Sunday, February 10, 2013
My final review of Go-Busters
1) The heroes
-Hiromu/ Red Buster: Definitely a very worthy hero character. even if his weakness "the chicken stuff" is definitely silly, fortunately, it's the only thing that is about Hiromu. As a hero, Hiromu never stops showing his determination to fight, even despite his big sister's fears. His bravery, deep resolve to fight makes him a true hero. Moreover, he manages not to be the traditional "Red ranger", by having a very blunt character, telling people how they are annoying to him. However, it seems that through the series, that bluntness is toned down, and he manages to be more likable. The fact that he's been shown to disguise as a clown to bring fun to th children confirms that, despite his bluntness, there is a heart of gold beneath. As the Red Ranger, he' s the one who has the most powerful rivalry with Enter, and when there is a rivalry between a great hero and a great villain, it makes an awesome an powerful rivalry. Lastly, Hiromu, more than Ryuji and Yoko, understands the most how painful sacrifices are sometimes needed to the greater good. In the two big climaxes of the series, he's the one who accepts first to make those sacrifices, and he's the one who's the most involved in them. To sum up, Hiromu is a true Red ranger hero, and he shows it when confronted with situations that few former Red Rangers had to confront. Congrats, Kobayashi, for a great character
-Ryuji/ Blue Buster: the big brother figure. Unlike Hiromu and Yoko, his weakness is very interesting, because as he becomes a berserker when overheated, making him become a real destruction machine, it brings real drama during the fights, because when he's overheating, not only he can put his teammates in danger, but it can threaten his life too. It's especially true when Escape is involved, because she wants him to become that way for her fun. Even if he's the big brother figure of the three first Go-Busters, he unfortuntely doesn't get much focus, and because Hiromu is the one who displays the typical "second in command" personality, he appears as somewhat bland.
-Yoko/ Yellow Buster : the youngest of the team and the only girl. She shows the typical characteristics shown in both the "child " and "girl" members of a sentai team. Her weakness " her need for sweets, otherwise she can't move" is a mildy interesting one, but not bad. As the youngest, she's the one who is the most forced to grow up during the series, both by having to be confroned by the fights, the sacrifices, and Ryuji's overheated personality. Even if she undoubtly grows up during that year, she doesn't have that much focus during the series, but the character is reasonably well written for what she is; however she isn't a very memorable sentai heroine.
- Jin Masato/ Beet Buster : Ryuji's mentor, he was involved in the tragic event that makes the core storyline of the series. Even if he's managed not to be completely sucked into Messiah, unlike Hiromu and Yoko's parents, his body has however been partially been afftected, and he's forced to stay in a capsule, appearing as an avatar and fighting with the others as Beet Buster, thanks to his Buddyroid J. When he appears, he shows a pretty fun personality, joking around, showing a reckless personality and he's a strong contrast with the serious tone of the other Go-Busters. He always wants to have the spotlight, and whenever J tries to upstage him, he shows J his annoyance about that. However, it's obvious that beneath this playful personality, he's in fact very aware of the horror of his situation, which is only a little better than the other EMC's fate; in episode 34, J reveals that the most Jin acts silly, the most he suffers, and that it's his way to cope with his situation. Even if he suffers from a lack of focus during the series, since his real situation is only sparingly shown (we only see his real body for the first time in episode 30, we see the sorry state of its body in episode 40, and the series only deals with his status during the finale), fortunately, the finale more than makes up for it, and he's the one who brings the most emotion during that finale. He's well aware that he has to be sacrificed to allow the others to finish Enter, and, like the EMC staff in episode 30, he's the one who makes the Busters realize the improtance of painful sacrifices. Even if he descibes his situation while smiling, it's most than obvious that that smile is full of pain, and it's thanks to Jin and his selfless sacrifice that Go-Busters has such a climactic and emotional finale.
