Monday, June 1, 2015

Gogofive : a great sentai series

1) Introduction

1999 : the end of a millenia, but also the year of the Grand Cross, a special alignment of planets which will allow the arrival of the dark witch Grandienne because of an important flux of minus energy, the leader and mother of the Saima clan, a clans of demons from the dark world, who will destroy the world and humankind and lead the Earth. Because he knew long ago about that event, ten years before,  Mondo Tatsumi, descendant of a long family of rescue workers, but who also is an amazing scientific mind and great engineer, decided to leave his family in order to prepare everything in order to counter that terrible threat. He had to leave his family, notably his four sons and his only daughter. Soon afterwards, the mother of the kids disappeared as well, forcing the siblings to live on their own.
Following their ancestors's steps, all five became public workers, involved in rescue work.
However, in 1999, the Saima clan decided to make its first move. Indeed, four demons, the children of the Great Witch Grandienne were already on Earth and decided to start plenty of destruction to prepare the arrival of their mother. It's at that time that Mondo came back, and the father explained his children the situation and that to save Earth and save the lives, they had to become the Rescue Sentai GogoV, using the suits, the weapons and the mechas he created during his long absence.
And so, started the story of the GogoV and their struggles against the Saima clan.

2) The heroes : the Tatsumi siblings

The GogoFive are the five children of Mondo Tatsumi.

2-1) GoRed  : Matoi Tatsumi

Matoi Tatsumi is the eldest son and the leader of the GogoV. He is a firefighter, working in the Special Rescue Brigade, who is involved in directly rescuing people caught in buildings on fire. He's a hot blooded man with an aggressive personality, who has also an authoritative side, and he often bosses around his siblings, because he feels, and not without good reasons, that as the eldest siblings, he's the one in charge. While this behaviour is not always easy for his siblings to live with, it is also that personality that makes him a good leader, because he knows very well when to make important decisions, what to do, what people under his responsiblity should do, when it's needed, and when you have to rescue people trapped in dangerous situations, being able to make quick decisions is needed to save people from death. It's also that same personality that makes him a good leader for the GogoV, since, like rescue work, fighting the Saima also involve a lot of life or death situations.
Besides, under that gruff exterior, Matoi cares a lot about his siblings, he loves them and only wants the better for them, and while he can be harsh, for example by making them undergo harsh training, he knows, and actually, his siblings as well, that it's for the best. Besides, he will always be there to rescue his siblings when they need it, and he's not harder on others than he's harder on himself.
However, Matoi's personality has also its downsides : he is often awkward with people, his siblings, but also people of the opposite sex, either adults, such as the daughter of Kenji Inui, his father's friend and rival in the rescue work. He also has a competitive side, seen notably when he met a friend of his, with whom he had trained previously.

2-2) GoBlue : Nagare Tatsumi

Nagare is the second eldest, and he works in the chemical fire fighter brigade. In the firefighting field, he's more in the scientific side, the one involved in creating all the stuff needed to fight fires, and helping in rescuing people. Indeed, Nagare is pretty much the scientific mind of the siblings, and the one who inherited the most of his father's science and engineering abilities. Nagare's skills are very helpful in the fights against the Saima, such as when he created the antivirus device against a monster able to create computer viruses, or , more importantly, when he created the Go-Blasters, a powerful gun in order to defeat the Saima Beasts. He's also a good strategist, who managed to find a way to destroy a powerful Saima weapon, the Infinity Chain card, managing to trap the monster holding it in a truck surronded by a huge energy field. Of course, even if he's able to create incredible devices, such as an effective alarm system with a trap, or an energy shield,  he may struggle when he has to face a cunning mind such as Dinas's mind, but at the end, he's the winner.
Nagare, as the second eldest, feels also responsible for his siblings, and hates seeing them being hurt. He's more easy going than his older brother Matoi, but he's no less devoted to his family.

2-3) GoGreen : Shou Tatsumi

Shou is the middle sibling, and he works as an helicopter pilot in the helicopter brigade, the third one in the firefighter field, this time involved in all aerial work. Being a pilot was his lifelong dream, and when he managed to joint he helicopter brigade, it was a very happy day in his life. He's the one who suffered the most of his dad's absence, and, at least at first, he was the most resentful against him. He can also show a cocky side, as the pilot of the team. However, with his sister Matsuri, he's one of the most compassionate among the team, always ready to help others, and suppor them in difficult times, like when he tried to make a grandmother he rescued mend her relationship with her good-for-nothing but ultimately good hearted grandson (the latter showed that he was more valuable than he thought), or when he had to help a scientist whose infant son was taken hostage by the Saima, and he's always ready to help, even when the one he helps are annoying, such as a group of girls trapped in a mountain with the threat of Saima monsters.He also was the one who helped Matsuri dealing with the shy Saima Beast Thanatos.
Shou is, with his sister, the heart of the Tatsumi family, because he's a very sensitive man, and one who's always ready to help others.

