Toei Company, the venerable producer of Japanese entertainment for generations, has joined the digital age. The company will be uploading decades worth of its classic tokusatsu TV shows to a special Youtube channel called “Toei Tokusatsu World Official” in April 2020. The channel will feature English subtitles and daily updates, as well as be accessible worldwide.
Tokusatsu is a Japanese term that means “special effects,” but culturally refers to genre productions with heavy use of special effects. These could be kaiju films like Godzilla or superhero franchises like Ultraman. The most popular tokusatsu brands are Super Sentai–known internationally as Power Rangers–and Kamen Rider. Various tokusatsu franchises have been running almost continuously since the 1950s. That content is now promised for Toei Tokusatsu’s channel.
The announcement signals a big change in Toei’s stance. Previously, Toei was notorious among international tokusatsu fans for aggressively enforcing its copyright on any attempts to upload even small clips of its shows to Youtube and other services. Many fans had to buy expensive licensed disc collections, or turn to online piracy and fan-run subtitling outfits to watch the programs. Some shows saw international releases on services like Pluto TV and even original productions like Amazon Riders for Amazon Prime Video, but for the most part Toei has stubbornly kept things close to home. Until now.
The announcement noted that Toei Tokusatsu World’s content roll out would be gradual. At launch in April 2020, the first two episodes of all seventy planned series would be uploaded with English subtitles. More episodes would then be uploaded week to week, following a weekly content schedule not unlike a normal broadcast network. A breakdown of the first round of additions was listed on the site, which we’ve added below:
Monday April 6, 2020: Episodes 1 and 2 of all 70 shows (with English subtitles)
Monday April 13, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of National Kid (to be updated on Mondays)
Tuesday April 14, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of Suki Suki Majo Sensei (to be updated on Tuesdays)
Wednesday April 15, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of Robot 8-chan (to be updated on Wednesdays)
Thursday April 16, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of Space Cop Gavan (to be updated on Thursdays)
Friday April 17, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of Jaspion (to be updated on Fridays)
Episode 3 and 4 of Hard Gumi (to be updated on Fridays)
Saturday April 18, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of Magical Girl Chukana Paipai (to be updated on Saturdays)
Episode 3 and 4 of Winspector (to be updated on Saturdays)
Sunday April 19, 2020: Episode 3 and 4 of Combattler V (to be updated on Sundays)
Episode 3 and 4 of Gorenger (to be updated on Sundays)
Toei also noted that some episodes would be uploaded in raw Japanese, with the translations to be added at a later time.
Toei Tokusatsu World Official is set to go live on April 6, 2020.