REVIEW: KYUKYU SENTRAI GOGO FIVE VS GINGAMAN

BansheeraSomewhere in the city, several hooded figures gathering in a downpour, are being pursued by Ryouma as GingaRed. He takes all of them on before he’s seemingly overpowered their numbers. Off in the distance, a shadowed figured with chains wrapped around his misshapen ankles, watches the conflict with mild interest. Elsewhere, Grand Witch Grandiene senses the figure’s energy and appears to recognize him. The next day, the Tatsumi siblings are going through rescue drills and endurance training on the beach when Matsuri spots Yuuta Aoyama sitting atop a hill, sullen and introverted. She approaches him with apples as an offering and inquires if he was looking for a moment to himself. Yuuta replies that he is waiting for someone to arrive and shows the Tatsumi siblings the Gingaman storybook for which his father did the artwork. Matoi and Nagare assume Yuuta is waiting for an “imaginary friend” when Ryouma appears, seemingly unharmed from the battle prior.580full-kyuukyuu-sentai-gogo-v-vs-gingaman-screenshotHe maintains the facade of positivity until he falls over in pain, the Tatsumi siblings rush to his aid and they discover he was wounded in the battle against the Grim Reapers, who appear seconds after Ryouma is revealed to be injured. The Reapers attack the Red Warrior, but the Tatsumi siblings transform into the GoGoFive, taking the blast from their swords head on before enter into combat with the undead creatures. Their weapons prove useless against the monsters who simply recover after being struck down, their only defeated by Ryouma who intervenes with his earth power, “Mane of Flames”. Ryouma collapses again and the Tatsumi siblings take him and Yuuta back to their home. There he explains that the Reapers appeared suddenly sometime in the night, he and his friends (Gouki, Hikaru, Saya and Hayate) have split up to search for clues to their origins. Daimon, enthralled by the Gingaman storybook (Legend of the Stars), inquires about the whereabouts of the Star Beasts and Ryouma explains that they lost track of them upon their arrival to earth and Hyuuga was presently looking for them. Nagare suspects the Grand Cross might’ve had a hand in the Star Beasts’ present disappearance.GoGo-V_the_MovieAnalyse Robo Mint alerts the group to the location of Gouki and Hikaru, who are presently swamped by news reporters for rescuing a woman at a hotel. Matoi, Daimon and Nagare presume the two warriors are goofing off, Ryouma begins to assure them that their current situation likely has something to do with the Reapers when Moak contacts him through his Ginga Brace, warning him of the nearby danger connected to the Reapers. Focused on the matter at hand, the GoGoFive team leave with Ryouma to meet up with Gouki and Hikaru at a undisclosed location. Professor Tatsumi emerges from his lab with a device, too late to meet Ryouma. Regardless, Yuuta inquires what he was working on. It’s later revealed that he was tracking the energy signatures of the Star Beasts and upon taking Yuuta down to the beach nearest their location, the two encounter Hyuuga riding horseback and enlist his help in finding the Star Beasts.ZeekWhen the eight warriors arrive at the meeting place, the weather takes a strange turn for the worse and blasts of fire comes raining down on them, announcing the presence of King Gill. They transform and Ryouma prompt the GoGoFive to escape while they fight Gill and the Reapers. Matoi, offended by the mere idea that he or his team aren’t strong enough to fight the demons, disregards Ryouma’s order and attacks Gill head on with the “V-Mode Punch”. Gill overpowers him easily and sends the eight warriors tumbling into a nearby crevice with one blast. Elsewhere, Grandienne and Salamandes reveal that Gill is the lost son of the Saima Clan, thrown into hell for trying to kill Grandienne after she gave birth to him. Salamandes’ assumes that his time spent in hell allowed him to strike a deal with the overlord and gain command of the Grim Reapers. Gill plans to sacrifice a dozen or more humans, located in the hotel Hikaru and Gouki were at earlier, in order summon the Hell Beast on Earth to destroy the planet. Salamandes later visits Gill as the monster explains the blood the humans will allow him to fulfill his plans once the pyramid-altar was filled completely with their blood.Black-Panther-2018-Film-New-WallpaperMeanwhile, the Gingamen and GoGoFive attempt to recover from the lost battle, taking refuge in a cave. Hikaru and Gouki explain that they were investigating the hotel when they saved a woman from a fall off the terrace of a hotel. She’d discovered Gill’s plans and