Taigaa Masuku (Tiger Mask)
I have never liked wrestling. Period. Not interested. Go see a professional wrestling match? No way. I’ll pass even if it is free. I can live without wrestling in my life!
One day, some new TV show started. This is based on Manga shown above. Who’s the author? Ikki Kajiwara*? Interesting! Give it a shot! And…I was hooked! Kajiwara is very famous for fighting and sports themes – Remember in my previous blog, I picked “Judo Icchokusen?” That was done by Kajiwara, too. Really this guy is really good at the themes.
So, “Tiger Mask” TV version was such a tearjerker. Naoto Date (Tiger Mask) is an orphan. As is often the case with orphans, who was already deserted by their parents, Naoto was not a good kid, looking at the world very negatively. His soul was rotten then. He was hopeless…
One day, the “gentleman” showed up to invite him to come to a certain place called “Tora-no Ana (Tiger’s Cave)” with him. He told Naoto that he might be able to rule the world if he trains as a professional wrestler at Tora-no Ana. “Exciting!” Naoto thought. Becoming a professional wrestler and make a lot of money was an irresistible offer to him. At this point, he had no idea that Tora-no Ana is a vicious group, which trains youngsters to make them killer wrestlers, who break all official rules in wrestling and fight until they kill their opponents with forbidden weapons and tools. Killing all good wrestlers and ruling the wrestling world/industry is the mission of Tora-no Ana.
Anyway, Naoto made a decision to go with this “gentleman” and his hellish training started. He put up with the harshness of the training and became a killing machine called “Tiger Mask.”
Tiger Mask was a killer machine. He fought exactly as he was told to with forbidden weapons until he killed the opponent even after he surrendered. So viciously. One by one, a good professional wrestler fell into Tiger Mask’s prey. He didn’t feel guilty of killing his opponent at all. He was almost on top of Japanese wrestling world. He felt he was important for the first time in his life.
(Opening Theme: https://youtu.be/OdJVSFh6008)
One day Naoto learned Tiger Mask had been supported by orphans. Those kids called him their hero. The Hero – Naoto never found one when he was in his orphanage. These kids blindly adored him and supported him even though Tiger Mask was a villain! Since they were such fans of Tiger Mask, Naoto visited this orphanage to meet them.
How excited those orphans were! Their hero visited them to make them happy! The owners of the orphanage told Naoto that they didn’t miss even one match of Tiger Mask on TV! They were watching their hero and what he did in the matches.
Naoto was stunned. “Those innocent orphans are watching my every single move. They are listening my every single word. What do I do in the match? With dirty tricks, I beat them up and kill them. No mercy. Still they love me. I am their hero no matter what. I am not repaying their love toward me. I must be their GOOD role model!”
That was not an easy decision for him. He talked to himself. “Fighting fair means breaking the “Law of Tora-no Ana.” If I break the “Law,” Tora-no Ana will send other killer machines to kill me, Tiger Mask. Can I survive while fighting fair even against those killer machines? Am I ready for that?”
Tiger Mask made the decision – a difficult one. “From now on, I will never use illegal weapons nor break rules. No matter how hard it may be, I will stick to it and still win! I will be their real hero!”
As he had expected, Tora-no Ana kept sending the killer machine to kill Tiger Mask. Tiger Mast fought them without weapons. He never broke rules. Every time he was beaten up by the killer machine from Tora-no Ana and almost passed out, he remembered each one of those orphans and stood up again. And he won, won, and won while he was more than half dead. At last, Tora-no Ana had to recede and let him go. Naoto Date, a former pathetic orphan, was reborn as a real hero! A real hero for those orphans. A real hero for himself.
(Jacket of “Tiger Mask” songs)