Spectreman

spectreman-capa-1                    (Note that these reviews correlate with the English dub of the show)

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-16h38m30s351Gori Targets the Earth!/Destroy the Pollution Monster Hedron – The opening two-parter for the show that sets everything up very well, while still leaving plenty open to learn more about. Despite being instructed not to give away his identity, Joji/George really makes a scene when introducing himself at the Pollution Research and Control Squad, basically forcing them to give him a job. Gori comes off as a formidable enemy, and one that realizes the threat Spectreman may pose to his goal. In addition, his goal, while certainly on the wrong side of things overall, isn’t entirely unjust given the amount of damage mankind has done to Earth. Can occasionally drag a bit, but a good start. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-16h42m21s665Terror of the Blue Scum/Ra, Search Among the Earthlings – Another fun pair of episodes with the right amount of serious and silly. George and his chemistry with the other bureau members is a lot of fun, and the scenes with Karas attempting to blend into society while capturing specimens and searching for Spectreman have to be seen to be believed. We’re left wondering what Gori’s ultimate plan is, and when it’s finally revealed, it is rather underwhelming, though had it been revealed earlier, there may have been more time to explore it. His idea of distracting mankind with the poison-spewing monster Midoron while he constructs his underground base (Clearly prepared to stay awhile) is rather clever though. The two monsters were previously seen in P-Productions’ pilot for the unproduced Jaguarman and also the pilot version of Space Apeman Gori, also borrowing footage from both. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-16h41m50s333The Terrifying Pollution People/Save the Beautiful Earth!! – A pretty solid two-parter with a formidable threat by Gori that puts Spectreman in his possibly his biggest challenge yet – having to kill an innocent family. Though why Gori thought to only infect a family of three with the virus and not at least a few others is anyone’s guess (Maybe there wasn’t enough of it available). The fight with the giant Karas in episode 5 is awesome. Gori captures a gorilla from the zoo, and turns it into his new henchman Karas II (Whose mask will eventually becomes Karas’ default. Is there a conspiracy at play here?), perhaps using some leftover soldier-transforming technology from the previous episode. In a dubbing error, the friend of child pollution person’s name goes from Joshua to Larry between episodes. 3.5/5

The Black Terror/Duel!! Gokinosaurus – Not awful, but really loses steam after a while, due in part to the two-part format, but also a general lack of story. What story there is pretty similar to the previous two episodes (Innocent person/people being infected by virus unleashed by Gori and Spectreman being ordered to terminate/take to Overlords said person/people). Gori’s plan is again very vague, though the reason for Gokinosaurus’ creation seems to mostly be to kill Spectreman, and possibly cause another distraction. Spectreman makes a very bizarre decision at the beginning of part two that goes unexplained, resulting in the Overlords stripping him of his powers only to give them back five minutes later. Rei/Rita is given more development, showing her caring side. Take note of Rita’s hair, as it has gone back to the dyed blond look seen in the first four episodes, only for it to back to the brownish look next episode. This would indicate that the episodes were aired out of production order. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-16h45m28s204The Terrifying Nezubirdon/Stop the Monster Train – A lot stronger than the previous story, though not without its flaws. The first part moves at a pretty slow pace, with George, Rita and Arthur being separated from the others and just wandering around in the woods for a bit, but once things get going, a pretty fun romp with one of the show’s more memorable monsters. Gori expressing his admiration for rats and their ability to live off of the waste produced by humans is a highlight, though why he didn’t realize the potential of spreading disease through the monster until afterwards is questionable. The titular “Monster train” in part two is basically just a train driven by Karas carrying the plague, destroyed in a really anticlimactic manner by a fighter jet (Did they even know of Gori’s plan or just fire after seeing Karas in it?). Far from perfect, but entertaining. Seemed to be quite popular back in the day given both episodes were edited together and released theatrically in 1971 as apart of the Toei Manga Festival, and were later re-aired between episodes 58 and 59 of the show. Some sources occasionally list the series as being 65 episodes, but in actuality, two are simply these episodes re-aired. 3.5/5

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“I AM NOT AN ANIMAL. I AM A HUMAN BEING!”

