Sunday, January 20, 2013

Timeranger: a very atypical plot

I've been rewatching Timeranger, and I think that, among sentai series, that one has a very different focus than all the others.
Almost all Super Sentai series are about defeating the main villain group to protect Earth and bring back peace on earth (and the Universe).
However, in Timeranger, even if, at first glance, it is about defeating the Londarz to protect Earth, after watching the finale, you realize that the real plot concerning the heroes isn't about protecting earth, but rather, be able to choose their own destiny.
When you look at the heroes, you see how much the theme of destiny is important for them:
-Tatsuya/ TimeRed: he feels like he can't escape his fate of being his father's successor in the Asami group; despite that, he tries to find a different way to live, a way that's his own way (the Tomorrow Research) and not what his family decides for him; a lot of episodes deal with that theme, and how it influences his relationship with his dad. Timeranger is a lot about how Tatsuya is gonna find his way, and choose his fate.
- Ayase/Timeblue: he's got a disease, which forced him to give up his racing career and he's only got one or two years to live: despite that, he decides to choose to live the way he wants; even if his life isn't gonna be very long, he's gonna choose the way to live the time he's got.
Naoto/ Timefire: it's interesting to see how he wants to climb the social ladder, despite his poor upbringing, that made him suffer; by becoming Timefire and  the City Guardians leader, he wants to change his social fate, by being close to powerful people and get power that way
Shion and Yuuri have both had an event early in their lives that had an huge impact on their destiny (Shion losing his planet, and being raised in a lab on Earth; Yuuri losing her family to Dolnero, and, as a result, becoming a cop to follow her father's footsteps and bring her family's murderers to justice), and have to live with it and find their way
- and then we have Domon, who falls in love with Honomi-san and has to make choices about how to deal with that, despite being from a different era from them.
Let's review Timeranger's villains, and look how they're different from the standard sentai villain group:
-Dolnero: despite beign a cruel and ruthless gangster, he's just that, a gangster who wants to gain money, but not destroying or taking over the world: his role in the big plots during the series is pretty limited, and he doesn't condone Gien's destruction, but when Gien goes to far, he tries to stop him. Moreover, he doesn't really care about what is gonna happen to the Londarz prisoners he's released. Lila is merely his moll, and nothing else
Despite being the apparent Big Bad, Dolnero doesn't have the evilness of sentai Big Bads
-Gien : he fits more the role of Big Bad and he's the one making the most destructive plans: and he's the final villain who id defeated; however, he has a very tragic backstory, and it's arguable if he's really responsible of all the horrors he's been doing. Moreover, the final plot shows clearly that he seems to be very important in the making of history, and that's why, after Dolnero incapacitated him, he's been released by
- Captain Ryuuya: as the one being pulling the strings of the plot, and the one who was the mastermind of all that happened in the show, he seems to be a real Big Bad. And why has he done all that stuff? to save his life. However, it's forgetting the important fact that he wanted to save his life without otherwise changing history and also protecting the 30th century, which means that, had he done nothing, events would have been pretty as destructive as they have been with him pulling the strings; perhaps even worse, since apparently, had he done nothing, Yuuri, Domon, Ayase and Shion would have died. One could say that Ryuuya is responsible for Naoto's death; but Naoto has been choosing his fate of his own free will.

Even if the Timeranger, for most of the series, were fighting criminals to protect Japan from them, the big scale fight was pretty beyond them, and when you look at the final episode, there's no way to know if the Blue, Pink, Green and Yellow's decision was the best for the world; but it was their choice, and that's what was important. More than defeating the villains, I feel that the real aim of the Timeranger was the possibility to be able to choose their destiny.

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