Kikaider started off as a tokusatsu show titled “Jinzo Ningen Kikaida,” which first aired in 1972 in Japan. But, if you were lucky enough to live in Hawaii, you might’ve gotten the dubbed version: Android Kikaider.
If you’re unsure of what Tokusatsu is, it means “Special Filming,” and refers to a very special type of filmmaking from Japan.
The most common tokusatsu show, at least in the ’70s, the Golden Age of Toku, would feature a supposedly lone hero, taking on terrorist and criminal organizations which wished to destroy the very eclectic ’70s way of life we came to know and love.
When I say supposedly lone, these heroes were often afraid to let others take on the same crusades they did; crusades that often meant losing friends and allies, when you weren’t killing monstrous creatures with such names as Gray Rhino King, Skeleton Flying Squirrel, or even Starfish Hitler!
Also, I will be writing these articles as long as they get enough response. So if you want the straight poop on Starfish Hitler, you’ll just have to come enjoy the ride with us, only at Dorkaholics!
Anyways, today, we are looking at a classic tokusatsu series, that has spawned spinoffs, anime adaptations, and big budget reboots in Japan, KIKAIDER. In the United States, he’s better known as “That red and blue robot from the Adult Swim cartoon,” but maybe we can fix that.
So, what is Kikaider?
Kikaider started off as a tokusatsu show titled “Jinzo Ningen Kikaida,” which first aired in 1972 in Japan.
But, if you were lucky enough to live in Hawaii, you might’ve gotten the dubbed version: Android Kikaider.
Kikaider is an android who is built by Dr. Kohmyoji, a scientist who is being held hostage by DARK, a terrorist organization that seems completely fine with the fact that it’s evil, and is mostly concerned with creating robots, cyborgs, and androids, but only if they’re evil. Or at least criminal.
Kikaider is tasked with protecting Dr. Kohmyoji’s children from DARK, and takes on a humanlike persona, Jiro, who enjoys playing guitar, riding his motorcycle, and trying not to be so angsty about not being fully human. Typical human stuff that we all deal with. Also, for some reason every tokusatsu hero from the 70s has a motorcycle. They either use it out of costume or in costume, or both.
Somewhere along the way, DARK builds a robot called Hakaider (Hakai means “destroy” in Japanese), who’s got human parts inside of a robot body, wears all black, and commands the troops. Sound familiar? It should. George Lucas later explained that he got his inspiration for Darth Vader from Hakaider. What a dork!
Anyways, there’s a manga, an anime, and even crossovers, but if you want Shotaro Ishinomori’s original vision, you really gotta watch the toku. Or, if you just can’t handle the amount of cheese, there’s a rebooted version, which came out in 2014. If you’re really looking for the post-apocalyptic epilogue starring Hakaider, we’ll be covering that too!
Check out the Intro to Tokusatsu Gateway Drugs if you haven’t already.
Thanks for reading this article!
If you’d like to share your thoughts in reaction to what you just read, then feel free to leave a comment below or click here to submit your own opinion piece. The Dorkaholics Team is always on the look for new, additional voices to join us, share their own unique perspectives, and contribute to the diverse platform we are building in our corner of the internet and pop culture community.