Wednesday, January 30, 2013

sentai villains: an history; human looking vs suit villains

Here is an analysis about sentai villains. I'm posting it on HJU, but also here:
In sentai series, the main villain group has a very important role in the story, and they're the ones who lead the different MOTW
During the long history of Super Sentai, the main villain groups have been very different, with human looking villains, or suited villains (either robots, or monsters)
Let's review the history of the main villains of sentai, with an emphasis about human vs suit villains:
First era: Goranger- Battle Fever J: villains groups reminding of Showa Rider series (especially Goranger) : very few main villains; mostly one big bad, who is often a mysterious figure, and one general (in Battle Fever, a second one comes later): a important villain actor of that era is Masashi Ishibashi
- Second era: the Denziman-Jetman era: the villains are mostly human looking, with a few suit villains, who are either monsters or robots
that second era itself can be divided in three parts
- a) Denziman- Sun Vulcan: the Uehara era: most of the villains are female, human looking, and the ones doing the most field work are female spies, who may sometimes fight: Denziman also has a male general, and another male villain coming later: Sun vulcan has a main male sounding suit villain.
That kind of villain group is gonna be used a lot in Metal Hero series, starting with Sharivan
b) GoggleV- Fiveman: the Soda era: Hirohisa Soda uses in his series villains groups having a very characteristic hierarchic pattern:
- A Big Bad: usually a monster like villain, who occasionally can appear as a big human like creature (like Changeman's Bazoo or Fiveman's Vulgyre); in some cases, the villain is a male human mad scientist (Bioman, Liveman)
- One or two human looking male generals: the second in command, and in most cases, the brute-like general
- One human looking female general, who in a lot of cases may have one or two human looking female fighters under her orders
- One or two suit villains (either monster or robot) who can be the comic relief and/or the brutish fighter
- an additional human looking villain; either male or female who brings more conflict within the villain side
- sometimes a monster who makes the monsters big
c) Jetman: the only difference with the Soda era being the lack of hierarchy between the villains
- Third era: the Sugimura era: Zyuranger- Ohranger; Sugimura is gonna try a lot of different groups, and his era is pretty much a transitional one
Zyuranger is gonna use the pattern which is gonna be used a lot later: most of the villains are suit villains, the human looking ones being the female villains and the evil ranger
Dairanger pretty much uses again the Soda era pattern, but with the twist that the leader of the villain side appears pretty much late
Kakuranger's villains has a suit Big Bad (Daimaoh), two human looking male villains (Yugami and Junior, and a female human looking villain group (the Hanarangers) ; but the Daimaoh and his son (Junior) are regulars at different points of the series; Yugami and the Hanarangers are recurring villains
Ohranger has only suit (robotic) regular villains
- Fourth era: Carranger-Go-onger: the main trend during that era is : mostly suit villains, with one or two human looking villainesses, with sometimes one or two human looking evil rangers
Some exceptions: Megaranger, which has a male human looking villain (Hinelar) who is the most important villain of the series; Boukenger which has Gajah, who's human looking; and in Gekiranger, Long, the Big Bad, is most of the time human looking
a few comments:
- in those series, the storyline is mostly driven by the suit looking villains : the exceptions being Megaranger, of course, but also Abaranger, Gekiranger , and in a lesser way, Hurricanger and Boukenger (Boukenger because of Gajah; Aba, Geki and Hurri either because of the villainesses or the evil rangers, or both).
- starting with Timeranger, a lot of suit villains may have formerly been human or human looking: like Gien from Timeranger, Ryuuwon of Boukenger, or the Kenma from Gekiranger, who are the evil counterparts of the heroes's animal looking mentors
- Last era: Shinkenger-Kyoryuger (from what the scans tell us at least): mostly suit villains, inclusing the main villainess; if a human looking villain appear, he's gonna be male and the Red ranger's main rival; however, suit villains having been human or human like before are seen regularly (like Dayu, Robogog, Buredoran/Brajira and Barizorg)
Go-Busters is a special case, with very few regular villains and mostly human looking ones (despite them being mostly data): not unlike the Battle Fever pattern, but looking younger.

Your thoughts? Do you agree with my analysis? Have I made some mistakes?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Abaranger final part: my comments

Abaranger being my favorite sentai series, my final review is gonna be very positive; but despite that, I think that Abaranger have also its flaws. So, here is my final thoughts about Abaranger

- Abaranger has characters which are well characterized, and the four main heroes are very likable. The supporting cast is fine as well, with Emiri  Ryunosuke and Mai being pretty well done
- Abaranger has very original ideas: having the black ranger being a mentor figure, and not being able to change  at the beginning, the Red ranger being a father, each dinosaur mecha being a character, who is able to talk with his partner, a monster of the week becoming a likable comic relief character and an evil ranger who stays evil almost until the end
- Abaranger's villains are pretty original, and are very interesting, especially the human looking ones (Jeanne/ Mahoro, Lije/ Lijewel and Mikoto/ Abarekiller);
- Abaranger's main storylines were very well done and brought very intense drama; the Asuka/ Mahoro plot was the highlight of the series; even if its concept wasn't that original (it had already been used in Jetman), the way it was executed was very well done, with a amazing development for both characters and plenty of twists ; the Abarekiller plot was pretty well done too, exploring very interesting ideas, and with a great rivalry between Abared and Abarekiller
- Abaranger's music is amazing, being able to have a very diverse range of tones :  funny, heroic, sad, eerie, nostalgic, hearwarming, sweet, hot blooded,
- The dinosaur motif was pretty well used, in the mechas, the weapons, the heroes's headquarters
- The storytelling is very well done, with almost no plot stalling, since almost every episode made advance the plot, even if it's only with one or two scenes
- the balance between comedy and drama is very well done
- the comedy is usually pretty funny

-  Despite being mostly very likable, Ryouga's behaviour can be annoying at times
- The robots (Abarenoh, Killeroh, and especially Maxohja) are pretty ugly
- Abaranger's action scenes aren't in my opinion that remarkable; they're pretty average
- The Trinoids's designs sometimes look a little awkward 
- Sometimes, the comedy doesn't work too well: the crossover with Tsuribaka Nishi was more weird than funny
- Some Bakuryuu were pretty sidelined and didn't have much development, like Ptera, Parasa, Ankylo, and in a lesser extent, Baki and Dimenoko;

