REVIEW: DOUBUTSU SENTAI ZYUOHGER

doubutsu_sentai_zyuohger_by_ruddyes_by_ruddyes-da6fxrm

Starring

Masaki Nakao (Cheer Boys!!)
Miki Yanagi (Kakegurui)
Shohei Nanba (Sengoku Basara)
Tsurugi Watanabe (Does the Flower Bloom?)
Haruka Tateishi (Prison 13)
Naoki Kunishima (You Are the Apple of My Eye)
Susumu Terajima (Human Trust)

MV5BMjA3NDY5NTU2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2NzcwMDE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kohei Murakami (Kamen Rider 555)
Unshō Ishizuka (Choushinsei Flashman)
Shun Nishime (Kamen Rider Ghost)
Aoi Yuki (Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger)
Kenshiro Iwai (Code Blue)
Masami Horiuchi (Kamen Rider Drive)
Sayuri Inoue (The Hatsumori Bemars)
Seiya Osada (Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger)
Ayana Shiramoto (Kamen Rider Amazons)
Eriko Moriwaki (Kamen Rider Agito)
Ryota Ozawa (Nozokime)
Yūki Yamada (Holiday Love)
Mao Ichimichi (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Kazuki Shimizu (A Day of One Herb)
Yui Koike (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Junya Ikeda (Garo: Kami no Kiba)
Tomokazu Seki (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Hiroaki Iwanaga (Kamen Rider 000)
Tomiyuki Kunihiro (Sleeping Bride)

doubutsu-sentai-zyuohger-1121483a-6b6a-4ade-8f3b-4a08f4720b2-resize-750There are some themes and motifs that Super Sentai will always come back to. In 2013 the long-running franchise turned to dinosaurs for a third time with Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, and more recently it also did ninjas for a third time with Shuriken Sentai Ninninger. With that in mind, it seems almost fitting that the 40th anniversary Toei would revisit yet another popular motif – animals. 2016-2017 was the year of Doubutsu Sentai Zyohger, the 40th team in the Super Sentai series and released as part of Toei’s “Super Hero Year” anniversary celebrations.

After falling through a mysterious portal to a world of anthropomorphic animals known as Zyuland, zoologist Yamato Kazakiri encounters four of its people – Sela (a shark), Leo (a Lion), Amu (a Tiger) and Tusk (an Elephant), and is accused of stealing one of the six Champions Symbols that power the link between the two worlds. However their meeting coincides with the arrival of the Dethgalians – a group of aliens who have decided on the Earth as the site for their 100th Blood Game. As Yamato returns to Earth with the four Zyumen in tow, the five are able to use the Champions Symbols to become Earth’s newest guardians – the Zyuohgers. The team are able to fend off the Dethgalians first attack but upon their return to the Link Cube the Zyumen find the sixth Symbol missing, stranding them on Earth until it is found.

Blending in with humanity, the four Zyumen join Yamato as they search for the means to return home while fighting off the Dethgalian attacks. Eventually the Dethgalians raise the stakes as they create their own Zyuohger, created from three kidnapped Zyuman and the brainwashed human Mondo Misao. After freeing Misao from their clutches, he joins the team as Zyuoh The World as the Blood Games continue.

Starring two humans and four anthropomorphic animals, Zyuohger immediately sets itself apart from the usual Super Sentai formula of either an entirely human team or one limited to one or two “different” members. Sure the Zyumen adopt human disguises fairly quickly, but their clothing and tails (or in Sela’s case, fin) serve as a constant reminder that Zyuohger is playing with a slightly different dynamic. Don’t be too fooled into thinking Zyuohger is any less red-centric that most other Super Sentai though – it’s still Yamato that gets the most development, the most power ups (three animals compared to the others’ one) and the big speeches/action sequences.However presentation is key, and Zyuohger still manages to make the four Zyumen feel suitably fleshed out even if they aren’t getting the same treatment as their human teammate. They all get their obligatory spotlight episodes as their time to shine, but each Zyuman has their own distinct and well-realised personality that makes their interactions a joy to watch. A particularly great standalone episode is 32, where a monster attack causes the characters’ “hidden personalities” to also come on show.

But in terms of characterisation it’s actually Misao that deserves the most praise, who has arguably emerged as one of the most realistic and relatable characters the franchise has ever put out. As if his turn as an evil ranger and unique tri-coloured suit wasn’t enough to earn him a place in the cool books, the show’s honest depiction of someone suffering from depression is quite unlike anything Sentai has tackled before. Yes his fluctuating mood is the butt of numerous (and admittedly funny) jokes, but the actual narrative is relatively sincere in the way it portrays his constantly shifting mental state, survivors’ guilt and difficulty overcoming his emotions. Combine this with Yamato’s own parental turmoil, and Zyuohger has done a pretty good job of tackling issues rarely seen in Super Sentai these days.

However the Dethgalians fall on the simpler side of the Super Sentai villain spectrum, setting out with very little background other than “some aliens are here to destroy things”. While their motivations don’t make for particularly deep storytelling, seeing their leader Genis’ see everything as a game for his amusement works in their favour – painting him as a chilling opponent unphased by setbacks and always thinking two steps ahead of everyone else. It isn’t until the arrival of the megabeast hunter Bunglay that things begin to take an interesting turn, as the weekly monsters are recycled and pushed to one side story-wise. It brings forward development for Genis own generals (or “players”) – Quval and Azald. Although his attendant Naria is still left with no personality outside of being unflinchingly loyal, those two are pushed to be more than that.

