Iron Man Vs. Goths: ‘Power Rangers’ Producer Creates New Series ‘GUNBLADE’ [Video]
If you've been a child at any time in the past 20 years, there's a good chance that you're already familiar with the work of Koichi Sakamoto, whether you know his name or not. Since 1996, he's been a producer and director on the Power Rangers franchise -- along with working on the stunts for its Japanese tokusatsu source material -- and now, he's getting ready to launch a new show, set to debut in America in January of 2016.
It's called Gunblade, and it's basically Iron Man meets Kamen Rider with a budget of $20,000,000, a significant portion of which will likely be spent on guns and/or blades. And it looks pretty awesome.
Sakamoto debuted the main character's suit and a clip of the show last weekend at the Licensing Expo, which, as I understand it, is essentially the trade show where a bunch of Brands get together and decide which items are going to have Spider-Man's picture on them for the next year. Obviously, much like Power Rangers (and its source material in the Super Sentai franchise), Gunblade is meant to be pretty toyetic, with designs that are ready-made to be action figures:
The press release that accompanied the expo also included the official description of the show (presumably to differentiate it from the signature weapon of Final Fantasy VIII), and as you might have already suspected, it is delightful.
“GUNBLADE” is the tale of the extraordinary “Gunblade Team,” a six-member special missions unit, assembled to protect and defend humankind against the evil Dr. Dexter and his super computer, “Olympus.” Seeking assistance to carry out his diabolical plan to destroy the Earth, Dr. Dexter resurrects an ancient destructive clan, “Gothic,” who had been sealed away for evildoing. Now with the threat of humanity becoming extinct, the Gunblade Team must stop Dr. Dexter from destroying the Earth. Equipped with the “GB Drive,” a special smart phone type device, GUNBLADE members can use its applications to transmit high-tech weaponry, assist in a variety of attack skills, garner protection by an impenetrable shield and even transform into a special armored suit.
Folks. It's Iron Man vs. Goths. I am willing to declare it the best television show ever made, and it won't even be on the air for two more years.
It's worth noting that while Gunblade is drawing a lot of influence from existing tokusatsu franchises (the transmitting weapons and armor are particularly reminiscent of the recent Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters), but aesthetically, this thing owes a lot to Marvel's Iron Man movies. It's not just Gunblade's frowny face and the very Titanium Man-esque armor, either. In the short clip shown at the Licensing Expo, they're riffing on the famous "Tony-In-The-Armor" shot...
...and there's even some movement that echoes Iron Man (and particularly designer and comic book artist Adi Granov) when he returns to the ground after battling some evil airplanes:
As for the rest of the clip, I have to admit that it's pretty fantastic. There's a smartphone-enabled transformation sequence (using a "Change App") that, again, is pretty Iron-Maninspired, but the designs for both Gunblade himself (itself?) and the enemies are great. And also, at one point, Gunblade flies into the sky to fight planes that are trying to blow him up with missiles, and he roundhouse kicks the missile back at them. That is pretty much exactly what I want out of media.
According to Sakamoto himself, "Gunblade includes all the action elements, sci-fi elements, fantasy elements, all the stuff that kids like," and well, since he's been a part of every sci-fi and fantasy-themedPower Rangers show for 18 years, he'd probably know.
Gunblade is set to debut in South Korea next March, with an American release the following year -- although there's no word yet on whether it'll follow the Power Rangers model of using the original footage with an American cast, or whether it'll just be dubbed or subtitled. Rest assured that ComicsAlliance is planning on staying on top of the story of missile-kicking armored smartphone heroes as they develop.