2-4) GoYellow : Daimon Tatsumi

Daimon is the youngest of the brothers, and a young policeman. Like his brothers, he's very devoted to his work, because the reason he took his job was to rescue people. He's the youngest brother, and certainly the most immature of the siblings, like when he didn't listen to his brother and ended up injured because of it. Despite being a cop, he can be naive, and he struggled against a cocky but pretty harmless thief. However, he is very serious about his job, and to be a better fighter, has trained in judo. He's also the one who relates the most with children, such as when he taught a young boy about teamwork in soccer playing, or his interactions with a young boy whom he invited to visit the GogoV base. He hates hurting children, and he almost left the Gogofive after injuring a young boy by mistake, and he only found strength not to give up thanks to his father, his elder brother Matoi and eventually the kid himself.
Like his brothers and sister, Daimon cares a lot about his siblings, and in helping people.

2-5) GoPink : Matsuri Tatsumi

Matsuri is the only girl, and the youngest of the Tatsumi siblings. She works as a paramedic. She's certainly the most compassionate of the siblings (with Shou a close second), always there to help people and cheer them. She's the one who was the most welcoming of her dad's return, making everything to decrease the tensions between father and sons, and her deep desire is to have her family feel happy. She also cares deeply with other people, as seen in her interactions with an old man who was about to leave the hospital, or her injured colleague, whom she did all she could to help her find the strength to heal. Even in the worst times, she thinks about others before herself, like when she tried to help her injured colleague while she was herself injured, or when she had to help a co-worker deal with the fact her fiancee was kidnapped by the Saima and help rescuing her, even if she was actually in love with that co-worker, and had to see him choose another woman.  She's able to see the better of everyone, as seen when she decided to give a bank robber a chance to redeem himself, or in her unsuccessful attempt to help a Thanatos, a Saima beast shy with girls, and she often has a good influence on them. She was even able to stop (even if it only once) the very cruel Salamandes from killing her because she reminded him of their good times together when he was just a wandering soul without memories.
Matsuri is always there to help people in distress, cheer them up, especially children (including her own siblings, turned into children by a Saima Beast sent by Dinas). It's her ability to cheer people up that also makes her a good paramedic.

My opinion of the heroes

The Gogofive are certainly one of the most interesting teams of the franchise, because two themes are explored in depth with them, which are the major themes of the show : rescue work and family ties.
Each one of the siblings work in a different field of rescue, and several episodes deal in their link to their jobs : the first episode showed them in action, and while their father made them leave temporarly their jobs, several episodes deal with interactions with people with whom they worked with, and several times, even as the GogoFive, they still do rescue work linked to their jobs, when needed.
It's interesting how their personalities match their respective jobs : Matoi the bossy leader who takes quick decisions matches his job as a firefighter directly involved in rescuing people in dangerous situations, Nagare, the smart one, working in the scientific branch of the firefighting organization. Shou and Matsuri, who are those whose jobs involve the longest interactions with people in distress are the most compassionates ones, especially the paramedic Matsuri. Only Daimon's naivete is at odds with his cop job, but he's the youngest brother, and he has still time to grow up.
Their interactions with each other are also interesting because they show the typical patterns of relationship with siblings : love, but also the little conflicts that arise because siblings can find each other annoying, the sense of responsibility that older siblings feel towards the young one, and, of course, a very close link, which is often showed, especially in hard times. The show spends time showing the relationship between the five Tatsumi children, as such, is very successful in showing realistically the sibling relationship between them.
While the heroes still show the classic pattern (the leader, the smart one, the angry one, the child like one, and of course, the only girl who is the heart), it's always done in a way the character feel believable, and very likable. The GogoFive are certainly one of the most likable sentai teams of the franchise.

3) Allies  

3-1) Mondo Tatsumi

Mondo Tatsumi is the father and the mentor of the GogoV, who left his family 10 years ago to prepare all the arsenal needed to fight the Saima clan. After coming back, he explained his children that they needed to become the GogoV, to save the world from the Saima, and showed them all he's done, the GogoV base, (Base Bay Area 55) with the suits, the weapons, the mechas, and became pretty much their mentor, always ready to prepare new weapons, new mechas to help his children face the Saima. He's a real genius in technology, as the one who created all the technology his children would use as the GogoV, weapons, mechas.
However, he is also a man who had to abandon his children for ten years, when his kids were still very young, in the age they needed their father the most, especially since the heroes soon lost their mother as well. Because of that, his relationship with his children wasn't easy, especially at first, because he had to rebuild his relationship with them, especially since he came back to give them a very hard burden by making them the GogoV. His children were often annoyed by their father, especially Shou who suffered a lot from his father's absence and he didn't want his father to feel like he would take his children's love for granted. Mondo's relationship with his children wasn't helped by the fact he often behaved in an insensitive way, because he had trouble understanding his children's feelings, and he can show an arrogant side.
However, Mondo is still a very loving dad, and when he sees his children struggling, he's always there to help him, and he is able to give some good advice. As time went by, he was able to know better and better his kids, and after one year, the bond between father and children was stronger than ever.
Besides, while he gave a heavy burden to his children, his own burden was even heavier, because not only he was the father of the heroes, he's also the one who put them in that very dangerous situation, and everytime his children are in mortal danger, he's in a very deep pain. His biggest fear is to see his children die during the fight, because not only he would lose his beloved children, he would feel responsible for it. That's why he does everything he can to give the best weapons, the best technology to defeat the Saima, and he works as hard, even harder than his kids. When needed, he even goes in the battlefield, like when he came to bring the V Lancer to his children as they were almost killed by Zylpheeza, or when he risked his life to stop the ritual meant to bring back Grandienne during the Grand Cross day.

