In this Guide we will see everything about the Japanese Heroes of the Tokusatsu series. You will learn the origin and history of the genre, the main films, series and curiosities. We will also recommend where watch tokusatsu online and which are the best of their kind.
It is likely that you have already watched or know a movie, series or character of the Tokusatsu genre. In the past, the genre involved any type of film production that made use of many special effects.
But, nowadays it is more recognized through films and series of super heroes produced in Japan. Always with a lot of special effect, Martial arts, super powers, armor, giant robots and much more. Series like Godzilla and Super Sentai are considered Tokusatsu.
The History of Tokusatsu
It all started in 1954, when the first production of the genre, the film Gojira, was produced, known worldwide by Godzilla. The film became one of the greatest hits of the time and a worldwide symbol to this day. The following productions followed the film’s popularity and imitated the model of giant monsters, known as Kaijus.
The first superhero actually came only in 1958, called Guekkou Kame, who also became a big hit at the time. Such work opened the door to other series of heroes like 7-Color Mask of 1959 and National Kid of 1960.
It was after these that the most striking features like heroes or groups of heroes, armaments, machinery, costumes became trademarks of the Tokusatsu. It is believed that all this was a response to the increase in the disclosure of foreign heroes such as Superman, Captain America among others in Japanese territory.
The rise of Ultraman and giant heroes
In 1995, a Japanese director named Eiji Tsuburaya founds his own production company, Tusuburaya Procuctions, and launches his first TV series, Utra Q. And the very next year he creates one of the best-known characters in the genre, Ultraman. The series of this character had 39 episodes, and ended up becoming a symbol of tokusatsu and Japan. In 1967, another great success emerged, Ultraseven, which had better effects than its predecessor and a more mature and well-made plot.
But competitor TOEI launches in the same year the Giant Robo series, which has also become very popular. Also produced is the first TV series of its kind in color, Masked Ninja Red Shadow. This series provoked a revolution in pyrotechnic effects and CG effect, having a high investment. This contributed to the creation of the genre Kyoday Heroes, or Giant Heroes.
Only in 1970 Eiji Tsuburaya, creator of Ultraman dies. Becoming a big loss not only for the tokusatsu genre but also for world cinema. However, that same year came up with another big name, the talented artist Shotaro Ichinomori. He presented TOEI with his story called Skullman, created and designed by him. But the character in the story was very different from the standards of the time, leading the project not to be very well accepted. Therefore, after some changes, the first series of a new genus of tokusatsu, Kamen Rider, appeared.
Kamen Rider and the Super Sentais
The new story created by Shotaro told the adventures of a man, half human, half grasshopper, who fought against an evil organization, mounted on his motorcycle. Despite having a simple plot, the series worked very well, having a total of 98 TV episodes, with great audiences.
As early as 1973, another series in the franchise was created, the Kamen Rider V3, repeating the success of the previous series. Shotaro, also worked on new series like Jinzou Ningen Kikaider and Akumaizer, two other great classics.
It is also worth mentioning the series produced by P-Productions, such as the Magma Taishi of 1966 and its greatest success Spectreman of 1971 that still followed the standards of the genre of giant robots. In 1972 the series Kaiketsu Lionmaru appeared, another great success, which yielded two other series created on the same model as the first.
In 1975 TOEI together with Shotaro revolutionized the genre again with the release of Himistsu Sentai Goranger, which told the adventures of five colorful warriors. Goranger had 84 episodes and from that series another genre emerged, Sentai.
The next Sentai series appeared in 1978, Battle Fever J. That came out of a TOEI partnership with Marvel Comics. In Battle Fever J, there was the first appearance of a giant robot that was used to defeat enemies. Such a characteristic became a trademark, and from there, the genre became known as Super Sentai.
Another series was produced by the partnership between Toei and Marvel, this was the series of the Japanese Spiderman, called Supaidâ-Man. The reception and the performance of the series was not waiting, ending this partnership.
