[Spoiler-Free] Review: BRAVE STORM (2017)

Looking less like a soda pop and more like a wrestler @ BLAST INC.

While on a business trip last week, I had the pleasure of catching an exclusive market screening of BRAVE STORM, a 2017 Tokusatsu film produced by Japan-based BLAST Inc. A familiar-looking robot on the film’s poster caught my eye, and I soon found out that it was a loose remake of the 1973 Senkosha-produced series Super Robot Red Baron.

The film features contemporary versions of the characters from the Red Baron series, and probably due to the Senkosha connection, adds another forgotten hero from their library, Silver Kamen, into the film, as the futuristic hero Silver. BRAVE STORM is the first feature effort from writer/director Junya Okabe, whose Tokusatsu credentials include visual effects supervision on the 2009 Ultraman epic Ultra Galaxy Legends.

With no narrative connection to any of the shows that inspired it, BRAVE STORM opens in the Year 2050, a dystopian future where the Kyrgyz race of aliens have brought humanity to near extinction with an army of Black Baron robots, each fitted with an atmosphere transformation device that emits smog that is poisonous to humans.

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Ten Iconic Tokusatsu Cars

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Your latest UberX appointment. © TOEI CO., LTD

Vroom! It’s Formula 1 weekend in Singapore, and what better to write about this weekend than to revisit a bunch of iconic cars used by our favourite Tokusatsu heroes over the years.

While motorbikes have been a more popular choice for the heroic sort, there have been many heroes over the years who have opted for a cooler (subjective) and more comfortable way of transportation. Since we’re focusing mainly on transportation, we’ve left out cars that could be categorised as ‘giant mecha’.

Here’s ten of the most stylish ones:
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Flashback Friday #29: Chouseishin Gransazer (2003)

From top left in a clockwise direction, Flame Tribe, Wind Tribe, Water Tribe, Earth Tribe

From top left in a clockwise direction, Flame Tribe, Wind Tribe, Water Tribe, Earth Tribe

Chouseishin Gransazer

超星神グランセイザー

“Some 400,000,000 years after an advanced human civilization was destroyed by aliens, 12 direct descendants of the civilization’s warriors (called “Sazers”) have their powers awakened and form four tribes: Flame, Wind, Earth and Water. Each Sazer is based on a Zodiac sign represented in an animal totem or spirit representation. At first, they wage war on each other, but after learning the truth of their ancestry and their reason for awakening, the Gransazer tribes unite to protect Earth from the Warp Monarch, an alliance of various alien species, from once again extinguishing all life on the planet.”

12 different characters. In a 51 episodes series. One could imagine how messy that could be.

The series started off with the Tribes fighting against each other, and the different tribes slowly discovering their powers. Each tribe could form their own Mecha, and to a certain extent, it does sound very Super Sentai-ish after awhile. After they discover their true purpose, they unite to combat the actual threat to Earth. And get this, all their Mechas are able to combine in the end!

After a certain part of the series, they had mix and match of characters in each episode. Certainly was not possible to include all 12 in every single episode. They did have decent character development though, but it still felt lacking for some of the other characters.

It was enjoyable nonetheless, the first in the Seishin series. Gransazer was succeeded by Justiriser, followed by Sazer-X, but the connection was not really explored until the Sazer-X crossover movie, which I was pretty sure was just a fan service of sorts.

Who was your favourite “Sazer” in the series? Leave a comment below!