My opinion about Mondo : Mondo is one of my favorite mentors, because, as the father of the heroes, his relationship with the team is not only one of a mentor to a team, but also a loving father towards his children, which makes his role even more interesting than most mentors. He's a good dad, but not a perfect one, and his flaws makes him feel very human, and his relationship with his children is very interesting, because the series shows in a realistic way the struggles a man has to rekindle his relationship with his children after having been absent a long time, dealing with the fact his kids have become adults, feel anger about having been abandoned. Besides, when Mondo sees the team in danger, it's not soldiers he sees, but his own children, and the show is great in making us feel the pain of the father. As the one who made the technology, Mondo is also a mentor who is always useful, because he's also working on making his team more effective with powerful weapons to face powerful enemies.
GogoFive has a great mentor figure, and a very appropriate given the family theme of the show

3-2) Others

3-2-1) Mint

Mint is a little spheric robot who helps the team by detecting Saima presence, alerting the team, or helping Mondo in the lab.
Not much to say about him : Mint is a nice mascot, being able to be cute without being annoying, and his voice actor is great

3-2-2) Kyoko Hayase

Kyoko is a pilot, who is an former co-worker of Shou (who calls her "Sempai"). But she went further as a pilot, becoming a pilot of a space shuttle which explores space, and is first seen when coming back to Earth, when her shuttle is attacked by a Saima beast, and she ended up rescued by the GogoV. She soon realized that the GogoV were none others than the Tatsumi siblings, notably her friend Shou. Amazed by the GogoV, she often wanted to help them, even sometimes hoping to become herself a GogoV. However, while she never really joined the team, she was often there to help them, helping Mondo Tatsumi in his work on the mechas, looking for info, or just cheering the team up. She even once went with Matoi in a rescue operation in the mountains, where she managed to give some help to a little boy. Her biggest hour happened when she was chosen as the successor of a warrior who fought the Saima, Zeek, even if her time as Zeek-Jeanne was brief.
While Kyoko's role isn't the biggest, she's a good friend, an energetic young woman, who wants to do her best to help the Tatsumi family.

3-2-3) Kenji Inui

Mondo Tatsumi's rival. He briefly almost had the GogoV stop their activities, because of his rivalry with Mondo, but of course, when he realized how important they were, he changed his mind because as much as he's Mondo's rival, he's ready to put it aside, because rescuing people is the most important. He even had his daughter meet Matoi in an arranged marriage meeting (which of course went awry xD).

3-2-4) Ritsuko Tatsumi

Mondo's wife and the mother of the heroes. She doesn't appear much, having disappeared in an aircraft crash 2 years after her husband's departure. However, her words of support, showing the importance of their link as siblings and how wonderful they are, gave them strength in the most difficult times. And when, after 8 years of coma, she at last wakes up, the first thing she does is try to talk to her children. It happened precisely during the final battle, when they had to face Grandienne's wrath, and her words, and the emotions the children felt by finding out their mom was still there, was a key element to raise the spirits of the heroes when they needed it the most. When, after the battle, she meets them at last, amazed at how much they grew up and became stronger, it was one of the most emotional moments of the show, with at last the Tatsumu family being reunited at last.

Opinions about those characters : they helped a lot in the world building of the series and had their part in making GogoV be the great show it is.

4) Villains

The antagonists of GogoV are the Saima clan, demons from the dark world who wanted to take over the world and destroy humans. Their main weapons is the minus energy.
Like the GogoV, the Saima are siblings, four siblings, each themed after a different element. Their trademark are the demonic bat-like wings. The four Saima siblings have as their leader their mother, the Grand Witch Grandienne. They had as their servant a demonic fly themed butler, Pierre.

