sayoko hagiwara

the-last-alicorn  asked:

Yay! A female Ultra! While we're on the subject, have there been any female Ultras in the show?

Warning this post contain spoilers for several Ultraman TV series.

Yes there have!  While not as common as their male counterparts, there have been a few prominent Ladies from the Land of Light to show up in the series.  Perhaps the most famous is Mother of Ultra who, as her name suggests, is the mother to Ultraman Taro and Aunt to Ultraseven, Ultraman Ace is her adopted son. She is the wife to Father of Ultra.

She serves the Space Garrison as a medic and her healing powers are second to none. It was she who rescued Dan Moroboshi and healed him back to full strength during the events of the Ultraman Leo TV series. She could even bring the dead back to life. It is later revealed that her true name is Marie.  She also has taken on a human guise in the past, called The Lady in Green.

Most recently, she has appeared as a spokesmodel for the newly renovated Amu Plaza Hakata shopping center.

The second most famous female Ultra is Yullian from Ultraman 80.

Yullian is a Princess from the Land of Light who came to Earth to warn Ultraman 80 of an assassination plot against him.  She ended up staying and taking on the human guise of Ryoko Hoshi, joining 80′s human form Takeshi Yamato in the defense force called UGM. Her human form was played by Sayoko Hagiwara, best known to Super Sentai fans as Rei Tachibana/Dyna Pink from 1983′s Kagaku Sentai Dynaman.

She was very much a fish out of water and new to Earth customs, relying on Yamato (a teacher in his human life) to show her the ways of humans and their culture.  She was also forbidden to use her powers lest she be discovered for who she was, even though she could use some of them in her human form.

Eventually, she was forced to transform back into her true self to help Ultraman 80 when things were looking their worst.  

Sure enough, this blew their cover and the pair had to leave Earth and return to the Land of Light after their final mission with UGM.

That’s really just scratching the surface.  There were other female Ultras as well but these two are the most well known and prominent of their heroic sisterhood.

Thanks for the question!

anonymous asked:

Do you think we'll ever see a proper Ultrawoman lead a series, or even be with a leading Ultraman again like Yullian in 80?

With the recent BBC reveal of the female 13th Doctor (imho it’s about darn time) the question of female lead hero shows seems more important than ever.  Sadly, when it comes to tokusatsu, the track record for the major franchises isn’t great. Women have almost always been relegated to the supporting roles in Kamen Rider and Ultraman, playing second fiddle to the male heroes. Super Sentai often does a better job of this, sometimes even putting women in positions of team leadership.

Yes, there are female lead tokusatsu series with many entries in the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series being about women with power such as Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine.

And there were the tokusatsu versions of Cutie Honey and Sailor Moon.

However, none of those are part of the two oldest continuing tokusatsu franchises: Ultraman and Kamen Rider. Getting into the Kamen Rider issues with women would be an entirely different topic and one I’ve mentioned once or twice before so, per the ask, we’ll focus on Ultraman.

There was an attempt to make a woman a central character in an Ultraman series way back in 1972. Ultraman Ace started with the intriguing idea of the host for that series’ Ultra hero be not one person but two with Seiji Hokuto and  Yuko Minami sharing the role.

However, due to viewer backlash, Yuko was written out of the series and Seiji Hokuto became the sole host of Ultraman Ace*.  Apparently Japan just wasn’t ready for a female lead in an Ultraman seres.

Then came Mother of Ultra in 1973′s Ultraman Taro who was not so much an action hero as a motherly figure for the hero.  She has always been shown as a nurturing figure who doesn’t often engage in direct combat and has always been a supporting character without her own series.

Next, in 1980, we come to Yulian (who you mentioned in your ask) a VERY late addition to Ultraman 80, essentially taking the place of Emi Jouno (who has just been killed).  She was not allowed to transform until the very end of the series after which she and 80 have to leave Earth which reduced her to a supporting role for most of her short tenure. I will note she was played by the amazing Sayoko Hagiwara who went on to bigger things in Super Sentai.

There was Ultrawoman Beth in the US/Japanese animated co-production Ultraman: The Adventure Begins a.k.a. Ultraman USA however, she was part of a three person team and not the focal character. She has made some live action appearances since but almost always as just a background character.

