Weeks later, the design of the sixth ranger, Kyoryugold was shown, with the new robot. It wasn't bad, even if it felt like a remake of the Abarekiller/ Topugeira concept with the pterosaur mecha.
And then, in the end of January, most of the important info about the heroes, allies, supporting characters and villains was revealed.
I was pretty curious about each hero, which seemed to have very different backgrounds, and as such, would be a pretty diverse cast, and that could add plenty of interesting stuff to explore. While Daigo (King) (Red)'s background with his dad was not the most exciting, Ian (Black) as a womanizer and adventurer who has seen his friend killed before his eyes, and, more importantly, Nobuharu (Nossan) (Blue) having a family (sister and a niece) he wanted to protect, Souji (Green) as a high school student, and Amy (Pink) as a college student working as a waitress despite being from a wealthy family, all that had the potential to bring very interesting stories in the series. I was especially thrilled to see that the show would have a supporting cast of characters linked to the background of each ranger, some of them being played by toku veteran actors, like Nossan's sister by Ayumi Kinoshita/ Dekablue and Souji's dad by Junichi Haruta/ Dynablack-Madgallant.
There were also unfortunately some less good points in the info released. The mentor, who looked like a bipedal turkey, was in my opinion, looking pretty ridiculous for a mentor figure. But most importantly, I wasn't really thrilled by the villains. All were suit villains, with no human looking villains. But, even more important, they were themed after human emotions, and I wasn't thrilled about villains generals whose personality would be sum up as Mr Angry (the lion looking Dogold) , Mr Crybaby (the armored Aigalon) , Little Miss Sunshine (the feminine Candelilla), and Silly Clown (the kiddie Luckyuro). The concept of the Deboth looked like the concept of Abaranger's Evolian, but stripped of all the interesting elements that made the Evolian feel interesting. Chaos looked more serious, but as the villain leader, I knew he wouldn't do much stuff, except giving orders.
Last point; the writer of Kyoryuger was Riku Sanjo, who had worked before in Kamen Rider W and Kamen Rider Fourze. Given that both series were interesting Rider shows, I was curious to see Sanjo work in a sentai show for the first time, and a such, give fresh blood to the writing in the franchise.
All in all I had pretty much mixed feelings about Kyoryuger, with some potentially interesting elements, but also some bad stuff that could really ruin the show.
And, then, the show's episodes started to air. Because I feel I needed to have a good perspective of the show, I try to hold my judgement until I had seen a significant number of episodes, because it was necessary to assess how the characters were written, the storyline and storytelling were dealt.
However, after 18 episodes, I feel that I'm able to give a more detailed opinion of how the show is so far.
Unfortunately, I can say that Kyoryuger has been a pretty disappointing series so far. It hasn't been able to use its potential in an interesting way, mostly because of a lacking of quality in writing. The show's target is very little kids, and it unfortunately shows too much in the way the show is written.
Let's review each element of the series:
Heroes : Daigo is a standard, but not badly done Red ranger leader : a hot blooded reckless guy who is often not very bright, but is able to get the team together by using his charisma; it's significant that now everyone in the team call him by his chosen nickname, King. His backstory about his father, while not being the best, still has some potential.
However, one of the biggest problems of Kyoryuger is that it is unable to use the different backgrounds of its heroes, that is mentioned in their focus episodes, but pretty much is forgotten in the others. As a result, outside of their focus characters, most of the Kyoryuger feel like they're just there, and their personalities don't feel very interesting.
Ian is especially guilty of this. He's supposed to be a playboy, but it is hardly shown in the series, especially after episode 4. He's supposed to be that aloof guy, who wants revenge against his friend's murderer, but instead, he's more shown as an idiot and the fact that his rival is the very silly Aigalon really don't make his revenge arc very interesting (compare with Liveman, with the heroes having the awesomely evil Kemp as their friend's murderer)
Nossan had the potential to be an awesome character, as a guy who is older than the other members of the team who works hard to help his family and wants to protect it. However, instead of looking mature, he's looking like an idiot who only wants to make silly puns. Besides, the family concept has also been forgotten. Nossan's niece has only been shown in three episodes and none after episode 8 so far, and Nossan only has very few scenes with her (compare Ryouga/ Abared with his niece/ adoptive daughter Mai). Besides, Yuko, Nossan's sister isn't a very likable character.
Souji is an even worst case : his high school background is only shown once in the show (episode 13). Besides, he's supposed to have a conflict with his dad, but it is resolved in one episode. Like Ian, he only feels like he's just there in episodes not focusing much on him.