4-1) Zylpheeza

Zylpheeza is the elder brother of the Saima siblings. As the oldest brother (at least, in the show, with a banished older brother Gill, appearing in GogoV vs Gingaman), he's the leader of the Saima clan, since as the beginning of the show, Grandienne hasn't come back yet to Earth. He's a golden skinned demon, with a demonic face on his chest, which can send powerful energy coming from Zylpheeza's own life energy. He's a very cruel demon, hating humans and wanting to destroy them, especially his hated enemies, the GogoV. However, he deeply loves his family (with the possible exception of Drop, whom he almost stabbed once, because he was afraid he would usurp his role as Dark King), and his main motivation as the leader of the family is to prepare the arrival of his mother, whom he's deeply devoted to, and who makes his determination to destroy the human world even stronger, because it is what would make his mother feel happy. He's an air themed demons, and the Saima Beasts he creates have a sky theme, either bird, flying creatures, or involved in manipulating wind or electromagnetic waves.
He's the leader of the Saima during the first half of the show, the Dark King. At the beginning, he mostly sent Saima Beasts to the surface, only appearing in magic screens, or he let his siblings send Saima Beasts. However, after several failures, he decided to be himself involved in the fight, first by fighting side by side with his spider like Saima Beast, almost killing the heroes. As an older brother himself, he knew perfectly that the cruelest he could be towards Gored was to kill his siblings before him. However, he failed because Mondo sent his children the V Lances, a new powerful weapons. His next move was to involve a trio of beasts, the Dark World Demonic warriors, who did show some success at last, but eventually ended up defeated. However, Zylpheeza is one who even can takes advantages of setbacks, and he managed to create a chimera monster out of the defeated trio. His ruthlessness makes him even sometimes kill his own monsters himself to use them more effectively as giant, as he did with his spider monster and one of the Dark World warriors, Djinn. Eventually he grew himself bigger to defeat the heroes himself, and almost won, but eventually was defeated by the heroes before the Grand Cross having seen his mother come back to Earth thanks to the MaxVictory Robo.
Zylpheeza's death was very painful for his younger siblings, Kobolda and Dinas, and both tried to bring back him to life. After a first failed attempt, their second attempt was successful, but at the price of Dinas's life. At first Zylpheeza wanted again to defeat the GogoV, until he realized the treacherous side if his mother, who forced him to kill his brother Kobolda, because she only saw her children as useful pawns to get rid of, once they're outlived their usefullness. Grandienne also killed herself Zylpheeza to use his fiery powers to destroy the GogoV.
Of course Zylpheeza was furious and hurt by the cruelty of his mother, because he had a strong family sense, and his last move was to give a hint to GoRed to help him defeat Grandienne.
Zylpheeza was brought back to life a last time, as a complete puppet by his mother, to fight the GogoV, only briefly regaining consciousness when he realized that Salamendes was his brother Drop. He then stopped fighting, instead trying to talk to his younger brother, who dismissed his attempts for affection and eventually killing him again. Zylpheeza's body, after beign grown up was used a last time by Grandienne as a weapon for the final battle, only to be destroyed a last time as well as the evil witch.

4-2) Kobolda

The second brother of the Saima, he's a blue skinned demon, with an earth theme. He hates humans, but loves his siblings Zylpheeza and Dinas, is devoted to his mother Grandienne. He has an earth theme, and the Saima beasts he sends are themed after creatures living on the ground (for example, he had an elephant, a mole, a tree, or even a fighter) or golem like creatures, notably the magma golem.
Kobolda is a strong fighter, and has several times fought directly the GogoV, but he's not the brightest mind among the siblings, notably when he blew his sister's cover when she was disguised as an human. Kobolda and Dinas have a strong link, as the middle siblings, sharing the respect they feel for their mother, their older brother Zylpheeza ( they were involved together in the first attempt to revive him), their hatred against the GogoV and humans, and their disgust against Salamandes, because of his arrogance, and the fact he completely dismissed them. Kobolda and Dinas sometimes fought together the heroes, notably one time when they attempted to attack the heroes's base and both times they tried to revive their brother Zylpheeza.
However, Kobolda met a tragic end when he was killed by his own brother Zylpheeza, who was himslef forced to do so by his mother Grandienne. Zylpheeza was deeply saddened by his brother's death, especailly given he was foced to do so, and it's Kobolda's death that made Zylpheeza betray Grandienne.

