Friday, December 23, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #29

Jun meets an elementary school boy with a shocking understanding of technology and computers and gives him a tour of Solbrain. But this young man has his sights set on one thing: reverse engineering the GigaStreamer and using its fearsome power to overthrow grown ups and become the ruler of Japan! Can Solbrain stop this young terror without harming him?


Someone asked me earlier if Solbrain had any episodes that matched the shocking scenes in the episode with the boy with the bomb in Winspector. I had forgotten a scene at the end of this one. This episode by Takashi Yamada has a handful of shocking moments, including one where Daiki is firing (though intending to miss) at a vehicle carrying a child. In his defense, he's returning fire and never aims at the car. The mini GigaStreamer that appears in this episode is, amusingly, the actual toy used as a prop.
Well, I didn't vote for you.
Another scene I thought was interesting in this episode was how SolDozer greets Akira, and is completely ignored. Perhaps mirroring childrens' responses to SolDozer? I don't know.

Lastly, the name Akira is almost certainly chosen in reference to the original psychic experimental child from the legendary Akira manga series and anime film.

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #28

Episode 28: Hurry! Lifesaving Mothership

The SS-1 is hijacked by a desperate criminal during his getaway. When he takes a hostage, only Daiki and Reiko are left on board, forced to fly him to Hong Kong. But when an attempt to subdue the criminal goes awry, the hostage is injured and the SS-1 damaged in the chaos. Barely able to fly and with the hostage dying, this could be a mission that no one returns alive from.


Main writer Sugimura writes this intense episode about the mothership SS-1 being hijacked. They use the "rare blood type" story element once again as they've done already once in this series, and once in Winspector, but you know what -- it works. Also like Winspector, once again, we get an amazing scene of the main hero doing a Standing Death of Benkei scene, where Daiki pushes himself so hard that he ends up unconscious while standing, which in Japanese culture is one of those story tropes that is heroic beyond heroic: where you're so devoted to your mission that you will die before you will fall down.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #27

A little girl accidentally takes a potentially deadly genetically engineered organism out of her father's 
laboratory, but discovers that the organism is capable of speech and thought! Now, a group of men who have broken in to steal the research for profit will stop at nothing to get it back... unless Solbrain stops them first!

Sagiyama's favorite stuff: little girls and magical creatures, only she does stick to science this time instead of magic, and she doesn't have a heartbreaking ending, though maybe she wanted to, because they certainly set up for that. That being said, it's not a bad episode. I enjoyed translating this one, even though the premise is a little silly. I do notice that Sagiyama seems to enjoy writing for Jun, and he certainly is probably the main character in this one. It's a goofy episode but well written and fairly enjoyable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #26

Episode 26: The Detective's Trap

When a notorious corporate bomber is struck by a car near a police station and loses his memory, the detective from Public Safety responsible for his interrogation shifts his tactics into high gear. His intense and cruel interrogation methods put him at odds with Solbrain. As the detective attempts to use the injured man as a trap to lure the other bombers out of hiding, Solbrain is forced to confront not the bombers, but the concept of brutality among the police force.

Notes: A fantastic Ogizawa episode, and one of the most amazing of the series. Solbrain is forced to confront the ideas of excessive force and brutality among the police. In today's modern society where headlines are frequently dominated by questions about how much policing is too much, and what constitutes torture, this is an interesting character piece that asks how far does one go -- how far CAN one go before what they do is worse than what the criminals themselves do, and is it worth going that far if it saves others?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #25

An atmospheric compression device, capable of immense destruction is stolen by a criminal. Threatening the destruction of an oil refinery in distant Iwate Prefecture, the only hope to reach it in time is to have the professor that built the device accompany the Solbrain team aboard the SS-1. But when bombings begin to occur, will the team make it in time to stop the oil refinery from going up? Daiki makes a risky gambit that could very well lead to his own death!

Notes: Main writer Sugimura wrote this episode. When I'm translating and localizing, I can tell you that the best episodes to translate are always Sugimura or Ogizawa episodes. They love technical jargon, checklists, and other things that really make the show feel like a police show. So whenever I see one of their episodes, I know it's going to be a joy to write for, and this is no exception.

