Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hurricanger: a very plot driven sentai series

Ninpu Sentai Hurricanger: the 26th Super Sentai series.
On Earth, there were two important rival ninja schools: the Hayate school  and the Ikazichi school. However, one day, a group of Space ninjas, the  Jakanja, came to earth in order to make it rot, and bring out a mysterious yet powerful force, called "that" ("are" in Japanese). In order to avoid trouble, they decided to wipe out the Earth ninjas, and pretty much killed almost all ninjas of the two schools, except three young ninja students who were outside the school at that time. Those three young ninjas quickly found the director of their school, Mugensai,  which had changed himself into an hamster to escape being destroyed. They quickly joined their teacher's daughter, Oboro, a technology genius, in a secret hideout and there, became the Hurricanger, the heroes of the Hayate school, and with the help of their teacher, his daughter, animal shaped mechas (a Red hawk, a Yellow Lion and a Blue Dolphin shaped mechas) that can fuse into a robot, Senpuujin, and some other weapons, they began to fight the Jakanja to protect Earth.
A few word about the heroes:
-Yousuke/ Hurricanered : a pretty hot blooded, not very smart but well meaning young man, who does various little jobs to earn his life, like working in a bakery, construction work or cleaning windows
- Nanami/ Hurricaneblue: a young girl with singing skills, which she uses for her job
- Kouta/ Hurricaneyellow : a young man who woks at a daycare center and is very protective of his little sister.

They're helped by their ninja master, Mugensai Hinata, who is stuck in his hamster form: he's well meaning, but sometimes absent-minded, and at times, he seems to hide stuff from his students and daughter. Oboro Hinata, Mugensai's daughter, is the one involved in all the technology stuff, and she's always ready to make new weapons to help the heroes. She has a sarcastic personality, and her favorite target is her dad. But she's very kind, and can show a very fun personality as well.

However, Hurricanger is very storyline driven, and I'll mostly talk about the other characters when describing the storyline.

Hurricanger is pretty much divided into three main arcs, and I'll describe the other characters and the villains while describing the arcs. I'll especially focus on the roles of each villain  during each part, since they're the ones who mostly drive the storyline

1)  Part 1: the Gouraiger conflict

That arc starts with episode 1 and ends with episode 19.
After wiping out the ninjas school, the Jakanja started to try to make Earth rot, but they had to confront the Hurricanger, who did everything to thwart their plans. However, at the time, they didn't know that two brother of the Ikazuchi school had also survived the Jakanja attack, and had become another team: the Gouraigers, with the elder brother Ikkou being the crimson red Kabuto Raijer and his little brother Isshu the navy blue Kuwaga Raiger. However, at that time, the Gouraigers weren't allies with the heroes, and that first part focuses a lot on the conflict between the Hurricanger and Gouraigers. During that time, the Jakanja began trying to destroy earth and used the rivalry between the Earth ninjas to their benefit. However, at the end, the Gouraigers became the allies of the Hurricanger, and the arc ends with the defeat of one of the Jakanja generals, the Second Spear Chuuzubo

Antagonists during the first part :

Jakanja: Tao Zanto : leader of the Jakanja
Tao Zanto during that time had five generals: the Darkness  Spears (which are seven when all together, but were just five at that time): First Spear Furabijou, Second Spear Chuuzubo, Thrid Spear Manmaruba, Fourth Spear Wendinu, and Fifth Spear Sargain

Others : the Gouraijers, Kabuto Raiger, Kuwaga Raiger
During that first part, each antagonists were involved in a different level

Main antagonists: the Gouraijers: Despite being more misguided than truly evil, the Gouraigers are the most important antagonists of that first arc.  At first, the two brothers cared much more about the rivalry between the Hayate and Ikazuchi school, and as a result, were mostly seeing the Hurricanger from the Hayate school as rivals to defeat to make the Ikazuchi school win over their rival school. To do that, they decided to seek the power of "that", that they saw as a major force that would make them the best ninjas of the universe.  Moreover, they wanted to follow the path left by their father, who also searched for "that". Because the Jakanja were also seeking the power of "that", they often joined forces to find "that" and defeat the Hurricangers.
However, the Gouraigers were mostly on their own side, fighting the Hurricanger, but never really true allies of the Jakanja.  During that time, they often fought the three heroes, and inflicted them a crushing defeat in episode 10, (using their own mechas, a crimson horn beetle one and a dark blue stag beetle one, which could fuse into a robot called Gouraijin)   that the Hurricanger barely survived.
Afterwards,  they mostly went on searching  "that", and trying to discover more info about the legacy left for them by their father, while regularly fighting the heroes. However, after deciphering a message left by their father  they ended up realizing that to make "that" appear, they had to fight each other to the death, and they ended being sent to a island in another dimension with the Hurricanger and two kids by the Jakanja. Once there, they realized that they couldn't bring themselves to fight each other, and how misguided they were. Thanks to the Hurricanger's help, and two kids that reminded them of their real good side, the Gouraigers came to their sense, forsake t their cruel father's legacy and desore to get "that", and helped save the world from the Jakanja's attack.

Tao Zanto: he's the leader, and thedriving force to find "that". He doesn't do much and never leaves his throne

Main Jakanja antagonist in the first arc: Chuuzubo : a big guy with a green body,  he's the one who is the most involved in rotting earth, by sending many ninjas from his biological ninja army. However, because of his many failures, he ended up under heavy pressure from Tao Zanto with his life at the stake. He's also the main catalyst in making the Gouraiger discover their true destiny, and make them fight each other to the death to uncover "that", and he's the one who sends them to the island thnaks to one of his ninjas, and tries to rot Earth  by making it freeze. However, the Gouraigers managed to overcome their ordeal in the island , and, together with the Hurricanger, stopped Chuuzubo's evil plan. With nothing to lose, Chuuzubo fights the Hurricangers and Gouraigers in a last showdown, but ended up defeated. He's the first Jakanja general to die in episode 19, and his death ends up the first arc.

Supporting antagonist: Sargain : he looks like a powerful warrior in a massive  armor, but he's in fact a little insect that controls  the big robotic body. He's very skilled into making machines that he sends to fight the Hurricangers and rot the Earth, and he's also a fierce fighter against the heroes.

Comic relief villains:
the two Kunoichi (female ninjas):  Wendinu, a woman with a snake motif in her outfit, and always trying to look and sound sexy. She's also the one involved in making the monsters turn big. Furabijou is another young woman with a bee motif in her outfit, with a childish personality. Despite their immature behaviour, they are tough opponents, and they have a focus episode tother in that first arc (episode 6)
Manmaruba: at that time, he's in its juvenile form, looking like an insect larva, and as such, doesn't do much. He's got a child voice, but already shows his seer abilities.

2) Part 2: the Gouraiger's destiny, new allies, new enemies, new plots
That arc starts with episode 20, and stops at episode 38. During that arc, the Gouraigers were the allies of the Hurricanger, but, because of their guilt and differences in personalities, they weren't able yet to become their friends, rather trying to help them from the shadows. That new part deals with the struggles of the Gouraigers to find their path, the arrival of new Jakanja generals, but also the coming of a new ally, Shurikenger.
Shurikenger is a mysterious ninja in a green outfit, who enjoys speaking gratuitous English, has an energic personality and is surrounded by mystery. He doesn't seem to have a definite identity, but rather appeared in different guises (usually the appearance of people he just met, that, in a running gag, were played by actors having  played sentai heroes in previous series). Despite his strange behaviour, he showed himself to be a reliable ally of the heroes, often rescuing them from the Jakanja, notavly thanks to his personal mecha, a green helicopter like mecha called Tenkujin that could transfom into a robot.
The arc ends with Manmaruba's defeat, and the Gouraigers at last becoming true friends with the Hurricanger and Shurikenger. 

