It is common knowledge that Power Rangers, the show that many of us grew up watching, is based off of the Japanese Super Sentai series. But did you know that the creator of the Super Sentai series and the prominent Kamen Rider series was, in fact, a mangaka?
Shotaro Ishinomori-sensei was an influential figure in not only manga and anime but also tokusatsu, the “Japanese term that applies to any live-action film or television drama that usually features superheroes and makes considerable use of special effects.”
Ishinomori-sensei has been awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award twice, first in 1968 for Sabu to Ichi Torimono Hikae, then twenty years later in 1988 for Hotel and Manga Nihon Keizai Nyumon. All installments of the Kamen Rider Series credit Ishinomori-sensei as the creator, even posthumously. Also awarded to him posthumously is the Guinness World Record for the most comics published by one author.
An early work in Ishinomori-sensei’s career, Cyborg 009, with its nine cybernetic heroes, made history as the first superhero team in Japan. Airing between 1975 and 1977, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, created by sensei is a landmark work as the first of the Super Sentai series. Interestingly enough, the title given to the series for international distribution is the Five Rangers. Sound familiar?
The majority of Ishinomori-sensei’s works follow the story of heroes, as such most of his works are action and adventure based. Although aimed to boys, none of manga sensei made has anything that will isolate a female audience, unlike many modern seinen and shonen manga. I read an opinion that sensei’s art is heavily influenced by his sensei, Osamu Tezuka. I disagree, although I see the resemblance in the face, the body structure is completely different.
Interesting Fact: Ishinomori-sensei drew a manga adaptation to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which can be read here.
Shotaro Ishinomori-sensei’s most notable work(s)*:
“The story took place in a world plagued by Shocker, a mysterious terrorist organization. To assist its plan in world domination, Shocker recruited its agents through kidnapping, turning them into mutant cyborgs and, ultimately, brainwashing them. However, one of the victims was rescued just before the final step, and his name was Takeshi Hongo. With his sanity and moral conscience remaining intact, Hongo assumed the identity of the grasshopper-looking altered human (改造人間, kaizō ningen?) superhero Kamen Rider and battled Shocker with his newly acquired powers. ” -Mangaupdates.com
Genre(s): Action Adventure Horror Sci-fi Shounen Tragedy
*Note: I only showcased manga of the mangaka that has been translated to English.