Tokusatsu (特撮) is a Japanese term that applies to any live-action film or television drama that features considerable use of special effects (tokusatsu literally translates as "special filming" in Japanese).

Tokusatsu entertainment often deals with science fiction, fantasy or horror, but movies and television shows in other genres can sometimes count as tokusatsu as well. The most popular types of tokusatsu include kaiju monster movies like the Godzilla and Gamera film series; superhero TV serials such as the Kamen Rider and Metal Hero series; and mecha dramas like Giant Robo. Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres, for example the Ultraman and Super Sentai series. Tokusatsu is one of the most popular forms of Japanese entertainment, but most tokusatsu movies and television programs are not widely known outside Asia.

Tokusatsu had two major periods, dubbed the "Monster Boom" and the "Henshin Boom". The Monster Boom was started by Godzilla and famously saw the rise of many daikaiju pictures in the film industry. Henshin Boom was started by KamenRider, and it greatly influenced how action heroes worked and its effects can still be seen today in the superhero and action-adventure genre.

Suitmation (スーツメーション Sūtsumēshon?) is a term originally used in Japan for a tokusatsu technique to portray a daikaiju (giant monster) using a suit actor in a monster suit, often moving through scale model scenery to give the impression of large size, as well as filming them at a higher framerate, to make them appear slower.

The term can be used when puppet does not apply, since the puppet is being worn by an actor, and when costume does not apply, since the costume is also being controlled by a puppeteer.

The technique was initially developed by Eiji Tsuburaya for use in Godzilla films and then used for his Ultra Series productions.

The following are considered suitmation: the creature costumes of some B-movies, notably An American Werewolf in London, and the American television satire Dinosaurs; the full-body costumes of Jim Henson's Creature Shop, in particular the pre-Creature Shop creations of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth; and also other creations of his such as Big Bird and Sweetums.

The 2009 film Where the Wild Things Are uses a suitmation technique combined with computer-generated imagery to depict the Wild Things.

Toku series and franchises include:A suit actor (スーツアクター sūtsu akutā?) is a member of, usually, a Japanese tokusatsu production who works similar to a stunt performer. However, the suit actor does all of his or her stunts while in a full costume that normally obscures their identity from the viewer (typically the transformed character) and performs pantomime, as an actor's voice will generally be dubbed during after-recording process (アフレコ afureko?).

