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By: Aileen B. Tadeo

This year happened a convention, the first of its kind, last March 21 and 22. Henshincon is an event catering to fans of the Tokusatsu genre and its various subcategories namely Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Metal Heroes, and so on. It is the ultimate throwback event of the year and the pinnacle was the presence of two distinguished guests, Ryousuke Kaizu who played Michael Joe/Takeru/Red Mask in Hikari Sentai Maskman and Kei Shindachiya who played Ken Hoshikawa/Five Blue in Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman.

Press Conference

Before the two-day event, a press conference was held at Eri Curry, SM Megamall (an event sponsor and the exclusive food concessionaire at the convention day) which I was fortunate to have been able to attend as a winner of the Dine With the Sentai Actors promo. Maskman episodes were playing at the restaurant’s TV screen while the opening and ending themes of both Maskman and Fiveman were looping on the radio, contributing to the nostalgic atmosphere.

Mr. Kaizu with his family, Mr. Shindachiya, and Mr. Danny Torres (their friend who made the Henshincon promo videos and served as translator as well) arrived at the venue and were welcomed by the organizers, Eri Curry staff, and the press. Members of the press and everyone at the venue were given opportunities to ask the guests questions (see link at the bottom to an article with a video of the presscon).

A burning question I had in mind was if they have known about sentai popularity in the Philippines long ago or just at the conception of Henshincon. According to Mr. Kaizu (and thanks to his wife, Mrs. Inaba, for translating), he knew about it because Mrs. Inaba was telling him and because of Facebook. As for Mr. Shindachiya, people were sending friend requests on Facebook. They initially thought that after their sentai series were aired on TV, the fandom stopped after their series was done.

A member of the press asked an interesting question, how did they feel about their characters’ names being changed on the Philippine dub?  Ryousuke-san was all right with it because he has a Filipino name. Kei-san was a bit sad about it. The changes in the names for Maskman were Takeru, Kenta, Akira, Haruka, and Momoko to Michael Joe, Leonard, Adrian, Eloisa, and Mary Rose. For Fiveman, it was from Gaku, Ken, Fumiya, Kazumi, and Remi to Manabu (an alternate way to read the kanji character of Gaku; a Fiveman episode had one of their students with the name Manabu), Ken, Fumio (maybe due to our language’s Spanish influence of masculine and feminine names), Kasumi, and Lemi. On the other hand, transliterations of some Fiveman actors’ names were inaccurate: Toshiya Fuji became Masaya Fuji, Kei Shindachiya to Ken Shintaya, and Ryohei Kobayashi to Rhey Kobayashi.

Martin Vicencio of When In Manila had asked the best question. He asked if they could perform their Henshin sequences. The two guests were game. First up was Five Blue and next was Red Mask. It was so amazing to witness that live. For sure, that brought out the 90s or 80s kids out of the attendees.

Everyone were served with Eri Curry’s curry plates and the special guests were given a variety of food from plated meals to sides like maki. Mr. Kaizu’s son had a delicious treat, kakigoori! :)

After the presscon, I was able to chat briefly with the guests. I only have basic Japanese language skills but I’m glad to have been able to speak to them directly even for a short while. Mrs. Inaba and Mr. Torres were very helpful translating for us at times. All of them were very kind, so down to earth, and very generous with their time.

Henshincon Launch Party
March 21, 2015 [Day 1]

The first day of the Henshincon weekend was the launch party held on March 21 at One Esplanade, Mall of Asia. The events that occured at the launch party included the Meet and Greet with both sentai actors, a panel interview, and live performances.

Auctions were also held. Up for grabs were posters, scripts, and so on. Aside from signed items by Mr. Kaizu and Mr. Shindachiya, there were also signed items by Michiko Makino (Kimberly/Hikaru Katsuragi/Pink Five of Chodenshi Bioman) and Ei Hamura (Shoji/Tenma Ranger of Gosei Sentai Dairanger). Part of the proceeds went to the event’s beneficiary which is PEARL or People Empowerment for ARthritis and Lupus. They are a support group in the Philippines for people suffering from autoimmune and chronic diseases such as rheumatic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Yours truly was not able to attend the launch party; hence, I’m unable to write more about the event. But do check out the links at the bottom for reports on the launch party complete with photos.

