Connect with us

The Tokusatsu Network

The Tokusatsu Network 2022 Convention Year End Review


The Tokusatsu Network 2022 Convention Year End Review

Team TokuNet staff writers Charlie Li, Brody Salzman, and Alex Hartzog attended conventions all year long in 2022 to bring you the latest in tokusatsu-related announcements, merchandise, and events from the largest conventions in the U.S. 

First, Team TokuNet staff member Charlie Li attended Katsucon 2022 in National Harbor, MD in February.

Katsucon is an annual 3-day convention at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. Katsucon is one of the largest and most popular anime conventions of the year as thousands of attendees come from all over the world to showcase their cosplays, participate in various events, and have fun with old and new friends.

Starting off in the Dealer’s Hall, Image Anime and Megaroad Toys And Entertainment LLC both supplied tokusatsu merchandise for con attendees to purchase. Items for sale included DX toys, DX gimmicks, photobooks, plush toys, figures, Kamen Rider Figure-Rise Standard figures, and CSM Releases. JP USA sold a good amount of soundtrack CDs from the Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Godzilla, and Ultra Series. Armory Quest surprised Power Rangers fans with a 1:1 replica of the Sword of Darkness from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1.

The tokusatsu community Saturday at noon convention gathered at the Tokusatsu Katsucon 2022 Cosplay Meetup, hosted by Heaven’s Gem Cosplay. Fans cosplayed as characters from a myriad of tokusatsu shows such as Super SentaiPower Rangers, and Kamen Rider. Each cosplayer came to the meet-up with cosplays they’ve spent so much time and energy on as well as their undying passion for tokusatsu.

Next, is tokusatsu at Otakon 2022, attended by Team TokuNet staff members Brody Salzman and Alex Hartzog.

Originally held near Penn State’s main campus in Pennsylvania, Otakon is well known for being the largest anime convention on the east coast of the United States. It was held in Baltimore, Maryland from 1999 to 2017 before it was moved to the nation’s capital. This year’s convention, held from July 29 to July 31 and located in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, was the largest in Otakon’s long history with total attendance surpassing 40,000 attendees.

While con staff seemed unprepared for the demands of a crowd approaching twice the size of last year’s event, Team TokuNet was graciously granted press access to cover tokusatsu announcements and happenings. This year, the majority of those happenings were led by passionate fans on Friday, the first day of the con.

The day started with a lengthy registration process. After that, the tokusatsu cosplay photo shoot featured some impressive civilian and transformed cosplays, including Kaito Goshikida, Zocks and Flint Goldtsuiker, and Stacey (all from Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger), Aruto and sukeban Is (“delinquent Is”) based on the characters from Kamen Rider Zero-One, Ryoga Shindai from Kamen Rider Saber, and Ultraman himself.

“Seeing such passionate cosplayers organizing and posing so well together really set the mood for the day. Where tokusatsu is concerned, Friday was all about passionate fans gathering to preach the gospel of their fandom and to just have fun together. I can’t sum up the energy of this cohort much better than with a photo of all the hero cosplayers T-posing over a fallen Apollogeist from Kamen Rider X.” says Team TokuNet staff member Brody Salzman.

Of the four tokusatsu-focused panels at Otakon, three were held that Friday afternoon. JAC Productions presented two panels in their “Henshin Heroes” panel series. Though they were scheduled in reverse order, it didn’t make much difference since both “On Steel Horses They Ride” and “Super Sentai, Not For The Colorblind” were broad overviews of both the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series, respectively. For those in the know, these panels were trips down memory lane. For new fans, these were useful crash courses.

The highlight of the convention was the “Kamen Rider Ryuki – 20 Years Later” panel. Presented by a group of cosplayers and Ryuki super fans, this panel opened with a brief explanation of Kamen Rider Ryuki and then broke out into a Jeopardy!-style trivia game where four of the Kamen Riders in the show are the categories AND the teams! Panelgoers could have joined Team Ryuki, Team Knight, or Team Zolda. The prize for winning? Additional tickets for the free lottery everyone in attendance got to participate in.

The fun energy of the panel really brought a bunch of tokusatsu fans together whether or not they’d seen Kamen Rider Ryuki. The group has no formal team name, but the panelists are as follows:

The next major tokusatsu-related event at the convention was the Discotek Media panel at which many projects were announced, and Discotek also provided updates on previously announced projects. Among the anime-related announcements, Discotek announced its new Toku Time sub-brand under which more tokusatsu localizations and physical media releases will be provided. The panelists even surprised the crowd with the announcement of Space Sheriff Gavan‘s English language debut! Of course, that’s already up for pre-order. A kaiju movie called Legend of Dinosaurs and Dangerous Birds was also announced for localization under Toku Time.

