Skull shinobi and Saori’s shorts in LION MARU (part 2)

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Yesterday we looked at the early 70’s TV sword-girl standout Saori – whose taut legs and exposed athletic thighs were obviously secondary concerns to her self-accomplished heroism, kick-ass attitude in a man’s world, and defiance to the salacious agendas of cameraman and pre-pubescent pervs in the audience. Seriously, none of us here ever popped a kid-chubbie to Wonder Woman or Isis or Electra Woman and Dyna Girl did we? No, we were watching for the empowered heroism that served as an example to all genders, just like the Japanese.

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It was about a tough, self-made woman fighting for her life, right…
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…not trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of the bikini area.
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No matter how often the directors and camermen provided one.
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Saori, scantily clad as she was in a world of armored men with super-poweres, was there to jump to the rescue of her male companions.
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Building relationships, bridging the gender gaps.

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It wasn’t about repeatedly putting her in fetishized peril awaiting rescues.

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And she wasn’t girly and afraid of creepy crawlies, either.
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The outre boss-monsters of the week would never get a little grabby while tying her up, either. No way.

OK – in all seriousness…

Here’s the lowdown on Saori, Akiko Kujo and¬†Lion Maru. It was a kid’s show, but someone sure was crow-barring in some cheeky content for older brother and dad. Season two, her get-up changed a bit and she ended up with more modest unmentionables and way less camera up the skirt, so that same someone may have gotten bus-ted!

Through it all, Kujo was a real trooper! Athletic build (possibly dancers legs?) lent her terrific leaping ability. She was a game acrobat, did a lot of her own fight scenes and trampoline work, and made the most out of a role that could have been completely laughable if not for her effort. Her frequent fights against multiple skull-ninja are always great.

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Being a girl sidekick on a Japanese boy’s TV show was innevitably going to be exploitive in some degree, but within that realm, Akiko Kujo really did hold her own, kicked some real ass, and should have been a more influential model for a progressive breed of girl-hero that Japan sadly never developed.

She’s so good, you end up looking at this show in a modern context and you want MORE of her and less of the big fuzzy dude in red.

READ MORE:

Official DVD site, Henshin Hall of Fame, Italian fan site.

BONUS TOY COVERAGE HERE!

Skull shinobi and Saori’s shorts in LION MARU (part 1)

posted in: 1 - Film and TV | 0

As a post Halloween bonus, we’re going to honor the Latin world’s Dia de los Muertos with a look at some skull-masked shinobi. MONSTERS AND MASKS month has been sadly bereft of our beloved Sword Girls, too, so we’ll wrap things up with Saori – the ferocious flipping female sidekick from KaiketsuLion Maru.

Akiko Kujo starred as the muscular-legged kunoichi companion of the super-powered proto-furry superhero, and while he had a magic sword, a pegasus, nigh-invulnerability, the ability to make monsters explode, etc, Saori was content with a simple short sword and an even shorter skirt…

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Here’s the happy and heroic cast…
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…and these are the evil henchmen. Amazing how the addition of a simple skull mask over an off-the-rack ninja suit equals INSTANT AWESOME!
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Yeah, it’s a Japanese show, and some assume they’re all pervs and even a heroine in a kid’s show would be there for one reason and one reason only, but that’s just not true here. Take a look at action shots like this. They’re obviously NOT about the gratuitous panty flashes…
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No, they’re about one woman standing up to a man’s world. One rather under-clad woman… often standing slightly above the camera’s sightline…
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See, she’s a wildcat. She’s… what are all those cliches the comic book industry clings to… oh yeah – she’s EMPOWERED by her sexuality, a combatant unencumbered by flesh-concealing protective gear…

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She wears her gender on her sleeve, she’s a GRRRL man, yeah, that’s it. That’s a warrior right there, not an underwear model exposed at every possible opportunity by lascivious camera operators and hand-gnashing directors…

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In the end, she’s not a damsel in distress or a ditzy assistant, she’s the scourge of these skull-masked houligans!
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These lucky, lucky, lucky skull-masked houligans.

TOMORROW – more skull masks and more skivvies…