I really feel like you are going to like this episode. Sugimura writes a perfect mystery here with a ticking clock element, and Daiki's gambit is nothing short of inspired. This episode is the perfect heroic counterbalance to the previous Takaku episode which showed him threatening people who were of no real threat to him with the GigaStreamer one episode after Ryoma gave him the GigaStreamer for refusing to use it when he had the chance. This episode will make you forget the bird episode, and will actually make the SS-1 cool again.

You know, I think if they had an hour to do a Rescue Police episodes, I really think they could do some amazing crime storylines. When I see things like recent shows such as Arrow or even older shows like 24, it's obvious that having time to set up a crime can be a really effective storytelling technique. Ah well. Maybe if we buy enough Winspector Figuarts they'll think about doing that Winspector Prime Amazon Streaming series I had a dream about, where Ryoma is the Commander and there are cameos by Masaki and Daiki and the others. I can dream, can't I?

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #24

Episode 24: Save the Goshawk!

In his off time, Daiki spends time with members of a local birdwatching society. By chance, he encounters a young misfit in whom he hopes he can help instill the values of life. But poachers are afoot, attempting to catch and smuggle an endangered goshawk. Can Daiki stop them before the poaching endangers human lives as well as bird lives?

Notes: Susumu Takaku once again writes another environmental episode about giant birds, only this time without hilarious puppets. You surely remember the giant bird episode of Winspector, and the one with the giant bat monster and witch that somehow hypnotized Bikel in Winspector. Now we have a more realistic but no less absurd episode of Solbrain. When Daiki has time off he's trying to pick up some girl from the birdwatching society. He has time to counsel some asshole kid about the meaning of life and then that kid runs into some poachers who are after an endangered goshawk. Things happen and then DAIKI THREATENS HUMAN BEINGS WITH THE GIGASTREAMER. That seems like an incredible escalation of force. Also, why is Solbrain even investigating bird poaching? Isn't that a job for the prefectural police, or the equivalent of Fish & Wildlife?

That's what I want to know.

On the other hand, the things Keiko says about the Tama River pollution is true, and it is also true that in the 1990s, it rebounded and now much of the damage has been reversed thanks to conservation laws.

I am afraid I do not like this episode because I don't see how Solbrain should be investigating poaching. But I guess that's why they are heroic. Even the smallest crimes matter to them. And on TV, there's no such thing as "jurisdiction".

Thursday, December 15, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #23

The rift between Ryoma and Daiki grows as the deadly shapeshifting spy robot, Messiah, escapes. With no way to stop it from self destructing, the Winspector and Solbrain teams learn a horrifying truth about the robot's self aware behavior. Now, both teams must work together to prevent as many civilian casualties as possible.

Notes: A really good episode, a great conclusion to the three parter. The writing is slick and the characterization is believable. Though somehow, I feel like the ends-justify-the-means characterization of Ryoma is a bit out of character, unless being in Europe really has taught him that behavior. Luckily, things do change when he comes back later in the series. I guess they also needed a way to sell off the stocks of leftover GigaStreamer toys, so they brought it back into the series! Enjoy this excellent, well written episode. And unfortunately, Bikel and Walter's final non-flashback appearance. :(

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #22

Winspector's Ryoma Kagawa, Walter, and Bikel have shown up in Tokyo! However, Ryoma's actions are baffling: he indiscriminately attacks individuals including a child while claiming to be on a top secret mission. And even the ICPO in Paris, the organization that governs Winspector's international activities, claims to have no knowledge of Ryoma's presence in Japan. When Bikel becomes worried and contacts Commander Masaki, the awful truth will begin to unravel!

There is a scene in here that takes place in a house with a bound and gagged couple that is a mashup of two scenes from Terminator 2: the one where the T-1000 is disguised as a man's wife and stabs him through the mouth, and the scene where Sarah repairs the T-800 in a garage. Appropriate given the gimmick in this episode. However, the Terminator comparisons end there: the story takes its own route afterwards. There is a disappointing quantity of stock footage in this episode. You will notice some scenes of the Winspector team saving people from Winspector (remember that scene of Bikel lifting the people up from Winspector Episode 1?), and some of the Solbrain team from Solbrain Episode 1. That being said, it's actually a very fun episode, and seeing Ryoma Suit Up again (even though he's not in his badass Camaro) was really satisfying.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #21

Buckle up, because this is the one you've been waiting for! When the GigaStreamer, Winspector's most powerful weapon, is sent back to Japan to be overhauled and tested by Braver, Commander Masaki reminisces about his irreplaceable first team. But something strange is going on: Winspector can't be reached at the ICPO headquarters in France. Even more troubling are the sightings of Bikel and Walter within the city... and finally, Ryoma himself attempting to murder a child! What's going on here? Has the legendary Ryoma Kagawa become a criminal?!

