I’ll admit it – Shinesman is one of my “guilty pleasure” shows. It’s a title that I turn to at least three times a year and, unlike most shows, I refuse to watch it subbed.
Why Was it Passed Up?
Funny enough, it wasn’t. At least, not in its original run. The show was frequently cited as how a dub can go right. The show was a common feature at conventions and had a decent following around it. The general high quality of the series, combined with a concept that just begged to exist (more on that in the next section).
Shinesman consistently rated well with critics and fans alike. It’s only since the latter half of the decade that the show fell out of popularity with the greater subculture.
What is it?
Shinesman is a parody of the sentai genre of shows. You know, the guys in spandex suits that beat the living crap out of anyone that threatens truth, justice, and all of that good stuff. Basically, if you know Ultraman, Kamen Rider, or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, you know what Sentai is.
In a nutshell, aliens from the Planet Voice invade earth to take over. Only, unlike the typical “crush the humans!” aliens, these invaders have scruples. They plan to take over the world by forming a company big enough to rule the planet. To get the necessary power to grow, the invaders do what most smart companies did – they targeted the kids. To capture the hearts and minds of today’s, well, 1994’s youth, the aliens create Greatman – a super sentai show designed to entice kids, and make them spend tons of money on worthless crap.
The humans aren’t going to take such a free-market takeover sitting down, though. The Right Trading Company is building its own sentai team to fight back: The Special Combat Unit Shinesman. The company’s Human Resources director, Kyoko Sakakibara, is responsible for the team’s formation, and serves as the requisite fearelss behind-the-scenes leader character. Her team, though, leaves a bit to be desired. The Shinesman is made up of employees at the trading company, and sports “heroic” colors like red, gray, sepia, salmon pink, and moss green. In addition, they tend to prefer office-themed weaponry, including business card shurikens, cufflink beams, and tie clip bombs in their fight against the alien forces.
Why this show?
Shinesman is one of very few shows that I’ll outright praise the English Track on. The show’s dub, which was made at Coastal Carolina (You’re Under Arrest, Oh My goddess!) is both quotable and excellently acted. The dry, sarcastic delivery couples with an absurd script to breathe a lot of life into a short, silly OVA. One-liners like “Sheena, get in the glowing green square,” and “remember kids: gray – is good!” are peppered through the two episodes, and really seem to give the title an ironic touch.
Beyond the amazing dub, the show is fun. It’s a charming tale of super heroes doing their thing on the corporate dollar. The series is clearly a parody, and it shows. But the characters are fun in both the quirky and creepy ways, and the plot is so absurd that one can’t help but love it. The animation is great, with tons of fun visual jokes (the heroes’ transformed forms are literally just armor padding worn over their business suits, for example). Character designs are strong, and there are enough nods to sentai shows long gone to make any older fan smile.
Plus, it has an awesome opening theme by Hironobu Kageyama. How can anyone hate that?
Shinesman is a type of show that we’ll probably never see again. It’s weird, it’s definitely not “AAA” material, and it’s only two episodes long. Still, it’s definitely a show worth seeking out, while it’s still available.
Shinesman is currently available through Media Blasters.