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Kikaida Volume 1
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Box Front Japanese Title: Jinzo Ningen Kikaida (“Artificial Human Kikaida”)
Series Creator: Ishinomori Shotaro (Masked Rider)
Original Release Year: 1972
Running Time: 123 minutes (5 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each)
Official Website: http://www.generationkikaida.com

DVD Released By: JN Productions (Hawaii)
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: Japanese mono
Extras: DARK Destructoid monster profiles, cast & crew profiles, KIKU-TV promotional spot, photo gallery (hidden Easter egg), dual-language DVD menus (English / Japanese), printed liner notes
Subtitles: English
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 31 (6 per episode)
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $24.95
UPC #: 761268740120
Catalog #: 7401
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Kikaida tells the story of Jiro, a human-like android who turns into the powerful Kikaida to battle against the evil organization known as DARK.  Jiro / Kikaida was created by Dr. Komyoji, a brilliant scientist forced to work for DARK.  He endowed Jiro with a conscience circuit.  Although incomplete, this circuit allows Jiro to resist the call to evil sent out by DARK leader Professor Gill’s shrill flute.  Now, the DARK androids and the powerful DARK Destructoid monsters must always be wary of the sound of Jiro’s haunting guitar or the roar of Kikaida’s motorcycle.

Episodes 1-5 of
Kikaida are included on this DVD:

“Gray Rhino King:  Harbinger Of Evil”:  When Jiro returns from his first successful skirmish with the DARK androids, Professor Gill sets Dr. Komyoji’s lab ablaze.  Jiro escapes, and becomes the guardian of Dr. Komyoji’s children, Mitsuko and Masaru, as they search for their missing father.  Professor Gill dispatches the formidable Gray Rhino King to destroy the benevolent android.

“Green Mantis:  Bizarre Killing Machine”:  The cunning Green Mantis impersonates Dr. Komyoji and commits murder in an attempt to draw Kikaida out.  As Mitsuko and Masaru struggle to clear the doctor’s good name, Kikaida battles the evil android.

“Orange Ant:  Challenge To The Death”:  The vicious Orange Ant subjugates an entire town for DARK’s sinister experiments.  Can Kikaida save them from the acid-spraying monster?

“Blue Buffalo:  Fiendish Death Trap”:  A DARK employee flees the organization to aid her daughter, who has been hospitalized.  DARK sends Blue Buffalo to retrieve her and to crush Kikaida.

“Yellow Jaguar:  Claws Of Evil”:  Mitsuko and Masaru travel to Tokyo in their search for their father.  Mitsuko’s friend, an environmental planner, is targeted for assassination when her work threatens DARK’s sinister plans. 

Kikaida was obviously a very low-budget show, but this just adds to its charm.  It’s bright and colorful, with a delightful 1970’s ambiance.  When a show is this cool and this much fun, it really doesn’t matter that that the special effects are cut-rate and the seams on the monster costumes are obvious.  The cool music and high-energy action are just irresistible.  First shown in Japan in 1972, Kikaida aired on TV in Hawaii in 1974.  It created a sensation at the time, and has enjoyed a strong cult following there ever since.  It returned to the Hawaiian airwaves in 2001, sparking a revival and leading up to these excellent DVD releases.  Grade:  A

Video: This disk was digitally remastered from the original film prints.  This show is over thirty years old, but it looks great.  Only the opening credits suffer from scratches & specks.  Some minor grain is the only (probably unavoidable) drawback to an excellent transfer that is overall bright, sharp, and colorful.  The video on this disk stands in stark contrast to the way most 1970’s tokusatsu is shown in the West.  I’ve seen enough faded, grainy presentations of Godzilla vs. Megalon to really appreciate the obvious effort put into this DVD.  Grade:  A

Audio: Kikaida is presented in the original Japanese mono.  All of the dialogue, catchy music, and crazy sound effects come through loud and clear.  Grade:  A

Extras / Menus: Extras include profiles (with sound) of all of the DARK Destructoids (42 in all).  There are also extensive profiles of the cast & crew.  The disk also contains a television promo that heralded the return of Kikaida to Hawaiian television.  The DVD insert features a page of liner notes detailing Kikaida’s creation in Japan and rise to prominence in Hawaii.  It’s an informative and fascinating read.

There is also a hidden Easter egg on the disk.  It’s a photo gallery consisting of 40 images from the show.  To access it, go to the “Special Features” section.  Move the cursor to “KIKU-TV Promotional Spot,” but don’t select it.  Press the right arrow key twice, and a blue Kikaida head will appear.  Press “Select” to go to the gallery.

All of the menus and profiles can be viewed in either English or Japanese, depending on your DVD player’s language preference.  The menu language can also be changed manually via the DVD “set-up” menu.  Only the main menu is animated; all of the menus feature Jiro’s signature guitar as background music. 
Grade:  A

Final Analysis: A very fun show that looks and sounds great on DVD.  The care and attention to detail that went into producing this disk is apparent, and it deserves our support.  Final Grade:  A
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