Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Controversy Week: Drugs and Tokusatsu

Drugs are bad, m'kay. Okay, they aren't that bad. Anything in moderation is good. Well, most things. Anyway, despite the fact most tokusatsu productions are aimed at children, there are sometimes plots involving drugs on the show, or drug use. This can be value dissonance, as in Japan, they are a tiny bit more lax with what they put on TV for kids, and this can cause controversy for some fans. Me: well, they aren't glamorising it.

Gai Yuuki is badass. And, I know they didn't teach you this in school, but smoking makes you look badass. Or it can make you look intellectual, artsy, just ignore those commercials. So, who else but Gai to be probably one of the only Sentai characters who smokes. Oh, and he drinks too. It's a great characterization to describe a character. I don't see anything wrong with it, and in Japan they aren't as gung-ho about no smoking--I think at least.

Oh, and of course alcohol. Most of the notable times we see alcohol in tokusatsu is usually in a drunken boxing episode. (or in Shinkenger, in which Doukouku lives on that stuff). Two examples can be in Fiveman and in Dekaranger. In Fiveman, the Zone convert all of Earth's water supply to alcohol, causing people to get drunk. And not just adults, but children. You see children in drunken stupors. Oh, and not just humans. Drunken cars. Cars are drunk which puts a new meaning on drunken driving. So Remi falls into the water when fighting Zaza and then gets drunk herself, but then uses it to her advantage, and drinks even more, and defeats the MOW by using Drunken Kung Fu. She then has a big hangover. Umeko purposely gets herself drunk and uses the same Drunken Kung Fu techniques to counter an Alienizer's ability. She then has Doggie drive her Pat Signer, instead of her, and Doggie explains to the audience that drinking while driving is bad. It's especially bad if you're driving a giant robot!

There are other examples about alcohol, but I'm not going to list them all!

In JAKQ, Karen/Heart Queen is a narcotics officer. In an episode focusing on her, the brother of one of her friends, who was a martial artist, took what looked like steroids to help him win fights. At least that's what I think. Turns out the steroids actually brainwashed those who took them into joining CRIME.

A plot in an episode of Kaiketsu Zubat involved drug trade as well, at least I think.

So, is it wrong to include drugs in a series aimed for children? Tokusatsu is aimed at teenagers and adults as well, through different methods. So not just kids watch the show. And they aren't portrayed positively or glamorized. Nor are they used that often, maybe once per series. But they still cause controversy, as they would in any form of media.


  1. That's why I love toku, it is not your average children's kids show. XD

  2. There was an episode of Go-onger where Gunpei tried to get his Engine Soul back from a kid by offering them a suitcase full of candy ... and the child runs away screaming that Gunpei's a drug dealer. It was funny, but could you get away with that on US TV? I don't think so