Amy is the lone girl. I like that Ayuri Konno tries to make her a very lively character. Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues with the way she is written. For example, she's supposed to be the rebellious kid from a wealthy family. However, I feel that the concept of the sentai warrior from a wealthy family has been done much better with Kaori/ White Swan and Tatsuya/ TimeRed. Indeed, Kaori's wealthy background was used in a much more significant way, and her butler was much much less annoying than Amy's gentle. And Amy earning money by doing a part time job is not really used in an efficient way, unlike the way Tatsuya worked in his "Tomorrow Research" part job company (we hardly see her in her restaurant waitress job during the show). Amy is rather shown as a lazy student, not unlike Go-Busters's Yoko and a lot of her focus episodes are used to make her cheer a fellow male ranger (a stereotypical "heart of the team" role) instead of exploring her bakcground in more depth. Besides, being shown as similar to Luckyuro and as its rival isn't very flattering for her.
Last, but not least, let's talk about the sixth ranger, Utsusemimaru/Kyoryugold. He's a samurai who fought against the Deboth centuries ago, but ended trapped in Dogold until he was freed by the heroes in episode 9-10. His intro arc is pretty similar to Gaosilver's intro arc, but it is written in a much more rushed way (2 episodes, instead of the 8-9 episodes of the Rouki arc) , and it's especialy striking how the fact he's been freed from Dogold did only have limited impact on Dogold himself (unlike Rouki who has been killed in order to free Gaosilver). Utsusemimaru is a okay character, but not much more than that. His rivalry with Dogold is a little better done than Ian's with Aigalon, probably because Dogold is more believable as a violent enemy.
Last point: one big issue of Kyoryuger is how the whole team seems to worship Daigo, (yeah, even Ian) and seem to really mean it when they call him "King"
Supporting characters : Torin is the mentor figure of the Kyoryuger, who has fought against the Deboth for a long time. His design feels ridiculous (like a big turkey who seems to belong more to a Thanksgiving dinner than to a sentai team), but fortunately, his voice actor is pretty good and avoids making him look like a complete buffoon. However, he's not the best mentor, because he seems to admire his team, especially Daigo, instead of being the one to tell them about their flaws.
The Legendary Kyoryuger: Ramirez/ Kyoryucyan : he's a likable character, despite his accent and his exaggerated optimism. Being used as a supporting character instead of a one arc character was also not a bad idea.
Kyoryugrey : he's pretty much a brutal mentor, and he's not afraid to give the heroes some hard time in order to make them stronger. His best point: he's perhaps the only character who does not worship Daigo/ King, and tell him the reasons why he sucks.
Characters related to the heroes's background : Daigo's dad is hardly seen so far in the show, so I need more time to have an opinion about him. Except being killed by Aigalon, not much is seen about Ian's friend. Rika is a cute kid, and is pretty likable when we see her, but she's completely underused. Her mother Yuko is not a very likable character and a waste of Ayumi Kinoshita's talent. Souji's dad is a likable character, and it's nice to see that Junichi Haruta can still show some badassness at his age. However he's underused. And Gentle is pretty annoying as Amy's butler (compare with Kaori's)
Villains: When I saw the Deboth's design and the short description of each general, I was fearing that the villains would be pretty uninteresting characters. Chaos had a statue of Liberty design, and the generals have designs inspired from the Wizard of Oz characters (Candelilla/ Dorothy, Luckyuro/ Scarecrow, Aigalon/ Tin Man, Dogold/ Lion) And unfortunately, I've been right.
Chaos is the only one of the Deboth that can be taken seriously; he's pretty serious, and in the episodes he's involved in fights (episode 7 and episode 10, both showing his rivalry with Torin), she's shown as a dangerous enemy.
However, Chaos is literaly surrounded by idiots, who look much more silly than dangerous. And the "human emotion" theme isn't what I call the most interesting one.
Aigalon is the armored " knight of sorrow". He knows how to fight, and he's the one who has killed Ian's friend. However, his crybaby personality and his overall stupidity makes him impossible to be taken seriously as a villain and rival.