Aesthetically Zyuohger thrives on simplicity, reflected both in the suits and the cube-themed animal mecha. The latter’s case is something that didn’t necessarily translate well when it came to the toys (minipla notwithstanding), but onscreen work rather well – with the cute brightly coloured animals giving Zyuohger a unique visual identity that sets it apart from the similarly themed Gaoranger. The simpler designs also make for far more fluid robot designs, which while boxy in nature don’t have the same unappealing pile-of-parts look many “ultimate” combos now suffer from. There’s nothing especially new to be had here and the combination of animals and retro-styled video game cubes doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but as far as the show goes it definitely works.

Finally as the 40th entry in the franchise Zyuohger does have some anniversary element to it, but in the more reserved sense (akin to Gaoranger or Boukenger) rather than an all-out celebration like Gokaiger was. Gokaiger is far too fresh in everyone’s memories to try and top it yet, so instead Zyuohger’s main strength is in that it is simply a solid Super Sentai series. It never really tries to reinvent the wheel, but knows the tropes of the franchise well enough to keep them fresh and entertaining. Throwing a mecha battle in at the start of an episode might not sound like much, but for a show that’s stuck to its format so rigidly for decades it comes as a welcome surprise.Of course it wouldn’t be an anniversary without cameos, and while the Zyuohger vs Ninninger movie covers the bulk of that there’s also a wonderful two-part story here featuring the return of the Gokaigers. The two teams have a wonderful dynamic, with Gokaigers going about their heroism in their usual standoffish way. But most importantly these two episodes are integral to Zyuohger’s plot as well, making them far more than just some well-polished fanservice and the perfect opportunity to officially add the post-Gokaiger shows to the Ranger Key collection.

While there are undoubtedly some areas Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger could have done better in, that doesn’t change the fact that this is arguably the strongest Super Sentai has been in the last few years. Even through its usual Red-centricity Zyuohger displays memorable characters with their own unique traits, arcs and development – presenting the feeling of a well-rounded and equal cast even when it doesn’t quite feel like that on paper. Additionally the villains for the most part all had their own stories to tell, which despite not coming into the spotlight enough were all well signposted and kept the show interesting. It also works perfectly as an anniversary series – not by attempting the same thing as Gokaiger but instead simply coming out as a well-crafted series that does all the things a good Super Sentai series should. Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger might be the one offering a much-needed shakeup to the formula, but 2016 was a definitely a year where Super Sentai shined.untitled

REVIEW: Kamen Rider × Super Sentai × Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z

 

Starring

Yuma Ishigaki (Battle Royle 2)
Suzuka Morita (Samurai Sentai Shinkenger)
Riki Miura (Juken Sentai Gekiranger)
Kenji Ohba (Kill BIll)
Hirotaro Honda (Gamera: Guardian of The Universe)
Junya Ikeda (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger)
Arisa Komiya (Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters)
Syuusuke Saito (Kamen Rider Zi-O the Movie: Over Quartzer)
Yamato Kinjo (Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V)
Ryo Ryusei (Hiyokko)
Akihisa Shiono (Leaders 2)
Ayuri Konno (Another)
Katsuhiro Suzuki (Misaki Number One!)
Ryōma Baba (Here Is Greenwood)
Fuuka Nishihira (Tensou Sentai Goseiger)
Naoto Takahashi (Ultraman Orb)
Hideo Sakaki (Segodon)
Shunya Shiraishi (Kamen Rider Fourze)
Makoto Okunaka (Kamen Rider Wizard)
Tasuku Nagase (Beppinsan)
Junki Tozuka (Helter Skelter)
Yuko Takayama (Twin Spica)
Hisahiro Ogura (Little Maestro)
Atsushi Maruyama (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
Sota Fukushi (Umareru)
Hiroaki Iwanaga (Kamen Rider 000)
Ryota Ozawa (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger)
Kenta Suga (Aibo)
Ayumi Kinoshita (Tensou Sentai Dekaranger)
Tetsu Inada (Kanon)
Nana Mizuki (Switch Girl!!)

193500093Magic gates appear throughout Japan, causing havoc as people are instantly transported from one place to another. While investigating the situation, Haruto Soma and Koyomi are approached by Geki Jumonji, who suddenly attacks Haruto after confirming his identity. Geki and Haruto fight as Space Sheriff Gavan type-G and Kamen Rider Wizard until Kamen Rider Wizard and Koyomi risk themselves to save a passerby from being hit by collateral damage. After confirming that both are good people, he stays his blade and flees. Meanwhile, Yoko Usami from the Go-Busters and her Buddyloid Usada Lettuce are camping beside a river until an unknown object falls from the sky beside them. They find a small robot at the crash site, which Yoko takes to the Energy Management Center and fixes it up. The robot introduces itself as Psycholon and she becomes friends with it.

Meanwhile at the Galactic Union, Geki confronts his superior and the previous Gavan, Retsu Ichimonji, about his orders to eliminate both Kamen Rider Wizard and Kamen Rider Beast, Kosuke Nitoh, but Retsu insists that both are too dangerous to be allowed to live because of their magical powers. Retsu relieves him from duty, sending the Space Sheriff Sharivan to complete the task. Back at the location where Yoko found Psycholon, monsters from the evil organization Space Shocker are confronted by Kamen Rider Wizard until they send him away using a magic gate. Haruto emerges at a stadium where he is encountered by the Kyoryugers who mistake him for a Debo Monster at, then challanged by Kyoruger’s Daigo Kiryu to ddetermine how brave Haruto is until Gai Ikari from the Gokaigers appears to stop their fight as he wants to meet with Haruto about the incident of Space Shocker’s plan of framing Haruto using a same magic power. Geki attempts to stop Sharivan from leaving to Earth to execute Kamen Rider Wizard and Kamen Rider Beast with no success. Yoko is attacked by Space Shocker, who are after Psycholon, but her fellow Go-Busters Hiromu Sakurada and Ryuji Iwasaki appear to assist her. When the monsters try to send both Yoko and Psycholon through a portal, Hiromu and Ryuji appear to save her and are sucked in instead, and she is forced to keep fighting by herself.

