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Old July 2nd, 2013, 04:36 AM   #1
mitofox
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PHOTON - old American toku from the late 80s

I'm just wondering if anyone remember a strange little American tokusatsu show called "Photon" based on the laser-tag craze during the 80s. And this was BEFORE MMPR.

Referring it as "toku" because the spacecraft miniature models and alien monster suits were done by Japanese folks.

Here's the opening and ending credits.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 09:08 AM   #2
Titanium321
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Before someone drops the "Toku=special effects" line, I want to point out that what is usually referred to as Toku doesn't get referred to because it's done "by Japanese folks" but because it follows a particular formula. The hero(es) transform into an armored form, not just a regular superhero costume they can put on piece by piece. Lots of things have special effects "done by Japanese folks" but that doesn't make it a toku.

This Photon thing just looks like a standard sci-fi space action series, almost in a Sid and Marty Kroft vein in the designs but it seems to take itself too serious for that. No transforming heroes, no Toku basically.

I'm also not seeing how this is based on the Lazer-Tag craze from the video.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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I don't think I've ever seen the show, but I do remember the ads for the gear.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:46 AM   #4
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The designs for the show were done by ARTMIC. This is funny cause I was just scanning the Artmic Design Works Book and came across this. Here's the link to the design scans plus a few other SFX things they did.
https://mega.co.nz/#!4URBCLzJ!XrMuul...Qh2nOewgyh0l9s
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:46 AM   #5
mitofox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium321 View Post
No transforming heroes, no Toku basically.
My definition of 'toku' is much looser - sci-fi shows with well-done cheesy special effects.

Take "Ultra Q" for example.

The protagonist does transform from his civilian form to his Photon Warrior armor when teleporting to the orbiting space station. Most of the battles take place on other planets anyway so there was NEVER any action happening on Earth.

The villains follow the Bioman methology where the clones of the monsters-of-the-week were killed and recreated in the next episode

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I'm also not seeing how this is based on the Lazer-Tag craze from the video.
Here's the TV commercial for the Photon laser-tag guns and arena facility.

In the show, every characters carries Light/Dark Photon guns. Even the whiz-kid character carries one as a huge laser cannon that rotated out from his backpack.

The rules of the show seem to dictate that the good guys would never be hit by the Dark Photon beams, but the villains will always be "killed" and disintegrate, only to be revived in a new clone/astral/holographic body in the next episode.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 02:13 PM   #6
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Photon Warrior armour? Well there you go then, it is toku.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 06:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium321 View Post
No transforming heroes, no Toku basically.
You are saying Godzilla is not toku? The centrepiece of all the technical, genre, sub-genre, and practical application that has come out of Japan which created many of the standards that people talk about when saying "toku"? Ultraman ceases to be toku because it has an episode or movie where no one transforms at all? Several Kamen Riders are no longer toku heroes? Such a rigid thinking you have here.

No, don't answer those questions. Fortunately for you, there is no defined meaning of toku, and rather a "general understanding" that ranges in scope. So if you want it limited to just transforming heroes, you can. Eiji Tsuburaya can say it from everything King Kong to his own Godzilla and Ultraman and several U.S. movies due to their use of camera work, miniature cities, props, and CGI enhancement to live action. If you are tired of the "special effects line" as you call it, fair enough, learn to let it go and only use toku on your part for your own definition and in your head pretend people say something else when you disagree with their usage of the term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmo773 View Post
The designs for the show were done by ARTMIC. This is funny cause I was just scanning the Artmic Design Works Book and came across this. Here's the link to the design scans plus a few other SFX things they did.
https://mega.co.nz/#!4URBCLzJ!XrMuul...Qh2nOewgyh0l9s
Well now this is quite nice. I don't much care for the show itself, but I always love a good look at special effects creation and design work.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 07:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McAster View Post
You are saying Godzilla is not toku? The centrepiece of all the technical, genre, sub-genre, and practical application that has come out of Japan which created many of the standards that people talk about when saying "toku"? Ultraman ceases to be toku because it has an episode or movie where no one transforms at all? Several Kamen Riders are no longer toku heroes? Such a rigid thinking you have here.
I blame the lack of proliferation for sub-genre terminology. That's why I always use "Henshin Hero" when questions are asked about our typical favorite use of tokusatsu.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 07:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McAster View Post
You are saying Godzilla is not toku? The centrepiece of all the technical, genre, sub-genre, and practical application that has come out of Japan which created many of the standards that people talk about when saying "toku"? Ultraman ceases to be toku because it has an episode or movie where no one transforms at all? Several Kamen Riders are no longer toku heroes? Such a rigid thinking you have here.
Yes. If we are going to go with the "Henshin/Transforming Hero" concept for Toku, as is the most common usage, then Godzilla is not Toku. It is Kaiju though, something deserving of its own genre altogether.

If we want to go with the generic Toku=Special Effects route, then sure, Godzilla falls under that category, but that category becomes so robust and vague it's like saying Movie is a category on its own.

If the basic concept does not have a transformation into the heroic armored form, then it doesn't really fit the Henshin Hero concept. Having a non-transformation episode or two, doesn't negate the overall series from the Henshin Hero concept of Toku though.

The reverse is also true, if there is one episode with a Henshin style transformation into a heroic armored form, but it is not a regular part of the series, it does not make the series as a whole Henshin Hero.

As long as that transformation is integral to the overall series concept, like Ultraman or Kamen rider or Sentai, then it is Henshin hero.

Quote:
No, don't answer those questions. Fortunately for you, there is no defined meaning of toku, and rather a "general understanding" that ranges in scope. So if you want it limited to just transforming heroes, you can. Eiji Tsuburaya can say it from everything King Kong to his own Godzilla and Ultraman and several U.S. movies due to their use of camera work, miniature cities, props, and CGI enhancement to live action. If you are tired of the "special effects line" as you call it, fair enough, learn to let it go and only use toku on your part for your own definition and in your head pretend people say something else when you disagree with their usage of the term.
I answered them, oh my god, I answered them. How will we ever come to terms with the fact we are agreeing here and I was specifically referring to the general understanding and most common usage of the term in my original post there? Will we have to ignore parts of what I said just to make me look like a jerk?

Will we ignore the point of what I was saying was not that there is a hard definition to Toku only that just being "made by Japanese Folks" really doesn't equal Toku in any variation of the term and that no transformation, no toku refers to the specific Henshin Hero definition I was explaining about?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 08:32 PM   #10
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Wow. Noticed Heyward and Chalopin from Dic in the credits as producers. Don't remember this show, and that's probably a good thing.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 09:29 PM   #11
mitofox
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Originally Posted by Cosmo773 View Post
Here's the link to the design scans plus a few other SFX things they did.
https://mega.co.nz/#!4URBCLzJ!XrMuul...Qh2nOewgyh0l9s
Oh! Thank you so much!

I've been looking for any concept design documentation for "Photon" all my life.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 02:41 PM   #12
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This is toku as much as SpongeBob is anime.
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