We wouldn’t see a proper, heroic female Ultra until 2004 when a woman became the host to Ultraman Nexus.  She was Nagi Saijyo:

Yet again, she wasn’t the main host though, just one of several in the series.

So, there you have the track record for female Ultra Heroes and it’s really not great.  I fear there will never be a female-lead Ultra series as much as I would love to see one. There is just too much of a sense of ‘tradition’ (read that as sexism) in the tokusatsu industry as a whole, especially when it comes to marketing.  Having a woman lead a traditionally male-lead franchise is a worry because of the negative impact it could potentially have on sales of the toys, which are marketed towards boys almost exclusively.

Unless something profoundly changes and Tsuburaya’s corporate masters at Fields Corporation and Bandai agree to it, I don’t foresee a female-lead Ultraman series happening anytime soon.  I wish there could be but tradition and toy sales are powerful forces that none of the powers that be wish to tamper with. There may be more female Ultra Heroes though, just not as title characters so I would expect to see someone like Yullian or Ultrawoman Beth again.

The above are some background female residents of the Land of Light seen in crowd scenes when the home of the Ultras is shown.


*Those names may sound familiar to current readers of the Ultraman manga as Seiji Hokuto is the name of the Ultraman Ace equivalent who is fighting to help protect a woman named Yuko Minami.

anonymous asked:

ok then how about top 10 best girl character in super sentai and kamen rider

Oooo that’s a good one!  Let me take a shot at this.  Mind you, this is only my opinion and I am going to set some ground rules.  I won’t be including anyone from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid or Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger, those shows are still airing and could make certain characters better or utterly torpedo them by the end.  I want to only include characters from completed TV shows so I can judge them by their entire arc.

I am also going to take girl to just mean any female character, as I don’t want to limit the list to those under the age of majority. I am also limiting this to one character per entry, so no doubling up on characters from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger for example.

So, let’s get started!

10. Bandora from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger

There is a reason Machiko Soga is a legend in the tokusatsu community.  For those of us in the West, her most famous role would be as Bandora from the 1992 entry in the Super Sentai franchise.  She embodied the chaotic, capricious witch with a hate on for the Dinosaurs and children in general.  Yet, she was a pretty chill boss to work for; handing out rewards for success, not punishing her underlings for failure and even having massive song and dance sessions when things were going good.  Heck, were she not determined to wipe out humanity, she’d be the perfect boss!

9. Yoko Minato/Kamen Rider Marika from Kamen Rider Gaim

Loyal to the Yggdrasil company (or at least to Ryouma) Minato is one of the characters that kept me watching Kamen Rider Gaim to the end.  Her backstory was even expanded upon in the later V-Cinema releases which made her even more interesting. She started out a spy specializing in corporate espionage but was caught and, instead of being arrested and prosecuted, hired by her intended target to work for them instead. What’s even better is she got some great character moments in the recent Kamen Sentai Gorider special that really cemented her as one of my favorites. Sadly, as with a lot of female Riders, she got killed.

8. Kiriko Shijima from Kamen Rider Drive

Kiriko is probably my poster woman for the trope of how women get screwed out of being Kamen Riders.  They had to make up some arbitrary story reason why she couldn’t use the Drive Driver. Still, she was a tough police officer who often had to keep Shinnosuke in line at first and later taught a robot how to love which brought him back to the side of good.  She later got sidelined and turned into ‘the girlfriend’ or she would place higher on this list. Maybe she was lucky not to be a Rider because with female Riders you either never get to be one or you die before the end of the series.

7. Megumi Misaki from Choujuu Sentai Liveman

Megumi/Blue Dolphin is the only female member of the Liveman team and acts as something of a second in command behind Yuusuke/Red Falcon. She sometimes questions his plans and strategies, leading him to come up with better ones.  She is a marine biologist by study though she is also very skilled at archery, swimming and bicycling. Of all of her team, she is the most collected and caring, even wanting to help her former friends who betrayed the human race in favor of the Brain Army Volt and occasionally a monster of the week or two. 

