Zone Fighter Episode 03 – Tatake! Garoga-no Chitei-kichi
aka Defeat Garoga’s Subterranean Base! aka Strike! Garoga’s Underground Base
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Written by Masaru Takesue
Zone Fighter Episode 3 is here, and like the rest it is weird and unsubtitled. So we don’t need no stinking subtitles, but you might need to read the Zone Fighter Splash Page to get caught up with the series if you are unfamiliar.
Blah blah Peaceland got Alderaned the frak up, the Garogas followed the Zone family to Earth, and now this planet is in danger because the Zone Family only thinks about saving their own skin.
A third guest star kid in as many episodes is Akira’s new best friend. What is with this kid, he can’t keep a friend longer than one episode? And yes, this new kid named Momo has tiny shorts.
Garogas kill a dude via gas in a can that his car runs over and vaporizes the car! Why not do this to the Zone Family? (Because as we see later the guy isn’t killed, only teleported to the Secret Underground Base of the title!)
The Garoga have a Secret Underground Base with mushroom-shaped buildings on Mt. Fuji that isn’t really underground all that much. Maybe it has deep basements, and that’s the secret. I haven’t been this disappointed since I found out Monster Island was a peninsula!
Some Japanese Arab Shieks are in town, and the Zone Family impersonates them as a lure for the Garoga. Are Japanese Arab Shieks that common? I’m leaning towards no. Continue reading →
This is the splash page for the Zone Fighter reviews, because we need a page with all the info so I don’t keep repeating it over and over and over again. Laziness breeds efficiency! Zone Fighter is Toho’s tokusatsu series that was broadcast in 1973 for a total of 26 episodes (two 13-episode blocks.) The peaceful Zone Family’s peaceful planet Peaceland is destroyed by the evil Garogas, so the Zones head to Earth to hide out under the name Sakimori. But you can’t run from evil alien goons, and soon the Garogas are hanging around Earth in a giant satellite in the sky trying their darnedest to get those nasty Zones. Zone Fighter and his family fought a variety of evil Terror-Beasts under the control of the Garogas. Godzilla, King Ghidorah, and even Gigan pop up in a few episodes, which is why people care about this show more than Robot Detective. Eventually, they all fall victim to the power of cancellation, and the story is never completed with the ultimate destruction of the Garogas (or the Zones, if you cheer on evil like we always do at TarsTarkas.NET!)
So who are the peaceful Zone Family of Peaceland, Land of Peace? (Now Land of Pieces!) Let’s Meet the Zones!
Hikaru Sakimori (Kazuya Aoyama) – Oldest of the three Zone siblings, usually working as a race car driver. He can transform into Zone Fighter, and also can transform into a bigger, stronger Zone Fighter.
Hotaru Sakimori (Kazumi Kitahara) – The middle Sakimori child, suffering from middle child syndrome. Maybe. If they bothered to give her any characterization. She doesn’t do much except be a girl. Heck, even during fight sequences she doesn’t even fight. Hotaru is still in high school, you pervs!
Akira Sakimori (Kenji Sato) – The youngest Sakimori is also the most annoying. But he is far less annoying than his weekly schoolmate friend who will be played by increasingly awful child actors. Turns into Zone Junior, which will be a horrible superhero name when you’re like 50 or so.
Yoichiro Sakimori (Shoji Nakayama) – Daddy Zone for some reason doesn’t turn into a super hero, he just invents toys, as he runs the Toy Research Institute.
Tsukiko Sakimori (Sachiko Kozuki) – Mommy Zone is just there. So far all she has done is look worried. Maybe she’s expressing post-traumatic stress trauma after the destruction of her homeworld and subsequent flight to Earth as refugees where they must hide their identities and be constantly hounded by their enemies. Or maybe the writers are too focused and action and selling toys to boys that they don’t care.
Raita Sakimori (Shiro Amakusa) – Grandpa Zone is also known as Zone Great. He’s not really that great. Sometimes he uses the Great Raideki Satellite, so at least he does more than Mom and Dad Zone.
Zone Fighter – Zone Fighter (song lyrics “Zone Fighto, Zone Fighto Zone Fighto!”) wears a costume similar to his siblings, until such time as he has to become giant.
Zone Fighter Big Mode – When Zone Fighter says “Zone Double Fight” he grows to giant size to fight the giant Garoga monsters. Special attacks include his Meteor Missiles, which he fires from his wrists like guns, the Meteor Proton Beam, which zaps from his head, making an energy door shield, and flying into TV’s. You read that last one right! In something totally different from Ultraman that isn’t a rip-off, he can only stay big a small amount of time and he has a power meter light that changes color as he gets weaker. It’s a very obvious power meter light, but luckily the evil Garoga monsters are pretty dumb.
