit to wear the green uniform. Satoru is a colleague to Keiichiro and Tsukasa, as shown through flashbacks and their familiar dialogue, but has never met Sakuya before this episode and has an immediate, intense distrust of Noel. His return, and thus the premise of the episode, begins on the foundation that an insider in GSPO is leaking secrets and classified intelligence to Ganglers. The writers waste little time in revealing that this is Noel’s doing, even going so far as to give a Gangler a piece of the Lupin collection. His reasons are not made clear at first.

While the thieves track Noel’s contact, a Gangler named Tokageru (or Tokageil, depending on where you saw the episode), the GSPO Tactical Unit is formally introduced to Satoru. The initial reaction Noel and Satoru have to each other is nothing short of openly antagonistic, but Satoru does have enough trust in Keiichiro to confide that Noel is his suspect. From there, the rest of the episode focuses on Noel’s dealings and how the team comes to terms with the truth, that Noel is the inside man the Ganglers have in GSPO. The double agent Lupin X is now a triple-agent, playing all sides against each other. Gauche is aware of the dealings, but Dogranio reveals via a flash-sideways sequence that he had no idea, and finds the idea entertaining more than threatening.

When the truth comes out, Noel ends up running, hunted and running like Batman at the end of The Dark Knight. He fires a warning shot at his team, to distract long enough to run but not aiming to hit any of them. While Keiichiro hesitates to return fire, Satoru takes Keiichiro’s VS changer and does not think twice. He is shooting to kill and makes this fact plain to the others as they pursue Noel through the city.

Devastated and now unarmed, Keiichiro follows Noel on his own path, separate, and the pair link up again further down the road. The battle that follows leads to the revelation that Noel is something other than human, though he is not specifically named a Gangler. The rangers who hear the news are shocked, though Good Striker seems to have known all along, asking the Lupinrangers how they didn’t notice previously. The Lupinrangers are angry, betrayed, and express this in the way they brutalize Tokageru’s Kaiju form through LupinKaiser.

The next episode promises answers, with the preview clip indicating there is some other, darker truth to be told.


Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 14

The show begins to kick into gear this week, with even Woz’s opening monologue changing. This time around, he includes the line, “… And yet all goes according to my desires.”

Could this imply something more sinister or selfish behind Woz’s dedicated service to the future overlord of the world? For now, in the context of the show, Woz is nowhere to be found as Geiz, Takeru and Tsukuyomi work to restore Sougo. Coming off the heels of last week, Sougo’s soul has been torn from his body and he remains a ghost, while his body lies unconscious, but alive, in a hospital bed. Distraught, Geiz goes after Another Ghost in the past, only to be met by Decade, now using the Ryuki form. Here we see Decade take on a neo-Heisei form for the first time, using the Kamen Ride – Ghost transformation card. As expected, this is Ghost’s base form, with the exception of the Neo Decadriver which is clearly visible.

The double-ghost encounter is interesting enough, as Decade and Another Ghost absolutely decimate Geiz, before the Ghost Ride Watch is taken by Decade. After the power is drained from it, Geiz is given the Decade Ride Watch, which is capable of acting as a Ride Watch holder as well. With the power drained from the Ride Watch, Takeru and Makoto are restored to their Kamen Rider status, as Ghost and Specter respectively. The two, along with Sougo, travel back in time to prevent the death of the police officer who would become Another Ghost.

Thanks to some interference by Uhr, he becomes Another Ghost anyway, and the Riders are drained of their power once again. After Another Ghost is revived, Woz plays his hand, revealing to Sougo that he has betrayed his overlord. The team, after rediscovering Sougo via a gadget, devises a plan to defeat Another Ghost, but is intercepted in the time stream by the Time Jackers, before making it back to 2015 and getting into action. Decade looks on, with Woz at his back. The highlight of this scene, other than the character development, is seeing Sougo change into Decade Armour for the first time. Woz announces Sougo the way he has with every other form, and Sougo takes no time in figuring out that the Decade armour form allows for a third watch to combine Decade’s abilities with others.

Zi-O Decade Armour

Decade’s rationale in giving over his Watch willingly is that whatever he is doing, conquering the world or destroying it, is far less entertaining if Zi-O can’t put up a decent fight. It’s a very Decade moment that had me muttering Onore dikeido! At my screen more than once as I watched this episode. Inoue Masahiro is, as always, the shining spotlight in the cast and the episode ends on a fittingly dramatic reveal, as Decade tries to dissuade Zi-O from his pursuit of kingship.

The next episode, revealed in the preview, will give us our first jump forward in time, and also features the debut of Ohma Zi-O (presumably Demon King, shortened from Akuma No Oh-sama) as a character in his own right.


Kami No Kiba – Jinga

As promised, this week, we will begin our coverage of Jinga, the latest series in the Garo franchise. This particular series is set in the Dougai Ryuga timeline of Garo, and focuses on Mikage Jinga, the Makai knight called Roze. Jinga, played by Kamen Rider Decade’s Inoue Masahiro, was first introduced in the summer Garo movie, Kami No Kiba as the primary villain. Picking up where that movie ended, Jinga introduces us to a newly-revived Mikage Jinga, an unknown amount of time after the end of the film. Though he looks the same, the dark Makai Knight who became a horror has been revived once more as a good man, with a family and a history all his own in a new life.