the Reapers attempted to have her killed when the two intervened. While the Gingamen are positive their earth powers can defeat Gill, they insist that the Tatsumi siblings try not to take on the demons again. Angered, Matoi objects, stating that the GoGoFive have every right to fight and would not back down so easily because of one defeat. From there, the group devise a plan to evacuate the hotel by using the fire department as a smoke screen to gain entrance into the building. While the others evacuate the people and set off the alarms in the building, Ryouma and Matoi head to the top floor of the building to investigate. Their ambushed by Reapers who recognize them, Matoi and Ryouma take them out with little to no trouble. Discarding their firemen’s gear, they enter the hotel suite and to find themselves in another dimension with the captured hotel occupants, unconscious and trapped in cages.580full-kyuukyuu-sentai-gogo-v-vs-gingaman-screenshotGill attacks the two warriors from behind, while Denus, Cobolda and Salamandes keep the other warriors busy, preventing them from reaching the top of the building to help their friends. Matoi and Ryouma fight Gill off long enough for Matoi to blast a hole through one of the room’s fans. He devises a last second plan that requires Ryouma’s absolute trust, which he gives without hesitation. The two rush the monster, throwing themselves out of the building in the process. Gill plummets to the ground below, Matoi manages to save himself and Ryouma with the grappling hook mode on his gun. As the two return to the top of the building, the Grim Reapers appear and prepare to finish them off when they are attacked by their own kind. A moment later, Hayate and Saya reveal themselves, stating that they’d suspected something strange was going on inside the hotel and went undercover. The reunion is cut short by a sudden shift in the dimension that sends the four of them down to ground level where the others are fighting off Imps and Grim Reapers.640full-kyuukyuu-sentai-gogo-v-vs-gingaman-screenshotAll ten Sentai warriors gather together and transform in a group, surprising their enemies, and the battle continues with each warrior fighting alongside their respective counterparts. Ryouma and Matoi go after Gill, determined to stop his plans of raising the Hell Beast and killing the innocents trapped in Pierre’s dimension. Their combined efforts, particularly Matoi’s empowered V-Mode Punch, manage to wound the monster, but not enough to stop him. Gill, sensing his own defeat, stabs himself and offer’s his blood to the Hell Beast to complete the blood ritual. He dies soon afterwards, without exploding, presumably from his self-inflicted stab wound. To the delight of the Saima Siblings, his efforts bring forth the Infernal Dark Hell Beast, and they bid the Earth farewell before disappearing. As the Hell Beast proceeds to destroy the surrounding city, The GoGoFive team summon LinerBoy and Victory Mars to combat the creature, while the Gingamen look on, unable to help.580full-kyuukyuu-sentai-gogo-v-vs-gingaman-screenshotOut on the ocean, Hyuuga, Yuuta and Professor Tatsumi continue their search for the fallen Star Beasts when their attacked by Grim Reapers. Both Hyuuga and Professor Tatsumi fend the monsters off while Yuuta attempts to revive the Seijuu, petrified at the bottom of the ocean, by calling out to them. Hyuuga manages to fire off a blast of his earth power before he’s stopped by the remaining Reapers, who are defeated easily afterward. The energy of from his earth attack revives the the Star Beasts successfully. Back in the city, LinerBoy and Victory Mars’ attacks are proving ineffective against the Hell Beast, it’s last attack takes LinerBoy out of the fight, while Mars continues to struggle against it. When things seem bleak for the GoGoFive, Hyuuga arrives on the scene as the Star Beasts announce their presence to the Gingamen. Without hesitation the Gingamen summon the Beast Armor Shine and use their Kiba Blade’s to transform the Star Beasts into the Galaxy Beast Warrior GingaiOh before transforming it into Super Armor Shine GingaiOh, while Hyuuga calls in Heavy Starbeast GoTaurus and then changes into Bull Taurus and they both join in the fight where both giants work together to free Victory Mars. After the Victory Mars, Bull Taurus, and Super Armor Shine Gingaioh’s combined Bison Fierce Cut/Great Galaxy Beast King Cut/Top Jet attacks manage to wound the Hell Beast, the explosion from the attacks cripples Gingaioh, forcing the beasts apart and rendering the Gingamen unconscious when they tumble out onto the ground, as well as knocking down both Victory Mars and Bull Taurus.
