Friday, August 15, 2014
Hard Boiled license : a very special episode of Dekaranger
"Hard boiled license" is episode 37 of Dekaranger, written by Naruhisa Arakawa. It's an episode focused on Hoji, his relationship with Teresa, a young woman which is an alien from the planet Mich, while investigating a case involving young women being murdered. This case is especially important for Hoji since it could be the key for him to earn the Gold badge, allowijg to be promoted into a Tokkyuo (a special investigator).
It's soon revealed that the culprit in the young women's murders is none other than Claudo, the younger brother of the young woman whom Hoji is involved with. Teresa was sick, and Claudo was trying to find a cure, killing young women to take from them a nutrient which would help his sister to be cured from her disease. Of course, during the course of the investigation, Hoji realizes the link between Claudo and the murders, and ends up torn between his love for Teresa and his duty as a Dekaranger. Of course, as the professional he is, he ends up killing Claudo in order to prevent murders. As a result, it of course ends his relationship with Teresa. While he ends up earning his Gold license, he's not able to accept it.
The story of this episode is of course very melodramatic, and it has all the components to be a complete tear jerker, including its soundtrack dominated by Teresa's bittersweet song. While melodrama has already been used in Super Sentai, several elements make that episode stand out compared with other melodramatic episodes and with other Dekaranger episodes, and makes that episode look more like a police drama episode rather than a classic toku episode:
- A very limited amount of action scenes : there is no fight scene in that episode : when the Dekaranger appear, the suspect flees, and in all the course of the episode, is only shot twice (including one fatally) by Hoji
- Very limited screen time for the other rangers, who are pretty there only to either comment the story, or help in the investigation.
- A huge focus on the three main characters of the drama : Hoji, Teresa and Claudo, their motivations, their relationship, and how tragedy ends up changing forever their lives.
- Claudo is almost exclusively shown in his human form, in a way to increase the empathy the viewer has for the character, and how tragic his death ends up: the story wouldn't have been very different if he had been an human. It also helps underplaying the "special effect" part of the episode.
- Very little classic "hero vs villain" dialogue : instead of stock classic toku dialogue, the show uses more "drama" dialogue, or even, no dialogue at all.
- No giant robot fight, and no "Judgement time scene" : the episode avoids almost all the gimmicks seen in most Dekaranger episodes, and, by avoiding the spectacular over the top scenes, makes even more the episode feel like a drama show.
- Claudo's death : instead of a classic "Delete" scene, he's merely killed by a gunshot which could have been done in a police drama.
- No classic "final narration" ending up with "tatakae, Tokusaou sentai Dekaranger" ; the end scene is a bittersweet scene between Hoji and Teresa, without dialogue, only the song soundtrack : more a "drama" episode ending scene than a sentai episode ending scene. More than ever, the episode is more about the drama between the three protagonists than a "sentai vs alien criminal" one.