Monday, March 31, 2014

This Kikaider Thing Looks Neat

I like tokusatsu generally, but honestly I don't know much more about Kikaider than the fact that one of the series that went into the largely forgotten and mostly disliked VR Troopers series (a show in the style of Power Rangers, with spliced Japanese footage-only the Japanese footage was significantly older and more... sloppily used*), the Metal Heroes series Metalder**, was pretty much a straight-up slavish homage to it (with much nicer costuming). Or so I've read.

That said...

...this Kikaider reboot movie thing is pretty neat-looking. I always like superpowered fights where dumb stuff like being driven into the ground happens. (It's dumb in this case because there's no way that a human-sized thing can drive another human-sized thing down into solid concrete, which I presume they're standing on, without some serious weight behind it.)

*Because the footage was an average of about eight years old and came from three unrelated shows, VR Troopers' action footage was rather disjointed and bewildering. I can't complain too much, because it means the American audience got a little taste of the rarest and most obscure of the three Toei tokusatsu long-runners.)

**I've actually read a fair bit about Metalder; I'm one of the few people who remembers VR Troopers with any fondness, and the part of the show that most interested me was always the Metalder footage, because the costumes were pretty wonderful and the fights were more unusual for someone used to Power Rangers fare. What I learned when I read into it is that Metalder eschewed the default "monster of the week" formula of tokusatsu, instead introducing a horde of minor villainous characters early on and using them liberally throughout the series, with many of these characters having story arcs and the odd heartbreaking moment***, all while Metalder periodically brutally killed them off. Metalder being an android, he apparently got pretty thrashed sometimes too-I've seen footage of a fight whose VR Troopers version had been badly edited where Metalder got caught by a scythe-like blade embedded in his shoulder and was thus suffering repeated close-quarters attacks, and rather than try to pry the blade loose, he used it to cut his own arm off to break free, and then used his own severed arm as a spear to impale his enemy.

***One of the minor villains was a dimwitted robot who loved puppies. He died because he rescued some puppies the other villains had put in a minefield as a trap for Metalder and stepped on a mine. Seriously. (In VR Troopers, the equivalent character stepped on a landmine because he was just an idiot. I don't know if I find this use of the footage even more heartbreaking or just hilarious. See also: Zyuranger's Goda, a mother monster whose eggs were eaten, being translated into Power Rangers' Fang, a male monster whose egg breakfast was stolen. I still laugh at that all the time, mainly because they depicted Fang as a total prat idiot who just happened to be nearly unstoppable. And possibly because I'm not a very nice person.)

-Signing off.

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