REVIEW: Ressha Sentai ToQger vs Kyoryuger

 

Starring

Jun Shison (Survival Family)
Jin Hiramaki (Ressha Sentai ToQger)
Riria (Zero: Black Blood)
Ryusei Yokohama (Rainbow Days)
Ai Moritaka (Beginners)
Shin Nagahama (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger vs. ToQger)
Haruka Fukuhara (Good Morning Call)
Mao Ichimichi (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger)
Tsutomu Sekine (Toxic Avenger – Part II)
Kengo Ohkuchi (Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider OOO & W)
Yui Horie (Love Hina)
Ryo Ryusei (Hiyokko)
Syuusuke Saito (Kamen Rider Zi-O the Movie: Over Quartzer)
Yamato Kinjo (We’re a Bounty Hunter Team)
Akihisa Shiono (Prince of Legend)
Ayuri Konno (Another)
Atsushi Maruyama (Fūma no Kojirō)
Shinji Yamashita (Oshin)
Ayumi Kinoshita (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)
Masayuki Deai (Kamen Rider W)
Marie Iitoyo (Stare)
Toshiyuki Morikawa (Naruto Shippuden)
Shunsuke Nishikawa (Kurogarasu)
Gaku Matsumoto (Super Hero Taisen GP: Kamen Rider 3)
Kaito Nakamura (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Yuuka Yano (Prison 13)
Kasumi Yamaya (Amachan)

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The beginning of a new year – and arguably the most important time for the Super Sentai franchise. A years’ worth of adventures for one team reaches it’s explosive conclusion while a brand new ones’ begin (along with all the wonderful new toys that come with it). But before either of those happen, it’s time for the annual versus series team up movie. Ressha Sentai ToQger vs. Kyoryuger sees the cast of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger return for one last roar, teaming up with the ToQgers. When a Galaxy Line station falls to Earth after being attacked by an unknown force, the ToQgers immediately go to investigate. There they are attacked by the legions of the Deboss Army, and find that their imagination-based powers have no effect on them. They are eventually saved by the Kyoryugers, who reveal that the great creator Debious has finally arrived on Earth and that they only have 24 hours before he’s fully charged and ready to destroy humanity. The ToQgers offer to help, but are reminded that they are powerless against Debious’ forces.

 

However it isn’t long before the Kyoryugers face the same problem, as the Deboss High Priest Salamaz forges an alliance with the Shadow Line – a force that the Kyoryugers prove equally ineffective against. It isn’t long before the imagination and bravery join forces to save the planet from destruction at the hands of Debious, but before that they have another problem to deal with. A spell from Clock Shadow has reverted the ToQgers back to their child forms, as well as having a rather adverse affect on Kyoryu Gold!

With these crossover movies happening every year without fail, it’s not surprising that they’ve begun to feel a bit formulaic. The new series villains team up with the returning series’ ones (usually involving some sort of resurrection), the two Sentai teams initially clash (with one sometimes temporarily being evil for one reason or another), there’s a big flashy double roll call, the newest Sentai team shows up in a quick cameo to defeat a key monster and then it all ends with a gigantic mecha fight. Naturally the details vary here and there, but that’s roughly how they’ve all worked. So although ToQger vs. Kyoryuger doesn’t stray too far from the tried and tested formula, it’s extremely refreshing to see things shaken up a bit. The crossover is built on a natural crossing of paths, the villain alliance is shakier than usual, the new team cameo happens near beginning and the mecha fight comes slap bang in the middle of the film. These may all sound like little things, but you’d be amazed how much a slight alteration in structure and narrative can do for film.

As mentioned earlier, the end of Kyoryuger dropped a pretty big bombshell in terms of story that was left completely uncovered until now. It turned out Deboss – the leader of the force they had been fighting for the entire series, was simply the herald of a much larger threat. It’s a pretty ballsy move to leave something as significant as that hanging for a whole year, but not only does the film ensure that everything is neatly wrapped up by the end of it  it also gives it the gravitas it deserves. The Shadow Line prove mostly to just be a means to an end – Debious is the real threat and the whole story revolves around just how big of a threat that is. It’s a little disappointing to not see series big bads like Deboss or Chaos make a return as henchmen, but with resurrections rarely proving to be that satisfying going all-new was the best way to go.

ToQger vs Kyoryuger also marks one of the most prominent appearances of an extremely important plot point from ToQger – the fact that our heroes are in fact children. While the show had the younger versions appear on a number of occasions, these always appeared outside of the main action. Here we get to see them continue on as the ToQgers, including their own transformation sequence and pint-sized costumes! Fans have always argued about whether children as Sentai heroes works or not, but if anything ToQger made it one of it’s best assets. You almost wish that they spend longer as children just because the cast do such a great job of it.

