Tokusatsu is a genre of Japanese film and television drama that uses a lot of special effects. It is popular among fans of action dramas.
Tokusatsu usually covers science fiction, monster drama, fantasy fiction, and horror shows. Quite a few tokusatsu shows combine some or all of the themes in the storyline. Kaiju series and movies that are popular in Japan and elsewhere are a subgenre of Tokusatsu.
Here are the top 10 Tokusatsu shows of all times.
- Kamen Rider Zero-One (Kamen Raida Zero Wan)
- Choujin Sentai Jetman (Chojin Sentai Jettoman)
- Tokusou Robo Janperson (Tokuso Robo Jaonpason)
- Jukkou B-Fighter (Juko Bi Fita)
- Ultraman (Urutoraman)
- Mobile Sheriff Jiban (Kido Keiji Jiban)
- Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (Himitsu Sentai Gorenja)
- Message from Space: Galactic Wars (Uchu kara no Meseji: Ginga Taisen)
- Madan Senki Ryukendo
Best Tokusatsu Series
Tokusatsu is one of the most preferred genres by fans of action movies. Tokusatsu series or movies feature action scenes. It focuses on futuristic weapons, vehicles, robots, and superhumans. Given below is a list of the top 10 tokusatsu series you must watch if you like action.
Kamen Rider Zero-One (Kamen Raida Zero Wan)
Who doesn’t know Kamen Rider? But if you have been living under a rock, Kamen Rider is a very famous Japanese multimedia franchise. It encompasses movies, TV series, and manga comic books. Kamen Rider Zero-One is one of the latest TV series from this huge franchise. It is 30th in the Kamen Rider series.
The story follows a young man Aruto Hiden who wants to be a comedian but suddenly finds himself in the role of the CEO of his grandfather’s company. The reluctant CEO of the Hidden Intelligence company soon realizes the importance of his position and becomes a hero for humanity!
Created by – Shotaro Ishinomori Original run – September 1, 2019 to Present Number of episodes till date – 40 Running time – 24 minutes Language – Japanese IMDb rating – 8.8 Watch here - Tubi TV (https://tubitv.com/)
Choujin Sentai Jetman (Chojin Sentai Jettoman)
Another very well-known Japanese superhero fiction franchise is the Super Sentai. Choujin Sentai Jettoman is the fifteenth entry in the series. Even though it is nearly three decades old, it is still one of the most popular series among the fans.
A space center creates a technology to give superpowers to humans and create the Jetman team. But there is an attack on the space center and the technology is accidentally transferred to four civilians. These four, with no military training, now need to learn to save the Earth and work together!
Created by – Toei Original run – February 15, 1991 to February 14, 1992 Number of episodes – 51 Running time – 25 minutes Language – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 8.3 Watch here - Tubi TV (https://tubitv.com/)
Tokusou Robo Janperson (Tokuso Robo Jaonpason)
This is a part of the Metal Superhero Series from the Japanese entertainment company Toei. It features Janperson, a robot detective, who busts underworld operations and fights criminals in Tokyo. In the English version, the Robocop is called Jumperson.
Janperson is an android robot who patrols the streets of Tokyo. A young scientist Kaoru Saegusa reprograms him to simulate human emotions. He uses weapons such as Jan Blader, Dual Laser, Arc Fire, and Jastick to fight the bad guys. Apart from these and several other futuristic weapons, the show also features futuristic vehicles.
Created by – Toei Original run - January 31, 1993 to January 23, 1994 Number of episodes – 50 Running time – 30 minutes Languages – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 8.2
Jukkou B-Fighter (Juko Bi Fita)
This is one more of the installments in the Metal Superhero series from Toei. The basic plot involves an earth invasion by ‘Jamahl’ from another dimension. The Jamahl wants to turn mankind into slaves and humans must fight back!
The Earth Academia Group creates an armor that can be used during the fight with the Jamahl. Three humans bond with these armors and form the team known as B-Fighters. The westernized name for the B-Fighters in Beetle Fighters and is used in the dubbed versions of the series.
