Sunday, February 23, 2014

Japanese Superheroes

Lostphrack asked me: You've occasionally used Japanese yokai in your works, and you've talked a little about your fondness for Godzilla in the past as well. 

I was wondering if you had any interest in Japanese superhero franchises like Ultraman or Kamen Rider?

I've never seen Kamen Rider, but based on some of the vinyl toys I've seen that were made in the likenesses of the characters from this show, I'd really like to. I've watched some others, including a few incarnations of Ultraman, Kikaida, Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, Iron King, Red Baron, Gatchaman, Mirror Man, and Space Giants, are all series I've seen. I've also seen sporadic episodes of others, and would like to see more. There's a crazy inventiveness that's unique to Japan that I love about these programs, but I find they are best enjoyed in small doses, as the plots themselves tend to be repetitively formulaic, which can make them tiresome if you watch more than a couple at a time. 

I really admire the character design and concepts for the shows more than anything else, except for the monsters which are like nothing else. I do have a comic book project that I hope to do one day that's a love letter to these shows. 


Travis said...

I highly recommend "Kamen Rider" stuff from the '70s; the energy of '70s tokusatsu shows is completely different from what you get now. "Kamen Rider Stronger," in particular, could get pretty trippy sometimes.

I also recommend one from the early 2000s called "Mirrorman Reflex"; it's a remake of "Mirror Man," but completely different from the original series - still hewing close to its superhero roots, but aiming for an older audience and taking some of its atmosphere from the J-horror stuff that was so prevalent at the time, like "Ringu" and "The Grudge" and such. It's not super easy to find, and no fansubbing group has subtitled it to my knowledge, but it's still fairly interesting, and pretty short (only three episodes, and each episode is only about 45 minutes long), so it doesn't have the chance to get repetitive like these shows often tend to do.

John Rozum said...

Thanks for the heads up, I'll definitely look into that.