National Kid

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National Kid
National Kid title screen.jpg
Title card for National Kid.
Genre Tokusatsu
Science fiction
Superhero
Created by Minoru Kisegawa (eps. 1–30)[1]
Ichirō Miyagawa (ja) (eps. 23–30)[1]
Unno Juza (eps. 31–39)[1]
Written by Takashi Tanii[2]
Nagayoshi Akasaka (ja)[2]
Directed by Nagayoshi Akasaka[2]
Jun Koike[2]
Naruo Watanabe[2]
Starring Ichirō Kojima (ja) (eps. 1–22)
Hidetarō Tatsumi (ja) (eps. 23–39)
Theme music composer Tasaku Sano (ja)
Opening theme "Song of National Kid" (ナショナル・キッドの歌, Nashonaru Kiddo no Uta), written by Masayoshi Onuki, sung by Victor Children's Chorus
Composer(s) Yasuo Fukazawa (ja)
Country of origin Japan
Original language(s) Japanese
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 39
Production
Producer(s) Masamichi Sato
Kazuma Nosaka
Yoshi Nakai
Running time 30 minutes
Distributor Toei Company
Release
Original network NET
Audio format Mono
Original release August 4, 1960 – April 27, 1961

National Kid (Japanese: ナショナルキッド, Hepburn: Nashonaru Kiddo) is a Japanese TV series produced by Toei Company[3] in 1960. Broadcast on NET, it was sponsored by Panasonic, then known as Matsushita Electric, to promote the National brand. Although not very famous in Japan, the series has obtained cult status in Brazil, where it was very popular.[4][5][6]

Plot[edit]

National Kid is a messenger from the Andromeda Galaxy thirty thousand light-years away, who is immortal and protects the Earth from invaders. His alter ego on Earth is Ryusaku Hata (旗竜作, Hata Ryusaku)—or Massao Hata in the Brazilian dub[7]—the son and apprentice of the world-renowned scientist, Dr. Masachika Hata, who holds his practice in a suburb of Tokyo. His powers include superhuman strength and flight. National Kid also carries the "Eroruya Ray Gun" (エロルヤ光線銃, Eroruya kōsen jū) which was similar to the flashlight sold by National Electric. Hata raises five orphan children, which try to help investigating the strange phenomena in the series. When in danger, the kids call National Kid to rescue them via the "Magic Radio" (マジックラジオ, Majikku Rajio), a National radio transmitter.

Story arcs[edit]

The National Kid series comprises four story arcs through 39 episodes.

Attack of the Incas (インカ族の来襲, Inka-zoku no Raishū)[edit]

The first arc lasted 13 episodes. The story has National Kid defending the Earth from the Incas, an alien race who arrive from the planet Venus.

Inca Venusians (インカ金星人, Inka Kinseijin)

Concerned that the effects of nuclear tests on Earth could spread through space, the Incas invade and unleash massive UFO attacks on Japan. They worship a God called "Abika," with altars also furnished in their ship. They also release a virus in which National Kid struggles to find a cure. The hero flies into the mountains and uses his Eroruya Ray Gun to blow apart some boulders in order to uncover some rare minerals that helped in creating a remedy for the virus' effects. The remainder of the episodes primarily had National Kid saving children and himself from Inca attacks.

  • Aura (アウラ, Aura) (Inca Venusian captain) - played by Yoshiko Nogawa

Vemana and Kabia's boss. Act's cruelly, but speaks in very polite words.

  • Vemana (ヴィマナ, Buimana) (Inca Venusian executive) - played by Akira Katayama
  • Kabia (カビア, Kabia) (Inca Venusian executive) - played by Ichi Kubo

Undersea Devil Nelkon (海底魔王ネルコン, Kaitei Maō Nerukon)[edit]

The second story arc ran 9 episodes. Already using new techniques including blue screen, the special effects are significantly improved over the first story's efforts. This time National Kid battles an army of oceanic creatures called the Undersea People Coelacanth (海底人シーラカンス, Kaiteijin Shirakansu).

