INTERVIEW: Mystic Cosmic Patrol at Japan World Heroes
Mystic Cosmic Patrol is a comedy tribute to Super Sentai, Power Rangers, and kaiju tokusatsu franchises currently airing on Funny or Die, every Thursday.
Mystic Cosmic Patrol is “a special blend of comedy, martial arts and sci-fi adventure where spandex clad heroes fight ridiculous rubber monsters.” Its first episode premiered on Funny or Die on Thursday, August 24.
The cast and crew of held a screening of an upcoming 2-part episode followed by Q&A panel, hosted by Andrew Meadows (Black Nerd Comedy) at Japan World Heroes, in the last weekend of August, with a positive reception from attendees and fans.
Team TokuNet’s Michael Nixon sat down to interview panelists Gavin Hignight (Mickey), Minae Noji (Rutina), Tim Jo (Leo / Red Patrolman), Laura Monaco (Candy / Yellow Patrolman), and Potty Mouth suit-builder, Cig Neutron:
Howdy, we are here with the Mystic Cosmic Patrol team. You showed two episodes today – which two did you show?
Hignight: We showed “Time Crisis, part 1” and “Time Crisis, part 2.” For this micro season that we are doing on Funny or Die, these would be episodes 3 and 4. It is kind of like a sneak peak for the people here.
So, you talked about it at the panel, you are already a big toku fan. What other influences do you have, besides Power Rangers, when you were scripting the series?
Hignight: The biggest influence for me that I was trying to channel was Ultraman Dyna. That’s my favorite Ultra series. Especially when we were doing the effects. We wanted them to feel very ‘90s like Dyna. I’m probably a bigger fan of that than anything. I love the originial Ultraman as well. I am a big classic Star Trek fan, and a Next Generation fan. You name it. Knight Rider!
TokuNet: Where’s the Knight Rider reference?
Hignight: We’ll get there! Guardians of the Galaxy beat us to David Hasselhoff, so… [laughs]
I really dug how the show takes the kid show thing and turns it into a kid sense of humor, almost – a literal toilet monster, poop jokes, etc. What were your fav kids shows growing up?
Noji: For me, I started off with Ninja Turtles. Ninja Turtles was a huge thing for me. But I was also going to Japan a lot as well, so I grew up with Power Rangers. I loved Twilight Zone – that was one of my favorite, favorite shows. A lot of different comedies too. That’s why I thought Mystic Cosmic Patrol was so perfect, because it’s a blend of all of that.
Hignight: When I was a kid, for toku stuff: Godzilla and “OG” Ultraman. The A-Team was one of my obsessions as a kid. GI Joe. Transformers. Johnny Quest. As I moved into being teen and tween: Batman: the Animated Series. I love all of that stuff.
Neutron: I was always into really obscure cartoons like BraveStarr – loved the sci-fi western thing. Mutant League! I don’t know if anyone really remembers Mutant League – these people would morph into mutants and then play in this brutal league, like they’d kick each other’s head off. The toys had removable limbs. I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming this. And then The Toxic Crusaders. Anything that was weird or horror related.
Jo: For me, definitely Ninja Turtles. You know, even bring it to the more recent, new Ninja Turtles. I remember watching it and every time an episode would come on and there were these special episodes that just felt so punk rock. That was right up my alley and I’d rewind it and it was written by this guy named Gavin Hignight. This guy Gavin! So, when Mystic Cosmic Patrol came together, I was like “This guy wrote the best Ninja Turtles episodes!”
Hignight: I’m blushing! And I paid him 20 bucks to say that.
Monaco: I loved Ninja Turtles, Transformers, She-Ra. Any of those kind of things.
Initially the characters seem broadly drawn, but you were saying in the panel that they’re all a bit deeper. I was wondering if there’s more backstories for the characters, or things you talked about on set that built out the world? Things that we might not see on-screen.
Hignight: One thing that we’ll really explore is Candy. We really wanted her to feel like a Paris Hilton type. She’s very enterprising. She’ll license her name to brand anything. She uses being a Patrolmen as her brand. There’s some really fun hi-jinx we can attach to that. And, of course, the others condemn her for it, yet envy it and kind of want to get on board with it too.
TokuNet: Anything secret from the Leo character? I loved that his last name was “Pardon!” We actually did a panel yesterday about the Japanese Spider-Man and his giant robot, Leopardon.
Hignight: I loved that show so much. Leo’s name is a little nod to Japanese Spider-Man.
Jo: I just got that! That is so good! That’s what’s so fun about the show: there really is a magic in casting and to find people that really wanted to bring as much as they could. You know it’s pretty brilliant and funny when it’s easy to memorize. There’s something that happened in our Potty Mouth episode, which is after our big fight as Gigantus we come back to our control room and in a big nod to toku stuff, we came back in this really silly pyramid formation. You have to have a love for it. You have to have a love for these little magic moments to be born on set.
Hignight: There was great synergy on set for stuff like that. If it makes it better, let’s do it. There wasn’t any ego on set, the funniest stuff rises to the top. I hope we went in with solid scripts, but there was a lot of improv, riffing, and we did have a good cast for that. When they suggested stuff, it was like “yeah, let’s do that!”
Neutron: Even with the Potty Mouth creature design. You know, toilet monster – he said “teeth,” and I thought we could make it fleshy and gross.
Hignight: You make it as good as you can on paper, and then you surround yourself with a team who pluses that. Cig’s Potty Mouth is a perfect example of that.
Neutron: I’m such a big fan of the genre too. Instantly when [Hignight] came to me, I just knew exactly the aesthetic and source material to go from. I would send him pictures once in a while, but he just trusted me.
Hignight: Every time I got a picture, I was so psyched.
Neutron: The first time you actually saw it all together was on set. That was the first day he’d seen it all together.
Noji: And it’s the nuances. It’s amazing!
Hignight: [Neutron] worked very efficiently with very little and it shows.
We are at Japan World Heroes, the con celebrating Japan’s Heroes, what are some of your faves?
Hignight: I will just say, for a moment, that we all just got to meet the original Ultraman [suit actor Bin Furuya] and he was so nice to us. It was such a cool moment. I love Kamen Rider – anything motorcycle based. Japanese Spider-Man is a motorcycle bad ass. Anime was always a huge influence growing. I am wearing my Valkyrie shirt from Macross. Recent stuff like Attack on Titan is a religion to me. My first touchstone into the world of Japanese content was Star Blazers – the American dub of Space Battleship Yamato. My love affair with Japanese entertainment is long. Midnight Diner. Beautiful content and characters and stories come from that country. Then we turn them into ugly, disgusting satirical things, out of love!
Jo: I got into toku just a few years ago and one of the things I first watched was Kamen Rider W. After I saw that, I bought every figure out of that line. I’ve spent so much money on toku stuff ever since. It’s awesome how we’ve come full circle. It’s great that we can present at this show at the place where the fans are.
Hignight: For Power Rangers, other than the original, it was S.P.D. – like the space police version of Power Rangers – I really dug that version of the show. And I actually liked the new movie, the new Lionsgate film. As far as a reboot – or a modern superhero – it was really cool. I hope that, on home video, it gets more love.
Jo: I’m a big Toho guy. For some reason, Anguirus, he’s one of my faves. He’s not even that particularly exciting – I just like him. And Destroyah. Anguirus and Destroyah, they’re my dudes.
TokuNet: Thanks to all of you – great show!