Sentai Locations 2018: Chiba City

20 May

In Chiba City, about an hour’s subway ride straight east from downtown Tokyo, there are a number of locations often used for Japanese superhero shows in the Super Sentai and Kamen Rider franchises, usually for elaborate fight scenes. There’s an office complex that has two large plazas that I’ve seen used in many shows over the years. Just a short distance southwest of that is the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex, which has a large convention center and a separate exhibition hall, slightly smaller, across the street from it. Adjacent to the convention center is a ground-level plaza that reminded me of Manhattan’s Lincoln Center. Next to the Exhibition Hall is a small park with a couple of unusual sculptures and fountains.

All of these sites have been used in the shows under discussion:

On Wed. April 4, 2018, during my recent trip to Japan, I spent a morning and early afternoon taking pictures around this whole complex. I had visited one of the office plazas during my 2016 trip, but was unaware at the time of the other locations so close by. Besides, it was absolutely freezing on that day and my ungloved hands were cold after taking the pictures I did. It had been so cold, I’d forgotten to take selfies there. This time it was a hot day with blazing, cloudless sunshine. So hot, in fact, that I had to put on my windbreaker and hood to protect myself from sunburn.

Since I located the company name on a sign this time, I’ll henceforth call it the Bay Point Plaza.

Here are various long shots of the locations.

The office complex, entrance on the southeast side:

The Makuhari Messe Convention Center:

The adjacent plaza:

The International Exhibition Hall:

The adjacent park:

Nothing was happening in the convention complex on the day I visited, so I had the place virtually to myself.

I visited the office plaza, however, at lunchtime, so there were occasional office workers moving to and fro at the time, as seen here…

…in contrast to my visit two years ago, which came on a mid-to-late rainy afternoon, when the workers were all presumably inside, as seen here:

In all, it was quite a fruitful day.

In the Kamen Rider movie, HEISEI RIDER VS. SHOWA RIDER: KAMEN RIDER TAISEN FEAT. SUPER SENTAI (2014), covered in my March 2018 Kamen Rider piece and my Japan Journal entry on Odaiba, there’s a sprawling battle between different factions of Kamen Riders in the “Lincoln Center”-like plaza.

Here are shots I took:

As I suggested in my Kamen Rider piece, wouldn’t it be great if one of the Marvel superhero shows shot in New York used Lincoln Center as the locale for a similarly-styled fight scene…

…when it’s a little less crowded, of course.

In the same Kamen Rider movie, the action shifts to the upper level of the Makuhari Messe Convention Center where Kamen Rider ZX, aka Ambassador Darkness (Shun Sugata), causes the underground base of the Badan Empire to break through to the surface right next to the distinctive red awning over the second floor terrace.

And pix I took:

They had evidently done a good job of cleaning up after Ambassador Darkness.

Gosei Sentai Dairanger #1, from the 1993 Super Sentai season, is the earliest sentai show I’ve found which uses these locations. Here are shots from a scene filmed around the convention center and the plaza:

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger (2015) #18 used the park across the street from the Convention Center, from which we can see the red awning:

Pix I took:

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (2012) #1 filmed a sequence at the International Exhibition Hall across the street from the Convention Center, using both the ground and upper levels.

From the upper level we can see the red awning again:

Not to mention this spectacular zord battle staged behind the Convention Center:

Pix I took:

And scenes from Go-Busters at the ground level:

This episode of Go-Busters also shot scenes at the exterior corridors of the first and second levels of the Exhibition Hall.

Pix I took:

Back to the park with TOKUMEI SENTAI GO-BUSTERS THE MOVIE: PROTECT THE TOKYO ENETOWER! (2012), the Go-Busters spin-off movie. Here we see the side of the Exhibition Hall:

Shots I took:

Other shots in the park from Shuriken Sentai Ninninger (2015) #18:

And shots I took:

Plus shots from Ressha Sentai Toqger (2014) #20:

Shots I took:

On to Bay Point Plaza.

There are two plazas on opposite sides of the complex.

The eastern side:

The western side (the bigger one):

Both have been used frequently in these shows. First, we’ll go to the eastern plaza, since it’s the one I didn’t visit on my last trip. This one has a distinctive circular sculpture and a duct pipe sticking up from the side of the building:

This particular site has been used in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (2009), Ressha Sentai Toqger, Shuriken Sentai Ninninger and the most recent sentai series, the one currently playing in Japan, Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger (title translated as Gentleman Thief Sentai Lupinranger VS Police Sentai Patranger), as well as the Toqger movie, Ressha Sentai Toqger the Movie: Galaxy Line S.O.S.

Ressha Sentai Toqger the Movie: Galaxy Line S.O.S. offers a scene filmed at the entrance to the plaza:

Pix I took:

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger #5 moved the action to the plaza:

Pix I took:

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger #18:

Pix I took:

Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger #3

Pix I took:

Also, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger (2011) used this plaza in its first episode, where the Red pirate ranger, Captain Marvelous, stands atop one of the low-rise structures and addresses the crowd in the plaza.

According to the synopsis on Wikipedia, “After reaching the Earth, Captain Marvelous introduces himself and his crew to a group of humans as the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and state their intentions to obtain the Treasure from them, only for no one to have any knowledge of the treasure.”

So now you know as much as I do.

Finally, the main plaza and the one I photographed on a cold, cloudy day on my last trip, as seen here:

This was also used in Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger #3:

Plus a few shots from shows I covered in my original piece on Sentai Locations, covering my 2016 trip:

COME BACK! SAMURAI SENTAI SHINKENGER (2010), a movie spin-off of  Samurai Sentai Shinkenger:

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters #20:

Kamen Rider Den-O #18:

And my pictures from this trip:

Sadly, on none of my trips did I encounter an actual film crew. You’d think the Toei Studio would have wanted to take advantage of a sunny day and an empty Convention Center, although the heat would have been murder on anyone in those costumes.

For more information on Japanese locations used in sentai and tokusatsu shows, please consult this website:

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