6.  Yuriko Misaki/Electro-Wave Human Tackle

The absolute closest any character came to being a female Kamen Rider in the Showa Era was Yuriko from 1975′s Kamen Rider Stronger. Like her male counterpart, she was remodeled by the evil Black Satan organization but freed when Kamen Rider Stronger left their employ.  Together, they became a force for justice, battling the very organization that had created them in true Kamen Rider tradition. She was also Shigeru/Stronger’s love interest and closest confidant before her death saving him from being poisoned, starting the trend of powered heroines in Kamen Rider dying.

5. Rei Tachibana from Kagaku Sentai Dynaman

One of the central characters in her series, I think Rei got more focus episodes and character bits than any other member of her team, including Dyna Red!  I have a feeling this had to do with her actress, Sayoko Hagiwara, being that darn good at her job that the writers wanted to give her more and more to do. She’s a scientific genius. inventor and animal lover (aside from cats) who cannot stand the evils of the Evilution Empire and seeks to rid the world of their vicious misuse of science and diabolical sorcery. She’s also amazing in hand to hand combat and an expert fencer!  Man, she’s great!

4. Ahim De Famille from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger

She may be a space Princess from a dead world but Ahim De Famille is no shrinking violet or pampered layabout.  She is the voice of moderation for the Gokaiger team, the one to negotiate with friends and win over those who might be hesitant to deal with pirates.  She’s also something of the big sister to everyone else, the one her friends can come to when things are going bad for advice or consolation. She can talk a kidnapper out of his plans one minute and kick the crap out of a foe in a floofy dress the next.  She may have started as a Princess but she is now a pirate through and through, just a kinder, gentler pirate than most.

3. Mele from Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger

One of the most well developed female antagonists in the history of Super Sentai, Mele was the second in command of the forces of Rin Jyuken Aku Gata in the 2007 series.  She was also undead, having been brought back to life by Rio as part of his army of evil.  She died many years ago in the first battle between the two opposing schools of Jyuken.  Though not truly alive, she is in love with the man who brought her back and would do or give anything for him. This love and devotion eventually leads her (and in some ways Rio) away from the path of villainy and two die for good as heroes protecting the world for an even greater evil than they could have ever been.

2. Peggy Matsuyama from Himitsu Sentai Goranger

The original Pink heroine, Peggy Matsuyama a.k.a. Momoranger is just amazing.  Not only is she the first Sentai heroine, she’s still among the best, holding her own with her male counterparts and then some.  She is an explosives expert and build the team’s main finishing weapon, the Goranger Storm. She also has grenades for earrings and is an expert at hand to hand combat. She is so much more than what most women were allowed to be in tokusatsu at the time and even when captured, she’d be more likely to rescue herself or give her captors a hard time than rely on anyone to rescue her.

1. Tsuruhime from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger

I am not even going to try and hide my bias here.  I LOVE Tsuruhime.  She’s one of the best characters to ever have a lead role in a Super Sentai series.  She was also the very first female leader of a Sentai team (later to be joined by Yuri/Time Pink from Mirai Sentai Timeranger). Competent, skilled and the most serious-minded member of her team, Tsuruhime had the unenviable position of trying to keep her self-interested, easily distracted and sometimes incompetent teammates together to stop the Youkai Army Corps.  Sure, they eventually got better and all grew as people but most of that is due to Tsuruhime keeping them on mission.  She also has her own drama to deal with, especially with her Father apparently joining up with the Youkai!

I know this list is a little Sentai heavy but it’s really hard to find female characters in Kamen Rider with as meaty roles as their team-based counterparts.  As said earlier, they are either denied the powered heroic roles or killed off by the end.  I really, really hope that Kamen Rider Ex-Aid can beat that trend!

My Favorite Monster Girls

As part of the Monday portion of the Week of Toku Ladies created by @week-of-toku-ladies which involves Monster Ladies, I decided to make one of my lists for my favorite Monster Ladies in Super Sentai. These are women who either ARE monsters disguised as human women or women who turn into monsters. I’m not including any completely human looking villains here or the whole list would be characters played by Machiko Soga.

