Taking from Owenashi's original OP
Tokusatsu (特撮) is a Japanese term that applies to any live-action film or television drama that features considerable use of special effects (tokusatsu literally translates as "special filming" in Japanese).
Tokusatsu entertainment often deals with science fiction, fantasy or horror, but movies and television shows in other genres can sometimes count as tokusatsu as well. The most popular types of tokusatsu include kaiju monster movies like the Godzilla and Gamera film series; superhero TV serials such as the Kamen Rider and Metal Hero series; and mecha dramas like Giant Robo. Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres, for example the Ultraman and Super Sentai series. Tokusatsu is one of the most popular forms of Japanese entertainment, but most tokusatsu movies and television programs are not widely known outside Asia.
So this is tokuastsu.
And this is tokuastsu.
Even this is tokuastsu.
However, this is what most fans know today as tokuastsu or just 'toku' for short; Kamen Rider, Super Sentai and Metal Heroes.
Kamen Rider started out first in 1971 and the group of shows lasting from that time till 1989 (the heroes from then referred to as the Showa Riders) mostly involved regular guys getting turned into cyborgs due to evil COBRA-esque organizations hellbent on taking over the world. Only the Riders with their super-charged motorcycles could stop them and the various monsters of the week from getting their way. In 2000, Kamen Rider began anew. Unlike the Showa Riders, these 'Heisei Riders' had pretty much no connection to each other and only met in non-canon material. They still kept the trait however of their powers (non-cybernetic this time) having connections to the very evil they were trying to face. This lasted until about 2009 in which the movies of the series Kamen Rider Decade began to connect both eras together canonically and the following shows afterwards (dubbed by some as the 'neo-Heisei' era) can be said to share the same universe, something promoted by the Movie Wars crossover films.
The other major half of modern toku is Super Sentai, AKA the shows Power Rangers gets most of their fighting footage from. Starting in 1975 with Himitsu Sentai Goranger, the various shows within the franchise have grown to offer a more teamwork-based counterpart to the loner Kamen Rider with teams of three to five (with an extra teammate or two joining in later during the series) fighting in helmets and spandex against monsters sent from various evil powers seeking to conquer or destroy the planet, often having to fight the monsters twice as after it's initial defeat, it grows so the group can permanently defeat it with a giant mecha.
If you remember VR Troopers or Big Bad Beetleborgs, then you've seen footage from the Metal Heroes franchise, the shows within tending to involve humans or aliens using metal armor to fight villains. While not as big as either Kamen Rider or Super Sentai, it's been making a comeback recently in the last few years based around the first Metal Heroes, the Space Sheriffs. The first, Space Sheriff Gavan, returned for a teamup with the Super Sentai group Gokaiger and then later in his own movie where he passed on the title to a younger heir. Now a pair of movies will be made to install new faces in the other two Space Sheriffs' boots, Sharivan and Shaider.
Since the original OP in 2014, a lot has changed for Toku Fans outside of Japan! Toei and Tsubaraya both have begun making a push for Tokusatsu to be officially available to fans in North America, with Tsubaraya particularly being at the front of the effort to make Ultraman, one of the genre's oldest and longest running heroes, a world wide name, now having licensed nearly every series in their catalog for domestic home video release via Mill Creek Entertainment, with Streaming Rights being handled by community favorite ShoutFactory via their TokuSHOUTsu
label, as well as having simulcast the past three years of Ultraman series on their official YouTube Channel, along with specials like the Ultra Galaxy Fight series.
