I have a strict rule when writing reviews. It needs to be something I can see/buy or have seen legally. This means as much as I’d love to tell you all about the amazing Kamen Rider Gaim and why it has forever ruined Power Rangers for me I can’t. But good news, around a month ago Toei put a bunch of its old action shows on YouTube, well the first 2 episodes of them and they are subbed (sadly due to most likely licensing we can’t see the Super Sentai series) so I asked people around, what was the craziest one to watch.
So a bunch of goons plant a bomb on a bus then try to run over the school children on their trip before beating up their teacher:-
-before her scientist brother comes in and fights them with martial arts,
-only for the goons leader’s bodyguard, who is styled as a cowboy, shoots just to his sides as a warning,
-only for our hero Ken Hayakawa, a private detective, friend of the brother and also dressed in cowboy attire shows up playing a guitar,
-resulting in a shooting contest where he shoots the bullets out of the air scaring the criminals away.
Only for the bomb on the bus to be activated while escaping resulting in the brother sacrificing himself. But he survives and is in hospital,
– only for the hospital to be blown up by the gang’s leader (who enjoys blowing people up)
-and the brother gunned down by a mysteries assailant
-and Ken Hayakawa going to his lab and makes a super suit to fight crime as Zubat! ….
and all this happened in what, the first 10 minutes?
Now suspension of disbelief is a thing. I can accept bizarre stuff happening in a world with super powers and aliens…. but this series has none of those. Yep its only actually criminal gangs who, judging by the two episodes, all have a habit of being run by people who cover half their face, have some costumed stylized bodyguard, and all answer to a mysterious crime lord dressed as if he’s some 1970s Japanese alien conqueror. I just (profanity) loved this crazy (profanity).
Now episode two has Ken arrive in a town besieged by a different group of bandits, also led by a man who covers half his face, has a bodyguard (this time styled after a swordsman) who Ken challenges and beats. Only for the old man he saved to be gunned down later by a mysterious assailant (even Ken commenting on the similarity). And then defeating the leader as Zubat.
It’s only two episodes seen so far but it’s very possible that’s the formula of most episodes…
But what of the costumed hero Zubat himself. The super suit is the result of science not magical powers and enhances the ability of the wearer drastically but only for a short time before its effects damage the wearer.
He also has a flying car.
The series has a very Western (as in cowboy) feel to it. Not just in how Ken dresses normally but he walks in to save the day only to then afterwards walk into the sunset. If not for him putting on a super suit to take on the bad guys at the end you would think it’s some Japanese cowboy show.
As said I found this hilarious in how insane it was. It was having regular gangsters acting like the super villains/ancient evils/invading aliens of other Japanese shows yet have none of the technology. It leads to a hilarious surrealism since the boundaries of the bizarre are not fully broken. The first two episodes as well as the first two of a lot of old Japanese Tokusatsu shows from Toei are up on their official YouTube page so if you have the internet… well not much we’re doing right now.
KAIKETSU ZUBAT (Episode 1)
KAIKETSU ZUBAT (Episode 2)