Battle Sequence 003: Condorman (1975)

The third clip in Cinebeats’ ongoing Battle Sequence Series is from Condorman : Symbol of Justice (Seigi no shinboru Kondoruman). Condorman was an entertaining action-packed tokuatsu series created by the great Kôhan Kawauchi (aka Yasunori Kawauchi), which aired on Japanese television in 1975. Kawauchi is responsible for creating the first Japanese superhero television show in 1958 known as Moonlight Mask (Gekko Kamen), which shares some obvious similarities with Condorman. The heroes of Kawauchi’s shows have a similar look and episodes often featured cliffhanger endings. They also both drove their own groovy vehicles. Moonlight Mask had a motorcycle and Condorman had his own special car called the Mach Condor.

Condorman starred a little known Japanese actor by the name of Hitoshi Sato who was a former race car driver. His driving skills gave him the ability to handle driving the Mach Condor on the show. As Condorman, Hitoshi Sato would fight evil monsters who disguised themselves as humans and were out to pollute planet earth’s water and air supply, among other things. Condorman was able to see through the monster’s human disguises with his “Condor Eye” and he used many special powers such as “Condor Thunder” and “Condor Hurricane” to stop them. Besides all the various monsters, Condorman also had to deal with their numerous henchmen who all looked like Nazis wearing Lucha Libre masks.

Just a small sampling of the strange monsters Condorman had to fight.

In some ways the important messages in Condorman that warned viewers about the negative effects of pollution, inflation and other ills made the show ahead of its time. Condorman also featured some spectacular action sequences, as well as colorful costumes and prop designs. The monsters he fought were often very unusual and included a sombrero wearing smog creature, a giant cockroach, a green-haired batgirl and strange robots.

Unfortunately Condorman never really caught on with kids or adults and the show stopped airing after only one season. Some episodes of the series were released on video in Japan and I believe the series was also made available on Laser Disc, but it has never been released on DVD. Information about the series is scarce and the show has never been subtitled, but I think some English dubbed episodes of Condorman aired on Hawaiian television in the late seventies.

The clip below features Condorman battling a robot-like monster called Sadora (aka Sadler), who was played by the Japanese actor and playwright Toshiaki Nishizawa. Sadora has help from his evil henchmen, but fortunately for Condorman, Sadora ends up killing many of his own men in the chaos that follows.

Battle Sequence 003: Condorman – Episode #1 (Birth of Condorman) – 1975

8 thoughts on “Battle Sequence 003: Condorman (1975)

  1. Love the top hat. Thanks for posting this, actually – it solves an enduring mystery from my college years. One day back then, I ran across a grainy B&W picture of a strange looking car in a car magazine article about strange vehicles in movies and TV, without any attribution as to what or where from, other than it was Japanese. I made sure my best friend saw it, because at the time he was driving a Datsun 2000, or as they’re called in Japan, “Fairlady”, which is what the Mach Condor was obviously based upon, and the look of dawning comprehension on his face was priceless. It was actually a kick-ass car, but he was a little too proud of it, I thought. Until he sold that car, I used to say, “Hey, let’s take your Prince of Space movie car” or some such whenever I needed to needle him a little. When I see him next, maybe I’ll remind him about it.

  2. I’m glad you both enjoyed the clip! The show is a lot of fun and the action scenes are pretty spectacular.

    Glad I could help you solve a mystery Vanwall! The Datsun 2000/Fairlady cars are nice looking so I envy your friend for owning one. Modern car design is really dull in comparison.

  3. Sadly I could not get the clip to work. I’ll try again tomorrow on another computer.

    The monsters he fought were often very unusual and included a sombrero wearing smog creature, a giant cockroach, a green-haired batgirl and strange robots. I liked Bullethead.

  4. This looks so cool. I hate to say it, but I thought of Power Rangers when I saw this though. The Japanese make some really cool and fascinating looking movies.

  5. I hope you get a chance to see it Jonathan!

    Keith – Power Rangers was just a knock off of a Japanese sentai show (they shot the tepid drama with American actors and then spliced in the action footage from an 80s Japanese sentai show) so I’m not surprised you saw a similarity. Thankfully I was well aware of tokuatsu shows before Power Rangers aired in the U.S. due to growing up with stufff like Ultraman, Lion Maru, Giant Robo, etc. so I don’t associate the two myself. For me Power Rangers will always be that “horrible show that copied superior Japanese shows.” But just like most things, I tend to prefer tokuatsu shows from the ’60s and ’70s and the modern stuff doesn’t do much for me.

  6. Actually, the cuts were so fast, and the fighting style so minimized and quick, it was more interesting viewing than many of the tokuatsu series I’ve seen, which can often be stylized to the max. I still can’t get over that robot with the stovepipe hat flying thru the air, and in hand-to-hand combat – it’s more than just camp! 😉

  7. I just aquired a small diecast Condorman Car toy car made in the 80’s by Takatoku, i’ve never seen one like it. It needs some restoration work. Just wondoring if anyone else has one complete they would like to part with. The car has many cool features switches control wings(ala Corgi Chitti Chitti Bang Bang Car),hood opens to shoot something with compressed air button & has an ejector seat (ala Corgi bond car) please email me any info you have on this rare TV collector toy.

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