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Description du produit
Description du produit
Kikaider (Kikaidâ), 1 DVD, 80 minutes
Le projet Ark est un projet ultrasecret visant à créer des robots capables d'assurer l'ordre et la sécurité du monde. Lorsque le concepteur du projet meurt dans un étrange accident, un commando dérobe toutes les données liées au projet. Désormais, les robots pourraient se retourner contre les humains. Un seul robot va venir au secours de l'Humanité : Kikaider.
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This live-action show was another example of Japanese Hyper-imagination, especially when it came to spectacularly colorful Super-heroes based on weekly `manga' (comics) and reflecting another astonishing Creation from the incredibly imaginative mind of Legendary Shotaro Ishinomori (who also envisioned Kamen Rider, himitsu sentai Go Ranger, Inazuman, etc. etc.) = akin to Marvel's Stan Lee & Jack Kirby (but rolled into one person, since Ishinomori amazingly did both writing & Artwork!)
But there was something especially fascinating about Kikaida = being an Android that wanted to understand and protect human-beings = particularly Mistuko & Masaru the children of the brilliant Robotic-engineer Kohmyoji Hakase (professor).
In human form Kikaida was known as Jiro (second-son) and professor Kohmyoji implanted a special-experimental 'Conscience-Circuit' which allowed for Jiro to perceive an `imperfect' but still operational version of human compassion/empathy (mirroring our own imperfections in actuality).
Of course, there had to be a `dark' side to this Super-robotic-technology explosion (i.e. Ray Kurzweil/ John von Neumann's artificial-intelligence `singularity' now within reach => at the secret-base below Mt. Fuji no less?!)
Thus the evil-robot mastermind Professor Gil, and his `DARK' androids were born = with the darkest and most Lethal called "Hakaida"!
Now about this new Movie called "Kikaida: Reboot" = produced by Toei and manga-co Kadokawa Shoten for first-run Japanese audiences in May 2014 (it was shown in Hawaii theaters last October - but has since become available on AMAZON in multiple-formats = the US version DVD is produced by JNProductions/Generation Kikaida - but there are now 'All Region' versions also available - be sure to read product descriptions carefully before ordering.)
This movie is extremely well-made = the updated "Kikaida" armor is fantastic = metallically colorful, with a futuristic aesthetic worthy of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"! The subject of Androids gaining human-Level sentience/sapience is also a very hot cinematic topic right now with excellent recent films like "The Machine" and 'Ex Machina" providing intriguing ruminations on the likely possibilities of these hyper-intelligent machines essentially making we 'humans' obsolete! But 'Kikaider Reboot" definitely focuses on robot action/Heroics first and foremost!
The actors give thoroughly realistic & intense performances, and the Story is both intriguing and quite serious (fans of the original series might have anticipated a lighter, more comic-book treatment - but this actually contains some `heavy' metallic-philosophical elements).
There is also an intriguing focus on the dilemma/choices raised by "Kikaida's" Conscience-circuit = these questions rising to an almost Asimovian level (they might as well have just written Isaac Asimov's three-Laws of Robotics, in Kanji calligraphy)!
It's too bad Japanese films have nearly insurmountable budgetary constraints = action/SciFi films like these tend to be limited to micro-budgets (in American Dollars) of between $6 to $8 million (ridiculous!!) = if they even had a fraction of American action-film budgets (say at least $30 million) - I think they would be real contenders with films like `Iron Man' etc.
But major Kudos should still go to the brilliance of Japanese "Tokusatsu" (special-effects) series and movies = for the miraculously-Mighty imaginations that nearly triumph over miniscule-budgets!
note: the End credits do feature a revamped version of the Kikaida 'theme' song - but at the time of the original TV series, they issued an entire song-soundtrack (with 12 individual songs) that were incredibly original, some actually with fast-paced and flowing Jazz-type arrangements = Amazing effort on the part of Chumei Watanabe in the 1970s, and also Kamen Rider's Shunsuke Kikuchi to bring accomplished-sophisticated musical arrangements & productions to 'kids' television shows!!
Because the DVD was not available until early 2015, I originally posted this review for the AMAZON product Kikaider Reboot (Movie) Original Soundtrack COCX-38545 (Japan Audio CD) - Film Music By Kiyoshi Yoshikawa - but I have since ordered and watched the DVD JNProduction version above - and this review is for the actual Film/DVD!
THE STORY: In the future, a rogue government organization begins building almost perfect human-like androids. But for what purpose? When famous scientist Doctor Komyoji goes missing, the android which he'd secretly constructed, named Jiro, is activated in order to protect the Doctor's family. Jiro is determined to locate his creator, safeguard Komyoji's daughter & young son, destroy his ruthless enemies... and also try to decipher the meaning of his own conflicted existence.
THOUGHTS: [but first some background]. I was exposed to the old KIKAIDA series during my college years in Hawaii, where a handful of episodes on VHS tapes were available for rent at a couple of tiny mom & pop video outlets, (in Japanese language only, no dubs). Although I was in my early 20's, I quickly fell in love with it, in spite of the F/X limitations of the era in which it was made. KIKAIDA has good drama, a boatload of action, genuine humor, more than a touch of pathos, and a huge heart. It is acknowledged as a bonafide classic of the genre, standing head & shoulders above most of the other similar shows from any period in Japan's overloaded TV superhero history. KIKAIDA took Hawaii by storm in the 1970's, becoming the #1 children's show for a time. It's pretty incredible that a subtitled show from Japan, airing on a small independent TV station, routinely trounced every English-language kids' show from the big three network affiliates! Even Sesame Street! Take THAT, Big Bird! KIKAIDA eventually made its way back onto the air in Hawaii as a limited pay-per-view engagement in the mid-1990's, to celebrate its 20 year anniversary in the Islands, where it once again smashed the ratings.
So... I didn't know quite what to expect when I read that they were doing a "re-imagining" of KIKAIDA. This reboot takes several of the iconic cues & characters from the original series (and its brother show, KIKAIDA 01) and brings them into the 21st century, modernizing them while still remaining faithful to the original core concepts. Some things are quite obvious, while others are sly and fairly obscure. (Half the fun for old school fans will be spotting all the Easter Eggs.) The re-design of Kikaida is faithful yet fresh, and while I didn't care for the pointy claw fingers of his right hand it was a minor gripe that I could live with. The rest of the story was interesting and fun to get into as it went along. The visual F/X are a mixed bag, with thankfully more hits than misses. The martial arts stuff as slick and well executed, with a high energy to them. I don't know if more adventures are planned this reboot of KIKAIDA, but if there are then I'm game. :-)
THE DVD: A minimal standard-def release from Kadokawa & JNP Productions, but since the majority of folks here are in it for the film and not the extras, that's probably not a big thing. Picture & sound are quite good, despite the limitations of the standard definition format in today's hi-def world. ***If you enjoy Japanese live-action hero stuff then I highly, highly recommend picking up the original KIKAIDA from JNP Productions. You can buy them direct or get 'em here on Amazon, new or used. They are a ton of fun, and contain a surprising amount of emotional human drama to go with all the jumping, punching and double-chopping. [KIKAIDA REBOOT = 4 STARS. KIKAIDA, the original series = 5 STARS]