Dogold is the "knight of anger". He's revealed to be a living armor who needs a body to move. While he's able to use the bodies of Cambrima (high level mooks), those bodies only last a few weeks, and he'd rather use the body of a stronger being. He's found that stronger body by trapping Utsusemimaru and using his body. However, when we first see him, he seems to have forgotten about that, and a big flaw of Kyoryuger is the inconsistent way he's written, especially in episode 9: at the beginning, he seems to have forgotten about Utsusemimaru, and then, we see him as a mastermind (with Chaos) who trapped Utsusemimaru by using his anger. Because he's a pretty violent general, because of his perpetual anger, he is more believable as a rival to Kyoryugold. However, he still feels like an one-dimensional villain
Candelilla: the "Knight of Joy": she's not very interesting, and feels like a complete stereotype instead of a character. Besides, it seems that her main plots all involve "singing the Deboth song to manipulate humans", and it seems that Riku Sanjo doesn't know how to use her beyond that, as seen by the way she's not shown in many episodes starting with episode 12.
Luckyuro: he feels like a silly character, both in his design and his personality. He's the one who makes the monster grow. He's difficult to take seriously as a villain, because of his silliness, but at least, he's supposed to be silly.
The monsters's design feel silly, but are not too badly done. The Zorima are ugly, but the concept of having them aggregating together to make huge monsters isn't a bad idea, even if the Big Zorima are unfortunately very ugly too.
Storyline : Millions of years ago, the Deboth army was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Only a few survived with their spirits being kept in Zyudenchi "Beast Batteries", with the Wise God Torin keeping mechanical bodies, the Zyudenryu, for ten of the most powerful dinosaurs.
Now, in modern time, the Deboth start attack the new dominant species, humans being, by attacking all over the globe, hoping to bring back to life their leader, the huge Master Deboth. However, Torin, aware of their nefariosu projects, decide to seek strong and brave warriors who would be able to beceom partners with the Zyudenryu after defeating them, and become the new warrios of justice, the Kyoryuger. He managed to gather together four young men and a young girl, who would oppose the Deboth.
There is not much more to say, and after 18 episodes, the most significant plot is the addition of new warriors and new Zyudenryu, with the return of former Kyoryuger, who had opposed the Deboth centuries ago (Kyoryucyan and Kyoryugrey), but were fighting alone with Torin, and as a result, couldn't match the whole Deboth team.
One of the biggest issues of Kyoryuger is the way it's unable to bring interesting secondary arcs. For example, theere was supposed to be an arc where the heroes were taking their time to reveal to each other, but it didn't feel like it was very well done, because there wasn't any real relevant reason to hide their true identity. Likewise, the "Utsusemimaru tries to be tough, even if he's nice" didn't work that well either, and was abandoned after only two episodes. The Kyoryugold intro arc was pretty rushed, especially compared with the similar Gaosilver one. The use of many additional rangers feels like a easy way to try to get attention. Last, but not least, the heroes are supposed to try to protect their private life, but in fact, the show almost doesn't focus on the heroes's private lives. Instead, we mostly see them hanging out in the Kyoryuger base.
Weapons and mechas: the Zyudenryu feels like if the Bakuryuu were designed in a siller way, and the concept of the robot gattai is too much similar to the Bakuryuu change. The Gaburevolver is a fun transforming device, however, the dancing stuff before the Kyoryuchanges become quickly old.
The Zyudenchi are supposed to be themed after dinosaurs, but it feels more like being themes as bizarre powers (the most annoying one being without a doubt Ovirapoo). However, at least the show tried to use its dinosaur motif.
Conclusion: Despite seeming like it had some nice potential, Kyoryuger is a pretty disappointing show which doesn't use its character in an interesting way, focuses too much on silly comedy that is only sporadically funny, and has some bad storytelling. One big issue is that the writing feels really childish, even by Sentai standards, and it's an huge problem, because a lot of the issues of the series aren't linked to its concepts, but the way they're used, and as such, by the way the show is written. In his first sentai show, Riku Sanjo is really disappointing, and I'm afraid that since the 18 episodes were disappointing, the remainder of the show is gonna be bad as well.
Some ways Kyoryuger could improve:
- Focus more on the main heroes's private lives, in order to flesh them better, and even try to write an arc linked to their private lives
- In the next episodes, Kyoryuviolet is gonna appear: it would be nice if the character, who isn't a spirit ranger, would be used in an interesting way, and try to make his granddaughter an interesting addition to the show
- Bring some fresh blood in the villain team, by introducing a new threat to the heroes (and not, the Master Deboth avatar isn't enough, since he's gonna certainly be used to show Plesion and the new gattai new robots look awesome). Indeed, Dogold and Aigalon really already feel old.
Overall score so far 5.5/10 (and only because I am a great fan of the Super Sentai concept)