Celebrating Megumi Mori’s return in style

Megumi Mori performs at Fukkatsusai, an event celebrating her return onstage.

By Mishio Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior SpecialistIt was a magnificent comeback.

I recently held an event for Megumi Mori, who appeared in “Choju Sentai Liveman,” a Super Sentai Series tokusatsu sci-fi action drama broadcast from 1988 to 1989. She played Megumi Misaki, the human persona of Blue Dolphin, a member of the show’s superhero team.

To us fans of tokusatsu superhero shows, Mori is Blue Dolphin, as well as a pop idol who enjoyed a successful career in dramas and music shows on TV from the 1980s to the 1990s. The event I held was called Fukkatsusai (The comeback festival), and it attracted many tokusatsu fans as well as Mori fans from her years as a pop star.

I met Mori for the first time in August last year after learning by chance that someone I knew was her acquaintance. I contacted Mori by email asking her to appear in Akamatsuri, another event I organized with actors who played the leaders of the superhero teams in Super Sentai Series shows, who usually wore red costumes. I was nervous when I emailed her, but she readily agreed and came to the event.

The word “destiny” comes to mind. Until several months before then, Mori was keeping it secret that she had been a pop idol and an actress in the past. It was only last year that she revealed to people around her that she had been an idol whom fans affectionately called Megumi-chan.

“I started thinking, ‘If I can do something as Megumi-chan and make some people happy, I might as well try doing so.’ If your offer came one year earlier, I would’ve probably refused on the spot,” she said to me, laughing.

The event I held with Mori as a guest in March this year was the 30th anniversary show for “Liveman.” This led to Fukkatsusai.

At the opening of the show, Mori came on stage singing “Spark Umi e,” a song used in “Liveman.” Then she suddenly burst into tears onstage. I’d never seen a guest performer crying only seven minutes after the curtain rose in any of the events I organized. As the emcee, I was a bit flustered. However, the audience members seemed very touched.

The first half of the show was devoted to telling Mori’s life story. A girl from Kumamoto Prefecture who liked singing, she won an audition and became a pop idol. She released CDs and appeared on TV shows, including “Liveman.” Then came hard times when her popularity as a pop idol declined, followed by her happiness when many fans warmly welcomed her return as a public figure at the Akamatsuri event last year. She spoke about those episodes, sometimes with tears and sometimes with a smile.

In the second half, Mori passionately sang songs from her pop idol years. Listening to her singing and watching her onstage, it was hard to believe that she didn’t perform for many years. When she sang “Felt no pen case” (A felt pen case), an ending theme song of the TV anime “Kiteretsu Daihyakka” (Kiteretsu encyclopedia), one deeply moved fan was heard saying, “I never imagined I’d be able to listen to this song in the 21st century!”

Various guest actors joined the second half to celebrate Mori’s comeback. Among them were Daisuke Shima, who played Red Falcon in “Liveman”; Takumi Hirose, who played the bad guy Dr. Kenpu, or Dr. Kemp, in the show; and Kenta Sato, who played Red Turbo in “Kosoku Sentai Turboranger,” one of the Super Sentai Series shows aired after “Liveman.”

Now that more than 30 years have passed since “Liveman,” I wonder what kind of pictures Mori will draw in the Reiwa era. I’ll follow the new steps of this former pop idol.

Suzuki is a Yomiuri Shimbun senior specialist and an expert on tokusatsu superhero films and dramas. Speech

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