There comes a time, a moment in our lives, where the currents of what makes us, us guide our development. I was born in May of 1970, and I don’t remember much about that. No, my earliest memories are of two shows that, unbeknownst to me, would chart my course to Geekdom to this day. These shows were “Johnny Sokko and His Fling Robot”, and “Ultraman”. They were English dubbed Japanese imports, and they captured my undivided attention as a developing youngling.
No, my friends, Batman, Spider-Man, nor Captain Kirk ushered me into the Age of the Geek. Star Wars was but a mere glimmer in George Lucas’ eye. It was Ultraman, and what I called “Bucket-Head Ultraman”! Apparently, Johnny Sokko and His Fling Robot was too difficult for me to say way back when. I have no idea of the timeline, but these Tokusatsu shows left an indelible mark upon me that I still wear proudly to this day. Tokusatsu (特撮) is a Japanese term that applies to any live-action film or television drama that features considerable use of special effects (tokusatsu literally translates as “special filming” in Japanese).
The last part of this Japanese import trifecta is a show known to the children of the West as Speed Racer. While not Toku, this action pack and colorful Anime cemented my love of animation. The stories we pretty simple, but they were told really well.