Where to Legally Watch Tokusatsu Online
Tokusatsu fans in the West have long been left out in the cold when it comes to watching legal streams of their favorite shows but a shift towards making these shows available in the West has begun in recent years.
Shout! Factory have become big names in the tokusatsu fandom over the last couple of years thanks to their acquisition of Zyuranger, Dairanger, and the upcoming Kakuranger, the first legally available Sentai released within the US. These are the shows available through their streaming website, Shout! Factory TV:
- Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger: The series the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is based on and the first time a Sentai has been legally streamed in the US.
- Ultraman: The grandfather of the modern tokusatsu hero shows, Ultraman is available in its entirety. This series is also available on Hulu.
- Ultra Seven: A unique take on the Ultraman formula, back when Ultra Seven wasn’t a sequel but a reboot of Ultraman.
- Ultra Q: The very first show in the Ultra franchise, featuring monsters and a traditional sci-fi formula over hero action.
Hulu has had a couple of series throughout the years and lost the rights to a few of those along the way but here is what they have available at the moment:
- Johnny Soko and His Flying Robot: (Giant Robo): One of the earliest examples of a giant robot in tokusatsu TV show, brought to you by the producer of the original Kamen Rider series, Tooru Hirayama. This series is dubbed into English.
We’ve seen a nice influx of tokusatsu fans thanks to the recent licensing of Ultraman shows for the popular anime streaming service, including:
- Ultraman Mebius: The 40th anniversary series, often called a fan favorite, features a return to the original shared universe of the first 7 shows, along with cameos from some of the original Ultras.
- Ultraman Max: The series that came before Mebius, a fast and fun series highlighting great action and unique directing, thanks in large part to the amazing cast of high profile directors who lent their talents to the show. (including Takeshi Miike)
- Ultraman Leo: One of the greats from the original Showa era of Ultraman shows. Leo features a dramatic story line with high intensity action and the return of a fan favorite character from a previous series.
- Ultraman 80: The last traditional Ultraman series until Ultraman Tiga, over a decade later. 80 is a unique experience all its own with one of the most bizarre looking Ultraman characters.
- Ultraman Nexus: Nexus was a dramatic take on the typically family friendly series, with darker story lines than usual.
- Ultraman X: The most recent Ultraman series and the very first tokusatsu to be simulcast to overseas viewers as it airs in Japan. With a recently announced series for later in 2016, hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Ultraman on Crunchyroll.
- Ultraman Ginga/S: Ginga and Ginga S were the pair of shows that introduced the Spark Dolls gimmick to the franchise.
- Ultraman Gaia: The 1998 entry in the Ultra Series. Gaia is known for being the brainchild of prolific writer Chiaki J. Konaka, and for featuring two dueling Ultramen.
February 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm
Thanks for putting this together, unfortunately, you forgot that Hulu has the English Dubbed version of ULTRAMAN (1966), while Shout! Factory TV has the English Subtitled version.
You also might also consider an article on what’s available for purchase, and give a boost to the great stuff available from JN Productions/Generation Kikaida. I talk to fans all of the time who are completely unaware that they exist.
Keep up the great work!
February 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm
Hulu also has the original Ultraman streaming for free.
February 9, 2016 at 6:46 pm
Whoops, didn’t notice August beat me to it. Well done.
February 10, 2016 at 7:58 am
“The last traditional Ultraman series until Ultraman Tiga”
Did you mean Ultraman Great, AKA Ultraman Towards the Future? Or are you defining “traditional” shows as ones produced solely by Tsuburaya? Cause Great and Powered both were co-produced with other companies.
February 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm
I’d also appreciate an article on what’s available for purchase. Expanding on Mr. Ragone’s comments, he mentioned JN Productions/Generation Kikaida, which not only has all of the live action Kikaida releases so far but also has Kamen Rider V3 as well.
As for streaming, this article focuses mainly on superhero sentai shows but surprisingly omits kaiju productions. If an edit could be made later about that, that would be great. Off the top of my head, Shout Factory has several subbed Godzilla releases along with the subbed original Gojira along with the subbed near-entirety of the Gamera series (excluding Gamera the Brave). Crackle also has an assortment of subbed Godzilla movies available, though it rotates out from time to time. Currently it’s Godzilla 2000 (dubbed), Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (subbed), and Godzilla versus Destroyah (subbed). Hulu has two Gamera films (Gammera the Invincible and vs. Jiger) and a slightly larger selection of Godzilla films…but most of the Godzilla films require a Hulu Plus subscription to watch.