Monday, May 2, 2016

My Updated Sentai Rankings

Well I've seen a lot more Sentai since my last ranking list. I've got some new ones to add and I've re-thought the rankings for some of them. Since my last list I've finished a couple more series, seen 11 eps of Bioman, 10 eps of Maskman, 2 eps of GoGoV, 5 eps of Flashman, 7 eps of Timeranger, 9 eps of Megaranger, and 2 eps of Zyuohger. I've also seen a couple eps of Denjiman and an episode of Battle Fever J (unsubbed of course). Ninninger won't be anywhere in this post since I never bothered watching after the first episode. So lets take a look at what has been added and what has been changed.

Before I get to the actual rankings there are still series that I haven't finished but have seen at least half of. I'm mentioning them again because there has been a change in regards to one of them.

Choujuu Sentai Liveman:
Yeah, I need to get back to this at some point. I've been shown clips of some really good stuff that happens near the end. Its just gonna be a while until I get back to this one. I still absolutely love the suits, especially the helmets. Pretty much nothing has changed regarding my thoughts on this show. Its still really good and every character in the show feels natural. Megumi is hands down my favorite character on the team.

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger:
Sword fights just make me happy and the swordplay in this show is still fantastic. I still love the suits and the helmets. The opening and ending themes still have a nice punch to them. My favorite suit is probably Genta's since I like the way the gold and blue look together. I also like Genta's reverse grip sword style. Chiaki is probably my favorite character in the show from what I've seen so far. The rest of my thoughts are pretty much the same as last time.

Gosei Sentai Dairanger:
This one has been removed from my watch-list since last time. Why? Well because I plan on getting the DVDs at some point so I can just finish it at my own pace. These suits are still gorgeous. I can't tell you how much I love these things. The fight choreography still holds up really well to me. My favorite fighting style in the show belongs to Kazu. Drunken fist is one of the coolest styles in my opinion. My favorite character however is probably Daigo. I absolutely love what I've seen of his sub-plot with Kujaku so far. The opening theme is definitely one of my favorites.

Now, with that out of the way, lets move on to the actual rankings. Just remember, if a show you liked gets ranked low on here, its because its not my kind of show.

9. Ressha Sentai ToQger:
Just want to start by saying that I have not actually finished watching ToQger. I gave up about halfway through. So why is it being ranked? Its being ranked simply because I have no plans to continue with the series any time soon. The show never really gave me anything to get invested in. The plot is slow and the build up of what I did see is problematic. Even when things happened, it felt like nothing happened or it was treated like it didn't matter. I dropped the series on a cliffhanger which is something I almost never do. Normally characters would be enough to keep me invested in a slow series but even at the halfway point, I couldn't get a feel for the characters. The action was forgettable and I can only remember a single move. Its a kendama attack that Hikari and Kagura did in an early episode of the show. If other people like this show, more power to them but its just not for me.

8. Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger:
My tune has changed slightly toward Kyoryuger since last time. I still think its meh overall and its still not something I'd rewatch. I sort of get why people like Daigo now but I still think the show praises him a little too much. I still have some issues with the pacing of the show but I think its best pacing happens during the final arc. The show could've done a bit more with Cyan and Grey than having them pop in and out every now just then. I think their entire purpose in the show should've been them trying to find someone to inherit their powers. Sort of a passing the torch situation that wasn't put in at the last minute. The Zyudenchi kinda slowed down the action a little too much for my taste.

7. Tokumei Sentai Gobusters:
I seem to run into more and more fans of this show these days. I still love the leather look of the suits and the colored visors. I enjoy the first opening theme and my thoughts on the second opening theme has changed. I think the second theme is ok though it tends to get lodged in my head too easily. The action I don't remember being that spectacular and I do remember some of it looking kind of stiff. I did like the early mecha fights where the fight was happening in a mecha and on the ground at the same time. My opinion of Hiromu has softened up a bit though I still don't care much for him. I liked Enter a lot more during the first half than the second half. He had this sort of quirky flare to him with the disguises and my personal favorite was the panda suit. I actually like how streamlined and the arsenal is. With all that being said, this still isn't a show I have any interest in rewatching.

6. Mahou Sentai Magiranger:
I think the show handled the family aspect decently. The show has some of the more gorgeous suits in Sentai imo and I like their civilian uniforms. The opening still gets me pumped and it still has my favorite ending theme in all of Sentai. I still love that the source of their magic is their own courage which is a nice avenue for character development imo. The show does play it kind of safe but I enjoyed it. I love the mecha in the show and I like the idea of them becoming their individual mecha. It had some decently heart-warming moments. This show still has my favorite mecha control system in the franchise so far.

5. Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger:
I've seen the fandom divided over this one. I understand people's complaints about the show but I enjoyed it. The main five are under-developed but that doesn't bother me much. They're simply doing what heroes do even if they take the backseat to the kids. I can't really imagine the team without any of them simply because their personalities balance each other out. What sells the show for me though is Burai and Bandora. Bandora is surprisingly creepy and her plans have this hidden edge to them. There is quite a bit of nightmare fuel with some of the Dora monsters. She actually might just be one of my all time favorite Sentai villains. The mecha action and designs are great. The show manages to do so much with just seven mecha.

4. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger:
Yeah this one kind of dropped, but not because I've rethought my stance on it. I still love the cast and all the enthusiasm. Gai is still probably my favorite character but its a bit closer call for all them now. Its still probably my favorite anniversary season. It is very accessible to people who are just getting into Sentai. It makes you want to see what you missed out on while not leaving you lost and wondering what you missed from previous series. I think it finds a good balance when it comes to pleasing both old and new fans. Depsite not knowing most of the veterans showing up, I was still hyped for each tribute episode. I love GokaiOh and how its variations don't over-shadow the basic design.

3. Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger:
I absolutely loved this show. I love the cast and they have some really good chemistry. This is definitely one of the most tense and touching Sentai seasons I've seen. I mean man, this show is so awesome. I loved pretty much everything about it. Jeanne and Asuka is my favorite love story/rivalry in Sentai so far. It also makes for some gripping and heart-wrenching moments. Ryouga is definitely one of my favorite Reds in Sentai. I love his optimism regarding human nature a lot as well as the family dynamic he has with Mai. There isn't a character in this show that I don't like. The fights got pretty brutal at certain points in the show. I like how the Bakuryu aren't just treated like mecha, they're characters in their own right. I particularly love the interactions between Ryouga and Tyranno. I absolutely love the suit designs. This show definitely has some of my favorite villains, those being Jeanne and AbareKiller.

2. Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger:
Yeah this one definitely should've been higher on the last list. The main reason I pushed it up to here this time is pretty much thanks to the 10 Years After movie. It reminded me of just how much I enjoyed the series. I spent the entire run-time of the movie with a big smile on my face. That movie captured Dekaranger perfectly and it felt just like an episode of the show. I still love the cast a lot. Everyone got their respective moments of awesome. Its a great example of a cop show and I love the Alienizers as a villain group. Abrella is definitely one of my favorite villains in the franchise and I still remember most of the Alienizers. After watching some Bioman, I can definitely say that Dekaranger took some inspiration from Bioman in regards to the Alienizers having their own mecha. This is definitely one of the most memorable shows I've seen in general. The mecha action is great and I absolutely love the mecha designs. DekaBase Robo is probably my favorite mecha in the show.

1. ???

What is my number one? Well you'll find out in a few months. Thats right, I'm devoting a rewatch and a full review to this one. Its probably going to be the most in-depth review I've ever written. I hope you're all looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Review

Zyuranger is a series I've seen get a lot of mixed reactions from people. Its a show that I can understand why some wouldn't like and some would love it. What did I think about it? Well read on and find out.
Plot: The witch Bandora awakens after being sealed away for 170 million years and begins her plan to takeover the world. The Zyurangers awaken from their long slumber to fight her off. Throughout the series, Bandora makes it a point of targeting and terrorizing children so naturally the Zyurangers come to their rescue.

I've seen a lot of fans complain about how the main five are under-developed but I honestly don't mind. Sure they're taking the backseat to the kids so I understand those complaints but I can at least get behind them because they're doing what heroes do. They protect the weak and the vulnerable which in this case is the kids. I can't honestly imagine the team without any of them because they balance each other's personalities out and feel like a cohesive team. Since they are under-developed, instead of simply giving me thoughts on them individually, I'll just mention my favorite episodes for each character. Burai however, I'll cover a bit more in-depth.
  • TyrannoRanger/Geki: My favorite episode for him is the one where he helped Dragon Caeser get over Burai's death.
  • MammothRanger/Goushi: My favorite episode for him is probably the Black Knight episode since it pretty much shows how he learned to be strong. The Dora Chimera episode is also a good one for him.
  • TigerRanger/Boi: My favorite episode for him is either the Dora Circe episode or the episode where he becomes a ninja.
  • TriceraRanger/Dan: My favorite episode for him was the episode where Tottopat was making a child think their father was a vampire.
  • PteraRanger/Mei: My favorite episode for her is the episode where Bandora was making apples grow out of children's heads so she could eat their youth and the Dora Silk episode.
Burai is pretty much the only one with an arc. Burai's introduction is really well handled. His introduction is a classic story of misplaced anger and shows just how hatred can consume someone. I like the idea of the candle representing Burai's life. Its a great way to show that the writers will only bring him in when its absolutely necessary. I'd have liked him to survive even though I knew he wasn't going to. His death re-enforced the message that the children's lives are more important and when it comes to heroes, well that is a message I can get behind. It also shows that for all their powers and skills, the Zyurangers are still human. My favorite episodes for Burai are his introduction arc and the lead-up to his death. Even though I knew it was coming, it still managed to make me tear up.

