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Tokusatsu is a Japanese term that applies to any live-action film or television drama that usually features superheroes and

makes considerable use of special effects (tokusatsu literally translates as "special filming" in Japanese). Tokusatsu entertainment often deals with science fiction, fantasy or horror, but movies and television shows in other genres can sometimes count astokusatsu as well. The most popular types of tokusatsu include kaiju monster movies like the Godzilla and Gamera film series; superhero TV serials such as the Kamen Rider and Metal Hero series; and mecha dramas like Giant Robo. Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres, for example the Ultraman and Super Sentai series. Tokusatsu is one of the most popular forms of Japanese entertainment, but mosttokusatsu movies and television programs are not widely known outside Asia. The term tokusatsu originated as a portmanteau of the Japanese phrase tokushu satsuei ("special photography"). In production, a special-effects director bears the title of tokushu gijutsu ("special techniques") or tokusatsu kantoku ( "special effects director").Tokusatsu has origins in early Japanese theater, specifically kabuki (with its action- and fight-scenes) and bunraku which utilized some of the earliest forms of special effects, specifically puppetry. Modern tokusatsu, however, did not begin to take shape until the early 1950s, with the conceptual and creative birth of Godzilla, one of the most famous monsters (kaiju) of all time. The special-effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya and the director Ishir Honda became the driving forces behind 1954's Godzilla. Tsuburaya, inspired by the American film King Kong, formulated many of the techniques that would become staples of the genre, such as so-called suitmation the use of a human actor in a costume to play a giant monstercombined with the use of miniatures and scaled-down city sets. Godzilla forever changed the landscape of Japanese science fiction, fantasy, and cinema by creating a uniquely Japanese vision in a genre typically dominated by American cinema. Since about 1960, several long-running television-series have combined various other themes. Tsuburaya Productions has had the Ultra Seriesstarting with Ultra Q and Ultraman in 1966. P Productions began their foray into tokusatsu in 1966 with the series Ambassador Magma. They also had involvement in the Lion-Maru trilogy which concluded in November 2006. Toei Company has several series that fall under their Toei Superheroes category of programming, starting in 1961 with the single series, Moonlight Mask. Then, they produced several other longrunning series, starting with the Kamen Rider Series in 1971, the Super Sentai series in 1975, the Metal Hero series in 1982, and the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series in 1981. Toho, the creators of Godzilla, also had their hands in creating the Chouseishin Series of programs from 2003 to 2006