Blabbering of a Fool
The Skull Man: The 1st Night
A rather new anime which premiered in April this year, but actually debuted 37 years ago. Skull Man was created by the great Ishinomori Shoutarou（石ノ森 章太郎）, who created Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009. In fact, Skull Man was supposed to be the original Kamen Rider, but it was too violent for the targeted younger audience, and so the Kamen Riders were created. Skull Man did got released under its own title, and the last known release was about more than 10 years ago (not really clear about this), an modified version by Shimamoto Kazuhiko（島本 和彦）, whom Ishinomori had requested to make a continuation of his one-hit manga before he passed away.
The premiere episode starts off with a young woman running in the rain, seemingly being chased by something. She finds herself trapped at a dead end, and it is revealed that a beast similar to a werewolf is the one chasing her down, and that there is another being watching her moves. The beast corners the woman, and the other being, who is Skull Man, shows himself, and this scene ends with the typical “zoom-up-to-the-sky-with-the-woman-screaming” sequence.
After the opening sequence, we see a tabloid reporter, Mikogami Hayato, from a newspaper line requesting his editor for clearance to head to Ootomo, where many strange murders and catastrophes have occurred, reportedly committed by a certain ‘Skeleton Man’. It is also shown that the young woman from earlier had been murdered, but written off as an accident in the papers. Hayato succeeds.
In the same train carriage that Hayato is taking to Ootomo, 2 women, who are supposedly acquaintances of the murdered young woman, who was revealed to be known as Hitomi, are on board. A strange old man approaches them, commenting that they have rather a lot luggage for two people traveling alone. He warns them to be careful, and reminds them of the murder of Hitomi, whom he further reveals that she was an actress. Hayato then visits the toilet, and is about to leave when a young girl shoves him back in, covering his mouth to keep him quiet. It is then shown that she was trying to hide from the train conductors, as she apparently does not have a ticket.
Reaching their destination, Hayato alights and the young girl follows, calling him oniisan (big brother). Hayato reminds her that even though she calls him that, she still doesn’t have the papers to enter Ootomo. She tries to show him her passport, but the same old man takes her look at passport instead, and reveals that it’s not a well-made fake, to the girl’s dismay. The old man then asks Hayato if he’s paparazzi, and whether he’s after 1 of the 2 women from before, whom he reveals as Onizuka Yui, a successor of the murdered actress, Tachibana Hitomi. Hayato replies he’s actually after something much bigger than that.
A commotion then happens in the station, where a man was trying to escape from the security in the station, but was gunned down by a military officer. The old man comments that something big must be brewing in Tsuguru Straight (someplace in Ootomo, I guess) for the military to be here, or maybe they are just making a visit. After the old man leaves them, Hayato manages to let the young girl go pass the security with him, with a name card of sorts that states to ‘give him as much leeway as possible’. It seems ,however, that the police has taken notice of this, and the chief (supposedly) sent one of his detectives to watch the movements of Hayato, and tells him to send Hayato to the headquarters if there are any suspicious moves from him.
The young girl continues traveling with Hayato, telling him that her ambition is to become a professional photographer, and dreams of winning a Pulitzer Prize. She then proposes that they make a team and travel together, which Hayato does not seem to like. They go around asking about the ‘Skeleton Man’ Hayato is looking for, but no one in town seems to even have heard of it. Finished for the day, they take a break, and the young girl reveals her name: Mamiya Kiriko. Hayato tries to leave Kiriko behind, but decides to make a stop somewhere in Ootomo first.
Hayato, with Kiriko, stops by a cemetery and finds a man visiting his father’s grave. He greets him and goes on to pray to his father’s grave, placing a lighted cigarette on it. Hayato then thanks the man for being his sponsor and for the card, and comments that the city has changed much after 7 years. The man knows Hayato is looking for the ‘Skeleton Man’ and tells him that it’s most probably just one of the many urban legends from the public. After telling Hayato to look for him if he requires any help, he takes his leave. A woman on a bike is then shown to be watching them from above. Kiriko asks Hayato who the man is, and he shows her the card, revealing the man to be known as Kuroshio Gouzou, who is the president of the Ootomo Pharmaceutical Company, the most powerful company in Ootomo.
Hayato brings Kiriko back to his rather rundown apartment in Ootomo, which Kiriko complains but has no choice. While sneaking a peek at Kiriko’s passport while she’s having a shower, commenting that she is obviously lying about her being 20, Kiriko comes out and sees his act, and after accidentally showing her body to him, she throws him out, of his own apartment. Wandering along the streets, he sees the same biker woman and wolf-whistles at her, but she just comments that he must be an outsider to not know not to linger outside late at night and rides off. Hayato then hears a warning that no one without a permit is to be outside after midnight. He sees a man staggering out from a construction site and goes up to help him up, but is instead thrown flying off towards the vending machines by an immense strength from the man. Hayato, who suffers an injury on his head, finds a strange item on the ground.
The staggering man is shown to be chased by the same werewolf beast and he tries to escape, but his only escape route is blocked off by the beast. Skull Man appears again from above, delivering a cool and short speech, extending a blade from his right sleeve/wrist. Hayato reaches the same site and hears a scream, only to find the man slain. When he looks up, he finds what he has been looking for: Skull Man, and he faints.
The Skull Man title screen
Mikogami Hayato（御子神 隼人）
Mamiya Kiriko（間宮 霧子）
Kuroshio Gouzou（黒潮 豪蔵）
The mysterious biker woman