Another tokusatsu.  Blame Jeff Pl.


Episode 01: "Secret Messenger of the Morning Wind"

1)The opening and closing themes are OK, but not particularly distinctive.


2)Our hero is Gentaro Shizuka, a "laughing daredevil" type. A skilled fighter, he is capable of Ken Kurenai style "improbable leaps".  He's got a magic stick that seems to serve many of the same functions as Daredevil's billy-club. Also, he sings and plays other people's guitars. I suspect that I am going to have fun not liking him.


3)His sidekick is Goro Kishima, sent by Professor Tsushima to help Ken Gentaro. He is vaguely Gilliganesque.  In times of trouble, he uses IRON SHOCK! to transform into...


4)Iron King, a giant Ultraman knock-off. Gentaro recognizes IK and says "But I wonder when Professor Tsushima completed Iron King...", which implies that IK (and also Goro?) is an artificial being.  IK has an analogue to Ultraman's "color-timer" - a flashing light that indicates when his water level is low. This is important because "Iron King loses his ability to fight when he loses his bodily water." This gives him a limited time to fight, and also mean that Goro is thirsty all the time, a clue which any five year old could pick up on, but which will no doubt come as a huge shock to Gentaro when he discovers it around Episode 25. So far, IK's special moves include IRON KICK!


5)Whilst wandering in the forest, they encounter Yukiko Takamura, who is vaguely reminiscent of Miss Land O' Lakes.  I'm guessing that she's either a potential love interest for Gentaro, or a shady character.


6)The chief enemies are the Shrianui Clan, who have bene plotting to conquer Japan for 2,000 years, which seems like an awful long time to have not apparently achieved all that much.  There seems to be about ten of them, and they don't fight alot better then the Gargoyles or Mecha-Robos did. How they expect to conquer Japan is beyond me. They do have giant robots, which they appear to be conveniently sending out one at a time. They're not very distinctive-looking.  The one is this episode is Vacu-mirah the Vacuum Robot,  whose power is that it both sucks and blows, to steal a line from Bart Simpson. It is controlled by a Mecha-Robo Shiranui posing as Evil Grandma. It battles IK inconclusively, and is blown up when Gentaro hits it with its own control badge, which seems a bit of a design flaw.


7)Fun quote: "Impudently, the National Security forces have discovered us." Yeah, how dare the National Security forces discover a threat to national security!


8)Next Time: Gyro-gesu the Slicing Robot!


9)Ending scene: Gentaro laughs like the hopeless fool that he is!


Overall: So far, so good. This shows promise to be mildly amusing.

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Episode 26: "The Great Tokyo War"

1)Cricketton again - not the best critter to go out on, by me.  I don't get a "final boss" vibe form it.


2)"So that's how it was! You were Iron King!"  Took you long enough, you moron.


3)"Shallow cleverness of Earthlings!"  I like that line.


4)"Because of the hig voltage, he's reborn much stronger than before!"  Yeah, OK.


5)I like how the Titanians' space ship has chairs that look like they came from a hotel lounge.


6)Shouldn't Gentaro have gone splat from hitting IK's hand just as much as he would have from hitting the ground?


7)I've never seen rock-paper-scissors combined with leapfrog before.


8)"Right, We're not lovers."  No, of course not.


9)"Who should I marry?" Um, someone else?


Overall:In the end, not bad. I actually quite enjoyed this series. Just goes to show that you don't have to have likable characters to enjoy a show.

Episode #25: Goro fashions his own bridal head wrap. I'm speechless. I don't mind them being together but someone has to intervene with their clothing. Gen's pants and Goro's hat are strange but that bridal head wrap was hideous.
Baron said...

5)"Aren't we wonderful?" OK, Jeff - some day, you and I have got to ride somewhere together to go pick up Tracy, just so we can smirk at one another and say "Aren't we wonderful?" ;)

I can picture that happening perfectly! However, no one is shoving ice cream in my face!

