Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tokusatsu Rising

Tokusatsu; means Special Effects in Japanese. It encompasses all sorts of trick photography and effects in TV and Movies, but for us foreigners, it's more associated with Live Action martial arts shows. Derived from a lack of money and recourses, Tokusatsu developed techniques involving slight of hand cuts. It might not have appeared realistic - but that's one of the endearing charms Japanese Speical effects deliver. It's a tried and true formula that has worked for years in shows like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider.

Anyway - next to Anime, I think Tokusatsu shows are one of Japan's great and unique styles - one I wish could more easily be seen in America. BUT - Slowly but surely, Tokusatsu has been creeping ever so slowly into the American market place. Here are some examples - and where you can buy them.

Kamen Rider V3 Box Set Click Here to See the Item
This here is the biggest item for Tokusatsu fans I've ever seen. It includeds the entire 52 Episode run of Kamen Rider V3, tons of special features, Digitally Remastered, and every episode is Subtitled.

The only drawback if it's price, a whopping $179.00! (Now $150) This is no doubt due to the licensing fees needed to bring this series over to America, but it's still a pretty hefty bill to swallow. But it is the first Kamen Rider series to be offered, in it's original format, uncut, to America. It might just be worth it. I can only hope they might do the same for other Kamen Rider Series. This is a step in the right direction, but a cheaper price really couldn't hurt.

This here was a great choice to bring over to America - as it's a stand alone remake of Kamen Rider. No previous knowledge of the series needs to be known - and as a single movie, it doesn't have a big price tag attached to it.

I bought this one, and it's great. The action is top notch and the story, while very condensed from the TV series, serves the character well. There aren't a lot of splashy special digital effects like in modern Kamen Rider series, but focuses on the bare minimum style of physical action and camera tricks, which serves the movie to give you a feel of the older style Kamen Rider action.

This is a great buy at under $20 - but I was deeply disappointed to see that it's sequel movie "Kamen Rider The Second" was not released in America. It seemed like it was going to, but I'd imagine poor sales might have nixed it. I still hold out hope they might come back and finish the story for us, though.

Since the bigger names of Tokusatsu are less readily available, sometimes an oddity pops that is less known, but just as good. I honestly don't know much about this series, but I remember seeing it in the stores - and it's still available for $50. Not bad for an entire series.

Ultraman: The Complete Series You Can See the Item Here, at

Now this here, this just makes my head explode. Not only is Ultraman one of Japan's more well known Super Heroes, but it seems the Original series (39 episodes) is being offered in America for $15. ($10, with the Amazon Discount) I half expect this to be some kind of trick, being such a good deal. It says it's going on sale on September 29th, 2009

This seems like a deal too good to be true. I'll definitely have to check it out myself.

Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection You Can See the Item Here, at

Godzilla has always been the biggest Tokusatsu series accepted and released here in America. But there other Sci-Fi and Monster Movies from Japan. This DVD set features "Battle for Outer Space", "H-Man", and "Mothra". I'm unsure wether the original Japanese audio is included though.

This here is a live-action remake of Tetsujin 28. Tetsujin 28 might be more commonly known as "Gigantor" in America. You have to thank Tetsujin for every giant robot known today - as he seems to be the very first. This movie uses Live Action - but uses computer effects to depict Tetsujin just like he looks in the Anime.

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