Toei is... Toei. So we're starting to get more Rider over here, particulary as a set of fans over at Bluefin (now an arm of Bandai' merchandising efforts), Team Kamen Rider, proved that you can
make money by selling nerds expensively priced replica belts, gear and figures. That said, A handful of Heisei Rider series, along with the original Showa-Era Kamen Rider and the first of the Reiwa-era Kamen Rider Zero-One now being available via ShoutFactory. That said, the wait for more rider to be officially picked up, as well as two popular heisei series like Kamen Rider Agito
and Kamen Rider Faiz
being trapped behind the TOKU streaming service (with poor translations to boot) is a bit of a frustration compared to how well Tsubaraya has managed to send Ultraman abroad. Though one bright light is after a couple of years where ShoutFactory was unable to localize older sentai releases,
But, in the meantime... the shows!Ultraman Decker
Following last year's Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga
, we have a new entry in the tribute to the "TDG" trilogy of shows that revived Ultraman after a nearly twenty year television hiatus after the end of 1980's Ultraman 80,
, Ultraman Decker
The threat of monster attacks has faded, and the Earth seems once again at peace. Humanity turns its eyes to the stars and heads to space, while its monster attack countermeasures continue to shrink. It is in this new age when “Sphere,” an invading swarm of mysterious floating space objects, begin to attack Earth. Humanity loses contact with space and becomes a lone star. The attack throws our hero Kanata Asumi’s peaceful life into chaos. Destruction spreads before his eyes and a giant monster appears. With no heed for his own safety, Kanata jumps in front of the enemy and transforms into Ultraman Decker.
“I gotta do it now!”
Having discovered the light of Decker within himself, Kanata pledges to protect humanity’s daily life and joins the expert team GUTS-Select, newly reformed as an Anti-Sphere squad. As its newest member, Kanata and his young, unseasoned team stand against these great enemies, together.
Ultraman Decker can be streamed via its simulcasts on Tsubaraya's official youtube channel and the new Western Ultraman portal, Ultraman ConnectionAvatar Sentai Donbrothers
Thirty years since the end of the series defining entry Choujin Sentai Jetman
, screenwriter Toshiki Inoue returns to Super Sentai to shake up the genre once again! Combining elements of the folk tale of Momotaro, a dash of the Hakkenden and an eye towards situation dramas, Avataro Sentai Donbrothers
tells the story of an unlikely team of misfit heroes. After receiving a strange set of glasses that reveal seemingly normal humans to be creatures called "Anoni," high school prodigy mangaka Haruka Kito's life is turned upside down and her reputation ruined by accusations of blatant plagiarism. As she tries to figure out what has happened to her life, she is brought to a man imprisoned in a strange, seemingly virtual reality named Jin Momoi who tells her that she must seek out and pledge loyalty to a mysterious man, "Momoi Taro." As Haruka seeks out this Taro, she receives a gun, the DonBlaster, that allows her to transform into OniSister, a member of the Avataro Sentai. DonBlaster in hand she and three other companions are summoned to fight alongside Taro, who leads the team as the boisterous and wild DonMomotaro, to purge possessed humans of their obsessions that have transformed them into monstrous Hitotsuki before they can be slain by the Noto, three generals from the Ideon who seek to kill those possessed before they can be a threat to their realm. However, the events of this struggle seems to have broken a seal on another threat to both the human world and Ideon: beast-like beings known as "Juto."
Sadly, Donbrothers is not licensed and is not likely to be licensed for... a while, given Hasbro's current plans for the Power Rangers franchise.Kamen Rider Revice
In a world where your inner demons aren't simply a metaphor, demons threaten to overtake humanity in a war lead by the demon Giff. Discovered in 1971, Giff's remains were obtained by the organization NOAH, which utilized this finding to create devices called Vistamps to grant the user the ability to forge a contract with their inner demon for greater power. In the modern day, the FENIX organization leads the charge in suppressing demons and the Deadmans organization who seek to revive Giff and usher in an age of demonic destruction.
In the midst of this, operator of the Igarashi Bathhouse, eldest son Ikki Igarashi, struggles to keep his own inner demon, Vice, under control. But on the day his brother Daiji is to be formally inducted into FENIX, Ikki is forced to step up himself to fight the Deadmans as they attack the ceremony, using FENIX's new Revice Driver. Stamping the Rex Vistamp onto the driver, Ikki and Vice are together turned into a new pair of heroes: Kamen Rider Revi and Kamen Rider Vice; together, this troublesome duo are Kamen Rider Revice!Revice
is not currently licensed, but there's probably a decent chance that, should Kamen Rider continue to sell in the states that it will be licensed. Additionally, Revice
is beginning to enter it's final stretch, which means of course it'll be time for the next Rider of the Reiwa era...