Akira Shinomiya, who has previously appeared in a cameo role on Kamen Rider Den-O and Decade, gave his opinion on tokusatsu episode titles.
When you’re watching dramas, not just tokusatsu, what catches your attention?
It seems that the most interesting draw is the story. Other attention grabbers might be a favorite actor, beautiful shooting locations, or the action.
When I watch tokusatsu, my focus turns to the episode titles.
I think it’s one of the elements of a series where you can feel the intensity of the writer. They have to put their energy into a short phrase.
When I was a child, I didn’t particuarly care about show titles. But, more attention was brought to them during series in the 2000s. They helped to show off the theme of the work.
I first noticed episode titles in Kamen Rider Kuuga, most notibly by the kanji being used. From the first episode title, “Revival”, to using “Sky” and the main character’s name “Yusuke”, which you can see at the end of the final episode.
I felt that this two kanji character was different from previous Kamen Rider series. I remember feeling the impact when I was an adult.
Super Sentai shows also played with use of kanji in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. The episode titles all helped pull off a distinct Japanese style.
Kamen Rider Build is the current running show and had titles like “The Best Match” and “Innocent Runaway”. Both titles use a blend of kanji and katakana.
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid blended Japanese characters with English. This was especially obvious with Kamen Rider Laser’s related episode titles.
Next, let’s discuss Showa series.
Himitsu Sentai Gorenger was the name of the first Super Sentai team, but it was shortened to Gorenger in the first episode title “The Crimson Sun! The Invincible Gorengers”. Other episode titles contained the name of the Super Sentai member, which is easy to see at a glance.
The phrase “Crimson” was used in multiple titles, especially when plot important episodes occured.
The first Kamen Rider series often used the monster in the episode title. Several episodes contained the word “Fear”. The kanji “Mystery” was also used to draw in more viewers. Other Showa Kamen Rider shows would tell viewers about the enemy’s strategy directly in the episode title.
When I was a kid, I saw episode titles, but I was shocked to see episode titles using the kanji “Death”:
- Chikyu Sentai Fiveman episode 32 “Gaku Dies”
- Choujin Sentai Jetman episode 18 “Gai Dies”
- Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger episode 42 “Burai Dies”
I still feel shocked as an adult. For three consecutive years, the word “Death” was used in an episode title.
Wait, Gosei Sentai Dairanger, also used “Death” in the episode 48 title “Death of the Heroic Master!”, so four consecutive years!
Article Sources: Cinema by Shochiku