Gai and Haruto discuss the situation, later joined by Geki and Nito, until Sharivan appears to fight them. To dissuade his fellow Space Sheriff, Geki tries to don his combat suit with no success and his partner Shelly informs him that after he was removed from duty, the Dolgiran’s systems were locked down, preventing her from providing him his weaponry. When monsters from Space Shocker also appear at the scene, Sharivan is forced to stop pursuing the other heroes to fight them until they flee through a portal leading to the Genmu World and Geki also dives there by himself to investigate. Past the portal at the Genmu Castle, Geki witnessess Strategist Raider from the Space Crime Syndicate Madou and Shadow Moon discussing their plan to use Psycholon to gather enough magic energy to revive Madou’s leader Demon King Psycho, learning that they are the ones behind Space Shocker. Soon after, Gai appears to help Geki escape, and back on Earth, they rescue Yoko and Psycholon from Space Shocker troops. Taking refuge at the Antique Shop Omokagedō with the others, Geki reveals that the Galactic Union intends to destroy Earth with the Super Dimensional Cannon to prevent Space Shocker from completing their plan, as their scheme threatens the entire universe.Kamen_Rider_×_Super_Sentai_×_Space_Sheriff-_Super_Hero_Taisen_Z-001Encouraged by Gai and the others to not give up yet, Geki leaves to confront Space Shocker by himself until as Kai/Sharivan appears to that the evidence of the villains who framed Wizard and Beast of using a same magic power has been informed as the villains is on the moves to revived Madou and inform him that they have one hour until the Galactic Union fires their main weapon to destroy the Earth, then leaves to call Shaider for reinforcement. While Gai seeks help, Geki enters the portal to the Genmu World, accompanied by Yoko, Psycholon, and Nito, and they are attacked by Space Shocker. Separated from the others, Geki is forced to confront the monsters unarmed until Kotoha Hanaori from the Shinkengers appears at the Dolgiran, revealing that she was sent there by Gai. She hacks the ship’s systems to lift the lockdown and allow Geki to transform into Gavan type-G once more. Yoko keeps pushing forward by herself until Reider and Shadow Moon appear to block her path and attempt to take Psycholon from her, and the little robot uses its powers to have her reunited with Hiromu and Ryuji. Just as Kamen Rider Beast and Gavan type-G are about to be defeated, several Kamen Riders and Super Sentai warriors, including another hero’s Sangiman/new Inazuman appear to help them. Gai rejoins his fellow Gokaigers and Gavan type-G provides them with six Metal Hero Keys to assist in the fight.

The Go-Busters have a tough battle against Shadow Moon until the Gokaigers, Gavan, Kamen Rider Beast, Kamen Rider Wizard, Sharivan, Kamen Rider Fourze, and Kamen Rider Meteor appear to assist them, joined by Shaider Kamen Rider OOO and the Kyoryugers also join the fight as well. As Shadow Moon and his reinforcements are defeated, the one-hour delay provided by the Galactic Union runs out and a regretful Retsu is forced to fire the Super Dimensional Cannon. The three Space Sheriffs then ride their ships and manage to stop the weapon’s blast from hitting the Earth but Reider reveals that it was their intention all along to use its energy to complete the Demon King’s resurrection. The resultant explosion provides enough power for it, before Reider perishes, just to later return as Space Reider, bringing several other monsters to the fight. Psycholon is also overcome by the energy surge and is put under Madou’s control as well. The heroes find themselves in a pinch against their enemies until Akaranger and Kamen Rider 1 arrive with reinforcements. Kyoryu Gold appears to assist Kamen Rider Beast against Space Reider and together, they destroy him for good. Yoko calls out for Psycholon and it manages to break free from Psycho’s control but ends up sacrificing itself to protect her from a fatal blast. The enlarged Psycho tries to escape into space, but Gavan type-G, Sharivan, and Shaider, who revealed to be alive appear to stop it, and the monster is ultimately destroyed by a robot formed by the Kyorugers’ Kyoryuzin and Kamen Rider Wizard’s WizarDragon combined. After the battle, Usada reveals to Yoko that Psycholon can be fixed, and as the Space Sheriffs return to space, the Kamen Ridersi and Super Sentai warriors bid their farewells after they had joined forces to protect Earth once more.

REVIEW: Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen

Starring

Masahiro Inoue (Kamen Rider Decade)
Kimito Totani (Shukatsu)
Tatsuhito Okuda (Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider)
Shu Watanabe (Kamen Rider 000)
Riho Takada (Limit)
Sota Fukushi (My Tomorrow, Out Yesterday)
Ryuki Takahashi (High Kick Girl)
Fumika Shimizu (Kamen Rider Fourze)
Ryo Yoshizawa (Natsuzora)
Rikako Sakata (Calling You)
Justin Tomimori (Seven Detectives)
Shiho (Kazuo Umezu)
Shion Tsuchiya (Kamen Rider Hibiki)
Rina Akiyama (Kamen Rider Agito)
Kenjirō Ishimaru (Ringu 2)
Ryota Ozawa (Nozokime)
Yūki Yamada (Holiday Love)
Mao Ichimichi (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Kazuki Shimizu (A Day of One Herb)
Yui Koike (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Junya Ikeda (Garo: Kami no Kiba)
Katsuhiro Suzuki (Tonde Saitama)
Ryōma Baba (Here Is Greenwood)
Arisa Komiya (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Hideo Sakaki (Segodon)
Naoto Takahashi (Coming Out)
Fuuka Nishihira (Future Diary)
Asaya Kimijima (Kamen Rider 000)
Hiroaki Iwanaga (Berserk)
Yudai Chiba (Taira no Kiyomori)
Tetsu Inada (Doctor Slump)