Metal Heroes is born
In the 80’s many other series premiered with Ultraman 80, continuing the Ultraman saga. Other super sentals are also produced like the Kamen Rider Super 1 and Tayou Sentai Sulvuncan. But again TOEI in 1982 started another Tokusatsu genre: the Metal Hero, having as first series Uchuu Keiji Gyaban. Innovations like metallic armor, gigantic spaceships, swords and laser weapons were part of the new features of the metal hero franchise.
The following year, the success of Uchuu Keiji Sharivan emerged and in 1984 it was Uchuu Keiji Shaider’s turn. These were very successful among the public at the time. Also in 1984, another series of the Kamen Rider franchise called KAMEN RIDER ZX. But taking advantage of the fame of Metal Heroes, Shotaro launches Seiun Kamen Machineman and Kyodai Ken Bycrossers. In 1986, other super sentai series returned to fame as Dengeki Sentai Changeman and in 1986 the famous Choushinsei Flashman.
The Metal Hero genre remained firm with the 1985 debut of our beloved series KYOJO TOKUSOU JUSPION, or Jaspion. Despite not reaching the success expected by TOEI, Jaspion became world famous even here in Brazil. Another company in 1988 called Toho Company, creates the metal hero series Dennou Keysatsu Cybercops.
Tokusatsu today and the known in Brazil
Many other successes and subgenres have emerged over time, not to mention them all. Proof of so much popularity, is that until today many new series of the genre being launched and produced. More current series like Ultraman Zero, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Hurricane Polymar continue the legacy of the tokusatsu. It is even noteworthy that the Power Rangers series, well known to us, clearly came from the super sentimental series. But this subject matter is for another article.
Here are some Tokusatsu that were broadcast in Brazil:
- Changeman Lightning Squad;
- Goggle Five Warrior Giants;
- Star Command Flashman;
- Defenders of Light Maskman;
- The Incredible Ninja Jiraiya;
- Kamen Rider Black RX;
- Ryukendo - Madan warriors and many others;
Where to Watch Tokusatsu Online?
As these series are not common on television today, where can we watch these classics? Fortunately they are on several streaming sites available in Brazil, mainly in Amazon Prime. You can also see some of these series on Netflix, Crunchyroll and others.
Virtually every classic Tokusatsu is available on Amazon Prime. If you want to subscribe to Amazon Prime, use our link clicking here. In addition to the TV shows, you also have a music app, books and free shipping on Amazon Brazil.
You can also watch Tokusatsu for free on YouTube through the official channel Toie Tokusatsu World Official. Another alternative is the official Sato Company channel called Tokusatsu TV.
Of course, in addition to these alternatives you can simply search for people who upload episodes on YouTube or make them available illegally on series sites. But I still believe that the best alternative is subscribe to Amazon Prime.
The Best Tokusatsu from Amazon Prime
As mentioned, Amazon Prime was invaded by Tokusatsu, there are thousands of them available on Grande Prime Vídeo. In fact Amazon has its own Tokusatsu called Amazon Riders, but unfortunately it is not yet available in Portuguese.
Tokusatsu Classics on Amazon prime
Jiraiya: The Incredible Ninja  - Toha Yamashi is a disciple and adopted son of Tetsuzan, representative of the Togakure ninja clan. To defend the location of Pako, a gift from heaven considered the treasure of the century, Toha must face ninjas from all over the world and prevent them from using this great power for evil.
The Fantastic Jaspion Season  - Jaspion is an orphan created in the universe by the prophet Edin. When the galactic prophecy announces that the demon Satan Goss intends to conquer all the planets, he recruits the boy to face the threat and protect peace in the Milky Way.
Steel Police Officer Jiban  - Officer Naoto Tamura sacrificed his life to defeat one of the monsters of the Biolon organization, but was reborn as the Steel Officer Jiban, going on to fight the evil group led by Doctor Jean Marie.
