Tuesday Terminology: Tokusatsu

Tuesday Terminology is a weekly segment to enlighten the masses with words, phrases, and ideals usually tacked on to today’s anime/manga scene.

This week’s topic: Tokusatsu


Tokusatsu (特撮 – lit. “special filming”) refers to any live-action film or TV show that feature a considerable amount of special effects.  If you’re familiar with Power Rangers, you already know what Toku shows are like. These shows usually feature superheroes of the sort, but isn’t limited to that.  Genres included are usually Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Horror.

The most popular and known shows, at least to my knowledge, are Super Sentai (Power Rangers as many of us know it) and Kamen Rider.  These successful kids TV dramas utilize their special effects techniques to present entertainment that has spanned decades and sold millions of toys.

Tokusatsu also includes the all-famous Godzilla series.  The special “techniques” used in the Godzilla films are the same kind of techniques that still used today for “giant monster” battles in Super Sentai shows.

Although one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Japan, the genre is sadly not as well known outside of Asia.

If you’re interested, you can find out even more history on the topicon Wikipedia.

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