My favorite television show of all time is Kaiketsu Zubat. I love the atmosphere, the setting, and the style, but what’s most impressive to me is how it can be so many things at once. It’s funny, but also dead serious. The hero, Ken Hayakawa, is kind of an egomaniac, but he has a heart of gold. The villains were always garishly dressed and over the top, but many of the evil acts they did could feasibly be done by actual sociopaths. which made them genuinely horrifying. It was a show that could channel Adam West’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, often at the same time. Overall, it’s an unforgettable experience that stays with most people who have seen it, which unfortunately is not as many as it should be.
One of the hallmarks of the show was that in every episode, at some point a group of foot soldiers from the Consortium of Evil, Dakkar, would be harassing some innocent bystander(s) (who were women or children disturbingly often), only to be interrupted by Hayakawa strumming his guitar and making his entrance by way of the coolest looking shot possible given the setting. He would then proceed to beat everyone up before meeting up with the current evil organization’s hired goon, an assassin renowned for a particular skill. Hayakawa would then claim that this person is only the second best in Japan at his specialty, and point at himself when inquired who was the best. What followed was usually the highlight of any given episode, the Hayakawa showdown: the challenger would attempt to show Hayakawa that he was indeed the best in Japan at his skill, only for Hayakawa to prove him dead wrong.
These were the scenes that showcased the great Hiroshi Miyauchi’s talents the most. If it were anyone else playing Ken Hayakawa, he would have come off as smug and condescending. But with Miyauchi in the role, Hayakawa was given a roguish charm that lent a massive heroic quality to Hayakawa’s bragging. When he claimed he was best in Japan, you knew you were in safe hands, and that he would never allow an innocent to be hurt under his watch. Hell, Ken Hayakawa made my list of fictional heroes way back when, a list that is in sore need of an update.
In total there were 32 episodes of Zubat, and with the exception of the last 2, every one featured a Hayakawa showdown. And to honor this wonderful show, I am counting down my personal ranking of all of them. Be warned, though. The descriptions alone will blow your mind with awesomeness. The only way to top the rush you feel will be to watch the show itself, which you can do by visiting the wonderful folks at Millionfold Curiosity. Thank you guys for all your hard work!