FEATURE: Fanart Friday - Spandex Squadron Supreme Edition

Celebrate the heroes of tokusatsu and super sentai on this week's Fanart Friday!

Fanart Friday returns, armed with an epic array of poses and one bitchin' final attack. Last week, we hit the books with our favorite school-based series, but this week we're revisiting one of the best parts of after school: tokusatsu and super sentai heroes! "Tokusatsu" literally means "special filming," and refers to special effects-driven movies and TV shows like Godzilla and Ultraman, while "Super Sentai" refers to teams of color-coded costumed heroes.



Tokusatsu and sentai shows are a cornerstone of Japanese popular culture, with all manner of shows and manga and random celebrities referencing Ultraman or Kamen Rider, or taking a classic sentai pose, or beating up kaiju in a swimming pool. Once again, I'd like to thank CR user Zindakku for suggesting this theme--if any of you want to see a particular theme for Fanart Friday, shoot me a PM and I'll do my very best to make it a reality! Now, if you're properly stretched, it's time to beat on some Putties!


DISCLAIMER:  None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll.  All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners.  All art is the creative property of their respective artists.  Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.



by Gourmandhast

A lot of us first found out about super sentai with Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, originally aired in the early '90s as Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. While a lot has happened since Power Rangers originally aired, including the tragic death of Yellow Ranger Thuy Trang, we still get to see (well, hear) replacement Black Ranger Johnny Yong Bosch in a lot of anime and games, and those of you who watch MMA can occasionally see Green/White Ranger Jason David Frank choke people out in the ring.



by ヨエコスキー

When a reader mentioned this, I just couldn't resist it! In Bamboo Blade, fierce during kendo/quiet in everyday life Tama is a huge fan of the show Blade Braver, to the point where it even influences her mindest in kendo. Blade Braver looks like it takes influences from B-Fighter (Big Bad Beetleborgs), Kamen Rider, and various other super sentai shows... but you'll see a lot of parody/tribute titles like that in anime and manga anyways.



by SmashToons

As you might have guessed from my review, I absolutely loved The Wonderful 101. My only complaint is that you can't really do "Rider Kick"-alike, and instead have to "settle" for slamming the enemy with a fist the size of a small house. Did you know that W101 director Hideki Kamiya loved this artist's rendition? Hell, I'd watch a cartoon that looked like this.



by daison/ハチミツドリル

Big Bad Beetleborgs came out around the time I was done with Power Rangers, so I didn't watch much of it, but I was living in Japan at the time and the original B-Fighter was still pretty popular. During  Summer, Summer, Summertime Edition, I talked about how beetle sumo was a big deal for Japanese kids, so I wondered how they could translate something so Japanese for an American audience.



by おぽんぽん

Of course, Japan's not nearly done with themed hero teams--going back to the dinosaur theme, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger is one of this year's new super sentai shows, and watching some footage of it, it honestly looks pretty badass. I'm most interested in their inclusion of a 32-year-old blue hero, so the show can make fun of how old I am (I hit 31 this year).



by ラブ月

Holy crap, Justimon! Digimon had all manner of crazy monster designs, regardless of how directly a few of 'em were lifted from a certain other "gotta catch 'em all" monster series. When readers mentioned Justimon, I went for the most badass pic possible.



by カラスマ タスク(烏丸匡)

For Kamen Rider OOO (pronounced "O's," like "Cheerios"), it apparently moves into its own continuity, parallel-yet-separate from the rest of the Kamen Rider titles. I've always wondered why Kamen Rider--like Ultraman--isn't as popular here as Power Rangers still are.



by よいじ

To be honest, when I first saw Gatchaman Crowds, I had a pretty negative reaction--"WHAT THE F**K HAVE THEY DONE WITH MY SCIENCE NINJA TEAM?!" And then I actually watched the show, and it was pretty awesome, but I'm a few episodes behind and need to catch up.



