Thursday, May 20, 2010


In 1958 Senkosha Productions released Japan’s first TV super hero series, GEKKO KAMEN 月光仮面 (MOONLIGHT MASK). Created by Kohan Kawauchi (RAINBOWMAN), this series was very similar to the golden age of American serials of the 30's and 40's (KING OF THE ROCKET MEN, FLASH GORDON). Gekko Kamen battled gangsters and at one point a giant simian-like creature, Mammoth Kong. Armed with two guns and a cool motorcycle, Gekko Kamen, was dressed all in white, with a turban, and some stylin’ shades. Gekko Kamen’s identity was kept a mystery, but a smart audience could figure out he was Detective Juro Iwai played by Koichi Ose who fought for justice and the Japanese way.
The series ran for 130 episodes, split into 5 story arcs. Most notable was Chapter 1, “Skull Kamen“, just for the character design alone, very reminiscent of THE EMBALMER (MONSTER OF VENICE). The third chapter, “Mammoth Kong“, marked the debut of Japan’s first TV giant monster. A sixth chapter continued the story of Gekko Kamen in manga form titled “The Fang of the Dragon” in Shonen Club Magazine.
Gekko Kamen is one of Japan’s most iconic characters, whose popularity is still seen today saluted in J-Pop songs and in well done parodies. The best known version was the 1972 anime series, SEIJI WO AISURA MONO GEKKO KAMEN 正義を愛する人、月光仮面 (THE MAN WHO LOVES JUSTICE, MOONLIGHT MASK), known to Latin audiences as the eternal hero, EL CAPITAN CENTELLA.


  1. This brings back memories of when you sent me those two Toei Gekko Kamen movies. What was that, a thousand years ago? :)

    Though my primary love will always be the henshin heroes, there is something really iconic and cool about the 1950s heroes. They cut really amazing figures, and they are really neat variations on the themes from American pop culture.

    I got a copy of the English dub of the 1980s movie, and I wanted to love it so much. Alas, it is only so-so. Waiting for another one!

    I get more cool info from just one of your posts than I do in a month on most blogs!

  2. Yeah, Gekko Kamen definitely has one of the coolest outfits.

    I really love those last two images. They're the epitome of pulp. Cool stuff!

  3. As a lover of the old movie serials, this sounds right up my alley! I do see that they are available on dvd. Does anyone know if a Region A blu-ray will play an R2 dvd? Since the US and Japan are both Region A, logic says that they should. Alas, logic and technology don't always mix! :)

  4. i have the Mammoth Kong story arc on vhs, it's great, and the Gekko Kamen theme is one of my favorites! i just wish they'd given him goggles for the live-action show instead of those shades!...

  5. Been looking for info on the Movie Gekko Kamen search most of the sites on the internet! Wish someone could give me details on the story of that movie! I know he battles the Skull Kamen, so it must be from the first story of the series, Can someone give details of that movie?? with characters that play in it?

  6. Hey There,

    What DVDs do you have of the Skull Mask story arch? I'd really like to know.