* ''7-Color Mask''
* ''Film/AikokuSentaiDaiNippon'' - A parody of Super Sentai.
* ''Akumaizer 3'' and its sequel series ''Choujin Bibyun'' are about demons trying to save the world from other demons.
* ''Series/AmbassadorMagma'' - The first color toku.
* ''Series/ArmorHero''
* ''Series/TheAquabatsSuperShow'' - Not quite in this genre, but takes a lot from it, mixed with the campy asthetics of old SidAndMartyKrofftProductions shows.
* ''Series/BioPlanetWoO''
* ''Series/BIMASatriaGaruda'' - An Indonesian toku produced by MNC Group, RCTI, and Ishinomori Productions. The title translates to ''BIMA the Garuda Knight''.
** ''Bima X'', the sequel, which stared airing September 2014.
* ''Series/BishoujoKamenPoitrine'', the most recognized show in the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series.
* ''Captain Ultra''
* ''Manga/ChoujinBarom1'' - One of Toei's most fafmous manga-to-live-action adaptations!
* ''Choukou Senshi Changerion''
* ''Series/ChouSeiShinSeries'' - Done by Creator/{{Toho}}, who made the original ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' movies.
* ''Series/DaimajinKanon''
* ''Daitetsujin-17'' - Shotaro Ishinomori and Toei's own take on a ''Manga/GiantRobo''-type series.
* ''Demon Hunter Mitsurugi'' - an early-70s [[/index]]JidaiGeki series, about a trio of {{Ninja}}s who fight of alien invaders by [[FusionDance fusing]] into a giant warrior. Notable for using StopMotion puppetry to create its {{Kaiju}}, rather than the standard PeopleInRubberSuits.[[index]]
* ''Series/DenAce'' - A series of shorts parodying Series/{{Ultraman}}
* ''Series/DenjinZaboga''
* ''Series/DenkouChoujinGridman'' - Adapted in America as ''Series/SuperhumanSamuraiSyberSquad'', featuring TimCurry as the voice of the BigBad.
* ''Series/DennouKeisatsuCybercop'' - Toho's late-[[TheEighties 80s]] entry in the genre. Essentially a mix between ''Franchise/MetalHeroes'' and ''Franchise/SuperSentai''.
* ''Dinosaur Prince''
* ''Fire Leon''
* ''Series/{{Fireman}}'' - Possibly the first "Giant Hero" made for adults in 1973.
* ''WebVideo/FranceFive'' - A French homage to Super Sentai.
* ''Franchise/{{Gamera}}''
* ''Ganbaron''
* ''Series/{{GARO}}'' - A comparatively darker take on the genre.
** ''Series/GAROTheOneWhoShinesInTheDarkness''
** ''Series/ZEROBlackBlood''
* ''Manga/GiantRobo'' (a.k.a. ''Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot'')
* ''Series/GiantSaver'' - China's answer to SuperSentai
* ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}''
** ''Godzilla 2000''
** ''Film/{{Mothra}}'' - A franchise that mostly overlaps with the Godzilla series, though has its solo films.
* ''Series/HikoninSentaiAkibaranger'' - A Fanchise/SuperSentai-parody series made by [[Creator/ToeiCompany Toei]].
* ''Ike! Godman'' and its sequel series ''Ike! Greenman'' were two of the first Giant Hero series that wasn't [[Franchise/UltraSeries Ultraman]].
* ''Iron King''
* ''Jumborg Ace''
* ''Jushen Zhan Ji Dui'' - A Chinese Sentai-esque series choreographed by Sentai veterans
* ''The Kagestar''
* ''Wrestling/KaijuBigBattel'' - An American AffectionateParody of this [[XMeetsY combined with]] ProfessionalWrestling.
* ''Series/KaiketsuZubat'' - Take a SuperHero toku show, [[MixAndMatch stir in a helping of]] NewOldWest, and then cast Creator/HiroshiMiyauchi, [[HeyItsThatGuy a veteran actor who already had multiple leading roles in toku]] as the title character.
* ''Series/KaiketsuLionMaru'' - '70s SuperHero toku show about a man in feudal Japan who can turn into a swordsman with lion head. No links with Zubat despite the title. Spawned the immediate sequel ''Fuun Lion Maru''.
** ''Series/LionMaruG'' - over 30 years after the last Lion Maru comes this GenreThrowback from the makers of ''Garo''.
* ''Manga/KamenNoNinjaAkakage''
* ''Franchise/KamenRider''
* ''Kankyou Choujin Ecogainder'' - A series by Japan's Ministry of the Environment to teach kids [[/index]]{{Green Aesop}}s.[[index]]
* ''Series/KanpaiSenshiAfterV'' - A show which parodies ''Super Sentai'' in a similar vein as ''Akibaranger'', though not produced by Toei. Focuses on the heroes' late nights out rather than their battles with evil, thus action scenes are confined to the opening credits.
* ''Kodai Shoujo Dogu-chan'', a.k.a. ''The Ancient Dogoo Girl''
* ''Series/KtaiInvestigator7'' - Officially counted as a toku show by its creators, but is more half-toku/half-drama.
* ''Kure Kure Takora''
* ''Kyodai Ken Byclosser''
* ''Series/LightspeedEsper''
* ''Series/MadanSenkiRyukendo''
* ''Film/{{Matango}}''
* ''Franchise/MetalHeroes''
** And by extension, its Philippine spin-off ''Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan'', which was not really positively liked by fans. (In fact the ''Shaider Next Generation'' DTV doesn't make the said spinoff canon)
* ''Series/MightyJack''
* ''WebVideo/MightyMoshinEmoRangers'' - A UK-made ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' parody.