2) The Buddyroids
Chida Nick (cheetah like robot) : Hiromu's buddyroid, who is able to become a bike : he's the one who's been involved with raising Hiromu. Even is he always shows deep concern and care about Hiromu, he often is showsn as a pretty silly character, notably with his complete sense of direction. However, he's manages to be an average character
Gorisaki (gorilla like robot): Ryuji's Buddyroid andprobably one of the most annoying characters, because of his worrywart personality. He doesn't really have very interesting development .
Usada (rabbit like robot) : Yoko's Buddyroid, and a smartass who never hesitates to tell about the silly side of her. Like Gorisaki,, he doesn't get much deveolpment either, even if he's slightly less annoying.
Chida, Gorisaki and Usada are usually staying in the base, but starting with episode 33, they've been involved in the fights as the Powered Morphins
- Beet J Stag (beetle like robot)/ Stag Buster : Jin's Buddyroid. Despite being a robot, he has one of the most interesting and fun personalities in the show. He's completely egocentric, seemingly only caring about himself, wanting to show off, keeping a serious tone even when he's doing pretty silly stuff. As the comically serious, he's bringing a lot of laughs during the series. However, like Jin, J has hidden depths. Despite being apparently egocentric, several episodes, especially the finale, show how much he cares for Jin, and how he suffers when he sees Jin putting himself in danger, and how he doesn't want him to play with his life. As the finale shows, he's been deeply affected by Jin's sacrifice, and misses him very much.
3) Supporting cast:
Energy Maintenance Center crew
Takeshi Kuroki: the leader of the team: he's a pretty classic commander figure, and he's very serious and ready to do everything to eradicate the Vaglass threat. Unfortunately, he doesn't show more development
Toru Morishita and Miho Nakamura : the two assistants, they're the ones who are detecting the appearances of the Metaloids and Megazords; they pretty much play a "communication officer" role, and they don"t have much development beyond that.
Hiromu's sister : she's very reluctant to have her brother fight the Vaglass, but she's forced to accept it, notably because of her brother's determination to fight. In the few episodes we're seeing her, she's shown as a somewhat overprotective figure, but eventually a likable one
4) The Villains
The Vaglass: one thing that I've been enjoying is that most of the Vaglass have been played by face actors (human looking villains) instead of suit actors
Messiah: the apparent Big Bad virus responsible of the tragic events which starts the storyline: he's the virus which tried to turn everything into his own data the day of Christmas, 13 years before the beginning of the series, and he's only been stopped by being sent to hyperspace by Hiromu's Messiah is shown mostly as a red skull full of data: he always seems to be angry, with a completel lust for destruction, and has a pretty childish personality. Eventually, it's obvious that Messiah isn't a really interesting Big Bad, more a destructive force than anything else : the true main villain and real Big Bad of the series is of course
Enter: an avatar made by Messiah from various data. He's the one who is the mastemind of every plot during the whole series, and he's pretty much a one man army. He's the one who creates most of the Metaloids, and as a result, the Megazords, and in the first half of the series, he's involved in helping Messiah have enough energy to get out of Hyperspace. He's shown as a pretty competent villain, beign able to get some victories during the first half of the series, to make a new type of Megazord. He's also a very active vilain, often being involved in fights against the heroes. He at first shows a playful personality, especially by a huge use of gratuitous French. However, whenever he feels that he's been outsmarted, his playful side disappears, and he shows very powerful feelings of rage and hate. He has a very high opinion of himself, eventually wanting to become the perfect human, the most perfect creature in the world, and whenever he underestimates his enemies, he tries to discover why to be able to be even stronger against them. Indeed, he realized, when Hiromu decided to sacrifice his family to shut down Messiah a first time in hyperspace, how he's underestimated Red Buster's determination, and how he understood the spirit of sacrifice of the former EMC team trapped in Messiah, even when it involved his father. As a result, he decided a new plan, with the Messiah cards allowing him to get data from people, to understand them better and use that data to make him the strongest being in the world. After watching Escape getting a powerup, he gets also one for himself. Enter has a very powerful rivalry with Red Buster; he's fascinated by him, so much that he manages to become a twisted version of Red Buster, and of all humans, it's Hiromu's data he seeks the most, and succeed to get, managing to become a twisted version of Red As a very smart villain, he put a Messiah card inside of Hiromu's body, deeply aware that it would be safe there, so he's able to come back even if he's seemingly destroyed. When he reveals the Busters Hiromu's status as a back up, he knows he's putting the heroes in a very difficult dilemma, even if Hiromu has shown to be able to do the ultimate sacrifice. However, he once again underestimated the powerful spirit of sacrifice of the heroes, and notably, Jin Masato's, a character he never really focused about, and that mistake eventually became his downfall.