The final stop at the convention was the final tokusatsu-themed panel of the weekend: “Powerful Rangers & Masked Riders.” This was another simple panel, but it was full of laughs due to clever jokes, classic clips, and just a generally fun atmosphere. In this panel, the Baltimore Tokubros took us on a trip through the history of foreign iterations of tokusatsu shows from the Night Flight Dynaman dub to Saban’s Masked Rider and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight to France Five.

There were some vendors selling tokusatsu merch in the dealer’s room and some Fuuto PI posters being offered at the Megaroad booth, but Sunday was a rather slow conclusion for Team TokuNet staff members Brody Salzman and Alex Hartzog. It was great getting to see all the passionate tokusatsu fans and the energy they brought to their panels, and few things are more exciting than seeing a room full of fans reacting to a major tokusatsu news drop in person.

Following, Team TokuNet staff writer Charlie Li attended Power Morphicon 2022 in August.

Power Morphicon, or PMC, is a biannual convention held primarily and exclusively in California. Although the convention was originally created for Power Rangers, it has since expanded to include guests from other tokusatsu franchises such as the Metal Hero Series, the Kamen Rider Series, as well as Super Sentai. Power Morphicon also hosts panels for Power Rangers guests at other conventions such as Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con. The three-day event was held on August 26 to 28 at the Pasadena Convention Center in California.

Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger‘s Ryota Ozawa, who portrayed Captain Marvelous/Gokai Red, made his first non-studio appearance at Power Morphicon 2022. Choujin Sentai Jetman’s Toshihide Wakamatsu, who portrayed Gai Yuki / Black Condor was announced as the first Super Sentai guest for this year’s event.

On Friday of the convention, the Stunts panel featured Sonny Sison, Michi Yamamoto, and Eric Betts with Joe Deas as the host. Each panelist talked about their stunt work on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Saban’s Masked Rider, Big Bad Bettleborgs, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, as well as their interactions with the main cast and their pre-tokusatsu stunt career life. The stuntmen also talked about their childhood tokusatsu shows they watched as children, such as the original Kamen Rider, Ultraman, and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger.

The panelists mention that stunt work is a job that a lot of people take for granted, especially since it’s for a kid’s television program. Because this is a kid’s tv show, they don’t look at the stunts that people are doing as something that is difficult but it’s extremely claustrophobic in every suit used in production. Michi Yamamoto even mentions that stunt work in Japan is a completely different culture than stunt work for Hollywood in the states. He compares how strict the Japanese stunt work life is to the more fun American stunt work lifestyle.

On Saturday of the convention, the Adapting Super Sentai to Power Rangers panel featured Greg Aranowitz and Chip Lynn with Joe Deckelmeier as the host. Both panelists talk about the process of adapting a Super Sentai season into Power Rangers for western audiences. Part of the process is learning how to write stories and putting them together whether it’s footage or just something out of the creative mind.

Greg Aranowitz was the executive producer for Power Rangers SPD and he talked about bringing over Doggie Kruger to the western adaptation and changing the tone from Dekaranger’s silliness to SPD’s seriousness. An example he uses is Umeko’s bubble bath scenes being too silly for American audiences and filming more original footage that showed the seriousness of SPD. An interesting note Greg mentions is that both versions of SPD were shooting simultaneously so he only received one tape to start and Toei was still shooting everything else to the point where he had no idea like who the ultimate bad guy was gonna be, resulting in the creation of Emperor Grum.

Chip Lynn was the executive producer of a multitude of Power Rangers seasons for the last 10-20 years. He has worked on the show under Haim Saban and then Disney and then Haim Saban again and then Hasbro. He reveals that the two different cultures provide  two different kinds of storytelling and he personally believes that in Japan the whole thing of Power Rangers is kind of like a different audience. He also reveals the story of how Haim Saban went to Japan and saw Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger airing on Japanese TV. Him and his friend Shuky Levy decided they would try the show here. They tried it once and made a pilot (Bioman unaired pilot) and nobody would pick it up because it was too violent. So a couple years later, they tried it a second time and that’s when Chip came on board and they put together like a little sseven minute presentation for “Galaxy Rangers” and it got got picked up as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Chip tells the con attendees that digital and the aspect ratio of the frame nowadays have become a roadblock in deciding which Sentai seasons to adpat because footage shot in HD on digital had to be bought so that it can be played on modern televisions and if it wasn’t shot that way then they are not going to be able to air it and those seasons don’t get chosen. Other cool stories mentioned include Lightspeed Rescue’s Aqua Base being different from the base in Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive, Power Rangers Time Force’s close mirror to Mirai Sentai Timeranger, and Ressha Sentai Toqger’s “inappropriate” giant mecha scene. 

Sunday had the Diversity in Power Rangers panel and the Super Sentai Panel.

