Recalling My First Run on Janperson AKA The Asian Robocop!
There's a new guy in town and his name is... Robocop errrr Janperson...
Back then, I remembered the time I watched Jiban and compared the character to Robocop. It wasn't long until I entered my teenager years, I was thirteen years old when I saw Janperson aired in ABC-5 (now TV-5) and saw the premiere episode. I expected him to be a Henshin hero of sorts, instead i saw him as a robot that just appeared out of nowhere. The whole premiere showed familiar faces such as Shingo Takasugi's actor (Bioman) and Shunsuke Hino's actor (Turboranger) as police officers. Janperson appears out of nowhere and deals with robotic criminals making it feel like a very different Tokusatsu show.
Who would have thought Robocop would inspire Toei to create a fully mechanical version of him?
What came into my mind was this... ROBOCOP. I thought Robocop was copied from Janperson (and I had that biased mind on American TV but not so much) when years later, I would learn that it was the reverse. Still, Janperson almost looked like a modified Robocop except episodes later, we would learn he was never formerly human. So I was holding my fingers expecting Janperson to be a former human. However episode 18 would later prove that he was a completely mechanical robot, not a former human gunned down and converted into a cyborg. Still the whole show felt similar to the Robocop TV series which came after Janperson. Tokyo becomes the Detroit of the show and well, Janperson IS the Robocop of the show.
What I found (weird) at first was that Janperson would have three different organizations bidding for power though I thought it was also a unique concept. The Neo-Guild robotic cult (which quickly had a change in leadership as its first leader died in the second episode), the Super Science Network (dubbed as Super-Tech) which used biotechnology for its selfish reasons and the Tatewaki Konzern with the insane leader Ryuzaburo Tatewaki, who led a huge gangster behind the scenes. What made the villains really cool is that they were seasoned cast members such as Kazuoki Takahashi (Changeman), legendary actress Atsuko Takahata (Gilza in Juspion, Maribaron in Black RX) and Shun Sugata (who had played various roles before Janperson) who made the Japanized versions of Robocop villains... well stand out.
Lucio Tan errrr Kenichi Endo guest starred in Janperson...
Janperson featured a lot of Tokusatsu actors as guest stars. For example, Kenichi Endo appeared as a guest in episode 8 of Janperson, where I had my reaction "OMG he looks like Lucio Tan!" scenario. It was all hammy for Kenichi Endo. Other episodes also featured Megumi Mori, Rika Kishida and Natsuki Takahashi as far as I can remember. Either they were guest villains or guest civilians involved in Janperson's fight against crime. What was also fun was this... Janperson featured plenty of violence one way or another in its run.
Gun Gibson felt like a tribute to Mel Gibson. He was a former villain who went from being a Gang Guard Janperson rival to becoming Janperson's sidekick in the middle of the season. Gun Gibson was one awesome sidekick with a dumb bullet and smart bullet. One way or another, he was a cool sidekick thus giving evil forces more reasons to fear Janperson.
So far the show itself becomes more memorable than the Robocop TV series in terms of execution. I hope there will be more Janperson subs or better yet, a legitimate Janperson English subs DVD.