The Official Now Playing Thread: Za Next!

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
Over the weekend...

[Rampage] Himitsu Sentai Goranger #81-84 (END)

If you're considering watching this show, just try the first few episodes. If you like the characters and don't miss the mechs, you'll be fine. It's mostly episodic aside from occasional two-parters and a few 'updating the status quo' episodes near the middle, but if you're fine with Sentai that don't have an overarching story, it's pretty enjoyable. Plus, there's a few things I've seen in later (even very recent) Sentai which I didn't realise started here, so it's cool to see some traditions start.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
Finishing a couple of things up before Christmas.

[Official youtube channel] Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes #13 (END)
[TMS] Kamen Rider X #35 (END)

The latest Ultra Galaxy Fight series was a pretty good miniseries (13 five minute episodes) although they did have a habit of ending things just as it's getting good. It is getting released in Japan as one single story, so it may be worth hanging on to see if they bring it to the west. But if not, go on the official Ultraman youtube and spend an enjoyable hour with it (you pick which language you want - there's an English dub but the Japanese version has English subtitles available).

The Masked Subbers dropped the final episode of X on Christmas Eve, meaning that every episode of Showa Rider can now be watched subbed (although the last 20 episodes of Skyrider might just be HK subs IIRC). I like X overall. It's mostly episodic but from episode 23 until the end they have a story arc. Personally I preferred the earlier stuff as the arc made each episode quite similar, but it was interesting to find out what the deal was with Apollo Geist, King Dark etc who have re-appeared more recently. Plus it has Starfish Hitler, the most WTF monster-of-the-week ever.
 
Last edited:

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
<awakens from hibernation>
[MFC/MF] Kagaku Sentai Dynaman #48-51 (END)

Aah the gunpowder Sentai. I mean the science Sentai. Yeah, this one's famed for it's big explosions and fight scenes. There's some story too, but this is really one to check out when you want to see 80's Toei action. In that regard, it's really good!
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[KITsubs/XIG] Kamen Rider (TOS) #97-98 (END)

A big one finally completed! I think Gaim was airing when I watched the first half of this show (!) so I thought it was high time to finish it off, in advance of the 50th anniversary next year.

It is, of course, awesome. There are certainly times when you can feel the show is growing and reshaping itself on the fly and the tone changes massively from one end to the other, but it's got to be on every toku fan's bucket list of shows to see.

This also now means I've seen the first entry in all of the 'big three' toku franchises!
 
Last edited:

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[OT] Garo: Versus Road #12 (END)

So, as always with the Garo franchise, this season has a very rear-loaded plot. Which is a fancy way of saying "they set up a battle royale and there's no more story until episode nine of twelve."

The first eight episodes rely on you being entertained by mindless violence. Personally I'm not, and when the story did come along it wasn't substantial enough to compensate for the feeling that I'd wasted my time on the first two thirds of the series.

Having said that, I've seen a lot of people on twitter saying how much they enjoyed this different take on the franchise, so if you've never seen a Garo show (it is a stand-alone season) or if you are a completionist who has to watch them all, then go ahead. I can't see myself ever watching it again though.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[GC] Ultraman Taiga #23-26 (END)

Given that Z is now airing, it seemed right to finally finish Taiga. I think it's one of the weaker New Generation series. Titas and Fuma are very under-used, Tregear isn't a particularly interesting main villain, Hiroyuki is one of the less charismatic leads, and for all the hype about Taiga being the son of Taro that really has no relevance on the story.

Not a waste of time, by any means. But not a "must see" entry in the franchise. Z has been better so far.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[Crown Empire] Shichisei Tōshin Guyferd #25-26 (END)

One last show over the finish line before the end of the year. Sadly I don't think I could recommend this one. Unless you specifically seek out and enjoy the scrappy, non-franchise, oddball shows, or you're a Gransazer fan who really needs to see two of it's cast members (specifically Asuka Shimizu and Shoichiro Akaboshi) reunited even if it's in a show that's not as good. But for most viewers I think this one could definitely wait until you've gotten through all of the big three, Garo, Godzilla, etc and you're down to scraping the barrel.