The Titanic Monster Dustman Appears!!/Terror Rises from the Dead!! – Though far from the only “man/kid turns into monster” story seen in a Tokusatsu show, a very effectively done one that has the audience sympathize heavily with titular Dustman, as he’s an honest-working truck driver with a loving family. Certainly among Gori’s crueler schemes, though a rather clever one with the Dustman growing more and more powerful by eating garbage, something humans are producing more and more of by the minute Karas’ choosing of him stems from his truck splashing a puddle onto his black trenchcoat. Cannot make this stuff up. The ending is a bit abrupt and perhaps a slight cop-out, but all in all a very good two-parter. The final appearance of Machiko Konishi as Rie/Rita (Who only appears briefly during the office scene), who apparently had to prematurely leave the show to tend to her ill husband. The narrator refers to the son of the titular Dustman as “Teddy” at the end of part 1 despite his name being Taro. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-18h02m34s018The Great Hedron Strikes Back (Parts 1 & 2) – The return of Hedron from the first episodes (Who aside from being a full-fleged suit this time also has a more Jellyfish-like appearance as opposed to the first allegedly being a squid) that certainly has a real sense of dire and despair, though lacks quite a bit in story. Regardless, a pretty decent pair of episodes all in all, with the Bureau members (Aside from Rita, who is no longer in the show) getting a chance to shine and George desperately trying to reach the Overlords in the smog-covered city. The new Hedron is said to have the brain of a renowned scientist (Despite it never really going anywhere), and is shown possessing him, resulting in revelation scenes that manage to be both amusing and disturbing at the same time (And also resemble scenes featuring Shocker monsters from Kamen Rider in terms of lighting). It is a bit odd that Gori would want to use another human as the basis for a monster again given the last episode featured one fighting off the possession, though here the man is killed and the monster simply possess the body/brain as opposed to transforming a man into a monster. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-18h02m06s688Massive Earthquake Levels Tokyo!!/The Retaliation of Mognetudon!! – A lot like the last pair of episodes in that there isn’t much plot to be had, but plenty of despair and destruction, almost coming across as a disaster movie. The monster is quite possibly the craziest yet, being a cross between a mole and catfish, but is probably Gori’s most powerful, being able to cause both earthquakes and tsunamis. For the first and only time, we meet Chief Kurata’s wife and son. The guardians seem willing to let the monster flood the city and display a never before seen ability at the end that George (and the audience, for both morality and why it hasn’t been used up until now) rightfully questions. 3.5/5

Thunder-Gei: The Flying Whale/Infiltrate Monster Island!! – A very unusual duo that almost feels like a different show at times. Gori takes a bit of a backseat, leaving mostly everything to his monster, an electricity-manipulating whale. Pollution plays no real role in the episode’s plot, and the boy trying to avenge his father’s death (Were they going for a Moby Dick vibe hence the giant whale?) give the episodes a real different feel than usual. Featured are some of the most reprehensible bullies ever seen, who pick on the boy after not believing his late father’s story of a flying whale, and come close to killing him with a baseball bat (Seriously!) before being stopped by George. Worst of all, he just tells them to run off, essentially letting them get away with attempted murder. For the first time, George doesn’t consult the Overlords before transforming, and the Overlords are never heard from period. Curiously, while on the island, an ape soldier appears out of nowhere to deal with the people present. Gori never brings it up, but it would seem to indicate that he’s still creating soldiers for the occasional dirty job Karas is unable to do. 3/5

Blood-Drinking Monster Bakulah Appears!!/Find Bakulah’s Nest!! – After several stories without a proper female lead, we are finally introduced to Margret, the newest member of the bureau. Don’t get too attached to her though, as she’ll eventually leave the show as well. Also introduced for the first and last time is Arthur’s pregnant wife, who are searching for a new house and wind up in one infested by mind-controlling ants. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) Gori’s plan is another weird one that doesn’t feel too thought-out: place mutant ants in new house for-rent (In a small town outside of the city, where people are said to go to escape the pollution. So perhaps Gori is letting those people know there is no escape form the monster they created) that take control of people for a small army while the ants grow and eventually infest Japan. The first parts plays like a “haunted house” story, and while fun, does leave you wondering why Gori would choose such a remote location to plant the ants if he really wants an army of people under control. Gori and Karas don’t recognize Arthur as one of the people under control despite them crossing paths numerous times now, though perhaps apes view humans like humans view apes – they all look the same. Spectreman displays some serious cruelty during the climax by simply tossing a brainwashed couple that attack him down the volcano. Maybe they were beyond repair, but did he know that for sure? Entertaining (as always) but certainly has some head-scratching things. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-16h57m44s053The Mysterious Alien Zuno vs. Gilagind/Violent Charge of the Dual-Bladed Monster Gilagind!! – A real entertaining and thought-provoking two-parter that provides some good development for Gori and Karas. The titular Zuno alien arrived on accident and only wants home, but is not afraid to end innocent lives to get there, actions that definitely give one conflicting thoughts on the character. At the same time though, he claims humans would act just as, if not more hostilely to an alien they are unfamiliar with (Certainly a valid point). The scene featuring him and Gori inside the spaceship is among the best in the entire show, and really showcases the intelligence and wit of both. The monster is truly among the silliest looking, with Karas apparently having input in its creation, though is said to be the physically strongest created up to this point, lacking simply in intelligence. Gori’s plan to erupt a volcano with the monster could have been inspired by the volcano eruption from the last episode. During the fight with Gilagind, Spectreman is granted a sword and shield by the Overlords. The only real flaw is the plot of dying birds George and Otto are sent to investigate going absolutely nowhere, serving just to get them to the place of action, but a very good pair of episodes. 4.5/5

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“Let’s make the Earth a great place to live, without war and traffic accidents.”

Traffic Accident Monster Kurumanikuras!!/Danger!! Kurumunikuras – A pretty strange (Though really, which episodes aren’t?) pair of episodes that are essentially a big PSA warning against reckless driving. The plot of a car-destroying monster being the avatar of a car-struck boy is quite similar to the Ultraman episode Terror on Route 87, though there are enough differences to make it stand out. A traffic light monster might seem ridiculous, but this is surprisingly not the only one, with ones also appearing in Ultraman Ace, Jetman and Zyuranger. The only thing really bringing the episodes down is (And I can’t believe I’m saying this) Gori’s involvement in the story, with him summoning a monster to combat Kurumikuras and then trying to take control of it for his own bidding. The scenes of him and Karas observing the heavy amount of traffic accidents (A prime example of human stupidity) are fun, but the scenes of his monster attacking and him attempting to make Kurumankuras his own are a bit of a drag and feel like filler for the episodes’ mandatory two-part format, evidenced no clearer by the scene with his monster destroying the military that lasts a good five minutes. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-16h59m33s687Grand Double Operation: Magulah and Satan King!!/Two Giant Monsters Battle in Tokyo!! – Episodes that once again have Gori playing second-fiddle to the main plot, though not in as distracting a way as before. Gori is again outsourcing monsters, with Satan King apparently being from space brought to Earth by him. Satan King is similar to Ultraman‘s Red King in both appearance and brutish personality. Magulah (Said to be a legendary monster scientists debate over) has no ties to Gori, being awakened by tremors caused by Satan King and is among the show’s most sympathetic monsters, with its child being killed. Magulah’s gender is pretty unclear, with it being referred as both “he” and “she”, though the presence of the egg would seem to imply its female. Spectreman is granted another weapon from the Overlords, the Spectregun, which apparently has firepower equivalent to atomic grenades. The Western-style standoff between Spectreman and Satan King is too awesome for words, and Spectreman’s confrontation with the enraged Magulah is quite tragic, with him desperately trying to get her to calm down. A pretty fun pair of episodes all-in-all. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-17h03m59s978Titanic Battle!! Seven Giant Monsters – The first single-part episode of the show, and while very light on plot, a lot of fun with Gori creating a cyborg said to be equal in strength and powers to Spectreman and resurrecting numerous monsters to test its powers on. The monsters resurrected include Satan King, Baronsaurus, Gokinosaurus, Mogunetudon and Nezubirdon and also included is Mogz. Mogz originally appeared in the Space Apeman Gori pilot, but went unused in the show itself until this point, with him serving as little more than cannon fodder. The ending is pretty abrupt and there really is little in the way of story, but a very fun monster mash. Was released theatrically as apart of the Toei Manga Festival in 1972, quite fittingly given its single-part format and ensemble of monsters. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-17h05m20s443The Terrifying Attack of Salamandar!!/Kill the Vicious Monster Salamandar!! – A somewhat inconsistent story, with part one being a total slog but part two being pretty good. Gori and Karas feature little in the story, with his plan simply being sending a monster to kill Spectreman. The monster Salamandar is reminiscent of an ancient beast still feared by a superstitious village, though its unclear if Salamandar was simply made to resemble the legendary monster (As a way to mess with the people) or is the monster itself under Gori’s control. As stated, part one drags, but picks up towards the end with Spectreman blinded, with part two involving George trying to get around with his vision, which puts him in a truly helpless situation. Uneven, but pretty fun overall. 3/5

Terror Comes Ashore: Monster Tag-Match!!/Protect the Lighthouse!! – Another story that has Gori doing little else other than sending a monster to kill Spectreman, though this time its two mutated from sea life. The crab-like mutation Zariganid is probably among his more sympathetic creations, as it (Referred to as “he” by characters, though probably female given the eggs) seems very concerned with protecting its eggs (Something the crew use against it), which have become a delicacy in a poor fishing village. But as a creation of Gori’s, it and its children just isn’t longed for this world, and the hatching of offspring would only cause more trouble. The grandfather hoarding eggs after being told to get rid of them is meant to be sympathetic, but just comes off as an idiot, with him refusing to toss them even when being attacked by the monster. George’s inner-monologue styled like a football game while throwing an egg at the monster is a highlight. Serviceable, but nothing too special. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-19h43m52s083The Three-Headed Dragon Rises Again!!/SOS!! The Undersea Oil Field – Not bad at all, but a few notes short of being great. The monster of the week is another simply awakened by Gori, a three-headed dragon from Earth’s distant past (3 million years, when dinosaurs were still around, apparently) that thrives on oil, so despite it not being a creation of Gori’s, the monster is certainly similar thematically. But that leads to one of the story’s biggest missed opportunities. A scene with Gori ranting about mankind’s over-reliance on oil and the damaged caused by it would be terrific, but instead it’s really just a feature of the monster. Still, not a bad two-parter, which a pretty shocking twist involving the little girl, with George having to look after her in a heartwarming act of heroism. Its just a victim of Gori’s reduced screentime. George, Arthur and Margret are the only bureau members to play roles, though John and Otto appear at the end. 3/5

The Wrath of Moonthunder!!/Spectreman Is Dead!? – Essentially a small scale version of Gorgo and Gappa with an extraterrestrial twist. The plot of a monster wanting its eggs was done just two stories ago in Terror Comes Ashore: Monster Tag-Match!!/Protect the Lighthouse!!, making it feel a little repetitive, though in my opinion a superior pair of episodes. Gori has no association with the monster, instead only appearing sporadically to comment on what’s going on (And in an amusing scene, express disgust at mankind attempting to conquer space, claiming it belongs to him). For the first time, Spectreman battles a monster in another country, with the first part’s big fight taking place in New York (In addition, San Francisco is raided, with the Japanese military flying in to help for some reason). Why people seem so skeptic of life on the moon when they’ve been ravaged by Gori and saved by Spectreman for months now is anyone’s guess. There’s of course the ending which is pretty much given away by the second part’s title. Apart from showcasing mankind’s xenophobia towards monsters, it is quite a cliffhanger (Given the main storyline has been resolved) and must have left a lot of children frightened. A pretty good two-parter with some flaws, but more than enough good stuff to make it worthwhile. The final appearance of Naoko Shin as Mineko/Margret, which could indicate the events of the episode drove her to quit. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-20-19h44m59s028Death-Match!! G-Men vs. Monster Vegaron/Operation: Destroy Gori’s Saucer Base!! – Picking up where the last story left off, with Dr. Gori (Who for the first time in a while plays a central role in the plot) believing Spectreman to be dead and summoning a monster from the Monster’s Graveyard (Related to the Monster Graveyard from Ultraman?), a place where various monster from across the universe are imprisoned (Where he’s apparently gotten monsters from before). The Pollution Research Bureau are given a serious upgrade and are supplied with weapons and gadgets to combat the monsters they encounter, making them a lot more in vain to an attack team from an Ultraman show. We are also introduced to the new token female member Sally, who will only last one more story after this. Sally right away becomes separated from the others and stumbles into Gori’s secret base, where she is kidnapped and interrogated. Gori seems to have figured out that Spectreman is hiding among the bureau members, and asks her if she knows just which member he is. Gori has bizarre humans with stockings over their faces as guards/slaves. We catch a glimpse of an Overlord, who looks mostly like Spectreman minus the horn on his head. A pretty eventful pair of episodes with the bureau not only getting an upgrade, but also fully learning of the space apemen. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h44m49s592Sphinx, Advance Forward!!/Operation: Break Through the Monster Zone!! – A crazy two-parter featuring a large assortment of monsters including a Sphinx that turns into a giant spider, Arab apes and a mummy. Gori once again plays a central role in the story, wanting to steal atomic fuel from a plant for his own evil-doings, cleverly sending out the numerous monsters as a means of distraction. The sphinx monster is actually the Sphinx of Giza stolen by Gori that’s somehow a monster the next time we see it. At first its implied to be a robot, indicating he may have hollowed it out and added circuitry or something (Gori does claim to have repaired it as if it were a robot), but then the statue cracks and reveals an organic monster underneath. Was the Sphinx built to trap the monster in ancient times? Its never explained. And just when things couldn’t get any crazier, Gori mutates the Sphinx’s carcass into a spider-like monster. That’s…not normal. The members of the bureau get to show off more of their gadgets to combat the various monsters and escape obstacles, really making it feel more in vain to a show like Ultraman. There really isn’t much in the way of plot and there are two kid characters that get mildly annoying, but the ending makes it all worthwhile, really taking one by surprise. Would be an average-at-best story with some crazy monsters, but the ending elevates it. Last appearance of Rumi Goto as Sally. We hardly knew ‘ya. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h50m00s674The Grass-Whistling Monster/Vapor Monster Dies At Dawn!! – After the real “wham” ending of the last episode, we’re treated to another pretty standard fare with Gori simply wanting to erupt a volcano (Something he already tried doing in The Mysterious Alien Zuno vs. Gilagind/Violent Charge of the Dual-Bladed Monster Gilagind!!) with the assistance of two fire-powered monsters (Possibly powered with the energy obtained previously?). The monster Magmasaurus is a lightly redressed Zeron, indicating they’re either the same or a closely-related species or Magmasaurus is perhaps a revived and powered-up Zeron given Zeron’s burrowing ability (Ideal for a volcanic eruption). The monster Matanodon’s friendship with the token Kenny (Actually named Kenny here) is the right mixture of silly and touching. Featured are more reprehensible bullies that allow Kenny to drown after dunking him into a lake. And they barely pay for it. New token female member Kim is introduced to pretty much no fanfare, perhaps figuring she wouldn’t be on for long. Turns out though, she sticks around for the remainder of the show. Pretty good, though a little underwritten and kind of depressing. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-18h00m20s437Sun Mask Arrives from Space/Appearance of the Monster Kabagon!! – A very different feeling two-parter with a plot involving a group of angry children having their negative energy harvested to create monsters from people, a concept that is quite similar to that of minus energy featured in several Ultraman shows (With this predating that, of course). The culprit behind it all is the mysterious Sun Mask, a clear parody of Gekko Kamen/Moonlight Mask who sounds like Dudley Do-Right. Of course, there is a twist to the character hinted at from the beginning, but it would have been interesting for him to simply be a one-shot villain given the unusual plan of his. The first monster to appear is a redress King Satan. An amusing scene occurs during the second part, where Spectreman throws one of his shurikens at thee group of children, knocking them over. Not bad, but probably could have benefited from Sun Mask being his own dude. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h50m16s266Alien Kyudora: Cosmic Plunderer/Alien Pal Forever!! – A very creepy and unusual pair of episodes that’s perfect “Halloween” material (Which only figures given the first part was originally aired in late October). For the first time ever, Dr. Gori does not appear in any shape or form, with the vampire alien Kyudora coming on his own to suck the polluted blood out of people. Kyudora is said to have wiped out planets in the past, though here he seems to kill a few women on the nights of a full moon and later claims to have fulfilled his mission (Though by that point, it never is stated just how many people were killed). The pollution themes are really played up for the first time in a while, with Kyudora being attracted to the planet due to all of the pollution, which apparently adds extra flavor to the blood and the titular “Alien Pal”, sent to Earth to track down Kyudora, being helpless due to not adjusting to the polluted atmosphere. The use of animation during Spectreman’s battle with Kyudora in part 1 feels very reminiscent of P-Productions’ earlier Tokusatsu series The Space Giants. Though not super plot-heavy (Relying more on visuals and scares) and Kyudora is maybe among the more confused portrayals of a vampire, a bone-chilling two-parter from start to finish. 4.5/5

Invitation from the Dead/Alien Gama, Commence the Attack!! – A downright insane two-parter involving Arthur being invited to visit his hometown by his childhood crush, taking George and Kim along. Wait a second, wasn’t Arthur married and expecting a child? Its possible the events of Blood-Drinking Monster Bakulah Appears!!/Find Bakulah’s Nest!! drove Arthur and his wife to divorce with her not being able to live with his lifestyle, but it could just as easily have been John or Otto in his place and not affect the plot (What little there is) at all. Anyways, it turns out Arthur’s friend is not only dead, but the village has been taken over by humanoid frogs from outer space. Its as crazy as it sounds, and while part 1 has some fun moments and a relatively intriguing mystery, part two gets maybe just a little too weird and is kind of a mess overall. Dr. Gori is back, though plays a very minor part, having simply been the one to convince the Gama aliens to invade Earth and kill Spectreman (Perhaps something he did during the events of the previous story?). Certainly not boring, but too absurd and filled with plotholes to really recommend it. 2.5/5

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Just like Flowers for Algernon, if Charlie became a brain-eating monster.

Bobby, Don’t Become a Monster!!/Tragic Genius Monster Noman – A superb two-parter that’s my pick for the best in the show. Essentially a Tokusatsu version of Flowers for Algernon, with elements of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde included as well, so as to be expected, there are plenty of heart-wrenching moments to be had, with part one being bad for dog-lovers and part two showing the transgression of the experiment. Throughout both episodes, people question the experiment to make Sandy, a mentally-retarded delivery boy smarter, stating it may go against nature and dabble into the unknown. However, if not for Dr. Gori’s meddling, the experiment appears to have been a total success, with Sandy becoming a genius and seeming accustomed to his new lifestyle. A total tearjerker from start to finish, but my pick for the best pair of episodes in the series. 5/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h54m50s970Smash Alien Igorl!!/Enigma of the Cobalt Monster – Another story with Gori aligning himself with a race of aliens for his conquest of Earth, the Igorlians, who almost seem to look up to Gori as some sort of god. Here, Gori and the Igorlians raid a small poor village for its large amount of cobalt buried beneath to create a bomb to destroy the pollution-filled world with. Along the way, a second Spectreman shows up, hypnotizing the villagers. The idea of another Spectreman was sort of done previously in Titanic Battle!! Seven Giant Monsters, though in that case it was simply another cyborg created with all of Spectreman’s powers, whereas here its a duplicate of Spectreman used to fool people (Its unknown just how many of Spectreman’s powers it retains). While it leads to a fun fight, the idea of the duplicate just feels like a way to pad the story out and probably could have been put to better use. There are still a few plotholes (Like just how the Bureau’s building moved from Tokyo to the village like it did) and some sequences that feel like padding, but fun enough with a mildly tense plot. 3/5

