Dynamic cover packaging by Erwin Baracao & Billy Ching of JNP.
The colorful and action-packed INAZUMAN (1973) was one of many live-action superhero series produced in the early 1970s, during an unprecedented boom of such programs on Japanese television, lead out of the gate by P-Productions' SPECTREMAN (1971-72), Tsuburaya Productions' RETURN OF ULTRAMAN (1971-72), and Toei's KAMEN RIDER (1971-73). Developed for television by the KAMEN RIDER team of creative producer Tohru Hirayama (JOHNNY SOKKO) and manga author Shotaro Ishimori (CYBORG 009), INAZUMAN featured the key elements of Toei's popular progenitor, but unlike KAMEN RIDER and KIKAIDA, the hero was nether a cyborg nor an android, but rather an metamorphosing mutant with psionic powers. From it's funk-based score by Michiaki "Chumei" Watanabe to its bizarre creatures and non-stop action, INAZUMAN is pure '70s superhero gold!
Bold back cover design for JNP's release of INAZUMAN.
Goro Watari (Daisuke Ban), a seemingly normal university student, saves two youngsters from the clutches of the Neo-Human Empire, a secret society of mutants who plot to subjugate the world with their Fantom Army. The children bring him to the headquarters of the Youth League, a group of pure-hearted young mutants with psionic powers, led by Captain Sarra (Hideo Murota). Goro is awakened to his own extrasensory abilities, allowing him to transform — first into a pupal form, Sanagiman, and then — into the mighty, Inazuman. Drawing from symbolic powers of moth, like the Greek god Pysche, Inazuman wields lightning bolts against his enemies, and with the aid of the amazing flying car with a mind of its own, Raijingo, he challenges the evil minions of Emperor Bamba to liberate mankind.
The fantastic jacket and disc art for INAZUMAN.
Starring Daisuke Ban of KIKAIDA fame, INAZUMAN follows a string of fantastic classic tokusatsu releases on R1 DVD, KIKAIDA (1972-73), KIKAIDA 01 (1973-74) and KAMEN RIDER V3 (1973-74), beautifully produced and released by Honolulu-based JN Productions. Packaged in a glossy four-disc box set, INAZUMAN is digitally remastered (and superior to Toei Video's R2 release), completely unedited and uncut, and fully subtitled in English for the first time. This electrifying set also includes interviews with actor Daisuke Ban and Japanese and Hawaiian fans, Inazuman Karaoke, and more — I provided Character Profiles and Series Factoids, which feature exhaustive details on the guest stars and other behind-the-scenes minutia. With cool animated menus, superior image quality, and wonderfully produced extras, INAZUMAN comes highly recommended.
During its original run, INAZUMAN was an extremely popular series, and remains one of the pillars of the Henshin Hero genre to this day. If that's so, one might ask, why are there only 25 episodes? When INAZUMAN was originally broadcast, the saga was told in two parts, totaling 48 episodes. This DVD release features the first 25-episode "chapter", which then dovetailed into an immediate — and much darker — sequel, INAZUMAN FLASH (1974), for an additional 23 episodes. I'm hoping that — fingers crossed — INAZUMAN FLASH will be scheduled as the next release on the roster from JN Productions & Generation Kikaida for 2009. Meanwhile, the INAZUMAN Complete Series Box Set is available through the Generation Kikaida website for $99.95 (plus $7.00 Shipping & Handling).
Region Code 1 • NTSC • 4:3 Original Aspect Ratio • Japanese with English Subtitles • Dolby Digital • 10 hours 27 minutes • Unrated