Koichi Ose. Photo by Brett Homenick.
February 24, 2018, marks the 60th anniversary of the debut of Japanese television's first superhero: Moonlight Mask. On February 24, 1958, Moonlight Mask (1958-59) aired for the first time on the station now known as TBS (in Japan, that is). So it was a great honor to be able to attend the event marking the 60th anniversary of this history-making TV series with Moonlight Mask himself, actor Koichi Ose.
Koichi Ose poses with his heroic alter ego, as well as the same type of motorcycle on which he used to chase baddies. Photo by Brett Homenick.
The event kicked off with a screening of several Moonlight Mask episodes, which were a lot of fun. The stories are simple and extremely easy to follow, which really makes knowledge of Japanese unnecessary to enjoy them. After that, Koichi Ose joined the proceedings and gave a Q&A session, during which he reminisced about his memories of making Moonlight Mask.
Following that, we made our way to a nearby parking lot where we could pose for photos with Ose-san, an incredible Moonlight Mask cosplayer, and the same type of motorcycle on which Moonlight Mask rode in the series. When that finished, we got autographs from Ose-san. (I brought a Moonlight Mask DVD sleeve for him to sign.) Finally, we all gathered around and had dinner with the legendary superhero himself.
Despite its place in history, Moonlight Mask is still not nearly as well known in the West as its small-screen successors. It's an entertaining show, and I hope it eventually finds a wider audience. It's certainly worth a look. If Mammoth Kong isn't enough to entice daikaiju fans, then I don't know what is!
Happy 60th anniversary, Moonlight Mask!