* ''Series/{{Mirrorman}}''
* ''Series/MoonlightMask'' - The very first Toku show from 1958!
* ''Series/TheMysticKnightsOfTirNaNog'' - This show was notable for being an attempt by Saban to introduce American-original tokusatsu to television. Of course, it was also produced to feed off the success of ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and ''Series/{{Beetleborgs}}''.
* ''National Kid'' - One of Toei's earlier series.
* ''Series/NinjaCaptor'' - a Sentai-esqe series that was apparently once classed as part of the ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' franchise.
* ''Series/NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation'' - A live-action show made by Saban based on the Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' - An American-produced, original tokusatsu movie made by Creator/GuillermoDelToro.
* ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon'' - Notable for being a LiveActionAdaptation of [[Franchise/SailorMoon an already immensely popular manga/anime.]]
* ''Film/{{Pulgasari}}'' - Despite being a North Korean propaganda film, the involvement of Toho's special effects team (most notably ''Godzilla'' suit actor Ken Satsuma) and its plot involving a {{Kaiju}} still warrants its mention here.
* ''Film/RoboGeisha''
* ''Series/RobotDetective'' - Take a police drama, throw in Creator/IsaacAsimov-style robotics and you've got this series.
* ''Sasuraido'' - A series about a sword that can grant powers to certain people, but misfortune to others.
* ''Series/SeiunKamenMachineman'' - Created by Shotaro Ishinomori, aired in 1984. Mostly [[XMeetsY Zorro meets Superman.]]
* ''Series/SevenStarFightingGodGuyferd'' - A fighting series made by Toho and Capcom taking inspirations from many different sources, including {{Guyver}}, Franchise/KamenRider, and StreetFighter.
* ''Series/ShougekiGouraigan'', from the creator of ''Series/{{Garo}}''.
* ''Series/SilverKamen''
* ''Series/SpaceIronmenKyodain''
* ''Series/{{Spectreman}}''
* ''Series/SpiderManJapan'' - Notable for being the spiritual predecessor to ''Super Sentai''[='=]s HumongousMecha elements.
* ''Series/SportRanger'' - A Thai production created in the same vein as SuperSentai.
* ''Series/StarFleet'' - An example of when the Japanese attempt to imitate {{Supermarionation}} techniques
* ''Series/StarKid'' - Taking a lot of inspiration from {{Guyver}} and {{Kikaider}}, this 1997 film is a rare, non-Saban original American take on the genre. Fortunately, it has since been VindicatedByCable after it flopped at the box office.
* ''Super Giant'' - Known as ''Starman'' and ''Spaceman'' in the west.
* ''Film/TheSuperInframan'' - while Chinese rather than Japanese, it's an obvious effort by the Shaw Bros. to cash in on ''Ultraman'''s success.
* ''Series/SuperRobotRedBaron'' - An early-[[TheSeventies 70s]] example of {{Mecha}} in toku, intentionally done in the style of Anime/MazingerZ. Its popularity later resulted in a few successor series and a 90s anime revival.
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai''
* ''Series/TattooedTeenageAlienFightersFromBeverlyHills'' - One of the first original non-Japanese tokusatsu... very cheesy though...
* ''Series/TekkoukiMikazuki''
* ''Franchise/ToeiFushigiComedySeries''
* ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueForce'' and ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueFire'' have more of a {{rescue}} slant to them than a "fight the bad guys, save the world" one, but they're both toku series nonetheless.
* ''Franchise/UltraSeries''
* ''Series/WarriorOfLoveRainbowman''- Toho's first henshin hero and an EnhancedRemake of ''7-Color Mask'' from 1959. It was remade into a giant robot anime in 1982.
* ''Series/{{Voicelugger}}'' - A Sentai series. The last production by Shotaro Ishinomori, godfather of ''SuperSentai'', released posthumously.
* ''Yusei Oji'' - Known as ''Prince of Space'' in the west.

''Franchise/SuperSentai'', ''Franchise/MetalHeroes'' and ''Franchise/KamenRider'' franchises on this list were adapted, with varying degrees of success, by Creator/SabanEntertainment to produce the U.S. series ''PowerRangers'', ''Series/VRTroopers'', ''BigBadBeetleborgs'' and ''MaskedRider''. ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' was later adapted into ''Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight''. As for the original Japanese shows, [[NoExportForYou good luck finding official releases outside of Asia....]]

TokusatsuTropes have their own page.

Names To Know In Tokusatsu:
* Creator/HiroshiFujioka
* Creator/HiroshiMiyauchi
* Creator/MachikoSoga
* Creator/KenjiOhba
* Creator/ShotaroIshinomori
* Creator/TetsuoKurata
* EijiTsuburaya
* Creator/NaoNagasawa

Major Companies producing Tokusatsu:
* {{Toho}} (Franchise/{{Godzilla}},{{Mothra}})
* TsuburayaProductions ([[Franchise/UltraSeries Ultraman]])
* ToeiCompany (Franchise/KamenRider, Franchise/SuperSentai)