5. Princess Multiwa from Chouriki Sentai Ohranger

More of an evil robot than a true monster but as all of the monsters in this series were robots, I am counting her. Princess Multiwa was the niece of Empress Hysteria of the Machine Empire Baranoia and married the Prince, Buldont when he took the throne from his Father who had been killed in a coup.  Multiwa is a skilled archer and even has a human form, though she only uses it once in the series.  She’s on the list for being a cruel, heartless robot… and also because for a robot, she’s kind of cute!

4. Madame Noir from Ressha Sentai ToQger

Madame Noir just has an amazing look.  She’s a monstrous version of a Victorian-style Lady with a very Gothic and creepy style to her.  She is a member of the Shadow Line and her main goal seems to be to get her daughter Glitter, to marry to Emperor of Darkness, thus elevating her to Royal status.  She really doesn’t care what her daughter wants, it’s all about how her daughter can be used to elevate her own status, which is very much in tune with her European Nobility stylings.  Plus, she has a parasol and parasols are just cool.

3.  Leh Näfel from Choushinsei Flashman

This lovely villainess played by the wonderful Sayoko Hagiwara (who also portrayed DynaPink in 1983′s Kagaku Sentai Dynaman) is a catwoman cyborg member of the Resconstructive Empire Mess. She is one of the Empire’s field commanders and can often be seen accompanied by her two underlings, Wolk and Kilt.  She can also transform into the monstrous Näfelura, which brings out even more of her feline nature.

2. Lami from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger

This is one of the most famous of the ladies who turn into monsters on this list, especially among Western fans for she was converted into Scorpina for the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  I like her Japanese version much better though as she doesn’t just vanish for no reason without explanation. She is Bandora’s spy and can disguise herself in various costumes.  She is also the wife of Grifforzer and at the end of the series, they have a baby together.  The reason she makes the list (other than being awesome) is that when she grows, she takes on an entirely monstrous form called Lami Scorpion.

1. Mele from Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger

Mele tops a lot of my lists because I just freaking love her!  She makes this one for two additional reasons that qualify her for the monster list. 

1) She can transform into a chameleon creature.  This gives her the ability to blend into her surroundings and use her tongue as a long-ranger weapon. Much like Lami above, she is a spy and uses her powers in this form to watch while remaining completely unnoticed.

2) She is undead. Mele originally died hundreds of years ago during the original GekiRin Rebellion that split the art of Jyuken into two opposing schools and philosophies.  She was brought back to life by Rio, who used his own amazing Rinki to make her almost entirely human.  Though she may look like a mortal woman, she is still undead, unable to enjoy the full range of experiences humans can have.  She wants to be fully human so that she can love Rio and be with him.

So, there is my short list.  Hope you enjoyed it and please, check out the other posts on @week-of-toku-ladies for more fun!

sansan9  asked:

Sorry if this has been asked, but what are your top 5 pre-Zyuranger sentai?

It actually hasn’t and is a really good question!  As anyone who follows my blog can tell, I have something of a fascination with the older Super Sentai series from the 1980s.  Truth be told, I just have a soft spot for the 1980s in general.  It’s the decade I grew up in, having been born in 1975 and the decade that has stuck with me the longest.  I still listen to 1980s music and love the movies of the era.  To me, divorced from the politics and world events I wasn’t really aware of as a kid, it was a great decade.

It was also a great time for the Super Sentai series as they found the willing formula to make it last the test of time and be Toei’s only franchise to air continuously with no interruptions since 1979.  Others have come on gone, been put on hiatus for years and some plain forgotten but Super Sentai has lasted and a lot of that is thanks to how it dominated the tokusatsu scene of the 1980s.  So, my top 5 Pre-Zyuranger series lean pretty heavily on that glorious decade… save for one but that’s for higher on the list.

5. Choushinsei Flashman

When I first learned about the existence of Flashman, I fell in love with their costumes, their story and their twin dilemmas.  You see, these five youths were abducted from Earth as infants but rescued by benevolent aliens and raised on five different planets in the same solar system around a distant star.  They have no knowledge of their true parents and return to Earth to protect their birth home from the evil Reconstructive Empire Mess.  They seek their origins but later discover that their alien upbringing had made Earth lethal to them and if they don’t leave it in 1 year, they will die.  It gives them an interesting time limit and the angst of knowing they can never live on their true homeworld.

