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Film / Prince of Space

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Your guns? Not gonna work on Prince of Space.

A group of chicken-beak-nosed space men from the planet Krankor who refuse to wear underwear underneath their suits are led by their leader, Phantom, to invade Earth. But a superhero named Prince of Space (actually a bootblack in disguise) arrives to defeat the spacemen. His superpowers include a magical laser-proof grill lighter, reasonable skipping ability, and the knack for saying some variant of, "Your weapons are useless against me!", which is apparently quite accurate, although he dodges their laser blasts anyway, just to be safe. Although the weapons of the aliens are indeed useless against the Prince of Space, the Phantom continues to fight, and many plot twists (including capturing a group of elderly scientists) ensue.

Prince of Space was edited from two movies based on the 1958 tokusatsu series Yusei Oji — "Planet Prince" and "Planet Prince: The Terrifying Spaceship" — which may explain why the plot is a bit wonky. (Toei Company, who adapted the films from the original series, made several changes, such as a new costume for the main character.) The original TV series was a follow up to the extremely popular Moonlight Mask superhero series, though it also borrowed liberally from the Super Giant film serials of the time. The television series even had the main character wearing a costume identical to Super Giant. The Prince of Space character is somewhat iconic in his home country. The two films actually retell a story arc from the television series featuring the Phantom of Krankor.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Prince of Space contains examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Despite the Prince repeatedly saying that the Krakorians weapons are useless against him (and proving it's true), they just keep shooting at him. Even accounting for the Dub-Induced Plot Hole (they aren't useless because he can No-Sell them, but because he's so good at dodging them,) you'd think they'd at least try something different eventually.
  • Alien Invasion: Subverted. The Phantom of Krankor actually came to Earth to steal the things he needs in order to properly invade the Earth.
  • Aliens Never Invented the Wheel: The Krankor invaders have interplanetary spaceflight, but their fuel technology is far behind Earth's, hence why they're here to steal our secrets.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: Botched. The Prince of Space and Krankor both have them, but since they barely go down to the waist, they end up looking more like old-lady shawls.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Guardian, which looks rather like a giant Ferengi made forty years early. Its ears are big.
  • Bat Signal: Prince of Space gives Johnny and Mickey a dial that will call him when it's turned. The boys opt to use it later on at the laboratory "just in case" and are quickly proven right when the Phantom and his men show up.
  • Benevolent Boss: For everything he does, the Phantom is actually very good to his own people, and when he promises to lead Earth into an era of peace and prosperity if they surrender you can actually believe it. Of course, if you don't surrender to him...
    Phantom of Krankor: Give everyone four hours off!
  • Big Bad: Phantom of Krankor.
  • Broken Record: Every single fight has the Prince saying some variant of "Your weapons are useless against me."
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Prince of Space is probably the oldest Japanese variant of this.
  • Catchphrase: "Your weapons are useless against me!"
  • Clark Kenting:
    • Wally actually does wear a mask in his Prince of Space identity, but he's still woefully inept at keeping it cool and allaying suspicions. "Wait, how did Prince of Space get in here and—" "NEVER MIND THAT! GO!"
    • The aliens themselves, on Earth, disguise themselves with big goggle glasses (to hide their alien eye-shadow) and mouth filters (to hide their chicken-noses).
  • Compilation Movie: The U.S. version of the film was cobbled together from two films covering the same material, leading to an even more incoherent plot.
  • Cool Ship: The Prince's and the Phantom's.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Phantom says this when he takes control of Earth's televisions.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In Japan, their weapons weren't useless against the Prince of Space, which is why he dodges so much.
  • Dub Name Change: Everybody. Planet Krankor is also called Ginsei, or Silver Star/Planet.
  • Dull Surprise: The kids (and adults) in the American version are at about the level you'd expect from a '60s TV dub, but the child actor dubbing Mickey takes it to a whole new level — every one of his lines is delivered so flatly and loudly that he comes off as a belligerent, snide tough guy. His slight Joisey accent coming through doesn't help.
    Mickey: What's wrong with bootblacking? We like it very much!
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: One guy in spandex with no super powers scares off the entire invasion force.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: The alien death ray leaves behind hats, helmets, and guns, but not uniforms.
  • Evil Laugh: Phantom has a pretty good one. "Hengh! Hengh! Hengh! Heeeengh!"
  • Expy: Prince of Space is a character created in the wake of the success of Super Giant.
  • Going Commando: Underwear still wasn't de rigeur in Japan at the time the film was made, so the actors playing the Phantom and his minions apparently didn't bother. Unfortunately, that combines in a most upsetting way with their form-fitting leggings.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: The Phantom has an obviously evil mustache while the Prince is extremely clean shaven.
