Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger Review: Part 3 GenJyuken

Now we come to another group of enemies in the show who pretty much make up the final couple of arcs. The GenJyuken users are the final group of enemies in the show and their fighting styles are based around mythical creatures. Unlike GekiJyuken and RinJyuken, they aren't actually a school. Each of the generals represents one of the four big beasts in Chinese mythos that represent the four directions with Mele becoming the Phoenix once she gains the power of GenJyuken. Each of the GenJyuken generals have their own MOTW.

Long represents the dragon and he is my all time favorite Sentai villain. He terrifies me so much that just hearing his name sends a chill down my spine. He is always calm, cool, and collected, rarely letting his anger show through. However, above all else Long is patient. He is one of those villains where the main threat isn't just what he is doing right now, it is also what he could do later. This dude is directly responsible for Rio turning to RinJyuken. The theme of three is shows up here because he, Rio, and Mele are the only villains in the show to have a human form. His first appearance in the show is terrifying because the first thing he does is literally liquefy Rageku. His main reason for sending Rio down the path of darkness is to turn him into a god of destruction. He tried to do the same thing with Maku but Maku's defeat in the RinJyuken Rebellion kind of squashed that plan. The actor is fantastic and really sells the role with the way he moves. He also plays up the creep factor by constantly popping up out of nowhere and getting uncomfortably close to people's faces.

Sanyo is a master of the basilisk-ken. With that being said, his overall appearance is a turtle so he basically represents the black tortoise and snake of the four beasts. He has a habit of running his mouth a lot and some of the stuff he says pretty much clues Mele into the idea that Long might not be on the up and up. He is pretty much immortal, which is something brought up near end of the series. He is actually a part of Long and when Long reabsorbs him, he gains that immortality.

Suugu is a master of the chimera-ken which is basically an amalgamation of different fighting styles so he has access to the techniques of RinJyuken users. His overall motif is a white tiger so out of the four beasts, he represents that one. He was basically created by Long using the geki soul of Jan's father, Dan, hence the white tiger look. Its a rather heart-wrenching story because once Dan's consciousness starts taking over, Jan is forced to kill him so his father can pass on. In a way it helps show how demented Long is even more since he used someone's very soul as a means to achieve is his own goals. When Dan was alive, Rio actually saw him as a rival or an obstacle to overcome. In a sense, Jan is taking his father's place in finishing off the rivalry. Plus Jan's father is played by Kenji Oba so that works out really well. Despite Dan himself being dead at the time, you get a nice feel for his power just from Rio's memories of him.

Music: The music for the show is nice. It really helps capture the kung fu movie feel of the show so much that it feels like I've heard the music in actual kung fu films. The opening song is great and it really helps you get pumped for the show. My favorite bit is probably the chinese violin at the start of the song. The singer puts a ton of energy into the song and its really contagious. The ending theme is awesome and as usual Ichiro Mizuki does really well. Its actually more addictive for me than the opening theme. I'm unfortunately not too big on the Super Gekiranger theme. Its not a bad song but it really doesn't do anything for me. I will say that it feels a bit uplifting and gives off a sense of growth. The music for the villains is great and it gives off a real sense of dread, fore-boding, and unease.

Final Thoughts: I absolutely love this series. It handles CGI in a way that feels appropriate. It mostly uses the CGI represent the Ki or energy flowing from them so it comes as sort of a natural thing. The fight choreography is great, especially when you realize that a lot of the fighting styles in the show are based on actual martial arts. The show also has a lot of training montages which is always great to see and its really appropriate for a martial arts Sentai. It even shows Jan, Retsu, and Ran training to fire their cannon faster after they get it. Even when its not shown on screen, it is implied that the Gekirangers are always training to get better. Its that sense of progression that makes each victory feel earned instead of the problem simply being solved by a new weapon. The constant training is even applied to Rio and Mele as Rio especially wants to get stronger and stronger. This really helps keep the threat feeling strong. I've seen complaints regarding how Gou and Ken get sidelined for Jan, Retsu, and Ran. I honestly don't mind that because the Triangle is one of the core themes in Gekiranger. Plus Gou and Ken still get their own awesome moments so I think it evens out.
Gekiranger is one of those shows that I simply can't recommend enough, especially if you like martial arts movies. Even to this day, I'm noticing things about this show that I didn't catch before. For example, they pretty much foreshadow Long in the first episode because the shadow creature in Rio's dreams is dragon shaped with shining gold eyes. I'm actually rather curious if the writer for this show is a fan of martial arts films. The show seems to demonstrate a love for the genre given all the little nods and references. This is without a doubt my favorite Sentai series and will likely remain my favorite for a while.

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