Tokusatsu, literally special effects film, is a term used to denote superhero television shows. In Japan, a new set of heroes emerge every year, and you can see countless children adorning merchandise of their favorite heroes. The most popular export in the United States is Power Rangers, which sparked a phenomenon when it first aired.
While Power Rangers emerged in the 90’s, similar heroes popped up in Japan much earlier. Godzilla kickstarted the engine in 1954, Ultraman in 1966, Kamen Rider in 1971, and Goranger (the first template for Power Rangers) in 1975. Since the craze started decades ago, and with new iterations every year, the youngsters became parents and went on to pass on the love of superheroes.
Some adults never grew out of it and kept watching. With the lowering number of marriages and birth rate, many tokusatsu fans (mostly male) were left with disposable income. The market reacted with high-end collectibles catering to adults, and in turn the negative image of being a “big kid” lessened. This similar trend can be seen worldwide for other hobbies as well, like anime collectibles and video games.
While a different flavor, Hollywood makes tokusatsu movies too, like The Avengers and The Dark Knight. Thanks to multimillion dollar budgets and talented actors, these franchises are widely accepted, but Japanese tokusatsu is far from mainstream in Japan.
A columnist has recently compiled a short list of advantages that a tokusatsu-crazed man might have:
1. His personality is innocent and honest
“My previous boyfriend was bigot and stubborn, and wasn’t much fun to date. In comparison, my boyfriend is very innocent and honest, so living together is much nicer. He’ll say things like ‘Biollante is so cool, never gets old’ and his eyes sparkle as he watches the movie, just like a child. Obviously it’s not a mainstream hobby, but it’s within my tolerance level for a man.” (28, sales)
If the last boyfriend was stubborn, it must be a breath of fresh air to date the current boyfriend. Perhaps tokusatsu had a positive effect on his personality. As her story said, as long as you are tolerant to his passions, he may be quite the catch.
2. Does a good job watching the children
“When I found out that he was into tokusatsu, I honestly thought ‘That’s a bit otaku, I don’t like that…’, but I gave him a chance. We watched The Return of Ultraman, and I started to think that maybe it’ll be a good communication tool to watch with children, and looked at his love for tokusatsu under a positive light. He passionately told me that he’d like to show this to his kids someday, so I’m looking forward to raising kids together.” (29, IT)
Tokusatsu has a strong image as entertainment for kids, so it can be a fun activity for both child and parent. Conversations like “Out of the Herisei-era Gamera movies, Dad likes Gamera 2: Attack of Legion.” “I like Legion too, I think it’s cool!” could be common, increasing communication in the household.
If the child is still small, the husband could play with them with his action figures, too.
3. His concentration for his passions are impressive
My reason for choosing him is passion for the things he loves. Even if he’s busy with work, he’ll find time to watch new tokusatsu shows, so I thought he might be really useful to have to help me around the house (laugh). It’s a little mean, but I’m thinking of asking him “I’m going to put you on an allowance. If you help me household and childcare chores, you can watch one show. What do you think?” (31/ advertising)
I’m a bit curious as to if he’ll agree to such conditions. However, as she mentioned, the passion of those who really love something is quite the sight to behold.
Thinking beyond marriage, keeping a balance of work and personal life is important. When things get tough, having something you really like to relieve stress is a very strong asset to have. In this perspective, hopefully tokusatsu will help him out post-marriage, too.
4. There’s no threat of infidelity
“My previous boyfriend was a terrible cheat, and ever since then I’ve been wary of dating. That’s when I met my tokusatsu-loving boyfriend. He’s the type that would rather watch tokusatsu than have three square meals, so I don’t think there’s a threat of him cheating on me… But tokusatsu was there for him before I was, so either way I can’t win…” (30, retail)
If he’s the type to put hobbies first, it’s likely that he’d rather spend time on tokusatsu activities than looking for other women. However, even if there’s no threat of him cheating, it’s still a little disheartening when personal time with him is taken away by his hobbies.
For times like this, perhaps you can try spending time with him by showing interest in tokusatsu. Recent shows feature handsome actors, so they’re easy on the eyes for women as well. Try watching a few shows with him, and you just might be able to strike up some conversations to better your relationship.
5. Isn’t prejudiced about otaku
“I like BL (boys love) manga, so whenever I get to know a guy and tell him about my interests, it’d end with a dismissing laugh. My boyfriend now doesn’t look down on me, and instead we have deep discussions and we enjoy each other’s hobbies. The typical person may find our talks strange, but he sees them as entertaining, so we’re able to talk freely about our otakuness. It’s fun to be able to learn new topics, too!” (32, beautician)
Tokusatsu fans are a welcome existence to otaku. Not only by having good conversations, but also stimulating each other’s interests to deepen the relationship. Obviously great if you’re into tokusatsu as well, but things out of your regular comfort zone can be interesting too, so it’s a real eye-opener for both parties.
It’s an endearing sight to see a father and child dressed in costumes to go see a movie like Iron Man 3, so it may not be a problem with the passion for the medium itself, but the maturity and quality of the content. A few attempts have been made to rejuvenate the genre to emulate Hollywood and their success, like GARO and Kamen Rider THE FIRST, but so far have been unsuccessful in convincing the masses. Perhaps a Hollywood remake would give the genre the respect it deserves, but nightmares of Dragonball Evolution is still fresh on my mind.ウレぴあ総研