But hey, it's the only toku show I can think of that resorted to a 'Home Alone's style trap - having a kid escape from a room by peeing on the floor, connecting the puddle to an electrical outlet, then faking illness to get the guard to come in so he gets electrocuted when he steps in it.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[Bereke] Skyrider #53-54 (END)

Ah Skyrider. You're not the best of the Showa era, but you're not terrible either. Perhaps more excitingly though, I now only have one more Rider series to watch: Super-1. It seems only appropriate to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary by finishing all the past seasons, so I guess that's next!
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[Bereke] Kamen Rider Super-1 #45-48 (END)

With two sets of enemies, this was a series of almost exactly two halves. The first half was really enjoyable. Possibly some of the best Showa Rider. The second half is not as good, but not the utter disaster it's often made out to be. It's main weakness is that the villains' plans are usually either stupid, unambitious, or both.

This also marks a bit of a milestone for me. With Super-1 now seen, I have now watched every televised episode of Showa era Rider.
I won't say I've "completed" the era, as there's four movies that nobody's bothered fansubbing as they're just episodes with some snippets recovered from the cutting room floor and added back in, and crudely converted to widescreen by slicing the top and bottom off the image. But nevertheless, it feels like I have reached an ending of sorts.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
Sneaking one last series in under the wire before the end of the year!

Spider-Man #41 (END)

I have very mixed feeling on this show. The cast are really likeable. It has it's place in history secured due to both it's source material and by being the show that introduced giant robots to Toei tokusatsu. And yet, there's very little in terms of ongoing plot (and what there is seems to be abandoned around the halfway mark) and the giant robot fights are famously perfunctory. Definitely a show where watching an episode now and then for those old school toku vibes seems like a much better option than binge watching it.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
I started the year by finally dealing with some unfinished business...

Neo Ultra Q #7-12 (END)

It's been years since I watched the first half of this series, but I was finally in the mood for it again. It doesn't have the charm of the brilliant original, but it made a nice little change from the usual superhero fare for a short while. I can't say I'm eager to immediately dive into more of this odd little branch of the Ultra franchise though. The movie and Dark Fantasy will have to stay on the back-burner for now.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
Ooh, forgot to post this one. About a month ago...

[Wandering Moonbeams] Kōsoku Sentai Turboranger (END)

Turboranger's kind of an odd one. Put aside the five piece mecha for a moment, and it feels like this show should have come immediately after Dynaman, not six years later. The show's emphasis on the Wandering Bouma, Yamimaru and Kirika, forms so much of the overarching story and feels like an evolution of what they'd previously done with Prince Megid.
Which isn't to say Turboranger is necessarily a bad show, but it is one that feels a bit behind the times when you look at the franchise as a whole. Fans often accuse Fiveman of being the point where the franchise seemed tired, but in many respects it's following along the path laid by decisions made here.

[Rubber Subs/Maxwell Breeze] Ultra Q Dark Fantasy #24-26 (END)

Well I lied in my previous post, and decided to finish this off as well. Much like Neo Ultra Q, this doesn't have the charm of the original. Comparing it to "Neo" I think that show has more 'wtf' moments, but just by virtue of it's longer episode count this one does get to know the recurring characters more. Regardless, if you want to get into this odd little sub-franchise, the original remains the one to beat.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[TVN] Ultraman Dyna #48-51 (END)

Another long-term backburner project that I figured I'd finish off before starting anything new, and perhaps more importantly before Decker begins in a couple of month. A solid series, more straight forward than Tiga and with a bit more energy than Gaia. But as beloved as they are those 90s Ultra shows don't light my fire in the same way that shows before or since have done, so I'd call this soldly entertaining rather than a contender for favourite season. Certainly a positive change of pace after my recent slog through the Ultra Q sequels though.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
I totally forgot about this, but about a month or so ago...

[MF] JAKQ Dengekitai #31-35, JAKQ Dengekitai vs Goranger (END)

I don't feel like I really have anything to say about this show that hasn't ben said a thousand times before. It's a show of three parts. The first is easily the best, and really feels more like one of the other 70s Ishinomori series (and frankly one of the better ones) than a Sentai, but it didn't get remotely close to Goranger level ratings at the time.
The second part is where they are panicking and trying to retool the show on the fly, and is easily the weakest part. Then you get the final part which is simultaneously better and worse. Better because they bring in Hiroshi Miyauchi, who is coming in straight off Zubat and at the height of his charismatic powers. Worse because they also bring in Tamasaburou, a team cook who can't actually cook, as the show's comic relief character, and I find him borderline intolerable.

