The loss of powers is a commonly used trope in the Tokusatsu genre. Often a hero would lose the ability to harness his/her powers, or in some instances, are mortally wounded enough to die (and actually do!). This normally serves as a motivation for the other characters to entrench their resolve against the enemy.
However, some characters are popular enough, that the writers decide to bring them back. Let’s look at some of the top character returns in Tokusatsu history!
For the purpose of this article, we will only be looking at instances where a character, seemingly dead or by loss of ability be no longer able to participate in the good fight, returns to battle. An actor returning to play an entirely different character will not be counted.
5. Ultraman Agul, Version Up! (Ultraman Gaia Episode 41)
In Episode 25-26 of Ultraman Gaia, Fujimiya Hiroya, also known as Ultraman Agul, while massively upset over the death of his love interest, and in anger accidentally creates a wormhole that allows a serpent-like kaijuu called Zoalim to partially breach our world. Fujimiya then decides that he is no longer worthy of his Agul powers and thus decides to give them up to Gamu (creating Gaia V2 in the process) so that the latter can defeat Zoalim. Fujimiya then walks away, right into the path of a fireball, and is presumed to be dead.
I read somewhere that Fujimiya was supposed to be dead for good, but the character was so popular with viewers that Tsuburaya decided to bring him back about 10 episodes later. Of course, having Fujimiya around without Agul would be extremely boring, and the writers found a way to bring Agul back, and even managed to do it in style!
In Episode 41, as Gamu is held captive by Sigma Zigul, Fujimiya calls out to the ocean at the beachside. The ocean responds with a mega tsunami that engulfs him, and our not-so-mad-after-all genius is reborn again, this time as Agul V2, splitting the ocean in biblical fashion. Needless to say, the moment was Agul’s as he rescues Gamu and dispatches Sigma Zigul with ease. We still want to know if Agul has a Supreme Version. Come on!
4. Ultraman Tiga is back! (Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna: Warriors of the Star Light)
The Ultraman Tiga/Dyna shared universe has given me lots of joy throughout the years. As the very first Tokusatsu series I had completed as a child, Ultraman Tiga held a very special place in my childhood memory. Dyna was almost as good, but both of them fighting together side-by-side truly made for some awesome moments, and I had one of those little Ultra Hero Series figurines of Tiga which eventually became the vessel for Tiga to return in the movie, so just imagine how wild my thoughts would have ran back then just by looking at that little vinyl figure. Ah, the innocence of childhood.
Although Nagano Hiroshi was unable to reprise his role as Daigo, several of his GUTS colleagues made appearances in this teamup movie, with then-Captain Iruma even giving a pep talk to Asuka and taking part in the final battle in a refurbished GUTS Wing (Something we never saw her doing in the original series), further driving into the ground the connectedness of these characters. Excellent work, Tsuburaya.
3. I Present to You, the White Ranger. (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers S2 Episode 18)
Tommy’s return to ranger duty as the White Ranger will always be one of the best moments of the Power Rangers universe. Just ask Kimberly.
As Billy discovered Zordon and Alpha 5’s poorly-guarded secret science project, none of the existing rangers seemed particularly happy about it until the identity of the White Ranger was revealed, amidst a stunning light show in which he came flying down from the hole in the roof much like how any Ultraman would.
Although Saban hardly took steps to ensure the secrecy of this information, thus spoiling the surprise for some fans, it was after all the return of a character so enamoured by viewers of the show, and who would go on to claim the title as the undisputed greatest Power Ranger of all time.
2. The Double Riders are Alive! (Kamen Rider V3 Episode 33)
In Episode 2 of Kamen Rider V3, the Double Riders (Kamen Rider Ichigo and Kamen Rider Nigo) appeared to have sacrificed themselves after they brought an atomic-infused Kame-Bazooka away from the city and into the water to detonate the bomb, saving countless lives.
However, 31 episodes later, when Kazami Shirou and his buddies are captured by Baron Fang’s latest Destron kaijin Snow Wolf, they are suddenly rescued by the Double Riders, who revealed themselves to have sort of… been in Australia and America the whole time. (Were they taking a vacation or something?) Nevertheless the Riders manage to triple team Snow Wolf a little before V3 decides to end his misery by giving him a spinning chop in mid-air.
The Double Riders stuck around till the next episode, contributing to one of the best(that motorcycle chase with Nigo on the New Cyclone.. Wow!) and trippiest (they get captured AGAIN!) two-parters in Showa Rider history.
1. The Ghost of Yuuki Gai (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger Episode 28)
When Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger started playing the dead heroes card with the appearance of the ghosts of Abare Killer, Dragon Ranger and Time Fire to the consistently annoying Super Sentai fanboy Ikari Gai (Gokai Silver) in his dreams, most of the fandom began to wonder if the same thing could happen for the Jetman tribute episode.
As it turned out, it did! Hats off to Toei as well for pulling off a masterstroke by turning the tables on Ikari Gai, for he was the only crew member of the Gokai Galleon who was unable to see Yuuki Gai, possibly alluding to the notion that humans (Earthen ones specifically) aren’t supposed to see the dead (remember the Gokaigers were technically humans from outer space). To top it all off, Toei even had Yuuki Gai henshin into Black Condor.
I remember Gokaiger as being pretty good on the fan-service levels. This was one of its top moments.
Which is your favourite character return moment in a Tokusatsu show? Tell us!