Operation: Capture Monster Mound-Dragon – The first single-part episode for the first time in a while, and pretty enjoyable thanks to its leisurely pace. It is nice to see the Pollution Squad (here called the Monster Squad) try their hardest to keep the monster of the week alive for a change, as they intend on taking him to Tokyo to be studied by scientists across the globe. He’s transported via truck in a similar fashion to the titular monster from Gorgo‘s trip to London. Gori’s plan to sabotage the convoy carrying the monster (Causing it go haywire and kill the squad members) is pretty minor but clever enough, done with the help of one of Gori’s weirder creations, the Birdman, a human-sized vulture monster not dissimilar to Kaijin seen on Kamen Rider at the same time. Spectreman pulls a never-before-seen power out of his ass during the climax that probably would have come in handy numerous times in past episodes. Had it been two-parts, it’d probably really drag (I wouldn’t be shocked if it were written as a two-parter but was reduced to one), but a fun enough little romp. 3/5

The Iron Claws of Horror/Pulverize the Computer Monster!! – A serious slog of a two-parter that probably would have benefited from being just one like the last episode. Like a lot of past stories, the martial arts action has been upped, with George and the gang taking on footsoliders, likely in response to Kamen Rider‘s popularity. And while some of the action is good, with Narikawa really giving it his all, it really drags after a while. There are some interesting ideas, such as the Grass men (I’d make a marijuana joke, but I’m not clever enough) and their mechanical queen having worked with Gori (Who plays next to no role other than brief cameo) in the past and were granted permission to come to Earth (Posing as the “Dog god” to superstitious villagers) by him as long as they kill Spectreman, and George having amnesia, but both are either tossed aside in favor of more action or are just executed in a really mediocre manner. The subplot involving the lone village children is also pretty lame, and Spectreman claiming he’d give up his life to restore little Nora’s full vision (Something they state can be done in Tokyo with all of the medicine and technology there) is pretty dumb. Just a weak affair overall. 2/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h56m25s647Order: Assassinate Spectreman!!/Cosmic Hitman: Comet Mask – Essentially a western story, and while pretty silly and a far cry from what the show started out as, a lot of fun from start to finish (With an introductory sequence reminiscent of From Russia with Love). The alien assassin brothers out to get Spectreman claim to be out for revenge for him shooting their ‘pa, an event that presumably took place before the series. Spectreman, the assassins and Gori are all familiar with the noble vigilante Comet Mask, who’s apparently made himself known across the universe and wants a duel with Spectreman. At long last, Overlord is seen in-person (Though we caught a glimpse of him in Death-Match!! G-Men vs. Monster Vegaron), looking similar to Spectreman, though with noticeable differences. Never once in either part do Spectreman, Comet Mask or the assassins turn giant, really showcasing the show’s attempt to mimic Kamen Rider. Like the last story, Gori plays a very small role, though here its done pretty cleverly, with him giving the assassins advice on just how to kill Spectreman. There’s lots of action, though unlike the previous story, it doesn’t get tiresome, and the whole thing is pretty silly, but lots of fun. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h57m12s046Resurrection of the Witch: Great Satan/Gorda: The Phantom Monster – Another pretty solid two-parter that for the first time in a while, actually has Gori play a fairly large role, even if his participation in the plot itself is mostly just him attempting to get the Space Witch on his side to kill Spectreman. Both him and Karas take part in an action sequence early on that’s a lot of fun, and even partaking in a scuffle with George. The Space Witch (Who’s said to be a lackey of Satan himself) was exiled to Earth 200 years ago, and is known by Gori. George not realizing there has to be a catch to the imprisoned woman’s father keeping her locked inside in an are where readings were detected is questionable, though if you’ll recall, the previous episode had Overlord warn Spectreman that he is becoming too human. The bat-like monster Gorda is among the show’s more unique creations, almost looking more akin to something from Ultraman Ace or Zone Fighter. A pretty fun pair of episodes. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h58m35s709Alien Genos: The Messenger from Hell/Deadly Dance of the Monster Dokuron – A story with a lot going on (with a lot of plot points that feel like they should be separate episodes), resulting in it being a bit of a mess at times, but certainly not without merit. Gori once more aligns himself with an outside source, the Alien Genos, who has the devious “Operation: Genocide” up his sleeve, where the dead are resurrected and turned into murderous psychopaths to kill the living, in a nutshell. Genos showcases his formula by briefly killing and resurrecting Karas, during which Gori shows genuine concern for him, in a rather touching scene. Gori and Karas feature rather prominently despite mostly standing alongside Genos and observing his plan. Also vital to the plot is the mopey psychic boy (Done nearly two years before Inazuman) Johnny getting premonitions of the terrors to come and eventually allying himself with George. He quickly figures out his identity as Spectreman (Much to George’s shock, despite George somehow knowing the boy’s name without him actually introducing himself), and is able to telepathically communicate with him while in battle. Genos uses some of his resurrecting formula to revive a fossilized monster simply called “Tyrannosaurus Rex” in the dub (Dokuron in the original version as shown in the title for part two) despite it bearing hardly any resemblance to an actual T-Rex. Towards the end, George is blinded, something seen previously in Kill the Vicious Monster Salamandar!!, requiring help from Johnny during his fight. The ending is quite possibly the most shocking in the show, and almost makes up for some of the issues the episodes have. The story is quite crammed, but the ending is guaranteed to make your jaw drop. 3/5

