In the long history of tokusatsu, there have been shows that never came to fruition either because they evolved or were canceled. Today we are exploring some of these shows.
After the original Denkou Chojin Gridman tokusatsu series came to an end, a sequel in the form of Gridman Sigma was planned. The idea was promoted via Televi-kun issues in 1994. A new suit for Gridman Sigma was created and featured in the original story Denkou Chojin Gridman: The Demon King’s Counterattack. The story was one of the new generations: Khan Digifer’s brother, Neo Khan Digifer, attacks the digital world, seeking vengeance for his slain brother. To fight off this new threat, Gridman’s younger brother, Sigma, appears. This story saw the primary human antagonist from the original Gridman series go on to become the hero, the host body for Gridman Sigma in the real world. The character of Gridman Sigma would later appear in a 2015 short, Denko Chojin Gridman: boys invent great hero, an entry in the Japan Animator Expo.
Denko Chojin Gridman F
Another sequel in the form of Denkou Chojin Gridman F was also in the works. This show would have featured the return of the original hero alongside three new characters, Yuta, Akane, and Alexis. The primary human villain in the original series would have also become a hero here, using a discarded idea from the original that involved Takeshi Todo, the villain, becoming a white and purple character named Grid Knight, a purified form of an evil form called Khan Knight. Gridman’s toy sales were reportedly strong while its ratings saw massive improvements, going from 2.9% in its first episode to 9.5% with its final episode. Despite these successes, production problems lead to the show ending at 39 episodes and prevented and sequels from moving forward.
In 1988, TOHO, the creators of Godzilla, created a tokusatsu TV series, Computer Police Cybercop. This late 80s series mixed early CGI and high tech imagery with a story following futuristic cops, featuring action, betrayal, and redemption. A sequel in the form of a show called Cyberman was planned but failed to move on beyond the planning phase. One of the key ideas for the toy line involved a hero who was able to equip support mecha to help him in battle. This idea was later folded into Gridman, whose toys were also created by Takara. Although the series never got off the ground, prototype toys based on early designs were created and later used as the basis for the combining mechanisms in the Gridman toy line itself. The above image features Cyberman, “Bigman” yet another prototype Gridman, and Gridman himself.
4th Star God series
According to Robert Baldwin (most famous for his role as KyoryuCyan in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger) who portrayed Gordo in the third Super Star God Series, Super Star Fleet Sazer X, a fourth series in TOHO’s franchise about warriors wielding massive robots was planned. The franchise had been on a downward trend during its second series and due to the nature of TV production time, a decision to not renew the franchise beyond its third year was made. Unfortunately, this meant that it didn’t matter when the show’s ratings and toy sales eventually began to settle out and improve. Baldwin also confirmed that his character of Gordo would have gone on to be a member of the cast had a 4th series been produced.
Following Ultraman Cosmos, a series which focused on the kindness of its hero, who healed enemy monsters rather than destroyed them, future Ultraman Nexus producer, Hiroyasu Shibuya, wanted to create a show which focused on the power of the Ultraman. Cosmos pushed the message “if you believe in them, things will come true”, but the producer wanted this new series to have a more realistic message. As the children who watched Cosmos had grown up a bit, he wanted to impart the message that real life has its ups and downs, but the most important aspect of life is to never lose hope. The series, at the time called Ultraman Cross, was developed around the theme of “bonds”, which became a mainstay in the finalized Ultraman Nexus. Ultraman Cross would have featured a team of characters who all had the potential to become Ultraman, further pushing the idea that everyone is bound to one another. One of the stand out elements of this series would have seen a team of characters who were drop-outs and third-rate members of a defense force, slowly climbing the ranks.
Kamen Rider Spark
Producer Toru Hirayama, one of the key figures in the creation of Kamen Rider, felt stuck after working on Kamen Rider X and Kamen Rider Amazon, so he felt the next series needed to be something a bit more back to basics. The next series would be about the basic origins of a hero. This series was to be called Kamen Rider Spark and pulled a bit from an unused Kamen Rider Amazon idea, Dragon Rider, which focused on a hero who traveled around the country. This idea would go on to become Kamen Rider Stronger. Kamen Rider Spark, or at least a monstrous variation of him, was eventually used in the Kamen Rider SPIRITS manga, bringing to life one of the most well-known pre-production phases of a Rider series.