However, Abaranger is still an amazing series, and one of the most original sentai series ever done, well deserving of a score of 9/10

Abaranger part 5; the storyline

Abaranger's story is about the fight between a group of warriors, the Abarangers against invaders from another dimension, the Evolian. That plot involves mostly three main storylines, which are pretty intertwined: the quest for the lost Bakuryuu, the Asuka and Mahoro plot, and the Abarekiller plot. I've already discussed in detail those plots in the previous posts, so, the aim of that post is to show how the episodes of the series are organised to tell the story

episodes 1-2: introduction arc, first attack of the Evolian on Another Earth, and the three first Abaranger (Red, Blue and Yellow) appear, first appearance of Abarenoh, and they stop the attack and defeat Geilton, who is killed soon after.
Episodes 3-8: The Abaranger begin to live in the DinoHouse (and we learn about their background), they find the first Bakuryuu (Baki) after fighting against a black Evolian warrior, and Asuka learn that that warrior is  Jeanne (who has his wife Mahoro's appearance), and finally, after struggling, is able to become back Abareblack. Major episodes: 7 and 8

Episodes 9-17: the heroes are able to find new Bakuryuu (Dimenoko and Stego), but often have to fight the Evolien, especially Jeanne to get them; first appearances of the mysterious girl, and how she affects Jeanne and Asuka, more info about the heroes's background. Major episodes: 12-13

Episodes 18-20: Abarekiller intro arc ; first appearance of  Yatsudenwani, Parasa, Topgaler and Killeroh; Stego leaves the heroes to join Mikoto

Episodes 21-27: Abarekiller reveal himself as an enemy of the Abaranger, but without being the Evolian's ally; Ankylo appears, and Abarekiller captures Baki and Dimenoko
Key episodes: 22-23

Episode 28-33 : several major arcs:
- Lije meets Abarekiller and develop a crush on him, and finally, brings him to the Evolian base where he becomes the Evolian's leader and sends Killer Ghost for a big fight against the heroes.
- Asuka and Jeanne learn about their past thanks to the Mysterious girl and fianlly have their final confrontation; Asuka defeats Jeanne, and seemingly die in Anomalocaris
- Abared is able  to become Abaremax thanks to Asuka's new weapon, defeats Killeroh; Baki and Dimenoko are freed ; first appearance of Styraco and Maxohja

Episodes 34-40:
Mahoro, having survived, but having lost her memory and not evil anymore, appears and begins to live with the heroes; Asuka is revealed to have taken the cursed armor, and is trapped in it
Lije grows up as Lijewel, becomes the Evolian's queen and fights several times with the heroes
Mahoro recovers her memory, and becomes Jeanne again, without turning evil, and saves her husband by destroying the armor

Episode 41-43: Abarekiller is revealed as Dezumozorya's Another Earth host; Mahoro helps the heroes as a spy. Stego joins back the heroes; Yatsudenwani is captured by the heroes; and after a last confrontation, Mikoto realizes his status as the Evil God's host and decides to fight the Evolian; Dezumozorya takes control of Lijewel's body

Episodes 44-50: Final fight against Dezumozorya:  Mahoro is exposed as a spy, Lijewel is freed from the evil god, and becomes a baby; Abarekiller  and TopGaler die, as well as Mikela and Voffa; after saving Mahoro, the heroes finally defeat once and for all Dezumozorya: the Ryujin and Bakuryuu return to Dino Earth.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Abaranger part 4: the Bakuryuu: more than just dinosaur mechas

As a dinosaur-themed sentai series, Abaranger had of course dinosaur mechas. However, the Bakuryuu are much much more than mere mechas being able to fuse together to make big robots. They were living beings, evolved forms of the dinosaurs that appeared in Dino Earth, since dinosaurs didn't become extinct there. When a Ryujin did have enough "Dino Guts", he was able to develop a partnership with the Bakuryuu.  However, someone form Another Earth who has enough Dino Guts would be able to become a Bakuryuu's partner as well.

1) Tyranno, Tricera and Ptera: the three Abarenoh Bakuryuu
When the Evolian began to invade Another Earth, they had captured the three most powerful Bakuryuu and forced them to do their bidding, i e , rampaging Tokyo and bring chaos and destruction. However, they couldn't stand doing those horrible deeds, and desperately called in Another Earth for people having enough Dino Guts to free them from the Evolian and become their partners. 

Bakuryuu Tyrannosaurus: When desperately calling for help, his voice has been heard by a young environmental protection investigator who was also a single father Ryouga. Unfortunately, he unwittingly wounded him while damaging the building Ryouga was. However, as soon as Ryouga recovered, he managed to become his partner, then stopping him from destroying the city. Tyranno is a hot blooded Bakuryu, who sadly lost his wife and child because of the Evolian. Because of that, he really feels close to Ryouga's niece Mai, who also lost tragically her family, and he wants Ryouga to be the best father to her, praising him when he's behaving like one, but being unhappy when he feels Ryouga doesn't behave enough like the father he should be.

Bakuryuu Triceratops: When calling for help, that young Bakuryuu managed to e heard by a charismatic chiropractor, Yukito Sanjo, who managed to free him from the Evolian and become his partner. At the beginning, Yukito was reluctant to become an Abaranger, especially without being paid for it , and Tricera feared that he would leave him. Fortunately Yukito's better nature quickly prevailed, and he became his partner. However, despite Tricera being pretty close to Yukito, he can feel uneasy dealing with Yukito's personality, sometimes even being afraid of him. One day, after wishing to become an human, he turned into a little kid (thanks to the power of a well meaning but silly angel). As an human kid, he wasn't able to be recognized by his human and Bakuryuu friends, but he soon met a young woman who helped him against a dog. He soon fell in love with her, and when she dropped an hankerchief, he decided to give it back to her. As he was trying to do that, he met Yukito, who decided to help him find that woman. Even if, eventually, little Tricera had to become back a Bakuryu to fight the Evolian, and therefore, not being able to see her lady friend again, that experience allowed him to strengthen his bond with his partner Yukito

Bakuryuu Pteranodon: a sweet female flying Bakuryuu, who found a partner in a young former idol turned mechanic, Ranru Itsuki, who managed to free her from the Evolian. Ptera is able to fly at very high speed, being able to go to Australia and Russia and come back in Japan very quickly. She's also a sweet Bakuryuu, who wished the best for her partner.