In terms of tone, ToQger and Kyoryuger are a match made in heaven. In addition to the obvious parallels between their powers/ideology (bravery and imagination), they both a share a similar sense of humour as well as a penchant for loud noises and big explosions. So it’s no surprise that the two teams gel together really well, with the “versus” element of the film more of a rivalry thing than any initial hostility. Daigo and Right have very similar personalities so it’s no surprise that they work together in the way that they do. Being a crossover between two particularly red-focused shows the film predictably doesn’t spend quite as much time seeing the rest of the teams bond, but it’s fair to say each get their own little moments to shine – Akira and Utchy proving to be a particularly fun combination.

There’s a wonderful amount of surprises, laughs and cameos from both sides – from the return of fan favourites Candelira and Luckyero to some rather out of character behaviour from Barone Nero. The level of interactivity between the two teams’ powers also proves to be particularly exhilarating. It’s almost as if the two shows’ featured similar collectible gimmicks purposely to showcase the weirdly wonderful things this film comes up with. Well, it would if the toys could do the same things anyway.

Finally there’s the Shuriken Sentai Ninninger cameo, which feels like a massive step-up from the tacked-on ToQger debut in Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters. Once again the new team doesn’t cross paths with the starring Sentai, but this time they aren’t even responsible for taking out the monster they encounter. But even though Clock Shadow manages to make a quick getaway, the sequence still proves a great opportunity to let the Nininngers strut their stuff. Impressive wirework, flashy ninja tricks and even a few surprises that viewers will likely never see them attempt in their own show. For fans of both shows, either shows or just general Super Sentai fans that enjoy a good crossover, you’re unlikely to find much better than what’s on offer here.

REVIEW: ZYUDEN SENTAI KYORYUGER

Starring

Ryo Ryusei (Hiyokko)
Syuusuke Saito (Kamen Rider Zi-O the Movie: Over Quartzer)
Yamato Kinjo (We’re a Bounty Hunter Team)
Akihisa Shiono (Prince of Legend)
Ayuri Konno (Another)
Atsushi Maruyama (Fūma no Kojirō)
Toshiyuki Morikawa (Maruto Shippuden)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Shinji Yamashita (Fugo Keiji)
Kentarō Shimazu (Uchu Sentai Kyuranger: Episode of Stinger.)
Ayumi Kinoshita (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)
Jyunichi Haruta (Kamen Rider Blade)
Kenji Ebisawa (Engine Sentai Go-Onger)
Daijiro Kawaoka (Kamen Rider Decade)
Reika Fujisawa (The Replay Girls)
Jouji Shibue (Kamen Rider Hibiki)
Robert Baldwin (Chousei Kantai Sazer-X)
Masayuki Deai (GoGo Sentai Boukenger)
Riku Sawada (Samurai Sentai Shinkenger)
Shigeru Chiba (Bleach)
Marie Iitoyo (Stare)
Nami Iwasaki (Detective Kurokawa Suzuki)
Tetsu Inada (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)
Shizuka Nakamura (Tomica Hero Rescue Fire)
Sayoko Hagiwara (Kagaku Sentai Dynaman)