Antagonists during the second part : 
Jakanja : Tao Zanto : leader of the Jakanja
At that time, five Darkness Spears were involved :  First Spear Furabijou, Third Spear Manmaruba, Fourth Spear Wendinu,  Fifth Spear Sargain and Sixth Spear Satarakura

Main antagonist of the second arc : Manmaruba : At the time of Chuuzubo's death, Manmaruba was in the process of making himslef grow, and he became an human sized warrior wearing a hooded mantle. He still had his seer abilities, and decided to have revenge against the Gouraigers by putting a Space Scorpion egg into Ikkou/ Kabuto Raiger's body, which would end up killing him after making him suffer during several weeks. Ikkou ended up realizing his life was about to end, with no way to completely stop the scorpion in his body from killing him. He still wanted to do everything to help the Hurricanger against the Jakanja, even hiding his life threatening state from his brother. At first, he tried to slow down the egg's hatching thanks to a shaman, but soon Manmaruba thwarted that attempt.  However, Isshu ended up finding out about his brother's fate, and eventually told the Hurricangers about it. In a bold move, Yousuke deceived Manmaruba into infecting him with the scorpion egg and thanks to that, saved Ikkou from his cruel fate. Manmaruba ended up defeated by Kabuto Raigers, soon after realizing his fate thanks to a premonition. However, he still had time to clone himself, and soon the new clone tried to defeat again the Gouraigers, and get information about "that". However, while collecting information from a meteor shower, the excessive information made him turn into a giant mindless monster form. He ended up eating the Gouraigers in giant form, but eventually the Gouraigers were saved by the Hurricanger, and Manmaruba was eventually destroyed once and for all.

Main supporting antagonist: Satarakura : he's a clown-like ninja, with a pale head and always wearing a mask; loves doing puns and has a sick sense of humor. He appears in episode 21 and often uses vicious but over the top plans to defeat the heroes. However, his first attempt to destroy the heroes was stopped by Shurikenger, who made his entrance at that time. During that second arc, he regularly sends monsters to defeat the heroes and make "that" appear. His most important plot to make "that" appear" involved three wolf like creatures that turned humans into beasts-like creatures, were able to become a three headed monster by fusing together and would have a key role in making "that" come. However, his major plans was stopped by the Hurricanger, the Gouraijers and Shurikenger, who joined their powers and destroyed the  three Wolf Ninjas thanks to a new weapon, the Revolver Mammoth. Afterwards, Satarakura was pretty much in disgrace, and was much less involved in the Jakanja's plans.

Sargain was still there and had the same role as before, but because of the big involvement of Manmaruba and Satarakura, was less involved than in the first arc. Wendinu and Furabijou were still the two female comic relief villains, Wendinu the sexy, Furabijou the childish . Episode 30 focused on Furabijou while episode 34 focused on Wendinu.

2) Part 3: Shurikenger's secret, Gozen sama, and the final fight against the Jakanja

That arc starts with episode 39 and ends with the final episode (episode 51). At that time, the Hurricanger, the Gouraigers and Shurikenger were at last allies and friends. However, Shurikenger's identity and background were still a mystery. Besides, Mugensai was often communicating with a mysterious person he called "Gozen sama" (that can be translate by "his majesty") Soon, the Hurricanger and Gouraijers discovered that Shurikenger was working for that Gozen sama. They tried to have Shurikenger make them meet that Gozen sama, but at fiirst he didn't want to do it out of loyalty for his master. At that time, a new Jakanja general, Sandaru  appeared, with a new plan to make "that" appear. He had found a mysterious medal, called " the Arrow of Rage" after destroying a planet,  and needed to make "that" appear, to find another medal, the "Sad Bow". It was then revealed that that "Sad Bow" medal was sealed into Gozen Sama 's body. Gozen sama, who was revealed to be a woman born 500 years before, and who survived thanks to the "Sad Bow"s power, was hiding from the world to avoid seeing people fighting to get the "Sad Bow" known then as the 'dark stone". However, she was forced to show herself to the heroes in order to save them from the Jakanja. However, that resulted in her being exposed to the world, and soon, Sandaru realized she was the one who had the "Sad bow" sealed in her body, and managed to get the cursed medal from her body, killing her in the process. Soon after , Shurikenger, who at last has been reveealed to be a young ninja student from the Hayate School that disappeared and decided to become  the one devoted to Gozen-sama's protection, losing his human indentity and face in the process, sacrificed himself to save the heroes.   At the end, the Sad Bow and the Arrow of Rage were used to bring "that" to Earth, but eventually, the Hurricanger, Gouraijers managed to defeat the last Jakanja generals and destroy "that", which was in fact an evil destructive force that would destroy everything. Afte their victory, the Hurricanger and Gouraigers were at last able to graduate in their ninja school, with the two rival schools united at last

Antagonists during the third part : 
Jakanja : Tao Zanto : leader of the Jakanja
At that time, five Darkness Spears were involved :  First Spear Furabijou, Fourth Spear Wendinu,  Fifth Spear Sargain,  Sixth Spear Satarakura and seventh Spear Manmaruba

Main antagonist of the third arc : Sandaru : that evil shark-like ninja general was the last to come, but he was a deadly opponent. He had already destroyed a planet to get the "Arrow of Rage" and went to Earth to seek the "Sad Bow" which was needed to make "that" appear. He soon realized that the secret behind the sad bow involved the mysterious figure behind the Hurricanger and he soon started deadly attacks against the heroes, using his fighting skills and his fan beasts to force the mysterious figure to reveal herself to help the heroes with her powers. Sandaru then managed to learn where the Sad bow was, and how to get it. He eventually succeeded in getting the deadly medal, killing Gozen Sama in the process. He was also the one who defeated Shurikenger, and made the deadly blow against him.
Unlike the other Jakanja spears, which were pretty loyal towards each other, Sandaru was not above backstabbing his comrades for his benefit. He's the one who killed Sargain, and he had a key role in Satarakura's death, by breaking his mask and making him thus turn completely insane and out of control. Besides, after realizing that Tao Zanto merely used his Spears as pawn for his aims, he decided to defeat Tao Zanto, just at the time he gained the powers from the "Sad Bow" and "Angry Arrow". However, he was finally defeated by the Gouraigers while sacrificing Gouraijin at the same time

Other antagonists:
Tao Zanto : once the "Sad Bow" and  "Arrow of rage" at the Jakanja's hands, he began at last to get a new body that would allow him to fight. However, soon after becoming a giant, he was killed by Sandaru, who realized that he didn't have any reason to be loyal to him.

Sargain: Sargain had pretty much the same role as before. However, at that time, he came back into the spotlight because of his strong rivalry with Sandaru. Episode 42 and 43 were his final arc, when he fought the heroes with all his might, using the power of the "arrow of Rage", getting data about their weapons and mecha attacks. However, Sargain was weakened by the excessive power of the "arrow of rage" and was finally defeated by the combined powers of the Hurricanger, Gouraigers, Shurikenger and Gozen sama. Despite having survived, he was soon killed afterwards by Sandaru.

Wendinu and Furabijou still had the same role as before. They had one focus episode together, episode 46. At the end, while they look seemigly killed by the Victory Gadget, the fact that they were still alive in the Abaranger vs Hurricanger movie, and their upcoming appearance in the "Hurricanger ten years after" V-cinema movie means that their fate was meant to remain ambiguous.

Satarakura: at that time, he was pretty much reduced to a comic relief role. It's pretty significant that he was involved in the episode involving the two comic relief villainesses. However, in his final arc, he tried a last time to defeat the Hurricanger and help his master to get the powers from the weapons. However, Tao Zanto decided to use him to his advantage, even ready to sacrifice him. That revelation, with the addition of Sandaru breaking his mask, made him insane and out of control. He finally was defeated by Shrikenger whi sacrificed himslef and his Tenkujin mecha to destroy the evil clown.

