Sunday, August 9, 2009

Toei Tokusatsu Hero Box - Bonus Disc

(It's the end of the line today!)

3-D has always been a pain in the neck, or more properly the eyeballs, for me. I can appreciate the effect, but after a few minutes of wearing those goofy glasses, I've had enough. It's just too taxing on my peepers, and I'd like to keep them in good shape. So it's with decidedly mixed feelings that I review the bonus disc in this set.

It's not that the movies aren't good. All three of them are very entertaining, and I'd say they compare well to the other featurettes in this collection. No, the source of my pain, and the reason these movies got consigned to what is labeled a "bonus" disc, is that all of them have several 3-D interludes. These are rather charmingly set up in the movies themselves, in some nice breaking of the fourth wall. When the narrator informs me it's time to don my glasses,though, I know I'm in for some action and some watery eyes.

First up to bat is the 1960s series KAMEN NO NINJA AKA KAGE ("Masked Ninja Red Shadow"), a lively and colorful fantasy action series from when those things were the exception rather than the rule. Things naturally got a lot more elaborate in the years ahead, but the anachronistic delights in this show are pretty nifty. This particular flick is pieced together from episodes with new footage tying it together and supplying the 3-D sequences as well. The patchwork nature doesn't distract from the fun. And hey, did I mention it has ninja?

JINZO NINGEN KIKAIDA ("Android Kikaider") is quite possibly the most famous show represented in this set, due in no small part to the folks at Generation Kikaida keeping the dream alive for those Americans lucky enough to have seen the show on TV. While this all-new featurette is perhaps not the pinnacle of the series, it does a more than adequate job, and has some of the best segues to 3-D in terms of comedy value. Oh, and let's not forget the main villain getting into an argument with the audience! If you are a newbie and would like to sample any of the movies I've discussed in these reviews, this one is your best bet. It's available on Volume 9 of Generation Kikaida's KIKAIDA DVDs, and it even has English subtitles on that release! Warning : completely addictive.

Our last mini-masterpiece is INAZUMAN, which my pal Igadevil (making a triumphant return to his blogging duties, I might add!) informs me is possibly one of the earliest examples of Toei creating a blatant "AU" (alternate universe). You see, this movie is essentially a remake (or did it come first?) of the finale of the INAZUMAN TV series, only with a healthier budget. I'm sure it varies in several additional ways, but I haven't seen those episodes so never mind. What I can tell you is that there is a war between two different groups of baddies going on in addition to the deviltry that our mighty mothman must manage.

And that, as they say, is that. It boggles my mind to realize that I began this series in December 2008 on my journal, before this blog even existed. I've somehow managed to hit my goal of posting one installment of it per month since I began this latest incarnation of OWARI. I hope everyone has enjoyed my quirky journey through this rather amazing collection.

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