Follow TV Tropes


Series / Moonlight Mask

Go To
Moonlight Mask (translated from Gekko Kamen) was Japan's first tokusatsu Spy Fiction Cop Show series from 1958note . It was very popular with kids, but was cancelled due to a kid dying trying to imitate the titular character's stunts. It was later adapted into an anime in the 70s (aka El Capitán Centella in its Latino Spanish dub version, which aired in the U.S. on Univision) and again in the 90s.

The original tokusatsu series was followed by Spiritual Successors, Seven Color Mask and Messenger of Allah.

Definitely not to be confused with Kekko Kamen (although the latter was named in parody of the former).

This series provides examples of:

  • Arc Villain: The show goes through a few, the first and most prolific being Skull Mask, followed by Satan's Clawnote . Assassin X then serves in this capacity for the Mammoth Kong arc, using the beast as a weapon. He is followed by the Ghost Party, and then another Skull Mask.
  • Automobile Opening: Most of the opening has Moonlight Mask riding on his bike much like a proto-Kamen Rider.
  • Badass Normal: No superpowers for this hero. He's a normal human Hardboiled Detective.
  • Badass Biker: Moonlight Mask rides a custom Honda bike everywhere.
  • Bad Boss: Skull Mask kills one of his own henchmen to prevent Moonlight Mask gaining information from them. (#3)
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Assassin X and his gang revive Mammoth Kong only to force the beast to do their bidding.
  • Big Storm Episode: The Mammoth Kong opener (#94), which sees storms hit Japan as well as the ship transporting Mammoth Kong in the vicinity, leading to the beast falling into the hands of criminals.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Guess what letter Assassin X and his henchmen wear.
  • Character Signature Song: Moonlight Mask has his own which he is heard singing at the start of the Opening Credits just before the Theme Tune itself kicks in. #3 has him sing it to disperse a pack of mooks as they go looking for him, allowing him to capture one of them.
  • Chest Insignia: Both Assassin X and his henchmen wear the letter on their chests.
  • Children Are Innocent: In response to the announcement that Mammoth Kong will be killed before he can be potentially broken from containment at sea, there is an outpouring of children pleading that his life be spared in spite of the risk he poses.
  • Cliffhanger: Common for this show being a serial drama.
  • Co-Dragons: Assassin X has Sanji, his main henchman, and the Doctor, responsible for reviving Mammoth Kong.
  • Cop Show: The main characters are of people working in police departments, including the titular hero of course.
  • Cult: Moonlight Mask fights one in the Mammoth Kong story arc.
  • David vs. Goliath: Yes, Moonlight Mask, armed with a pair of pistols, does end up going up against Mammoth Kong. For context, Mammoth Kong is large enough that Moonlight Mask can sit atop his head.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: To the tokusatsu series that would follow:
    • The earlier installments of Moonlight Mask itself were just short of 7 minutes long. Later episodes ran for about 26, just a bit longer than typical toku shows.
    • That the hero is a Badass Normal who does not transform.
  • Evil Wears Black: Most of Moonlight Mask's enemies, most notably Skull Mask.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Who is Moonlight Mask?"note 
  • Expy: Mammoth Kong to King Kong, a giant ape who is as sympathetic as he is fearsome. The Latin American Spanish dub of the animated adaptation made that link further, as his name was changed to Rey Kong, literally, King Kong.
  • The Film of the Series: As it was broadcast on television, the series arcs were adapted into theatrical films.
  • Film Serial: The films contemporary to the TV series were released as this, with the Skull Mask arc divided into the first two movies.
  • Good Wears White: Moonlight Mask is distinguished by his mostly white suit.
  • Guns Akimbo: Moonlight Mask's stance.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Juro Iwai, who runs the Iwai Detective Agency.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: #3 has the police finding Moonlight Mask with the body of one of Skull Mask's slain henchmen, falsely concluding that he is a murderer.
  • Kaiju: Mammoth Kong, who was the first TV Kaiju.
  • Left Hanging: While we know that Inspector Iwai is Moonlight Mask, the only thing that we don't about him is his reasons to becoming a super hero. He just appears and disappears when the need arises.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Assassin X uses electricity to revive the dead body of Mammoth Kong by kick-starting his brain, then to compel the beast to do his bidding.
  • Mooks: Perhaps the first ever in tokusatsu, the Arc Villains have their own henchmen dressed in black.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Mammoth Kong is not evil, but is nonetheless dangerous especially after being taken out of his natural habitat and compelled by Assassin X.
  • Previously onů: This being a serial, there are recaps from time to time. #3 for one, repeats the shocking moment which ended the previous episode, albeit using a different take. Things may have gotten a bit out of hand when the episodes get longer; the last three-odd minutes of #95 are repeated as the opening of the next episode.
  • Secret Identity: Juro Iwai is Moonlight Mask.
  • Story Arc: Moonlight Mask ran for five arcs.
    • Skull Masknote  (1-72, 72 episodes)
    • ''The Secret of the Paradai Kingdomnote  (73-93, 21 episodes)
    • Mammoth Kong (94-104, 11 episodes)
    • The Ghost Party Strikes Backnote  (105-117, 13 episodes)
    • Don't Turn Your Hand to Revengenote  (118-131, 14 episodes)
  • Superhero Packing Heat: The Trope Maker.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Moonlight Mask's mantra: Do Not Hate. Do Not Kill. (the crime)Let's prevent it. Though he has no problem killing Mooks.
  • Television Serial