The Diversity in Power Rangers panel featured Tessa Rao (Izzy Garcia/ Dino Fury Green), Brennan Mejia (Tyler Navarro/ Dino Charge Red, Deborah Estelle Phillips (Katie Walker/Time Force Yellow), Rorrie Travis (Devon Daniels/Beast Morpher Red), Azim Rizk (Jake Holling/Megaforce Black & Super Megaforce Green), and Jordan Fite (Aiyon/Dino Fury Gold). The panel was hosted by Chae Jones.

They each talk about how somebody of color representing Power Rangers gave them the opportunity to really connect with the franchise as well as connect with the different characters coming together. Being those colored cast members that represents people of color is an absolute honor to them. Brennan even goes to say how when “certain people like to see someone who looks like you, that means a lot. It makes you feel like things are possible for you too. What they’re doing is possible for you too because you’re seeing it reflected on the screen whereas if you’re only seeing one type of person doing all of those things I think you subconsciously start to build up this idea of only they can do that and only I can be in these roles so I think also misrepresentation is so dangerous and has happened too much.” 

The cast members tell the attendees that what they have always loved about Power Rangers is it didn’t matter their race nor identity that one was, being a Power Ranger was just normalized. Rorrie even went out to give a quick shoutout to Eka Darville (Scott Truman/ Ranger Operator Series Red of Power Rangers RPM) for being his black African-American male lead predecessor. 

The Super Sentai panel featured Ryota Ozawa (Captain Marvelous/Gokai Red from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger) and Toshihide Wakamatsu (Gai Yuki/Black Condor from Chojin Sentai Jetman). The panel was hosted by Marcosatsu and Hawkilles.

When asked about how both feel about being over at Power Morphicon, Ryota just exclaims “Big Size!”, referring to the huge amount of attendees from all over the world. They mention that they had no idea how big and popular Super Sentai is over here in the states and that they only thought that Power Ranger was popular here. They also talk about their audition processes for Jetman and Gokaiger. Ryota even tells the audience a story of how he got lost in Toei’s building and had to have Kazuki Shimizu (Don Dogoier/Gokai Green) lead him to the exit. He says that it was fate and thought it was funny that later Ryota’s character had to save Kazuki’s character. More stories include their time working on the Jetman tribute episode of Gokaiger together, how they have only seen the 2017 Power Rangers movie and Japanese subtitle-less episodes of Power Rangers Super Megaforce so they have no idea what the actors are saying, Ryota’s multiple reprise of Captain Marvelous throughout the recent years, and Toshihide not knowing about Gai Yuki’s death reference in Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger. 

Tokusatsu content creators such as Black Nerd Comedy, Chris Cantada Force, MMPR Toys with Bruno and Mia, We the Geeks of East LA, Shankar, Patrick Skye, Dangerous Riders, Bloodlines of the Grid, Belgian Red Ranger, Power Rangers Australia, @Sentairidertaisen45, and many more were also present.

The convention ended with our two legendary heroes transforming for the audience once more. As the 3-day time frame came to an end, the final pictures were snapped, and everyone went their separate ways, Team TokuNet’s Charlie reflected on how much the tokusatsu community has evolved since last year’s convention-less year and how everyone’s love of the tokusatsu genre contributed to the huge success of bringing tokusatsu representation to the ultimate tokusatsu convention.

After Power Morphicon 2022, Team TokuNet staff members Charlie Li and Ryan Firestine attended New York Comic Con 2022.

New York Comic Con (NYCC) is the largest comic con on the East Coast of the United States, and NYCC 2022 was held from October 6-9. Hasbro’s Power Rangers will have actors appearing for pictures and signings and other Power Rangers merchandise that can only be found at NYCC. Here’s the full schedule of planned Power Rangers and Ultraman events at the convention.

Diamond Select Toys had the NYCC 2022 Exclusive Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (DVD) Minimates Box Set. This exclusive box set features the Red, Blue, Pink, Yellow, Black, and White Rangers, and these 2-inch Minimates feature 14 points of articulation, removable helmets, and fully interchangeable parts! All six come packaged in a full-color window box made to look like a DVD case, with a fifth-panel door. Designed by Barry Bradfield and limited to 2,500 pieces. Also displayed are the Super 7 Ultimates (Tommy Oliver/Green Ranger, Trini Kwan/Yellow Ranger, Goldar, Putty Patroller, and Tyrannosaurus Dinozord), Diamond Minimates Series 2 (MMPR Red, Black, Yellow, and White Rangers), Diamond Vinimates Series 1 (Dino Megazord and Dragonzord), and Green Ranger Ver. 2 Statue.

