Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Brief History of Toku Hell

It had to happen sooner or later. Ended up being later.

For those that are unaware, I'm Mike Dent. Known as the host/producer of the podcast R5 Central, my recent claim to fame is through a little event called Tokusatsu or "Toku" Hell. That's right, the likes of Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman in a Hell format. Our tagline is "If it involves spandex, rock quarries, and explosions, we've got it covered."

The whole thing started at ACen 2008 as I attempted to salvage the disaster that was my podcast panel. I had planned on doing something of a Hell format for half of the panel, then switch to a Robot Rumble-styled activity for the rest of it. Thankfully, the showcase ended up being the highlight of the evening. Sure, the high numbers were thanks to the "Free Yaoi" sign I posted outside the door but was still memorable. I think.

I retooled the format a bit, turning it into a non-stop Robot Chicken-ish showcase, and did "Toku Hell: Otakon Edition" at that year's "Henshin Heroes And You" panel. All edited and subbed using Windows Movie Maker. Why? Because I'm a cheap bastard. The last stop of the year ended up being at SITACon 2008 with the cleverly titled "Toku Hell: SITACon Edition". It was there when we had the legendary reaction, "THIS IS POWER RANGERS!!" This coming from a young woman in a china dress who felt the need to stand up and point at the screen in the middle of a Den Ace episode.

Jump-cut to the present: The chaos has begun once more with "Toku Hell: The Revenge!!" at Anime Central 2009. Together with Midwest Convention Cosplay Casanova, Cardcaptor Will, we unleashed a brand-new showcase on a standing-room only audience. We were the only Tokusatsu event of the con, meaning that we ended up getting the influx of fans pent up to get their fix. Thanks to an overall positive reception, we may end up running it next year. Hopefully next time though, we won't be rushed out of the room at the last minute by the oh so important "How to Write A Lemon" panel.

With the apparent demise of SITACon and the lack of a Tokusatsu panel at Otakon this year, the next appearance of this growing phenomenon remains uncertain. Until the next, stay tuned....and beware! Maybe.


Tohoscope said...

Besides Den Ace, what other clips have you shown at Toku Hell?

Gaijinder said...

Some of our classics include the Akumaizer 3 Death Montage, the climax to Gainax's Return of Ultraman short (w/ Hideaki Anno as Ultraman), Japanese Spiderman action, and clips from Sentai AV videos. (No actual smut mind you, just the final fights which end up looking surprisingly better than the official stuff! Naturally, we don't tell the audience where it's from until the action is about to start ^_^)

Throw in the occasional out of context clips and that best sums up only a portion of the viewing experience.

Anonymous said...

I really want to have something like this at my local con, MTAC. This past year's Super Sentai (more like SS/PR and Kamen Rider) went well, and I like to think we could support such a panel.

Phil Lee said...

I love the idea of Toku Hell. If you can find clean copies to work with, the old Dynaman parody dubs and the proto-Gainax short Patriotic Squadron Dai Nippon are primo Hell fodder. Also, I dunno how usable it is, but I figure this is as good a place as any to state my love for the Ohranger vs. Kakuranger movie.

Tohoscope said...

I just started watching Astro Fighter Sunred. Reminds me of that End of the Century Five Rangers skit (which I'd like a better copy of for HELL.)

Ok Phil, I gotta ask about your love for Ohranger vs. Kakuranger. Does it love you back?

Phil Lee said...

I keep hoping Yellow and Pink Ohranger will love me back. Does that count? No, no, don't answer that. I'd hate to have my dreams shattered.

Also, Astro Fighter Sunred is awesome.

Gaijinder said...

I own all of the live-action Daicon shorts actually. The only ones I'm missing are the last two Notenki videos and their Yamato no Orochi flick.

I WISH I could find decent quality episodes of the Dynaman dub though! Any help would be appreciated. That and Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills.

Biz said...

Hey, kind of off-topic and I'm not sure if you'll see this but I remember you guys mentioning at the ACEN fandubbing panel that you needed more fan-dubs for Midnight Madness. I wanted to bring up the Death Note Abridged Series by Team Dattebayo. They're pretty easy to contact and it's a funny series.

It'll especially work nicely with the new live-action movie coming out. This is their Youtube account.

Keep it up guys. Anime Hell and Midnight Madness is the highlight of my con weekends!