maxresdefaultDinosaurs plus humans! After millions of years, the strongest and bravest team in history assembles to protect the Earth! Hear our roar! Series writer Riku Sanjo actually writes every episode, a rare feat in tokusatsu. Because of Sanjo’s full involvement, Kyoryuger manages to keep the episodes very coherent and consistent with the story. This includes even the filler type episodes, which, aside from having wacky and odd plots, contain elements integral to advancing the story, as well as developing the cast.The main team and villains get plenty of characterization that, by the end, makes them all become standout character. Music is a recurring motif that I never thought would be a big factor in the show. Not only does the series have a huge collection of songs, the story and its characters are ultimately connected through melody. I never would’ve guessed that all the dancing and samba music actually meant something outside of the fabulously wacky presentation, but no, it’s that important. In the movie and sprinkled throughout some episodes, there are background information that pretty much confirms this.The cast starts out small, but it’s actually ridiculously huge. With a total of 10 Kyoryugers in the end (or more depending on how you count them), and not to mention the allies and the villains. Our fearless Red, Daigo aka King, is what many have referred to as a Marty Sue/Gary Stu-type. He’s the macho, always-friendly, always-reliable, perfect kind of guy who’s following his dad’s path. Much of the show revolves around him, and because Daigo is usually just “perfect,” this can be annoying to a lot of others because he has nothing that makes him remarkable. Honestly, even if Daigo stole much of the frames, I do like him because of his positive, energetic outlook. There is a two-parter that does touch on Daigo’s “perfectness” being his weakness, which I thought was an interesting turn of events, though it didn’t really seem to change Daigo all too much, but it was still something.. The beginning episodes started out with the other members only wanting to work together when they had to, for their own different reasons. It was mainly thanks to Daigo that everyone is now really learning about teamwork, which is another key theme in the show. Dantetsu was a pretty cool character himself, though not much else I can say about him other than he did a good job following his plan. I still think Torin makes the better Silver, but to be fair, Dantetsu only became Silver near the end.MV5BMTUxOTE4NDYwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDA0NzE5NzE@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_Ian has changed a lot, especially after his score with Aigaron was settled. I think Ian never liked having to look after others, which is why he struggled to become a leader while Daigo was going crazy. I imagine that losing his best friend made him not wanna be comfortable with others because he didn’t wanna lose someone close to him again. Obviously that changed after meeting Daigo, but it’s not until the penultimate episode when he’s changed the most, finally acknowledging Souji as his equal rather than just a “Boy” that he was often looking over. Souji is still my least favorite, but he stands out a lot more now. His parental issues worked as an obstacle for him since he is the youngest of the group and he was learning to carve his own path to become adult. Now that he wields Torin’s Feather Edge, his badass level has gone up.MV5BOTQ0YTY3YWItNjc5NS00OTA4LWIxMzItZTBhYWRkYzMxZGQ3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjczMDkzOTA@._V1_Nossan remains my favorite because of his old man puns. The uncle figure, the clumsy one, the strong one, the devoted brother and uncle. I like that he’s a family man because these days it’s always the young ones become superheroes. Having a family meant he was putting more dedication into his work and fighting in order to keep his family safe and well. His episodes turned out to be some of my favorites, and it’s not just because his sister is played by Kinoshita Ayumi or that he has this fling with Canderrilla who is played/voiced by Tomatsu Haruka. Those are pluses! I think because Nossan was the eldest, he had the episodes that were more fun, more serious, and was just overall genuine. I go back to episode 40 where his scenes with Canderrilla are just some of the best to come out of Kyoryuger.  Not much I can say about Yuko since she was minor, but she was awesome and kicked butt as Cyan. Hey, the blue siblings!
Amy was the closest to Daigo from the start. She wasn’t that into the idea of only working with the team when needed (thus, revealing herself with Nossan in the second episode) and was the one who connected with the other Kyoryugers like Utsusemimaru and Ramirez. I like how Amy is feisty, which may be because she lived in America, but she was just as much a sweetheart as she was a royal buttkicker. Honestly, she didn’t even seem like a rich snob, even with Gentle by her side. Heck, she did waitressing as a part-time job. Her affection for Daigo is one of more real ones; it’s not cheesy, head-over-heels because she’s never felt that way before and she just doesn’t know how to react to it.Moving on, her convincing Lucky to see the good in the world turned out to be a really good angle for the eventual departing of the Deboth members.hqdefaultUtsusemimaru ’s debut being early was a great choice because it meant that he would have more time to spend with the rest. For a lot of the show, he felt like a regular member because he was usually always there, which is amazing. I do wish more of his period clash played out a bit more. There’s nothing like a Warrior States samurai trying to adjust to modern day Japan. His relationship with Dogold was one of the better dynamics I’ve seen, mainly because the two once shared a body. Definitely enjoyed his rivalry with Dogold up until the end when he finally helped him regain his will to fight for his own. Torin was as wise as he was great. I enjoyed his mentor role through the season and was glad that he eventually became Silver. I know he got stoned twice, but both times I felt really sad because he felt like an actual father figure to everyone, including to Daigo, whose father was anything but a good father figure. And c’mon, he rocked out on his Giga Gaburevolver. Don’t mess with the bird. I was certainly surprised when it was revealed he was a part of Deboth but defected. That explained why he knew about the history of the dinosaurs and everything and how he was involved in creating the Kyoryuger arsenal.