Created by – Toei Original run – February 5, 1995 to February 25, 1996 Number of episodes – 53 Running time – 23 minutes Languages – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 8.1 Watch here – Viu (The Viu Mobile or Desktop App)
This series features the character ‘Ultraman’ for the first time. Ultraman later became the recurrent character in the Ultra series. This character has a huge following in Japanese pop culture.
This plot involves an alien threat and a special agency to fight the alien invasion. Even though this series is more than fifty years old, it features modernistic vehicles and weapons that are popular even today. And of course, it features the giant robotic hero, the Ultraman himself.
Created by – Eiji Tsuburaya Original run – July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967 Number of episodes – 39 Running time – 30 minutes Language – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 7.9 Watch – Here
Mobile Sheriff Jiban (Kido Keiji Jiban)
This is one of the Metal Hero series by Toei. A detective is killed during an operation. He is resurrected as the Robocop Jiban. Plot twist. Jiban dies or rather is destroyed again. And, yet again, resurrected as Perfect Jiban.
Jiban has a badge with him which is used to relay information, summon futuristic vehicles, and control weapons. The weapons used by Jiban as well as the antagonists are one of the major focuses of the series.
Created by – Toei Original run – January 29, 1989 to January 28, 1990 Number of episodes – 52 Running time – 30 minutes Language – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 7.9 Watch here - KissAsian (https://kissasian.sh/)
Garo features the protagonist Garo who fights supernatural demons called ‘Horrors’. The series is the story of Kouga Saezima who is the Golden Knight Garo and whose mission it is to save humanity from the Horrors.
There are several sequels to Garo, the latest of which was released in 2017. Also, there are several spin-offs and novels based on the Garo character.
Created by – Keita Amemiya Original run – October 7, 2005 to March 31, 2006 Number of episodes – 25 Running time – 25 minutes Language – Japanese, English
Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (Himitsu Sentai Gorenja)
The Super Sentai series is an iconic tokusatsu series and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger is one of the earlier series. In fact, the very Popular American series Power Rangers was based on Super Sentai. The Super Sentai is a group of people belonging to a special task force. They wear gadgets around their wrists. These gadgets can be used to transform them into superheroes.
The transformation also gives them access to their signature weapons. They use the weapons against the enemies. The Super Sentai series is wildly popular and has many titles under the metaseries. But the first one was aired in 1975.
Created by – Shotaro Ishinomori for Toei Original run – April 5, 1975 to March 26, 1977 Number of episodes – 84 Running time – 30 minutes Language – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 7.7 Watch here – Dramacool (https://www3.dramacool.movie/drama-detail/himitsu-sentai-goranger)
Message from Space: Galactic Wars (Uchu kara no Meseji: Ginga Taisen)
This science-fiction series features a futuristic space theme. A solar system is under invasion. The story follows two men, one ape-man, and a mysterious woman as they go about saving humanity from the invasion.
Created by - Shotaro Ishinomori for Toei Original run – July 8, 1978 to January 27, 1979 Number of episodes – 27 Running time – 30 minutes Language – Japanese. English subtitles available. Watch here – Epix TV (https://www.epix.com/)
Madan Senki Ryukendo
In this series, Akebono city is a peaceful place. But, suddenly, the demon army Jamanga decides to attack. The Jamanga’s operation style includes causing distress in the community and to then collect the negative energy released. A secret organization is formed to fight the Jamanga.
Created by – Oji Hiroi and others Original run – January 8, 2006 to December 31, 2006 Number of episodes – 54 Running time – 25 minutes Language – Japanese, English IMDb rating – 8.0 Watch here - KissAsian (https://kissasian.sh/)
According to MidnightEye, tokusatsu themes in Japanese entertainment have been at its core for many years. And today, the Japanese series are popular outside Japan, too. Tokusatsu entertainment is a considerably large industry with merchandise, manga, and DVDs for the series or movies being available.
In fact, there is a popular channel on YouTube that posts regular features on everything Tokusatsu. Click here to view the channel Toku Nation. Here’s a video from the channel that talks about Kamen Rider. There are plenty of others.
Please note: Online video streaming is available as given above for each series. However, if the videos are unavailable, you can get new links by looking at the discussion boards on the online streaming websites.