Final comments: 
-The Jakanja generals are named after the days of the week (Manmaruba/Monday, Chuuzubo/Tuesday, Wendinu/ Wednesday, Sargain/ Thursday, Furabijou/ Friday, Satarakura/ Saturday, Sandaru/ Sunday)
- My opinion of Hurricanger:
Characters : the most striking point of Hurricanger is that the characters have as much development as they have focus on the storyline. As a very plot driven series, the most well done characters are usually those are the most involved in the story.
Heroes: The biggest flaw of the series are the three main heroes, who feel like they are more like supporting characters than the protagonists. Most of their focus episodes are some of the weakest of the series. Besides, the Hurricanger often show a pretty stupid side, that turned out to bring them and their allies a lot of trouble, and the fact that despite all they've been through, they still managed to do stupid stuff doesn't make it better. The Gouraigers are must more well done and interesting, because they pretty much dominate the storyline during the two first parts of the series, with a very rich storyline and a lotn of development. The fact that the Gouraigers are brothers even adds more to them. Even if in the last part of the series, they're somewhat sidelined, they still are very well done characters. Shurikenger is also pretty well done: at first, he's shown as a somewhat comedic character, with his over the top personality, his gratuitous english and the running gag of taking disguises, played by former sentai actors. However, he's also a very good ally that also showed a wise side. During the last part, we learn Shurikenger's background, which shows him in a different, more tragic side, and iit makes him an even more well done character.

Supporting cast: Mugensai is an okay mentor, even if him being changed to a hamster makes him look silly. However, Oboro is an awesome helper, with her very lively personality and her sarcastic side. Gozen sama is okay, and appropriate for her role, much not much more.

Villains: the Jakanja are a very colorful cast of villains. Of course, with 8 regular villains, they're of course uneven in quality, the best ones being Manmaruba, Sandaru, and Satarakura. However, what makes the Jakanja a fun group is how much different they are, and even less good ones, such as Furabijou and Chuuzubo have their meaning, and bring some contrast to the whole ensemble. Tao Zanto however isn't really a really worthy Big Bad, since he doesn't move during almost all of the show and when he does, he's killed by Sandaru before having shown itself to be a true threat

Motif, mechas : Hurricanger is a strange mix in its motif, but that mix somewhat works. The heroes are ninja themed, but also a strong technology flavor with Oboro being a mechanical genius.   The show has mechas that bring together the main animal mechas of Liveman (Red bird of prey, yellow lion, blue dolphin)  and the insect theme of B-Fighter. The different robots are well done, and the use of teh Karakuri balls as weapons is pretty fun.

Story : Despite a pretty simple premise, the story is pretty well done, with a very rich storytelling and lots of arcs, which makes the series a pretty entertaining one, with very few stalling moments.The concept of having the protagonists belonging in different teams (three heroes being the Hurricanger, two, the Gouraigers and Shurikenger) is pretty original in the sentai franchise and adds a lot of dynamics in the interactions between the different heroes, notably by bringing up conflicts. As shown before, the series uses in a creative way its villains, despite the Big Bad being pretty disappointing. Another big issue of Hurricanger is that a lot of plots points are caused by the heroes behaving in a stupid way, like how they can make big mistakes because of either pride or beign annoyed of not knowing enough.  The plot of Manmaruba coming back to life with a clone wasn't really useful either But overall, Hurricanger's story is pretty nice, and is pretty well told.

Overall, Hurricager  is indeed a fun show that had a lot of influence on following sentai series, such as Magiranger and Gekiranger (as mentioned in a previous post). A worthy 8/10

To conclude, here are the pictures of the Jakanja :

Tao Zanto the leader

First Spear Furabijou

Second Spear Chuuzubo

Third Spear Manmaruba

Fourth Spear Wendinu

Fifth Spear Sargain

Sixth Spear Satarakura

Seventh Spear Sandaru 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

History of Super Sentai: writers and producers

With 38 years and 37 series, Super Sentai has a very long history. I've already written posts about the sentai writers in different sentai series. Now, I'm gonna post about both sentai writers AND sentai producers, and put more details about how Super Sentai history was influenced by the writers/ producers changes. I'd like to thank Fantasy Leader which gave me the identity of each Super Sentai main writers and producers, which helped me a lot to write that post.

The first Super Sentai series was Gorenger, which was produced by  Tooru Hiyama, who was a veteran Showa Kamen Rider series producer ; as a result, in a lot of ways, Goranger has similar elements with Kamen Rider, notably when it's about the villains (the look of the mooks, the concept of villains with a mysterious leaders, with generals coming one after the other (the Black Cross Army of Gorenger  is very similar to the Shocker army of Kamen Rider, or the Destron army of V3). Gorenger's main writer was Shouzo Uehara, and among the secondary writers, two writers deserve to be mentioned: Susumu Takaku and Hirohisa Soda. With JAKQ, a new producer appeared, Susumu Yoshikawa. Yoshikawa is the major producer of the Uehara written series, starting with JAKQ. the following sentai series, Battle Fever, Denziman and Sun Vulcan were made by the Yoshikawa/ Uehara team. During that era, two writers would be involved in every sentai series, Susumu Takaku and Hirohisa Soda as secondary writers. The Battle fever-Sun Vulcan era was the key era of the Yoshikawa/Uehara team.
After Sun Vulcan, the Yoshikawa/ Uehara  team pretty much left  the sentai franchise to be involved in the Metal Hero franchise.

It's during that time that a new team appeared in Super Sentai: the producer Takeyuki Suzuki, and the writer Hirohisa Soda. Hirohisa Soda was the only major writer of the Uehara era that remained in the sentai franchise, and he became head writer during nine years. Suzuki reamined as a producer in Super Sentai from Goggle V until Ohranger, and the evolution of the sentai franchise during that era can mostly be told by analysing the writing teams.
The Soda era is divided in three eras: the Goggle V-Dynaman era: during that time, Soda was starting to introduce his personal touch in those series, but was still keeping some elements of previous series: it's interesting to notice that he wroked with a lot of different writers, including some writers that were involved in previous sentai.
Bioman is the first series which started the golden age of the Soda era, when Soda would write his best shows and display much more of his style, with notably importance of story arcs, and introduction of complex villains. Bioman is the first series with Soda working with what would become his favorite secondary writer, Kunio Fujii. With Changeman, most of the writers which were involved in early Soda series would not be involved again, and Soda and Fujii wrote every but three episodes. With Flashman, Soda has found another favorite secondary writer Toshiki Inoue, and Soda wrote his best sentai series with basically Fujii and Inoue.
Turboranger and Fiveman were the last sentai series, and at that time, Soda was pretty burn out, and starting to repeat himself. As a result, Soda left after Fiveman, and Suzuki allowed one of Soda's favorite secondary writers, Toshiki Inoue, become the next series's head writer, Jetman.
Jetman was a success, and was also notable to introduce a new writer that would play a major role  in the sentai franchise : Naruhisa Arakawa.

However, Super Sentai needed some fresh blood, and Suzuki brought a new head writer that had come from the Metal Hero franchise: Noboru Sugimura. Sugimura introduced major new elements in Super Sentai, notably the regular sixth hero, a bigger focus on bizarre comedy, and at that time, animal mechas began to be much more important in the franchise. Sugimura was a very good writer, but it's interesting to notice that during the Sugimura era, there has been no significant new writer that wasn't involved in sentai before Sugimura's coming : he kept Inoue and Arakawa, brought back Susumu Takaku from Metal Hero, and Kakuranger saw the return of Hirohisa Soda. Ohranger is even the "experienced sentai writer" festival, with Sugimura working with Uehara, Soda, Inoue and Fujii.

