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BP calls Spectreman, gets voicemail!

2010/07/10

Tough like this?

1971 brought with it the dawn of AmazingMattyP. It also saw the inception of Spectreman, (Supekutoruman). At a time when the world first realized we were an abusive, negligent race, propaganda arose to assuage these beliefs and encourage humanity to prevent its personal contribution to the problem. In the US, we had an owl, in Japan, they had a cyborg. Here we were ‘Hooted’ to not pollute by placing our refuse into containers which the government would dispose of. Offshore, their cyborg combatted the problem, and its origin, first hand. Our local icon has long since been forgotten; its effectiveness, open fingers scooping water. In Japan variations of their initial theme still exist and successfully inspire responsibility in its viewers.When Japan’s show finally crossed the pond, dubbed properly and aired in the US 3 years later, I paid attention. Clad in striped tube socks pulled  to my knees and unconcerned that I was outfitted with girls’ Trax to top things off, I made a conscious effort to not only view every episode, but become aware of myself and surroundings. My parents, responsible and cognizant citizens,  ensured that I understood the simple gestures of placing detritus in its proper place. The propaganda insisted that I could enact a personal difference, and influence my future.

Or like this?

Fast forward if you will to the present(ish) and prostrate yourselves, for Spectreman has returned anew. P-Studio, the brilliance behind Space Giants (Commander Magma), has re-mastered their collection of 63 +1 episodes and released their beauty in Japan with the 10  DVDs entirely enclosed in a 1:1 replica of Spectreman’s Head. I’ll be up front with you. 7. There is going to be gush here. If you must skip to the end, understand that you will  find the same prefaced number therein. 7.

The back story is simple, and although this description may not outshine the synopsis on the back of the collection, mine is in English. So, there’s this bad guy, Dr. Gori. Evil genius-level, blond-haired-primate-intellectual from the Planet ‘E’, (bound in an impeccable lavender and silver suit with white gloves), whom, banished from his home planet, discovers Earth accidentally. Along with his muscle, Karas (another ape-man conspicuously adorned not unlike Mr. T), the pair are captivated by Earth’s beauty, while equally disgusted by the unnecessary pollution surrounding it, a flaw they decide to exploit  to decimate mankind. From the pollution itself, Gori creates massive mutants to destroy the inhabitants from the air-conditioned comfort of his hovering craft. These shenanigans have not gone unnoticed. Spectreman is sent from the Nebula 71 Star, an artificial satellite (of space police?), to defend the Earth against this menacing invasion. Disguised as Joji (George) Gamo (think Clark Kent, but Japanese), Spectreman infiltrates the Pollution Research Bureau (a sort of pollution G-Men), where he enrolls as a member and tracks the whereabouts of Gori and his ilk. During each attack, the squad is sent to investigate. When able to slip away, George calls to the Overlords for the power to transform into Spectreman, the cyborg equipped with the ability to scale himself at will, the power of faster-than-sound flight, enormous strength, a freezing-ray and Spectre-Flash!

Like a Flash!

Whoa! After handing pollution-monster-ass after pollution-monster-ass back to the Doctor, Joji returns to his human incarnation, the team debriefs, and Tranzor-Z comes on (at least in Chicago). 63 times.

Dr. Gori's dirty work

Personally, I’m a dork for Dr. Who. Therefore, I appreciate the versatility of cardboard and finger paints. The budget wasn’t there people. So what? Third rate Ultraman you say? Bah! The story is the siren here: environmental awareness and protection. Yes, I drive a Hybrid. Yes, I cherish the 3 R’s. Anywho, so what if the effects require some of the VHF fuzz and lack of H and V sync to appear spectacular to the  masses? Rubber and styrofoam never looked more appropriate. This is good stuff. Obviously, I cannot vouch for the Japanese dialogue, but the dubbed English is done well. The script works, they added a fair amount of working comedy, and have one of the greatest theme songs of all time. It’s gold, just like Spectreman.

The 70s needn’t be remembered for just bell-bottoms, butterfly collars, and afro-combs. Let’s remember Spectreman together; a hero, a champion of Earth.  Perhaps I awarded the show a little more credence than necessary, but as aforementioned, 30-some odd years later I still care. As a father,  probably more than ever. The merits are there people. Do I expect anyone to really drop 3 serious bones to snap up the collection?  Yes, er no, but as public domain, little effort can uncover the entire collection for free. Do it!    7 out of 7.

Go ahead BP, Keep calling!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/07/10 7:22 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

    • 2010/07/13 11:08 am

      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment positively. I cannot express my appreciation of your encouragement enough.

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