Undersea People Coelacanth (海底人シーラカンス, Kaiteijin Shirakansu)

The Undersea People- ancient coelacanth fish that had evolved into human beings- declare war on the surface world. The Undersea People are uniformed in long black robes with triangular hoods. They have faces like a Komodo dragon, and their bodies are similar to the Creature from the Creature From the Black Lagoon movies. The Undersea People come to the surface world riding in an anglerfish-shaped submarine named Guilton, which was built in their undersea city 10,000 m below depth, causing seismic waves destroying naval ships.

  • Fish No.1 (フィッシュ1号, Fuishu Ichi-go) - played by Akira Katayama
  • Fish No.3 (フィッシュ3号, Fuishu San-go) - played by Nobuyuki Ezawa
  • Dr. Kawamura (川村博士, Kawamura-Hakase) - played by Haruni Kubo

Underground Demon Castle (地底魔城, Chitei Majō)[edit]

The third story arc ran 8 episodes. Ichirō Kojima leaves the series, and Hidetarō Tatsumi takes over the role of National Kid until the series' end. In this arc, National Kid takes on armed forces from beneath the Earth's surface. The Underground People are looking for the formula to a rare element that will give them supreme power. Once again UFOs attack Japan killing civilians.

Underground People (地底人, Chiteijin)
  • President Heln (or Herrn) Stein (ヘルンシュタイン総統, Herun Shutain) (Underground People) - played by Koji Matsuyama

Mystery of the Space Boy (謎の宇宙少年, Nazo no Uchū Shōnen)[edit]

The last story arc ran 9 episodes. A space boy named Taro accidentally falls to Earth. Then Taro's father mistakenly threatens the destruction of Tokyo and unleashes the giant monster Gyabura for his boy's blunder. Taro befriends Hata's students, and tells his father Earth is a peaceful planet. After this final threat, Ryusaku Hata reveals he is the Earth's hero National Kid and returns to Andromeda.

Main cast[edit]

The cast members of National Kid were:[7]

For the Brazilian version, voices were dubbed in Portuguese by:[7]

  • Emerson Camargo: National Kid
  • Cristina Camargo: Thiako
  • Maria Inês: Goro
  • Magaly Sanches: Kurazo
  • Rafael Marques: Tomohiro
  • Sônia Regina: Yukio
  • Osmano Cardoso: Dr. Mizuno

Development[edit]

To compete against KRTV's Moonlight Mask (1958), NET (now Asahi TV) commissioned the production of their own tokusatsu series from Toei Company.[2] Sponsored by Matsushita Electric in order to promote their National brand electronics, it was considered a "relatively expensive series" by The Dorama Encyclopedia's authors.[2] Through National's high investments, it was possible to create the first flying superhero in Japanese TV history.[2]

National Kid was Toei's fourth tokusatsu series. Nagayoshi Akasaka, director of the series, was inspired by The Adventures of Superman when creating National Kid.[7]

The series was shot in black-and-white.[8] National Kid's production cost was high for the time's standards: each 30-minute episode had a production budget of 1.5 million yen, when the average money invested in a TV series in Japan that time was of 10 thousand yen per minute (300 thousand yen for a 30-minute episode).[9]

Release and reception[edit]

National Kid debuted on NET on August 4, 1960, concluding its first season on October 27, 1960. The second season aired between November 3, 1960, and December 29, 1960, while the third and fourth seasons aired from January 5, 1961, to February 23, 1961 and from March 2, 1961, to April 27, 1961 respectively.[2] Toei described it as a "big hit" and as having "strong popularity" even in 2015, and released a digital remastered version of the show on May 13, 2015.[1][10]

A manga adaptation of the TV series by Daiji Kazumine (ja) appeared as a serial in Kodansha's Bokura (ja) magazine between its July 1960 and December 1961 issues.[11] The work comicalized the first three seasons of National Kid until its June 1961 issue, when it started to create original plots.[11] The series' popularity contributed to the increase in the number of Bokura copies in circulation.[11] Kodansha also released the manga in three tankōbon (book) volumes, but only included the first two seasons.[12][13] All Bokura stories were later released by Manga Shop in a kanzenban edition (collector's edition) on December 2, 2008.[11][14]

