Thursday, June 20, 2019

Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot: Episode 01 - Dracolon, The Great Sea Monster

What would normally be a routine trip across the sea turns into a frightening ride for Johnny Sokko. Attacked by a giant sea monster known as Dracolon, Johnny barely escapes death only to find himself washed ashore onto the heart of evil itself: The Gargoyle Gang. As a survivor of happenstance, will Johnny be able to return home in one piece?

Find out in this action-packed thriller of colossal proportions.

Overall Opinion: Worth watching. Even though this is the introduction episode and would typically bog down the pacing of the story, the episode instead focuses on the action and general panic associated with an ambush/terror attack. With no time to explain, the episode unveils small amounts of information while allowing the premise to be established.

Boy finds robot, boy commands robot, robot is a walking representation of destruction. They did a good job figuring out how much info to dump on the viewer and it pays off.

Suddenly, a mysterious space ship enters Earth's atmosphere. Curious as to who it might be, the Japanese Air Force attempts to establish contact. The UFO responds by stating the pilot of the vessel is Emperor Guillotine of the planet Gargoyle. His intentions are to conquer Earth. After a brief shootout between the Japanese air fighters and Emperor Guillotine, Guillotine's ship descended into the ocean and was never found.

A few months later, stories began to spread of a giant monster attacking cargo ships. While the cargo ships did go missing, it was hard to believe a 100 foot fish was responsible for their disappearance. Determined to get to the bottom of it, Jerry Mano, a secret agent for the spy group called Unicorn, bought a ticket for a trip that passed the area the monster was rumored to strike.

During the night, Jerry meets Johnny Sokko, a boy traveling to meet his grandparents who are on another island. As they exchanged pleasantries, Dracolon rose out of the sea and began it's assault. Within seconds, the monster crushed the vessel.

Jerry and Johnny survived the attack and were carried by the sea to an island. Unsure what was on the island, the two were soon comforted with the sight of other men. However, these men carried guns and didn't seem too interested in helping them get back to Japan. They wore brown uniforms with a skull insignia. (Clearly not the Peace Corps)

Now held hostage inside a concrete building on the island, it solidified Johnny and Jerry's suspicion that this was no normal island. Jerry devises a plan to attack a guard while Johnny distracts them. Successful with their plan, they try to sneak around the facility and find a way to escape. Unfortunately they are spotted and forced to run before they become overwhelmed by guards. Boxed into a dead end, all hope is lost until the floor beneath them starts to lower. They were standing atop a secret elevator.

Upon reaching the bottom floor of the elevator, a scientist greets Jerry and Johnny and hands Johnny a watch. He tells them he was held captive and forced to build a giant robot in the hangar they were all in. When the robot is activated, whomever speaks into the transmitter inside the watch will have complete control of the machine and no one else can command it.

Certain the soldiers have no intentions of letting him live, the scientist tells Jerry and Johnny to leave through a tunnel while he stalls the soldiers from deactivating a bomb he planted near the fuel tanks in the hangar. The massive explosion causes the island's mountain to collapse as if it erupted by magma. Still, the robot stood unaffected by the damage. Johnny exclaims in amazement that the robot was still standing. His voice was the first sound the robot heard. Johnny now commands the robot.

Angered at losing his secret base, Emperor Guillotine orders the soldiers to unleash Dracolon on Japan. Jerry hears from his mini radio that Japan is under attack. Johnny orders the robot to take them to Japan and fight the monster. The robot has a slap fight with Dracolon before whipping out it's mini-missiles and unloading several payloads upon the monster. To say the monster died from trauma is an understatement. THE END

This bad guy is so cool, he doesn't even need to take his sunglasses off to see through the binoculars.

Emperor Guillotine of the planet Gargoyle.

I am flat out amazed that this episode was so well constructed. They establish the big bad guy of the series, give the bare minimum information needed about the main characters, and they even know when to switch between the monster battle and the kid to avoid the fight becoming stale. (seriously, 4 minutes of karate chops between the robot and the monster would have been really bland. It was cut to 30 seconds unlike other Tokusatsu shows I've seen.)

This show has a lot of potential and I can now understand why it was so beloved when it aired in the late '60s.

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