4. Choujuu Sentai Liveman

I was first made aware of how cool Liveman was thanks to Red Falcon’s appearance in 2001′s Anniversary movie Hyakujyuu Sentai Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai.  I saw him visiting some graves and was blown away by the idea that his team might have died.  I spent years tracking down the series and discovered that though his team lived, it was a pair of deaths and a hideous betrayal that lead to the creation of this heroic squad.  That hooked me and I eagerly watched this series.  The twists and turns it took, the heartaches and losses suffered by our heroes only made their eventual victory all the more sweet.  This is a great series by any measure.

3. Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan

The only strictly three man (and zero women) team in the history of Super Sentai takes the middle spot on this list because it’s just a good show.  The heroes are great, the villains truly evil and the fight scenes dynamic and well choreographed.  Plus, it has Machiko Soga reprising her role from the previous series as Queen Hedrian and she is just one of the best villain actresses in tokusatsu history. Despite the horrendous gender imbalance of the show, it ranks high for being fun and always entertaining.

2. Himitsu Sentai Goranger

This one likely comes as no surprise given the name of my blog but I adore the very first Sentai series.  A creation of the genius Shotaro Ishinomori it stands up there with Kamen Rider as one of his best ideas brought to life as a tokusatsu series.  It set the standard in action, team dynamic, creative villains and the color sequence still used to this day.  I wouldn’t even be doing this blog were it not for this team so it stands almost head and shoulders above the rest.  Save for…

1. Kagaku Sentai Dynaman

This one should also comes as less than a shock for anyone who follows me.  I’ve been doing a sort of liveblog as I’ve been making my way through this series and it combines everything I love about the genre into one show.  It has fun villains, serious moments, incredibly silly villain plots, some goofy monsters and great action.  It was also the series i consider to have solidified the image of what we think of as Super Sentai heroes thanks to the introduction of spandex for the uniforms.  There are also two other major reasons I love it that I can never ignore.

1) Sayoko Hagiwara as Rei Tachibana/Dyna Pink

She has become one of my favorite tokusatsu actresses of all time and this is her at her prime, kicking butt and getting more focus episodes than any of the other heroes.  

2) Princess Chimera

Need I say more?

Anyway, thanks for the question!  It’s always a joy to go back to the times before Zyuranger and talk about the shows I wish I had gotten to see as a kid!

My Top 5 Favorite Sentai Villainesses!

Yep, I said I would do this list, so here it is!

I love Sentai Villainesses.  Then again, I have a weakness for evil woman in general.  I know this is probably a bad thing but I tend to root for the woman out to get what she wants at any cost versus the goody two shoes trying to be the moral example (with some exceptions mind you).

So, let’s get his list started, shall we?

#5 ESCAPE

From 2012′s Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, Escape is the counterpart to the much more calculating, devious Enter. In contrast, she is much more hot-headed, impulsive and utterly devoted to Messiah, who she views as her Father, even calling him “Papa”.

She loves to fight and likes to introduce herself and her twin guns, Gog and Magog, by announcing that she is very good.  She has a rivalry with Blue Buster and their fight is one of the single best in the entire series. 

Escape was played by Ayame Misaki (水崎 綾女)

#4 Jeanne

Jeanne was a member of the Evoliens in 2003′s Bakuryuu Sentai AbaRanger. She is actually an evil entity possessing the body of Mahoro, the wife of Asuka/Abare Black.  This is the first (but not the last) time a former lover turned evil is going to appear on this list as it is one of my favorite tropes in Super Sentai. 

Fortunately for Mahoro, she is eventually freed from the control of the Evoliens and returns to who she was.  One of the reasons I adore her is her outfit.  It ranks as one of my favorite Sentai Villainess outfits ever.  It’s just amazingly cool and has a nice look to it.  Plus, bright red is a great color and not one we often seen associated with an villain in Sentai as it tends to be a heroic color.

Jeanne was played by Eri Sakurai (桜井 映里).

#3  Leh Näfel

Leh Näfel is a member of the Reconstructive Experiment Empire Mess from 1986′s Choushinsei Flashman. She was one of Great Doctor Lie Köpflen’s first creations and is highly loyal to him.  She is a cyborg Leopard-woman with the agility and reflexes of a cat as well as being incredibly skilled with a sword.