When Tyranno, Tricera and Ptera fuse together, they're able to become Abarenoh, who has shown a major role in defeating the giant Evolian monsters

2) Brachi: Asuka's partner
He's Asuka's partner, and the biggest and wisest of the Bakuryuu. He's the one who holds the other Bakuryuu, releasing him when needed in battle. He's also the voice of reason among the Bakuryuu, and he has a close bond with his partner Asuka. He never hesitates to give him valuable advice, trying to have him do his best. He's also got a poetic side, enjoying Asuka's harmonica and reciting some poetry (actually, excepts from toku songs) whenever he's called in battle. Despite not being able to fuse with the other Bakuryuu, he has sometimes been directly involved in battle.

3) Abarekiller's partners
Bakuryuu Topgaler : A big pterosaur (Tupuxuara to be precise) Bakuryuu who had been sealed by the Ryujin after destroying a city. However, when the Ryuujin wanted to create a very powerful warrior to fight the Evolian, they chose him to become the partner of that warrior, who eventually was revealed to be Abarekiller. When he has been found by Mikoto Nakadai, he was still in his capsule, and he needed Dino Guts in order to be freed from it. However, when Mikoto gave him enough Dino Guts, he was able to get out and became his partner. Topgaler has a personality prety sililar to Mikoto's, and he's enjoying wreaking havoc with him. Topgaler is able to fuse with any Bakuryuu and become a giant in order to fight. He's behaving pretty coldly with Nakadai, calling him "Human", and often wonders about his partner's motivations. However, he actually care for him, often coming to save him and showing concern when Nakadai was suffering. He won't hesitate to ally himself with the other Bakuryuu or even the other Abarangers, if it means saving his partner. At the end, when Mikoto was about to die because his Dino Minder was about to explode, he took him far away towards space, and instead of saving himself, decided to die with his parnter, calling him at last by his name "Mikoto"

Bakuryuu Stegoslidon (a stegosaurus like Bakuryu): At first, his capsule has been found by a little kid, whom he asked from inside it to meet his partners, the Abaranger. Eventually, he finally was able to find the heroes, and helped them by allowing Abarenoh to ride him like a surfboard. However, when Topgaler began destroying Tokyo by creating huge winds with his wings, he tried to attack it, only to be captured and forced to fuse with him, and become KillerOh. Even if he managed to escape, he was however completely amazed by the power he could show while being with Topgaler, and decided to willingly join him and Mikoto. Stegoslidon cares a lot for Mikoto, often being very worried when he put himself in danger. Even if he was unhappy that Nakadai joined the Evolian, he wasn't able to leave because he didn't know where to go. When he realized that Mikoto was putting his life in danger, he didn't want him to change into Abarekiller anymore, and asked the Abarangers to stop Abarekiller. Eventually, when he realized Mikoto would not stop fighting as Abarekiller, he left him to jjoin back the other Bakuryu. However, he still cared a lot for Mikoto, and he felt very sad when Abarekiller died

When fusing together, Topgaler and Stego become te giant Killeroh.

3) The Legendary Bakuryu, Styracosaurus
He first manifested himself in Asuka's dream to show himthe place where was hidden a mysterious rock that he used to create the Styriser which allowed Ryouga to become Abaremax. During the battle against Barurigenia, he appeared for the first time, trailing the DinoCarry and helped them destroy the evil machine. Even if he doesn't speak, he's still able to communicate with the heroes, and even Mahoro,  to give them good advice. He's with Brachio the wisest of the  Bakuryuu

When Fusing with the Dinocarry, he's able to become the giant Maxohja, and fight, mainly with Abaremax, but he has also fought with others.

4) Other Bakuryu

Bakuryuu Bakikeloknuckles "Baki" ( a Pachycephalosaurus like Bakuryu): he's one of the Bakuryuu that Asuka lost while going in Another Earth. He's the first one to be found by Asuka, and he, Jeanne, Ryouga and Yukito fought a lot for his capsule, with eventually Asuka being able to keep it. He managed with Ryouga to give him enough DinoGuts to allow him to go out. He's a Bakuryu with a childish personality,  who helped Asuka by cheering him when he felt depressed because he believed he wasn't able to fight. He's able to fuse with Abarenoh, replacing Tricera, and using his head to do punching attacks against the enemies. However, he's been later captured by Abarekiller, and ended up almost being killed, but eventually ended up being controlled by him instead, even forced to fuse with Killeroh. However, once the Abaranger managed to destroy the Killer Ghost, he was at last freed from Abarekiller, and joined again his partners. He's also able to fuse with Styraco and other Bakuryuu to be part of MaxRyuOh.

Bakuryuu Dimenocodon:  A Dimetrodon like Bakuryuu. His capsule also has been lost by Asuka when he came to Another Earth. Unfortunately, the one who has found his capsule has been Jeanne, who decided to manipulate him into attacking Kyoto and bring terror to the city.  When his fellow Bakuryuu tried to stop him, he attacked them. However, when the situation seemed dire, Asuka remembered that Dimenocodon was a very sensitive Bakuryuu who loved music, and he managed to make him come back to his senses. He then became a precious ally for the heroes, being able to fuse with Abarenoh, and using his sail as a saw. Like Baki, he's been captured by Mikoto Nakadai, and and ended up almost being killed, but eventually ended up being controlled by him instead, even forced to fuse with Killeroh. However, once the Abaranger managed to destroy the Killer Ghost, he was at last freed from Abarekiller, and joined again his partners. He's also able to fuse with Styraco and other Bakuryuu to be part of MaxRyuOh.
When he learnt that Asuka was also being out of control because of the evil armor, he suggested using music to free him, since it had worked with him

Bakuryuu Parasaurokiru: a Parasaurolophus like Bakuryuu. His capsule also has been lost by Asuka when he came to Another Earth, and fell in the Juan Fernández Islands, where he learnt Spanish. He finally came to Japan, following Asuka and the Bakuryuu's scent. He's able to play the piano, and he's able to fuse with Abarenoh, and use his tail as scissors to attack the enemies. He can also fuse with Styraco and other Bakuryuu to become MaxRyoOh.