  • Hand Cannon/BFG: The closest thing Phantom does to learning from past encounters with Prince of Space is to get a bigger, three-barreled gun. Guess how well it works.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Prince claims this numerous times, but he still constantly dodges and runs away from them anyway. See Dub-Induced Plot Hole above; it's supposed to be that he's so good at dodging and/or deflecting energy rays that they're useless against him rather than pure immunity.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: After the Phantom reveals his automated defense system the Prince dodges the dozen plus guns by doing absolutely nothing.
  • Kick the Dog: The Phantom murdering Macken's chauffeur is his most gratuitously evil action.
  • Large Ham: Phantom, which is one of the movie's redeeming features.
    Phantom of Krankor: "I've got you now, ya SCUM!"
  • Laughably Evil: Phantom of Krankor.
  • The Load: The scientists really do basically nothing throughout the movie except get captured, forcing Prince of Space to save them.
  • Localized Name in a Non-Localized Setting: For some reason the dubbers decided to pretend the movie is set in North America someplace, with town names like "Beaver Falls" and everyone having English names.
  • Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: Only in the dubbed version, however.
  • MacGuffin: The rocket fuel the scientists recently designed, which is said to be the reason Phantom came to Earth. Although his ships are advanced, if he had a comparable fuel he could send 100 ships to Earth instead of one.
  • Made of Explodium: A ridiculous number of things explode easily in this film.
  • Magic Pants: The disintegration rays of the Krankor aliens instantly cause humans to vanish, but for some reason leave their hats and guns intact. There's not even a token pile of dust!
  • Mask Power: The Prince himself.
  • Parrot Exposition: Apparently being a brilliant scientist requires constantly asking your captors to repeat themselves ad nauseum. There's a reason the trope name used to be "Prince of Space, sir!"
  • Playing with Fire: The Guardian has fiery breath.
  • Plot Hole:
    • If The Phantom Of Krankor could observe the humans from space, and peek into anywhere in the world, why didn't he just observe the creation of the formula and take notes? Of course, this blatant lapse in logic vanishes upon the realization that Phantom is a total clod.
    • The villain travels through space to the planet Earth, so that he can steal a formula for rocket fuel that will allow him through space. This is even hand-waved in the film itself, by a group of journalists who ask the head scientist why such an advanced race needs Earth technology. The scientist's explanation — their fuel technology lags behind ours — is wholly unconvincing. How could they master space flight with inferior fuel technology to 1950s earth? Then again, seeing as how they made four round-trips to earth throughout the film, maybe they are just not very fuel-efficient.
    • How did Wally zip ahead into the apartment to leave that note warning the kids to run?
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: In this case, it's aliens with rubber chicken noses.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The Phantom claims that the planet Krankor is "half a million Earth miles from Earth". To put it in perspective, our moon is just under a quarter of a million miles away. A half a million miles wouldn't put them out of our solar system... it wouldn't even get them halfway to Mars! Although Krankor being quite close to Earth would close several plotholes...
  • Secret Identity: Wally the bootblack is actually Prince of Space.
  • Shoe Shine, Mister?: Prince of Space is a shoeshine boy.
  • Shooting Superman:
    • At one point even the Prince laments the stupidity of the villains constantly shooting at him when their guns won't work on him.
    • And Krankor always has one, and only one, backup plan for when the Prince declares (and demonstrates) his immunity to their guns. It's usually some version of, "Blast him!"
  • Space Clothes: For an advanced civilization that can make spaceships, not inventing underwear is a mysterious oversight.
  • Superhero: As superheroes go, at least he has powers and knows how to use them. Unlike a certain Puma-themed superhero.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Dr. Macken's "worthless" servant chauffeur was disposed of in this way when Phantom captured them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Prince of Space has stated numerous times that the aliens' weapons won't work on him. He's even proven it, by easily dodging and/or deflecting their ray gun shots. He's even managed to reflect their shots right back at them, killing or injuring numerous alien invaders with their own attacks. So, what do the aliens do about this? Why, keep trying to shoot him, of course! They do eventually try one other tactic against him: leading him through an Asteroid Thicket. When he survives their first response is "hey, let's try it again."
    Crow: (After the alien invaders have been destroyed.) And a proud, noble civilization dies out... sometimes. This loser civilization, however, will not be missed!
  • Unusual Ears: The giant man creature on the planet Krankor has enormous, Ferengi-like ears.
  • Villain Ball: The aliens. C'mon after being told repeatedly their weapons won't work. He still gets shot at.
  • Villainous Valor: While the quality and effectiveness of his leadership might be questionable at best, the Phantom Dictator of Krankor is not at all afraid to take to the field with his troops, putting himself at risk and combating the Prince of Space alongside his mooks.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Krankor threatens to dispose of the kidnapped scientists by putting them in individual space capsules and launching them into space. Instead of, you know, shooting them. Or throwing them into space without the capsules.
    • Maybe their weapons are useless against them too?