(Refer back to this entry if you need your memory refreshed.)
The problem with watching shows like SPYCATCHER J3 is that they certainly SEEM interesting, but it's impossible to know what's going on with all of the plot twists and intrigue because of the language barrier. So while I found the "movie" (edited from a two-parter from the series) interesting, I couldn't really follow it that well. It wasn't hopeless, but I was lost more than a little.
Color me surprised to see Tetsuro Tanba in the role of "J1", our hero's superior in TULIP (The Undercover Line of International Police). He doesn't get to do much, but I'm sure he was much in demand by that time anyway. Yusuke Kawazu, who has never impressed me in anything else, actually cuts an interesting figure as J3, and I really enjoyed his performance.
CAPTAN ULTRA is also edited together from two episodes of its series, though they aren't consecutive ones in this case. This space adventure show is no relation to Tsuburaya's hero shows, except for the fact that it occupied the same time slot on TBS during the interim between ULTRAMAN and ULTRASEVEN. Our spacefaring hero has no "Color Timer", but he does have a nifty rocket. He also fights some incredibly non-threatening looking aliens.
The last sentence brings me to the fact that Toei shows are rarely, if ever, what you'd term "big budget". This is most glaring in some of their 1960s shows, which seem to wallow in wonderful cheapness. CAPTAIN ULTRA is perhaps the most obvious culprit, since it takes place entirely in (set-bound) space. His alien enemies are simply the sort of thing that need to be seen to be believed.
KAPPA NO SANPEI is a more mystically-oriented show, dealing with the uniquely Japanese side of such things. It's fun and surprisingly easy to follow. I especially got a kick out of the "Shinigami" ("Grim Reaper") who looked like a refugee from the Gargoyle Gang.
JUDO ICCHOKUSEN ("A Straight Line of Judo") is a series created by the same manga creator who brought us "Hoshi no Kyojin" (STAR OF THE GIANTS) and "Ashita no Jo" (TOMORROW'S JO). Surprise! It's another sports-themed concept! I found this very watchable, though its connection to "tokusatsu" is tenuous at best. This particular episode centers around our aspiring judo-ka dealing with a hot tempered wrestler.
Aaaaand this concludes our tour of Disc 1 of this set. Join us in our next installment (whenever that is) when we dive headlong into the henshin hero boom!
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