Denkō Chōjin Gridman
(電光超人グリッドマン, "Electric Superhuman Gridman") is a Japanese tokusatsu
"Giant Hero" series by Tsuburaya Productions, the producers of Ultraman
. The show ran from 1993 to 1994. It was adapted Power Rangers
-style by DiC Entertainment
into Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad
. This would be Tsuburaya's last non-Ultra superhero production until Bio Planet WoO
. Most of Gridman
's production crew would later worked on Ultraman Tiga
Shot on live video, Gridman
was the first Tsuburaya series to use D-2 digital video for its special effects scenes, allowing for smoother slow-motion photography. Tsuburaya, having switched to digital techniques since then, would continue to use D-2 for all future productions.
Denkō Chōjin Gridman provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adjective Noun Fred: The title.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Khan Digifer's goal is to Kill All Humans.
- Big Bad: Dark Lord Kahn Digifer
- Critical Annoyance: If the light on Gridman's head starts to blink, Gridman must finish the fight quickly or Naoto and Gridman will die in the Computer World.
- Expy: Gridman and God Zenon resemble Ultraman and Convoy (Optimus Prime) respectively. Given that the show was a co-production between Tsuburaya and Takara, this was not coincidental.
- Heel-Face Turn: Takeshi after being freed from Kahn Digifer's control. This would have continued in a possible sequel where he would have become the protagonist.
- Hour of Power: Like the Ultramen, Gridman has a three-minute time limit. For them it's Earth's conditions limiting how long they can stay powered; here the danger is that the Junk computer that Gridman and his helper programs reside in can only take so much.
- Humongous Mecha: God Zenon and Dyna Dragon, which were formed by combining different vehicles and could also transform into armor wore by Gridman.
- Everything Is Online: Done a lot better than its American counterpart, since only things that are reasonably online are, such as phone networks and hospital computers. Nothing like wind-up cooking timers that should have nothing electronic at all. However, affected items behaving as they literally can't such as flying through the air is the same or worse.
- Meaningful Name: Junk, since it's a computer made of, well, junk!
- Spiritual Successor: It's an Ultraman series in all but name. Many of its producers would go on to create Ultraman Tiga.
- Technology Marches On: Windows 95 and other 32-bit operating systems were barely in development by the time this came out (the general premise is similar to Mega Man Battle Network), and no-one could have predicted what the Internet looks like now. Needless to say, this show doesn't age well in hindsight.
- Transformation Trinket: The Axcepter
- Unintentional Period Piece: A consequence of being a technology-based series just when the net boom was barely beginning.