After Ohranger, there has been a big change of staff with a new main producer, Shinegori Takatera.
His first show, Carranger was a parody series, and pretty much a transitional show: he brough as main writer Yoshio Urasawa, the major writer of the Fushiji comedy franchise, and kept Arakawa and Soda.

However, with the next series, Megaranger, Takatera would involve three of the most important writers of all the following sentai series UNTIL GO-BUSTERS: he kept Naruhisa Arakawa, but would bring back fresh blood in the sentai writing team, with Junki Takegami and Yasuko Kobayashi.  Takegami became head writer of Megaranger, and Kobayashi became head writer of the following series, Gingaman, after being a major secondary writer of Megaranger. Except Arakawa, no writer involved previously in sentai came back.

After Gingaman Takatera left, and a new producer appeared, Jun Hikasa, who pretty much followed Takatera's legacy, as procuder of every sentai series from GogoV until Abaranger. GogoV, Timeranger and Gaoranger were written by Takegami or Kobayashi. GogoV also had as a major secondary writer Junichi Miyashita, coming from the Metal Hero franchise. Hurri/Aba had also Hideaki Tsukada as assistant producer, which became head producer of Dekaranger, Magiranger, and Gekiranger, with Hikasa coming back for Boukenger. Tsukada and Hikasa gave the opportunity to many writers who first started as secondary writers to write a sentai show as head writer : Miyashita became head writer of Hurricanger after being a major secondary writer of GogoV, Arakawa, after plenty of sentai series as secondary writer, became at last head writer with Abaranger and Dekaranger; Magiranger has as head writer Atsushi Maekawa, who has been secondary writer of Hurricanger and Abaranger, Boukenger had Sho Aikawa, previously involved in Abaranger, and Gekiranger had Michiko Yokote, who has been previously involved in Dekaranger and Magiranger.

However, after Gekiranger, things changed. Unlike before, when sentai producers would remain involved in the sentai franchise during many years, startin with Go-onger, every year there was a different producer. Hikasa was involved in Go-onger, then Takaaki Utsunomiya was involved in Shinkenger. The latter was probably the best producer of that era, when Hikasa was pretty burn out, and Takebe pretty much messed with Go-Busters. Moreover, during that era, no risk was taken for the writing, with all the head writers having already been head writers before (Takegami, Kobayashi, Yokote and Arakawa), and no new secondary writer really left a major impact. As a result, the writing wasn't very imaginative with those writers showing some burn out.  Shinkenger was the best of those shows, because Utsunomiya was pretty original when dealing with the Samurai/ Japanese theme in Shinkenger.
At last, with Go-Busters's disappointement, Kyoryuger saw a new team coming in sentai, with Riku Sanjo as head writer and Takahito Ohmori as chief producer. Is Kyoryuger gonna bring freshness in the sentai franchise? 
Your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MegaForce cameo announcements: Good or Bad? My take on the fandom's reaction to some of the announcements

Over the last couple months we have been recieving updates on actors who will return, possibly return, or just flat-out won't return. While these have worked and gotten the fans excited, it has also naturally resulted in fans being angry and, most ridiculously, fans outright claiming an actor is greedy for not returning due to the lack of pay. Any fandom is hard to please, not just the PR fandom. Here are my thoughts on the fan reactions:

While mostly intended to get the fandom fired up, it has also back-fired in a sense. Most notably in Saban's rejection of bringing the Titanium ranger back due to budgetary issues. People have begun circulating petitions to bring him back. I know he was the first purely Amercan-made ranger, and I do respect that and understand their anger, but I'm sorry, that alone does not qualify him to have any more consideration than any other ranger. I've heard fans even go so far as to say that they will not be watching just because that one guy won't show up. We have the potential of getting 19-24 past rangers back for this season and they choose to linger on the fact that this one guy got rejected. We're getting a lot of people back this season, that more than out-weighs him not coming back. Yeah it sucks that he won't show up but I understand why.

I am outright shocked to see people calling certain actors greedy for not returning for the low pay they were being offered. I actually got into a discussion with someone who did that and what infuriates me the most is that the guy did not consider a few things: 1. It might not cover their expenses to get there and back. There are hotel expenses and food, not to mention the time they'd have to spend on flights and other stuff. 2. If they'd have to take time off of their regular work to do that, they'd lose the money they could've made by staying at their job if they chose to go and film. There is a lot more involved in a cameo than just flying to New Zealand and showing up on set. 3. It may not have just been about money, these people have lives and other responsibilities to worry about than just shooting a show. Seriously, I still can't believe I had to explain it to him. The actors he accused of being greedy where the actors for Rocky and Aisha.

Now for the fans accusing Saban brands of being greedy: Stop assuming they can't pay them more money because they're greedy. They are most likely using up a good chunk of the budget remaking and resizing suits for the second half of MegaForce, not to mention editing the stock footage, and hiring more suit actors for the eventual Legend War event. Lets also not forget the writing. So yeah, all of that takes precedent over bringing actors in for cameos. There is likely a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that we do not know about. DO NOT always assume its the production company being greedy. They have a set budget for what they can and can't do it.

These cameo announcements have brought out arguably the worst part of the fandom (yes even worse than the portion that thinks MMPR is the best thing ever created and regards the other seasons as trash compared to it...but thats a rant for another day), it has brought out those who get pissed simply because their favorite rangers won't be returning for one reason or another. I will say here what I've said to this portion of the fandom time and time again: Please let it go! If they can make it, thats good but if they can't then thats fine too. These people have lives outside of the show. They've got families and responsibilities that they can't overlook. They likely don't have the time to fly across the world for very little money when they have other stuff to take care of and its not right to force them to do so (which is what some of the fandom would do judging by some of the responses I've read). They've moved on past their time on the show and its about time the fandom moves past it too. Though I must admit that I'm a little pissed that they brought Casey's actor back for JF. I would've prefered RJ's actor since he was the most memborable character in JF but I can deal with it because as I said before, its not a big deal.

Anyways, thats how I feel about certain parts of the fandom (those parts really make me want to strangle them). Since we've got about 10 actors who have been confirmed to return, here is my "wish-list" of who I'd like to see come back from some of the remaining teams for Super MegaForce.

MMPR/Zeo: Adam (though JDF will probably fill the MMPR slot)
Ninja Storm: Hunter or Blake (preferably both as I'm a sucker for the family dyanicm)
Dino Thunder: Trent
SPD: Boom (since its about time the dude got to be a ranger and I feel he deserves to be honored as one after his speech)
Mystic Force: Zander or Chip (either one is fine with me)
RPM: Ziggy

And last but not least, the one ranger I want to see come back the most: The Phantom Ranger. I'd really love for Saban to bring his character back because I feel like they never fully closed his story. We still don't know who he is. Super MegaForce would be the perfect chance to close the book on this mystery though I know they won't do that and that they've probably forgotten that the character even existed.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kirika : one of the most complex villainesses in sentai history

During the first years of Super Sentai, most main villains and villainesses were pretty much one dimensional, and evil at the core ; of course, some of them showed more depth, like loyalty towards their leader and/or allies, or refusing a tyrannical leadership; however, they still remained the enemies of the heroes and of humanity. However, during his time as a sentai main writer, Hirohisa Soda decided to create antagonists with more complex motivations for attacking Earth and humanity. Changeman is a very good example, with most of the Gozma being initially Bazoo's enemies that were defeated by the evil Star King, and forced to fight for him. In a lot of cases, they attacked Earth hoping that by obeying Bazoo's order, they would be able to save their own home planet. Indeed, Changeman had for the first time enemies that defected and became the heroes's allies, like Shima and Gator. Since Changeman, a lot of sentai series have shown redeemable enemies, that could be brought to the side of good. Some redemption stories were very well done (Jeanne/ Mahoro and Lije/ Lijewel from Abaranger, a lot of the "evil ranger" storylines, Zonnette in Carranger (in a parodic way), Gou/ Doctor Obler in Liveman, Sphinx in Magiranger), others were reasonably well written (Rio and Mele in Gekiranger, Shima and Gator in Changeman, Dolnero in Timeranger), and some were awkwardly written (Igam in Maskman, Rie/Maria in Jetman, Vancurya in Magiranger).
Among those redeemable sentai antagonists, one of the most interesting was Kirika from Turboranger

