Created by Shotaro Ishinomori, Kaiketsu Zubat debuted in February 1977 and ran for 32 episodes. The series follows private detective Ken Hayakawa(played by Hiroshi Miyauchi) who is trying to find who murdered his best friend Goro Asuka (Jir Okazaki) so he can get revenge on them.
Ken and Goro were childhood friends who were involved in a heavy shootout protecting Goro’s sister Midori (Oshiro Nobuko) from the Dakka criminal organisation. Following the incident Ken and Goro got on a bus with Midori and her students. Suddenly Ken heard a bomb ticking so along with Goro evacuated the bus. Goro got on the bus and drove it away from everyone so they would be safe. When the bus exploded Goro was badly hurt and rushed to the hospital.
Whilst visiting Goro in hospital, Ken was visited by another friend of theirs Police Detective Shingo Toiyo who informs them the police have received a message from Dekka that if they don’t receive three billion yen by one o’clock the hospital would be blown up. The trio suddenly realise it is close to that time and search for the bomber. During the search Goro is shot 12 times by an unknown criminal, Ken tells a dying Goro he will fight for him and get revenge.
As it turns out, Goro was working on a Zvasuit (and a Zubat car) for space exploration, so Ken takes the suit (and car) and makes some modifications to them so that he can fight crime and avenge Goro. The suit gives him speed, dexterity and superhuman strength, making him Kaiketsu Zubat! There is one slight catch though, once Ken closes the mask he has five minutes to complete what needs to be done and then take the mask off again – otherwise the suit will explode! Every second counts! Toiyo is the only one who knows Ken’s secret.
In each episode Ken introduces himself by playing a tune on his white guitar (that contains his costume). The tune is known as “Nippon ja niban me da” (translated as “You’re Just No. 2 In Japan”). Ken will then confront the Dakka assassin who is proud of some combat skill and after displaying their skill to him, Ken shows he can do better, a lot better, dishonouring the villain! This then led to the Dakka boss of the week who would also be defeated. Ken would then ask the boss if he was the one who killed Goro but the answer was always “No” until the final episode!
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