Notes: This is a clip show, pure and simple. Just like American shows that reminisce about past episodes and seasons, this episode is primarily made of clips from Winspector and music from the show. But if you love Winspector, that won't be a bad thing, will it? Very little story in this episode, but what it sets up for is a fantastic three part team-up. Junko and Koyama won't be back though, unfortunately. Enjoy this slickly written feel-good episode that leads into an amazing Terminator 2 ripoff!

Torrent Link:

Monday, December 12, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #20

When an American girl studying abroad is killed in a hit and run accident, one by one, the perpetrators begin to die at the hands of a shadowy commando who evades all attempts at capture. As Solbrain investigates, Daiki is forced to confront the shocking truth that his former instructor when he trained with the FBI may be behind the killings. But with Daiki incredibly close to this case, will he be able to do what's necessary when the time comes?

Veteran writer Takashi Yamada writes this action packed story with slick writing. We get Rambo like revenge, drama, political scheming, car chases, Daiki's backstory, and a critical crisis of conscience. The action starts and just doesn't stop, leading to an emotional ending. It's an excellent episode, and probably would be considered even more excellent, if not for the teaser that shows what's coming in the next episode.

Yes, that's right. You loved them. You missed them. Ryoma, Bikel, and Walter are BACK!
Torrent Link:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #19

An engineer contracted out to work with Solbrain is murdered. Shortly after, a cute girl claiming to be a detective fiction author begins approaching Kamekichi and asking questions about the case. Could she have done it? Or is she after something else?

An Ogisawa episode, one of my favorite writers for the series. This is one of the cutest episodes in the series, and the funniest too. Considering that it is about Kamekichi, who only occasionally gets screen time, it's all the more entertaining. Both of the male characters in this series get paired with characters who would make good girlfriends for them, but of course, you can't pair them off without diverging from the main storyline, and I guess kids didn't come here to see relationship stories, so this is as close as you're going to get.

Kame-kins, as you might guess, was "Kame-chan". I needed something cutesy for her to call him, since she does it from the very first meeting. Note that there's one time that the Commander calls him it as a joke!
Considering that Oogisawa ended up writing for Detective Conan, this is pretty meta.
This is not a good thing to tell children watching the show.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #18

A group of land speculators aggressively drive cyclists out of a local private park, claiming that they are about to build a factory there. When their deed on the land checks out, the local community rallies around Mr. Tsuruoka, the local bike shop owner, and his son Hiroshi, a longtime friend of Solbrain. The campaign against the land speculators seems to be going well, until Mr. Tsuruoka suddenly drops his support. Tsuruoka has a shocking secret in his past, and it may be something that ruins both him and the community.


But surprisingly, this episode doesn't have any magical psychic girls, talking stuffed animals, or other unthematic elements. This is a rather dramatic episode about the cycle shop owner, Mr. Tsuruoka, who appears in the ending credits and a handful of episodes throughout the series (I believe this is actually his last). He's grown a beard in this episode. Turns out that he has a secret past that led him to open his cycling shop.

I actually really like this episode all things considered. I think that even though it's a low-threat episode, it's a good piece about human beings. The writing was sharp and fun to translate. For a Sagiyama episode it's by far one of her most interesting. Hope you enjoy.

Torrent Link:

Monday, November 28, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #17

A member of a deadly organized crime syndicate is arrested, but refuses to give up his other gang members. As victims of the gang continue to increase, Daiki goes undercover and pretends to be a criminal to try to get the truth straight from the arrested man himself. But when the fake escape they planned goes awry, Daiki is cut off from Solbrain HQ, and with the criminal and his syndicate becoming increasingly suspicious, each step could be his last!

