Top 20 Iconic Japanese Superheroes in Childhood Memory

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DC comics turned their superheroes into famous movies characters, that's cool.

However, superheroes do not only belong to DC Comics or Marvel. There are also dozens of Japanese superheroes you must have known since you were a child.

So, who's the most iconic japanese superhero in our childhood memory? Otakus could argue indefinitely.

It's not possible to categorically identify the greatest. However, the following top 20 Japanese superheros have had a huge cultural impact on our childhood.

1. Ultraman (ウルトラマン)

Ultraman isn't a single superhero: there are hundreds of Ultraman collectively known as Ultra Crusaders. They are super-humanoid solar powered giants from space who defend earth from giant monsters and aliens.

Ultra Crusaders have numerous superpowers. Their one weakness: they can only stay on earth for 3 to 5 minutes before their power runs out. They must regularly return to space to recharge their batteries.

There have been over 20 Ultraman TV shows (series) and over 20 Ultraman movies since the mid 1960s.

2. Kamen Riders

Kamen Rider is a long running series of manga, television programs and movies. Like Ultraman, Kamen Rider isn't a single superhero.

Instead, there are over 100 Kamen Riders. All are grasshopper-like superhumans who ride motorcycles.

The cultural impact of the series in Japan resulted in astronomer Akimasa Nakamura naming two minor planets in honor of the series: 12408 Fujioka, after actor Hiroshi Fujioka, known for his portrayal of Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 and 12796 Kamenrider, after the series itself.

3. Super Sentai (Power Rangers)

Super Sentai is another superhero series with dozens of TV series, movies and characters. They are better known in the English speaking world as Power Rangers.

The Super Sentai Series is one of the most prominent tokusatsu productions in Japan, alongside the Ultra Series and the Kamen Rider Series.

4. Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon are a team of teenage girls who can transform into heroines named for the moon and planets.

The series follows the adventures of Usagi Tsukino as she transforms into the titular character to search for a princess and an artifact called the "Legendary Silver Crystal".

During her journey, she leads a diverse group of comrades, the Sailor Soldiers  — Sailor Guardians in later editions — as they battle against villains to prevent the theft of the Silver Crystal and the destruction of the Solar System.

5. Metal Heroes (Space Sheriffs)

Metal Heroes is a superhero series featuring a variety of androids, cyborgs and humans who wear metallic suits.

The Space Sheriffs are the enforcers of peace and justice sent by the Galactic Union Police.

6. Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム)

The first Astro Boy manga hit the shelves in 1952.

Astro Boy takes place in a future world in which robots and humans live side by side. Astro Boy is an advanced robot with the ability to express human emotions. He defends humans from robots gone berserk, human-hating humans and alien invaders.

7. Science Ninja Team Gatchaman

Five young superhero ninja who protect the World's natural resources from giant monster robots.

The series had additional English adaptations with G-Force: Guardians of Space (1986) and ADV Films' uncut 2005 release.

8. Mazinger Z

Mazinger Z known briefly as Tranzor Z in the United States,  is giant super robot constructed of a metal called Alloy Z. This super metal is made of a new element (Japanium) found only deep inside Mount Fuji.

9. Pegas (Tekkaman)

Pegas is a Tekkaman — a super strong human with a suit of indestructible armor and a variety of super weapons and tools.

By himself Tekkaman is incredibly strong to the point of tearing through alien spaceships with his bare hands, has thick armor that allows him to survive in any environment and even corrosive substances and atomic blasts, and possesses superhuman agility.

10. Honey Kisaragi

It follows an 16-year-old android girl named Honey Kisaragi, who transforms into the busty, red or pink-haired heroine Cutie Honey to fight against the assorted villains that threaten her or her world.

11. Inazuman

Inazuman is, in reality, young college student Goro Watari, a mutant. He lost his mother as a child and had other dark moments in his childhood. He had a childhood girlfriend named Teresa who was taken away by an American soldier during the US occupation of Japan. However when the Neo-Human Empire Phantom Army begins its attacks on mankind with its Phantom Soldiers and Mutant Robots, he puts his psionic powers to the test.

12. Japanese Spiderman

In 1978, Spiderman was licensed by a Japanese TV production company. A total of 41 episodes were produced. As you might imagine — it was very different from the American version.

Japanese Spiderman has a giant robot called Leopardon he controls.

13. Gekko Kamen (Moonlight Mask)

Japan's top superhero of the 1950s. Gekko Kamen had a secret identity (it's never revealed who he is). The actor in the Moonlight Mask TV series and movies is only credited with a "?".

The Moonlight Mask wears a turban over his face. He's armed with a ninja star (shuriken), whip, two six-shooters and two boomerangs. He rides a motorcycle.

14. Ogon Bat (Golden Bat)

Ogon Bat was first published as a Japanese pulp fiction way back in 1930. He's the first Japanese Superhero.

Ogon Bat is a protector sent forward in time from Atlantis. He has a staff that can cause earthquakes or shoot energy bolts.

15. Cyborg 009

A team of superheroes led by Joe Shimamura — a delinquent half-Japanese teenager. Joe is a cyborg who can move so fast that everyone else appears to be perfectly still.

16. Tetsuo Shima (Akira)

A human with immense psychic powers. He has mental problems that get worse the more he uses his abilities. In King Of Fighters, K9999, a clone from Kyo is entirely based on Tetsuo Shima from Akira, able to transform his arm into a long tentacle like Tetsuo's.

17. Megaloman

This series features a superhero quintet similar to those seen in the Super Sentai Series, but just like in Zone Fighter, the team's leader/main character Takashi Shishidou transforms into a giant long-haired Ultraman-like colossus, Megaloman, a guy who studies martial arts and is secretly from another planet giving him superhuman strength.

18. Super Robot Red Baron (スーパーロボット レッドバロン)

The show is set in the early 21st century where the Iron Masked Party, lead by Dr. Devilar, steals giant robots built all over the world from an exhibition and kidnap their creators to form a "Robot Empire".

Scientist Kenichiro Kurenai, foreseeing his capture, turns over his own super robot, Red Baron, to his younger brother Ken Kureinai. Ken is a member of SSI (Secret Science Investigation), a highly skill team of scientists that practice ninjitsu, and uses Red Baron to aid the team in their efforts to stop the Iron Masked Party from taking over the world.

19. Mirrorman

A photojournalist named Kyotaro Kagami discovers a secret from his past: his father is an alien superhero around another dimension called Mirrorman. His mother was a normal human.

Therefore, Kyotaro Kagami has only half of Mirrorman's superpowers. He must use them to defend earth from alien invaders.

20. Kikaider

A Japanese superhero from the early 1970s who was (strangely) more popular in Hawaii than Japan. Kikaider is a humanoid robot with a conscience circuit. 

The anime adaptation of the Japanese superhero Kikaider, was produced by Sony Animation and broadcast on Kids Station from October 16, 2000 to January 8, 2001, with a total of 13 episodes. The anime followed more of the manga, with a darker nature of Jiro's reason to exist.


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