4-3) Dinas

Dinas is the only sister of the Saima, and she has a water theme. Dinas is human looking, except for her wings and a snake like outfit. Like her older brother Kobolda, sharing the respect they feel for their mother, their older brother Zylpheeza, their hatred against the GogoV and humans, and their disgust against Salamandes. Dinas's monsters are water themed. However, the most remarkable pattern of Dinas's plans is her own involvement in her plans, and the fact she often uses trickery, notably by using her human looking appearance to disguise herself as a beautiful woman.
Indeed, her first major personal involvement in an operation was when she pretended to be a guide to greet Mr Robinson, a fellow scientist anf friend of Mondo Tatsumi, in order to steal a disk with important info. Because the GogoV had never seen her, they were fooled by her disguise, and her acting skills, pretending to be a kind woman, and she was only unmasked because of Kobolda's blunder. Dinas also disguised as an human in a resort where she was able to start a plan involving transforming the GogoV into children, and once again, as a nurse to give a flowers with a caterpillar monster hidden into it to a young boy.
Of all the Saima siblings, Dinas was the one who knew the best about the human world, as seen in her spy work, her operation as a cat burglar, and the way she used human weakness, taking hostage a scientist's baby, or using a mold made by humans to destroy them.
Dinas was very cruel, as seen with how delighted she felt when she tried to kill an innocent baby, or when she attacked the GogoV when they were kids.
However, she's also a very loving sister, deeply hurt by his brother Zylpheeza's death, and she eventually sacrificed herself, when, after a failed attempt to kill GoRed while bringing back Zylpheeza to life, in order to save his brother's life. Her sacrifice was the ultimate proof of her deep sisterly bond.

4-4) Drop/Salamandes

The youngest sibling, a dragon themed demon, with, of course, a fire theme. He started as a baby dragon like demon, named Drop. Despite being a baby, Drop already felt the same hate against the GogoV, and was also involved in plans with his own demon cards, especially one involving waking up a volcano. Drop's main caretaker was Pierre, who is deeply devoted to him. Drop only went out once as a baby, with Pierre, and even then showed both destructive powers and hatred towards the GogoV, by attacking them after beign called "cute" by Matsuri.
After Zylpheeza's death, he inherited from him the powers of the Dark King, and entered a crhisalys pahse inside a cocoon. Soon after the Grand Cross, Drop finished his maturation, his spirit briefly taking the appearance of a little boy with pyrokinetic powers. At that time, Drop's soul was disoriented, and Matsuri briefly tried to become friends with the boy, unaware of his true identity. However, very quickly, Drop finished its maturation becoming the fearsome dragon themed and aple faced demon, Salamandes.
Salamandes was the one who inherited the Dark King powers, but he was also the youngest sibling. As such, he felt a deep rivalry with its siblings, and wanted more than  ever to be the one favored by his mother. Salamandes was the one who was the most involved in the major plans of the Saima, such as the one involving the summoning of the evil planet Grande, and the plan involving the Infinite Chain Card,  which was able to get info about the GogoV attacks, and allow Saima Beasts to resist those attacks. Unlike his siblings, Salamandes had absolutely no loyalty and love towards his brothers and sister, dismissing Kobolda and Dinas's plans, even sabotaging one of Dinas's monsters's Thanatos, by making him shy in front of women. He even said to GoRed that he despised family love, which he saw as a weakness, infuriating Kobolda and Dinas. Salamandes was a very strong warrior, who faced the heroes several times, and his plans were often very cruel. He was able to create the Saima zone, which allowed the Saima Beasts to be stronger in giant form while at the same time weakening the heroes's robots.
Salamandes fell out of favor after the destruction of the Infinity Chain Card, and his next attempt to destroy the GogoV was to lure them into the Saima Hell. While he succeeded in bringing the GogoV there, he was also trapped in the Saima hell by his mother, because it would make it easier to destroy the enemies. Eventually, Salamandes managed to get out of the Saima hell, after taking the energy of slain Saima Beasts, and becoming Ghost Demon Salamandes, getting energy from human souls with the help of the Saima tree. However, the GogoV managed to defeat him.
However, in a last move, Pierre managed to have Grandienne bring back Salamandes to life during the final arc, when he once again fought the heroes, using his brainwashed brother Zylpheeza. However, more than ever, he showed his lack of fraternal love when he killed hos brother when he tried to talk to him instead of foghting for him. Salamandes was soon killed again by GoBlue and GoGreen, only to be brought back as a giant dragon by Grandienne, and used by her as a weapon, before being destroyed at last.

4-5) Pierre

Pierre is the butler of the Saima clan, a fly themed demonic sorcerer. He's the one who brings to life the Saima beasts, by sending the Saima cards into the mouth of a demon shaped stone, and is also the one resurrecting them in giant size with the resurrection card. He's very devoted to Salamandes, having been his caretaker as Drop. He's the one who stopped Zylpheeza to stab Drop, and is always ready to help his master Salamandes, even more than the other Saima. Despite his deep loyalty to the Saima, Pierre can also be a blunderer, for example when he was unable to find the Golem Card, or when he lost an egg to a human thief. While he can be dangerous, thanks to his rifle like cane, he's not very efficient when working alone.
The death of Salamandes hurt him deeply, and Pierre even ended up drinking as a result. However, he was able to collect his master's gem, and had Grandienne bring back Salamandes to life for the final battle. At the end, he was seemingly killed, by reappeared in the Timeranger vs GogoV crossover where he was killed for good