Clip: National Kid Season  - Stronger than current scientific weapons, it overcomes the impossible, dominates the world of the Fourth Dimension and fights for world peace and justice, National Kid appears to defend everyone from any threat.
Ultraman Orb Season  - Naomi Yumeno (Miyabi Matsuura) has had the same recurring dream since childhood: visions of a light giant facing a giant monster. Her dreams spark an interest in paranormal phenomena, and she starts a website on the subject called “Something Search People” with her friends Jetta Hayami (Naoto Takahashi) and Shin Matsudo (Hiroaki Nerio).
Amazon Riders - Fourth production in the Kamen Rider series, focuses on Haruka and Jin: one domesticated, the other wild. The show introduces us to these contrasting Amazon Riders. The mentalities of various characters inevitably draw the viewer deeper into the mystery of this dramatic story.
Super Sentai Tokusatsu on Amazon Prime
The series that I will list below are from Super Sentai, that is, a group of heroes usually separated by colors that have abilities and can evolve into giant meka. I hope you like these squads below:
Flashman Star Command - Five children are kidnapped but they are saved by the people of Planet Flash and, for 20 years, were raised and trained among them. When the group finds out that the cruel leader threatens to invade the land, Jin, Dan, Go, Sara and Lou team up to stop him, forming the Flashman Star Command.
Changeman Lightning Squad - Five members of the Earth Defenders army are bathed by the Earth Force and each acquire the powers of a densetsu-ju, who is a legendary animal: Dragon, Griffin, Pegasus, Mermaid and Phoenix.
Crunchyroll’s Best Tokusatsu
On Crunchyroll you will find some Tokusatsu from the Ultraman series.
Ultraman Geed - Geed is the son of Ultraman Belial, the first evil Ultra Warrior who debuted in the 2009 film “Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy”. It is the story of a young Ultra Warrior who, carrying the DNA of an infamous father, struggles to become a hero of justice.
Ultraman X - When the Ultra Flashes of the sun cover the land, Sparkdolls that were hidden underground and at sea are transformed into monsters. To lead the way with the sudden appearance of alien invaders, humanity is armed with super-science machines and creates the defense team Xio.
Ultraman Orb - Naomi Yumeno (Miyabi Matsuura) has had the same recurring dream since childhood: visions of a light giant facing a giant monster. Her dreams spark an interest in paranormal phenomena, and she starts a website on the subject called "Something Search People".
In addition to these we have Ultraman Gaia, Ultraman Nexus, Ultraman the Next - Movie, Ultraman Max Library and Ultraman Meblus.
Netflix’s Best Tokusatsu
Netflix is another streaming service that has some Tokusatsu and Japanese series, not to mention countless anime and dramas. Unfortunately anyone looking for classic Japanese tokusatsu will be disappointed with Netflix, where we have more anime and movies.
We have some Ultraman and Godzilla anime, classic and faithful tokusatsu, but it's a different format than the usual fans. You can find other anime that fit the genre or mode of tokusatsu, but that's it.
On Netflix we don't find so many Japanese tokusatsu, but a lot of American Super Sentai and Tokusatsu. Those famous Japanese copies made by Americans like the famous Power Rangers. We will list these series below:
- Vr Troopers;
- Beetle Borgs;
- Power Rangers - Ninja Steel;
- Power Rangers - Time Force;
- Power Rangers - Samurai;
- Power Rangers - Super Samurai;
- Power Rangers - Dino Thunder;
- Power Rangers - Megaforce;
- Power Rangers - Ninja Storm;
- Power Rangers - Jungle Fury;
- Power Rangers - Wild Force;
- Power Rangers - Super Mega Force;
- Power Rangers - Mystic Force;
- Power Rangers - Dino Charge;
- Power Rangers - Dino Supercharge;
- Power Rangers - Zeo;
- Power Rangers - Turbo;
- Power Rangers - Rescue;
- Power Rangers - Galaxy;
- Power Rangers - RPM;
- Power Rangers Fierce Morphing;
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers;
- Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers;
Toei Company’s Tokusatsu
You who like anime or tokusatsus for sure have already watched some production of Toei Company. It is considered and treated as one of the pioneers in Japanese film productions and animations. The studio was founded in 1957. And many of its productions have become popular around the world. Sailor Moon, One Piece, Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya and Kamen Rider are all produced by Toei.