Tracy of Moon-T said:

 However, no one is shoving ice cream in my face!
No, that would not happen.

Sorry I bugged out toward the end of this discussion, but it couldn’t be helped. I have some notes from episodes #23-26, but either a) the no longer seem relevant, b) I don’t know what I meant, or c) I can’t read my own writing. Let’s see what I can piece together.

You described “Space Bug Monster Kangarole” (Episode #23) as “a sort of chicken/bug that breathes fire and shoots acid out of its antennae.” To me it looked like a hopping lobster with wings. Gentaro and Goro have finally finally devolved in the “Two Stooges.” I also wanted to say something about a pendant and a kimono, but I don’t remember what. As our governor would say, “Oops.”

I like the way the Titanians hold their capes open when they run. It rememnds me of being a kid with a bath towel saftey pinned around my neck.

Tenko has a secret signal broach for when she’s in danger. It’s be a bit more subtle if it didn’t blink when activated.

Imagine if these episodes had paperback novelizations. Think of the characterization and motivations that might be revealed!

The series ends with a variation of the eternal triangle: Tenko loves Gentaro, Goro loves Gentaro, and Gentaro loves Gentaro.

Tying up some loose ends before moving on…

I've never seen rock-paper-scissors combined with leapfrog before.

I know you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory, but you should Google “Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock” for an interesting variation. There was also a variation from That ‘70s Show called “Cockroach Foot Atomic Bomb.”

As far as vampires go, my favorite is Grandpa from The Munsters.

Speaking of That ‘70s Show, the cast was sitting around watching The Munsters in one episode, evidentally the first time Red (the no-nonsense dad) had seen it. He wanted to know why, if there was a family of monsters living on the street, the other neighbors didn’t band together and kill them. Hyde offered a possible explanation (“I think they’re saving that until the final episode.”), but Red didn’t buy it (“Who the hell wants to watch a monster show if they don’t get killed?”). Come to think of it, that’s the attitude I took toward Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Red Forman and I have a lot in common. If I were a parent, I’d want to be just like him.

In the end, not bad. I actually quite enjoyed this series. Just goes to show that you don't have to have likable characters to enjoy a show.

I think that’s a good way to look at it. I’ve enjoyed these recent tokusatsu discussions myself, but neither Super Robot Red Baron nor Iron King lived up to the promise of Ultraman (or, for that matter, Johnny Sokko & His Flying Robot). On August 13, however, Ultra Q, the predecessor to Ultraman, will be available on DVD in the U.S. for the first time ever. I hope you will consider leadig a discussion. (I’d do it myself, but I’m too lazy.) If you do, Tracy and I will both commit to following along and providing episode-by-episode feedback.

In the meantime, Tracy and I have begun watching Ultra Seven, the sequel to Ultraman. The one thing I have always heard about this show is, that if anything, it is better than Ultraman. As much as I like Ultraman, from what I have seen of Ultra Seven so far, I think that assessment may be true. I’m thinking of starting a discussion, but it won’t be episode-by-episode, and it won’t be as good as one of yours.

I'll have to pass on Ultra 7 and Ultra Q, at least until they get marked down some.  At some point, I will drag out Ultraman and look at that again.


Ultra Seven will take us to August 13 (at least). Then we'll watch Ultra Q and then (perhaps) Ultraman.

I like funny, quirky characters like Inspector Bicycle. I like back stories and subplots that continue through a series like Ken and Mari or, Godzilla help me, Gentaro and Goro. I like the cheesy villains, even the really stupid ones from JSFR.

I don't like dry episodes with just crews and space and science jumbled with the one big Ultra-whatever robot flavor of the week. I just don't. I don't like those same dry stories when I read them in Weird Science and other EC volumes.

Ultra-Seven, UltraQ and Ultraman...
It's going to be a long summer.

I really need to start an Ultra Seven discussion so we can hash this out.

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