Did you ever wonder what it would be like if Spiderman were real? What would you do? What would you say? Okay, maybe you're not the geek that I am, but this weekend, I got to meet two of my childhood superheroes in person. I shook hands with Kikaida and Kikaida 01!
It all started when I was a little keiki, sitting in front of the TV to watch KIKU air the Kikaida series. From there Kikaida took Hawaii by storm. It seemed as though every kid had a Kikaida Doll and numerous T-shirts (which we wish our parents never made us throw away). I vaguely remember seeing Kikaida on stage when he came to town in 1974, and can still envision the poster of Kikaida and all of DARK's evil androids on a poster in my room. My cousin Nolan was a Kikaida
expert - He knew all the villains, had the trading cards, and scared me
with his Kikaida finishing moves. He would even draw pictures of
Hakaida for me. I think like every other kid in Hawaii at the time, I was a Kikaida
Things slowly got worse as I found a few Kikaida sites on the web a few years ago. I looked them up and downloaded a few video clips...
Kikaida theme song! I forwarded
these treasures to all my friends and drove my staff nuts by playing the mp3 version over and over again. My friend Romeo found the forwarded mp3 months later
in his email inbox and shared how all the fellow geeks in his office delighted as he played it over the central loudspeakers. People were
emailing me back and thanking me for bring back such memories.
Like an answer to a prayer, KIKU announced that it would re-air the Kikaida series. I went
crazy and broke out all of my Kikaida memorabilia (the ones my parents
didn't throw them all away)... I drove my fiancée nuts by constantly singing the theme song. I set the VCR to tape it.
It was gonna be so cool!
Then it happened - I watched the re-runs. After the second episode, I
realized that even though Kikaida was cool when I was 5, it now was... how
shall I put this... kind of lame. The thrill was gone. So, instead of seeing Jiro and Ichiro at their last appearance here in Hawaii, I decided to go to a Superbrawl match instead. At least
those guys were fo' real.
Sometimes old memories are best left as memories. Maybe I would've been happier remembering Kikaida like he was - larger than life and kicking butt! Instead, as Da Bomb's
Paul Ogata pointed out to me in
line, "Didn't you think Kikaida was taller? He's kind of ...short."
(In the show, Kikaida was supposedly 6'3") Damn, that must mean he's really
short! That got me thinking... Maybe Earl Campbell wasn't the greatest running back of all time. Maybe my first bike wasn't that cool. Maybe that cute girl from elementary school really
wasn't that cute...okay, actually she still is cute, but you know what I
mean! I was afraid that Jiro would turn out to be just another skinny old Japanese man.
Sometimes there are things you just can't shake. I got married a month ago, and my wife's family is from Japan. She didn't want to have a formal program because they wouldn't understand it. I told her not to worry, I would sing a song in Japanese for them. She didn't think I would do it, and I didn't really plan to either, but on a whim, I sang the
Kikaida theme song in front of over two hundred people. Guys came up to me and shared their Kikaida memories. Parents of my friends even remembered Kikaida fondly. I guess I
stirred up the kid in a lot of people that day.
And then I got a second chance... Ban Daisuke and Ikeda Shunsuke were back in town for Kikaidamania02. I called my friend
Grant and we drove down to the Japanese Cultural center to catch the waning moments of a guy in a Kikaida suit, some guy in a Hakaida suit, a couple of androids, and some paper mache monsters. The actors were nowhere to be seen, and most of the memorabilia was sold. So I took some pictures and decided not to put down ten bucks on a
poster (Kikaida is Japanese... I'm a true blue Pake!).
Then from out of the blue, Ichiro himself walked right past me! I turned to Grant,
"Eh, that's the guy, that's Zero-One! Then Jiro must be...." There he was, a little grayer, minus the denim and guitar - Jiro walked right in front of us. I started taking pictures
of them as they collected their things before leaving. For once in my life I was speechless. They stopped and smiled as I snapped pictures, and then Jiro himself shook my hand! I called my wife and told her. I called my friends and e-mailed them too. Yeah, maybe Jiro is just a skinny older Japanese man now, but he's Jiro! He's Hawaii's version of the Lone Ranger. For you younger people, Kikaida and
Kikaida01 were our Power Rangers.
There is some magic in meeting
our heroes of yesteryear. Meeting Jiro and Ichiro will be something I will never forget. For just a moment this weekend, Superman could fly again, Earl Campbell was the best running back of all time, the cute girl from elementary school - yeah she's still cute, and Jiro and Ichiro were larger than life itself. Tonight, I turned on the TV and saw more than a bunch of guys running around in vinyl suits, I saw Jiro and Kikaida kicking butt again. Years from now, I can pop in the videotape, sing the
Kikaida theme song, and turn to my children and say, "I met them."
A special thanks goes out to Jason "J.T." Tayros, who helped us with the pictures today. Chance Gusukuma of JN Productions also filled me in with some of the Kikaida background (maybe they can have Kikaidamania03 or bring back Kamen Rider and Zaboga).
Also, we totally love the henshin.250x.com
website where we got most of these pics and music from.