Jinga looks much the same as he did in the film, though he has the trademark flowing coat of a Makai knight now as well, and the series opens on Jinga hunting horrors with the Makai priestess Fusa and his little brother, an apprentice named Toma. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Jinga was forced to kill his father, also a Makai knight, after the older man became a Horror and killed Jinga’s mother. Toma, witnessing all of this, has his memories sealed away, though the seal is eventually broken by a horror. The first nine episodes, numbered 00-08, take us on a wild ride as Jinga hunts horrors and discovers a new ability no other Makai knight has had before: Jinga can destroy horrors without killing the human hosts, and revert those humans to what they were before possession.

The Watchdogs, the Makai Knights’ governing body, are apprehensive, understandably, and the second arc of the series focuses on Jinga coming to understand his power. Eventually, it is revealed that a horror still resides inside of Jinga, and acts as the source of his newfound abilities. The horror inside of Jinga is able to cannibalize other horrors, purging the human host and leaving them undamaged, while gaining power. Regrettably, each time Jinga does this, his darker side seems to grow stronger, to the point where Jinga loses control for a single night, killing another Makai knight named Shijo.

This show has been an excellent new installment in the Garo franchise thus far, and with more to come, it can only get better. Jinga airs weekly, as its counterparts for younger audiences does, and can be seen in many of the same places.


What did you guys think of this week’s shows? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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This Week in Tokusatsu – December 8th, 2018

Lupinranger vs Patoranger’s final arc continues this week, in explosive form! On the Kamen Rider side of things, Kamen Rider Zi-O’s Ghost Arc begins, and Decade returns! Let’s dive in, shall we?


Lupinranger vs Patoranger Episode 42

All seven rangers are forced to come together to battle the Gangler general Destra this week, after being soundly defeated on their own. The battles have weight and consequences, which is always a refreshing touch and a good way to ground the show in a realistic setting, including injured rangers and the city being evacuated. Even the police, minus the Patorangers, are evacuated so Destra can be dealt with. A surprising source of conflict, though, comes in the form of Kogure asking Noel to step down from his duties as Lupin X.

There’s a bit of intrigue here as well, as the preparation for the fight spends a lot of time focusing on how each red ranger thinks he can use the other. Kairi knows Keiichiro will protect people, and Keiichiro, in turn, counts on Kairi’s greed and lust for the collection to guide him. In the end, both men behave as the other predicts, leading to Keiichiro actually saving Kairi’s life.

After forming Good Cool Kaiser X, the rangers are paired up based on their roles, with Noel, Kairi, and Keiichiro making up the “head” or lead section of the machine. Touma and Tsukasa end up on one side, with the remainder going to Sakuya and Umika. It makes for a brief but interesting exchange, and once the moment passes, the rangers get down to business and take on Destra.


Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 13

This week kicks off the Ghost Arc of Kamen Rider Zi-O, and features some big moments and returning characters. Kicking things off, we first meet Tenkuuji Takeru, Kamen Rider Ghost, and actor Nishime Shun returns to fill the role. Another Ghost appears, and Woz throws his lot in with the Time Jackers?! Though we are not told who he means, Woz tells Swartz, Hora, and Uhr about a man who will alter the course of history in regards to Oma Zi-O’s rise to power. It’s implied, at first, that this is Geiz, coming off the heels of Woz revealing his book can no longer accurately predict the future. It is a history book from a specific timeline, after all.

As Another Ghost continues to attack, Sougo, Takeru, and the others begin to discover a method to its seemingly chaotic attacks, and find that it is targeting people whose actions cause accidents resulting in the injury or death of Innocents. This starts with a factory, then a hot dog cart with a gas leak, and at the factory site, we learn that Another Ghost is, more or less, a zombie. The identity of Another Ghost is revealed in a way that paints it as a tragic figure, the Time Jackers using the man behind the mask for their own means.

When Decade does appear, he is using Agito form and the Neo Decadriver, and takes on Geiz and Sougo before leaving. An interesting point is that Decade is firmly with the Time Jackers here, if only to fill his normal passing-through role. Hora even offers to back any succession to power Decade might want, though he refuses. In the final moments of the episode, we get to see Takeru shine, as Sougo is seemingly killed and Takeru is the only one who can see or communicate with the ghost left behind.

I feel as though this would have been a slightly better way to resolve the “two Sougos” problem caused by the Gaim arc, but this could certainly still lead to some interesting developments. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing more of what Decade will bring to the table in the following weeks.


Garo: Kami No Kiba

This movie has been out for a while, but in the lead up to covering the current Garo series, Jinga, it seems appropriate to start with this movie. The movie focuses on a group of horrors trying to use a dark makai knight to power an ark called the God’s Fang (Kami no Kiba), on which they will build a new world. The movie is set in the Dougai Ryuga universe of Garo, latest in that timeline on its release. I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in watching the new series, but cannot recommend it as an entry point, as a lot of the plot points rely on prior knowledge of previous Garo series, characters, and lore. However, for veterans, this film marks a return to form for the live-action side of Garo.

To set up this ritual, this ark, a Makai priestess named Banbi begins stealing the armours of veteran knights, and this is how we meet the returning characters from the other Ryuga-verse Garo series.

The new Makai Knight, Jinga, is played by Kamen Rider Decade’s Masahiro Inoue, and is at once a madman and a warrior. The contrast, as well as his horror powers and fighting ability, set him up quickly as a threat, with three knights and a priest unable to defeat him at first. Though the end of the film doesn’t directly set up the next tv series, it is fittingly cinematic, with the cgi-heavy armoured combat being well choreographed, if at times a bit too jarringly quick.

Overall, I recommend giving this film a watch, if only to keep up with Garo continuity, and especially if you plan on watching Jinga. The series itself will be covered in This Week in Toku starting next week.


What did you guys think of this week’s shows? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!