She is also a mistress of stealth and disguise, using her talents to surprise the Flashman team on more than one occasion.  Eventually, she gets powered up and transformed into a more monstrous version of herself called Näfelura.

Leh Näfel was played by Sayoko Hagiwara (萩原 佐代子) who had previously played the heroic Rei Tachibana/Dyna Pink in 1983′s Kagaku Sentai DynaMan.

#2 Maria

Maria in one of the Dimensional War Party Vyram in 1991′s Choujin Sentai Jetman.  She is a seemingly heartless combatant who revels in chaos and hates all things of Earth. She is primarily motivated by jealousy and envy, her Dimension Beasts often being designed to attack women or use these traits against people.

She was once Rie Aoi, a member of the Sky Force along with her boyfriend Ryu  who was to become one of the Jetman team. Vyram attacked before they were ready and she was sucked out into space, presumably killed.  However, she was rescued by a member of the Vyrman, Radiguet, who was taken by her beauty.  He wiped her mind of all human memory and installed her as an officer of the War Party.  So, once again we get the lover turned evil trope I love so much.

Maria was portrayed by  Maho Maruyama (丸山 真穂).

(DIS)HONORABLE MENTION:
WITCH BANDORA

I would feel terrible making a list of awesome villainesses and leaving out even a single character portrayed by the amazing Machiko Soga. Though she doesn’t make the top five, if I had a top 10, she would be #6 for her iconic portrayal of the evil Witch Bandora in 1992′s Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger. 

Bandora could even hit the top spot on this list if I didn’t think that too obvious given her prominence in Western fandom thanks to the American reworking of her series into Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. As well as being an icon, she’s a great character motivated by hatred of the dinosaurs who killed her son and their protectors.

She is also probably the best evil boss in history as she doesn’t blame her underlings for the failure of her plans and tends to reward them for even minor successes.  For example, for his part in helping defeat Daizyujin, she reunited Grifforzer with his wife Lami and even gave him back his voice to speak with his long-missing lover.

Best of all, she has her own song that she and her minions would sing whenever they were on the cusp of ultimate victory or just when she felt like crowing about how awesome she was.

That brings us to the actual top of the list.

#1 Mele

Hailing from 2007′s Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger, Mele (played by Yuka Hirata (平田 裕香))    is one of the most well-developed, sympathetic villains in the history of Super Sentai. She is also devious, madly in love with her boss, a fantastic martial artist, the best evil lieutenant any boss baddy could ask for and undead.

She was a participant in the original GekiRin Rebellion that split the Martial Art of Jyuken into opposing schools, the heroic Gekijyu Beast Arts and the more malevolent Rinjyuken Aku Gata. During that conflict she was killed. However, ten years before the start of the series, she was brought back as a Rinrinsi (a jiang-shi warrior) by Rio who sensed in her lingering spirit the same desire for strength he had.  

Mele is a practitioner of Rinju Chameleon-Ken, the art of stealth and accuracy. She can even transform into a more reptilian form that allows her to blend into her surroundings. In this form, she is also armed with a pair of Sai and can use her chameleon tongue as a weapon. 

As a jiang-shi, or Chinese Vampire/Zombie, she is not truly alive but seeks to become so because she is now in love with the man who brought her back. She is even tempted by someone seeking to usurp Rio’s control of Rinjuken but kills him to prove her loyalty to Rio, giving up her chance to return to life.  She is also in command of all of the lesser Rinsi, the lesser forms of undead that make up the bulk of Rio’s forces and can be elevated into Rinrinsi like herself if Rio so wills.

Though the heroes only ever see her serious, dangerous side, when she is alone with Rio she lets her guard down and becomes softer and even girlishly happy with any amount of praise he grants her. 

The two work the entire series to prove the superiority of their school of Jyuken and to increase Rio’s personal power.  In the end, after all of their questing, all of their triumphs and failings, Rio sacrifices himself to stop and even greater evil that had been using him.  Mele, devoted to the last, walks gladly into Hell with the man she was willing to kill and die for.

It’s romantic, tragic and beautiful all at once and that defines Mele in every way.