Turboranger: some background
Turboranger was the first Heisei sentai series, and the eighth sentai series with Hirohisa Soda as a main writer.  Here is Turboranger's storyline :  Thousands of years ago, humans were fighting alongside fairies the Boma (Violent Demon) tribes, and managed to defeat them and seal them, thanks to the power of the fairies. However, in recent times, because of the degradation of the environment caused by men, the fairies's power decreased, and the Boma managed to break the seal.
Fortunately, five high school students, who, as children, were able to see the fairies, were being able to hear Seelon, the last fairy, and, with the help of Dr Dazai, managed to gain superpowers, thanks to Seelon's magical power and Dr Dazai's technology, and become new heroes, the Turborangers: Riki Honoo/Red Turbo,  Daichii Yamagata/Black Turbo, Youhei Hama/Blue Turbo, Shunsuke Hino/ Yellow Turbo and Haruna Morikawa/ Pink Turbo.
Together, they started fighting the Boma tribe, led by their emperor Ragorn, and his generals, Dr Leyda, Princess Jarmin, warrior Zimba and the cowardly Zulten. After some time, a new student joined the Turboranger's high school, Hikaru Nagareboshi, and at the same time, a new enemy, the wandering Boma Yamimaru appeared. The Turborangers soon realized that Nagareboshi and Yamimaru were one and the same, and he was pretty much a lone wolf, fighting the Turboranger (especially Riki/Red). He was a wandering Boma, half Boma, half human, and he was fighting alone,  antagonistic both towards the Turboranger and the other Boma. He was full of hate, because he was a complete outcast, both rejected by the humans because of his demon blood, and by the Boma because of his human blood and was forced to always wander during millenia. However, after many fights against the Turboranger, Yamimaru had a vision of a young girl, who would forever  change his life as a Wandering Boma. During that time, the Turboranger had defeated most of the Boma generals, Leyda, Jarmin and Zimba. However, they didn't know at that time that they would soon meet a new and very dangerous enemy.

Tsukikage Sayoko: a lonely girl 
In the Turboranger's school, there was a young student, Sayoko Tsukikage who was not very popular: when she tried to compete against Haruna to get the main female role in the school play, she had also no vote for her, since most of the votes favored Haruna. Moreover, her volleyball team never allowed her to be a regular member. Besides, her childhood was not very happy, because she was often bullied by other children. However, she still had a kind heart, donating her blood once to save people, and she still met nice people, like young Shunsuke when she was a child, or Riki later. At that time, it was her 18th birthday (even if her age is somewhat inconsistent through the series, since later episodes stated that she was born 20000 years before), strange events started to occur (mirrors that were breaking, an exploding volley ball , with a demonic creature appearing each time). Riki who witnessed those events tried to talk to Sayoko about them, but she didn't understand anything about them.
Sayoko invited Riki to her birthday party at ther house (she was a fan of Riki's baseball playing, and Riki had signed a ball to her). However, Sayoko's caretakers were not pleased about that and tried to poison Riki. But Riki realized it, and the caretakers were revealed to be Boma, who diguised as humans during Sayoko's childhood to protect her. However, at ther 18th birthday, it was the time when her Boma powers would manifest themselves. Sayoko indeed wasn't human, but a Wandering Boma, half human, half Boma. Yamimaru, who recognized in Sayoko the girl of his visions, quickly made her realize her true self, and how similar their situations were. At that time, Sayoko was struggling with her identity, with all those new information coming at once. Soon, the Turboranger managed to defeat Sayoko's Boma's caretakers, but thanks to Yamimaru, Sayoko's Boma powers at last came out, and she became the Wandering Boma Kirika.

Yamimaru and Kirika : a deadly duo
After becoming Kirika and becoming a true Wandering Boma, Sayoko completely threw away the human past, and joined Yamimaru in his fights, both against the Turborangers and the Boma tribes. Yamimaru, after all those years alone, at last found a companion, a kindred soul, and as a result, his determination was even stronger. Likewise, because of her past as an outcast, Kirika was completely understanding of Yamimaru's struggles, and soon as Nagare Boma, they decided to fight against both humans and Boma in order to have a world  for them, the wandering Boma. Kirika completely threw away her human past and only saw herself as a wandering Boma. At first, they joined Ragorn and earned his respect by taming the legendary dragon Dragras. However, they had no loyalty towards Ragorn and planned to take over the Boma by forcing Riki and Ragorn to fight to the death. Ragorn was defeated and Yamimaru and Kirika took over the Boma tribes.
During those times, Yamimaru and Kirika had numerous and bitter fights against the Turborangers. Kirika's plans often involved using the lowest instincts of people, like when she used one of Youhei's nerdy classmate who was jealous of Youhei's success with girls, to test a switching face Boma, or when she gave kids some magical powers in order to see them doing mischief. She had great empathy for Yamimaru's suffering from both Boma and humans, and as a result, showed deep hatred for both humans and Boma, and fully involving in Yamimaru's revenge against them.  Because of her sad memories of being bullied,  Kirika became a cruel woman without empathy, ironically becoming herself a bully, as shown in the episode when she attacked an amnesiac Shunsuke, who, in a ironic twist was her childhood friend who protected her from bullies. At that time, she hated so much her human blood that, after a vision of her caretaker,  she even tried to become a full Boma and to gain amazing power, by fusing with Armor Boma. However, even at that time, she was torn, because more than power, the most important thing ofr Kirika was being with Yamimaru and fighting with him : her main motivation to fight as a Wandering Boma was her loyalty and even love for Yamimaru.

Kashim/ Kimen Boma: a decisive meeting
The fights against the Turborangers and the Wandering Boma was reaching its climax, and both side were obsessed into fighting each other. However, Ragorn, emperor the the Boma wasn't dead, and used that conflict to gain power again. Haruna was fed up of that fight which seemed so meaningless, and she tried to find a way to stop it. Ragorn used that and thanks to a Boma Beast,  lured Haruna into finding a "love stone" in a special dimension, with the Turboranger and the wandering Boma following her.  However, it was a trap and, by trying to use the love stone, Haruna cause both Turborangers and Wandering Boma to lose their powers, while Ragorn came back to life with a stronger body, as Neo-Ragorn. Ragorn took back the leadership among the Boma tribe, and Yamimaru and Kirika went back into their human form, as Hikaru Nagareboshi and Tsukikage Sayoko.
They were completely weakened, and Dragras left them to join Neo-Ragorn, and they only managed to stay alive thanks to a old man named Kashim, who saved them and protected them. Hikaru and Sayoko still tried to fight the Turborangers and the Boma, but without their Boma powers, they couldn't fight properly. However, they still wanted to fight, and when the Turborangers managed to get their powers back, they were even more obsessed to get their wandering Boma forms. However,  Kashim didn't want them to fight, since he believed that wandering Boma should live peacefully. Kashim told to the Turboranger, Hikaru and Sayoko an old storyline about a Boma who had been wounded during the war between humans, fairies and Boma , and has been rescued by a beautiful human woman (looking like Sayoko/Kirika), and who, touched by her kindness, which he never really experoenced before, fall in love with her and ended up having a daughter.
It was soon revealed that that daughter was in fact, Sayoko/ Kirika herself (and here is one of Kirika's background inconsistency: she's supposed to be 18 but in fact was born thousands of years before; the more likely explanation is that Kirika and her guardians were sealed long ago, with time stopping, and only were released much later, when they ended up living disguised as humans), as seen by the fact that Kashim wanted above all to protect Sayoko. Sayoko and Hikaru eventually managed to get back their powers as Kirika and Yamimaru, much to Kashim's dismay.
Kashim eventually died from the wounds he got when fighting for his daughter, but, before his death, managed to reveal to the Turboranger that he's in fact Kimen Boma, the Boma of his story, and Kirika's father, and about how he loved Kirika's human mother, and his wished to protect Kirika and Yamimaru and have them stop fighting.