Cosplayers found included Kamen Rider Knight Survive from Kamen Rider Ryuki, In Space Red and Blue Rangers from Power Rangers in Space, and the Red Turbo Ranger from Power Rangers Turbo.

Austin St. John (Jason Lee Scott/Mighty Morphin Red Ranger and Gold Zeo Ranger) and Nakia Burrise (Zeo Ranger II Yellow) had autograph signings and photos at the Rangerstop booth.

Tsuburaya Productions had multiple Ultraman-related events that took place during New York Comic Con 2022. Multiple panels for various projects, along with meet & greets with various Ultra heroes. Limited edition figures related to Shin Ultraman was also available for purchase during NYCC.

Marvel Comics featured artist Francesco Mana and writer Kyle Higgins of The Mystery of Ultraseven to discuss the comic and the crossover with Marvel heroes that is in the works. Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, who are Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi of the Ultraman Final Season releasing on Netflixtook the stage at New York Comic Con to present new information regarding the anime and the upcoming season.

Shin Ultraman was also seen as a screening during New York Comic Con on Saturday, October 8th. Attendees could have purchased tickets for the screening during the Ultraman Connection Panel on October 6th, or at the TAMASHII NATIONS booth on October 8th.

Full sized suits of the original Ultraman and Ultraman Taro from the Netflix ULTRAMAN series were also on display at the TAMASHII NATIONS booth. On select days attendees had the opportunity to take photos with either Ultraman or Ultraman Taro, with a suit actor inside the suit to pose and perform a meet and greet and take photos with fans. On the Sunday of NYCC, there was a surprise meet and greet with Ultraseven taking place at a separate booth from the TAMASHII NATIONS booth.

That fun doesn’t stop there. Team TokuNet staff member Charlie Li also attended Anime NYC 2022 in Manhattan, New York in November.

Anime NYC is an annual 3-day convention at the Javits Convention Center. Anime NYC is one of the largest and most popular anime conventions of the year as thousands of attendees come from all over the world to showcase their cosplays, participate in various events, and have fun with old and new friends.

Starting off near the main entrance, the Bandai Namco/Bluefin Booth celebrated Kamen Rider with a display case filled with DX Kamen Rider toys. Kamen Rider toys seen include Kamen Rider Geats’ DX Desire Driver, Fuuto PI’s Complete Selection Modification Doubledriver Fuuto PI version, Kamen Rider Ichigou’s CSM Typhoon (50th Anniversary Memorial Set), Kamen Rider Kuuga’s Complete Selection Modification Arcle, Kamen Rider Zero-One’s DX Hiden Zero-One Driver, and Kamen Rider Geat’s DX Desire Driver & Hammer set. Keep an eye out for more official Kamen Rider western releases.

Going into the Dealer’s Hall, Image Anime (Booth #222) and Megaroad Toys And Entertainment LLC (Booth #2247) both supplied tokusatsu merchandise for con attendees to purchase. Items for sale included DX toys, DX gimmicks, photobooks, plush toys, figures, Kamen Rider Figure-Rise Standard figures, and CSM Releases.

Johnny Yong Bosch, known for playing Adam Park in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Power Rangers Zeo, and Power Rangers Turbo, also had a special appearance where fans could meet the actor, get an autograph signed, and even take pictures.

The tokusatsu community on Saturday afternoon of the convention gathered at the Tokusatsu Anime NYC 2021 Cosplay Meetup, hosted by Heaven’s Gem Cosplay. Fans cosplayed as characters from a myriad of tokusatsu shows such as Super SentaiPower Rangers, and Kamen Rider. Each cosplayer came to the meet-up with cosplays they’ve spent so much time and energy on as well as their undying passion for tokusatsu.

As our 30 minutes allotted time frame came to an end, the final picture was snapped, and we all went our separate ways, I reflected on how much the tokusatsu community has evolved since last year’s convention-less year and how everyone’s love of the tokusatsu genre contributed to the huge success of bringing tokusatsu representation to all of these conventions. We want to thank everyone who attended these fun events as both fans and cosplayers. We had a great time meeting others who share our passion for tokusatsu. We can’t wait for what’s in store for tokusatsu at the 2023 conventions next year.

All Katsucon and AnimeNYC photos are taken by Jason Linetsky/Freeze Frame Foto. All Otakon photos are taken by Keychain Photography. Please do not repost or alter in any way without permission and proper credit.

Also known as HebitsukaiLi Cosplay and @sentairidertaisen45 on Instagram, Charlie Li is a current MFA Student at New York School of Interior Design and a New York University Game Design BFA Graduate. He enjoys tokusatsu of all kind as well as anime and k-pop. His top 3 Sentai include: Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, and Denji Sentai Megaranger.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Newest Posts

Subscribe to TokuNet

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Tokusatsu Network and receive notifications of new posts by email.

To Top