This is a pretty cool episode. Junichi Miyashita writes a classic cop show trope, an undercover cop bound in handcuffs to a criminal -- they did it on a classic A-Team episode, they did it on O Brother Where Art Thou, and you might remember when Kamen Rider Accel ended up cuffed to a criminal, except that was a hot woman and he was a married man!

This is one of those episode that's really a cop show first and a hero show second. Some great stuntwork this time. And I hope you enjoy it, because Kyoko Sagiyama is next week, though she actually manages an episode without a magical psychic girl or talking stuffed animal!

Torrent Link:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #16

During a tour day at Solbrain HQ, the SS-1 suddenly makes an unauthorized takeoff before vanishing into thin air with Daiki and a group of children on board. When the children soon turn up, they tell a bizarre tale of having witnessed a giant picking up the SS-1 amid a massive garden. Somehow, someone has developed a shrink ray, and has stolen the SS-1... but for what purpose?

Honey, I Shrunk the SS-1!
Noboru Sugimura wrote this strange episode with a strange motivation for the crime. While it's interesting and the scale models look pretty entertaining being used alongside normal scale objects, I don't totally understand why he needed the SS-1 and couldn't just use something else. I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that the SS-1 is fast and well armored and can fly if necessary.

It's worth noting that 1:33 scale is the standard scale for most scale airplane models. A well selected size.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #15

Reiko meets an old man with a strange old doll that he talks to and takes care of like it's his own child. When street punks in his neighborhood take it away, Solbrain acts quickly to recover it, learning its surprising origins. But the unrepentant criminals are not so easily discouraged, and the next time they come for the doll, it could be the end. Find out the surprising history of the doll and learn an interesting and little known fact about history in this episode of Solbrain.

Make sure you watch the episode before you read my notes, as they will spoil the episode. If you don't care about that, read on.

First of all, the story that Mr. Shinozaki tells is completely true: the friendship dolls really were exchanged by Japanese and American children prior to World War II.  When the war happened American things were rounded up and purged. The dolls were unfortunate victims, and many of them really were used for target practice, stabbed with spears, burned, or cut with swords. Some people had the foresight to know that wars do end and times do change, and some dolls managed to be hidden away. Out of 12,000 dolls sent to Japan, a mere 331 survive today, and they are on display in various places. In the United States, many Japanese dolls have been discovered, recovered, and placed on display, but many more are still lost. 

If you happen to have a grandparent or great grandparent with a strange doll from Japan in or around one of the cities from the article, you might want to look into whether or not it's one of the missing dolls, because they're an interesting relic of history.

It's also worth noting that the song that Reiko sings at the end is a real song. It was written by Ujo Noguchi, who composed numerous Japanese children's songs.

The episode itself is OK, but the historical aspect of it is quite interesting. Susumu Takaku, usually known for creepy things, writes this one.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #14

Solbrain protects the people of Tokyo from high risk crimes and incidents, but what about the ordinary police officers who contribute to their communities? When one such ordinary officer, Sergeant Kageyama, refuses to fire his weapon at a suspect when his life is endangered, Solbrain discovers a surprising reason behind it.

Veteran filler writer Takashi Yamada, writer for everything from Blue Noah to Robocon, to two of my all time favorites, Agedama and the Wondrous Crayon Kingdom, presents this very well written story of normal Japanese cops caught up in serious situations. In this story, I would say that Solbrain are actually passive observers. In this time of rampant police criticism, Japan still prides itself on small community precincts rather than large police stations, and even to this day it's not uncommon for communities to know their officers personally. It is something that used to exist elsewhere, but has become a relic of a simpler time. A very well written and emotional episode. Enjoy.

Torrent Link:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #13

A young girl is struck by a car driven by Daiki, and the video of the crime is sent to the Metropolitan Police Department. Yet, Daiki has no memory of doing this or leaving the scene of the crime, remembering only a nightmare he had of running over a girl the night before. As Daiki is taken into custody by Internal Affairs pending an investigation, the rest of Solbrain frantically searches for evidence that could clear his name. Could this be the end of Solbrain's captain?

Notes: Without spoiling anything, head writer Noboru Sugimura delivers a tense and unsettling take on a "crime that someone didn't commit" storyline. While it is plainly obvious who the criminal is going to be upon first viewing, his motive and method will surprise you. I hope you enjoy this ingenious episode as much as I did. By the way, the prop used for this episode's gimmick will be used again later, though it's a different thing. It's much later in the series, so I'll point it out again later.

