For those of us old enough to remember, tokusatsu (Japanese for special effects) fever took hold in the Philippines in the 80s and 90s thanks to terrestrial channels broadcasting dubbed versions of these Japanese superhero TV shows.
Tokusatsu encompasses nearly every kind of “monster of the week” TV series that featured kaiju (“mysterious beast”) or kaijin (“mysterious person”), where protagonists were either space police (e.g. Shaider), super sentai (e.g. Bioman), or Kamen Riders (e.g. Masked Rider Black).
Long preceding the likes of the Power Rangers — which gained the genre worldwide appeal — Pinoys were already familiar with certain incarnations of the genre in the form of shows like Shaider, Ultraman, Bioman, Machine Man, and for riders in the making, Kamen Rider (known locally as Masked Rider). Finally, these long-forgotten shows are making a comeback, this time via streaming platforms.
The entire world of tokusatsu — from super sentai, to space police, to kamen rider — are coming to US-based streaming service Pluto TV in a channel called TokuSHOUTsu, made possible by Shout! Factory TV. The channel is a 24/7 linear channel with curated programming, is free to view (in US only) and will be ad-supported. TokuSHOUTsu will also have original content, including Let’s Talk Toku, a new, original weekly talk show produced by and for tokusatsu fans and hosted by genre expert, Squall Charlson.
The tokusatsu shows are now available through Pluto TV, which can be watched on all leading digital streaming devices and services, including Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. For fans looking to stream content on demand, Kamen Rider, Ultraman Leo and Super Sentai will be available on Pluto TV as well as on Shout! Factory TV’s website, www.ShoutFactoryTV.com. Take note that these are limited to US territories only. You may have to utilize a VPN service to view them.
For those of us without the territorial advantage or technical knowhow, there’s still another way to watch the tokusatsu shows. Toei, which owns the rights to these series, is launching a dedicated YouTube channel to give fans access to these shows (everything from the 1960s to the 1990s) in an upcoming YouTube channel called, “Toei Tokusatsu World Official.”
Toei will begin uploads on Monday, April 6, 2020 with daily updates available worldwide outside of Japan. Initial content for the launch will include the two episodes of all 70 of its shows from that period, with English subtitles. Subsequent episodes will be available at first only in Japanese.