aZNohuRuxYWLNjEs87aCvLImR11The film begins with Captain Marvelous of the Gokaigers confronting and defeating the Seven Legendary Riders before Tsukasa Kadoya appears before him. While Marvelous swears to him he will not rest before all Kamen Riders are destroyed, Tsukasa claims he will not stop until all Super Sentai are vanquished. While watching Earth from the moon, Kamen Rider Fourze, Yuki Jojima, and Miu Kazashiro see a series of shooting stars that turn out to be a Zangyack fleet. Within moments, Amanogawa High is invaded by Zangyack militants as Gentaro comes to Shun Daimonji’s aid before being blasted away from the Kamen Rider Club to an area where he meets Captain Marvelous. Introducing himself as Kengo Utahoshi and Yuki arrive, Marvelous reveals his intent to kill Gentaro as he transforms into Gokai Red.Transforming in response, Kamen Rider Fourze is overpowered by Gokai Red before sicking the soldiers on him. But, the rest of the Gokaiger crew arrive and take out the Zangyack soldiers before they attempt to talk Marvelous out of attacking the Kamen Riders. Marvelous is unconvinced as he summons his new ship, the Gigant Horse, and calls in Warz Gill, Ackdos Gill, Brajira of the Messiah, the Black Cross King, Long, Dagon, the Questers, and Doukoku Chimatsuri. Though Kamen Rider Meteor arrives to lend a hand, Gokai Red retaliates by summoning Rider Hunter Silva to cripple Meteor before inflicting the death blow and tells his crew that Kamen Rider Decade has already taken the lives of the Gorengers and some of the other Super Sentai teams. t their city’s Kazami district, the Go-Busters find people being attacked by various Kamen Rider monsters under Doktor G of the revived Dai-Shocker. Doktor G then introduces the Go-Busters to Dai Shocker’s Great Leader, Tsukasa Kadoya as he transforms into Decade to overpower them. But before he can finish them off, the Gokaigers save their successors and demand an explanation from Decade. However, Decade blames Marvelous for starting the fight before the Crisis Fortress appears overhead with Doktor G summoning Apollo Geist, the Bat Fangire, the Joker, General Jark, Neo Organism Doras, General Shadow, Llumu Qhimil, and the Arch Orphenoch to weaken the Gokaiger so Decade kills Luka, Ahim, and Gai as Joe and Don are forced to retreat.Super Hero Taisen DaiZangyackElsewhere, Brajira and various Goseiger monsters attack Kamen Rider OOO as the Double Births arrive to provide him back up before Silva arrives. Watching from afar, Marvelous encounters Daiki Kaito and reveals his goal to obtain the “Ultimate Treasure in the Universe” by killing all Kamen Riders. Taking out the two Births while fighting Kamen Rider Diend, Marvelous is about kill his opponent when OOO sacrifices himself to save the other Riders. Taking Hina and the Core Medals on her person to the Crisis Fortress, Kaito confronts Tsukasa after he gave his forces the order to go after the Goseigers. Kaito manages to take Tsukasa’s camera, refusing to support his friend as he and Hina are forced to retreat with Tiger-Roid and Komathunder sent after them as they run into Joe and Doc as they debate over their next course. At Hina’s behest, Kaito becomes Diend to wipe out the Dai-Shocker monsters. Learning that he is a Kamen Rider, despite stating he is on no one’s side in the conflict, Joe attempts to take out his frustrations on Kaito as he reveals what Marvelous’ intention while he spares Joe’s life upon beating him. From there, Don offers that they all join forces to solve what is truly going on with Marvelous and Tsukasa. Seeing that finding one of them is the only way to find answers, Kaito takes the others to Decade as he kills the Goseigers. Though they came only to talk, Joe is intent on fighting as Doras defeats him. However, Marvelous destroys the monster to save Joe and tells his first mate that this is for survival as only one group of heroes can exist. Telling Joe that Akarenger knows the true story, Marvelous tells him not to interfere as he confronts Tsukasa. Super Hero Taisen DaiShockerWith their amassed armies ordered to stand back and watch, Marvelous and Tsukasa transform and do battle. With both Gokai Red and Decade evenly matched, the fight ends in a stalemate. Later that night, Joe attacks Kaito but lacks the will to kill him while admitting he does not want to see any more death. When they decide to find Akarenger, Joe points out that he is dead. Kaito decides to buy them a ride on the Den-Liner with the cup of pudding he stole from Momotaros during their last meeting. Arriving in the winter of 1976 to watch his battle with Baseball Mask, Akarenger reveals that he knows why they come and ask them to take him to their time as he is joined by the the Zyurangers, the Goggle V, the Megarangers, the Dekarangers, and the Livemen. But Kamen Rider 1 suddenly arrives with Kamen Riders Kuuga, Faiz, Kabuto, Kiva, and Double with a battle ensuing where only Akarenger and Kamen Rider Ichigo remain.Super Hero Taisen Joe vs KaitoHowever, Akarenger and Kamen Rider Ichigo are revealed to be Gokai Red and Decade in disguise as both planned to flush out the remaining opposition and put an end. Mortified with Marvelous’s drive to sacrifice their own, a betrayed Joe engages his captain with Kaito protecting him before being knocked out by Decade. With both Kaito and Joe taken out, Gokai Red and Decade resume their epic battle have been before Doktor G and Silva arrive and reveal that Dai-Shocker and Dai-Zangyack have been playing them both in order to remove any opposition to combining their fortresses into Big Machine to take over the world. However, Marvelous and Tsukasa knew of the treachery and played along while sending those they seemingly defeated into a dimensional rift until the time to spring their trap arrived. Joined by the Gokaiger crew, OOO, and the real Akarenger and Kamen Rider 1 as they transform, Decade and Gokai Red are joined by Fourze, Meteor, the Go-Busters, and every other Kamen Rider and Super Sentai team to stand against the Shocker-Zangyack Alliance. However, as Go-Buster Oh is formed to fight the enlarged Warz and Ackdos while he and Gokaigers defeat General Shadow, Decade is horrified to find a revenge-driven Kaito as he forms Big Machine to teach everyone a lesson as the mecha kills Ackdos and Warz.Entering Big Machine, Diend uses it on Go-Buster Oh with Fourze saving Yellow Buster. Given the Rocket Super-1 Switch and a new Astro Switch, Fourze takes over Yellow Buster’s place in piloting Go-Buster Oh as it engages Big Machine with the Super Rocket-1 Switch giving the giant robot the means to take their opponent into space. Back on Earth, the Gokaigers gain OOO Ranger Keys to take out Silva while Doktor G becomes Kani Laser to overpower the Kamen Riders before the Goseigers give Decade, Ryuki, and Blade their Tensou Cards to overpower the Destron monster prior to using their signature moves to finish him. However, Doktor G is revealed to be Narutaki as he leave while telling Decade that he will never stop until he is dead. Back in space, using Saturn’s gravity as a boost, Fourze install the Drill Switch Super-3 on Go-Buster Oh to destroy Big Machine. Soon after, as Eiji and Hina are reunited, the Gokai Galleon crew watch Fourze befriending the Go-Busters. Marvelous then joins up with his crew sees the ultimate treasure being friendship between the Kamen Riders and the Super Sentai teams while accepting Eiji’s friendship. As for Kaito, having survived the Big Machine’s destruction but badly injured, gives Tsukasa back his camera and tells him to find his own path before accepting Tsukasa’s (and Joe’s) friendship in his own way while leaving.

