Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jiraiya: The Face of Dokusai

I recently finished rewatching Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya and hauled out some of my TV Magazines/TV Lands, looking for cool pics from it. (Turns out I don't have as many issues from '88 as I thought.) But in one of the issues there's a plain shot of the main villain, Dokusai, unmasked -- a scene that lasted only a split-second in the series, mostly keeping the actor in shadows.

Oni Ninja Dokusai is one of my favorite Metal Hero villains -- he's got the whole creepy oni design, and AFAIC, this is voice-actor Shozo Iizuka's best toku work; Iizuka just makes him nasty and vicious, and really displays the glee Dokusai can take when tormenting a character. It's unlike most of his other performances, he seems more restrained as Dokusai, more trying to sell that there's a man behind the mask. Dokusai's a character who was a fellow student of the Togakure Ninja style along with Touha/Jiraiya's (adoptive) dad, Tetsuzan. Like many of villains in a ninja/samurai/martial-arts show or movie, Dokusai rebelled and went to the dark side; not only is it hinted that he was jealous of Tetsuzan courting and marrying a woman he liked, Sanae, but his greed got the best of him, wanting to steal the Board leading to the hidden Pako treasure and the secrets it withheld. For most of the series, you're just wondering what's beneath that mask, and the show messes with the viewer, having Jiraiya crack Dokusai's mask a couple of times, where Dokusai disguises himself as Tetsuzan to mess with Jiraiya's head. It ends up revealed in the finale that there's really nothing behind the mask -- whoever Dokusai was became so corrupt, so evil, that he lost his human form. (Which doesn't really explain why you can see his fingers in those finger-less gloves, but...) When Jiraiya breaks his mask in the finale, what's revealed is something that just looks like a blackhole. I always thought it was kind of disappointing that Tetsuzan didn't get to kill Dokusai -- he was the one who knew him, plus Dokusai killed Sanae (Kei and Manabu's mother), so he had more investment. But the show wasn't called Sekai Ninja Sen Tetsuzan, so Jiraiya gets to do it...

Anyway, there's one flashback early on in the series that shows Tetsuzan fighting with Dokusai, where for a split second they show his face. And here in TV Magazine, they have a still...

Any JAC fan can tell you that that dude above is Satoshi Kurihara, probably best known as General Gaira in Sharivan. (He's also made appearances in some of Keita Amemiya's earlier movies.) Kurihara is mostly a face actor with the JAC and not a suit guy (Dokusai's suit-actor was Metal Hero regular Noriaki Kaneda), so it makes me wonder if by casting Kurihara that the show had bigger plans to get into Dokusai's background, but just decided to let it be more of a mystery. The text with the pic above just says "The Past Dokusai," but Kurihara's not even credited as that much in the episode, instead just being listed amongst the JAC names.

I just thought this was sort of neat. (Sorry the scan's not better; not only is it from the crappy, colorless back pages of a TV Magazine, but the picture is placed near the center of the magazine!)


  1. Pretty cool post. I rarely hear about anyone's thoughts on Jiraiya (or Metal Heroes in general xD )

    Yeah, Dokusai is pretty cool from what I can remember.~ And I'm usually pretty meh towards MH villains. xD

  2. 1988 really had some great series and Global Ninja War Jiraiya was one of the best. The closests we got of the show was Tacky Stretchoid Warrior commercials and toys.
    The joke with the series was the Global Ninjas where all Japanese. Wild was supposed to be Black American, but it was a JAC actor with black face paint.

    Dokusai but sounds more like Darkside could have worked if General Gaira played him. They had Tetsuzan play him before he became a black hole. It gives me an idea that he is his twin brother.

    Overall, the series was not popular in Japan as it was deemed too "American". It had a great kick-ass soundtrack by Akira Kishida. And it brings back memories for the 12 episode I have seen.

    1. I've always read that Jiraiya WAS popular in Japan -- it was just liked by general audiences, but it turned off the longtime toku fans because of how different it was. Now it seems to be a fan favorite, and I know people really seem to like star Takumi Tsutsui.

      I don't see why someone could label it "too American." The show's very "Japanese" to me, I think a viewer not familiar with Japanese lore and ninja tropes would probably be puzzled by a lot of what happens throughout the series. I mean, co-star Masaaki Hatsumi is an actual ninjutsu master, and consulted on making the ninja stuff as authentic as possible, so...this show ain't Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      I remember those stretchy Jiraiya toys being released in America, I tried looking it up, but had no idea what they were called. (Stretchoid Warrior.) So, thanks for letting me know!

    2. I always thought that Takumi Tsutsu should have been a ongoing actor in Toei tokusatsu. Unlike most stars that rise and dim. He still enjoys the limelight and is very active in conventions especially in Brazil which proved to be a very popular series.
      If you have seen all 51 episodes, the actor who would one day play Jiban plays the paper Ninja. And as a bridge to both universe. Manabu would appear in Jiban.

      Besides all the folklores that this show is based on, I can say that Saburo Yatsude( a Gestalt of writers) have based it on Akakage and Arashi.

      P.S. Thanks for responding to my comment. I feel so star strucked and honored by your reply. I am a great Toku addict and you are the brains behind the facts. Yeah, thanks for clarifying the Urban Legends of Toku.

  3. (AbareKuuga) From what I remember of Jiraiya I found the series enjoyable it some getting use to but I found myself enjoying it. But I also remember being creeped out by Dokusai that oni mask I thought he was staring at me while I was watching the show lol.