Kikaida, created by Shotaro Ishinomori, found fame outside of Japan in the State of Hawaii.
There are many anime series in Japan that often find fame outside of their own country, such as Casshern and Saint Seiya in France. In Hawaii however, they have Kikaida. Although the series is often localized as Android Kikaider, locals in Hawaii know the hero as Kikaida, maintaining its original Japanese pronunciation. How did he come to be so famous among locals?
According to Generation Kikaida, it is all thanks to Joanne Ninomiya, a former general manager of the Japanese-language station KIKU-TV. While she was overseas in Japan back in 1972, she managed to catch an airing of the show and decided, “this is the one. – it was cute, had a story-line, and clearly a ‘good versus evil’ theme—perfect for Hawaii,” she added.
When the show finally aired in 1974 in Hawaii, it became a smash hit among locals. Many stores sold Kikaida merchandise, kids dressed up as the hero for Halloween, and a stage show was held at Hawaii’s 50th State Fair. The lead actor, Daisuke Ban, (or Ban Daisuke, as Hawaii locals refer to him in the Japanese name order) also makes guest appearances to the state.
Kikaida and Daisuke Ban often make appearances at Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, located at the Ala Moana Shopping Center on the island of Oahu. If you ever want to visit Hawaii, maybe consider planning it around a Kikaida-related event.
Do you have a local hero where you reside? Let us know in the comments section.