REVIEW: Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger Vs Gavan The Movie

Starring

Ryota Ozawa (Nozokime)
Yūki Yamada (Holiday Love)
Mao Ichimichi (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Kazuki Shimizu (A Day of One Herb)
Yui Koike (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Junya Ikeda (Garo: Kami no Kiba)
Kenji Ohba (Battle Fever J)
Kei Hosogai (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger vs. Space Squad)
Mami Yamasaki (Shaolin Girl)
Nao Oikawa (Engine Sentai Go-Onger)
Shirō Sano (Segodon)
Katsuhiro Suzuki (Kamen Rider Zi-O)
Ryouma Baba (Kamen Rider Amazons)
Arisa Komiya (Kamen Rider Ghost)

8877f0d8b660c434842cb87c3980deaf

Gavan came in 1982 and made the Metal Hero franchise starting out with the Space Sheriff trilogy. In 2012 the great hero has been brought back for the 30th anniversary for the Metal Heroes. So the hero is crossed over into Sentai as we get Gokaiger vs Gavan.aGokaiger is mostly known for it’s tributes to the Sentai franchise, but they step out and tribute a different franchise and a great actor. The plot is pretty simple with the pirates being attacked by Gavan. They are being arrested for acts of piracy even though they have already been cleared for that by S.P.D. The fight starts in the air and yes the movie begins with this. The team’s ship is taken down and Gavan reveals himself. The team decide to fight and that was a big mistake, Gavan easily wins and captures the pirates. He brings them back to a meeting area where a leader appears to execute the team. Gavan catches up on this and quickly saves the team. He actually knew what was going on and used the Gokaigers as bait. For who exactly, a Zangyack chief, but he has some connection to Don Horror! The enemy also made an imitation of Gavan. Gai comes to the rescue for the team and escape as Gavan fights on his own. Marvelous notices something though and hesitates, but the team escapes and Gavan is captured. The crew start to talk about Gavan and it seems Marvelous has been saved by him back in the past. Marve wants to rescue him, but how? For some reason Basco appears and tells the team where Gavan is. He is in the Makku Prison which is known for never letting anyone escape. Now the team need to get there and luckily two veterans appear. Shirou (Battle Kenya) and Oume (Denjiblue) appear out of nowhere and the team think they both look along with looking like Gavan. The two tell the team to get into the Makku Prison which is using the keys of Battle Kenya and Denjiblue. Now the team get into the prison and fight to save Gavan.

If you love Gavan and Kenji Ohba, you will probably love this movie. There are great tributes in this movie. We get to see Gavan’s transformation like in the old series and the Gokaigers even get a narrative for their transformation. I like the little connections like Makku Space and the monster being related to Don Horror, these are nice and are used probably so that Gavan doesn’t hog the spotlight. Having Basco actually interacting with the plot was kinda surprising. Usually the other villains just stay out in the movies, but Basco still stays true to himself and uses this to his advantage. Gavan was awesome, first the suit got redesigned and it looks fantastic. It keeps to the original design and gives it more shine like the sliver suit does. Marvelous had a different side of him than usual, but he still acts like himself. The fights were great from Gavan beating down the pirates to them teaming up. Gavan’s song is even used in the background and when I heard that, my heart skipped a beat. Another great fight is when Gavan and Gavan Bootleg fight one on one and trust me I was gleaming with happiness thanks to that fight. The mecha fight is great as welll with the addition of Gavan’s Dolgarin. Not only there are tributes to Gavan as I said if you love Kenji Ohba you will love seeing all three of his roles come to live in this movies. There are Sentai tributes with Battle Fever, Denjiman, and some nice appearances from past villains.