Of course, you can’t talk about arsenal without Doctor Ulshade, the mad scientist and zany narrator of the show. This guy was crazy awesome. Then there’s Yayoi. Sweet, little Yayoi. Besides her hard crush for Daigo, I really liked that the team had a human support who also got to become a Ranger, the first female Violet, at that. A personal favorite and thank goodness there was another female on the team. I love that her weapon of choice was usually always the Gaburicannon in bayonet mode. Finally, the Spirit Rangers Ramirez and Tessai were a cool duo. The two were from way different places and times, but I liked the idea of dead warriors still fighting before passing on their powers to successors and then moving on to the afterlife. These two really kept things interesting in the show thanks to their personalities and fighting prowess. There’s also not much to say about Tessai’s descendant Shinya, other than that I hope Luckyuro finds out he’s the mangaka of his favorite romance manga Love Touch.

On the villain side Deboth had a colorful group. Chaos, who looked liked an evil Statue of Liberty, was pretty calm and calculating, but it’s a shame that he was still like a pawn in comparison to the short-lived Lord Deboth. At least their deaths weren’t as bad as Icerondo and Killbolero. Those two are not very memorable outside their final fights. The generals were a colorful bunch and I really enjoyed each one for being unique. That, and the Wizard of Oz theme each one had gave me a greater appreciation for their designs and their fates. Dogold’s armor dilemma was a cool concept. Endorf’s entry was a good way of spicing up the story and served as a good obstacle in Dogold’s character arc. Aigaron was such a great character on his own. The Tin Man who had a heart in the end, if only because of Canderrilla, who along with Luckyuro, were the fan-favorites and it would not have been right if the two ended up killing people and got killed. A lot of the fun episodes are because of these two, really.The Monsters of the Week were very fun in design and personality. There was a lot to like about many of them that naming them all would make this entry longer than it needs to be. Kyoryuger had insane production values. Let’s start with having 10+ Kyoryuger suits, all of which were detailed and busy-looking. I’m guessing because of all these awesome suits, Toei had to cut back on the MotWs, but that was okay because they made each MotW memorable. Plus, the arc where they had to fight dead monsters was great because we got to see these monsters again. The miniature models for the Zyudenryu were also incredibly well done, almost like the toys. They used CGI still, but the transformations were mostly models, which have really awesome sequences.The staff and crew also deserve a lot of credit. Sakamoto’s overall direction for the series was nothing short of phenomenal. His experience in Power Rangers shows in a dozen of these episodes where there are a lot of unmorphed and morphed choreographed fights, handicam shots, dutch angles, and explosions everywhere. Another big hand to the stunties for doing some awesome new stuff every year. Kyoryuger is absolutely fun and exciting. There’s a lot of ridiculousness like the samba dancing, but they are justified through the storytelling, which is pretty good in itself. There’s a lot of enjoyment you can get out of this by the sheer number of heroes and unique combinations of finishers or mecha that they pump out almost every episode to keep things fresh and cool. It definitely deserves to be the bravest.

REVIEW: Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters The Great Dinosaur Battle Farewell Our Eternal Friends

 

Starring

Ryo Ryusei (Hiyokko)
Syuusuke Saito (Kamen Rider Zi-O the Movie: Over Quartzer)
Yamato Kinjo (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
Akihisa Shiono (Prince of Legend)
Ayuri Konno (Another)
Atsushi Maruyama (Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger)
Katsuhiro Suzuki (Kamen Rider Zi-0)
Ryōma Baba (Here Is Greenwood)
Arisa Komiya (Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters)
Hiroya Matsumoto (Boys Love)
Yūta Mochizuki (Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger)
Koichiro Nishi (Tokyo Girl)
Sho Tomita (Ping Pong)
Marie Iitoyo (The Flowers of Evil)
Syo Jinnai (The Gift from Heaven)
Ayame Misaki (Cutie Honey: The Live)
Hideo Sakaki (Segodon)
Shinji Yamashita (Kaitō Royale)
Toshiyuki Morikawa (After War: Gundam X)
Kōichi Yamadera (Wowser)
Seiju Umon (Best Guy)
Hideki Fujiwara (Kamen Rider Black)
Takumi Hashimoto (Choujinki Metalder)
Reiko Chiba (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Jun Shison (Survival Family)
Jin Hiramaki (Ressha Sentai ToQger)
Riria (Zero: Black Blood)
Ryusei Yokohama (Rainbow Days)
Ai Moritaka (Beginners)

 

