In 2010, a curiosity emerged from the aethers of tokusatsu obscurity. Fans of the special effects subgenre were treated to an amusing little promotional video, advertising what was then meant to be an upcoming, new series called SF X Fantasy Rayforce. With one short video, toku enthusiasts’ imaginations were set alight with the possibilities of this Korean action drama in the making. But alas, like so many projects of this type, some of which we only hear of in passing, trading pictures and scraps of footage in fan circles in hopes of glimpsing its potential greatness, Rayforce was one fantasy that would not be brought to life.
Nearly all that is known about Rayforce as a series is contained within the one video release ahead of the proposed start date to the TV series. This pseudo-pilot introduces us to a small gathering of heroes, empowered by a beautiful, young sorceress, played by Jeong Seol-hee, who incidentally is also who you hear performing the passionate theme song that serves as our soundtrack to this inviting sequence.
Inspirations from many familiar tokusatsu titles can be found here. Including but not limited to Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and the short-lived Sazer Series of Japan.
And perhaps this is why the title ultimately slipped through our grasp. Though originally planned to air by late 2010, the project was scrapped due to lack of investor interest after Rayforce was apparently deemed “too Japanese”. A somewhat frustrating explanation, especially considering the eventual arrival of Korea’s own Legend Heroes series, as well as the Korean “continuation” of Japan’s Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, dubbed Power Rangers Dino Force Brave because they like to confuse us. This doesn’t even count other Korean anomalies like the flawlessly-named Erexion. “Stay rock hard for justice!”
Whatever the reasons for its shelved status, Rayforce represents the challenges faced by entities hoping to break into this little subgenre that could. Dominated by mainstays like Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman, sneaking into that venerated clique can be a daunting task that only a few can do with much grace. For every Garo success story, there’s another five Gunblades waiting for their time to shine. And blow up everything in sight.