Henshincon Main Event
March 22, 2015 [Day 2]

Day two of the event is the convention itself, held on March 22 at the SMX Convention Center. I often do not attend events held at SMX because it’s too far away from us (I would say I’m near the north end of EDSA) but made an exception for Henshincon. I arrived at the venue 11 am and the program started by 12 noon. Some booths and displays were either set up or still being set up. Among them were GreatToysOnline, Kamen Rider Nimoy that makes and sells custom helmets (the helmets are so realistic and the Shadow Moon display is absolutely great), Bunnilla Plushies that had Red Mask and Five Blue plush pillows and other items, and a Red Mask and Five Blue shop selling t-shirts, toys, and rubber Henshin braces (They’re really cool!).


First was the curry eating contest care of Eri Curry where five contestants battled it out and aimed to finish first. Mind you, no drinking of water in between. I have no idea though if the curries served were “just right” or very spicy. Very timely as it was lunchtime.

Next up was the Battle of the Bands where each band performed two songs. Now, I am not fond of band contests but I sat there in the audience to watch. Since this is Henshincon, I bet I would know at least one or two tokusatsu songs. What a treat, the first band sang "Take Me Higher" from my favorite Ultraman and favorite JPOP group. (Trivia: Hiroshi Nagano who portrayed Ultraman Tiga’s alter ego, Daigo Madoka, is a member of the Johnny’s Entertainment group V6 who performed Take Me Higher.) Other songs that the bands have performed are themes from various Kamen Rider series, Flame of Recca, Slam Dunk, Rurouni Kenshin, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and one from my favorite sentai, Choujin Sentai Jetman’s ending theme Kokoro wa Tamago. The winner was the band that performed Evangelion’s Zankoku na Tenshi no Teeze. The band members played the song very well and the vocalist, spot on! A well deserved win indeed. I found the Battle of the Bands fun hearing Japanese songs being performed. This is an event where Tokusatsu, Anime, and JPOP fans would truly enjoy. I grew up being like the only Japanese music lover in class (and a few classmates and friends that I can count by hand) so this was a pleasant experience. I may have come across then as weird but I didn’t care.

For intermission, there were a few auctions for posters and the hosts going to the audiences for some fun Q&A. A representative of PEARL was asked to go up stage to share what their organization is about. If I am not mistaken, it was Ma’am Zeny Estrada. To everyone’s surprise, she did an amazing rap. The lyrics I have forgotten but they were encouraging words. Another organization was also asked up stage about people empowerment.

The program proceeded to the Karaoke singing contest. Whilst this contest was running, attendees who bought tickets for the Meet and Greet were asked to proceed to the Meet and Greet area.  From the seats, the only song I recall that was performed at the karaoke contest was the opening theme of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger by this guy who was dressed up in Ban’s red SPD suit (which was awesome).

Back to the Meet and Greet, it was properly organized from the lines to the actual meet. Mr. Shindachiya and Mr. Kaizu were waiting in a closed booth as fans were seated at a waiting area outside. Fans were sent in by batches of five for the autographs and photo ops. Though brief, it was a nice private moment shared with a couple of fellow fans. There was also a photography service who took the photos for the fans (see link below for their Facebook post of all the photos), Zoomburst Photostudio.

This was my second time to meet Ryousuke-san and Kei-san but I’m still shaking a bit, starstruck at meeting my childhood heroes. A plus was the Red Mask and Five Blue cosplayers who were standing behind them throughout the whole session posing for the photos as well. (And a lot later in the day, Five Blue was tumbling around and doing somersaults at an open space on the event area during a photo shoot.)


As the Meet and Greet session was happening, there were bands performing. One performed a Rurouni Kenshin ending theme, Siam Shade’s 1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou. Afterwards was the Cosplay contest where contestants were performing some  action choreography on stage. Among them were several Kamen Riders. The most interesting performance was from a little girl dressed up as Kamen Rider Black. Her costume was perfect. What made her cosplay even better is her bike customized to look like a Battlehopper! She won the cosplay contest I believe.

henshincon2015_day2-cosplay_00.png henshincon2015_day2-cosplay_01.png henshincon2015_day2-cosplay_02.png henshincon2015_day2-cosplay_03.png henshincon2015_day2-cosplay_04.png

A little bit later after the Meet and Greet session, Mr. Kaizu and Mr. Shindachiya went to the Red Mask and Five Blue shop to sell some items. They also went to a few booths and had photos.