Kirika's redemption
Touched by his kind heart and determined to follow Kimen Boma's last wishes, Riki revealed to Kirika that Kashim/ Kimen Boma was his father, and that she was born thanks to the love between her father Boma and her human mother. Yamimaru didn't care at all about that, and still wanted to fight, because his heart was still full of hate and desire for revenge. However Kirika/Sayoko, which only recently discovered her Wandering Boma roots, was deeply moved by this revelation, and started to question herself. She didn't have anymore hate in her heart, because she knew at last that her roots involved love between two seemingly bitter enemies, who still managed to overcome prejudice and love each other. She even prayed for her father.  She still fought the Turborangers out of loyalty for Yamimaru, but she didn't have any more the heart for it, because her hate has disappeared. At that time, Ragorn was trying to destroy the big seal that was keeping most of the Boma to go back to Earth, with those attempts involving notably earthquakes. After one last fight, Riki had to save Kirika from a Spider Boma, and Kirika understood at last that Riki wasn't her enemy anymore, but her ally, who wanted to save her, since he promised her father to protect her and because he knew that Kirika's heart was more human than Boma (her humanity being symbolized by her red blood).
After that, Kirika wasn't able to fight the Turborangers anymore, and when Yamimaru tried to kill Riki during a fight, she couldn't do anything else but stop him. Despite deeply loving Yamimaru, she couldn't agree with his fight anymore, and they ended up parting from each other. Yamimaru was still obsessed about fighting both Turborangers and Neo Ragorn, still believing he could win by himself. He called Kirika a traitor and hit her when she tried to stop him. At that time, Neo-Ragorn was still trying to break the Big Seal and to do so, captured Yamimaru and Kirika to sacrifice them. However, the Turborangers managed to save them. However, Yamimaru was still full of hate and still wanted to defeat Riki, despite Kirika's opposition, and challenged him into a fight. Even if Riki ended up winninf the fight, he didn't kill Yamimaru out of loyalty for Kirika.
Eventually, the Turboranger started the final fight against Neo-Ragorn, to save the Earth from the Boma, and Yamimaru tried as well to defeat Neo-Ragorn. However, Neo-Ragorn easily managed to incapacitate him, and left him almost dead in the Boma fortress. Eventually, the Turborangers managed to defeat Ragorn, but Yamimaru was still trapped in the Boma fortress who was about to crash into Earth. However, Yamimaru, after being called by Kirika, the Turboranger, and even Seelon and one of his teachers in high school, managed to come into his senses, and was saved from the crashing fortress thanks to Kirika and his bond with her, shown as a red string (the same string that made her become Kirika at the first place), which manaed to get him out of the Boma palace, which was immediately destroyed by the heroes. At the end, Yamimaru and Kirika decided to live a peaceful life together, and Sayoko thanked the Turborangers for everything they did for them.

Kirika's storyline is one of the most touching stories about a sentai antagonist, because unlike most antagonists, she is initially shown as a young girl with a genuine good heart. However, her life was completely turned upside down by the revelation of her demonic nature, and during most of Turboranger, she had to struggle with her identity as a half demon. Moreover, her struggle was further complicated because she found a kindred soul in Yamimaru, who easily managed to make her join his fight, because she really identified with his fate as an outcast from both the human world and the Boma world, and his suffering because of both humans and Boma, because of her own background as an outcast, and her suffering from other humans. As such, she joined the fight to destroy both humans and Boma and have a world ruled by them, the Wandering Boma. However, after meeting her father, she realized how meaningless that fight was, because her own existence was evidence of the fact a Boma and a human were able to  forget hate and be bound by love. That revelation was able to bring back the kindness in Sayoko/ Kirika's heart, which was even strengthened when she realized that the Turborangers also behaved with kindness towards her, both before becoming Kirika, and after meeting her father. Moreover, she wasn't alone anymore thanks to Yamimaru, and she really wanted to have a happy life with him, and that meaningless fighting couldn't bring them happiness. Moreover, Kirika brought much more depth to Yamimaru's character. Yamimaru was initially during the first part of Turboranger, the classic "lone wolf", both antagonistic to the heroes and the main villains. However, once Kirika came, Yamimaru was mostly defined by his relationship with her, and he soon realized that Kirika was the most important thing for him. Both him and Kirika discovered love after meeting with each other, and it was that love that eventually managed to overcome the deep hate and resentment that Yamimaru had in himseld during all those years.
Thanks to that amazing storyline, Turboranger had in his second half one of the most complex and touching storyline in sentai history. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Megaranger : an amazing sentai series

1997: the year Megaranger aired in Japan. Megaranger is known as the series which has been adapted into one of the most popular Power Rangers series, Power Rangers In Space. However, Megaranger is a pretty amazing series on its own. Its themes are digital technology and spaceships, which are required for dealing with satellites involved in those technologies. Megaranger was notable since during its run, Super Sentai changed timeslots to air in Sunday mornings, and, starting with episode 8, episodes would be 30 minutes (incuding commercials) instead of 25 minutes long. Megaranger was produced by Shigenori Takatera, and he managed to bring fresh blood in the writing team for sentai series. Junki Takegami was the main writer for that show, and it would be his first Super Sentai series as a main writer; he would be later involved in GogoV, Gaoranger and Go-onger as main writer, Gingaman, Dekaranger  and Boukenger as secondary writer. He wrote 22 episodes.  Naruhisa Arakawa was back as a secondary writer, after Jetman, Zyuranger, Dairanger, Kakuranger and Carranger. He wrote 11 episodes.  More importantly, Megaranger was the first sentai with Yasuko Kobayashi involved. She was a secondary writer, but would become later one of the more creative writers in sentai, as main writer of shows like Gingaman, Timeranger and Shinkenger, and she would also become later a major Kamen Rider writer, being main writer of Ryuki, Den-O and OOO. She wrote 13 episodes. Shigeru Yanagawa wrote the remaining episodes. As main writer, Takegami let a lot the secondary writers be involved in important episodes; the majors Megasilver and the  Guirail/Megavoyager arc were written by Kobayashi and the finale was written by Arakawa. With a writing team including Arakawa, Kobayashi and Takegami, Megaranger was really the sentai series with the creative writing team that would be really important in sentai in the following years.

Now, let's review the different elements of Megaranger:

1) Heroes

The five main heroes were five high school students from Moboroshi High School  that became Megaranger because, as they were involved during the first Nejirejia attack, they were the only ones available to wear the digital changers, and fight. However, despite being young, they did their best as heroes, and all of them had really different personalities:

- Kenta Date/ Megared : the typical slacker student, last of the class , who cares more about playing games and eating barbecued meat than studying or being serious ; however, he's still very loyal to his friends, as seen in many episodes, and he never hesitates to fight to save people he cares for, even if he may be often pretty reckless.

- Kouichiro Endou/ Megablack : Megared's foil: the very serious student, who's even more serious than some of his teachers : he's very strict, both to himself and to others, and he would like to have a very disciplined sentai team with him, but he ends up being annoying even to the most seriosu ones of his firends, like Shun and Chisato. However, he cares a lot for his friends, and feels responsible whenever ones of his teammates is hurt. He has a little brother he cares a lot for, who likes soccer.