Also worth noting: if you are used to skipping the opening and ending credits (why would you, though?) they change for the first time in this episode to have several new scenes. Masaki becomes even more of a sharpshooter than he was before! Make sure you give them a look to see the new scenes. No more thrown puppies -- someone must have complained.

Torrent Link:

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #13

A young girl is struck by a car driven by Daiki, and the video of the crime is sent to the Metropolitan Police Department. Yet, Daiki has no memory of doing this or leaving the scene of the crime, remembering only a nightmare he had of running over a girl the night before. As Daiki is taken into custody by Internal Affairs pending an investigation, the rest of Solbrain frantically searches for evidence that could clear his name. Could this be the end of Solbrain's captain?

Notes: Without spoiling anything, head writer Noboru Sugimura delivers a tense and unsettling take on a "crime that someone didn't commit" storyline. While it is plainly obvious who the criminal is going to be upon first viewing, his motive and method will surprise you. I hope you enjoy this ingenious episode as much as I did. By the way, the prop used for this episode's gimmick will be used again later, though it's a different thing. It's much later in the series, so I'll point it out again later.

Also worth noting: if you are used to skipping the opening and ending credits (why would you, though?) they change for the first time in this opening to have several new scenes. Masaki becomes even more of a sharpshooter than he was before! Make sure you give them a look to see the new scenes. No more thrown puppies -- someone must have complained.

Torrent Link:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #12

Late night. Repeated calls to a little girl whose mother just passed away claiming to BE her dead mother. A sick prank? Or something more? While Solbrain investigates, SolDozer objects to his upcoming transformation sequence programming. How can a human explain to a human that transformation will not change who someone is? And will Solbrain be able to get to the bottom of the late night call case? A chilling and bizarre case awaits!

Notes: I love this episode. The idea of a robot having a crisis of identity over its transformation sequence felt novel. This is one of main writer Noboru Sugimura's episodes, and it definitely showed.

Perhaps words that we can all take to heart.
Not to mention, the story itself is downright creepy. The reveal felt surprisingly shocking.

The entire human experience reduced to 720K double density. Insulting or GREAT COMPRESSION.
I should mention that there is a CGI sequence in this episode, which for the year 1991, was surprisingly advanced. I have no idea how much rendering time or expense was involved in this short sequence, but I was very impressed by it. And you won't see it used as stock footage very much. I have this strange feeling that they really tried to sell SolDozer in this show, and either the writers didn't know how to write episode for him, or they'd just rather write for the humans. There's a scene in a later episode where a child just outright ignores SolDozer. I wonder if that's a subtle commentary on his reception.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #11

A threat on Commander Masaki's life is sent to Solbrain HQ. Three deadly hitmen are dispatched by the son of a man who Masaki ruined in an investigation years ago. A deadly clash between Solbrain and the Rose Mafia crime syndicate begins, and caught at the center of it is Reiko. A violent clash is about to erupt in one of Solbrain's most action packed episodes!

This is one of my favorite episodes of the series. It's also one of the most violent and serious. Interestingly, it's also one of the rare episodes that focuses on Reiko. Every team member gets an opportunity to do something, and there's some of the best and most detailed action sequences that they ever shot for Solbrain with a lot of hand to hand combat and gunplay. 

Masaki proves that he's a deadeye, like the end sequence indicates.
This episode was written by Takahiko Masuda, who also wrote for Captain Tsubasa J, Jetman, and the Cyborg 009 anime from the early 2000s. He only wrote a handful of episodes for Solbrain, but each one of them is surprisingly entertaining. The out of suit hand to hand combat sequences and gunfights in this episode are truly excellent, and the episode actually manages to make Reiko feel very relevant in a way other than just the team's medic. Her hand to hand combat is fantastic. Highly recommended.

Torrent Link:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #10

Jun befriends an old man who's being menaced by local punks. At the same time, a seemingly random rash of arsons strikes Tokyo. Evidence indicates that this old man may very well be one of the responsible parties. But why? An issue that concerns modern Japan even today is at the heart of the Pure Hearted Arson Squad.