REVIEW: Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger

8877f0d8b660c434842cb87c3980deaf

Starring

Ryota Ozawa (Nozokime)
Yūki Yamada (Holiday Love)
Mao Ichimichi (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Kazuki Shimizu (A Day of One Herb)
Yui Koike (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Junya Ikeda (Garo: Kami no Kiba)

960full-kaizoku-sentai-gokaiger-photo

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Atsushi Hashimoto (Mahou Sentai Magiranger)
Tetsu Inada (Dorohedoro)
Ryuji Sainei (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)
Ayumi Kinoshita (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
Risa Taniuchi (Challenged)
Kentarō Shimazu (Tokyo Gore Police)
Hiroki Suzuki (Juken Sentai Gekiranger)
Noboru Kaneko (Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger)
Runa Natsui (Seigi no Mikata)
Kazuyuki Matsuzawa (Samurai Sentai Shinkenger)
Yūji Kishi (Gekisou Sentai Carranger)
Kei Hosogai (W Shitsuji)
Koutaro Tanaka (Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger)
Kazuki Maehara (Seijuu Sentai Gingaman)
Mitsuomi Takahashi (GoGo Sentai Boukenger)
Kayoko Shibata (Ju-on: The Grudge)
Shun Shioya (Ninpu Sentai Hurricaneger)
Kohei Yamamoto (Kamen Rider Drive)
Toshihide Wakamatsu (Choujin Sentai Jetman)
Rika Kawamura (Local Boys)
Shou Tomita (Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger)
Michi Nishijima (Uchuu Keiji Sharivan Next Generation)
Kazuhiko Nishimura (Choujuu Sentai Liveman)
Masaru Shishido (Ultraman Dyna)
Tamao Sato (Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure)
Keiichi Wada (Gosei Sentai Dairanger)
Yuki Kimisawa (Kamen Rider W)
Yasuhisa Furuhara (Engine Sentai Go-Onger)
Hayato Oshiba (Denji Sentai Megaranger)
Shuhei Izumi (Mirai Sentai Timeranger)
Tamao Yoshimura (The Hit Parade)
Kenji Ohba (J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai)
Yuno Fuse (Oyaji ga Kureta Himitsu)
Satomi Hirose (Shushutorian)
Takayuki Godai (Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan)
Kazuoki Takahashi (Dengeki Sentai Changeman)
Kihachiro Uemura (Choushinsei Flashman)
Issei Hirota (Hikari Sentai Maskman)
Ryo Narushima (Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman)
Kaoru Hirata (Mahou Sentai Magiranger)
Louis Yamada LIII (Tensou Sentai Goseiger)
Seiju Umon (Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger)
Ei Hamura (Gosei Sentai Dairanger)
Keisuke Tsuchiya (Juukou B-Fighter)
Atsushi Harada (Kamen Rider 555)
Naoya Makoto (Himitsu Sentai Gorenger)
Ayumi Beppu (Mahou Sentai Magiranger)
Yumi Sugimoto (Engine Sentai Go-Onger)

go-busters187a

Having finished Gokaiger a short while back, it seemed the right time to look back ion it. Gokaiger takes place with our heroes going to Earth in the search of the Greatest Treasure in the Universe. What they don’t know is what happened in the past, their enemies the Zangyack attacked the Earth, but luckily the past 34 sentai all teamed up to fight. In the end they were ready to die for the Earth as they attempt an attack to use all of their powers. The attack works as the Zangyack fleet is destroyed and the warriors survive, but they have lost their powers. The pirates come to Earth and they have all the powers of the past warriors including their own. On Earth they see the Zangyack as a new fleet as come to Earth and seeing them attack the humans reminded them of the pain the Zangyack caused. They attack the Zangyack and win their first battle, but now they have gotten to much fame as bounties are put on them. The team now try to find anyway of finding the treasure and survive from the Zangyack attacking them. Along the way they will meet the past warriors as they will help them retrieve the great powers of the Sentai.fj-gokaiger-51-bd-6761200b-mkv-snapshot-00-13-2017-02-22-03-01-11_origThere are five members in the team and yes they are indeed aliens because they come from different planets. The leader is Marvelous and along with a cool jacket he is a completely awesome leader as he leads his team well. He knows how to fight as he mostly uses a gun and sword his style of fighting can look carefree at times which he can be at times. Like other past red warriors though his back story comes an important part of the plot as his past rival returns. He was originally part of the Red Pirates as he was with Aka Red and Basco as they went around space to find the Ranger Keys. Soon Basco betrays them though so he can have the keys for himself as he tries to turn them in. Marvelous escapes with the keys and Navi, but it seems that Aka Red didn’t make it. When Basco comes back his personality changes greatly as he wants revenge for the death of Aka Red and won’t have Basco get in the way of his dreams. When Marvelous was alone he started to recruit more team mates along the way. First is Joe who becomes Gokai Blue and he is the silent and tough guy like Abare Blue. He does have a soft spot though because of his past of being part of the Zangyack back then. He couldn’t take it though and he tries to leave along with his friend Cid, but Cid is captured. Joe is left to fight alone, but Marve comes along and saves him and there he recruits him because of his skills. Luka was next as she was in poverty because of the Zangyack and she started to loss many things in her life.

It mostly seems that she is greedy, but she has her own motives. One day she tries to steal from the Zangyack, but she is caught. While fighting the troops Marve and Joe helped out and she was recruited there. Doc was next, but his name is Don. He is mostly a coward who hates to fight, but one day he helps out the crew by doing simple chores and Marve is impressed by him and recruits him. Unlike the others though his fighting style is random and he just pulls things off. Ahim was a princess on her home planet, but it was destroyed by the Zangyack and she joins the team to give hope to any survivors. She may not seem like a fighter as she acts very friendly and even motherly, but when she fights she can really let loose. Finally is Gai who is a human as he gets his powers from past warriors who have died. He tries to become a member, but he has to impress the team first. He is also a complete fan of the Sentai as he knows all of them and when he meets any past heroes he freaks out.