Even if Enter's development has shown a few inconsistencies, notably because of the big changes Go-Busters underwent in the middle of the series, for the most part, Enter has been shown as a very powerful villain, one of the most well done and intense sentai villains of the sentai franchise.
Escape: a female avatar created form diverse data, appearing in the middle of the series. She's been created by Messiah, and displays mostly two personalities traits: a big lust to intense fighting, with powerful opponents, and a big devotion to her Papa. As a result, she's always ready to directly fight her opponents She even is able to get more powerful, because of both those elements. Her lust for fights proves to be very dangerous for Ryuji, because she enjoys a lot fighting him in his beserker overheated state, Unfortunately, she never really manages to show herself as a true game changer, because her personality never goes beyond her lust to fight and Papa love, and as such, it's still Enter who remains the only true main villain of the series. Enter doesn't like her, but is well aware she may be useful, and mostly tolerates her. She eventually is revealed to only be used a sa pawn by both Messiah and Enter, and at the end, is more seen as a corrupted program than anything else. Because at the end of the series, she's been repeatly shut down and then resurrected, her defeats feels pretty anticlimactic, and it eventually made her look like a weak villainess
- The Metaloids (and Messiah Metaloids): robotic like opponents, made from objects from everyday life infected by the Metavirus: they rarely showed very interesting personalities, and were pretty seen as Enter's mere tools.
- The Megazords: one interesting twist of Go-Busters was, instead of having the small villain being turned big, to have giant robots being made at the same time as the Metaloid, using first three basic models (alpha, beta, Gamma), and adding some of the Metaloid's design. Enter eventually managed to make another type, the Delta type, based on BC-04 's design, but it didn't really bring a lot more. Lastly, Enter and Escape have been able to have their own type of Zords. It allowed an interesting situation where some of the hereos were fighting the big Megazord, when the others were fighting the human sized Metaloid.
-The robotic buglers mooks were reasonably well done
5) The action and mechas
I'm not the best to review the "action and technical side" of a sentai series. However, I can say that the action was pretty well done, with nice fights, notably the ones between the heroes and Enter.
The mechas: the series decided to use both the animal and vehicle motifs, with each mecha having both a vehicle mode and an animal mode (Cheetah/Car (CB 01), Gorilla/ Truck (GT-02), Rabbit/Helicopter (RH-03), Rhinoceros beetle/ Crane (BC-04), Stag Beetle/Jet (SJ-05), and Lion/Bike (LT-06 ;Tategami Lioh); the movie had also a frog/ submarine (FS 0O) which also appeared in an episode) ; besides, CB 01, BC-04 and LT-06 being able to be big robots. If the robots made from one robots did look pretty fine, especially Go-Buster Ace or Go-Buster Lioh, unfortunately, most of the big robot using more than one mecha, like Go-Buster-Oh, Great Go-Buster, or Go-Buster king, looked pretty bulky and were more often than not pretty ugly looking
6) Storyline and episodes:
And here is the biggest issue with Go-Busters: even if it had a very powerful and very emotional storyline, the series suffers from very badly done storytelling that really harms a lot the series. It proves that Kobayashi has a lot of trouble handling a 50 episode long story, as Go-Busters suffered a lot at first from plot stalling. Besides, the more than likely executive meddling made it even worse.