4-6) Grandienne

The mother of the Saima siblings, and the true leader of the Saima clan. Grandienne was in deep space, and the Grand Cross, a special alignment of planets associated with plenty of minus energy would allow her to go to Earth where her children were waiting for her.
Before reaching Earth, she was able to communicate with her children, especially Zylpheeza, to make them even more determined to attack Earth for her. Eventually, she came back to Earth during the Grand Cross event, but because Mondo Tatsumi interrupted an important ritual associated with her return, she was only able to come back in an incomplete form, with limited mobility.
However, she was nonetheless on Earth, and became the leader of the Saima, using mostly Salamandes as her second in command. However, she was a very cruel leader, harsh under her children when they failed. Her first big plan was to bring to Earth the evil planet Grande, rich in minus energy which would destroy Earth, with the help of her son Salamandes. However, after the failure of the Infinity Chain Card plan, she dismissed Salamandes, even later imprisoning him in the Saima Hell because it would make it easier to defeat the GogoV. By doing so, she already showed a ruthless side, that even her children feared.  However, her true nature really appeared when she at last was able to complete her body. At that time, she no longer needed servants, and decided to get rid of her own children, which she saw as potential traitors, showing that she never cared at all for her children, using them as pawns for her own goals. She was seemingly killed by GoRed, but came back in the finale arc, using resurrected Zylpheeza and Salamandes (who had his free will,  at least before his death and resurrection  as a giant dragon) as her pawns to destroy Earth and the GogoV, but she was at the end defeated.

4-7) Imps

The imps are black demonic creatures with short wings who are the footsoldiers of the Saima.

My opinion about the Saima clan :  The Saima clan were very cool enemies, notably because of their demonic designs, which were pretty scary looking. Those antagonists, main generals, monster of the week and even the Imps really felt like creatures coming from hell itself to destroy Earth and the humans, and the creepy music associated with them even increased how fearsome enemies they were. Among sentai villains, they are probably the most scary looking, and you really felt scared for the heroes when they were facing them.
That said, other than their scary designs, the Saima were also interesting because of their personalities, and, because like the heroes, they were a family, with an interesting family dynamic, showing both similarities and differences with the family interactions on the heroes's side.
All the Saima shared hatred for humans and especially the GogoFive.
However, it's in their relationship with each other that they showed interesting contrasts, and it's interesting to compare their interactions before and after Zylpheeza's first death and Grandienne's arrival.
During the first half, the Saima clan incuded Zylpheeza, Kobolda, Dinas, Pierre, Drop, with sometimes, Grandienne's voice coming from space.
At that time, the Saima clan is an united family, siblings united to bring back Grandienne to Earth,and everyone did his (or her) best to destroy the surface and prepare the Grand Cross event. While being the leader, Zylpheeza would allow everyone to participate in the effort, and Kobolda and Dinas felt great respect and love for their older brother. At that time, Drop was a kid, whose mainrole was to give Pierre cards.
However, after Zylpheeza's death, and Grandienne's arrival, the dynamic changed completely. Grandienne, as the mother, became the boss, and she made Salamandes, who was Zylpheeza's "heir" as the Dark King as her more important general. Because of Salamandes's lack of respect and love for his surviving siblings, Kobolda and Dinas, the Saima didn't have the unity they had before. instead of working together, they were pretty rivals, with Salamandes wanting to have a better status than her older siblings, and Kobolda and Dinas not wanting Salamandes to be the favorite and the leader.
Because of that rivalry, Dinas and Kobolda were more happy than annoyed to see Salamandes's failures, and Salamandes never missed mocking his older siblings. Grandienne, instead of trying to calm his children's rivalries, allowed and even facilitated them.
However, Dinas and Kobolda had still deep love for their fallen brother Zylpheeza, and tried several times to resurrect him, finally succeeding at the price of Dinas's life. The resurrected Zylpheeza showed more than ever how much he cared for his family, deeply saddened by his sister's death, and then, his brother Kobolda's. His love for his siblings, as well as Dinas and Kobolda's loyalty for him and each other, were in deep contrast with Grandienne and Salamandes's contempt for family love.
In the final fight, Grandienne used his children's bodies as puppets, showing her cruelty and lack of respect for life, even her children's.
Last but not least : Pierre, the butlert is shown as a very loyal servant, but his relationship with Salamandes was one well beyond mere loyalty : the servant really loved Salamandes, as if it was his child. Pierre's feelings for Salamandes were not unlike paternal love.
The complex family dynamics between the different members of the Saima allows them to be much more than evil demons, and shows an interesting contrast with the heroes. While the Tatsumi may have petty conflicts, at the end, they are a very united family.
The Saima show both similarities and differences. Similarities with Zylpheeza, Kobolda, Dinas showing a strong family bond, similar to the heroes's and a real devotion to their mother.  The three elder siblings cared deeply for each other, and would help each other if needed, with Dinas even ready to give her own life for her brother. Another example of "family love" is the deep love that Pierre had for Salamandes.
However, both Grandienne and Salamandes had nothing but contempt for their family, having no problem betraying or even killing their family members, if it could serve their interests. That lack of family love was both horrifying for the GogoFive who witnessed it AND the older Saima siblings.
At the end, Grandienne is defeated because, unlike the GogoFive, who cherished the family bond, she only saw her family as pawns to use. Her defeat is the victory of familial love over selfishness and cruelty.
A few words about each villain : Zylpheeza is great, he's a cruel and evil villain, but his love and devotion for his mother and siblings shows that he's more complex than his designs shows and at the end, the disgust he felt for his mother's cruelty made him help the GogoFive as his last action ; in is last appearances, he becomes more a victim than a villain. Kobolda, despite his scary looks, is the goofy one, and he has a very tragic end. Dinas is a very good villainess : she's cruel, but also smart, and while she's a good fighter, her main talents is her cunning mind, and she uses her human looking appearance (unlike the other Saima, she's played by a live actress) for her plans. Like Zylpheeza, her love for her family adds a layer of complexity ; she hates Salamandes's lack of family love, and her dying act is a selfless one, sacrificing herself for her brother. Salamandes is a very cool villain : he's cruel, evil, but more than his scary looks, it's his cold personality, greatly voice acted by Hikaru Midorikawa that makes him a fearsome villain. He's a big contrast with his siblings, even if one can argue that behind this hate, there is probably an huge "younger sibling complex". Pierre is also cool with his design mixing fly and French butler : he's often used as comic relief, but he's also shown as a very devoted servant, especialy towards Salamandes. Grandienne is a very cool Big Bad : it's nice how she starts as a cloud like face with her voice mostly heard, then she's shown as a floating rock with tentacles and a woman like body stuck on it, but being physically present, then, she's shown as a very scary humanoid with her completed body, and in the finale, she's again some what immaterial, but she's an evil spirit surrounding Earth, using her children's bodies as weapons. Likewise, her personality shows a similar progression : at first, she talkig from afar to her children, then, she becomes the leader, and it's when she gains her full body that the extent of her cruelty is shown, when she kills her children, and in the finale, her being again a voice and a ghost like character, using other bodies's to fights adds even more to her evilness and how scary she is. A great Big Bad.
The Saima are a great element of GogoV, both as fearsome enemies and as another exploration of the family theme.