Next are the villains as they are the Zangyack. An empire that controls the whole universe with an iron fist as they attack, enslave, and destroy many planets. The fleet that is sent to Earth is lead by Warz Gil who is the son of the Emperor. He mostly acts like a spoiled brat most of the time when his plans fail, but in soon time he starts to change. Barizorg is Gil’s bodyguard as he mostly stays silent and remains a mystery, but who is he? Insarn is also a member as she mostly is there because she has knowledge in science and helps with making plans. To help as well is Damaras who is very protective of the prince and tries to keep him calm. New Zangyack members show up, but there isn’t much to say about them its just the Emperor with one of his right hand men. The best villain though is Basco who is the rival of Marve as he finds a new partner, Sally a monkey like creature. When they first meet and has even more ranger keys as he summons past sixth rangers to fight the team. His style of living is that he has to lose something to gain anything which is why he tries to get rid of the Red Pirates so he could have the ranger keys and the treasure. He wants the treasure as well, but he will let the team do some of the work so he could just finish them off and just stop there.

This is an anniversary series not only does the team use past powers, but they also meet past warriors. These episodes are mostly tributes to the past as they use elements from those series. Each have some form of nostalgia to them as they can bring simple things or even jokes referencing the series. Heck even the main characters are tributes to the usual type of characters in Sentai. The series uses a lot of nostalgia which is the best part because they bring back many actors as this is the best way to use the nostalgia factor. Each episode also has an important fight that has the instrumental opening of the series play during the fights, it just brings a lot memories. I really like that the team still fight like themselves though, they may have different powers, but they still fight like themselves. The best example is Doc who has a very improved style of fighting and even with becoming different rangers he can still stick to his comedic fighting. Each character has a back story of some type and it makes you feel for the characters which is another great thing. This is probably the best cast I have seen, again these characters are tributes and even mix character traits which works very well and all the actors are great not a single bad one! The fights are simply amazing as its great to see the past powers be used in today’s time and it keeps fights fresh as the team can think of many combinations. Basco is the best villain no doubt as he is tough and is a guy you love to hate. He is completely vile and he stays like that which is the best part! They even teamed up with some past warriors!

Its one of the best Sentai… no one of the best Toku shows! The anniversary theme is heavily used and can bring nostalgic moments. The story still stays intact and so what the series didn’t have a tribute for ever series they still got at least one actor from all 34 series! With that its better to see the series give focus on the story then the nostalgia. The nostalgia is very well done, but it shouldn’t be the major focus its great to see that the series still carries it’s own story. All the heroes are great and the rival villain Basco is simply amazing! This would be a great start to new fans because it shows what the series is like and can give interest in other series. In the end the series only big flaw are the main villains, but everything balances perfectly as we get great development and great tributes to the franchise.

REVIEW: Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger The Movie: The Flying Ghost Ship

Starring

Ryota Ozawa (Nozokime)
Yūki Yamada (Holiday Love)
Mao Ichimichi (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Kazuki Shimizu (A Day of One Herb)
Yui Koike (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Junya Ikeda (Garo: Kami no Kiba)

8877f0d8b660c434842cb87c3980deaf

While on his morning jog, Gai Ikari (after breaking the fourth wall) finds the sky suddenly turning dark as a massive skeleton-decorated ship emerges from the storm clouds. Becoming Gokai Silver to investigate in GoZyuRex, Gai is shocked to find what seemed to be GokaiOh appearing from the ship, who soon attacked him. Defeating GoZyuJin, Fake GokaiOh jumps back to the ship after telling Gai to send the Gokaigers to the ship as it immediately disappears. Later, aboard the Gokai Galleon, the crew identify the mysterious vessel as a cosmic-sailing ghost ship that travels the universe, picking up the souls of the dead. Rumors have said that this ghost ship to carry a fabled treasure known as the God Eye, which can grant any wish to its holder. Seeing this as a better opportunity to obtain the Greatest Treasure in the Universe, the Gokai Galleon crew embark on a voyage to find the ghost ship and acquire the God Eye. The Gokai Galleon locates the ghost ship and makes port in its skull figurehead’s mouth. After encountering a trio of annoying ghosts and getting unintentional directions from them, the Gokai Galleon crew reach the ship’s main bridge and see the God Eye resting on the left eye socket of a giant skull. However, they are stopped by the ship’s captain, Los Dark, who opens the skull’s mouth and whisks the pirates into a dimensional underworld. The crew wind up at a park, finding themselves surrounded by ghosts of previous Super Sentai enemy grunts. After the Gokaigers take down several of them, the remaining members from each grunt group merge to form the Combined Combatant.

