Friday, February 22, 2013

Yukie Kagawa : a tribute for a great tokusatsu villainess actress

Most toku fans know about Machiko Soga (Queen Hedrian in Denziman and Sun Vulcan, Queen Pandora in Spielban, Queen Bandora in Zyuranger (and Rita Repulsa in MMPR (which she dubbed herself in the Japanese dub), as well as one episode villainesses in various toku shows); or about Akiko Kurusu/ Amamatsuri (Dr Mazenda of Liveman and Gara of Dairanger).
However, I wanted to write a little tribute to Yukie Kagawa, who was one of the first actresses playing regular villainesses in tokusatsu series.
Born January 2 1948, her first role was in the Daikaiju movie Gamera vs Balgon. She then played a lot of movies, mostly for Toei, and also played in various TV shows in the late 60' and early 70.
One of her first roles of villainess in toku was a one episode evil woman in Goranger. But her breakthrough as a toku villainess was in the Japanese Spiderman. She played Amazoness, the second in command of the Big Bad, Professor Monster. However she was the one who was the most involved in the plans against Spiderman and Japan, as the main commander of the Machine Bem (Spiderman's MOTW), the mooks, and later, the two female warriors, Bella and Rita, and also as a strategist and a spy. Amazoness was a very cruel villainess, killing in cold blood people, and having no hesitation to kill even little kids. She also showed intense pleasure in seeing Spiderman suffering. Even if she seldom fought directly Spiderman, she however almost managed to kill him by herself using poison in the final episode. Amazoness was one of the first regular tokusatsu villainess in TV series.
After playing Amazoness, she played an evil ninja working for Egos in Battle Fever J in two episodes. Once again her character was a ruthless fighter, even at the end doing a suicide attack to defeat her enemies.
Her next main villainess role in toku was Amazon Killer in Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan. She appeared in episode 23, replacing Zero Girl 01 as the female commander of the Zero Girls. In her debut episode, she showed herself to be a very dangerous enemy, being able to find and destroy the Sun Vulcan secret base. In the following episodes, she was the main general involved in the Black Magma evil plans. As a Vader clan member, she was very loyal to Queen Hedrian, and cared for her. When Hedrian decided to become the leader of Black Magam, she was involved in the killing of Hell Satan with her former partner Inazuma Ginga. However, when the Omnipotent God managed to kill Queen Hedrian using Hell Satan's ghost, she was forced to serve Black Magam against her will, having no true loyalty except for her Queen. In her last fight, she managed to hold her own against the three Sun Vulcan warriors, but decided to kill herself in order not to serve Black Magma, even giving some info to the heroes.
After Sun Vulcan, her next and last important role as a toku villainess was as Gilmarza, an evil sorceress in Juspion, who appeared in the last 7 episodes of the series.

In all of her villainess roles, she played pretty serious and no-nonsense enemies, thanks to her stern looks and low and cold voice. Her relatively low key acting was a  big contrast with the over-the top acting of Machiko Soga, and as such, she was able to make her villainess have a very cruel and scary feeling.

1 comment:

  1. Machiko Soga was a larger then life actress and had more appearance then Yukie. Whether or not Yukie retired from acting or passed away she will be missed as her acting was unique.