REVIEW: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!

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Starring

Hayate Ichinose (Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger)
Keito Tsuna (Bungaku Shojo)
Ichika Osaki (Kamen Rider Zi-O)
Yuito Obara (Over Drive)
Tatsuya Kishida (Kamen Rider Wizard)
Katsumi Hyodo (5 Million Dollar Life)
Mana Kinjo (Tokyo City Girl 2016)
Sora Tamaki (Crescent Moon)
Mitsuru Fukikoshi (A Girl Missing)
Shiro Sano (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan)
Rie Kitahara (Rise of The Machine Girls)
Tetsu Inada (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)

Ryusoulger-Max-Ryusoul-Red65 million years ago, the battle between the Druidons and the Ryusoul Tribe wages on as a meteorite of apocalyptic proportions approaches Earth. In the present day, a trip to the museum proves especially eventful when a fossil cracks open and leads to the resurrection of Yuno – a member of the Ryusoul Tribe from all those years ago.Ryusoulger-Movie-LocationAs a Minosaur attack thrusts them back in time, the Ryusoulgers clash with Valma – an inventor and Yuno’s father who has become convinced that the only way to save their tribe is survival of the strongest. While Koh faces off against the creator of the Gaisoulg armour, the other dino knights unlock the power Kishiryuzin to prevent the Earth from certain destruction.Ryusoulger-Movie-Yuno Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!  it’s blessed with almost the perfect setting, and the film’s brief introduction certainly shows a lot of promise. A large scale conflict between human and Druidon, taking place on both the ground level and with mecha.  The Druidon aspect is almost immediately cast aside other than the appearance of a plot-convenience Minosaur, and instead the film’s main villain comes from within the Ryusoul Tribe itself. From the very beginning in Super Sentai Strongest Battle Gaisoulg was cemented as a fan-favourite part of Ryusoulger, and here the movie is bringing in the armour’s creator as the bad guy. Sadly the placement of the movie in the series’ timeline means the two appearances of Gaisoulg have next to no bearing on each other, but more time spent with that great suit design is never a bad thing. Valma’s mentality for his tribe’s preservation is also an interesting element to explore, creating friction within the Ryusoul tribe and giving them more depth than just being the heroes of the story.Ryusoulger-Movie-ValmaWhile the series may have done a reasonably good job of not constantly making Koh the central focus, when it comes to Ryusoulger’s movie outing there’s no question of who the real hero of the story is. While other four Ryusoulger’s are off trying to stop the asteroid, Koh is still down on the Earth having a one on one fight with Valma. There are elements to like about this – not only does actor Hayate Ichinose do a brilliant job in the role but the time-twisting aspect of Koh introducing to the Ryusoul Tribe the very values he was taught himself is a nice touch of causality. Ryusoulger-TransformedBut if there’s anything that’s going to save this film from being simply untapped potential, it’s the fact that it’s easily one of the best-looking summer movies the franchise has ever put out. Kazuya Kamihourichi’s visuals were immediately one of Ryusoulger’s biggest selling points, but on the big screen the director is really able to go wild and make this movie feel like so much more than just a slightly longer episode. For the sections taking place in the past Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!! features a huge amount of unique scenery and location work, immediately creating a sense of uniqueness to set it apart from the primarily city-dwelling show. On top of stunning backdrops that show off just how diverse Japan’s natural beauty is, most of these outdoor sequences feature wide open spaces to depict large scale battles with panning camera shots.Ryusoulger-Movie-GaisoulgA Great Summer Sentai, Great Story and great visuals, wish it was longer than 30 minutes, but still a great addition to the sentai world.

 

 

REVIEW: KISHIRYU SENTAI RYUSOULGER

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Starring

Hayate Ichinose (Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger The Movie)
Keito Tsuna (Bungaku Shojo)
Ichika Osaki (Kamen Rider Zi-O)
Yuito Obara (Over Drive)
Tatsuya Kishida (Kamen Rider Wizard)
Katsumi Hyodo (5 Million Dollar Life)
Mana Kinjo (Tokyo City Girl 2016)
Sora Tamaki (Crescent Moon)
Mitsuru Fukikoshi (A Girl Missing)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Masaya Kikawada (Kamen Rider: The FIrst)
Jouji Shibue (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
Miyuu Sawai (Kamen Rider Amazons)
Jiro Dan (Ninpu Sentai Hurricaneger)
Reina Tanaka (Sūgaku Joshi Gakuen)
Rei Kobayashi
Tadashi Mizuno (Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger)
Oshiro Maeda (I Wish)
Noriko Nakagoshi (The Lone Scalpel)
Yoshiyasu Iwao (Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive)
Tetsu Inada (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)
Wakano Tsukada (Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive)
Yukari Taki (Kamen Rider Build)
Megumi Kobashi (University of Laughs)
Seiya Osada (Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger)
Mao Ichimichi (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger)
Hikaru Yamamoto (Kamen Rider W)
Nao Nagasawa (Ninpu Sentai Hurricaneger)
Rei Yoshii (Kamen Rider Drive)
Rie Kitahara (Rise of The Machine Girls)
Ayaka Komatsu (One Missed Call)
Rikako Sakata (Kamen Rider Fourze)