193500093Alerted by Torin of an evil presence above the city, the Kyoryugers see a strange energy from the sky before a mysterious green-eyed Tyrannosaurus briefly appears with a warning that Daigo’s best friend might die. The Kyoryugers are then ambushed by a group of Zorima, Golem Soldiers, and Barmia Soldiers before an armored figure named Neo-Geildon arrives with a figure he has just kidnapped. Revealed to be Ryoga Hakua of the Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger team, he transforms and suddenly attacks the Kyoryugers. Luckily, the Go-Busters arrive and hold off Aba Red before Tyranno Ranger of the Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger team turns the tide alongside his captor Neo-Grifforzer. After they and their teams retreat, Hiromu thanks Daigo for helping him and Gokai Red before they are ambushed by Enter. Enter states that he and Escape have been resurrected as part of a Vaglass restoration program that has been activated in response to the evil force that Neo-Grifforzer and Neo-Geildon serve: Voldos, a being created from the combined malice of Dai Satan and Dezumozorlya that is targeting the dinosaur-themed Super Sentai teams to have their Dino Hope extracted and converted into Wicked Life Energy to complete his evolution.Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters Dino MechaWith the Go-Busters and Beet J. Stag holding off the enemies, the Kyoryugers arrive at the site too late to save Ryouga and Geki in what is revealed to be a trap set for them, with Gabutyra defeated by Neo-Grifforzar and infused by Voldos’s power. By the time the Go-Busters find them, the Kyoryugers have had their Dino Hope removed brainwashing them into serving Voldos. The six are sent back in time to kill the dinosaurs. Upon encountering the dinosaurs, the Kyoryugers almost kill them when the green eyed Tyrannosaurus protecting them from an eruption breaks the spell as Daigo recognizes the dinosaur as Gabutyra in his original state. The shock of realizing the Tyrannosaurus is Gabutyra snaps the Kyoryuger’s back to normal. The Gabutyra of the past proceeds to explain to them the warning he told Daigo related to his future self who is dying from Voldos’s influence and that only Daigo can save him with the power of Dino Hope. Elsewhere, with help from the Abarangers’ Yukito Sanjyo using a specially made Super Sentai Zyudenchi, Yayoi creates a time portal to bring the Kyoryugers back to the present time.

Meanwhile, the Go-Busters and Kyoryu Silver mount a rescue mission to save Ryouga and Geki when they are kept back by the Deboth Knights and Luckyuro while Neo-Grifforzer and Neo-Geildon take their captives with them. However, the Kyoryugers arrive and fight a losing battle against the grunts while Ryouga and Geki make a mutual attempt to fight Escape before Daigo finds the dying Gabutyra. Luckily, upon being joined by J alongside Masato who appears due to the activation of a one-time anti-virus program, the reunited Go-Busters team drives off the Deboth Army while destroying the satellite stations as Daigo succeeds in restoring Gabutyra to life. Joined by the assembled Zyuranger and Abaranger teams, using the Abaranger and Zyuranger Zyudenchi to give Gabutyra support in replicas of Guardian Beast Tyrannosaurus and Bakuryu Tyranno to deal with the giant reinforcements, the Kyoryugers transform and the gathered Dinosaur Super Sentai take out the grunts. After the main team obliterates Enter in his Dark Buster form, Kyoryu Gold destroys Escape while the Abarangers defeat Neo-Geildon, and the Kyoryugers regroup with the Zyurangers as they all combine the Kentrospiker, Howling Cannon, and Dino Bomber into the Ultimate Howling Cannon to destroy Neo-Grifforzar.

However, Neo-Grifforzer contains the blast as he departs to space to sacrifice himself to complete Voldos’s evolution. Though the Kyoryugers form Raiden Kyoryuzin, with the Guardian Beast Tyrannosaurus and Bakuryu Tyranno replicas transforming into Daizyuzin and Abarenoh, the Dinosaur Super Sentai are powerless against Voldos. Luckily, having obtained the Go-Busters Zyudenchi from Masato before he fades back into data, Red Buster summons Tategami Lioh whose head is used in the Tategami Raiden Kyoryuzin formation so it, Daizyuzin, and Abarenoh can focus their powers to blast Voldos back into space. Later, after giving their goodbyes to the Gabutyra of the past, the Kyoryugers decide to join the Go-Busters in a victory meal.

First appearance of the ToQgers

What the teams do not know is that Neo-Geildon has survived, and he uses Messiah Card 13 to become Neo-Messiah to avenge his creator. Before he can do anything, a rainbow-colored train descends from the sky and from it emerges the 38th Super Sentai… Ressha Sentai ToQger. Using their unconventional fighting style, which includes switching their colors, the ToQgers quickly destroy Neo-Messiah.MV5BYTUxOTJmZTUtOGY4Mi00NDRmLTk2ZTYtZjZlMTcwMWI5MzQ0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_Second only to 199 this is a brilliant team-up bringing back all the dinosaur teams was an awsome idea and not  only that but bringing back new versions of the villains was just plain amazing.