I love this episode. Like most of Nobuo Ogizawa's episodes, it may seem silly on the surface, but it addresses something that is at the heart of Japanese culture: the aging of society, and the increasing marginalization of the elderly. Elderly make up a large portion of the Japanese society because their life expectancy is high, and the birth rate is statistically quite low. And you've probably noticed it yourself: Japan is a nation that celebrates youth. Popular media celebrates and even glorifies high school life and youth in general. Japan was almost completely devastated after World War II, and the young people of that generation rebuilt literally everything, and built it into the powerhouse economy that it became. And yet -- and this can be said to be a situation in every modern country -- are they even acknowledged?

Ask yourself: what lesson is Commander Masaki trying to instill in Jun, the youngest team member, by making him be the one to conduct the arrest?

When I've been in Japan, I've talked to some elderly people and heard some amazing stories about what life was like after the war. I met a person who was saved from the Hiroshima blast by being overseas at the time. Go talk to a war veteran for a while sometime, ask them questions about what life was like back then. It'll make you have a greater appreciation for what you have.

An interesting serious episode. We get no Plus Up for the first time because the power suit action really takes the back seat to the story. Nobuo Ogizawa continues to hit them out of the park.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #09

During a high speed chase, Solbrain inadvertently causes a crash that sends the daughter of a high profile businessman suspected of illegally dumping chemical waste to the hospital. With an exceedingly rare blood type, only a blood airlift from the Red Cross in The Hague has a chance of saving her life. But the daughter of one of the company's many chemical waste victims has her own plans. Is she after revenge? Or something more?

Notes: Sorry about the delay this week. Seedbox is back up. This is one of two times the "rare blood type" plot will appear in Solbrain, both episodes are a little bit different. This one, written by Junichi Miyashita, is a good episode that delves into corporate dishonesty and responsibility. Much like Noboru Ogizawa, he also writes for other crime shows, including Detective Conan. He was also one of the main writers for GoGo V, so his experience with rescue action heroes certainly stayed with him.

Rh Negative blood types are indeed some of the rarest blood types, so rare that there is indeed an international registry in case of need, and people who have it do indeed wear medical ID bracelets so that paramedics can begin securing quantities immediately in case of emergency.

Torrent Link:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #08

The prototype suit used to design the SolBraver Solid Suit is hijacked and stolen by an unknown assailant. Shortly after, acts of mayhem, including an attempt on Commander Masaki's life occur. Who stole the Solid Suit? And what is their ultimate objective? You won't believe the conclusion of this outstanding episode of Super Rescue Solbrain!

Notes: This is an outstanding early episode. It really hits the right places emotionally. We see why Solbrain does what they do, we get a real feeling for the types of people they are, and we see a side of Commander Masaki that rarely comes out. This is a Takashi Yamada episode, who wrote some of the finest episodes of Winspector, as well as two of my 90s favorites, Genji Tsuushin Agedama and Yume no Crayon Oukoku (also Robotack, though some consider that to be not a distinction). The less I say about the plot, the more amazing it'll be when you see it played out on screen.

Sasamoto in this episode is portrayed by none other than Junichi Haruta, who many fans will recognize as Super Sentai series heroes Goggle Black and DynaBlack, and many Brazilian fans will certainly recognize him as Mad Gallant from the very popular series, Juspion. He's also made an appearance recently in Kyoryuger as KyoryuGreen, Souji's swordsman father.

Braver vs. Braver!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #07

Solbrain fails in a mission to find a bomb. Somehow, the criminals responsible are using technology that defies the bomb detectors. At the same time, with a bolt of lightning, a boy's deceased inventor grandpa returns to life! As this miraculously returned man rushes to find the parts to complete his invention, they (and Solbrain) discover that this returnee from the afterlife has the ability to sense the presence of the hidden bombs!

"I can't believe this episode either."
Oh boy, here we go. Time to get this out again.

Kyoko Sagiyama, the queen of tearjerkers and melodrama, from Minky Momo and Winspector fame, returns with her first episode that was originally titled "Ghost Grandpa". I have the script for this one, and Ghost Grandpa is crossed out and "The Human Regeneration Machine" is written in. I guess someone told Sagiyama that ghosts don't belong in Rescue Police after she decided to sneak it by. In any case, this episode is pretty typical of Sagiyama episode, in that it is about events that don't really directly involve the Solbrain squad that still gets them involved. That being said it's nice to see that Solbrain isn't perfect. Mistakes do get made. Look at how quietly angry Commander Masaki is after Solbrain fails to find the bomb.

