Glamorous Event Celebrates 40th Anniversary of ‘Bioman’ and All Its Charms in Osaka

From left: Mishio Suzuki (emcee), Takayuki Miyauchi, Michiko Makino and Sumiko Tanaka talk about “Chodenshi Bioman.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the broadcast of “Chodenshi Bioman,” a Super Sentai series tokusatsu superhero TV drama that aired from 1984 to 1985.

Singer Takayuki Miyauchi, who sang the show’s theme song, and I have been talking for several years about our wish to organize an anniversary event focusing on the songs used in the series. Out of all the ideas presented, we decided to celebrate the anniversary year in style with Michiko Makino and Sumiko Tanaka, who played the show’s female leads, Pink Five and Yellow Four, respectively.

By the way, I have to confess that one reason for holding this event in Osaka, not Tokyo, was that we wanted to heartily eat some great Osaka food. Therefore, we traveled there a day early to have a kushiage skewered food dinner. Just as we hoped, we were able to smack our lips as we feasted on deep-fried benishoga (red-pickled ginger) and other delicacies.

The event took place on a Sunday afternoon and started with Miyauchi singing the “Bioman” theme song, which was followed by a toast at the venue. The three on stage — Miyauchi, Makino and Tanaka — were all smiles as they reflected on “Bioman” and expressed their amazement at the occasion.

“Never had I thought there’d be a day when I would celebrate the 40th anniversary in Osaka,” Makino said.

“In those days, I hardly had any opportunity to share the same stage with actors,” Miyauchi recalled.

“I was watching ‘Bioman’ on TV from the beginning because my fellow members from Japan Action Club [JAC, now called Japan Action Enterprise] took part in the show,” said Tanaka, who subsequently played Yellow Four. “I never expected that I would join the cast, not to mention that I’d be coming to this event 40 years later.”

The event was held on April 14 for a reason. It was the first day that the second Yellow Four, whose human persona was called Jun Yabuki and was played by Tanaka, appeared in “Bioman” to join its superhero team. Therefore, how the first Yellow Four died in the show and how Tanaka became the second Yellow Four were much discussed.

As mentioned above, Tanaka was initially watching “Bioman” to see her fellow JAC members. Then, all of a sudden, she was cast as a cover, and, before she knew it, she went through costume fitting and other procedures to appear in “Bioman,” according to her.

“Big men came and things were decided one after another at a frenzied pace. There was no room for me to voice my opinion. I was told to put on a miniskirt and wear my hair braided. What’s more, I braided my hair by myself, not the hair and makeup person,” Tanaka said with an embarrassed smile.

Meanwhile, Makino recounted the “changes” that occurred after Tanaka’s participation in “Bioman.” Her predecessor, Yuki Yajima, was an experienced actress reputed for her action scenes with many films and theater productions in her credits.

“That’s why, I, a newcomer, hid behind her and relied on her when it came to action [scenes], which suited my character, too,” Makino said.

However, both Makino and Tanaka were new to the industry, so the two were treated equally.

“Before I knew it, I was jumping off a cliff with her [Tanaka]. I was not a JAC member, so it felt like an accident to me,” Makino said with a smile.

For Miyauchi, who sang almost all the Bioman songs that day, it was the first drama that gave him an opportunity to sing hero songs. The singer, who has recently recovered from a major illness and made a successful comeback, spoke of his thoughts about those songs.

“I used to sing those songs thinking they were songs to encourage heroes, but then I realized that I received encouragement from those songs myself,” he said.

Makino and Tanaka talked a lot about the “Bioman” locations, which they said were much more inconvenient than today in all aspects, from hair and makeup to meals and bathrooms.

“Things were not convenient, but we could get around freely. If something was lacking, we could rack our brains together and we complemented each other,” Makino said. “That’s why we could make such a show.”

Her words impressed me immensely. The charm of “Bioman,” which never fades even after 40 years, was probably born from such a free atmosphere.

And I was grateful to the miracle of the day in Osaka, that I could celebrate the anniversary together with the theme song singer, cast members and fans of “Bioman.”