Famous names like, Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata started showing their work in that studio. Other famous studios like Topcraft, Studio Ghibli, Mushi and Doga Kobo, left the big Toei studio. The Japanese studio was responsible for promoting some genres, such as Kamen Rider, Mecha and Mahou Shoujo. Soon these works became copyright and sales material, which became a sales success.
A little of the history and success of the Toei Company
The studio was originally founded in 1948, with the name Japan Animated Films. But nothing produced at that time became popular or became successful. In 1956, the company Toei bought the studio, and gave the name we know today. In the beginning, the studio mainly made TV ads. This boosted the company, and in 1957 Toei built in Ochanomizu, Tokyo, your own studio. At that time Disney was on the rise, with animated films, and this sparked the interest of the Japanese studio.
Toei's first animated feature film was in 1958. This one was called The Legend of the White Snake , which was inspired by a Chinese legend. The film received good reviews and praise, being even exported a lot. As early as 1959, another film was produced, Magic Boy, based on the story of a Japanese ninja legend. But even so, Disney was still Toei's biggest competitor.
In 1963 there was an explosion of imported designs, and these had considerable success on Japanese TV. Taking advantage of this, Toei produced its first animated series that same year, called Wolf Boy Ken. This anime achieved great success in Japan. Therefore, the production of animations ended up becoming the focus of the company, leaving aside even films in production. It was then that in 1968, using monsters of Japanese folklore, the famous anime appeared Gegege no Kitarô.
The Japanese went crazy with the giant anime robots Majinga Z in 1972, who basically founded the Mecha genre. In 1978, Toei took advantage of the success of Star Wars and launched films with the “space” genre, such as Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Albator. The golden age came from 1980, as Dragon Ball, One Piece, Digimon, Goldorak and Sailor Moon. Many of these have been and still are internationally successful. Today Toei is one of the largest, most famous and richest companies in the business today producing and earning a lot.
Toei Company Works
Throughout its life, Toei has produced thousands of tokusatsu, TV series, films and anime. Nothing better than finishing the article showing a list of some of his works:
The list below has tokustasu series and movies or similar:
- 1958 - Gekko Kamen
- 1959 - Nana Iro Kamen - Toei Company's first tokusatsu
- Yusei Oji
- 1960 - National Kid
- 1961 - Uchuu Kaisoku-sen
- 1967 - Kamen no Ninja Aka Kage - Toei Company's first colorful tokusatsu
- Captain Ultra
- Giant Robo
- 1971- Kamen Rider
- Suki! Suki! Mahou Sensei
- Chojin Barom 1
- Henshin Ninja Arashi
- Jinzo Ninguen Kikaider
- Kikaider 01
- Robotto Keiji
- Himitsu Sentai Goranger - First Sentai
- Akumaizer 3
- Uchuu Tetsujin Kyodyne
- The Kagestar
- Ninja Captor
- 1978 - Spiderman
- Battle Fever J - First Super Sentai
- Denshi Sentai Denjiman
- Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan
- Dengeki Sentai Changeman
- Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion (Jaspion)
- Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya (Jiraya)
- Choujuu Sentai Liveman (Bioman 3)
- Kidou Keiji Jiban (Steel Police Officer Jiban)
- Kousoku Sentai Turboranger
- Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine (Patrine)
- Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger - (Power Rangers)
- Gosei Sentai Dairanger
- Ninja Sentai Kakuranger
- Chouriki Sentai Ohranger
- Choukou Senshi Changerion
- Seijuu Sentai Gingaman
- Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack
- Moero! Robocon
- Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
- Mahou Sentai