I'll leave it to your own discretion to determine whether you like this episode or not, but I personally find it a little ridiculous. The tearjerker ending (spoilers) is good, and the message of the episode is good, but like with many Sagiyama episodes it really feels like she wants to tell her own story and then include the characters from the main series in her story as a second thought.

Her next episode, episode 18, was slightly better, but her episodes always feel like filler, and a departure from the main story.

Torrent Link:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #06

One of Reiko's former high school classmates, a traditional "rakugo" storytelling comedian, falls victim to a sudden kidnapping. Who would kidnap a second rate comedian for ransom? When the comedian's mother refuses to pay his ransom, he is suddenly released by his kidnappers... and he finds himself sympathizing with them! Will this case of Stockholm Syndrome lead to disaster for the comedian and his mother? And what is it that the criminals are truly after?

The kind of comedy performed in this episode is called "rakugo". It's a kind of comic storytelling where one comedian sits on stage and tells a story. He is the only person on stage, and he portrays different characters through different tones of voice and turning of his head and body to signify different characters talking to one another. If you'd like a Western example of this, consider British comedian Eddie Izzard, who turns his body and head and changes his tone of voice to portray different characters, such as Darth Vader talking to the person who thinks his name is Jeff Vader on the Death Star.

The comedy routine delivered in this episode is a very famous and well known routine called "Jugemu" involving a character with a ridiculously long name. As trying to translate the individual parts of the name would ruin the joke, it's left intact. Much of the story is overlaid with the characters talking over it, so you don't really get the whole experience. More information can be found here:

Here is a Canadian rakugo comedian named Katsura Sunshine performing the whole routine in English.

If you're curious, yes, the well known Western children's story "Tikki Tikki Tembo" is in part based on Jugemu.

The actor who portrays Shinichiro Ishimaru is actually a famous rakugo comedian in real life and still performs today. His real name is Sanyutei Kintoki. The joke is that he's actually a very good and famous, and he's playing a crappy comedian in this show.

Kintoki, recent photo.
I love this episode. I think it's a feel good episode that shows that sometimes people consider motivations over actions. It almost feels like it wasn't even necessary to have an action sequence, and the writing was top notch.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #05

"The Courage that the Monster Gave Me"

A strange homeless man who calls himself James Bond is being pursued by mysterious agents. At the same time, rumors of a wolf or even a wolfman are turning up all over Tokyo. Could this Mr. Bond and the wolfman be connected? Solbrain tackles its most bizarre case yet!

Sorry about the delay this week. Was out of town.

A solid investigation episode with unfortunately silly special effects, but a good story overall. Jun continues to be one of the most fun characters. The villainess in this episode is played by none other than Mayumi Yoshida, aka Lou, Pink Flash from Supernova Flashman!

Given the wolfman theme, it's interesting and certainly no coincidence that the family name of the proprietor of the company that creates wolfmen is Kujo, a nod to Stephen King's Cujo, about a rabid killer dog.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #04

"The Amazing Computer Game"

An amazing yet unfinished virtual reality game, capable of transmitting sights and sounds directly into the brain of the player is stolen by a programmer with a grudge against his own company. But the program has a flaw that the programmer aims to solve: prolonged usage can be fatal. Trapped within the virtual reality world, Solbrain must find and rescue the children from a nightmarish dungeon before it's too late to save them!

1500 hours in MS Paint to make a Dark Souls joke.
I'm not going to claim that Solbrain came up with the idea of "people trapped in a VR game that face in real life death or brain death" like popular anime such as .hack, No Game No Life, and Sword Art Online. I say this because Westworld existed long before that, though Westworld was more of an amusement park than a VR simulation like this story is. Is it possible that all of these borrowed the story from Solbrain, or at least were inspired by it? I would say it's possible. This is the earliest "trapped in VR" story that I've run into. If you know of any others, please do let me know. Someone said "Ender's Game" but that's really quite different than this and the others I mentioned.