Zone Angel – Zone Angel is the alter-ego of Hotaru Sakimori. Zone Angel and Zone Junior usually spend most of the giant monster battle watching, then getting in the flying car and reenergizing Zone Fighter.
Zone Junior – Zone Junior is the alter-ego of Akira Sakimori. He’s just as useless as you think he would be.
Garogas – Why so serious? These bug-eyed, antennaed, sharp-toothed (but unmoving mouthed) aliens are the Garogas, who are evil and live in a satellite orbiting Earth, where they randomly fire monsters to attack the planet. Their boss is all gold, the squad captains are gold, and the goons are silver. Garogas can disguise themselves as human, but are given away by their webbed fingers. Oddly enough, I don’t think the actual Garogas have webbed fingers. Maybe I should stop writing this and go back and check. Nah.
Recurring/Important Cast –
Takeru Jou (Hideaki Obara) – Takeru owns a model shop and gets involved in the wacky adventures of the Sakimori/Zone family, because we needed yet another character to clutter up the lineup of this short program. Learns the secret identities of the Zones. Is usually referred to as “Sensei” by the annoying kid of the week.
Baron Garoga – The boss Garoga of the region, who orders all the other Garogas around. Has a wand and a cape, and is FAB-ulous!
Red Garoga – Sometimes Baron Garoga is too busy eating ice cream or something to fight Zone Fighter, so this Red Garoga steps up to the task. He doesn’t fare any better…
Candy Cane Red Garoga – Of all the various Red Garoga to menace the Zone Family, the one with the candy cane striped antennas is the most distinct. He spends most of his time luring children into his clutches, which is totally not creepy at all. Seen in Episode 20
Long-Antennaed Garoga – When the Garoga kidnapped Hotaru and replaced her with an evil duplicate, that evil duplicate was this Long-antennaed Garoga, who has the longest antennas ever seen on the show. He used his antennas as whips and also seemed to be made of explosives, because he exploded after Zone Fighter threw him off a cliff. He failed because he was a failure. Is only seen in Episode 7
White Garoga – A White Garoga appears in Episode 21 to visit his colleague Baron Garoga. The two are contemporaries of the same rank, and after trading some gossip and work griping, White Garoga gives Baron Garoga the alien creature that will be turned into the terror-beast Jellar.
Garoga Scientist – The Garoga Scientist is responsible for several of the various gimmicks and monsters the Garoga use against the Zone Family. The Garoga Scientist makes notable appearances in Episodes 14 and 22.
Yuri the Garoga – A Garoga disguised as a lovely lady, who leads various members of the Zone Family into traps. She never returns to Garoga form, and hangs out with the Red Garoga group leader. So we don’t really know if she’s a human who works for the Garoga or a Garoga who’s gone Japanese and isn’t coming back. Her and the Red Garoga from that episode might have a thing going on, so here’s hoping they ran off to live together in the countryside. Seen in Episode 17
X Garoga – Elite squadron of Garoga who come to Earth to fight the Zones. Wear spiffy giant X’s on their uniforms, in case you forget who they are. Despite beign elite troops, they are easily defeated. Have visual tricks to help them fight. The X Garoga combine to form the monster Grotogauros. Seen in Episode 26
Bird Zone – The Zone Family Bird, whose only major appearance in Episode 14 involves him being used as a test subject for a mysterious compound, and thus being controlled by the Garoga in that he says “Garoga” over and over again until he’s cured.
Recurring Monsters –
Godzilla (Toru Kawai and Isao Zushi) – Godzilla is the king of monsters and for some reason answers calls from tiny robots to go kill monsters. Which he does. Godzilla kills more monsters in this series than he does in the films until Final Wars. Remember, this is goofy, defender of Earth Godzilla, who is only a shell on his back away from being friend of all children. Eventually Godzilla will decide that being full of meat is not his thing and he goes for bigger and better things. One can only assume that with old age, Godzilla began experiencing dementia and kept thinking Zone Fighter was his old buddy Jet Jaguar, thus his constant help despite not knowing Zone Fighter prior to getting called to battle. Godzilla even lives in a cave at this point, further supporting my dementia theory. While his roar is heard in the beginning of every episode, Godzilla appears in episodes 4, 11, 15, 21 and 25.