Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Chinese Ultraman - Metal Kaiser?!

A couple of years ago, Tsuburaya Productions started work in that most elusive of foreign markets, the mighty and intimidating China, to create, you guessed it, a giant superhero series.

Now we know what Tsuburaya was doing while the budget series of ULTRASEVEN X and ULTRA GALAXY were running!

METAL KAISER is a really colorful, nifty looking series that features lots of nuances of the Ultraman franchise while mixing in distinctly Chinese visual cues and story elements.
Here's the story, according to http://www.clubtokyo.org/discuss/viewtopic.php?t=14895

In the year 2052, a legendary sorcerer gives a mystical bracelet to a member of SAM (Science Analyze Mission) to allow him to transform into a giant super-warrior, armed with a laser sword and mad kung-fu skillz.
Okay, so it honestly sounds really, really unoriginal, but the visual style is very nifty, and apparently it was going to be divided into 4 seasons, each with a new giant hero.

Check out the awesome trailer here!

Yet another here!

Looks cool, right? Sure, it's really similar to Ultraman...but hey, Tsuburaya made it! So it's like GRIDMAN, a.k.a. SUPERHUMAN SAMURAI SYBER SQUAD...only...Chinese! It was an honest-to-goodness attempt to bring the coolness of Ultraman to China while bringing the massive nation's cultural pride to fore.

Unfortunately, it was not to be.

According to some internet snooping, the Guan Zhou Broadcasting Company banned the show before it could even air, wasting thousands of dollars and all of Tsuburaya's hard work, and denying Chinese children a chance at seeing a culturally relevant take on Japan's most popular superhero.
Of course, this is another chapter in the saga of Chinese censorship. It's a bad, BAD deal. The Guan Zhou, or whatever they're called, have not released a statement as to WHY the show was banned, but it likely had something to do with the strict regulations of violence on Chinese televisions (which fluctuates frequently) as well as probably negative connotations against a Japanese studio producing a Chinese program, something that entails a lot of hot-button issues for the Chinese.

Still, there's a glimmer of hope; Ryuji Honda, son of the legendary Ishiro Honda, has been strongly pushing the series, and hopefully it'll receive a release in Japan once the legal crap with China is all wrapped up.


James Snelgrove said...

Sounds, and looks, like a great show. I hope it does see release in Japan (and subsequent subbing for my eventual viewing pleasure).

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