One of the cool things about growing up in Honolulu in the 1970s was the presence of the original KIKU-TV, a local independent television station that broadcasted shows from Japan (to this day, I still remember the station ID message: a cheerful woman's voice saying "K-I-K-U TV. Kee-koo! Nihongo Terebi desu"). Thankfully, the various shows would normally be subtitled in English so that those of us who didn't know Japanese that well - which was the majority of people on the island - could understand them.
A fair amount of these shows were of a genre known as "tokusatsu," which basically meant live-action programs that made heavy use of special - or as special as they could get in the 1970s - effects. Godzilla might be the most famous representative of this genre, but for us Hawaii kids at the time, the favorites were a bunch of superhero serials that typically involved a good guy/girl/robot in a mask battling a large evil organization that invariably sent a different monster-of-the-week out every episode to wreak havoc on the world. Here's a list of my - and probably any current middle-aged Hawaii alum's - favorites:
sold out the local concert hall. The hero was an android named Jiro (pronounced "Jee-roh," rhymes with "hero") who was created to battle a large evil organization of other androids. The problem was, since he was built in the evil organization's lab and wasn't quite fully completed yet, he was susceptible to turning evil himself. Now, doesn't that sound like fun? In a possible foreshadowing of my future career as a performing musician, one day during kindergarten class my five-year-old self spontaneously volunteered to get up in front of my classmates and sing the show's theme song - in Japanese - in its entirety. It wasn't an assignment or anything like that (in fact, I think I may have interrupted the teacher's actual agenda), it was just something I felt compelled to do on the spur of the moment. Also, Jiro used to announce his appearance to the bad guys by playing a little tune on a guitar, an instrument with which I would become very familiar during the ensuing years.
Kamen Rider V3
Power Rangers? Well, they - Gorenja - were the original. My favorite one was the Blue Ranger ("Aorenja"), although the Yellow Ranger ("Kirenja") did influence me to eat ridiculous amounts of Japanese curry at the time. And now I'm hungry.
The Woman in Black?
Those seven were probably my main favorites, but there were more, like Robocon, Diamond Eye, Rainbowman, and Akumaizer 3. I also enjoyed some of KIKU's non-tokusatsu fare, like an anime about a child monk named Ikkyu-san and a jidaigeki ("period drama") called Toyama no Kin-San in which the title character - a samurai/magistrate - would pose as a commoner or petty thief in order to catch the bad guys and solve crimes (while in disguise, his samurai topknot would be askew, but then it would be straight when he was his "real" self, which I found both amusing and ingenious).
Anyway, that's enough nostalgia for one week. Tune in next time when I'll be doing the second installment of what I intend to be a series of four consecutive Roundup posts (unless some other shiny topic happens to distract me at the time). Until then, mata ne (Japanese for "see you later")!