By evening, bands were performing still. One did the Maskman opening and ending themes switching from Japanese to Tagalog between verses. Event-goers were going about the booths.

As the night and the event came to a close comes a surprise. The special guests went out on stage. Kei-san came out first then Ryousuke-san. As they approached the platform, their theme songs were playing and fans were singing along to them. The two guests performed their Henshin sequences. Both of them were surely having fun especially Kei-san who was goofing around a bit, doing Takeru’s Aura Mask pose and taking photos of everyone on stage and everyone in the audience with his phone (He’s such a cool guy! And is that the 7's BAR logo on his phone? ^_^ ). They proceeded to the handing out of awards for all the contest winners.

For the finale, the Henshincon team has prepared a dance for the guests. They danced Minna Atsumare! Kyouryuger. In the middle of the performance, Kei-san joins in. Afterwards, both him and Ryousuke-san then said a few words to the fans and have returned backstage afterwards. The special ending surprise was indeed a surprise as no one had an idea that the guests were going to come out at the end for everyone to see. If you were like others who unfortunately had to leave early and missed this or haven’t attended the event at all, do not worry as Henshincon has recorded the whole finale on video. Do check out the links at the bottom.

The whole experience was amazing, so nostalgic for a 90s kid like me and I’m sure for 80s kids out there as well. Even at three weeks after the convention, it still seems like a dream. I really can’t believe I’ve met them. It was something I’ve only dreamt of as a kid, meeting our era’s childhood heroes in person. Thank you team Henshincon for making this a reality for all of us. Looking forward to more Henshincon events and more Tokusatsu actors. Cheers!

For fellow fans out there who missed Henshincon 2015, do attend Henshincon 2016. Don’t let the rare chance to meet your childhood heroes pass you by. It’s a wonderful experience I tell you. ;)

Photos in this post were taken by me1 with my phone and my mom2 Jane with our digital camera who came with me to the presscon and the convention day.
1 First presscon photo; convention area, booths and displays; rubber Henshin braces; Red Mask and Five Blue cosplayer photo shoot; cosplay contest; Ryouske-san and Kei-san at the Red Mask and Five blue shop; group photos; middle photo of Ryousuke-san and Kei-san on stage with organizers and awardees; third photo of Kei-san dancing; Ryouske-san and Kei-san giving their messages to fans; Ryousuke-san doing the Red Mask aura pose on stage
2 Second and third presscon photo; presscon Q&A; presscon Henshin sequences; Ryousuke-san and Kei-san comes out to meet fans except middle photo; first two photos of Kei-san dancing

For Sponsor and/or Partnership on Henshincon’s upcoming event/s, please contact Lorenzo Peñascoza Asentista Jr. at Carrotz.kun@gmail.com.

Check out the related links below:

Website: http://www.henshincon.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Henshincon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Henshincon [ @Henshincon ]
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Henshinconvention/posts [ +Henshinconvention ]

HenshinCon 2015: The Final Show Part 1 (Video) https://www.facebook.com/Henshincon/posts/938041306220793
HenshinCon 2015: The Final Show Part 2 (Video) https://www.facebook.com/Henshincon/posts/938166916208232

JE Fusion
Website: http://www.jefusion.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JEFusionfanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GekiDan [ @GekiDan ]


Eri Curry


Kamen Rider Nimoy

Bunnilla Plushies

Zoomburst Photostudio
- Meet and Greet photos

More articles about Henshincon

マニラより愛を込めて……ご報告① / (From Manila with Love……Report 1/2)
by Mr. Kei Shindachiya (7's BAR Blog)
- in Japanese with photos
JE Fusion’s translation/article
マニラより愛を込めて……③……番外編 (From Manila with Love……3……Extra Edition)

Henshincon 2015: Press Conference by Xtian Mack (arkadymac.com)
- with the video of the presscon

Henshincon 2015: The Main Event by Xtian Mack (arkadymac.com)

Henshincon 2015: 10 Memorable Moments from the Henshincon Weekend by Martin Vicencio (When In Manila)

EVENT REPORT  Henshincon 2015 Launch Party – An event worth spending… literally and figuratively by JM Melegrito (Anime Pilipinas)

Henshincon Launch Party by Al Barcenas [Deremoe]

Henshincon Coverage: Main Event and Overall Thoughts by Al Barcenas and Jay Agonoy [Deremoe]