Tokusatsu and Anime Visuals


One of the most repetitive criticisms of Kyoryuger, Fourze, Wizard and Gaim are the increased use of cartoony visuals. These include all sorts of physical comedy, cartoon effects on people's faces and on the screen in general, odd gestures, sound effects, and other things which are supposedly "bad on live-action". I have never been turned off by those so I'm honestly surprised that there are those who are.

Now, over the last couple or so weeks, I've been watching J-dramas from the past three years. At least five of them and counting. And among them, only one did not have those cartoony effects. Even a drama that was meant for older aged women ("Last Cinderella") included such cartoony effects, albeit in limited doses. Particularly notorious are shows that are based off of shoujo manga ("Yamada and the Seven Witches", "Itazura na Kiss: Love in TOKYO" and "Switch Girl!"). Way worse than Kyoryuger or Gaim could produce. Three shows which I particularly liked, by the way.

That got me into thinking, if shows that are made for much older and mature people and include ideas about sex and sexuality have those kind of visuals, why couldn't shows that are aimed for kids? Aren't we being elitist if we dismiss a show because of "cartoony effects", especially shows that are especially written as comedies?

After all, I believe that tokusatsu is somewhat also an attempt to recreate drawn media in live-action form. There's nothing wrong with doing so.


The first time I showed Kamen Rider to a friend his exact words were "This is like a really good live-action anime".

So if that's what they were going for, then mission success I'd say. I like cartoons. A lot. The vast majority of media I consume are cartoons. Toku, a couple of live-action superhero shows, and a sprinkling handful of gameshows or non-fiction entertainment ventures (Mythbusters, Top Gear) are the only non-cartoons I watch.

So do I have a problem with it? Nope.


That's exactly what I think. When people complain about cartoony visuals being out-of-place in tokusatsu, I just don't get it. Tokusatsu, especially that which is meant for kids, is the best live-action medium to emulate cartoons and thus to copy cartoon visuals.


Cartoony visuals in tokusatsu aren't even all that new. I remember one time in Ultraman Dyna when Asuka got slapped and there was a little Hanejiro flying around his head. But that fit the tone of the episode (I think it was the one with the giant apes).