Truer words…

Don’t kid yourselves — the acting in all of the toku shows are basically the same. Of course, the haters (from both sides) will claim that the actors in their favorite series are better than the others, and visa versa. But, simply put, these shows would have been made if they weren’t popular. Period.

ULTRAMAN has been going for more than 40 years, so they’re doing something right. Created in 1966, ULTRAMAN was followed by the KAMEN RIDER five years later and the SUPER SENTAI series another four after that, which were spawned because of the need for the networks to have their own superhero shows — a genre that was created by ULTRAMAN. The Tokusatsu Hero genre is 100% attributed to ULTRAMAN and is acknowledged as the progenitor in Japan.

Now, all of these programs — especially today — are kid’s shows. Most are still on the air because of Bandai to sell toys. So, arguing which kid’s show is more serious than the other is kind of silly, don’t you think? But, from the standpoint of someone who loves it all, I can honestly say that SUPER SENTAI is really losing steam — and they seem to be aiming the series at younger and younger audiences, which results in losing adult viewers such as myself. I just don’t really care about SS right now — and that’s terrible.

Meanwhile, the new KAMEN RIDER series grabbed me with KUUGA and have been keeping me interested — although the need to be more exaggerated with the characters all of the time (and the insistence on using anime-style antics) is wearing on my nerves despite the kick-ass trappings. When KIVA has to copy GARO, that tells you something, unfortunately.

Both KR and SS seem to be experiencing an identity crisis of sorts, and need to find their true centers. Meanwhile, ULTRAMAN is ULTRAMAN has always been ULTRAMAN. Even through reinventions with ULTRAMAN 80 and ULTRAMAN TIGA (and NEXUS) to the newer series that have linked themselves to the past, such as ULTRAMAN MAX and ULTRAMAN MEBIUS, ULTRAMAN has been far more consistent — they haven’t really messed with what makes it successful, because they pay respect to their own history. It is what it is.

Whether one “sucks” and the other “doesn’t” is a matter of personal taste. I don’t understand the “need” for fans to have a divide or “camp” at all — when I was a kid, we’d watch everything — we were just hungry to see more of these amazing shows from Japan no matter what it was. We didn’t get much until the VCR revolution and began trading tapes with Japanese fans.

I love Ultraman and I love Kamen Rider and I love Kikaida and I love Goranger and I love Iron King and I love…

You ARE allowed to enjoy all of them, you know — and perhaps all of you should. Did you ever think that you might be missing something? Think about it. You are a fan of Japanese superheroes, but you don’t like KAMEN RIDER? ULTRAMAN? What kind of fan are you? As for me, I’m going to watch some ULTRAMAN ACE And BAROM-1 tonight and then catch up with KIVA tomorrow.

-August Ragone


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