It’s Halloween! You know what that means…something! But here at RST, we’re covering some pretty nifty tokusatsu episodes for this fun day, enjoy!
An abnormal magnetic field is detected around a small town on Halloween night and the GUTS team are sent out to investigate. Though, rather than going in uniform, the team dress up in costumes to better mingle with the people enjoying the festivities as the town is one of the few in Japan that actually celebrates Halloween. Not quite sure why they couldn’t just say their uniforms were the costumes, but hey, whatever gives us the opportunity to see someone walking around with a bolt through their neck, right?
Lots of kids are enjoying the festivities in town and having an all-around good time. (there’s even a kid dressed as Nova from Taro and Mebius) Rena and Daigo meet a bunch of kids with giant lollipops and Daigo, ever the giant kid himself, is hankering for one. Our hero runs down to a lady dressed up as a witch handing them out, but is denied on the grounds that they’re for kids only. Dejected, Daigo starts walking away when he notices the witch has no reflection, and the witch realizes he’s noticed and makes a break for it, with Daigo giving chase. One of the kids Daigo and Rena met gives Rena a lollipop and she secretly enjoys it while Daigo is away, not knowing he’s gone off to chase the witch.
Daigo sneaks into a haunted house the witch ran into and rather than entering the living room, the front door leads him to a decrepit playground with a lot of pale-looking kids walking around. A giant monster then appears in the sky and zaps Daigo unconscious.
Back at the base, the commander learns that every Halloween for the longest time, there has been a strange mass disappearance of kids in various parts of the world. Out in the field, the team are on high alert. A fake Daigo appears and heads back to the base with Rena once it’s thought that the mission is over. But in the middle of the night, Rena and a bunch of kids awaken and all seem to be headed in the same direction. Rena is snapped out of her sleepwalking and realizes that the one thing she and all those kids have in common is that they all had the lollipop given to them by the witch.
Daigo awakes in a tube within a strange lab and sees a child riding a rocking horse, apparently asleep while doing this. The witch appears and saps away the kid’s dreams, essentially all his potential, leaving him pale and tired. Daigo learns from the Witch that she steals the potential of kids and then sends them off to waste away in a strange dimension called the Dream Wasteland, the creepy playground Daigo found himself in earlier on. The witch then goes on to fill Daigo’s small tube with gas, and with his Spark Lens on a table, Daigo has no way of transforming.
Back on the outside, a group of kids are massing on a giant pumpkin…thing, with the witch standing on top, beckoning them to it. One of the GUTS members shoots the witch and the spell is broken. The witch decides to escape and plunges her pumpkin into a different dimension. That, by the way, is my favorite sentence ever. As the pumpkin is being taken away, it creates enough momentum for Daigo to break out of his chamber and get to his Spark Lens, taking the pumpkin back to the real world. On the outside, Tiga battles the witch in her true form, the monster known as Giranbo. The two giants engage in a hard fought battle, but Tiga manages to defeat the monster thanks to a last ditch effort light attack.
Man, it’s pretty rare to see a full on Halloween tokusatsu episode, isn’t it? I really like what they were able to do with it here. Given how tokusatsu lends itself to some great practical effects, more of these Halloween-themed episodes could be a great way to show off what the people behind the camera are capable of doing. Though, I guess that means Japan would first have to celebrate Halloween on a wider scale for episodes like that to be relevant, right?
All in all, the story here isn’t groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a lot of fun and fits with the tone of the season quite nicely. We don’t actually see the monster form of Giranbo until the tail end of the episode for the fight and I much preferred the creepy witch get-up she had on throughout most of the episode. The witch costume itself isn’t great, but I think that’s sort of the point. You get the sense that this is a cheap costume someone put on for Halloween, but it still manages to be creepy at times thanks to the mask. Speaking of, when the witch lifts her mask from time to time, we don’t see the full face, but we see this…fleshy thing there that doesn’t look at all like the monster at the end of the episode. I kind of would have liked to have seen what that face looks like, buuuut given the little we saw of it, it would be pretty creepy.
To continue on with the witch for just a bit, I’m not too fond of the voice she has, there really isn’t anything too creepy about that voice. Maybe it’s just me, but I had a difficult time trying to put the two together since that voice doesn’t even sound like it matches the demeanor of the witch. I was expecting something a bit more…slow and with a drawl.
Other than that, everything else about this episode has a lot of that trademark Tsuburaya bizarreness going on. When Giranbo first appears and zaps Daigo earlier on in the episode, we only see the monster for a few seconds and have no idea what it is or where it comes from and I love that. That scene strikes me almost like something out of a slasher movie where monsters and killers appear, but you have no idea who or what they are. Also, by the end of the episode, you realize that even though GUTS managed to stop the witch this time around, she has been successful in kidnapping kids and trapping them to waste away many times in the paste. Scary stuff.
Throughout the episode you also hear this music box version of Ten Little Indians playing in the background and man, that’s creepy. The director of this episode had a lot of fun playing with darkness, street lights, and the night to cast some eerie tension. Yellow and orange lights have an awesome way of making anything seem creepier than it actually is in reality.
So, in the mood for a good Halloween episode in an area that doesn’t normally do them? Go grab this episode and have yourself some fun with it! This is completely stand alone, a newbie can watch this and not be lost at all thanks to the story here, and Tiga’s episode nature in general. This episode is actually the first time I ever saw Ultraman, thanks to its short run on the Fox Box nearly a decade ago – and on Halloween too! It made a great Halloween episode for me and it definitely stands the test of time all these years later.
From all of us here at RST, have a fun and happy Halloween!