Bakuryuu Ankilobeilus: a female Ankylosaur like Bakuryuu. Her capsule also has been lost by Asuka when he came to Another Earth. She was the last to be found. At first, she didn't want the Abarangers to find her, because she didn't want to fight, and tried to mislead them when they looked for her. However, she's eventually been found when Yatsudenwani collided with her while chasing Ranru. Soon afterwards, Mikoto and the heroes fought to keep her, and she was pretty annoyed by it. However, because she still liked Asuka, she eventually fought with his friends,  replacing Tricera in Abarenoh, and using her armor as a shield and her tail as a drill. She's also able to fuse with Styraco and other Bakuryuu to form  MaxRyuOh

At the end, all Bakuryuu (except Topgaler) were able to go back to DinoEarth with Asuka, Mahoro and their child.

Abaranger part 3 : villains (third part): Abarekiller: a new kind of evil ranger

When the Abaranger found out that there were another man that was able to wear the Abaresuit, they were hoping that they were going to get another ally to fight the Evolian. Unfortunately, they couldn't be more wrong, and that man has revealed himself to be one of their most dangerous enemies.

Dr Mikoto Nakadai/ Abarekiller : he was a famous surgeon, who was very competent in his job, but felt completely bored with his life. However, the day the Bakuryuu came in Tokyo and began rampaging, he felt for the first time an incredible feeling of excitement when he did witness the destruction they've caused. That same day, he's had the opportunity to operate a young man who had been seriously injured because he tried to save a dog (namely, Ryouga Hakua/Abared). Even if he managed to save his life, he was so disgusted by that behaviour that he didn't finish the surgery, leaving the rest to his assistants.  Soon after, he witnessed the Bakuryuu being calmed down by several people (including his last patient), and soon his feeling of excitement faded. But just as he was giving up, an object fell from the sky, and he saw a big egg, and a wrist brace. He soon realized that a creature inside the egg was communicating with him, and he took the brace and tried to use it. At first, all he was able to feel was big pain, but, after a while and training, he's been at last able to change into a white suited warrior, to his delight. After witnessing the Abaranger for a while, he decided to confront them at last. After defeating (without killing him) a Trinoid (Yatsudenwani), he introduced himself to the 4 heroes. At first, the Abarangers hoped that he would join them in their fight for justice, but Nakadai, calling himself Abarekiller, told them that he wasn't interested and would rather use his powers to have fun and play "games". That "fun" included beating the Abaranger with quick and vicious attacks, and collecting their Dino Guts. He uses the Wing Pentacle as his weapon, and can create arrows or other stuff to attack the heroes by drawing them with it.  He needed Dino Guts to revive his partner, a very dangerous Bakuryuu called Topgaler. At the same time, Asuka realized that Mikoto was wearing a prototype Dino Brace that was still flawed, and could explode any time, and causing intense destruction. However, Mikoto didn't care, and even felt it made the game more interesting. Soon, despite the best efforts of the heroes, Nakadai has been able to revive Topgaler, and they soon began their destructive partnership. Soon, Stegoslaidon couldn't bear ir and tried to attack the devilish duo, but he was soon under the control of Topgaler, and fused with him to form a big robot, Killeroh, who soon attacked Abarenoh, in order to take control of the heroes Bakuryu. Nakadai almost succeeded, if not for Stego regaining control of himself and separating from Topgaler. However Stego has been tempted by the incredible power that he could display with Topgaler as Killeroh, and soon willingly joined them.
Of course, the Evolian have taken notice of Abarekiller, and realized that he got the prototype they thought they have lost when the first Anomalocaris was destroyed. Of course, they wished to get back those powers, but in vain, since Abarekiller and Killeroh were powerful opponents.
At the same time, Ryouga found out that Nakadai was none other than the doctor who saved him when he was injured. He wanted to thank him, but only found disdain and contempt from Nakadai, who instead started to fight him, mocking him at the same time, and taking delight at seeing Ryouga's suffer. Indeed, Ryouga, who was so optimistic, believing so much in the good in humans, was confronted with a true psychopath, who didn't care at all for his fellow humans,  was taking fun in hurting people and doing evil, and was completely in contradiction with the way he felt people should be. The fact that that man was the surgeon who saved his life made it even worse.

With Abarekiller, the Abaranger discovered a new enemy, who was attacking them, not only physically, but also psychologically, leaving deep wounds in the body, but also in the mind, especially Ryouga's.
Soon, Abarekiller often confronted the Abaranger, notably to take control of Bakuryuu to gain more power. He managed to capture Bakikeronagurus and Dimenocodon, and trapped them in barrel with a bomb, and began a cruel game, when he challenged the Abaranger in finding a Trinoid (that he's been able to obtain after a phone call with the Evolian) and destroy it, in oreder to be able to save their friends. The cruelty of the game was revealed to be even higher, when Ryouga realized that Nakadai had corrupted a idol singer trio and their sponsors into getting success thanks to the power of a trinoid, even if it means inducing violent behaviour in children. It completely shattered Ryouga's mind, who was helplessly witnessing the worst tendencies of human nature. That psychological blow was even bigger after they failed to free the two Bakuryuu from Abarekiller. Even if, instead of killing them, he just merely decided to control them, it was a devastating defeat for Ryouga and his friends.
However, Mikoto didn't join the Evolian; he was merely using them, and he didn't mind fighting them, as well as he fought the heroes. At times, he even helped the Abarangers fighting the Evolian, when he was annoyed with the evil clan. Besides, having to control more Bakuryuu had painful consequences for him, and he often had to rest and try to overcome the pain.
One day, he was visited by a little girl, who was none other than Rije form the Evolian, who took an interest in him. At first, he didn't care for her, but when he realized that she had the power to link the two Earths, and as such, allow him to go to Dino Earth, he accepted to spend some time with her, allowing her to have some fun time with him, even if he himself didn't especially enjoy it; at that time, he has been able to use his Abaremode.

Soon, his patience has been rewarded and Lije took him to Dino Earth. Once there, he decided to become the leader of the Evolian, and fought three Trinoids (the so-called "Evoranger") in order to earn the position. Once the Evoranger defeated, he became the leader of the Evolian, to Lije's delight and Mikela, Voffa and Jeanne's dismay. Now being able to use the Evolian's resources, he created his own kind of evil monster, Killer Ghost, and, using his two captive Bakuryuu, lured Ryouga, Yukito, Ranru and their Bakuryuu partners in a island where Killeroh quickly defeated them and trapped Tyranno, Tricera and Ptera in his body.
However, even if he took great pleasure in tormenting the heroes, winning the game, especially so easily, didn't bring him pleasure, but boredom instead. When the heroes came back to fight, especially with Ryouga becoming Abaremax, and managed to defeat Killer Ghost and get back their friends, instead of being annoyed at seeing the heroes getting stronger, he felt that the stronger his enemies were, the more fun the game would be, especially when he could use all the Evolian's power to create even more crazy and twisted games to torment the heroes.
One day, he even had Voffa create a Jupiter Giganoid, who was able to attract Jupiter towards Earth, and, as a result, destroy Earth completely, including himself. When Ryouga witnessed Nakadai being so twisted, taking delight at destroying a whole planet by himself with total indifference for human life, he, who had never hated anyone,  began to be consumed with fury and hate and fought Abarekiller as Abaremax, not wanting just to defeat him, but even to kill him, and he came very close to kill Nakadai, who nevertheless was rescued by Topgaler. 
However despite that defeat, he still wanted to play his sick games. When Rije became Rijewel, and began attacking Earth with her twisted plans, he was amused at first. However, once he's found out about the Cursed armor, he was fascinated by its power, and wanted to wield it to get that incredible destructive power. However, he didn't manage to get it, thanks to Mahoro's smart plan.
It was at that time that the Abarangers  did discover Mikoto Nakadai's background, as a child and then a man that was good at everything, but felt bored by it, since he wasn't able to find any challenge, and at the same time, didn't have friends or parents who loved him. At the same time, it was revealed that he was Dezumozorya's Another Earth host, who was dormant in him, and was the one responsible for his increased talents and, likely, his evil tendencies. At that time, Nakadai's body was more and more strained and weakened by his use of the Dino Brace, so much that Topgaler and Stegoslaidon refused to fight with him anymore. Desperate for power, he was delighted when Mikela and Voffa gave him his own Giganoid, Fumetsu. However, it was a trap, since that Gigianoid was designed to revive the Dezumozorya within him. After knowing about Mikoto's status as the evil god's host, the Abarangers tried to save Nakadai from the evil entity. When Lijewel , also desperate to save her beloved Mikoto, confirmed what the heroes have told him, and about Mikela and Voffa's plan, he was deeply infuriated at the way he's been used, and disgusted about having a foreign entity within him. The, he managed to stop the Dezumozorya within him from being revived, and joined the heroes into destroying the Giganoid.

At first he didn't want to join the heroes, but instead decided to fight the Evolian by himself. However, a little while later, after a fight against the very powerful Dragon/Gondola/Orchid, which he defeated with the Abaranger (his Wing Pentacle being able to combine with the four heroes's weapons as the Superior Dino Bomber), Mikoto had been so weakened that he fell unconscious, and was taken by Ryouga and his friends to the Dino House. At first, he wasn't very happy about having Ryouga and the other making him live there, bringing his stuff in the restaurant. However, after a fight during which he used his power with the other heroes to expell Dezumozorya from Lijewel's body, he eventually reluctantly accepted it. Unfortunately, it was at that time that he had to confront Dezumozorya again, who wanted to be whole again by getting his Another Half from his body. He managed to destroy the Dezumozorya within him, thanks to his and the other Abaranger's Dino Guts. Sadly, it was the presence of Dezumozorya who maintained him alive, and was keeping the destructive power of the Dino Brace at bay. Once gone, Nakadai began to bleed profusely, and his Dino Minder was about to explode. He asked TopGaler to take him to space, where the Dino Brace would explode without bringing damage to Japan, and then, he died with his partner in the huge explosion.

Yatsudenwani: a trinoid being a mix of a Japanese fatsia (Yatsude) a phone (Denwa) and a crocodile (wani). He can use his phone to call wherever he wants. He's been created by Mikela to bring terror to Another Earth people, but was soon defeated by Abarekiller before doing any harm. However, instead of being killed, he had been turned into Abarekiller's servant, housemaid and living phone. One day, after calling Mikela who was furious learning his creation had become an human's servant, he decided to regain his honor by defeating the Abarangers. However when Ranru/Abareyellow confronted him, he fell in love with her, to her utter disgust. Even if he tried to make her fall in love with him by singing songs for her and asking her for marriage, Ranru was so disgusted that the only thing she could do was running away. Fortunately for her, Abarekiller soon got him back and made him go back at his house. One day, he tried to eat Abarekiller when he was weakened after fighting Abaremax, but Lije thwarted that attempt. However, when Jeanne/ Mahoro told him that Abarekiller was Dezumozorya's host and was about to be sacrified to his resurrection, he was overjoyed and went out to see it happen. However, he's been captured by the Abarangers (as Mahoro intended when she told him, even helping in his capture from the Evolian base), who made him tell everything he knew, and were able to learn through him about Mikoto's status as the evil god's host. Afterwards, he stayed at the Dino House, eventually starting to befriend the people there, especially Mai, even if his perverted tendencies annoyed Ranru and Emiri. He felt so happy living with the heroes that he didn't want anymore to go back to the Evolian, and after the final battle, he stayed at the Dino House and worked there, as he had nowhere else to go. He eventually became the CEO of the Dino House.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Asuka and Mahoro: a couple torn by war and a cursed armor

As seen in the previous posts, a lot of the Abaranger's enemies are closely related to Asuka. Therefore, before writing more about Abaranger's villains, I'm going to first talk about one of the most important plots of Abaranger: the storyline between Asuka and Mahoro, with an important focus on the Legendary armor, who caused devastating effects in their story.

