The culture behind a Megazord: the upcoming end of the Heisei era

13 Lug

Welcome back to my blog.

In Japan, the reign of an emperor is its own era, at least starting from the Meiji period back in the mid-XIX century. Before then, an era could have even lasted just a couple of years, and depended on many factors.

Anyway, we’ve had the Taisho and Showa period, only to reach the current one, the Heisei one.

However, Emperor Heisei, born in 1933, has stated multiple times that he’s too old and tired to keep reigning, and is considering abdicating (something that’s not currently permitted by Japanese laws) in favour of his son.

Japanese media mention the possibility of the abdication taking place in late 2018 or early 2019, around 30 years after he acceded to the throne in January 1989.

That said, I wanted to talk about some implications for the Toei tokusatsu, because we often divide them into “Showa Sentai/Rider” and “Heisei Sentai/Rider” without thinking that the reason for this division is literally the Japanese era they aired in.

Kamen Rider

When Ex-Aid will end, Kamen Rider Build will find itself in a brand new timeslot at 9 AM (instead of 8 AM, which has been common for the franchise since its return in 2000), thus already bringing something new. After that, there will be a brand new season airing in 2018-2019.

What’s interesting is that the season after Build would be the 20th to debut in the Heisei era, but it will also be the last. I wonder if they’ll make it Decade-like, a tribute season for the past two decades of Kamen Rider, to bring the franchise to the new era.

The internet puts the next project in a similar situation as Kamen Rider Black RX, which aired in 1988-89 but was still considered a Showa Sentai. However, there are three valid reasons for that:

  • No new season aired after Black RX for 11 years, so it wouldn’t make sense to pair it with the “new” ones after more than a decade;
  • It was a sequel to Black, so if you pair them, it feels like a two year long 1987-89 series, which means it’s mostly Showa;
  • Kamen Rider fans (and Toei, as of 2014) tend to include Shin, J and ZO as part of the Showa era because they were created by Shotaro Ishinomori, who died in 1998. At least, there can be an inclusion of other projects into the long-ended era because they were created by the “father” of the franchise;

Now, I don’t think Kamen Rider would take a hiatus in 2019, if only because they would be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, so it wouldn’t make sense to take just a one-year break. Also, we have to see if it’ll bring new elements that will distinguish it from the Heisei era.

However, we’re talking about the subsequent season of an upcoming project, so I think we should see Build first. Maybe, Build itself will try carrying the franchise into the end of an era.

In my honest opinion, I would like to consider the 2018-2019 Rider season into the Heisei, just because, then, we could see that this era includes 20 Riders and 30 Sentai. Of course, technically, both the final Showa and the first of the new era will have partially aired in the Heisei, so it would still be the case, but … well, it’s getting confusing.

Super Sentai

Kyuuranger will move its timeslot and air after Kamen Rider Build when it’ll arrive, which changes 17 years of Super Hero Time (where the Sentai always aired before the Rider). That’s already a change, but it’ll end during the Winter of 2018 (most likely on February, but maybe something happens and it’ll end on January or March).

The next season would find itself in a similar position to Choujuu Sentai Liveman in that it’ll see its eventual final episodes airing during a new era. Of course, if that’s going to be the case, the Sentai number 42 will surely be considered the final Heisei Sentai, if only because it’ll mostly air in the current era.

That would mean one thing: the Heisei Sentai would be exactly 30, starting off with Turboranger.

Then, the Sentai number 43 would begin a new era for the franchise, and I wonder if it’ll receive a special treatment for that, maybe something to the line of the beginning of Turboranger?

Metal Heroes

The franchise started off in the late Showa era, only to see its decline and ending in the ’90s and revival in the 2010s. Will they still be an active part of the Toei tokusatsu universe once the new era will take off? The new Space Sheriffs will definitely be considered Heisei, having started appearing in movies since 2012, so, if there’s going to be a new hero, he or she will have the honour to bring this franchise into a new period.

We will have to wait and see what’s going to happen. Maybe, we will have to wait once Buld starts take off and the new Sentai is officially announced.

Meanwhile, see you, next time, here, on the Empty Blog!

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  1. The culture behind a Megazord: an entire month with this series! | Il blog vuoto - 31 luglio 2017

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