Out from the ashes I rise again, clawing myself out of the rubble. My flesh is scorched yet the heat of the red sun feels so good on my ancient hide. I wait for a moment and soak in its rays, what will I do first? See my loved ones? Lay with a female of my own species? Take revenge against my nemesis Graxon? No. I will watch some tokusatsu TV shows from the 70s and write up a review for you pathetic wretches.
鉄人タイガーセブン Tetsujin Tiger Seven (1973)
The episode opens up on exterminators trying to kill some rats in an alleyway. We cut to a panning shot straight out of a Leone Western, of a man in a Mad Max style leather suit and a rat head. He is RAT MAN. He whips out his two six-shooters and exterminates those disgusting humans right where they stand.
Who will stop this feral mad rat? Well that would be Iron Man Tiger Seven and his group of friends. By day his name is Takigawa Go and he sports a most fantastic quiff. They enlist the help of the pretty and caucasian Doctor Molly comes to help take care of the rat situation in a humane manner. Rat Man bravely sends his fantastic flying rats to take care of business but is thwarted by Takigawa throwing a knife into their heroic furry bodies.
So this is not a traditional tokusatsu show in terms of having giant kaijū-like monsters a la Ultraman. There are however part-animal characters, transformations and super powers. The episode actually does feels like a bonifide Western and they have gone to some effort to make it so.
The villain of Rat Man is quite badass. He is not evil, just someone who is the defender of rats and their kind. He can speak to them and even in one scene visits a grave for all the rats who have fallen in battle in the name of their cause. Rat Man has honor and respects Tiger Seven as a fellow warrior. The Mu Clan however is the evil organisation which is without moral compass and want only to tear Tiger Seven down and take over the world. The Mu try to corrupt Rat Man to go along with their cause of world domination.
Despite the dated practical effects, which I love, this is actually a very fun and fresh show. It has a good fast pace and wraps the whole story up in a solid twenty-something minutes. Will Tiger Seven save the day by using his powerful Tiger Beam? Who will win the final showdown? Tune in to see the answers!
スペクトルマン Spectreman (1971)
Spectreman was one of the first superhero series of the 70s. It features as its main villain Dr. Gori from the Planet E and his funky gorilla assistant Lla. I actually had trouble finding the original series in Japanese and had to settle for watching the English dubbed version. The dubbing is actually co-written and performed by b-movie acting legend Mel Welles.
In the episode I watched, the main protagonist, who goes by the name of “George” or Joji, just walks into the office of an environmental agency and starts to act as if he works there. Some of them kind of notice and protest but they kind of go along with it. Dr. Gori, who looks like an extra from Planet of the Apes and Farah Fawcett’s love child, plans to use the earth’s pollution in order to create his creatures for… well, you guessed it… WORLD DOMINATION!
In this reality the world has been so polluted that there aren’t any fish anymore. Topical, ‘ey? Out of the sea rises a real bonifide kaiju, Hedoron, a foul smelling toxic monster who sprays a yellow gas which destroys buildings. Can anyone say shit-monster?
Spectreman was actually a very popular and influential series both in America and Japan. We can still see the remnants of this in shows like the Powerpuff Girls with the character Mojo Jojo and also in the anime series Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt‘s first episode featuring a shit monster.
There are some cute little bits of animation here and there to show the space ships and alien planet Dr. Gori and his assistant originate from. Some nice rotoscoping effects and excitingly goofy battles. It does beg quite a bit of suspension of disbelief that he is with a group of people one minute and then just wanders off to become Spectreman the next. He is an alien sent to Earth on a mission of protecting it at all costs and to preserve his secret identity. He can fly, transform into kaijū fighting size and shoot rays at his opponents called the Spectre Flash, which sounds like something you might get arrested for in public.
All in all I really enjoyed the campy fun of this TV series and I have included a clip below for you all to watch. If it does not make you want to make sweet love to this show then you are a fool sir, a damn fool.