The Terrifying Monster Show – A lighthearted single-part episode that’s mostly just a little breath before the finale (And possibly after the very dark ending of the last episode), but pretty fun. Gori aligns himself with the Jellyfish-like Gamuro aliens (Though stating he plans to overthrow them once his mission is done) and intends to kill each member of the Pollution Squad by luring them to a carnival. Not a bad idea to get them out of the way, but the method of killing them, which is the Gamuro turning children into monsters and having them attack, feels pretty overwrought (Couldn’t Karas as some of the Gamuro soldiers just do it?). The concept of a boy being turned into a monster can be seen in other Tokusatsu shows such as Ultra Q, Ultraman 80 and Maskman. Costumes of several past monsters can be seen at the carnival during the monster show. There is another nice moment that showcases Gori’s clear caring for Karas towards the end. Silly, but pretty entertaining. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-07-21-17h59m29s920This is Gori’s Final Death-Match!!/Goodbye Spectreman – The series finale and overall good closure for the show. After countless failures, Gori decides to create a cyborg with powers equal to Spectreman (Something he tried doing before in Titanic Battle!! Seven Giant Monsters), but adds what he realizes was the cause of Spectreman’s victories – a human element by kidnapping a boxer who also happened to snap a photo of his secret base. To distract the Pollution Squad while his cyborg finishes construction, Gori sends out Mogz (Bobby and Gorda, despite it not being his creation can also be spotted in the background of his base), which is fitting for the series finale given he appeared in the pilot episode. Throughout both episodes, Gori has several henchmen wearing trenchcoats hats and glasses. They’re presumably androids or mindwashed humans, but is pretty weird. Gori clearly realizes that Spectreman has overpowered him too many times and if this fails, there is nothing left for him to do. Some interesting philosophical questions are brought up regarding Gori’s use of science for evil, with him stating he cannot fathom living on Earth without conquering it, clearly never being able to let go of his seething hatred of humans for destroying their beautiful planet. Another great bromance moment between Gori and Karas happens that’s bound to make one teary-eyed. The ending is fairly bittersweet, and there is perhaps a bit too much focus on the captured boxer and his younger brother for what should be a celebration of all the characters we’ve grown to know (Though both play a vital part in George questioning his duties as Spectreman), a solid finale to a solid show. 4/5

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