Tokusatsu song festival in Tokyo brings back good memories

Singers perform at the Tokuuta Matsuri Online 3 concert.

The first event I attended in fiscal 2021 was the Tokuuta Matsuri, a festival of songs from tokusatsu sci-fi superhero action TV dramas and films. YOFFY and IMAJO of the duo PSYCHIC LOVER hosted the event with Minoru Uchida on percussion and singers MoJo and Shinichi Ishihara appearing as guest performers. It was held online for the third time.

Back in January I was watching a livestreamed concert belatedly celebrating Ishihara’s 60th birthday, which was eight months earlier. Then suddenly Ishihara’s and MoJo’s faces popped up in my mind. I then thought of asking them to join the Tokuuta Matsuri show. It turned out that they had recently been communicating with each other, which had started out by one of them calling a wrong number. But they ended up agreeing to work together on something in 2021. It was truly a strange sequence of curious coincidences.

MoJo is a legendary singer of theme songs from the early Super Sentai series tokusatsu dramas, such as “Battle Fever J” and “Daisentai Goggle V.” Ishihara is a veteran vocalist who has sung the theme songs from “Kyukyu Sentai Go Go Five” — the last Super Sentai series drama of the 20th century — and “Kamen Rider Agito,” a Kamen Rider drama from the Heisei era (1989-2019). Adding to the mix, PSYCHIC LOVER is a force to be reckoned with in part because of their contributions to the Super Sentai series in the 21st century. Seeing that the 45th Super Sentai series began broadcasting this year and that the Kamen Rider series is marking its 50th anniversary, the lineup of artists was all in all very fitting for such a milestone year.

They performed songs from both series, which was perfect for the occasion. I was particularly happy that MoJo agreed to sing “Eyes of Justice,” a song from “Hyakuju Sentai Gaoranger,” the 25th work in the Super Sentai series, and that Ishihara sang “Oreryu! Geki Violet,” a song from “Juken Sentai Geki Ranger.” It’s a pretty rare chance to be able to listen to one’s favorite songs live when those songs are not the theme songs from those dramas. Additionally, YOFFY sang a ballad version of “Deka Ranger Action,” a song from “Deka Ranger,” which was quite different from the usual version and offered the attendees a glimpse into the depth of Super Sentai songs.

“I never thought [both series] would continue so long,” MoJo said of the anniversary year, clearly moved deeply by the occasion. As someone who has watched the series, I agreed with him completely. I never expected that the series would last so long and that I would have the opportunity to livestream a performance of those songs from the series to fans in the 21st century. It really made me feel as though I was living in a future setting I never could have imagined was possible.

At the same time, when I listen to those songs now, they remind me of the pure feelings I had when I was watching those shows for the first time. In a sense, they make me able to warp back in time to my girlhood days. I adored those superheroes who protected the weak and fought the evildoers — superheroes who would never back down, no matter how powerful their enemies were. By relistening to those songs as an adult, I thought of the importance of being able to live without losing the sentimentality imparted from those days. It was that kind of spring evening.