Asuka, and siblings Mizuho and Mahoro knew each other since they were children. Having to endure the hardships of a constant war against the Evolian, they suffered a lot, and Asuka often played the harmonica to cheer up Mizuho and Mahoro during the most difficult times. As they grew up, they fought together the Evolian, and Asuka and Mahoro ended up falling in love with each other, and eventually marrying. However, the day after their wedding night, Mizuho and Mahoro were sent in a big expedition against the Evolian in order to attack their headquarters and help the Ryujin win the war. Unfortunately, Mizuho and Mahoro didn't come back (it was later revealed that they had been captured by the Evolian, and brainwashed into fighting with them), and the Evolian launched a big counterattack. It was at that time that Asuka, desperate to save Mizuho and Mahoro, decided to use the forbidden power, the Legendary armor, to give himself enough power to be able to win against the enemy and save his wife and his friend.
However, Asuka didn't know at that time that he had released a weapon of mass destruction. Indeed the Legendary armor was cursed, and turned its owner into a mindless killing machine. The armor owner was unable to get rid of it, unless he was defeated, and then, the armor was passed on to the victor. After wielding the armor, he completely lost control and was overwhelmed by the armor's evil power. killing many of his fellow Ryujin comrades, until he has been defeated and left unconscious, without any memories of his time inside the armor.
Soon after being freed of the armor, Asuka became Abareblack and fought the Evolian when they began their invasion against Another Earth. However, during that fight, he became unable to transform into Abareblack anymore, and, when he came to Another Earth, had to seek warriors who had enough "Dino Guts" to become partners with the Bakuryuu and fight with the Abare suits.
It was soon revealed that the armor was in the possession of the Evolian, with the Messenger of darkness Geilton wielding it, and then passing it to Destruction Messenger Jeanne. At first, Jeanne fought Asuka using the armor, but at the time, Asuka didn't know the identity of the wielder of the armor. However, at the beginning, the armor didn't have enough power, and Asuka realized that the wielder of the armor was a woman, and soon, that this woman could be his beloved Mahoro. However, Jeanne denied being Mahoro, even making Asuka believe that she had killed Mahoro and taken up her body. As a result, Asuka's heart was filled by feelings of hate and revenge, that made him weaker against his enemies, and didn't allow him to use fully his powers as Abareblack. Even if he eventually had his deep desire for justice overcome his hate in his heart, he was deeply affected whenever he had to confront Jeanne, because he deeply hated her.

However, very soon, a mysterious girl began making contact with Asuka and Jeanne, and reminded them of their past, first reminding Jeanne of her love of Asuka as Mahoro. At the time, Jeanne was deeply confused by those memories, and responded to them with denial. The Mysterious girl soon made Asuka remember his past, notably his past as the wielder of the evil armor and its devastating consequences. A few weeks later, when Asuka was trying to get a new power to fight the Evolian (which was revealed to be the AbareMax power), Asuka met again the little girl, who made him fully confront his past and realize that he was the one who released the cursed armor and killed many of his friends, while completely controlled by it. Deeply consumed with remorse, Asuka decided to do his best to bring the new weapon to his comrades, while trying to find a way to defeat Jeanne and seal once and for all the evil armor. However, in his decisive fight against Jeanne, he realized at last that she was indeed his beloved Mahoro. Indeed, the mysterious girl knew that beneath Jeanne's hate and rage, there was a lot of pain, and she tried to help Jeanne overcome her pain by reminding her of her past. At last, Jeanne realized that Asuka never betrayed her, still loved her, and, as a result, she was able to become Mahoro again. However, she was still possessed by the armor, which filled her with rage and destructive impulses, and Asuka had no choice than to defeat her and receive again the evil armor. After the Anomalocaris's explosion, Asuka was stuck into the evil armor, trying to control its power, but unfortunately, often ended being possessed by it, and soon began to fight indiscriminately friend or foe, unable to free himself from the armor.

When Mahoro got her memory back, she went to meet Asuka, but soon realized that even if she was able to make him realize her presence, he was unable to control the destructive power of the armor. However, thanks to Styracosaurus, she realized that the armor could be destroyed if the wielder of the armor was defeated by two people at the same time, and decided to become back Jeanne and use Mikoto Nakadai's lust for power to lure him into helping her defeat Asuka,  and destroy the armor. However since she was pretending to be an Evolian agin, she was forced to fight her beloved husband, while at the same time,  using her Ryujin claws to make him know that she was still on his side, but had no choice but becoming Jeanne again, and return to the Evolian. After that time, she did everything she could to help the heroes in their fight. She managed to tell them through Yatsudenwani what was happening to Mikoto, and how to expell Dezumozorya from Lijewel's body. However, soon, Dezumozorya learned of her treachery. After being able to save her daughter from the evil god, she was taken captive by him on the Evolian headquarters. During  the final fight, Mahoro told Asuka that to finish defeating Dezumozorya, he had to destroy the Evolian fortress, and quickly, otherwise, Earth would be destroyed. At the time Mahoro was consumed by guilt, and didn't feel she deserved to live after all the evil she's done, killing her brother, mercilessly fighting Asuka and trying to destroy Earth. However, Asuka was unable to leave her, and went into the fortress to save her.

 However Dezumozorya's hate made him took the appearance of the Evil armor, that both lovers feared so much. During the fight, the evil god almost managed to defeat the two lovers, taking advantage of their huge feelings of guilt over the evil deeds they've done. However, Ranru/ Abareyellow, who wished with all her heart to see Asuka and Mahoro being together again, couldn't stand seeing them leaving themselves to die, and reminded them that they had a child that they couldn't abandon because of their remorse, and that they had to fight for her. Learning that, and seeing Ranru's deep feelings, Asuka and Mahoro found the strength to survive and defeat the evil power, and, at last, managed to get out and the fortress. After Dezumozorya has been defeated once and for all, Asuka and Mahoro returned with the Bakuryuu in Dino Earth, to rebuild the devastated planet and bring a better future for their child that they've called Mikoto (in honor of Mikoto Nakadai/ Abarekiller). Three years later, Asuka and Mahoro still live together in Dino Earth and they've had a second child together.

Abaranger part 3: villains (second part)

2) Evolian part 2: the renegade Ryujin

Among the Evolian,  there were some Dino Earth people who have been deceived into fighting for them, and became bitter enemies of the Abarangers. In an even more cruel twist, those renegade Ryujin were pretty closely related to Asuka/Abareblack.

a) Messenger of darkness Geilton
He was the one who lead the first attack against Another Earth, first by using the brainwashed Bakuryuu Tyranno, Tricera and Ptera into attacking Tokyo, then, once the Bakuryuu have been freed from him, by using the Anomalocaris ship to invade the city. He also fought the Abarangers by himself using the Legendary Armor. However, thanks to Abarenoh, his attack failed, and he was seemingly killed by Jeanne for his failure. However, it has been later revealed that he was none other than Mizuho, Jeanne/ Mahoro's brother, who has been captured and brainwashed into believing Asuka had betrayed them, and that, since he was also seriously injured after his defeat, he asked Jeanne to finish him, in order to her to inherit the power of the evil armor.