By no means the worst Sentai, but in the end not the best and certainly not enough to get out of Goranger's shadow. I do like the crossover movie between the two shows though. It somehow feels like a movie and not just an extra episode with a slightly larger budget, as so often tends to be the case.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
[Berndadelta] Battle Fever J #51-52 (END)

I always figured this would be one of the Sentai seasons that I would find the least enjoyable but I got more from it than I thought I would. There aren't any real surprises but it's solid Showa era action (they really do love their fire stunts) and from a historical perspective it's interesting to see them experimenting a bit with the mecha action before it was solidly locked into the standard pattern we know today.

[MBE] Tokusou Robo Janperson #49-50 (END)

JANPERSON FIGHTS FOR JUSTICE
<siren wails>

One of the longest running fansub jobs has finally come to an end. I must admit I've really enjoyed watching the show evolve from it's more episodic beginnings to juggling multiple ongoing story threads and having a small but tightly knit cast of characters. Sadly the show really peaks just before it's three finales (because there are three villain groups in this show) which slightly takes the edge off. But for a henshin hero with no henshins, it was really enjoyable. Plus it has that background music that totally rips off the opening theme to Star Trek TNG.

SEE YOU AGAIN
 

TokuPrime

New Member
New account but the same old routine.

Android Kikaider: The Animation #01-13

I have now seen every televised/movie version of Kikaider, and this is the only version where they manage to use the 'conscience circuit' concept in a way that helps the story they are trying to tell! In short, this has the best story in any official Kikaider project (although I'd still say that Metalder is a better unofficial version of the Kikaider story) and yet it's also probably the least accessible for people who have not already experienced other versions. The pacing is frustrating and it's clearly being made on a tiny budget where they have to employ every cheat in the book to try and limit the amount of drawing that they had to do (don't come here for action as there's hardly any) and it hurts the show so much.

Kikaider 01: The Animation #01-04

The OVA sequel to the above and they totally blow the budget on making the first two episodes as action packed as possible. Sadly this means that the fourth episode looks kind of awful (Hakaider in particular spends most of that last episode looking horribly off-model).

Unlike in the original, where Ichiro is kind of the bland protagonist that manages to be less interesting than every other character, this keeps Jiro as the main character and re-imagines Ichiro as more of a hot-head who leaps into action without thinking anything through - and he's all the better for it! Also, they finally explain how he ends up hidden in a statue for the entirety of the first season.

We also get a new character called Rei, who is Kikaider 00 - a prototype that is not brought online until the events of the show who, as he's more primitive than his two brothers' exhibits little personality and really is only there because merch the good guys need more firepower to combat the villains this time.

Sadly there's no Waruder at all, but they just wouldn't have had the time to adapt his story in four episodes, so it's probably for the best. Even as it is, there are times where it feels like whole chunks of the story have been edited out for time. It makes me wonder if it was originally going to be five episodes and got cut down so they could make the next entry instead?

The Boy Who Carried a Guitar: Kikaider vs. Inazuman

One final special, and it's a crossover with Inazuman. This is heavily based on an issue of Ishinomori's Inazuman manga in which Jiro appeared. The problem with that is that the Inazuman manga made sweeping changes to the main cast compared to the televised version of Inazuman, and because it was part of an ongoing series it obviously had no need to introduce these characters. Whereas in this we've never met them before (and being familiar with the toku is no help) so you just kind of get dropped in and have to roll with it.

The lack of explanation also extends to not communicating the idea behind the whole idea of Inazuman's two stage evolution. If you didn't know about Sanagiman going in, you'll probably wonder what on Earth is going on. But the transformation from Sanagiman into Inazuman is probably the best looking sequence in this whole project.

tldr for all of the above: really one for diehard Kikaider fans only, but if that's you then you should certainly give it a look.
 

TokuPrime

New Member
Andro Melos #45-47 (END)

OK time for something different. A series that's 45 episodes long, but the episodes themselves are only about five minutes long (six if you want to watch the opening credits every time). Also there's plenty of recaps throughout to further bring down the amount you'll actually watch.

Despite being made by Tsuburaya and being officially counted as a part of the Ultra franchise, this is clearly made at a time in the 80s when they just couldn't afford the usual production values. In some ways it's more akin to the modern Ultra Galaxy Fight shows. In-suit characters only, clearly filmed entirely on a single set with different backgrounds to represent different planets. Also similarly, it turns into a quest to stop the villains from acquiring a superweapon that they can use to destroy the universe.

It's inoffensive, but about as inessential as it gets. Do not be disappointed that Mil Creek did not get the rights for it.
 

Now on Kickstarter

Latest News

Who's on Discord?

Top