5) The heroes's arsenal and mechas

The heroes's suit are the classic colored suits with white stripes, but the most characteristic element of the suits are the helmets which are shaped like the emblems of each hero's civilian job. Another element is the fact the show allow to regularly see the faces of the heroes behind the helmets. The heroes also have orange jackets.
The brace, with the emblem of the Gogofive is cool too.
The main weapon is the classic stick/gun stuff. They later gained another gun, the Go-Blaster, that can also se the V-Brace to get more powerful attacks.
The heroes used two main weapons for the final blow : the Lifebird, a bird like shaped cannon made of five parts that made be used separately, and the V Lancers. With the V-Lancers, the heroes performed the final attack by focusing together the energy of each weapon.

More interesting ara the mechas. GogoV has vehicle themed mechas, but the signature mecha of the series is the Go-Liner, which is probably the best train mecha ever done in the franchise, with its very cool design. Not only the train looks cool, but the miniature work with the railroad, notably the Bay Area 55, is pretty cool too. The Go-Liner can even become a robot, the Grandliner which is pretty impressive. But the Go-Liner also is the mecha whic carries the other mechas.  Another major mecha is the Victory Robot. It's a robot made of five different mechas, each one themed after a rescue vehicle linked to each heroes job : Red has a firefighter truck with a ladder (Red Ladder), Blue has a fire extinguisher thrower truck (Blue Thrower), Green has a flying mecha (Green Hover), Yellow has a armored vehicle (Yellow Armor), linked to his police job, and Pink the paramedic has an ambulance, the Pink Aider. The vehicles's design are great, and the robot they made is cool looking too. Additional mechas include the Max Liner, with its shuttle design, and his sun panels which allow it to use the sun's energy. It's also a cool robot, with its robot mode, the Liner Boy, and he also shwos a fun personality, since the Liner Boy is a talking robot. The Max Victory Robo , resulting from the fusion of Liner Boy and Victory Robo is cool too ; in the finale the sigma project is a black colored version of the mecha. Last but not least, the Victory Mars, made from the spaceship like Mars Machines, and also can fuses in two ways, the Beetle Mars, as a four legged machine, but more importantly, the  Victory Mars, the robot mode, using the JetLance as its weapon.
GogoFive has some of the coolest mechas of the franchise.

6) Storyline 

The storyline is a simple one, involving the battle between the heroes and the Saima : however,t he way the storyline is told is cool. Here is the narrative plan fo the show
Episodes 1 and 2 : introduction of the heroes, their background and the villains : the following episodes (3-10) allows us to knowmore about heroes and villains.

Episodes 11-12 : first major arc : the GrandLiner arc : Grandienne starts communicating with her Saima children, and the two part arc shows the toughest fight the heroes had to face so far.
The following episodes (13-17) have again the episodic format.

Episodes 18-22 are the big arc involving Zylpheeza's main attack : first, he involves himslef in episode 18, then he starts the "Three dark world demons" arc, which lasts from episode 19 until episode 22 : the three demons are tought enemies, and even when they're dead, Zylpheeza is able to revive them as a chimera; during that arc, the V-Lancers, the Liner Boy and the Max Victory Robo are intorduced, and the arc conclude with Zylpheeza fighting in giant from and his defeat, concluding the first half of the storyline. 

Episodes 23 and 24 are two breather episodes, including a touching ghost story.

Episodes 25 and 26 are the "Grand Cross " arc, the event that was dreaded since the beginning of the show, with the arrival of Grandienne, even if thanks to the heroes's wor, she's not in her most powerful. The following episodes is the introduction of the grown-up Drop, the terrifying Salamandes.
After two transitional episodes, episodes 29 and 30 are the big "Grande planet " arc, with the introduction of the Mars machines and Victory Mars.

Episodes 31-36 have again the episodic format, with notably one episoes involving Dinas and Kobolda trying to revive Zylpheeza, but failing.

Episodes 37-39 have the Infinity Card arc, which links seemingly standalone episodes, but the conclusion of the arc shakes the statu quo, with Salamandes falling out of favor.

After two transition episodes (40 and 41), episodes 42-43 are the big final fight against Salamandes.

After three transition episodes (notably a recap ep), the final arc starts lasting four episodes (47-50), with the second attempt of resurrecting Zylpheeza, Dinas's sacrifice, and, at last, the final fight against Grandienne herself, but also involving the reunion of the entire Tatsumi family.

Gogofive shows great storytelling, allowing a great balance between story arcs and standalone episodes, allowing the viewer to know more about the heroes, their backgrounds. GogoFive never shows plot stalling, and despite its seemingly simplicity,  the series tells us a story of not only good vs evil, but also the story of two very different families.

7) Final thoughts

Rescue Sentai Gogofive is a very great sentai series. It really explores very well two strong themes : family and rescue work : the heroes are not just superheroes, but they are also everyday heroes, whose jobs are for the public good : becoming GogoFive feels very natural for those young people, who were already heroes in their civilian lives. Rescue work is a recurring theme in the show, with several episodes dealing with the heroes's civilain job, the people they rescue, and the spirit of saving lives as the meaning of their lives.
The heroes are also a family, and, more interestingly, the villains are too : as such, heroes and villains are both different, while at the same time sharing something in common, and GogoFive shows both the contrast between the heroic family and the evil one, but also sometimes, the similarity, with both heroes and some of the villains being both devoted siblings and children. A big symbol is how at the end, Zylpheeza helps his enemy GoRed against his cruel mother, because he has more in common with GoRed as a fellow elder brother than with a maother that doesn't care about her children. Likwise, Dinas's death shows that she's as loving a sister to her brothers as Matsuri is.
Both shows deal with children struggling with their relationship with a parent that was absent for a long time, and that theme is nicely explored.
GogoFive has also some of the best mechas I've seen, and the miniature work makes the viewer want to buy the toys, without having the show feeling like a toy commerical, because of the great themes explored :you love the toys, but you're hooked by the story and the characters.
Last but not least : the music is absolutely amazing, incredibly epic with the songs and BGM linke dto the heroes and the mechas, very creepy and scary with the music linked to the Saima. One of the best music of the sentai franchise. 

To conclude, an excellent sentai series, one of the best : 9/10. 

1 comment:

  1. Great review.

    IMO, GoGo Five is the last great sentai to end of "Golden Era" of sentai that started from 1985 (Changeman). It easily goes to my Top 5 favorite sentai series!
    The characters, acting, villains, story, BGM, OP&ED, mechs, and action were great!
    I really like the rescue motif, which was handled not only better than Tomica Hero Series (Rescue Force/Fire), but better Rescue Police Series of Metal Hero series.
    It's probably one of the most underrated sentai series ever made and among the other underrated series I've seen (Abaranger, Gekiranger, Go-busters, etc.), this one is my favorite.
    It's such a shame there isn't much discussion or talk about this series over the year.
    While sentai fans these days talks more about recent popular series such as Shinkenger and Gokaiger (which IMO are overrated), GoGo Five surpass those series in every aspect.
    To be honest, sentai series (or majority of tokusatsu series) in general, hasn't reached to those greatness ever since, which makes this truly the last great sentai series ever made.

    That's all I have to say.