|This article is about a/an tendency in the Tokusatsu genre.|
A local hero (ローカルヒーロー/ご当地ヒーロー Rōkaru hīrō/Gotōchi hīrō?) is a Japanese fictional superhero who is created to represent a particular region of Japan, such as a prefecture or city. They often perform in special martial arts stage shows. Created either by local groups or the local government, a local hero is modeled after the superheroes of Japanese tokusatsu. A local hero is often themed around the city or prefecture's local mythologies or industries, are created to teach the children who learn certain things such as road traffic and food safety.
In history, early local heroes have no clear definition or classification. For instance, the legends of the swordsman or Ninja in the Pre-Showa era and among 1940s, variety of Golden Bat-like stories were created by hawkers in suburbs every day.
After the World War II, Japanese people are fall in love with tokusatsu in the rebuilding era . Therefore, not only big television stations (NET, TBS etc.) but also small local television stations had also started to consider how to create heroes that meet local requirements. The "first" reconized local hero is Rainbow Attack-Ace (レインボー・アタックエース Reinbō Atakkuēsu?) (1973) from Tohoku Broadcasting. He and his show are made by local industries and only broadcasted on local channel. However, the exact boom of local hero trend was started in 2005 with the success of Chōjin Neiger since it fits the development of internet and the modern commercial needs.
Today's Local heroEdit
As the time goes by, local heroes are evolving, they are not just cheap, low-cost suits anymore. Some heroes had got a sponsorship from enterprises and some even made a crossover in official tokusatsu series like Fire Leon. Although local heroes are produced to act in a local area, some lucky heroes gain fame throughout Japan by performing at other local heroes' shows or being featured in mainstream media:
- Chōjin Neiger (超神ネイガー Chōjin Neigā?, "Super-God Neiger") from Nikaho, Akita Prefecture, has had two theme songs recorded by anison recording artist Ichirou Mizuki.
- Ryujin Mabuyer (琉神マブヤー Ryūjin Mabuyā?) from Okinawa Prefecture and the Ryukyu Islands was featured in his own syndicated television series.
- Maburittokiba (マブリットキバ? "Protector Fang") from Tōno, Iwate Prefecture, was featured in an episode of the TBS program Kizuna Dining when they visited Tōno and appears at hero shows throughout Japan. He has become a popular character throughout Japan, sold as mobile phone charms, claw machine prizes, among other merchandise.
- Houjin Yatsurugi (鳳神ヤツルギ? "Phoenix-God Eight Swords") from Kisarazu , Chiba Prefecture had already developed its shared universe with Gaion Sigma, Vendor Knight Hilano Great (自販騎士ヒラノグレート Jihan Kishi Hiranogurēto?), Ninja Tokusou Justy Wind (忍者特捜ジャスティーウィンド Ninja Tokusō Jasutī Uindo?) and more.
- Norton Fighter (ノートンファイター Nōton Faitā?) from Akihabara region of Tokyo. Its Japanese advertising campaign alongside celebrity otaku Shoko Nakagawa for their new software, including several other characters to go with him. Hironobu Kageyama has recorded a theme song for him.
- Sea Jetter Kaito (シージェッター海斗 Shī Jettā Kaito?) from Ishimaki, Miyagi Prefecture was created by Shotaro Ishinomori. Its theater version stars multiple actors from Kamen Rider Series such as Seiji Takaiwa and Yuki Satoh. Kaito also had helped the Kamen Riders in some stage shows and he is a motif of Kamen Rider Aqua.
- Tohoku Gashin Miraigar (東北合神ミライガー Tōhoku Gasshin Miraigā?, "Northeast God Miraigar") from the Tohoku region of Japan is the first crossover local hero which combined with 6 different local heroes. It was adapted into a Thai-Toku MIRAIGAR T1 in 2016.
- Zan Saber (斬セイバー Zan Seibā?, "Slash Saber") from Osaka has a series of DVDs starring Ryunosuke Kawai of Tenimyu fame as the lead character.
In Popular CultureEdit
Independent film releases also use the "local hero" motif to present their characters. Crusher Kazuyoshi (クラッシャーカズヨシ Kurasshā Kazuyoshi?) is a "local hero for Tokyo: in his film, portrayed by Kazuyoshi Sakai of Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger. Anison artist Takayuki Miyauchi performs the second film's theme song.
The anime Tentai Senshi Sunred is based on the local hero theme, featuring the title character as the protector of the city of Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture.