American Toku: What Would You Do?

KickHopper

Rajio Showa Rider
American Toku J-Hero: What Would You Do?

So, I'm studying film, and at some point would very much like to do my own kind of Japanese hero type show, which I'm sure many of you out there would like to do as well, but I thought it would be good to discuss things, since I have nothing better to do online these days :D

So, HJU members, what would you do with an Ameri-Toku show? Or, what do you want to see in an Ameri-Toku show? We've gotten a taste of what other people have in mind with Saban and Adness Entertainment. If you care to take this really seriously, consider age range for the audience and keep in mind the limitations of American television ie what the networks can let pass for a kids show if you want to aim it towards kids. But I know a good chunk of you would design something more to be thrown onto Adult Swim, right?

I'll divulge what I want to do personally a little later, since my posts can get rather lengthy and detailed, so I open the forum up to the masses first.
 
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Wheatley

DON'T PUSH THAT BUTTON!
I would like to see animated versions of Kamen Rider and many classic Tokusatsu shows, kinda like Kikaider The Animation.

Reason is because Americanized Tokusatsu with spliced footage isn't exactly popular for the general audience, especially since it's constantly compared to Power Rangers.
 

Kenori

Member
I would like to see an American Toku, but it would definitely have to be animated.

You're honestly just not gonna get a big enough audience for a live action show.

I'd like to see a series as mature as something like Justice League Unlimited.
 

KickHopper

Rajio Showa Rider
It seems like there's a pretty legit fear of live action. Do you all believe it to be because of the inevitable Power Rangers comparisons?

Personally, before I go on such a venture, I'm going to research the hell out of popular live action sci-fi/fantasy shows like Farscape, Firefly, Tinman and Alice.
 

Kenori

Member
Nope, its the budget. You can make a better animated show for far cheaper than a live action one. You dont usually have to pay nearly as much for voices, that is unless you're looking for names.
 
I would like to see an American Toku, but it would definitely have to be animated.

You're honestly just not gonna get a big enough audience for a live action show.

I'd like to see a series as mature as something like Justice League Unlimited.

...If its animated...then it would not be Toku. Its just a cartoon series. There's nothing wrong with that (I love cartoons and anime)...but you can't call it Tokusatsu.

For American Toku, the first thing I would do is put a stop to all this ninja nonsense. Japan does that because that's its history--we need to do something else.

I'd go for a modern day, better budgeted Mystic Knights. Or something like Galidor, but with older kids with recognizable superpowers instead...whatever that kid had. (Been years.)

Japanese Toku is too afraid to create new sets and show us other planets, or better yet not base their shows on Earth in the first place. American Toku definitely should not have this problem.

Its gotta be different from what Japan does...otherwise it'll never be as good. That's the biggest thing. There are some things you can emulate (henshin sequences, robots), but don't go for the same ideas (dinos, ninja).
 
First off, find a writer with some chops in the area of Sci-Fi and maybe Fantasy genre.

As for theme for the series, ether do something that has not been done before, or use one that has but not recently and put a new spin on it.

Go for actor's that can actually act and can really nail whatever character then are cast in. (We don't want another Austin St. John who read's his line instead of acting them)

Also consider making episode's where the heroes don't Transform at all. These could ether be entirely character focused exposition episodes, dealing with romantic situations between members or just plain beating the monster using their heads.

Make the big bad actually fearsome, a really evil person/thing (Like Megatron). Also make sure their is a Starscream as the big bads second.

Make any comic relief characters on the heroes side, nothing pisses me off more than when the villains are the comic's.

Consider abandoning the MOTW formula, and go for the Mini-Arc format. So instead of a new monster each week, make it so each one lasts for 2-3 episodes, maybe more it its a especially powerful enemy.

Weapons, make them match the theme but as close to real world weapons as possible. (Like take the body of a M9 handgun and add some bit's on to it to make a raygun)

more to come....
 

ryuuseipro

New Member
...If its animated...then it would not be Toku. Its just a cartoon series. There's nothing wrong with that (I love cartoons and anime)...but you can't call it Tokusatsu.

Correct.

Tokusatsu is a Japanese special effects art form. If you're doing an animated series, don't bother calling it tokusatsu. Call it anime.

Kaiju Big Battel is the closest we've come to seeing an American-made tokusatsu which almost reaches mainstream level.

Now, to answer KickHopper's question:

If you're interested in attempting your own tokusatsu series, it may be a hard sell to big US TV stations, which normally look down at such productions (because, let's face it, they've done so for the past 50 years plus, and after being raised on strict realism, they'll never accept live-action Japanese-anything, or Japanese-inspired as we know it).

But if you're looking to work on something independently (be it for specialized TV, DVD, the Internet, etc.), have a good budget. Most tokusatsu may be fairly low-budget by Japanese standards, but not exactly easy. Companies such as Toho, Tsuburaya, Daiei, and Toei have had TEAMS of people working on special effects. Also, keep in mind the fact that the Japanese film industry is not union-based, so you'll definitely need to improvise. Remember, tokusatsu is an art, creating illusions with special effects skills. You're the magician, and the sky's the limit.

Here are the bare minimums: If you're the producer, have a writing team, principal staff (director, camera crew), SPFX staff (director, camera crew, stunt coordinators, art directors, miniatures, prosthetics/suit makers, etc.), editors, actors (union or not, preferably those who don't ask for much more than your budget can allow), location and/or studio shoots, and optionally, a composer (or you can attempt to use library music; take your pick). This goes for superhero shows as well.

I hope this helps you some! And hope you have luck in either selling an idea to another company, or making one yourself.
 
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KickHopper

Rajio Showa Rider
I'm thinking of just doing an independent project at first and hoping it catches on, probably something online for now, similar to how Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog started and The Guild and such. But of course Dr. Horrible had a lot of famous names involved so I don't expect it to start off as well as that. I'm hoping with the support of friends and fans of the genre, the ball will roll out after some time.
 
@Ryuuseipro: I agree. The genre 'tokusatsu' refers to live action movies and TV shows that incorporates special effects. Now if it's animated... It won't stay the same.

Now, as a fan of toku, I can recommend an outerspace toku say, a Star Trek or Star Wars meets Metal Heroes and Super Robot Wars. Then have a set of giant one-man henshin heroes robots with awesome designs.

What about that? Budget-wise, needs a lot of savings for that type of project for the prdxn staff, the acting crew and the CGI experts as well as the advertisment crew.
 

Kenori

Member
Tokusatsu has totally transcended its original meaning. I dont see why you couldnt do an animated tokusatsu with all the elements of a live action one: The transformation, the fights, the sparks, the kaijin. Why couldnt you do that animated and still call it a tokusatsu?
 

KickHopper

Rajio Showa Rider
That wouldn't be called tokusatsu, though. That would just be transforming superhero. In which case

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cG_yOU6fd0[/ame]
 

HyperGuyver

Lurker
Tokusatsu has totally transcended its original meaning. I dont see why you couldnt do an animated tokusatsu with all the elements of a live action one: The transformation, the fights, the sparks, the kaijin. Why couldnt you do that animated and still call it a tokusatsu?

Because Tokusatsu basically means 'Special Effects'. If you do it animated then it's a cartoon/anime.

Now if you use CG video mixed with live action scenes then it can be considered tokusatsu.

Original Ameritoku. A fan can only dream...

Can we say 'Mystic Knights of Tir na Nog'?
 

ryuuseipro

New Member
Because Tokusatsu basically means 'Special Effects'. If you do it animated then it's a cartoon/anime.

Now if you use CG video mixed with live action scenes then it can be considered tokusatsu.

Right again! Even anime like 8-Man, Gatchaman, Devilman, Casshern, etc., go in the general "Japanese superhero" category (or, as some might call it, J-Hero).

Tokusatsu is a Japanese special effects art form, or medium. It's not a genre; superheroes are a genre. And of course, tokusatsu is not limited to superhero shows.
 

Kenori

Member
Ok, fine, whatever.

I'm just saying, an animated series done in a toku-like style would be cheaper to do than a live-action toku.
 
Tokusatsu has totally transcended its original meaning. I dont see why you couldnt do an animated tokusatsu with all the elements of a live action one: The transformation, the fights, the sparks, the kaijin. Why couldnt you do that animated and still call it a tokusatsu?

No it hasn't. This ain't the English language, you can't just use a term improperly long enough and then the definition is expanded/changed.

It would be different were you talking about Japanese toku. For instance, if Toei one year aired its regular Super Sentai, but ALONG WITH THAT, an animated version to run a year (I'd love this). Now its still Tokusatsu because its just an animation of an established franchise.

But we don't have established franchises. If you create a series modeled after Toku, it'll be marked as a cartoon. There are already anime with kaijuu and transformations--no one calls them Tokusatsu.
 

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