Inazuman / Complete Series : 4 of 5
Thanks to my introduction to Kikaida several years ago, I've been a 70s Japanese superhero addict ever since, so I'm always excited when a new DVD set is released on the Generation Kikaida website. Their latest offering is Inazuman (staring Ban Daisuke, Jiro/Kikaida himself!), and I had a fantastic time watching this entire series! Of course, the usual tokusatsu formula is intact (a cool theme song, an evil organization to defeat, a new villain in each episode), but Inazuman has some truly unique aspects that make it a stand-out show. Watari Goro undergoes a two-level transformation, first changing into Sanagiman (who must endure some punches to gain energy for the next phase), and finally into Inazuman, who is an incredibly powerful hero with the ability to reverse enemy attacks! But that's not all, because there's also Raijingo, Inazuman's sentient car that flies, shoots missiles, and can even do complex things like rescue Inazuman from a pile of rubble (Raijingo even has its own theme song!). Inazuman fights for the Youth League (who start out wearing orange uniforms that look like the Science Patrol in Ultraman) against Emperor Bamba and his minions, who are all named "Something" Bambara (the craziest was Paint Bambara, who is made out of giant oil paint tubes!). While the series begins quite lighthearted, it really changes around Episode 11 when Goro discovers his mother was transformed into Rose Bambara against her will. From this moment on, the show has a lot more tension and emotional impact! Similar to the other DVD sets available from Generation Kikaida, there are tons of fantastic extras, including incredibly detailed factoids that are fun to read, karaoke versions of the theme songs, plus informative interviews with the actors and die-hard fans. Now that I'm officially into Inazuman (I already have a T-shirt!), I'm really hoping they will release the follow-up series Inazuman Flash, because I can never get enough tokusatsu!