Though it proves an impressive display of attacks, the Combined Combatant proves to be unstable due to internal conflicting among the grunts composing him. Taking advantage, the Gokaigers use the Battle Fever J Keys to destroy the Combined Combatant with the Penta Force Cannon, the explosion sending them to a baseball stadium, where they confront Baseball Mask of the Black Cross Army who challenges them to a game of baseball. Using the Gorenger Keys, the Gokaigers execute the Gorenger Hurricane’s Cheer Girl verison, which took the form of a baseball. The Gokaigers score two strikes, and the third one being a distraction move using the G3 Princess trio, with the Gorenger Hurricane conking Baseball Mask on the head, oddly sticking there. The resulting explosion from Baseball Mask’s demise sends the Gokaigers into yet another dimension, where they are attacked by Agent Abrella and his Mechanoid army. Since the dimensional portal in the sky is nearly closing, the crew decides to be a distraction with the Dekaranger Keys while Captain Marvelous uses the Red Hawk Key to fly through the portal back into the ghost ship.
Untitled
After an epic battle against Los Dark, learning that it can grant only one wish from earlier, Captain Marvelous grabs the God Eye (by using the explosion caused by his and Los Dark’s Final Wave-like attacks) and wishes for his crew’s safe return as the God Eye is reduced to a powerless stone before being shattered. Though defeated by the Gokaigers’ Gokai Blast and Slash Final Wave (where the attacks turn into the Gorengers), Los Dark reforms, then summons Fake GokaiOh as the Gokaigers form GokaiOh to engage their opponent in battle from on the Ghost Ship’s mast to the its deck.snapshot2013-01-13-22h36m26s34In the ensuing chaos, the Ghost Ship takes heavy fire from Fake GokaiOh in an effort to hit GokaiOh. When Fake GokaiOh is about to fire its main cannon at the now cornered space pirates, the Gokaigers summon Variblune, Pat Striker, Magi Dragon, Geki Tiger and Dragon Headder to slam into Fake GokaiOh, sending it tumbling into the skull figurehead’s mouth, then exploded just seconds later Ghost Ship before the Ghost Ship did, with Magi GokaiOh safely flying away. Back aboard the Gokai Galleon, the crew is having a hearty dinner to celebrate the victory when Gai arrived, curious about the events and was disappointed when Marvelous told him that the God Eye was fake (which was a lie). Navi went on to spin a speech about “teammates”, sending Gai into a depression when she told him that “six members” didn’t had the same ring to it as “five members”.kaizoku-sentai-gokaiger-the-movie-the-flying-ghost-ship-f47bb804-7b05-4cbd-b18a-3387a192931-resize-750Once again another excellent Gokaiger offering, only time the film falls short is the ghost effects, they look a bit like casper.

REVIEW: Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: The Movie

rewrewrwerwerewr

 

Starring

Katsuhiro Suzuki (Kamen Rider Zi-O)
Ryōma Baba (An Assassin)
Arisa Komiya (Ultraman Ginga S The Movie)
Hiroya Matsumoto (Boys Love)
Ryota Ozawa (Fasuto Kurasu)
Yuki Yamada (Juken no Cinderella)
Mao Ichimichi (009-1: The End of the Beginning)
Kazuki Shimizu (Tenshi ni I’m Fine)
Yui Koike (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Junya Ikeda (Shinjuku Swan)
Hideo Sakaki (Godzilla: Final Wars)
Naoto Takahashi (Ultraman Orb)
Fuuka Nishihira (Shrobe Edge)
Syo Jinnai (The Gift From Heaven)
Ayame Misaki (Attack on Titan)
Kei Hosogai (Hana Oni)
Runa Natsui (School Days)
Ryo Ryusei (Toritsu Mizusho!)
Syuusuke Saito (Kamen Rider Zi-O: Over Quartzer)
Yamato Kinjo (Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V)
Akihisa Shiono (Does the Flower Bloom?)
Ayuri Konno (Strobe Edge)

rewrewrwerwerewrAfter the beautiful film that is Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Returns vs. Dōbutsu Sentai Go-Busters, I finally go to watch Go-Busters vs Gokaiger movie. And while it was completely satisfying. Now Sentai VS. movies and Power Rangers team-ups all follow a standard formula. Last year’s team pops up in this year’s team’s world and they fight the remnants of last year’s villains who may or may not have teamed up with this year’s villains. So going into the movie, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.The most interesting thing about this VS. movie though is that it feels a lot more like a Go-Busters movie with the Gokaigers merely guest starring. That’s not a bad thing and certainly not unique to this team-up, but for a team as well loved as the Gokaigers, it might feel like a disappointment. Indeed, while it was great to see the Gokaigers one last time as a team, their screentime was pretty limited as well as their real interactions with the Go-Busters. Save for Hiromu and Marvelous’ couple of scenes, the other Gokaigers and Go-Busters were only featured in very brief instances.Utilizing time and universe traveling and seeing that familiar Edo period set is to be expected on a Toei tokusatsu production. But it would’ve been nice to see a little more here, especially with Yoko, Gai and J getting plopped into the Edo period with an all too-short cameo by Jeloushitto. Not to mention a complete waste of fun English costumes on Doc, Jin and Ahim. But the biggest reason this felt more like a Go-Busters movie was how the bond between the Go-Busters and their Buddyroids took center stage. Fans can complain about many things about Go-Busters, but they cannot pick on how well the friendship and bond between the Go-Busters and the Buddyroids (and Kuroki, Morishita and Nakamura) was established and developed. Already having that connection, but getting highlighted here made the scenes of the Buddyroids shutting down and then coming back to life all the more powerful. That scene also proves just how amazing the original Go-Busters theme song is. As soon as you hear it kick in during a dramatic scene, you know you’re about to have tears start rolling down your cheek. The Gokaigers watching Hiromu, Ryuji and Yoko breakdown almost made them look like random bystanders who happen to stumble upon the scene instead of fellow comrades who know all too well the toll being a Sentai team can take on bonds and friendships.  The Gokaigers’ appearance and using the “evil Gokaigers” plot device even for a just a third of the movie made their participation feel hollow. Especially since Super Hero Taisen centered on the same exact plot point; Gokaigers/Marvelous pretending to be evil for a greater plan. UntitledSo it was great seeing the Gokaigers again and great to have them finally dancing, but it almost felt like they were wasted. As were the 30 second appearances of Escape and Basco as avatars. The nostalgia points with the Buddyroid keys, the old mecha keys, curry and chicken, a random cameo by Kaoru and Jin making that “I feel really at home in this…” comment about being in the Magiranger mecha were nice pluses. And the action sequences seemed to be much bigger and more slick here than they have been in recent movies, both the mecha battles and the henshined fights. But again, it was all about that emotional bond between the Go-Busters and the Buddyroids. And for a series that was all about heart and bonds, this movie fit right in with the rest of Go-Busters. Overall, it was a nice action-packed and emotional hour and change. It would’ve been nice to have given the Gokaigers a better epilogue for their final appearance, but it was still a more than enjoyable movie.