Bandora is probably one of my favorite villains in Sentai. She is one of the most fun villains I've seen so far. Her plans are very weird and kinda surreal. They also have this rather disturbing edge to them and she makes it a point to have them target children a lot. I'd honestly like to see Sentai try a villain like her again. One whose plans aren't simply to take over the world but who also manages to screw with people in weird ways. She also seems to be one of the kinder villains in regards to her subordinates, as far as Griffzor and Lamy are concerned anyway. Tottopat and Bookbak provide some nice comedic-relief. Bandora's reason for being evil is kinda tragic but her ending has a bit of optimism to it. One thing I really like is that in the 4 part finale, she actually kicks off her final attack by singing her theme song with her group to everyone in the city.

There is a nice amount of research involved regarding the Dora Monsters. A lot of them are taken from Greek/European myth and fairy tales. Their weaknesses actually line up pretty well with the myths and lore. The show knows how to bring out the creep factor with a few of the Dora Monsters. There are a few episodes that stand out to me in that regard: the Dora Sphinx episodes, the Dora Frank episodes, the clown from the sneezing plot episode, and that eyeball monster whose name escapes me at the moment. The episode with that spider Dora Monster was heart-breaking. Even though the heroes beat the monster, it still felt like they lost. One of the most sadistic plots Bandora uses is during the Dora Unicorn episode. She pretty much attached a kids nerves to the monster.

Mecha: The amount of combinations in this show are amazing. It manages to do a lot with just seven mechas. The mecha being gods in the show's mythos helps add an extra bit of depth to it. It is particularly interesting as here and there the Guardian Beasts can kinda be jerks. There are quite a few so I'll just talk about the main ones.
The prop work and detail on each of the Guardian Beasts are nice. In terms of detail, I think ZyuMammoth is probably my favorite of Daizyujin's guardian beasts. I love Daizyujin's design. The sculpting on it is great and all the colors mesh really well. It even has another mode known as the Dino Tanker.
However, Dragon Caesar is by far the best mecha in the show. There is so much detail on this thing. It has this nice animalistic way of moving and you can tell that there was probably some Godzilla influence in its movements. Its got some really nice details to it. It can merge with ZyuMammoth, SaberTiger, and Triceratops to become Gouryujin.
King Brachion is pretty nice looking. The black and white complement each other really well. There is also a lot nice detail in this thing, particularly in the head and neck. I particularly like that they took the time to detail each tooth in its mouth. This is the final part needed to create Ultimate Daizyujin which is pretty much the strongest mecha in the series.

Suit Designs:
I like the Zyuranger suits. They're nice and simple yet distinct and hard to forget. The white complements their colors rather well. The helmets look really nice and have a good amount of detail to them. The silver Dino Bucklers for the main five look really nice with the belts. As I've said before, some times the silver mouth-pieces look off to me but they work really well with these helmets. Burai's suit has a bit of a more epic feel to it thanks to the gold shield and gold Dino Buckler. I also love the level of detail in each of their weapons.

Final Thoughts: This is one of the shows that I probably won't forget. The team isn't really much to write home about since they're under-developed but I don't mind them that much. They're not really annoying and they're pretty much doing what I think heroes should do. They also don't fall victim to petty arguments.
I didn't talk about this earlier but I like the civilian outfits a lot. They have this ancient tribal vibe to them. The things I'll probably remember most are Burai and Bandora. The show also has this really surreal feel to it. The show's mythos is nice and makes it really feel like an ancient legend. The finale to this show has a good amount of tension to it and I find the ending rather satisfying. Overall the show does have some problems and I can see why some people wouldn't like it but I enjoyed it well enough to recommend it to others.