For an early episode, this is a very solid one. It has kids without being annoying. It uses costumes from other Toei properties without them being out of place. And everything in the story feels believable. In a time when VR is both a real technology and a popular story element, this story is definitely entertaining.
I do have one interesting note to make that you won't hear ANYWHERE ELSE: the original working title for this episode was "I Am a Game Hero". I know this because I own one of the original scripts used in production for this show, and it's crossed out and "The Amazing Computer Game" (Yume no Game Soft) is written in next to it.

Enjoy this great episode. Next one is weird, but entertaining.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #03

Curious about human behavior, the newly built SolDozer wanders off, only to end up being brought in to a local police station. Shortly afterwards, a tragic car accident claims the life of a local professor. But a rash of kidnappings lead the Solbrain team to a chilling conclusion: somehow, the dead professor has returned from the grave. Now, it's a race against time for Solbrain to put an end to a truly nightmarish scientific experiment.

Notes: Some good old fashioned nightmare fuel to mentally scar children for life, this episode reminds me quite a bit of classic John Carpenter horror films such as The Thing and Prince of Darkness. A good episode, not an amazing one, but a really entertaining one that hits the right notes and through use of good color filters and camera angles, succeeds in doing exactly what it sets out to do.

This episode also further's SolDozer's human development, and builds on Jun's character development by revealing that he wasn't always just a hothead rookie, he was once a hothead rookie screwup. This is one of the things that I think Solbrain has that Winspector didn't have: the characters seem to have personality outside of their police work and occasionally cut up and reveal their human sides.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #02

A bot of few words.
Two sisters with apparent psychic powers, capable of deadly telekinetic bursts, begin an all out assault on the city. Their objective? To take revenge for their prison-bound father by destroying Solbrain. Masaki and Daiki head to the prison to try to convince their father to give up their location. Solbrain's mission is to save the lives and hearts of criminals... but what happens when someone doesn't want to be saved? As the destruction piles up, Solbrain is forced to call for backup. The newest support droid, SolDozer, hits the scene in the explosive conclusion!

Shhh, you can barely see the strings.
This is a fun episode, though the real storyline isn't with the early 90s goth chick sisters themselves, it's with their father. We're still in the "introduce the team and all their abilities" stage, so in this you get introduced to the fact that Jun is a rookie hothead and Kame is a goofball. You'll also see your first scenes of SolDozer in action. I should mention, you might be asking yourself, "Will we be seeing that Solid States launch sequence in every episode to eat up time?" and the answer is, "Yes, until they sell enough toys, and then they pretty much forget about it."



Sunday, August 7, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #01

The sequel to Special Rescue Police Winspector begins!

One year after Winspector leaves Japan to work with the International Criminal Police Organization in Paris, Commander Shunsuke Masaki has created a new Super Hi-Tech Rescue Command, codenamed Solbrain, as a replacement.

Learning from the mistakes of the past, Solbrain's new suits are slightly less powerful than Winspector's, but have a longer equip time. Additionally, Solbrain is no longer housed within the Tokyo Metropolitan Police building, and a new high tech arsenal of equipment has been designed to support the crew.

Rookie detective Daiki Nishio, internationally trained by the FBI and selected from candidates all over Japan, leads the team against threats that are too dangerous for normal police officers to handle. Utmost is Solbrain's mission: to prevent crime by saving the hearts and souls of criminals.

On Daiki's first case, an unidentified flying object appears over Tokyo and begins to rain destruction on the city. Solbrain springs into action to identify this mysterious craft and save the city before there's nothing left to save!

Solbrain has some amazingly written episodes. I really think you're going to enjoy this show. Some of the storylines just blew me away.

Q & A:
Q. What's a BothWinder?
A. It's a magnet beam grappling hook. As for the name, it's what they named the toy.

Q. What kind of car is the SolGallop?
A. It's a Toyota Sera. The Sera actually had the ”suicide doors" in real life. One thing that is not clear early on in the series is that the SolGallop actually changes form like the WinSquad/FireSquad. It's not quite as obvious because it doesn't change color, but when Daiki uses Plus Up, there's a bubble shaped dome shield that covers the car.

Q. Who's that yellow robot in the opening/ending?
A. SolDozer. You'll see him next episode.

Q. Will we ever see Ryoma, Bikel, and Walter again?
A. Spoilers. ;-)

Torrent link: