Sunday, February 23, 2014

ToQger First Impressions

Well I've seen the premiere of ToQger and yes this is a bit late, but better late than never. Its time to get down to business. Based on the information that was released early on, it was clear that this show was seemingly going for a light tone. What did I think of it? You'll find out soon enough.
The episode opens with a nice bit of narration about the importance of imagination. We see a train from the Shadow Line abducting children and surprisingly there is an adult on board. Suddenly we see the dark train being chased down by 5 trains from the Rainbow Line. After a battle between the trains, the dark train is driven to a dead stop and we're shortly introduced to our heroes: The ToQgers, well 4 of them anyway as Right doesn't join until later in the episode.

The dark train's design is decent enough with a nice looking albeit very generic skull on the front. It should also be noted that the miniatures for the show look fantastic. I'm a bit mixed on the theme song. It is decently exciting but it might get rather annoying at some point. As for the ToQgers, the color scheme is about what would be expected with the colors being red, blue, yellow, green, and pink. Though it is nice that they went with a nice bright shade of green instead of the usual shade. The color swapping however could use some work. In the premiere it just gets played off as a flashy way for them to simply switch weapons and it really doesn't affect their fighting ability in any way.
I was expecting each color to be linked to a specific ability and by assuming that color, a ToQger could gain access to that ability. The cast seems interesting enough and imagination being the source of their power is a cool idea. Its really interesting that Kagura can use her own imagination to augment her physical abilities and I'm wondering if the other ToQgers can do something like that as well. Her signature weapon is also a bit twisted in a sense as she used it to shrink some foot soldiers and began literally crushing them like ants. However it is an interesting idea for a weapon regardless. Personality-wise, I don't mind Right at the moment, for now he is just a reckless guy. He even went so far as to jump onto a moving train before grabbing his henshin device.
That just might be my favorite gag in the premiere.
The design for ToQ-Oh is just massive and way too bulky though I will give the designers some points for going with full-size trains and instead of just giving each ToQger an individual train car. ToQ-Oh actually moved a lot better than its design would imply. Given its overly bulky design, it definitely wouldn't be the most agile mecha so it was a great idea to have it fight on tracks. The villains' designs are interesting though the premiere didn't give us much insight into their personalities.
In terms of the comedy, it had a little too much slapstick from my tastes but it was still enjoyable. I just hope it won't sink to the level of relying too much on the slapstick to get the comedic tone across.

Well those are my thoughts on the premiere. Overall, it was a decent premiere and it looks like the show will be fun. I'm not going to set my hopes too high. All I can hope now is that the show will be entertaining and not rely on padding as much as Kyoryuger did because that can really hurt the show.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Super Megaforce First Impressions

Given the Megaforce review, you no doubt know I didn't care much for it and now the first episode of Super Megaforce has come and gone. What did I think of it? Well just read on and see.
The episode opens with a recap of the finale of the first half when the Messenger is destroyed and Vrak goes into hiding. We then get introduced to Vrak's brother Prince Vekar as the Armada begins the assault on Earth. I like his voice, it has a sort of royal undertone to it though he and the other villains do sound a somewhat muffled but that will probably get fixed in later episodes. Another thing of note is that while the theme song is the same as the first half, the opening sequence strangely has more energy to it and it is a bit more exciting.

It was a good choice not to have them recalled to the Command Center to get the new mode immediately after the invasion begins. We get a nice scene or two of Emma and Noah actually fighting off the grunts to protect civilians. By doing it that way, they managed to provide some decent tension. Seeing everyone but Troy limping into the Command Center with suits scuffed and slightly burned from battle is a decent sight.

With that said, the acting and the voice acting on the rangers' part is about on par with the first half. Their voice acting sounds a bit dry and dull. Troy still sounded a bit bored while Emma still sounded a little too cheery considering they were watching the city get destroyed in beginning. I do like that they made the keys the same size as the ones in Gokaiger. I was actually expecting them to use the smaller and mis-proportioned Bandai of America keys instead. My biggest complaint with the episode is that they just went on and on about how great their new powers were.
The name legendary red ranger mode is redundant since its called legendary mode.
Its fine if they think that their Super Mega mode (geez that is a terrible name) is cool and they are excited to be able to use it but after a while it got annoying.  I almost shouted "Ok I get it! You love your new powers, just stop talking about it already!". Banter between the rangers is a normal part of  PR but this seemed a little much. The fight scenes would've been cooler if they had just toned down the talking. The color puns during the legendary red ranger change were annoying and really only helped push the point home that they rangers needed to shut up about their new powers. They made a really weird choice after the legendary red ranger fight. They did a blatantly obvious photo-shop/green screen effect to put Overdrive Red's suit in the scene where they were walking away from the explosion. I thought for sure that was something they would've re-shot. The difference is really noticeable because in the shot, Overdrive Red's suit is a lot brighter than the others.
Other than that, the action was just the standard Gokaiger stuff involving team swapping but using each team's morphing phrase was a nice touch. They even went so far as doing a roll call when they changed into Mystic Force. With that being said, the names of all their equipment and zords need work because adding the words "super mega" to everything is just lazy. You could call that knit-picking but it got annoying hearing "super mega" this and "super mega" that when ever they did something.

The episode does a nice call back to a question the teacher asked in first episode of Megaforce and Troy's answer that if humanity works together, they can overcome even the greatest odds. It was actually a very fitting call back given the start of the episode. It is also kind of nice to see that Roboknight might not be outright forgotten in this half. Those are my overall thoughts on the episode. Was the episode terrible? No. Was it spectacular? Not even close. Overall, it was just an ok episode. They really have a lot to make up for after the first half.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

     Since today is all about love, I thought why not take a look at some couples in Tokusatsu.  What’s that you are wondering why my title seems to indicate something negative?  Well the explanation is simple…I am full of negativity.  There are just some couples out there in the Toku universe that make you scratch your head, scream “What the hell!”, and just pull out your hair.  With that let’s take a look at 3 couples I didn't really like in a segment I like to call “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” (P.S. Spoilers will be involved)

1.) Daigo “King” and Amy- Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

     Granted this is a more recent couple and there are worse couples out there but I just wanted it know that I think this couple is bad.  One problem with this couple is how last minute it felt.  Sure there was that one episode where Amy was jealous with Yayoi and unsure if she liked Daigo, but that was about it from what I remember.  Not only that she resolved the issue herself saying “Whatever, I just won’t think about at the moment” which is perfectly fine, until we get to the later episodes where that mindset of her and Daigo returns.  The D returns episode was just more about Mikoto (Meeko) and Daigo and Yayou talking love and the relationship with Daigo.  Amy is more shocked than anything else. Then we have the last three episodes where all the sudden Amy is like “Daigo-kun, let’s eat dessert together!”  

     As for Daigo’s perspective, he is treated like a generic shounen protagonist where he loves all his friends and is oblivious to people romantically interested in him.  And then we get the finale where he makes the statement that Amy and him are two of a kind.  Where did that come from, when did Daigo suddenly realize he liked Amy?  He never gave any rhyme or reason for it so why the sudden, “I will protect Amy because you are the most important person to me.” Come from?  And that is what a lot of fandom was saying, it just came out of nowhere and the writing never indicated that such an event would occur.  Not to say Yayoi or Meeko would have been any better because either woman would have resulted in the same complaint from me as bad couples but at least there was some kind of history and attraction from Meeko and Yayoi at least we knew she liked Daigo.  Also Daigo said "We're two of a kind" to Amy, where did he get that idea, throughout most of the series Amy is written as the token and generic girl of the group and didn't really do anything to have Daigo say this.  Again just bad writing and bad execution.

     If you want a comparison of Daigo, Amy, Yayoi, and Meeko love thing, it’s basically like Naruto.  Daigo is Naruto, Amy is Sakura, Yayoi is Hinata, and Meeko is Shion from the 1st Shippuden movie.  

So I guess that makes Riku Sanjo a Naruto and Sakura shipper?

(Would of been a better result lol)
     Another issue the lack of chemistry performers Ryo Ryusei and Ayuri Konno had.  Whenever they are interacting with each other it lacks very little dynamics and the image of them being together is hard to believe.  It also didn’t help that I thought the performers were bad to begin with but the lack of chesmistry hurt any kind of legitimacy that the two could have been together.  Want a good example of good chemistry and a relationship written by Riku Sanjo, watch Kamen Rider W, Ryu (Kamen Rider Accel) and Akiko.  
With the story not really handling the relationship well, the performers not doing a good job, and the fact that I don’t like either character as well, Daigo and Amy’s relationship is one of the worse I have seen in Sentai.

2.) Keisuke Nago and Megumi- Kamen Rider Kiva

     Yeah this one, I don’t even think Kiva fans understand.  I know Nate Strazor a huge Kiva fan didn’t understand it.  Kiva had a lot of problems and was a mess; one of those problems is its handling of love stories and romance.  In fact I could make an entire post about Kiva’s romance and how terrible they were but I want to focus on this in particular because it is just unexplainable.  Like Daigo and Amy the two performers Keisuke Kato and Nana Yanagisawa weren’t exactly good and also they lacked chemistry, but one of the main problems with these two is that they quite literally hated each throughout most of the series and then in the finale they get married.  What…why? It makes no sense, how can these two characters that are constantly at each other’s throats get married in the end?  Are they both into this kind of thing, is just out of desperation, or is because no one else will take, because those reason I can think to get these two married.
(Can't you see since we argue so much that means we are in Love!)
      I mean I like love-hate relationships but for that to work there has to be a give and take.  You have to show that they do care for one another even though they argue marry like a married couple.  Kiva did not do that, there was a lot more hate and anger both characters had towards one another but rarely any kind of care.  More often they were trying to one up each other than actually forming a bond.  The relationship would have been at least better had it only gone the friendship route and more about the two characters hating each to mutually respecting one another.

     It is just so forced and out of left field more so than Daigo and Amy and the show doesn’t even explain why this happen they just want you to accept and move on.  Well maybe if the writing built the relationship bette than maybe I can move on, but to go from “Idiot I hate” “Megumi you are not worthy of Ixa” to “I do!” Well you got a problem here.  
(More legit of a relationship. Thanks Takebe!)

     Kiva was a mess of a series and the marriage and forced romance of Nago and Megumi is just one of those issues.  

3.) Ryu and Kaori- Chojin Sentai Jetman

     Now this one may surprise some people but I personally didn’t exactly like that in the end of Jetman that the two characters that got married were Ryu (Red Hawk) and Kaori (White Swan).  This one like the two couples I mentioned before just comes nowhere and feels very forced.  Granted three years past and so something could of happened that brought these two together but really even if that was the case it just feels unnecessary.  But then again the epilogue portion of Jetman’s finale is another topic for another day.

     Again like many problems of couples I mentioned before is that while Rika Kishida was decent, Kotaro Tanaka on the other hand I don’t think did a good job as Ryu.  I am not saying he’s the worst red actor in Sentai he just wasn’t one of the best I’ve seen.  With that I felt the two lacked the sort dynamic to make them look like a couple.  So when you see the two together it isn’t like you instantly think “Yeah these two together.”  
(Sorry I just can't buy it.)
     The real connecting moment the two had was when Kaori was helping Ryu over his grief of the death of Rie at the hands of Radiguet.  Now I personally did not see as some sort of romantic gesture but more in the line of a friend helping another who was feeling down.  Which would make sense in Jetman since that was one of its themes (Listen to the ending theme- Kokoro Wa Tamago).  But for that moment to spark a romance is quite insulting to the audience since that means that if a woman helps you through your grief she must love you romantically, not love and car for you as friend.  

     Plus I always felt Kaori should have been with Gai because she was kind of the balancing force that changed him for the better but I would been okay if that didn’t happen either.

 I think them being close friends with strong bonds is how Jetman should of approached it, and in the end it only gave us a forced marriage from forced romance.

     Jetman was a great series and I love it to death but Ryu with Kaori in the end was something I was not a big fan of.

     So that was the first year of my segment called “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” I hoped you’ve enjoyed my little rants on love in Tokusatsu and if you liked I may do another one next year because there are a lot times when love in Tokusatsu isn’t handled very well, so watch out bad couples because just because I didn’t talk about you this year doesn’t mean I won’t next year.  So again thank you for reading and please comment with your thoughts on the article and some of the Tokusatsu couples that you didn’t like.  Thank you all and take care and remember I love you all.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Deboth in Kyoryuger (Torin included) : a detailed analysis

While I've first learnt about the Deboth and Torin, I was pretty pessimistic ; a mentor looking like a Thanksgiving meal, and all villains were suit villains. However, the Deboth turned out to be a pretty interesting group, notably because of their differences; the turning point however was the reveal that Torin (who had already surprised me since his Seiyuu was able to make me take him more seriously) was himself a former member of the Deboth army ( and Chaos's own brother), who rebelled against the destructive aims of his group. Besides, the second half of the show revealed very different fates for the members of the Deboth army, with different levels of redemption, and fates which were pretty fitting of their deep nature.

Let's start to analyse each major member of the Deboth army

1) Deboth

The leader of the Deboth army, he's an entity which aims to destroy life. The irony is that his appearance changes by taking characteristics of the very creatures he destroys : at the beginning of Kyoryuger, Deboth's appearance is a mix of the dinosaurs and the bugs he previously destroyed, while, at the end, while filling itself with human emotions, he evolved into abeing with an human appearance and human intelligence and speech.

2) Chaos and Torin

I'm gonna analyse Chaos and Torin together, because, while they're opponents and fights in opposite sides, both are very similar, and it's pretty fitting that they are brothers. Both Chaos and Torin fight for what they believe is a righteous fight: Chaos fight to destroy life, as a loyal servant of Deboth, and Torin fights to protect life. Chaos believe in his fight because he's loyal to his master and creator, Deboth. Torin fights to protect life, because, as he went to Earth to destroy life, after seeing the dinosaurs, and how impressive and beautiful life was, he wasn't able anymore to destroy life, because he realized that there was something which deserves more his loyalty than his creator Deboth: life itself. As such, he opposed Chaos and tried to protect the dinosaurs : while he failed at preventing the dinosaurs's extinction, he was at least able to freeze Deboth's heart and as such, seal him.
 Both Torin and Chaos created warriors to fight for their cause: Chaos created the Deboth knights, and Torin created the Kyoryuger using the spirits of the dinosaurs. Both are the wise leaders of their troops, and good strategists. Both fought against each other for a long time. Both hate his other brother: Chaos because he felt Torin has betrayed his own family (and the most significant symbol is Torin cutting his brother's wing), Torin, because he hates Chaos's will to destroy life. That said, both aknowledge their link as brothers, even if they're bitter enemies, and Mad Torin is certainly the brother Chaos wished Torin was.
 However, there is a key difference  between the two, and it's that difference that made Torin win and Chaos be defeated : Torin, despite starting himslef as a traitor to Deboth, cares a lot about trust and wants more than anything to trust his partners. Torin showed plenty of times how much he trusts his Kyoryuger friends, how he cares for their trust. In fact, one of his happiest moments of his life was when he realized that, despite his past as a Deboth, the Kyoryuger still trusted him. Torin's biggest pain is whenever he seems he has failed to be worthy of the trust of his partners, like when he failed at preventing Utchy to be possessed by Dogold, or how he wasn't able to become Bragigas's partner and avoid his death when Gadoma attacked. But, despite the pains, Torin still wants to trust, and in fact, the key part of the Kyoryuger's victory came because the Kyoryuger chose to trust an enemy.
 Chaos, because he's been scarred by Torin's betrayal, is scared more than anything to have anyone of his followers betray him like Torin. As long as he feels that his Deboth knights are trustworthy and commited to the fight, he's not afraid, and is even a good leader appreciated by his troops. However, as soon as he fears betrayal, his first reaction is to have the potential traitor either killed if he/she is not useful anymore, like Candelira, or forced into submission if he/she may still be useful, as Dogold. Ironically, Chaos is defeated precisely because of the very generals he threw away, even if they were still loyal when he did this. Because he feared too much betrayal, he ended up betrayed by those who were the most loyal to him : Candelira and Luckyuro.
 Last point : it's fitting that Torin and Chaos died the same way: willingly killed by Dantetsu in order to fight in the Deboth hell ; in a big irony, Chaos's last fight was to protect, and Torin's was to destroy. However, Torin won because his trust was the proof of real bravery, while Chaos instead showed fear. After all, the bravest thing to do is to trust others, since it's not easy, and there is always the big risk of betrayal and the pain that comes with it.

3) Dogold

Dogold is the knight of Anger, and he thrives on the anger of others. Anger is an evil feeling, because it induces agressivity, violence and destruction, and, as a result suffering. When someone is angry, he will never cares for the suffering of others.  Fittingly, Dogold stays evil all his life and is a violent warrior. However, unlike hate, anger has at its basis a suffering, and it's that pain which creates that violence. Indeed, Dogold is a living armor, with no real body, and he's forced to take over other creatures's bodies to have a full body, and his whole life is based on stealing other living being's lives. Dogold hates himself for being such a wretched creature. However, his parasitic nature also makes him a pretty cunning one, and, despite being prone to anger, he's able to conceal his intents, deceive allies and enemies, and plot against them, as seen with the way he took over Endolf's body, and how he knew how to mimick loyalty after his plot against Chaos failed and Endolf came back, in order to stay alive while waiting the fitting opportunity for revenge.
Anger is also associated with pride and Dogold is very proud ; as such, he hates Endolf for reminding him of his pitiful status as an armor, and how he never fails to humiliate him. His final act was to ally one last time with his bitter enemy Utsusemimaru to take down Endolf, because while utchy was his enemy, at least he aknowledge Dogold's pride, while Endolf took pleasure to humiliate him. At the end, Dogold died an honorable death, the death of a worthy warrior, the only thing Dogold could be proud to be.

4) Aigalon

Aigalon is the warrior of sorrow. Since he's meant to create sorrow inside humans's heart, he's also an evil creature. However, unlike Dogold, he's also very sensitive, since sadness is a deep feeling, coming from the heart. It's significant that his most notable evil act was to kill Ian's friend, and cause Ian a very deep sorrow. However, while he enjoys create sorrow to others, he hates feeling himself sorrow, and when he thought the Kyoryuger had killed his comrades, Chaos, Deboth and Dogold, his sorrow was so big it turned into bling rage, and he tried to kill the Kyoryuger by blowing himself up. As a result, he died a first time, only to be brought to life by Chaos.
However, Aigalon had one bright side in his life : his love for Candelira, who as the knight of Joy, was pretty much his opposite. Aigalon  obviously felt  that Candelira's joy was complementary of his own sorrow, and became close to her, hoping to feel better thanks to the happiness that radiated through her. Therefore, when Chaos decided to get rid of Candelira, he couldn't stand it and decided to defect from Deboth, only to become a fugitive and a target. Despite that, he wanted most of all to protect Candelira, because losing her would be the ultimate sadness for her. It's because that sadness was associated by the loss of another life he cared for that he realizes his cruelty in killing humans.
He ended up sacrificing his life to save Candelira, choosing to die rather than suffer the horrible sorrow of losing her. Ironically, he was killed by another Knight of sorrow, Icerondo, who wanted to bring him the deepest sorrow. While Ian hated Aigalon, he couldn't help but be deeply moved by Aigalon's sacrifice, and instead of hate, he ended up feeling sad for his enemy. Aigalon himself recognized the beauty of that sadness. Aigalon was ironically avenged by Ian thanks to the powerful sorrow he felt and which was tranferred in his axe.

4) Candelira

The Knight of joy, her whole life is aimed at create happiness and make humans feel happy. As such, her whole nature is at odds with the evilness of the Deboth army's destruction. However, Candelira saw herself as a Deboth, and while her plans involved making people feel happy, she first wanted to have her companions feel happy as well, by being a useful knight. Her plans to get happiness from people could be as harmless as making sweet cakes, or as twisted as making people's wishes true at the cost of their lives. But Candelira only cared for immediate joy, and she didn't really care for stuff as deep as choosing good or evil.
 However, one day, she was protected by one of her sworn enemies, Kyoryublue. While she was already amused by the puns of his enemy, she was deeply moved by him protecting her, especially since he knew about her. Moreover, when she met her enemy and fully expected to fight him, he decided instead to beg her to stop her evil plan, and decided to trust her. Nossan even protected her from the wrath of her sister, and he was the one to show her that they didn't need to be enemies because, as the one who brings joy, she could be able to live peacefully with humans while being herself Deeply moved by those beautiful feelings, Candelira sabotaged her own evil plan, and since then, stopped actively fighting the Kyoryuger, only being still wih the Deboth out of loyalty. However, once Chaos started plotting to kill her, and she realized that she received betrayal and pain from her allies and mercy and comfort from her enemies,  she decided that the Kyoryuger were more worthy of her loyalty and helped them in the final fight against Chaos. At the end, she decided to work to make humans feel happy with Luckyuro.

5) Luckyuro

Luckyuro is the kid of the Deboth army and the Fun spy. As a kid, he cares about two things : having fun, and being praised by his elders, especially Chaos. Because of his desire to be praised, he's been a very loyal servant to Chaos and the knights, especially his immediate superior, Candelira. But at the same time, he loves having fun, and more often than not, as a typical kid, fun comes before duty in his mind. Luckyuro found plenty of fun in stuff created by humans, like games, puzzles, and especially a shoujo manga, Love Touch. However, he's also pretty smart, and was the first to see how unhealthy Endolf was.
 When Amy told him that if he continued working for Deboth to destroy the world, he would lose all the fun stuff he got thanks by the human world, he started doubting the Deboth mission, stopping actively fighting the Kyoryuger at the same time as Candelira. But of course, the last straw was being fired by Chaos, and then, seeing Aigalon and Candelira hunted by their own kind. At that time, he had no reason anymore to care for the praise of the Deboth, and allied with the Kyoryuger together with Candelira. After Deboth's defeat, he joined Candelira in her mission to make humans happy, since, as the warrior of fun, he's deeply associated with happiness.

6) Endolf

Endolf is the Knight of hate, or resentment, created by Chaos because he felt hate was the perfect weapon to fight bravery. Indeed, hate is one of themost powerful evil thought, and Endolf is the evilest of the Deboth knights.  Endolf thrives in hate, and he wants more than anything to see others feel hate. He's even ready to have enemies harming them to hate them even more. Unlike Dogold's anger, Endolf's hate doesn't come from an internal pain, but more of a deep desire and great pleasure to hate others, and be hated, in other to destroy his enemies. Hate is cold blooded resentment, the ability to desire harm to others only for the sake of it. Endolf speaks very softly, almost never shows anger, rather enjoying other feeling anger. His aura is even able to increase the evilness in his comrades : because he wanted to be Endolf's partner, Aigalon decided to use in purpose the fact he killed Ian's pal to torment Kyoryublack even more. And Candelira, in order to please Endolf, sang the evil melody which would make Torin turn evil again. However, Endolf wasn't just content to be hated by his enemies. He even took bigger pleasure to torment Dogold, reminding of his nature as an armor, and was even more amused to use his pain device to force him to be his servant. Even when Dogold took control of his body, he only used that time in Dogold's control to increase his hate and managed to expell the lion looking armor more powerful than ever. However, because he was too amused by seeing Dogold suffer, Endolf didn't realize that Dogold would hate him so much that he would be ready to ally with his bitter enemy Utsusemimaru and even lose his life, if it allowed him to get his  revenge on him. Endolf died, stunned to see that Dogold's hate would be bigger than his.

7) Icerondo and Killborero

As the new Knights of sorrow and Joy, they are proof of the desire of Chaos to have loyal servants, who would replace the ones who might betray him.

While Riku Sanjo didn't always avoid some inconsistencies in the writing of the Deboth generals (notably Aigalon and Candelira), he managed to create a very interesting group with the Deboth. Indeed, not only did they show very different personalities because of the emotion which are associated with them, he also showed that being a Deboth wasn't necessary being evil, because as long as a member of Deboth started to feel empathy with other living being (like Torin, and later, Luckyuro, Candelira and even Aigalon), he had the potential for redemption. Indeed, a big message of Kyoryuger is how important  trusting others, and feeling empathy for fellow living being is what makes a living being be good, whatever its origins. As such, Kyoryuger really deserves kudos, and while not being the best sentai series, is still a very good one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ToQger: Return of the Orange

I know this is a bit late, but I just wanted to let the news settle so I could gather my thoughts before making this post. Toy scans have revealed that we will see the return of a color that has been rarely used in Sentai: The color orange. I'm excited to see the color orange make a comeback. It is a color that the franchise definitely needs more of, along with navy, crimson, and violet.
Before now there have only been three times when this color has been used in Sentai. Those are the two Battle Cossacks and DekaSwan. While the case could be made for her being a white ranger, I like to count her as orange because that color takes up most of her suit and it is the most noticeable color on it.
With that being said, my love for the color orange wasn't actually derived from Dekaranger or even Battle Fever J, it came from a lovable goofball who wore the color as a ranger in a dream for only a single episode. Thats right, it came from SPD's comic relief and general punch-line, Boom.

He was my favorite character in the show and out of everyone in the show, he was the one that I felt deserved to be a ranger the most. I was a bit disappointed that he never got to become one as he would've been perfect as green after Sky got promoted to red and Bridge became blue. I always felt that he was the character with the most heart in the show. Even after he was essentially denied his dream of becoming a ranger, he never let it get him down and decided to support the team from the side-lines to the best of his ability. All of that combined with his speech in the season finale pretty much solidified him as deserving to be a ranger in my eyes.
Attached Image
I will gladly await the appearance of ToQ6 so we can count him among the few orange rangers in the history of Sentai and eventually Power Rangers. I really hope he will be a great character. Overall, he has the best suit design out of the ToQgers. The straps going down the front of the suit are a nice touch and I love the helmet. As for the henshin device being a smartphone, I think its better than the main five's henshin devices. Seriously, those things are so bulky that they don't even need to henshin, all they'd have to do is backhand the grunts and the monster.

Power Rangers Films and You, or How Either End of the Fandom Can Express Mutual Contempt

I am a Super Sentai fan. I grew up with Power Rangers, but have in recent years found the series is not my cup of tea. These are important to know as I make the following statements, as this is merely an opinion piece and not meant to cause any frustration to the reader.


So, I've recently watched two films, as a means of feeling nostalgia and looking at my former self. A friend and I, just two weeks ago, watched Mighty Morphn' Power Rangers: The Movie. Then, this past Sunday, we watched the "sequel", Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.

Dear Gods, what did we put ourselves through.

Now, the first film came during the peak of the series' fame and was meant to be a big blockbuster hit. Mind you, these were also the times where that could also mean it was a hot pick-up at your local Blockbuster Video.

The story followed the Rangers of that time, where we had Adam/Rocky/Aisha in place of Zach/Jason/Trini, just after a big skydiving fundraising event to save an observatory and hide a plot point comet. The only reason we had to see this event was to get some action in that wasn't directly tied to hero-shenanigans.

Then we stumble upon an ancient evil, Ivan Ooze, who is badder than bad and has a fit that Zordon is still kicking around, even though the timeline that is offered here states that Ooze was imprisoned 3000 years ago, while we know that Zordon was already well into his time-space-interdimension-whoziwhatsit-warp and would have no way of making direct contact with this movie character. And it is never touched on again. Anyway, this fit makes him set out some goons to keep the Rangers busy while he goes to cause a ruckus at the Command Center Library of the West Coast.

Finally, we get to see battle with our Rangers and their wonderful Sentai-suit...


Armor suits? With poorly-attached gizmos that have no real bearing on the plot and are there to make the heroes more Techno-American? What gives?!?

And then the fight sequence: gag me. Poorly-used sound bites make the fight WAY too goofy, and bad pre-Ang Lee wire-fu is disgustingly noticeable. The use of acrobatics over stage combat is also so far in the foreground, it's hard to believe I wasn't watching Cirque du Soliel.

-Yes, I understand this is a film for children, and they can suspend their disbelief. But who else sees it? The parents who brought them, and then years later the former children themselves when they think they've found old cinema gold. So yes, the effects matter. Especially where this film (and the entire franchise) stems from tokusatsu [live-action special-effects media], where the effects are of great importance to the overall production.-

*Back to the rant-view*

End fight, just in time for powers to be drained. Zordon's been assaulted and become a gray raisin, Kimberly oversells the father-on-his-deathbed bit, and they have to travel to the Planet of Knockoff Xena and not-ninja Ninjetti.

Ooze betrays familiar villains Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa [of the poorly-fake-dubbed USA variety]. He spreads around magical purple Gak that turns parents into zombies and kids into brats. Oh, hey, look at Nickelodeon already prepping for the future merger with Saban...

Back on Planet Dull/action, She-Ra gives the Rangers the Ninjetti spirit animal ritual, gives Johnny Yong Bosch a stroke over the whole Frog=Prince bit, then becomes an owl to fly off and hang out with David Bowie.

The Rangers fight a Lv 12 Dracolich, find the blatant metal pin holding it together (you can see an actual pin in the puppet, not even kidding), then fight monsters from Jason and the Argonauts to find out their Spirit Talismans are the same as the Pyramid of Power's, so they get their same suits back with different not-even-supposed-to-be-there medals, and a poorly CG'd mecha based loosely off of a secondary mecha from Kakuranger.

We fly back to Earth, Ooze and the lackeys Goldar & Made-for-the-Movie-so-we-didn't-have-to-have-Squat-and-Baboo have unearthed two machines Ooze crafted to run on his goo to destroy the Earth. Alright, mecha fight!

No. Wait. Just a lot of walking around and being shot at, my bad.

And then the Power Rangers destroy one mecha, the other whimpers somehow for help, and Ooze pulls a Yami Yugi and possesses his Mecha-Waspinator (yeah, I know, already a mecha, deal with it). Rangers fly Oozebot Prime into space, bring plot point comet into the mix, and blow up super evil guy.

Then fireworks, and the feeling that Bulk and Skull might be the only two characters you might enjoy in the entire series comes to your thoughts. Then you cry violently into the nearest pillow, hoping to suffocate the last of your childhood innocence and poor screenwriting tastes with it.

As for Turbo:
Rocky falls five feet and hurts his back, even though he's survived many worse things.
Rando-kid Justin becomes the first Kid Ranger, and apparently can drive a truck.
Fan-service by way of Jason and Kimberly showing up.
Cleavage intended for the dads all over the villainess Divatox.
Bad writing.
Making a more hardcore mecha-building sequence to literally just use the Carranger mecha anyways.
Winning a kickboxing tournament to save a kid shelter.
Also: Bulk and Skull doing awful accents.


Let me return to my very first statement - I am a Super Sentai fan. This means I prefer the source material, without question.

But even taking that out of the equation, these two films are bad by the same rules that would make any other movie bad.
-Poor script
-Poor acting by most involved
-Poor use of special effects with the size of budget (even when considering the time period for both films)
-Poor soundtrack

These are things I noticed as someone who, as I should have mentioned earlier, studied and currently produces film and other media.

I can say the same things about certain Rider or Sentai films that have come along in the past, notably scripts like Kamen Rider Kabuto: God Speed Love. My allegiance to the Japanese shows does not cloud my judgement for the sake of media overall.

And I strongly believe that any person, fan of Sentai or Ranger, can agree that from an objective perspective outside of our respective fandoms, that these films are garbage. They offer no substance of any kind, and are basically filler in the history of the series. Even though Turbo was used as the lead-in for the series Power Rangers Turbo, the first film was not even canonical to the series for any reason. The events are told completely differently as far as the series' episodes are concerned.

I'll part with this:
If you find yourself one night wondering how much you love your fandom of the two mentioned, and you want to test yourself, find both of these films and sit down. Watch them. But remember, just for your own comfort, have a pillow ready.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kyoryuger : a review part 5 : final thoughts

Globally, I pretty enjoyed Kyoryuger, which was a pretty entertaining Sentai series, and I feel it really brought back the true spirit of Super Sentai after the awkward Go-Busters. However, Kyoryuger has important flaws, and because of them, it's not one of the best Sentai series made during the franchise.

The Good

- Kyoryuger is exactly what it is supposed to be : a show made to entertain kids, and it's very successful in being a fun show, with its fun spirit, with catching music, dances, and very enthusiastic heroes : Kyoryu Red is a charismatic leader, and his friends have really a great time fighting with him.

- Kyoryuger also has a nice world building with the concept of the fight between the Kyoryuger and Deboth army going on since a very long time, and it has a very diverse cast of heroes of different eras, different generations, and different backgrounds, even different countries and species : there are ancient warriors from Europe and China, scientists, adventurers, college and high school students, a family man  : there are even warriors belonging to the same family ( Daigo and his father Dantetsu, Dr. Ulshade and his granddaughter Yayoi, and Nossan has his sister (who's also the mother of a small kid) who joins the fight towards the end) ;  and the mentor is none other than a former member of the enemy group, who rebelled because he would rather protect life to destroy it, and who would become himself a ranger.

- The enemy group, the Deboth is not badly done either: its concept is classic, but it has a very diverse cast as well; while some villains are merely comic relief (Candelira, Luckyuro), other are very dangerous (Chaos, Dogold, Endolf) and bring a feeling of danger.

- Kyoryuger has a reasonably well done storytelling with plenty of narrative arcs, some of them being well written, like the Kyoryu Gold intro arc (despite being very similar to the Gao Silver arc) or the Endolf arc in the middle of the show; as such, the show mostly avoids plot stalling, with even fillers having elements which would become important in more plot-heavy episodes.

- There are some well-done rivalries between heroes and villains, like Kyoryu Gold vs Dogold; Torin vs Chaos (made even stronger by the fact both are siblings, and Chaos being basically the evil counterpart of Torin); a strong rivalry between villains is the Dogold-Endolf rivalry

- Kyoryuger has some nice original ideas, like having recurring Kyoryuger who appears sporadically to help the main heroes when it's needed, with the use of seldom used colors, like cyan, grey or violet; the concept of having some heroes passing their powers to successor was fine too, and allowed some interesting surprised

- An interesting concept is that being part of the Deboth army doesn't make you necessary evil : if a Deboth general begins to have feelings for the universe he's destined to destroy, he is able to rebel, and forsake his evil plans : it's the basis of the character of Torin, and it would be the key element of Candelira and Luckyuro's redemption arcs (Candy liking Kyoryu Blue, and Luckyuro enjoying mangas) : as such, Kyoryuger felt less like a basic "Good vs Evil" show.

- While Kyoryuger is a light hearted show, it still has some serious arcs which manage to bring a good balance.

The Bad

- While the cast of heroes is very diverse, it is unfortunately very uneven, with some characters being especially annoying, because either they are too much stereotypes, even by Sentai standards (the Ulshades, Amy), or because they don't have enough focus to become interesting (Souji, Nossan, the Spirit rangers, and even Ian): some of them are really wasted, with Nossan's family man theme being not enough used (compare with Abared)

- A big problem of Kyoryuger is that Daigo/Kyoryu Red has so much focus it completely steals the spotlight from the others, with most of the main story arcs being focused on Daigo: even when another hero has some spotlight, it has to share it with him (the Kyoryu Gold, Kyoryu Violet, and of course, the final arc are good examples). That excessive focus on Red is one of the main reasons why most of the ranger cast is underdeveloped: the only ones who manage to get some focus are those who have a rivalry with the villains, like Torin and Utchy, and in a lesser way, Ian: it allows them to defeat important generals, with Torin defeating Chaos with the help of the Spirit rangers and Candelira, Utchy involved alone in Dogold and Endolf’s defeats, and Ian being the one finishing the two Knights of Sorrow. The Kyoryuger Di Carnival made it even worse, by making Red so powerful it didn't even need his partners.

- Another problem with Daigo is that the other rangers are pretty much a Daigo fan club: Daigo seems to only receive praise from his partners, including Torin, the mentor: the girl rangers (Amy and Yayoi) are the guiltiest in that regard. It doesn't make the dynamics between rangers feel very interesting, since Daigo's leadership is never challenged.

- Some villains are inconsistent in their writing, like Aigalon, which is either a vicious villain or a comic relief, and Candelira, who had the problem of being an evil being involved in bringing joy to humans, and being voiced and even played live by the cute Haruka Tomatsu. While, the final arcs of those villains were reasonably well done, the writing was often pretty awkward. As such, the rivalry between Ian and Aigalon suffered because of that, notably because it was pretty much forgotten during most of the second half of the show.

- The Zyudenryu are supposed to be the heroes’ partners, but it's very seldom seen in the show: the only exception being the partnership between Daigo and Gabutyra (notably thanks to the Carnival arc). While the Zyudenryu are clearly shown to be sentient being, the interactions and the bond between ranger and Zyudenryu partner is almost never shown, which isn't really a good point.

- The storytelling also had some flaws, notably the late introduction of plenty of new generals which never had enough time to shine, or, some plot stalling, like between episodes 13 and 20. Most of the filler episodes weren't very interesting, and the final romance plot between Daigo and Amy was a pain to watch.

Globally, Kyoryuger is a good show, but not one of the best; my final mark is 7/10

Kyoryuger : a review part 4 : arsenal and mechas.

1) Arsenal

The Kyoryuger change using their Gaburevolver (picture on top), except Cyan, Grey and Gold who started as Kyoryugers before the 20th century (the Gaburevolver was created by Dr. Ulshade); the spirit rangers change using directly their Zyudenchi (however their modern successors use Gaburevolvers as well), and Gold use a special device, the Gaburichanger: Kyoryu Silver (Torin, and then Dantetsu) have a special Gaburevolver, the Gigagaburevolver. To change, each ranger uses his personal Zyudenchi, matching his Zyudenryu partner, and, after a dance, fire: the shot allow them to change into Kyoryuger while being able to harm villains at the same time. The Gaburevolver is also the main firearm of the rangers. The Kyoryuger also use a sword, the Gabricalibur, and can even combine both sword and gun to make the Gaburucannon.

Besides, each ranger has his/ her personal weapon: Red has the Gabutyra Fang (allowing him to make powerful punches), Black has the Parasashot (used as a gun), Blue as the Stego Shield, Green has the Zactor Slasher, and Pink has the Triceralance :  those weapons can combine with each other either in two, three or all five together.

Gold has his personal weapon, the Zandar Thunder, a sword like weapon able to use the power of up to three Zyudenchi.

The Zyudenchi are battery-like devices who are the most important weapons of the Kyoryuger, since they're the basis of their power: they use the power of the spirits of the dinosaurs, and as such, have to be regularly recharged in the Spirit base after use, in order to get that power back.

There are several categories of Zyudenchi:

- Zyudenchi 1-10 (and also 00): those Zyudenchi are associated with the Zyudenryu, which are the live partners of the heroes: those Zyudenchi allow the Kyoryuger to transform, and they can use them for their attacks against the enemies. Those Zyudenchi are also necessary to awaken the Zyudenryu, in order to fight the giant enemies (more details about the Zyudenryu in the next chapter)

- Zyudenchi 11-23: those Zyudenchi are associated with the Guardian Beasts, who died during the fight against the Deboth army, but which spirits survived in those batteries (as well as amber gems):

Zyudenchi 11, Deinochaser (spirit of Deinonychus) are necessary to call two small dinos, Deinos and Chase, which combine to make the Deinochasers bikes, which are the Kyoryuger's main vehicles.

Zyudenchi 12 (spirit of Deinosuchus) allows the rangers to use the Deinogrander weapon, which can be used as a powerful drill.