Messenger of destruction Jeanne: She was fromerly known as Mahoro, Mizuho's little sister and Asuka's true love, and then wife. She has known Asuka since she was a child, and originally fought with him against the Evolian. However, after she's been captured by the Evolian, she has been deceived by Dezumozorya into believing that Asuka has abandoned her and went with another woman, and the evil God forcibly entered part of him into her body. After giving birth to a child, Mahoro discarded her name and became the evil Messenger Jeanne, obsessed with getting revenge against Asuka and destroying Another Earth. She also used the Legendary armor in her fights. At first, the weakened power of the armor didn't allow her to use it as long as she wished, but she soon restored the full armor's power by attacking Another Earth and collecting the tears of Another Earth people. However, she never felt close to the others fellow Evolian, mostly fighting alone, usually against Asuka, with whom she has a bitter rivalry. She had also a strong rivalry with Abarekiller, which she confronted several times, and she was the first to notice that something was wrong about him. Eventually, she confronted Asuka in a last big showdown, using a second Anomalocaris ship and Barurigenia. However, it was during that fight that Asuka realized that his enemy was none other than his beloved wife. Despite that, Asuka was forced to defeat Jeanne, while at the same time, the second Aomalocaris was destroyed in an explosion.
However, it was soon revealed that Jeanne didn't die in the explosion, but has returned to her original self

Mahoro: after surviving the Anomalocaris explosion, she lost her memory, and was found by the Abarangers. After discovering her identity and realizing that she wasn't their enemy anymore  the Abaranger and their friend had her stay at the Dino-House. During her stay there, she worked as an employee and befriended the Abaranger and their friends, notably little Mai,  even sometimes helping them from headquarters in the fight against the Evolian, while slowly recovering her memory. Her memory has been fully restored once she saw Asuka on the screen, when it has been revealed that he was the one wearing the Legendary armor after her defeat. After meeting and being injured with Asuka, she realized that he was completely unable to free himself from the armor and decided to come back to the Evolian and become Jeanne again. However, she was still on the heroes's side, and she used her position to elaborate a strategy to free her husband and destroy the armor, by using Abarekiller. Afterwards, she stayed among the Evolian as a spy to collect as much information she could to help the Abaranger defeat the Evolian and to save her daughter.

Messenger of Dawn, Lije: A little girl, who is Dezumozorya's host on Dino Earth and who use her as a vessel to send his orders to his servants. She is Mahoro's daughter, born after Mahoro had forcibly recieved some of Dezumozorya's essence in her, and after being born as a baby, she quickly grew up as a little girl. She's  able to make anything cross the dimensions from Dino Earth to Another Earth through her kiss; she therefore the one who sends the Trinoids, the Giganoids, but also Abarekiller and Jeanne to attack Another Earth. When she isn't possessed by Dezumozorya, she behaves like a sweet girl, always there to cheer up her follow Evolian partners. However, she ends up being fed up being merely being Dezumozorya's vessel and sending monsters, and she looked for more to fulfill her life. She soon met Mikoto Nakadai/Abarekiller, and developed a crush on him. She first tried to make him interested in her by allowing him to go to Dino Earth and giving him the opportunity to become the Evolian's leader, but soon she realized that with her child body, Abarekiller would be less interested with her. That's why she did everything to try to develop a nice body. And, finally, at last, she succeeded, becoming

Lijewel. As Lijewel, she had young woman's body, and gained a lot of power. She called herself, the Evolian Queen, and decided to be involved in evil plans on Earth, even fighting herself the Abarangers, while still seducing Mikoto, and developing jealousy feelings towards any woman who might get Mikoto away from her, including Jeanne. However, soon enough, when Mikoto has been revealed as Dezumozurya's Another Earth tone she realized that Mikela and Voffa wanted to bring Dezumozorya back, even if it was at the cost of Mikoto's life, and she helped to twart Dezumozzorya's full restoration by telling Mikoto how Mikela and Voffa used him to wake up the part of Dzumozorya that was dormant in him. However, soon afterwards, the part of Dezumozorya that was inside her took over her body, and she lost control of it, only to briefly regain control in desperate cases,  like when she was able to stop the evil God when he tried to kill Mikoto.

However, even if Lije/ Lijewel, as Dezumozorya's host, was tainted by his evil presence, part of her soul was able to escape Dezumozorya's influence.

That part of her soul took the appearance of a mysterious girl, that had a similar appearance as Lije. At first, she mostly appeared during the fights between Asuka and Jeanne, trying to keep them from killing each other by making them remember the past. She was able to freely get out of Lije's body and come back in it, after wandering on Another Earth. However, when Lije grew herself up into Lijewel, she wasn't able to get back anymore in Lijewel's body, and went to Another Earth and chose Mai as her body host. She soon befriended little Mai, becoming like a big sister for her, and then, the other people at Dino House. She still tried to help Mahoro and the Abarangers, and at the end, was revealed as the "light of miracle", which, once the five Abaranger used all their powers, expelled Dezumozorya from Lijewel's body, making her turn back into a baby, who was Mahoro's daughter, but also Asuka's. Indeed, she was conceived during Mahoro and Asuka's wedding night, and Dezumozorya invaded a pregnant Mahoro to put his essence in her unborn child.

Abaranger part 3: villains (first part)

Abaranger had a very diverse cast of villains. It must be mentioned that a lot of Abaranger villains have changed sides during the series, so the "villain" section overlaps with the "allies" section.
The main villain group was the "Evolian", which are initially amoeba-like entities, that  came from the meteorite which fell on Earth 65 million years ago. However, the Evolian also included renegade Ryujin. Moreover, midseries, an evil ranger, Abarekiller, appeared and became a very dangerous adversary against the heroes.