- Shun Namiki/ Megablue: the smartest of the team, and the most skilled in computer use. At first, he was pretty aloof, more interested in his dream of becoming a computer graphic artist than his friends, but he quickly realized how important friendship was. Despite being very smart, he's not as strict as Kouichiro, and he's more ready to have fun.

- Chisato Jougasaki/ Megayellow : A fun and smart girl (she's one of the best in her class) who wants to become a photographer. She's always ready to help people, and she also has a pretty badass grandma who wants her to marry. Like Shun, despite being smart, she's not as serious as Kouichiro. She has a pretty singing voice. She seems to like a lot Kouichiro, and often hangs out with him. She has been shown to have a rivalry with Shibolena.

- Miku Imamura/ Megapink. A pretty fun girl, who, like Kenta is a slacker and wants to have fun, instead of studying hard, even if unlike Kenta, she may have potential. She's very cheerful, but sometimes, her goofiness may lead to trouble, like when she wants to eat diet crepes or when she believes Yuusaku is about to die. However, like the others, she's very involved into her Megaranger job.

In episode 24, a sixth hero appeared: Megasilver (who started the trend of having the additional hero being metal colored) (another concept that started with Mega)

Yuusaku Hayakawa/ Megasilver : unlike the others Megaranger, he's not a high school student, but worked with the INET company which created all the technology used by the Megarangers. He's a brilliant engineer, being involved in the making of the Megaranger suit, and, more importantly, of the Megavoyager mechas, and also his personal mecha, the Megawinger. Despite being a genuis, he's pretty much reckless, and not always very serious, and more often than not, Professor Kubota scolds him. At first, his prototype Megasilver changer only allowed him to stay in the Megasilver suit for two and a half minute, but he later improved it to allow him to stay longer as Megasilver. He often feels like the big brother of the high school Megarangers.

Supporting characters:

- Professor Eikichi Kubota:  The scientist who created the Mega suits, he's the mentor of the Megaranger, being the one who allowed them to use the digitizers. He's like a father figure to them, always ready to share his wisdom, caring a lot for his team, but he has no hesitation scolding them when he sees their carelessness, usually Kenta or Yuusaku. He's also skilled at playing the trumpet. However, Kubota is also a man who has seen his best friend, Dr Samejima, being lost in the Negirejia dimension, not being able to stop him, and he feels huge guilt about it. His guilt would be even bigger, when he realized that his former friend has become the evil Doctor Hinelar, the main Nejirejia commander. However, he always does everything he can to protect the Earth, notably by as chief of staff of the Galaxy Mega crew team.

Other supporting characters include INET staff members, and some students and teachers of Moboroshi high school. 

The Nejirejia: invaders from another dimensions, who want to invade Earth from their base, the Grand Nejiros, and turn it into a twisted (Nejire means "twisted in Japanese) world, and having no hesitation into destroying humanity

King Javious I : the leader of the Nejirejia: he's the one who made Dr Samejima, his main scientist,  in the Nejiregia once he came into the twisted dimension, under the Dr Hinelar name. He's pretty impatient towards his followers, especially after their failures, and he's the one who called Guirail to help Dr Hinelar and his team into Earth invasion. However, he didn't realize that Dr Hinelar was plotting to overthrow him, using the Nejirangers who were draining his energy. Once the Nejirangers were destroyed, Javious I was destroyed as well, with Dr Hinelar becoming the leader of the Nejiregia.

Dr Hinelar: the main scientist in the Nejirejia: he was first known as Dr Samejima, and was Pr Kubota's colleague and friend. However, when one experiment involving his daughter Shizuka resulted in her death, he was shunned by the scientific community as reckless, and as a result, became obsessed into discovering a new dimension, the Negirejia dimension. After discovering it, and being offered by its ruler, Javious I to continue his scientific experiments, he decided to explore it, against Kubota's wishes, seeing that as too dangerous. However, he couldn't stop his colleague, who went into the twisted dimension and became there Dr Hinelar, chief scientist and the one involved the most into Earth invasion. He created his robotic followers, Shibolena, Yugande and Bibidebi, and cares for them, especially the two former. When Guileel's actions resulted in Yugande being damaged, he transformed him into a mindless destruction machine. He's also the one who created the Nejirebeasts, using modified DNA, and he created the Nejirangers using a technology pretty similar to the INET technology used for the Megaranger suits. He is filled with hate towards the humanity notably because of his past and how the scientific community treated him.   He despises humans, especially Dr Kubota, whom he personally hates (notably because Kubota's concept of protective suits was chosen over his concept of modification of the human body) , and wants to show how superior his science is compared to theirs. He tried a lot of twisted plans to conquer Earth  and destroy the Megarangers, using Nejirebeasts, the Nejirangers, evil counterparts of the Megarangers, , and even had a plan of turning humans into data cards after luring them into a Hinealr coty, a city he created. In the finale, after losing his most beloved creations, Yugande and Shibolena, he tried to attack personally the Megarangers in Earth, but he realized that because of his prolonged life in the Nejirejia dimension, he couldn't prevent having his body being twisted in Earth. At first, he tried to use a new body, to no avail. However, he tried to destroy the Megarangers in the Death Nejiros, a transformed version of the Grand Nejiros. However, as he was about to be defeated by the Megaranger and his own body which was betraying him, he decided to self-destruct the Grand Nejiros and kill the Megaranger in the Megavoyager at the same time. While he died in the big explosion, the Megaranger were able to survive to go to their graduation.

Shibolena: a female cyborg built by Dr Hinelar, modeled after his dead daughter. She's a cruel and sadistic commander, feeling pleasure at seeing humans suffer in her devious plots. She's also a deadly fighter. She's very loyal to Dr Hinelar, that she sees as her father, and also cares a lot for Yugande, being pretty furious when Guileel used him as a shield to protect himself from the Megarangers, and as a result, being pretty happy in Hinelar's revenge. She was eventually destroyed while protecting Yugande from Megared's attack, exploding after going back to Dr Hinelar to inform him of Yugande's defeat, and then exploding after calling Hinelar "father"

Yugande: a green warrior robot, built by Dr Hinelar. He's a ruthless warrior, very devoted to his creator Dr Hinelar, always wanting to fight and destroy his master's enemies, the Megaranger. He has been damaged several times first by Megared in episode 8, then as a result of Guileel's actions, who merged with him to attack the Megaranger, only to leave him being destroyed by the heroes's attack. Each time he's been rebuilt even more powerful by Dr Hinelar. In episode 50, he used a special ship which made him take a red and even more powerful form, to finally destroy the Megarangers, damaging several of their mechas in the process. However, he's finally defeated and destroyed once and for all by Megared.

Guileel : a devious Nejirejia commander appearing in episode 19 who came at Javious's request to assist Dr Hinelar in Earth invasion. He's a pretty cruel commander, even usng the most underhanded plots in order to invade Earth and get the favors of Javious I. However, when he decided to merge with Yugande to fight the Megaranger in a more powerful body, only to leave Yugande badly damaged, he suffered from Dr Hinelar's wrath, who lured him into taking a capsule supposed to make him even stronger, but resulted in him losing his mind, by being overwhelmed by energy. After attacking the city, and damaging the Galaxy Mega, with even part of him becoming a separate monste entity, he's finally destroyed by the Megaranger using the Megavoyager.

Bibidebi: a small creature with bat like wings modified by Dr Hinelar into making the Nejirebeast grow bigger thanks to the enlarging virus

The Nejirangers: Five monsters, created from Dr Hinelar and using twisted versions of the Megaranger suits to become  Nejired, Nejiblack, Nejiblue, Nejiyellow and Nejipink. They were very powerful monsters, inflicting a huge defeat to the Megaranger in their first fight. However, each one was pretty obsessed into defeating their matching Megaranger, and that obsession lead them into arguing with each other and not having a solid teamwork, and that helped the Megaranger defeating them. They used Javious's life force as an energy source, and their purpose was to both destroy the Megaranger and Javious. Nejipink was defeated in episode 40, blue in episode 41, and the others in episode 43. However, their ghost were still there, and still obsessed into destroying the Megarangers, using Hinelar's data card machine to resurrect and bringing back the Megarangers who had been turned into cards. However, they ended up as datacards themselves, that Dr Hinelar kept

Nejirebeasts: the Monsters of the Week, created by Dr Hinelar. They have an animal theme (except in a few cases, like Baranejire), and are created from modified DNA. After Guileel's defeat, he was even able to make even stronger Nejirebeasts, the psycho Nejilars, still animal themed.

Kunekune: the twisted Mooks from Nejiregia. One episode had a boss Kunekune who was able to get bigger by having other Kunekune merging with him.

Megaranger's arsenal
Each Megaranger has his special weapon: Red has the Drill Sniper, which became upgraded later into  the Drill Sniper Custom, Black the Mega Rod, Blue the Mega Tomahawk, Yellow the Megasling and Pink the Megacapture. The latter four can be merged into the Multi Attack Rifle which is used with the Drill Sniper Custom to destroy the monsters from Nejiregia. Moreover, each ranger has a gun like weapon, the Megasniper.  Megasilver has his personal weapon, the Silver Blazer.
The Megaranger also have the Cyber sliders, which allows them to move through space, and the Digitank, an armored vehicle to fight on the ground. 

Megaranger's mechas
The Megaranger's mechas have pretty much a spaceship motif. An interesting element is that the rangers didn't have a personal mecha at first, but were using transforming mechas made from one or two separate elements.
Their first robot was the Galaxy Mega, resulting from the fusing of two mechas,   the Megashuttle (which made the head) and the INET Megaship (which made the remaining parts of the robot). It wasn't a mere robot, but the transformed form of the INET headquarters, with plenty of staff people working in it.
Then, in episode 19, a new mecha, the Delta Mega appeared, and also was a spaceship like mecha who could transform into a robotic from. It is able to combine with the Galaxy Mega to make an even stronger robot, the Super Galaxy Mecha.
In episode 32, news mechas created by Yuusaku/ Megasilver appeared, the Voyager Machines. Each ranger had his personal mecha, Red the Rovoyager-1, Black the Shuttel Voyager-2, Blue, the Rocket Voyager-3, Yellow the saucer Voyager-4 and Pink the Tank-Voyager-5. The five mechas are able to combine into the Mega Voyager robot, which was first used to destroy Guileel and would be eventually used in the final fight.
Lastly, Megasilver has his own mecha that he himself created, the Mega winger, another space shuttle mecha which could transform into a robot. It can donate its wings to the Megavoyager, transforming it into the Wing Megavoyager.
Except the Galaxy mechas, most of the mechas were destoyed through the series during the final arc.

The story pretty  much describes the fight between the Megaranger and the INET team against the Nejiregia, with the battle being even fiercer as the series progresses.
Episode 1, 2 and 3: first attack of the Nejiregia, the five high school students become the Megarangers, the Galaxy Mega appears and Hinelar modifies Bibidebi to make himenlarge the defeated Nejirebeasts
Episode 4-18 : first battles Megarangers vs Nejirejia: among notable episodes, episode 8 with a big MegaRed vs Yugande fight, and Shibolena is involved a lot, especially in episodes 4 and 11
Episode 19-32: the Guileel era:  Guileel appears as an additional Nejiregia villain, appearance of the Delta Mega. Introduction of Megasilver in episode 24.  In episode 30, Guileel shows his true colors by using Yugande, even causing him to be damaged. Dr Hinelar then destroys Guileel's mind in the following episode, and he's finally killed by the Megaranger using the newly introduced Megavoyager
Episodes 33-37 : transitional era: Hinelar creates the Pysychonejilar neasts, upgraded Nejirebeasts, Silver managed to have a more efficient suit, first appearance of the Megawinger
Episodes 38-43 : the Nejiranger arc: Kubota learns that Hinelar is none other than his former colleague Samejima: Javious is destroyed, Hinelar becomes leader of the Nejiregia
Episode 44-48: the Hinelar city plot
Episodes 49-51 : final plot: the Megaranger's identities are exposed  and they become outcasts: Yugande, Shibolena are defeated, and eventually, Hinelar too. The five main heroes graduate.

My opinion.
When I think of Megaranger, my first thought is that it's a pretty solid show. The main storyline isn't very complex and is pretty much the standard heroes vs evil fight, the interesting stuff comes in the details, and the show is amazingly well done, heroes, supporting characters, villains, mechas; and storytelling. Mixing the  high school and science/space motif was strange, but pretty well done, and Toei would remember it later for Kamen Rider Fourze.
The heroes are all likable with very distinct personalities. It's interesting that at first, the plot seems to stall a little. Indeed, after the intro arc,  it doesn't happen much during the first 18 episodes, during which the main characters are explored and pretty well fleshed, with even more characterization in later episodes. Likewise, Megasilver is a nice contrast with the other heroes and is a good link between them and the INET team, as both a teammate and a INET worker.  He has a fun personality and he made the team even more interesting.
Kubota is one of the best mentors in sentai history,  being both serious but also fun, with his fatherly behaviour. He's also very important in the storyline, because of his link with the main villain, Dr Hinelar.
The Nejirejia are pretty much standard villains, but they have some interesting elements. Dr Hinelar, the megalomaniac mad scientist is an expy of former evil sentai mad scientists, like Dr Man and Lee Keflen, and his link to Dr Kubota gives him depth. Yugande and Shibolena are his devoted servants; Shibolena has a lot in common with former villainesses like Ley Nefel from Flashman, as a daughter like creation from the main evil scientist. Yugande is the faithful warrior. Guileel is the classic treacherous villains, but it's interesting how he's outsmarted by Hinelar, the main villain. Lastly, the Nejirangers are probably the most well done "evil ranger team " of sentai history, with their evil but also obsessive personality and their remarkable design.
The Spaceship mecha theme is very original, given all the mechas have that theme. Unlike most sentai series of that era, the main robot isn't the result of the fusion of the personal mechas of each hero; they have to wait until the Megavoyager arc to have individual mechas. The design of the mechas and robots are very well done.
Megaranger uses also very well its technological theme, and it's important how scientists are very important characters in that series.
Megaranger has a pretty good storytelling. Even if in the first 18 episodes, the plot pretty stalls, the characters, heroes and villains alike are well developed during those episodes. Starting with episode 19, and Guileel's arrival, the story begins much more to go forward, with new enemies, a new hero, new robots. The plot escalates even further starting with the Nejiranger arc, and after episode 38, there is no filler episode anymore, and the intensity of the conflict reaches its climax in the final arc.

Conclusion: Megaranger is a very well done show, bringing a lot to the sentai franchise, with interesting themes, a new tone that would influence following shows like Gingaman, GogoV and Timeranger. Final score: 8.5/10

Trivia: Megasilver's actor, Shigeru Kanai had already played a regular hero in the Metal Hero franchise, G-Stag from B-Fighter. Masaya Matsukaze, Megablue's actor would appear later in several sentai shows,  as an actor like in Shinkenger, and is also a seiyuu ; he notably voiced Endolf in Kyoryuger. Eri Tanaka (Megayellow) also was a regular in Kamen Rider Kuuga. She would appear later in Boukenger as Boukenyellow's mother. Megapink's actress, Mami Higashiyama  would also appear in Boukenger as another ranger's mother, Boukensilver's, and she also appeared in Gaoranger vs Super Sentai. Megared's actor, Hayato Oshiba appeared in Kamen Rider Den-O and was the Legend hero from megaranger in Gokaiger. Both Oshiba and Matsukaze played Shurikenger's aliases in Hurricanger.