Zyudenchi 13, spirit of Kentrosaurus (a stegosaur species), which allows the personal weapons of Red, Black, Blue, Green and Pink to combine into the Kentrospiker, which is used for final attacks on enemies

Zyudenchi 14-23 are used for special attacks : Stymero (14, spirit of Styracosaurus), makes enemies fall in love with the first thing they see, Allomeras (15, spirit of  Allosaurus) create fire attacks, Beyonsmo (16 spirit of  Seismosaurus) is used to make the neck of Gabutyra become longer, Ovirapoo (17, spirit of Oviraptor) is used to create a stinking gas (fart attack) who also blinds the opponent, Igeranodon (18, spirit of  Iguanodon) creates tickle attacks, Tuperanda (19, spirit of Tupandactylus (a pterosaur)), temporarly flatten the user, Gurumonite (20, spirit of the Ammonite) creates spirals making opponents feel dizzy, Archenolon (21, spirit of Archelon ( a giant turtle)), create a strong gravity field which slows the opponents (but often the user as well), Pukuptor (22, spirit of Fukuiraptor (a theropoda dinosaur) inflate those hits like balloons, and Futabain (23, spirit of Futabasaurus (a species of plesiosaur)) creates clones of those hits.

There are also special Zyudenchi used for special final attacks : Victory Zyudenchi, which uses the power of Zyudenchi 1-5, and the Maximum Zyudenchi, using the powers of Zyudenchi 6-10 : both can be combined to use the power of Zyudenchi 1-10

Another special Zyudenchi can be used: the Carnival Zyudenchi, used for Red's unique power up (more detail in the next chapter)

2) Mechas  : The Zyudenryu, and their combinations

The Zyudenryu are the mecha partners of the Kyoryuger, the 10 most powerful dinosaurs which were modified to become Zyudenryu (11 if Tobaspino is included): the Zyudenryu are able to combine into robots. Each Zyudenryu has the color of its partner they can be sorted into two categories:

-   4 (5 if Tobaspino is added) are big Zyudenryu which are able to make the major parts of the robot : those are Gabutyra (the Tyrannosaurus partner of Red, powered by Zyudenchi 1), Pteragodon ( the Pteranodon partner of Gold, powered  by Zyudenchi 6), Plezuon ( the Plesiosaurus partner of Violet, powered by Zyudenryu 9), and Bragigas (the Brachiosaurus partner of Silver, powered by Zyudenchi 10) : Gabutyra makes the core part of Kyoryujin, Pteragodon can transform into Pteradenoh, Plezuon can transform into Plezu-oh, and Bragigas can transform, while using the power of the Zyudenchi of the 13 Guardians (Bragigas has golden parts matching the Guardians species), into Gigan Bragioh. Lastly, Tobaspino, a Spinosaurus Zyudenryu, powered by Zyudenchi 00, is the core part of Spindaioh.

- The 6 others Zyudenryu make the arms of in the combinations, and can be switched by each other to make plenty of different combinations : those are  Parasagan (the Parasaurolophus partner of Black, powered by Zyudenchi 2), Stegotchi (the Stegosaurus partner of Blue, powered by Zyudenchi 3), Zactor (the Velociraptor partner of Green, powered by Zyudenchi 4), Dricera ( the Triceratops  partner of Pink, powered by Zyudenchi 5), Ankidon (the Ankylosaurus partner of Cyan, powered by Zyudenchi 7), and Bunpachy (the Pachycephalosaurus partner of Grey, powered by Zyudenchi 8)

Kyoryujin is the combination of Gabutyra, Stegotchi and Tricera and Spindaioh is the combination of Tobaspino, Ankydon and Bunpachy: but of course, those can be switched by the other "arm like" Zyudenryu to make different combinations: those combinations can also be done on Pteradenoh or Plezu-oh: some have specific names: when Zactor and Parasagan are used, it’s the "Western" combination, Dricera and Ankydon make the "Macho" combo, Bunpachy and Ankydon make the "Kung Fu" combo.

The different main robots can also combine together: when Pteragodon combine with Kyoryujin, it makes Raiden Kyoryujin; Plezuon, Gabutyra and Bunpachy combine together to make Bakuretsu Kyoryujin; Bragigas, Gabutyra, Parasagan, Stegotchi, Zactor and Dricera combine to make Gigant Kyoryujin.

Gabutyra has also a special power: when Red uses his Carnival Zyudenchi, Gabutyra shrinks to become Minityra, and is able to change into a gun; when the Gaburevolver and that gun are combined, it allows Kyoryu Red to change into Kyoryu Red Di Carnival, a power up with Kyoryu Red being combined with Gabutyra itself. When Kyoryu Red Di carnival uses the Zyudenchi powering the other Zyudenryu, it allows Red to use modes similar to the different combinations of Kyoryujin.

3) A few comments

The use of a gun as a transforming device has only been seldom used in Sentai and it's a nice idea: while the design of the Gaburevolver is a little over the top, it matches the theme of the show. Otherwise, the weapons include the classic guns and swords, and of course personal weapons themes after the dinosaurs of each ranger, with the combination of those weapons for final attacks. Classic stuff.

The many different Zyudenchi allowed bringing more species of dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures than the usual stock and it wasn't a bad idea. Unfortunately, most of the cases, the powers associated with them are very silly (fart attack, love attack, tickle, attack, balloon attack?).

The Zyudenryu are using classic dinosaurs species, most of them having already appeared in Abaranger (except Zactor and Plesion) and the concept of the combinations are similar, with a core mecha making most of the robot and the other being the arms, and the different modes being caused by switching mechas/arms: Kyoryujin has a similar concept as Abarenoh, and Pteradenoh is similar to KillerOh.

However, the Plezu-on mecha is pretty new, as well as the combo with a tyrannosaurus mecha ; and unlike Abaranger, where Brachio was only a carrier mecha, Kyoryuger's Bragigas can transform into a big robot, Gigant Bragioh, and is even able to combine with other mechas to make Gigant Kyoryujin. While Kyoryuger recycled the basic concepts of Abaranger, it also added new ideas for mechas.

Lastly, the Kyoryu Red Di Carnival power-up has the drawback to make Red completely overpowered compared to his partners, and literally turns him into a one-man army, who doesn't even need his teammates.