National Kid gained a cult status in Brazil.[4][5][6] It first aired in Brazil in 1964, by TV Record. It was very popular in Brazil, and was rerun several times before 1970, when it was taken off the air by the military government's Ministry of Justice, banning all series with flying superheroes.[7][5] In 1967, a fire in TV Record's archives destroyed National Kid's tapes.[4] The series was redubbed and achieved new popularity in Brazil in the 1990s.[8] It was released in VHS in 1993 and in DVD in 2009.[4]

A series of graffiti with the phrase "Celacanto provoca maremoto" ("The coelacanth causes seaquake"), referencing the villains' submarine, appeared in several spots of Rio de Janeiro as meme, starting from 1977 in Zona Sul and throughout the city in the early 1980s.[15][6] The sentence was replicated by artist Adriana Varejão on the upper floor of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, a facility of the 2016 Summer Olympics.[6]

In 2009, the National Kid character was portrayed in a Rio de Janeiro Carnival parade by the samba school Unidos da Tijuca; the costume used on the parade was one of the best-selling costumes for the school.[16] In 2018, the Olinda carnival will feature the superhero as a mediator for Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un trying to solve the 2017–18 North Korea crisis.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "ナショナルキッド DVD‐BOX デジタルリマスター版" (in Japanese). Toei Video. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clements, Jonathan; Tamamuro, Motoko (2003). The Dorama Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese TV Drama Since 1953. Stone Bridge Press. pp. 208–209. ISBN 9781880656815. 
  3. ^ ナショナルキッド東映チャンネル 特撮ヒーロー『ナショナルキッド 第1部』放送スタートのお知ら [Announcement: tokusatsu hero National Kid's first season debuts on Toei Channel] (in Japanese). Toei Company. March 27, 2010. Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Hirao, Roberto (December 20, 2009). ""National Kid" é obra-prima para alguns e lixo para outros" ["National Kid" is a masterpiece for some and a crap for others]. Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved January 15, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c Senna, Paulo (March 22, 2009). "National Kid". O Globo (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d van Straaten, Laura (July 13, 2016). "Waves of Dark History Break on an Olympic Pool". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "National Kid (Nashônaru Kiddo - 1960)". Infantv. Retrieved October 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Maia, Roberto (January 23, 2013). "National Kid, o super-herói japonês que se imortalizou no Brasil" [National Kid, the Japanese superhero immortalized in Brazil.]. Contraversão (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ Cruz, Ricardo (February 17, 2009). "Awika Files #2- Kido? Kido! Nationaro Kiido!". Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  10. ^ "ナショナルキッド DVD-BOX デジタルリマスター版" (in Japanese). Amazon. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  11. ^ a b c d "ナショナルキッド〔完全版〕【上】" (in Japanese). Manga Shop. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

    "ナショナルキッド〔完全版〕【中】" (in Japanese). Manga Shop. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

    "ナショナルキッド〔完全版〕【下】" (in Japanese). Manga Shop. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

  12. ^ "Book:ナショナル・キッド1". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

    "Book:ナショナル・キッド2". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

    "Book:ナショナル・キッド3". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

  13. ^ "講談社/一峰大二/原作=貴瀬川実「ナショナルキッド全3巻セット」" (in Japanese). Mandarake. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  14. ^ "Book:ナショナル・キッド 完全版(マンガショップシリーズ)上". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

    "Book:ナショナル・キッド 完全版(マンガショップシリーズ)中". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

    "Book:ナショナル・キッド 完全版(マンガショップシリーズ)下". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

  15. ^ Rouchou, Joelle (July 20, 1978). "Celacanto revela identidade" [Coelacanth reveals [his] identity]. Jornal do Brasil (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ Mendonça, Alba Valéria (January 13, 2009). "Nacional Kid vai invadir o espaço sideral da Unidos da Tijuca" [National Kid is going to invade Unidos da Tijuca's outer space]. G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved January 15, 2018. 
  17. ^ Estarque, Thays (January 6, 2018). "No Carnaval de Olinda, bonecos prometem paz entre EUA e Coreia do Norte com ajuda de herói da TV" [In the Olinda carnival, puppets promise [a] peace [deal] between USA and North Korea with a TV hero's help]. G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved January 15, 2018. 

External links[edit]