Photo/IllutrationGatchaman from “Infini-T Force” (c) Tatsunoko Production/Infini-T Force Production Committee

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Dusted off and brought into the modern day, fan-favorite anime characters from the Showa Era (1926-1989) are making their comebacks in nostalgic TV shows that are currently being aired.

One of the new shows sees superheroes from different universes form an “Avengers”-like team in an attempt to save the world. In another, a villainous trio get their long-cherished dream fulfilled by starring in their own show, while in a third, three monsters find themselves lurking in an adult entertainment town.

Although the new shows feature familiar faces from the Showa Era, they are spiced with modern touches to appeal to young and old fans alike.

Currently running on Nippon Television Network Corp. (NTV) and its affiliated stations, “Infini-T Force” celebrates the 55th anniversary of anime studio Tatsunoko Production Co. It brings together the protagonists from its four superhero anime series from the 1970s: “Gatchaman,” “Casshan,” “Tekkaman, The Space Knight” and “Hurricane Polimar.” They team to fight their common enemy in modern-day Tokyo.

With a potential entry into foreign markets in mind, the studio decided to break from traditional hand-drawn animation and go for full CG. The costume designs are refined with modern touches while efforts are being made to show speedy action sequences.

A feature film adaptation is scheduled to hit cinemas in February next year.

The plot features the four superheroes blown away from their own universes by a mysterious force into modern-day Japan.

They end up in living in the home of high school girl Emi, who is thrown into the middle of the world’s crisis. However, the heroes are often depicted comically to elicit laughs. For instance, Ken, whose alter ego is super ninja Gatchaman, is reminiscent of a typical middle-aged man from the Showa Era who is baffled by smartphones and an induction cooking system.

“I want to make it a spectacular drama showing relationships between adults who have experienced hard battles and farewells,” said director Kiyotaka Suzuki.

“Time Bokan: The Villains’ Strike Back,” which is currently airing on NTV and its affiliated networks, is the latest installment of Tatsunoko’s signature comedy anime series. A trio of villains whose evil plots have always been thwarted since the series started in 1975 finally have their dreams come true and land the leading roles as the title suggests.

Bimajo, Tsubuyakky and Suzukky are ordered by their mysterious boss Oyadarma to retrieve a secret treasure, “dinamond,” supposedly held by a historical figure from a distant past. But their archenemies, Space-Time Administrative Bureau’s Tokio and Calen, get in their way.

“They work hard even though their unreasonable boss makes impossible demands, but are severely reprimanded when they fail,” said Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. producer Koji Nagai. “Adults develop a sense of empathy for the pathos of salaried workers, while children are delighted with the heroes saving the day. This ‘mannerism’ remains unwavering even after more than 40 years.”

Tsubuyakky’s tweets sent during the show are also posted on Twitter in real time.

Produced as the first of a series of projects to celebrate next year’s 50th anniversary of the “Yokai Ningen Bem” (“Humanoid Monster Bem”), short anime series “Oretacha Yokai Ningen/ We Are Humanoid Monster” is broadcast by Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp. and Nippon BS Broadcasting Corp.

The original 1968 anime series is about “yokai” monsters Bem, Bera and Bero who have a heart of justice and fight to save humans even though they are often discriminated against for their hideous looks.

The two-minute short series is accompanied by a re-run of the original anime series. Set in Kamaracho, which is obviously modeled after Tokyo’s Kabukicho adult entertainment district, the comedy show is full of antics such as Bem becoming the top host at a “host club,” where female guests pay for male companionship.

Leading advertising agency Asatsu-DK Inc., which is producing the series, said it is preparing more projects for next year.