Ah, the 90’s, the year when American Tokusatsu (or Ameri-Toku) really took off thanks to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. There have been many shows that tried to copy it’s formula, most of which were made by the same company, but in 1994, thanks to DiC Entertainment and Tsuburaya Productions, we got Ultraman-esque series, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad. The show ran for a year on both ABC and in syndication from September 12, 1994 to April 11 1995. Like all great Ameri-Toku, the show is an adaptation of the show, Denkou Choujin Gridman, a show that I presumed was made to fill the gap left by Ultraman, since at the time no new episodes were being made. But I digress…
Before being well known as Shawn Hunter’s half-brother Jack, Matthew Lawrence was Sam Collins, an average high school student, part-time game programmer, and lead singer of the band, Team Samurai. While in a recording session, a power surge zaps Sam making him disappear and reappear seconds later with a device called a Samuraizer on his wrist. After his friends Tanker (a jock stereotype), Sydney Forrester (a Blossom knock-off), and Amp Ere (a weirdo that may or may not be an alien) leave his basement, another power surge zaps Sam, only this time it sends Sam to the Digital World (not that one), and fuses him with his latest game programs, Servo.
While all of that happens, local outcast, Malcolm Frink, forges an alliance with a rogue military A.I. called Kilokahn (Kilometric Knowledge-base Animate Human Nullity), to make Malcolm’s drawings into “Mega-Virus Monsters”, to attack the Digital World.
As Servo, Sam must fight the Mega-Virus Monsters, and stop them from corrupting electronics within the Digital World, otherwise the damage done there, will cause chaos in the real world. Most of the time, Sam can handle the MVM’s by himself, but when he can’t, Tank, Syd, and Amp (who later gets replaced with Lucky London (a stereotypical surfer)) can join him in the Digital World through his Arsenal Programs, the Xenon Program two tanks and a jet, that combine to form a robot that, if you’ve seen the show might look a little familiar to you, and the Drago Program, two jets (one small, one large) that combine to form a dragon, that could give that new Q-Rex from Super Megaforce a run for it’s money. Both programs can combine (not at the same time) with Servo to form armor. When combined with the Xenon Vehicles, Servo becomes Synchro, and when combined with Drago, Servo becomes Phormo.
The show was originally supposed to end with the Christmas episode, “Kilokahn Is Coming To Town” (due to running out of stock footage), Malcolm and Kilokahn find out Sam and Servo are one in the same. Everything that could go wrong does, with Kiloahn erasing Tank, Syd, and Amp minds, destroying the Arsenal Programs, and turning against Malcolm. Sam faces-off against Kilokahn, and destroys him. There were plans to make a second season, using stock footage from Gridman’s sequel series Gridman Sigma, with Malcolm joining Team Samurai, but the show never came to fruition, until recently (more on this later). So, they just reused footage, for the remainder of the series. Also, Amp’s actor Troy Slaten, left the show, and was replaced by Rembrandt Sabelis as Lucky London.
Despite reuse of old stock footage, This was actually a pretty good show, the scenes with Malcolm and Kilokahn were enjoyable to watch, and the fight scenes in the Digital World were impressive for it’s time, Tim Curry was awesome as Kilokahn (he’s the main reason I’m re-watching the show). The one problem I had, was it’s (supposed) final episode, a lot of stuff happened in that episode, and would have loved to have seen Malcolm fighting alongside Sam and the others. Other than that, the show was good on it’s own merits and was also a pretty good and faithful adaptation to Gridman.
Speaking of Gridman, earlier I mentioned the would-be sequel to the show Gridman Sigma, there were plans to make a sequel with Malcolm’s counterpart Takeshi Todo becoming Sigma, but for unknown reasons the plans fell through, despite the costume already being made, and pictures being released in magazines. Last weekend, an anime short called Gridman Boys Invent Great Hero, was released on-line (click here (Dead Link) to watch). In the short, Todo watch a series of clips showing Gridman fighting various Kaiju and Kilokahn’s counterpart, Kahn Digifer. Until using the Axepter (Samuraizer counterpart) to transform into Sigma, weather this means there’s going to be a Gridman anime in the future, is unclear as of now. But I really hope they do make it, and maybe even do an english dub.
UPDATE: Studio Trigger (the studio that made the Gridman short) announced that they’ll be working with Tsubarya, and Amemiya to make a new Gridman anime is currently in development. It will be called Superhuman Samurai Sybersquad Gridman.
Overall, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad was an enjoyable series and a complete guilty pleasure for me and any one who enjoys tokusatsu. And now, let’s close the review with another hint at the 100th post, and since Sam has a band, this is a fitting hint, it has a rockin’ soundtrack.
RANK: 3 out of 5
Also, check out and maybe sign my petition to get the song “Fight As One” to play at the end of “Avengers Age Of Ultron” here. Final deadline to sign is April 25.
On a more serious note, last week I found out that Power Rangers actress Rajia Boroudi is diagnosed with cancer. This cancer is Acinic Cell Carcinoma, a rare form of salivary gland cancer. As of this writing, she has already gone one surgery. To help with her medical bills, a GoFundMe page has been put up that her insurance won’t cover. If you’d like to donate click here, every little helps.