Much of the following is mere deduction based on Japanese websites (the text of which I don’t have the knowledge to decipher), the odd video clip and scraps of information found on forums. Hence the accuracy of the account is open to question.
I would welcome any corrections or additions.
Den Ace is a comedy character created by Minoru Kawasaki — director of such weird genre films as Ika resuraa [aka The Calamari Wrestler] (2004), Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu [aka The World Sinks Except Japan] (2006) and the upcoming full-on daikaiju movie, Girara-no Gyakushuu Touyaku Samitto Kiki Ippatsu [lit. Guilala’s Counter Attack: the Touyaku Summit One-Shot Crisis]. Kawasaki is responsible for many, if not all, of the Den Ace short films.
A satiric, slapstick take on the Ultraman franchise, Den Ace tells of Den Hajime, an ordinary, not-overly competent bloke, who changes into a giant, 2000-metre tall superhero named Den Ace when he feels contentment. Den Ace’s motto: “His power is pleasure”.
Whenever a giant monster attacks the city, Hajime drinks a beer, or, failing the availability of beer, throws himself at a woman. The resulting sense of pleasure causes him to grow large and become very powerful indeed. Of course randomly making love to whatever woman is available at the time causes some tension between himself, his girlfriends and his mate, so beer is the preferred option. But whatever it takes! Heroes must suffer in order to save humanity from the monsters!
As far as I can determine, Minoru Kawasaki himself plays Den Hajime in the short films and sequences, which have a strange habit of turning up in unexpected places.
The Filmology of Den Ace
The original Den Ace TV shows apparently dated from the 1980s and early 1990s, with brand new episodes following in more recent times, including TV specials, straight-to-DVD releases and cameo appearances in at least one other movie. The episodes seem to be short — about 5 minutes — in duration.
I have no idea exactly how many episodes of the TV series there were, but here are the DVD releases I have managed to track down:
Ganso Den Ace (2001 release?): “Contains episodes 1 through 5 originally aired on TV in 1989”, and five newly produced episodes.
Den Ace – Hankerchief Oji no Himitsu (TV film, 2006).
Den Ace The Final – Kiraku ni Ikiyo (TV film, 2007).
Zettai Yaseru Den Ace – Uchu Dai Kaiju Girara Tojo! / Uchu Kaiju Sho Shingeki (2007, title translates as something like Den Ace: “I Will Lose Weight”: March of the Space Monster — Giant Space Monster Guilala Appears): a short promotional film designed to showcase the director’s upcoming Guilala feature film).
Cameo appearance in Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu [aka The World Sinks Except Japan] (2006).
In Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu, the Den Ace TV show is an entertainment that has become popular among the Japanese in the aftermath of a worldwide catastrophe that left Japan as the only nation not drowned by rising waters. It is said that the show lightens Japanese spirits and expresses the native population’s growing impatience at all the foreigners now seeking refuge on their shores (see image sequence below).
Below are what appears to be a few of the short TV episodes:
And another (unconnected) episode: