If you remember the Samurai TV series from the 60s you’ll probably also know what I am talking about when I mention Phantom Agents.

Same idea but a more contemporary setting, with the characters dressed in military style garb, with a sword on the their back.

There’s a few episodes kicking around YouTube but as far as I know they have never released the series with English audio.

There was also a bloke selling some English episodes on eBay a few years back and I couldn’t help myself.

Funny thing is I’ve never got around to watching them.

Phantom Agents first screened in Australia on January 31, 1966.

Capitalising on the success of the Samurai series 130 episodes were produced in black and white.

Phantom Agents (Japanese: Ninja butai gekkô) ran from 1964-1966.

The series was created by Tatsuo Yoshida.

The Phantom Agents were modern day ninjas whose enemies were the “Black Flag” organisation.

They wore old style motorcycle helmets and ran everywhere in single file, but later graduated to a Toyota Crown Saloon.

The Phantom Agents were armed with ninja weapons such as star knives and used guns “only as a last resort”.

Like ninjas they could jump great distances, usually backwards because that’s what happened when you ran the cameras in reverse.

But the thing I remember most was their ability to blend into the architecture, holding a sheet of cloth that allowed them to blend into the wall.

The Phantom Agents leader was Phantar played by Joh Mizuki.

The rest of the unit included Andar, Cordo, Zemo, and a female agent named Margo who was later replaced by Gina.

She’s the one who gets the lecture in the opening credits after shooting someone.

There was also a small boy agent, Tomba.

The Phantom Agents main rivals were:

  • Black Flag of Smigzee: black-clad ninjas and also uniformed guards at their island base. Smigzee means Secret Military Intelligence Group Zee.
  • Mocula looked much like Yakuza or Mafia hoods, but with added ninja abilities.
  • The Ghost Group, who were the main adversary in later episodes, had a mysterious magical aspect and included magicians with highly specialised skills.

 

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.