Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Good Scare: Spielban's Youki

There's plenty of odd and eerie things to be found in Japanese tokusatsu shows. Especially in the older shows -- the newer shows have gotten so candy covered and bubblegum that it ain't even funny. It's hard to imagine kids nowadays being scared by anything in one of these shows. But in older shows? There's plenty of things to give kids nightmares. I know -- I was one of 'em.

Several villains or monsters of the week gave me the creeps, but one of the ones that REALLY scared me, the one that caused me to hide -- hide my face behind my hands, bury my face into the couch, watch from a doorway -- was the villain Youki from Spielban. His first appearance on screen caused me to hide -- it's just any ordinary episode, and suddenly at the end, plans defeated by Spielban once again, Pandora decides to conjure up an entity formed by the wickedness of mankind -- its form: Youki, who generates upon the rooftop of a building amidst lightning, Terminator-style.

Look at that! LOOK AT THAT! That crazed expression, the wicked grin, the hideous clown lips, the horns of hair. Not only is Youki a creep to look at, but he kicks off a STRANGE arc on the show, where he floats around Japan, corrupting ordinary people and recruiting them for a cult to take on Spielban, causing ordinary folk to go mad and riot for his cause. The majority of Youki's scenes are filmed in a weird, dreamy way, with Spielban barely being able to fight back because of Youki's being ghost-like. Spielban often got pretty messed up by him, and when I was a kid, I don't think I wanted a villain to be written off as quickly as I wanted Youki dealt with. And he wasn't just a pain for the heroes, but the villains, too -- he defeats one of the show's other regular villains by turning her to bronze, as she's posed on her hands and knees, which he then uses as a seat! There's an episode with this spooky ordeal where he possesses a girl's parents, and in his last appearance, he makes his intentions known that he wants to take over the Wahler Empire -- Pandora ain't having none of it, though, so she seals him and sends him to a SFX-riddled doom. Machiko Soga's character was my favorite character that week.

Youki was know how in the Space Sheriff shows, especially Shaider, there were numerous episodes that tried to be weird and creepy, but it was more often than not just silly and WTF? Youki took those ideas, rolled 'em up in one character and arc, and actually made them scary and weird.

Masahiro Sudou, the man behind the make-up.

Youki was played by Masahiro Sudou, who's an action actor -- he went on to play Baron Owl in-suit in Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, and another toku appearance of his was as the cop in charge of the Asakura restaurant hostage situation in Ryuki. It's no comfort knowing about the actor, though -- Youki still gives me the willies. And just when you think Youki is done haunting you? They made the character a woman in VR Troopers! (They just dubbed Sudou with a woman's voice. Yeesh! Sudou spoke as the character in a very deep and quiet tone, which was creepy enough.)

Youki may have only appeared in five episodes of the series, but a memorably terrifying five episodes they were, ones that totally must have scarred the kids who watched Spielban at the time.

Happy Halloween!


  1. Whoo thanks for giving me the creeps again. After I thought I was past "Meikyuu no GameZone" this is no laughing matter.

  2. So tonight I decided to watch those episodes of Speilban. My wife was very understanding as to why I was so creeped out when I was a kid.

  3. They didn't make him a woman - he is specifically refered to with the male pronouns.It's just that they perhaps wanted for him to appear more interesting,since they didn't use most of his action scenes at all?
    Also,it wasn't him turning a girl into a statue.Pandora did it.
    Btw,I still wonder - if they were able to film a new scene with man in his costume for Troopers,why didn't they made more from scratch?I mean,the footage use and reuse of the same scenes was RISICULOUS.
    Also,on the note unrelated,I'd totally bang him (and while we are at it, I'd do Poe from Shaider,too).