Basic storyline: At Christmas day, 13 years before the beginning of the series, a computer virus, Messiah, became completely berserk,and threatened to destroy the world by assimilating everything aroung it. To stop Messiah, the Energy Management Center didn't have any choice than bringing Messiah and the whole Energy Management Center (EMC) building, including themselves, into an alternate dimension, while, at the same time, three kids, including two of the children of some of the Energy Management Center were sent from that dimension to the real world with special abilities to be able to fight Messiah and his underlings, the Vaglass, as the Go-Busters. That basic storyline shows amazing potential, with the heroes having a deep and personal motivation to fight, because of how they've been personally affected by the Vaglass and how they hoped to save their families. Unfortunately, after episode 1, the series seemed to go pretty nowhere, with the most notable story arc, Enter trying to make a new type of Megazord having a very anticlimactic conclusion. In my opinion, the series suffered a lot of having only ONE meaningful villain (Enter) during the first 21 episodes, because it made the series look pretty repetitive, since Enter had almost noone to interact with. Moreover, the intro arc of Beet Buster and Stag Buster felt pretty lacking, because it hasn't been done in a very climactic way. Even the arrival of Escape, while bringing a little more diversity in the villain cast, couldn't really avoid the feeling that nothing really meaningful happened during that first half of the series. And then we have episode 29 and 30, when the core plot of the series, the fight against Messiah is dealt in a pretty rushed way; episode 30, with the heroes having to make the ultimate sacrifice, and, pretty much, basically concluding the main plot of the series, looked pretty much like a series finale, which is not really appropriate when you're in the middle of the series. The fact that a two part episode crossover with Gavan just after episode 30, without any time to deal with how the heroes coped with what happened after that powerful arc, made it even worse. To finish the series, a new plot, the "Messiah cards" plot, with Enter as a central character, has been introduced out of nowhere, with Enter revealing that it has made Messiah's back up cards. During the second half of the series, fortunately, the plot stalls much less, with the heroes and villains getting Power ups, intense fights and of course, a five episode final arc which ended to be very powerful. However, it doesn't prevent the series to still have some problematic storytelling problems, mostly caused by the fact that Go-Busters had too few main villains, and, as a result uses too much the "seemingly killed, then going back to life" plot trick, that eventually feels very tiring, especially with Escape. Escape alos suffers from never having been a true challenge to Enter's supermacy among the Vaglass.
Except the Escape part, the five episode final arc of the series was amazingly well done, showing Enter as a very worthy Big Bad. A very good point however of Go-Busters is the fact that it avoids the "Happy ending feeling", in both the finales; okay, the world is saved, but the Busters have failed to save, first their parents, and then, Jin. It brings a very bittersweet feeling, and it makes the endings (both of them) very realistic and sincere.
Go-Busters is a show that had an amazing potential, with very powerful storyline, and some very well done characters. However the series suffered a lot from huge storytelling problems, which unfortunately really harms the quality of the series, with plenty of plot stalling and some repetitive plots ; the Gavan crossover was especially pretty pointless. The series seems to be in two parts, each one having a plot, and the two parts are somexhat inconsistents with each other; if making Messiah's back ups was so easy, why only do it so late? It's obvious that the "Messiah card" plot wasn't planned a the beginning. Moreover, it even makes Enter's loyality towards Messiah feel inconsistent: in the first half, he's annoyed by Messiah, but is mostly loyal to him, while in the second part, he only sees Messiah as a tool. It would be understandable if he wished the Go-Busters to shut down the big Messiah in episode 29-30, but he never shows such desire, and even fight the heroes very strongly. Besides, having basically two "season finale like arcs" feels very awkward, and episode 50, despite being a very powerful and gripping episode, feels somewhat very similar to episode 30, especially with the dilemma that the heros have to confront. That said, by choosing to have a bittersweet ending instead of a happy one was a very fine idea: Jin's sacrifice in episode 50 was pretty unexpected, and it really brought even more emotion.
My final score for Go-Buster is C ; awesome potential, but very very flawed execution. It's especially annoying because Go-Busters has been revealed to be unpopular, which means that Kyoryuger unfortunately might be too goofy, because Toei is gonna be afraid to use Go-Busters like stuff ( it's especially a shame, since Go-Busters could have been the first year with the big come back of mostly human looking villains in the sentai franchise).
Hope you're gonna enjoy that review