580full-kyuukyuu-sentai-gogo-v-vs-gingaman-screenshotMatoi and the others fear that their comrades were dead, but Matoi refused to believe they were lost and lifted them off the ground. Ryouma and the others come to and the Beast Armor Shine infuses itself with the Victory Mars, transporting the warriors into the Mecha’s cockpit with the GoGoFive. Strengthened by their combined powers, the Super Armor Shine Victory Mars destroys the Hell Beast with the Galaxy Double Flare, which cuts straight through the beast without effort. In the end, Matoi and Ryouma share their respective feelings from the battle, Ryouma with a better understanding of what the GoGoFive do and Matoi, a better understanding of the Gingamen’s connection with nature. However, he states it would take a “hundred years” for Ryouma become a worthy fireman, a fact Ryouma does not argue. The film ends with the Gingamen training on the beach with the Tatsumi siblings, Ryouma the only one among his group ecstatic about the prospect of running across the entire beach.580full-kyuukyuu-sentai-gogo-v-vs-gingaman-screenshotThe action is fast and furious and the special effects are quite lively. For a TV production it’s quite an impressive show and is distinguished from its American counterpart by such gruesome elements as the dark hotel chamber filled with dried-up, blood-drained corpses in cages and the pyramid filling up with blood. The usual comic antics that tend to slow down these shows are, thankfully, absent here.  A certain amount of foreknowledge of these shows is assumed by the producers, so nothing is spelled out to new viewers. You have to kind of figure it out as you go along. But for fans of live-action Japanese superhero shows with colorful if low budget special effects, this is indeed a worthy entry.

Advertisements

REVIEW: KYUKYU SENTRAI GOGO FIVE: SUDDEN SHOCK! A NEW WARRIOR

GoGo-V_the_MovieGo Go Five: Sudden Shock! A New Super Warrior”  is a movie spin-off of the Japanese sentai series, “Go Go Five,” which I’ve also reviewed on this site and which served as the basis for the 2000 entry in the American Power Rangers re-edit, “Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.” At 42 minutes in length, this one plays like an extended TV episode or, more accurately, a two-parter edited together. The plot has less to do with the rescue operations that were a significant part of the series and a strong source of its appeal (for me, at least) than with some kind of intergalactic strife between warring alien clans that decide to battle it out on Earth over possession of something called the Dark Sword.BansheeraA gold-armored and helmeted alien hunter named Jiku arrives on Earth to stop a monstrous alien from the Jyuma Clan named Golmoa from finding the Dark Sword’s hiding place. To find the sword, Golmoa seeks the help of the Saima Clan, the series’ regular villains, and promises to use his new powers to help them achieve their goals. A battle with Golmoa elsewhere in the galaxy had previously left all of Jiku’s fellow hunters dead, so he’s pretty intent on stopping Golmoa. The grotesque creatures of the Saima Clan, plus their one human-looking member, Venus, agree to help out.Black-Panther-2018-Film-New-WallpaperThe five siblings who make up the costumed Go Go Five sentai team get involved when they’re summoned to stop Golmoa, after he’s first shown up to wreak havoc, and encounter Jiku as well. Also along for the ride is Kyoko, the female astronaut the team met in their first TV episode and who now wants to join their team any way she can. Kyoko eventually gets her wish, thanks to her resemblance to one of Jiku’s fallen comrades, when a wounded Jiku transfers his power to her so that she can transform into a new gold-armored super warrior and join Go Go Five in their battle with a newly empowered, giant-sized Golmoa. There are some interesting metaphysical elements in all of this, such as when Kyoko, carrying Jiku’s essence, enters the Go Go Five team’s “Prominence Sword” to give it new power. Jiku had also advised Kyoko, “Tell the warriors of Earth that their spirit is the strongest power.”tumblr_inline_p7nmtlq7f41rdhiyb_500There are plenty of exciting action scenes sprinkled throughout, including a battle between the female Pink Ranger (“GoPink,” aka Matsuri) and Venus, the attractive female Saima Clan member whose counterpart in “Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue” is Vypra (played in that series by a lookalike actress to match scenes from the original). I was struck by the similarity of the gold armored warriors here—as incarnated by Jiku and Kyoko—to the Titanium Ranger in PRLR.  I’m assuming that the characters’ appearance here inspired the makers of “Lightspeed Rescue” to take the idea and create a sixth Ranger.