I'll separate the "villain" section in three parts
The main villains are the Evolian 

1-1) Evolian: the amoeba-like creatures

a) Dezumozorya

The Big Bad of the series, he's the Evolian God, a parasitic like entity which doesn't have a definite appearance, and lives through diverse hosts. When the meteorite fell on Earth, he was split in two parts, one part in Dino Earth, the other in Another Earth. The Dino Earth part was the leader behind the Evolian invasion, and at the beginning of the series, had the "Tree of Life" as its host. However, when two Ryujin warriors were captured, including Mahoro, a pregnant woman, he forcibly entered a part of him into Mahoro's body her unborn child. Once born, that child became a mobile host for Dezumozorya, and his vessel to give orders and punish his subordinates  Dezumozorya's aim is to assimilate all life in himself, and he doesn't hesitate to cruelly punish his followers when they fail, and, generally speaking he doesn't care for anyone, but himself, and will sacrifice even his most devoted servants if necessary. However, being split in two had weakened a lot Dezumozorya, and he had often to stay in a dormant state. It has been revealed late in the series that the "Another Earth" part of Dezumozorya was inside Mikoto Nakadai. Once Dezumozorya came in contact with his second half, he became more powerful, and did everything to become one again. His main weakness are "Dino Guts" who weakens him a lot and are able to destroy his "evil life" essence. During the last episodes of the series, he used very different hosts, that he has no hesitation to discard when they were not useful anymore (first Lijewel, then fusing with Mikela and Voffa), to try to destroy the heroes, but, eventually, after several battles, the last one during which he used the Evolian base at his body and tried to destroy life on Another Earth by preventing the sunlight to reach it with hundreds of Anomalicaris ships,  he's been completely destroyed by the heroes and the Bakuryuu when they sent all their Dinoguts to defeat him. As an ultimate act of cruelty, he tried to take in death with him the heroes and the Bakuryu, but fortunately, thanks to Yukito's plan, he failed again for the last time.

b) The Messengers, and Monster makers (with brief descriptions of the Monsters of the week)

Creative Messenger Mikela: he's a painter, and he's pretty devoted to his master. He is the one who makes the "Trinoids", thanks to his painting brush, which he uses to draw three parts, a plant part, an animal part and an object part, and then, uses a fruit from the "Tree of Life" to give it life as an human sized monster. Trinoids are named after the plant, object and animal that were drawn to make it. When a Trinoid is defeated, the Tree of life create a rain that resurrects it as a giant.
He's obsessed with making masterpieces Trinoids, even if his aesthetics tastes are pretty controversial, even among his fellow Evolians (notably Voffa). He has a friendly rivalry with Voffa, and boasts at being more efficient than him in creating monsters. In episode 24, he's shown a curious side, and he seems interested in discovering stuff about Another Earth and its creatures and technology. He's also shown an affable side of his personality, which is shown in his interaction with Rije and in episode 24, with the high school girls. At the end of the series, he was forced to fuse with Voffa to become Dezumozorya's host, as Dezumovora, and fought the Abaranger in that form. However, at the end, Dezumovora was defeated by Abarekiller and Killeroh, with Dezumozorya leaving him and Voffa to die.

Visionary Messenger Voffa: he's a composer, who creates Giganoids, giant entities,  by playing music in a keyboard ( actually music coming from famous classical symphonies; the Giganoids are named after the symphony which music was used to create him) and using a fruit of the "three of life".  Like Mikela, he's very devoted to his master. His giganoids have he specificity of being able to be in giant form as soon as they're created, but they can also sometimes show a smaller appearance (like the "tragic Giganoids") or hide into big objects ( "Miracle" Giganoids hid into a ship, and "Tragic" took the appearance of a church).  He's also able to create other big machines out of its music, like the Anomalocaris 2 and the Unstoppable connection life ship Barurigenia, to be used to attack Another Earth.
Voffa only wants to compose the best music ; as such, it takes a lot of time and effort for him  to create Giganoids. Like Mikela, he's shown a curious, and even affable side that is shown in his interactions with Rije and when he visited Another Earth. At the end of the series, he was forced to fuse with Mikela to become Dezumozorya's host, Dezumovora, and suffered the same fate as his comrade, when he was Dezumovora was defeated by Abarekiller and KillerOh, and he was left to die as Dezumozorya fled back to Dino Earth.

The Barmia soldiers: they are the Evolian's amoeba-like foot soldiers; there are two types: the black Gelru and the white Zolru.

The Evolian's headquarters.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Abaranger review: part 2: allies

2) Abaranger's allies

Emiri Imanaka/ Emi Pon: a high school girl that has been able to hear the Bakuryuu when they came to Earth. However, she hasn't been able to become an Abaranger, because her body wasn't strong enough.  Of course, in her heart, she still wanted to be an Abaranger, even making an home made Abarepink costume, but she well understood that she couldn't. However, she's still doing her best to help the heroes the best she's able to, looking after Mai when Ryouga had to fight, cheering them up when they needed it, being assisting them from headquarters, and even sometimes, being involved in battles (like when the Abarangers and her had to rescue her high school friend from a Torinoid, or being a bait in the bride kidnapping plot). During her time with the Abaranger, she began to grow feelings towards Yukito, and finally became her assistant, and, eventually, her wife.
Ryunosuke Sugishita: the owner of the Dino House, a dinosaur themed restaurant. Like Emiri, he was able to hear the Bakuryu's voice, but hadn't been able to become an Abaranger, because of his body limitations. However, he's the one who gives the Abaranger a home and a job in his restaurant, and allow them to have his restaurant becoming the abaranger's headquarters, as well as assisting them with Emiri. As an old man with a lot of experience, he's always ready to give wise advice to the young heroes, especially during difficult times. Because of his experience during the war, he's able to relate to Asuka/ Abareblack, who suffered huge trauma because of all he's been through in Dino Earth. Bur Ryunosuke is also a very cheerful man, who is still young at heart and still wants to have fun. 

Mai Hakua: Ryouga's five year old niece. She became an orphan when her parents died in a car accident, and had her uncle Ryouga becomes her guardians. Despite that tragic past, she's a very cheerful girl, who loves her uncle a lot. Even if she may at times behave like a spoiled little girl, she usually does her best to make her adoptive father happy and cheering him and the others Abarangers.

 The Dino House: Ryunosuke's restaurant, where the heroes live and work as part timers,
and which is also their secret base

Yokota san: a regular customer at the Dino House