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Series / Kaiketsu Zubat

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"Here with a "zubat"! Solving problems with a "zubat"! People call me the wandering hero... Kaiketsu(Extraordinary/Swift Hero) Zubat!"
Ken Hayakawa/Zubat

Kaiketsu Zubat is a 1977 Toku series created by Shotaro Ishinomori. It follows the tale of detective Ken Hayakawa, whose friend Gorou Asuka was murdered by the evil organization Dakker. To avenge him, Ken dons the mighty Zubasuit to become Zubat.note  Our hero roams the countryside, like a good ol' western gunslinger, to find Dakker criminals wherever they're terrorizing the innocent.

Not to be confused with that Goddamn Pokémon, or Kaiketsu Zorori for that matter.

This work features examples of:

  • The Ace: Ken codifies the hell out of this trope. He is #1 in Japan, after all.
  • Always Someone Better: Inverted in every episode. The various hired guns will think they're the best at their specialty. Unfortunately, Ken's still better than them. Every damn time, at any damn skill. You aren't the best lethal thrower of plates in Japan - he is.
  • Bad Boss: Boss L doesn't take kindly to anything delaying his organization's criminal operations, so he often threatens to kill his subordinates if they are doing poorly, as motivation.
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: Episode 16. The first time, it's invoked when the weapon is thrown to Ken as he enters the room, and he catches it before seeing the body. The second time, though, he picks the weapon up himself (though the victim in this case isn't killed).
  • Bound and Gagged: Every other episode or so someone gets tied up, sometimes gagged too. Most of them are women too.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The Zubat Suit has big Z's on the helmet, the chest, and the belt.
  • Calling Card: Zubat always leaves a distinctive card on his defeated foe for the police to find, explaining the particular crime they've committed (ie: "This man is an arsonist", or "This man is a murderer").
  • Celebrity Paradox: Either this, or Shared Universe. One episode’s Villain of the Week brags that he’s stronger than Kamen Rider, though it’s unclear if he’s referring to a tv character or a famous superhero.
  • Creator Cameo: Shotaro Ishinomori shows up in an episode. Oddly though not as himself persay, but as a baseball player with his name.
  • Cool Car: Ken's Zubacar.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Garaba in episode 30 is revealed to be a man dressed as an old woman during his fight with Zubat. It would be a way to get around Wouldn't Hit a Girl... except Ken's shown no issues fighting women in the past, and even threw Garaba around pretty roughly before the disguise was revealed.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Once Zubat finally confronts the crime boss of the week, he doesn't give the enemy much chance to fight back, instead just giving him a beating and throwing him around with his whip while demanding to know if he killed Asuka. The "good" fight is with The Dragon with the special skill.
  • Death by Origin Story: Asuka Gorou.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Used as an "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase.
  • Gratuitous English: Episode 3's hired gun, Killer Joe seemed to be a fan of this.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ken was able to Shoot the Bullet with every shot that the enemy in episode one fired. Made even more improbable by the fact that instead of facing each other, they were standing side by side!
  • Henshin Hero: Oddly enough, it seems that the suit has to be manually put on, and yet there are several instances in which Ken manages to change into Zubat while falling from a cliff or in some other situation where putting the suit on would be difficult. He can even do it when he isn't carrying his guitar, in which he usually carries the suit. Even if one assumes that he sometimes wears the suit under his other clothes, the helmet is what actually activates the powers, and there's no way he can hide that! His clothes-changing skills must be #1 in Japan too.
  • Hour of Power: The Zubat suit can only work for five minutes, after which it goes BOOM.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: In episode 8, Zubat fights against a seemingly blind swordsman who always wears a blindfold. After Zubat cuts off the blindfold, the swordsman reveals that he can see fine, and was about to take the blindfold off himself.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Ken would call out the villain, saying their skill was "no. 2 in Japan"; when they asked who was first, he'd wag a finger, lift up his hat, and point to himself with a grin. Later, as Zubat, he'd deliver the page quote.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: The hired guns tend to use their skills not just to show off, but also to fight.
  • Monster of the Week: Or in this case, mobsters of the week, usually a crime boss and a hired goon who happens to specialize in a particular skill.
  • New Old West: Despite taking place in 1970s Japan, with then-modern technology clearly present, especially in the early episodes the characters all dress and talk as if they were in The Wild West.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Ken is essentially a cowboy scientist detective superhero.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ken tends to dish this out to the mobster of the week.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Even when the phrase isn't actually said, these sorts of situations are usually the prime opportunities for Ken to become Zubat.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the last episode, Zubat manages to defeat three assassins whose armor is ten times stronger than his own, and the leader of Dakker who might also have the same amount of power. But we don't get to see how he does it- we see them fighting and then cut to the other characters discovering the aftermath.
  • Rasputinian Death: Asuka. He's in a bus when it explodes then when that doesn't kill him, he gets shot twelve times and still lives long enough to swear vengeance.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ken's crusade against Dakker searching for Asuka's killer counts.
  • Say My Name/Big Word Shout: "ASUKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Ken Hayakawa is this trope like no one else. In order to get anything even close to the drop on him, the Dakker goons have to severely outnumber him, carry guns, and take hostages - and even then, the fight's even only until he puts on the Zubasuit.
  • Strictly Formula: The formula goes like this: Some bad guys are threatening someone innocent; Ken shows up and takes them out, then is challenged by the villains' hired goon, leading to the "#2 in Japan" line; Ken outdoes the goon in said challenge; Ken talks to the person who was threatened, and finds out what the villains are planning; Ken investigates the villains, usually getting captured in the process but also discovering the leader of the villain group; Ken escapes from the villains and returns as Zubat; Zubat fights some grunts, then the hired goon; Zubat beats up the crime boss, finds out that they didn't kill Asuka, then finishes them with a Zubat Attack and leaves his Calling Card, which is found by Tojo; Ken heads off to further adventures, usually leaving someone he helped out calling his name after him.
  • Super Prototype: The space suit boosts up Ken's already impressive physical abilities, but it's incomplete and defective, hence the five-minute limit.
  • The Syndicate: Dakker.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: When Ken confronts the villain of the week, he outlines their (usually monstrous) crimes before declaring this.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Every enemy he fights against in every episode.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: While beating each latest crime boss, Ken would ask if they are Asuka Gorou's killer, only for them to confess that they didn't do it.