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Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1996). Original title Tokumu Sentai Shainzuman. Based on the Manga by Kaimu Tachibana. Production I.G. Directed by Shinya Sadamitsu. Written by Hideki Sonoda. Voice cast includes Yasunori Matsumoto, Ryoko Sakakibara, Nozomu Sasaki, Toshihiko Seki and Hekiru Shiina. Two 30-minute episodes. Colour.

This is an affectionate Parody of Tokusatsu Anime, specifically of the Superhero-team genre (for example, Super Sentai (1975-current)). The manga named its characters after well-known Anime voice actors, who were subsequently employed to perform those roles in this OVA.

After Hiroya Matsumoto joins the "Right Trading Company" he is surprised when Kyoko Sakakibara, Manager of Human Resources, picks him to become a member of the Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman. Meanwhile, a rival company, the Science Electronics Corporation, has been infiltrated by agents of Planet Voice (see Aliens). Its King has sent his son, sulky Prince Suguru Sasaki, along with the competent Akihito Seki, to conquer Earth (see Invasion) through business: they use Monsters to destroy rival companies. The Shinesmen are proving a hindrance and, much to Sasaki's chagrin, his cousin, the light-headed Princess Shiina, now arrives and declares she will defeat them. She fails: about to be transported home, she complains the invasion is wrong, as humans are "really nice people and there's nothing wrong with them at all!"; Seki responds (wearily) "Shiina, get in the glowing green square."

Shiina's change of heart is due to meeting Hiroya: the circumstances (being freed from a monster suit) meant he saw her semi-naked: "Nobody's supposed to see the bare skin of royalty: if they do I have to either kill them or make them my boyfriend"; as Hiroya is cute, she opts for the latter. Naturally characters indulge in heartfelt internal monologues ("If I'm strong, it's only because of you, little brother, so I'll keep fighting; for you, I'll continue to protect this Earth"); whilst, though Hiroya's Powered Armour is a suitably dynamic red, a running gag is the insipidity of the other Shinesmen's colours: grey, sepia, salmon pink and moss green.

The original Japanese version is fairly straight-faced Satire, focusing on contrasting superhero antics with the mundanity of the business world. The English dub is more overt in its humour; though jokes about Tokusatsu Clichés are shooting into an open goal, here they are often very funny. In the nineties OVA's were often used to test the market for a Television series: sadly, possibly due to the dryness of the Japanese script, this series was not taken up. [SP]


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