by hipy

Did you know that kaiju films also count as tokusatsu? It could be said that Godzilla is the granddaddy of tokusatsu film, having first trampled Tokyo in 1954, so here he is taking on Mecha-Ghidorah! Before you ask, yes, I am planning a kaiju-centric Fanart Friday for October!



by 塗壁

While Ultraman has been kicking the crap out of bad guys since 1966, the original Ultraman TV series was actually the second in the "Ultra Series." Originally an episodic show dealing with investigators who battled kaiju, Ultra Q was followed up by the giant, transforming hero Ultraman, and the rest is history. Just a personal thing, but I notice that Ultraman doesn't have as flashy a fighting style as other tokusatsu heroes--he'll do the occasional kick, but he tends to just grapple and use his special moves.



by 一国/いっくに

Of course, tokusatsu and super sentai shows aren't all grim epics, and many of them are very lighthearted even when bad guys are going to wipe out the Earth. Then you have shows like Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger, a comedy designed for adults who grew up with super sentai shows.



by syokoeent

While we're still talking about sentai parodies, did nobody like Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman? This awesome piece is from eight years ago! Salarymen by day, the heroes of the Shinesman unit are clad in office-appropriate colors: Grey, Moss Green, Salmon Pink, Sepia, and uh... Red--because the leader is always red--and are armed with "Business Card Cutters" and "Tie Clip Bombs."



by kumanosuke

Even a shounen action mainstay like One Piece can't resist the pool of tokusatsu heroes. Wanting to (poorly) hide the fact that he's helping out after leaving the crew, Usopp disguises himself as Sogeking Sniper King, with a theme song/opening and everything.



by イザヤ

We got a look at Kamen Rider W's lead characters in The Game's Afoot Edition, but did you know that the heroes are both Kamen Rider himself? While they don't exactly do a Fusion Dance, they are "the two-in-one Kamen Rider!"



by 未散

Being brutally honest, tokusatsu shows are pretty cheesy, but that's a big part of the fun. Then I read this New York Times article about Ultraman Ginga (thanks again, Zindakku), and I see the Ultraman performer's quote about how kids can tell that CG is fake, and that a real, human Ultraman is able to shake hands with his young fans. I always respect performers who take their work that seriously.



by おぃ@わき腹に邪気眼が・・・!

Of course, 12th isn't quite as serious as that. Future Diary is a pretty grim series overall, so it was nice having somebody as out there as 12th.




No lie, Viewtiful Joe is one of my top five favorite games of the last generation. Ruthlessly difficult, but fair and technical, it cribbed from Kamen Rider and Ultraman (and Devil May Cry) to make what I consider the best stylish action game yet. Good job getting every boss (and a couple mooks!) on there, Nymous!



by 獅ノ宮明乃@委託通販中

While the entire Ginyu Force are a bunch of sadistic, murderous A-holes, it's hard not to like them and their insane sentai posturing. What are they all crying about, though? Did they all find out that they all die like chumps?



by ね い じゅ

I had no idea the Ultraman mask's mouth was actually open. That's right, let's all take a second to relax before we finish up for today, then close up with...



by トモロー01



And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everything--who are your favorite tokusatsu or super sentai heroes? Even toku/sentai-inspired heroes deserve mention!


Your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, so don't be afraid to send it in, I'm happy to show it off! Just send me a PM with a link to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! Here's what I've got lined up for the next three installments:



-Then, on SEPTEMBER 27th, all eyes are on the sky as we check out fanart of our favorite ALIENS! Benevolent visitors, insidious conquerors, kinda dumb neighbors like in Level E--everyone's invited!

-On OCTOBER 4th, I'll need you to turn to page 394--we're celebrating MAGIC-based characters! No, I am not starting the Gandalf vs. Dumbledore argument again, but I would happily entertain a Saruman vs. Voldemort battle!


Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and we hope to see you for next week's "Terrible Two" celebration!

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