Today’s selection: Skull Soldier (1992, dir. Masaki Kyomoto)
Subgenre: Henshin Hero
Available from: fansub-only
Skull Soldier is pretty much a live-action version of Shotaro Ishinomori’s manga The Skull Man, or is at least a lot more faithful to it than the official live-action Skull Man was. Tatsuya (not to be confused with Skull Man‘s Tatsuo) is a dude wants revenge for the death of his family, so he puts on a skull helmet and goes around killing corrupt bigwigs. He even has a henchman named Gaja (the henchman in the manga was “Garo”), who’s got a nose and chin that look like they came out of an Ishimori manga.
The movie is okay, but could probably stand to be a bit shorter, cutting out silly comic relief bits. The effects are decent, the action is okay, the main villain is colorful (one thing the original Skull Man manga lacked), and the titular antihero’s costume (a Keita Amemiya design) is one of the big selling points.
I couldn’t find any trailer or clips online, so enjoy a handful of screencaps from the hi no tori fansub: