Saturday, January 26, 2013
Akiji Kobayashi as Ohranger's Miura?
I was just finishing up Ultraseven, and I forgot about the episode where Akiji Kobayashi guest stars as a businessman who returns home drunk one night...and nobody knows who he is! It's one of the show's more lightweight stabs at a Serling-like set-up, and an episode I find too odd to have as one of the final ones, but not as odd as Kobayashi guest-starring in the small role after playing the Captain in the previous Ultra show.
Doesn't matter, though, because Kobayashi's likable as always. As both Captain Muramatsu in the first Ultra series and as Toubee Tachibana in all of the '70s Kamen Rider shows he's likable and dependable. (Being more of a Rider/Toei fan compared to an Ultra/Tsuburaya fan, I prefer Tachibana, and the way he's sort of Alfred to Kamen Rider's Batman. But that's beside the point.) Kobayashi's a big deal to toku -- the legend goes that, after starring in the first Ultraman and first Kamen Rider series, with the success they saw, Kobayashi began to be considered a lucky charm for a tokusatsu show. So, as a Sentai fan above all other toku franchises, I'm like...well, where was a Sentai role for him, dammit? Well...
I don't think it's been officially confirmed, but a rumor that's circulated the Japanese fandom for a while is that Toei was considering casting him as Ohranger's commander, Naoyuki Miura, but Kobayashi's health was in decline. (He died a year after Ohranger was made.) Even though I think Toei made just as wise of a choice in deciding on Hiroshi Miyauchi for the role -- which ends up as a nice way of celebrating what was Sentai's 20th anniversary, and finally acknowledges the Ishinomori series -- Kobayashi would have been a really neat get, a prize of a different sort for Sentai's anniversary, and he would have had that Sentai role on his resume, and been a mentor for heroes in all Big Three franchises.