Ryusoulger-GaisoulgKishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger is the 43rd entry in the Super Sentai franchise, with the dinosaur theme having last been used back in 2013 with Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. The production side of things also saw a something of a shake-up too, with plenty of faces new to Sentai brought on board to give it a fresh new feel. This series marks the tokusatsu debut of J-drama writer Junpei Yamaoka, and was directed by Kazuya Kamihoriuchi – a man who particularly caught the attention of viewers for his work on Kamen Rider Build.MV5BMzc4MzIwNzc4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTM0MTc3._V1_65 million years ago, the Ryusoul Tribe waged war against the evil Druidon Tribe – with the conflict eventually ended by the meteor that ended the age of the dinosaurs. As the Druidons fled into space, the Ryusoul Tribe prepared for the eventuality that they may one day return – sealing away the power of the Kishiryu as the mantle of the Ryusoulgers was passed down through the generations. When the Druidons return to reclaim the Earth, the chosen knights must come together to defeat them once and for all. Able to call upon a wide variety of powers from mystical RyuSouls as well as the guardian Kishiryu, the Ryusoulgers fight back against the Druidons and their army of Minosaurs – creatures created from and powered by the negative emotions of human hosts.Ryusoulger-DruidonsFirst episodes are very rarely representative of a Super Sentai series as a whole, but with all the stops Toei pulled out for the Ryusoulger premiere it was hard not to be excited for the “similar but different” approach they seemed to be taking. The opening episode was steeped in Gingaman-esque lore about the Ryusoul knights, the fights were flashy and the mecha introduction burst with an fast-paced energy that’s seldom seen in the franchise. It seemed like the direction that Super Sentai needed to be heading it, and the focus on human despair (even branching down into darker topics like suicide) gave the stories an additional weight that kept things interesting for older fans as well. The heavier themes often counteracted with some of the show’s sillier elements, but arguably Super Sentai is at its best when it at least tries to balance these two elements. Ryusoulger had scope and it had ideas, and given the move away from the usual production staff many hoped this would lead to a more standout, less predictable show.Ryusoulger-CanaloRed-centricity is often considered a major issue for Super Sentai, but ultimately the red ranger is generally considered to be the main character so there’s also going to be some bias toward him no matter what. It’s only those times where it comes at the expense of the entire team and the Red Ranger is seemingly relied on for everything that it’s a real problem. Ryusoulger does a pretty good job of bypassing this, so while it may show some preference toward Koh and having him directly lead the team as Ryusoul Red the series still feels like a team effort that gives everyone a distinct place. Koh is basically placed as the everyman – the happy go lucky but highly skilled warrior that can be innocent and cheery one minute but still give a hot-blooded speech about the values of truth and justice when the time is right. He gets the most power ups and is the centre of the biggest storylines, but most of the times these are the parts of Ryusoulger that are actually worth remembering.Ryusoulger-Max-Ryusoul-RedBacking him up directly are Melto/Ryusoul Blue and Asuna/Ryusoul Pink, who as the first three introduced in the series definitely feel like the core unit of the show. Melto gets the short end of the stick when it comes to specific arcs the wider development of the whole team, but as their resident smart guy he’s a core component that’s almost always called upon for the strategy that ends up saving the day. Asuna meanwhile is much more balanced, though her role as the unconventional strong one of the team does get a little muddied as time goes on. Asuna is another character that gets some great personal moments along the way though, and another one that delivers the more memorable speeches that reinforce the Super Sentai mantra.Ryusoulger-KishiryuOhOne of the more interesting elements of how Ryusoulger handled its team was that despite eventually bringing six knights together, they were still broken down into three groups that would go off and do their own thing. Towa/Ryusoul Green and Banba/Ryusoul Black aren’t properly introduced until the third episode of the show (despite being technically the first to appear due to their cameo in Super Sentai Strongest Battle) and they’re very different to the core three – almost coming off as hostile in their early appearances. Towa treats their battle against the Druidons almost like a game, while the older Banba is both stoic and pragmatic – content with sacrificing one person in the fight against the Minosaurs in order to save thousands. Really they aren’t very likeable at all when they first come into the show, which is a pretty bold move to take on two of your core characters. But in usual Super Sentai fashion they do quickly adapt to being team players – Banba being much more hesitant than Towa, but under that cool guy exterior is a big ol’ softy and the times the audience is reminded of that tend to be his better moments.Ryusoul_14Finally we get the obligatory sixth member in the form of Canalo/Ryusoul Gold – a descendant from the underwater-dwelling Sea Ryusoul Tribe that has distanced itself from the land tribe. While his general schtick of searching for a wife to help “repopulate the tribe” can get a little tiresome, it does also provide some genuine laughs. Canalo coming into the conflict differently to the others also gives him a different outlook, which makes him a particularly interesting character in the penultimate episode. What these three characters all have in common though is that while the Ryusoulgers do come together, they aren’t always in each others pockets and before the Druidons attack are usually off doing their own thing. It’s by no means an idea original to Ryusoulger, but it does make it a little more varied.GaisorgSSMoving forward the Nada/Gaisorg arc has the hallmarks of the classic “evil Ranger” trope, which may not be all that original by now but never feels out of place in a dinosaur Sentai. Because Gaisorg is detached from the Druidon side of things it’s a much tighter and focused story, with Nada’s charisma cementing the quality even further. Though the arc isn’t as long as it should be, it gives Ryusoulger a much needed boost of energy and a reminder that it still had untapped potential. But the biggest turnaround of all came right at the end of the show, which  is definitely a reward for those who manage to stick with it. Wiserue’s main involvement in the story concludes with a fittingly showy episode that cements him as the one of the show’s standout characters, from there launching into a string of finale episodes that just deliver action, drama and all those revelations viewers had been waiting for. While waiting for reveals like the Druidons’ leader and their overall purpose may have been to the detriment of the show, condensing it all into a handful of episodes ensures that at the very least it is able to stick its landing. The penultimate episode deserves far more credit than it’s ever going to be get for being one of the best modern Super Sentai episodes in a long time, and the ending itself doesn’t fall too short from that either.Ryusoulger-TransformedAt its very best Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger has some of the best mini-arcs and singular episodes that Super Sentai has produced in years. It’s a must see for anyone who is a fan of Super Sentai Especially Dinosaur themed ones.