Monday, May 27, 2013

Spider-Man (1978-1979) Series Review Part 1

Air Dates: May 17, 1978 - March 14, 1979
Head Director: Koichi Takemoto
Head Writer: Shozo Uehara
Special Effects Director: Nobuo Yajima (uncredited)
Music: Michiaki Watanabe
Producers: Susumu Yoshikawa, Hiroshi Ishikawa
Created by: Saburo Hatte (based on the Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko)
Production Company: Toei Co. Ltd.

Shinji Todo - Takuya Yamashiro/Spider-Man
Rika Miura - Hitomi Sakuma
Izumi Oyama - Shinko Yamashiro
Yoshiharu Yabuki - Takuji Yamashiro
Mitsuo Ando - Professor Monster
Yukie Kagawa - Amazoness/Saeko Yoshida
Hirofumi Koga - Spider-Man's Suit Actor

Voice-Only Roles:
Shozo Iizuka - Numerous Machine BEMs
Toru Ohira - Narrator

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Toku Week In Review (5/26/2013)

It's Memorial Day weekend over here in the United States. While you guys are taking a break from checking out all the new films out there (I will catch Fast & Furious 6 ASAP) or grilling your healthy doses of meats and veggies, come check out what's been up with the tokusatsu industry over the last week. A new Kamen Rider novel is released, Toei opens auditions for those who want to join Shocker, Battride War finally comes out, and filming for the cameos in Power Rangers: Super Megaforce begins! Hit the jump for a barbecue-sized feast of toku news!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Toku I Need To Watch

Hey guys. I thought I'd create this list, chronicling each tokusatsu show and movie I really want to see, just to mix things up. I've been talking about the shows and movies I have seen on this blog (I am currently writing my series review of Spider-Man, which is the 40th tokusatsu series I have finished), so I figured I'd let my readers know what shows I actually haven't seen but have right up there on my priority list. This list will be broken down into franchises: the list will start with Ultraman shows I want to see, followed by Kamen Rider, then Super Sentai, followed by Metal Heroes, and then finally shows that aren't part of any of the main franchises. I'll also include some brief reasons why these shows are top priority, and I am also not including shows I am currently watching on a regular basis (meaning no Jetman or Ultraseven for instance) So, let's get started:

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Den-O Phenomenon Part 5: Den-O, All Riders, and All Sentai


Ever since 2010, there have been far fewer appearances from the crew of the DenLiner and its rowdy passengers, the Imagin. Still, every chance Toei got to bring the beloved cast back was not turned away. 2011 was the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Kamen Rider franchise, and Toei knew that one of the best ways to celebrate would be to make a film featuring all of the Riders. Especially following the huge success of Kamen Rider Decade The Movie: All Riders Vs. Great Shocker, it was deemed wise to make a new film with the original Riders. For the sake of synergy, this film was to star their newest Kamen Rider: Kamen Rider OOO, but OOO would crossover with another Rider many had become extremely familiar with.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Toku Week In Review (5/19/2013)

This week in toku news: Hurricanger fans get their first look at the upcoming V-Cinema sequel, more actors drop out of Super Megaforce while only a handful are announced to appear, Kamen Rider: Battride War announces several more voice actors, and more sneak peeks at the production of the new American Godzilla movie hit the Internet! Hit the jump for all the news you need to know from this past week!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Note about discrepancies in box office breakdowns

Recently, I've been posting numerous reports and numbers that Kamen Rider films have pulled in from the box office. Unfortunately, it looks like many of these results might be innacurate thanks to the yen to dollar conversions. As a result, I've decided that I only will report how much a film has made in yen, not US dollars to prevent any accuracy. By using the actual numbers, hopefully how well the film is performing (or not) will still come across. For example, Kamen Rider Decade The Movie: All Riders Vs. Great Shocker made 1.9 billion yen during its entire run, and it is to date the highest grossing Kamen Rider film. For comparison, recent box office results have shown that Kamen Rider x Super Sentai x Uchu Keiji: Super Hero War Z has yet to break 750 million yen despite running in theaters for two weeks.

This change will be reflected immediately in the next part of my Den-O retrospective. I haven't decided if I will change my previous articles yet to reflect this, but you will know if I do. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll look forward to my next update!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Den-O Phenomenon Part 4: Chou Den-O


After The Final Countdown proved to be yet another success for Toei, it had become inevitable that Toei would once again dive into the Den-O well for another adventure. Instead of just bringing the Den-O gang back together; however, Toei and Bandai decided that the series needed to evolve now that Takeru Satoh was gone. It was decided that the next stage of Den-O was to be a multimedia event, and Den-O needed a new form to reflect this. With some clever wordplay, Sieg's wings were added to Climax Form and the new form was called Chou Kamen Rider Den-O (chou is Japanese for super, but can also mean wings).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Den-O Phenomenon Part 3: Den-O Invades Kiva


When Kamen Rider Den-O ended on January 20, 2008, it was reasonable enough to believe that it would be a long time before we'd see Ryotarou and the Imagin again, if ever. However, the truth was virtually the complete opposite of that belief. It was not long after Den-O finished that the characters returned due to popular demand. In doing so, Den-O made history for the Kamen Rider franchise and helped move the Heisei Series forward towards the celebration of crossovers we have today.

Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider: Fourze & OOO Movie War MEGA MAX Director's Cut (2011) Review

Blu-Ray Cover for the Director's Cut Version

The newest annual Kamen Rider crossover film, Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider: Wizard & Fourze Movie War Ultimatum, is just about to hit DVD shelves. So what better way to celebrate than to look back once again on the previous installment: the Movie War that proved that the formula could be done right? After two sub-par Movie Wars, expectations were reasonably low for the third film. However, new blood was brought in to make this the freshest Movie War yet. A longtime tokusatsu veteran and series director on the currently-running Kamen Rider Fourze, Koichi Sakamoto was given the reins as director; making this his second theatrical Kamen Rider film following Kamen Rider W Forever. With scripts handled by the head writers of both Kamen Rider OOO and Kamen Rider Fourze that for once nailed the popular aspects of their respective shows as well as a welcome return from Kamen Rider W, Movie War MEGA MAX was claimed by many fans to not just be the first good Movie War but one of the best Rider movies in some time.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Toku Week In Review (5/11/2013)

All the weekly toku news of the week you need to know in one simple article! It was a surprisingly buys week: a classic tokusatsu series heads to the US for the first time ever, Saban drops the ball on Super Megaforce, more Wizard and Kyoryuuger movie news, two more join Battride War, and second weekend box results for Super Hero War Z indicate how the movie is set to perform. Hit the jump to learn more!

The Den-O Phenomenon Part 2: Looking Back


To kick off this retrospective of every single entry of the Kamen Rider Den-O sub-franchise, it only makes sense to start with the series that started it all. Kamen Rider Den-O ran for 49 episodes and pulled a series ratings average of 6.9%, which used to be a low for the Kamen Rider franchise. Still, toy sales were strong and the summer tie-in film was one of the highest grossing of the Heisei series. The insane popularity of the Den-O characters would lead to Toei producing numerous adventures spanning over 5 years.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Den-O Phenomenon Part 1: How Four Colorful Characters Added Some New Life to Kamen Rider

In late 2006, Kamen Rider's 35th anniversary series Kamen Rider Kabuto was coming close to an end. The series was not the resounding success Toei had hoped for; toy sales were only marginally up from Kamen Rider Hibiki and ratings were down as a whole from its predecessor. When work began on the next installment of the long-running franchise, Toei had decided to turn the franchise into territory it had never traveled down before; a radical departure from the action-driven shows filled with heavy drama that inhabited the early part of the Heisei Rider series. That's right: the next Kamen Rider would be a comedy. It is perhaps this radical thinking alone that allowed Kamen Rider Den-O to become the huge hit Toei could have only dreamed of.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Toku Week In Review (5/4/2013)

Your weekly dose of toku news right here! Toei's newest film proves to be a box office disappointment, the Gaia Memories line returns, and more familiar faces return for Battride War! For more details, hit the jump!

Early Years: A Retrospective of the Brief Relationship Between Director Keita Amemiya & Toei

Last month, on the 17th to be exact, one of the most celebrated Kamen Rider movies and my personal favorite celebrated its 20th anniversary. Kamen Rider ZO was released as part of a triple-feature called Toei Super Hero Fair: featuring ZO as the star attraction as well as the movie adventures of Toei's then-running superhero shows: Gosei Sentai Dairanger and Tokusou Robo Janperson. In order to have the entire triple feature last under 2 hours, ZO was only 48 minutes long. However, this film manages to accomplish more in less than an hour than several toku films can pull off in 90 to 100 minutes.

This can be attributed to the brisk pacing and dynamic action scenes supervised by legendary tokusatsu director and character designer Keita Amemiya. One of the most visually-driven tokusatsu directors ever, his anime-like cinematography and choreography give him a unique and distinct look and feel that most directors can't possibly match. His work is also notably darker than your typical superhero fare; his films tend to feature plenty of blood and mutilation that wouldn't fly in a weekly kid's show. So then: why did he work at Toei so long if this were the case? This blog will go look back on the last years Amemiya worked at Toei: when after years of hard work, he finally became one of the studio's go-to directors. That is, until he took things a bit too far with his last film for the studio.