REVIEW: KYUKYU SENTRAI GOGO FIVE

Kyuukyuu_sentai_gogo_v_by_blakehunter-d4aenjrIn the year 1995 Choriki Sentai Ohranger tried to show us a picture of massive destruction, but since there was enough destruction and pain in real life for Japan in 1995, Oranger tried to change on the way and become a comedy show, but ended up in a “fillers” hell without anything really special to remember. 1999 series, Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive finally found what Choriki Sentai Ohranger missed. It’s kinda fun, because Choriki Sentai Ohranger story took place in 1999 too and there’ll be a lot of resemblances between these two, but Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive was able to achieve a very important thing – it found a way to show us eye-catching destruction and still give people a good feeling instead of gloomy mood alone. How? Thanks to absolutely unique concept.tumblr_inline_p7nmtj5Zp41rdhiyb_500The thing is – GoGoFive isn’t your regular team of superheroes. They’re rescue team above everything else. Their introduction speech is “Saving one’s life means saving the future!” and that’s what makes them totally different from all other teams we’ve seen before. GoGoFive won’t only fight to protect the others, they’ll try to make it absolutely clear that there’s no even a small possibility of casualties. Evacuate people and make sure that they’re safe and only than fight enemies. That’s how it works for GoGoFive. This series pressing the idea about how important it is to save lives on us really hard. GoGoFive even has a special vehicle to evacuate cars from streets. So, GoGoFive is a tribute for our everyday heroes, who fight for our lives each and every day. Firefighters, police and paramedics, this series is all about them.tumblr_inline_p7nmtcsuXP1rdhiyb_500Well, you can easily see where Toei found the idea. GoGoFive is ‘99 series, while “99” in Japanese is pronouncing like “kyu kyu”, the same way with “kyukyu” (Ambulance, first aid, emergency). So, Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive is “Rescue Squadron”, but at the same time it sounds like “‘99 Squadron”. Perfect thing for Japanese series, since Japan loves such plays on words. Especially since year itself is important this time. Well, it was a crime not to use the year in the series. If you remember 1999, you should remember how people were all about the end of the century. Like there were rumors about an end of the world, famous “Year 2000 problem” and other stuff like that. Toei used all this in their series and created an alignment of planets called Grand Cross, which should mark an appearance of the ultimate evil – villainess Daimajo Grandiene.tumblr_inline_p7nmtb9i4T1rdhiyb_500So, in this series we’ll have year-related danger with a lot of destruction, but also a team of brave heroes, who’ll do everything to save people. Lyrics of the opening theme is something that can describe things better than me. “Please, wait! Please, keep living! They’ll certainly make it to you!” wrote Kuwahara Nagae-san in his lyrics (Matte ro yo! Ikite ro yo! Zettai soko ni tadoritsuku!. And that’s the thing about GoGoFive – it shows us a lot of pain and bitterness, but at the same time it gives us hope – a brave heroes, who’ll do everything to protect innocent people. Never give up – there’ll always will be people, who’ll come and save you! That’s GoGoFive for you.tumblr_inline_p7nmthLRpL1rdhiyb_500Toei even did a very unique and revolutionary thing with helmets this time, just because of this concept. Since GoGoFive series is all about emotions, Toei decided to make helmets with really big visors. Not only that, we’ll also see characters’ faces through that visors very often. Like, you know, usually it’s up to suit actors to express heroes’ feelings with their gestures, but this time we’ll see a big part of faces and, more importantly, eyes. Remember how Fuji Akiko-san changed Chojin Sentai Jetman helmet in her manga sequel to be able to show us their facial expressions? Same thing here. We have a huge visors, and even though they’ll be dark, when there’ll be a suit actors inside to do stunts, when it’ll be about feelings, visors will turn translucent and show us characters’ feelings. It’s another thing we’ve never seen before. The closest thing was, probably, helmets from Choshinsei Flashman with animated visors that used to show us the insides before closing, but in Flashman it was just to show off, while in GoGoFive it’s all about the feelings, to make series more rich and touching.tumblr_inline_p7nmtdooXJ1rdhiyb_500Mecha, on the other hand, is something you’ll love from very beginning. Main giant robo is combined from vehicles that look a lot like the best vehicles in Gekiso Sentai Carranger VRV Machines, and actually, it’s almost the same thing, but this time it’ll make perfect sense, since vehicles will be something that resembles our heroes’ kind of work. Also, “gattai” (combination) process is awesome. It won’t be like vehicles will just fly. One of them this time is aircraft, so, it’ll use winch to combine the other parts together. It looks absolutely awesome and actually, so-called VictoryRobo can do things unfinished too. Without its top part its called VictoryWalker and it can be used to extinguish the fire. Unfortunately, so-called 99Machines that make VictoryWalker and VictoryRobo weren’t used enough, so, it’ll feel like a missed opportunity a little and you’ll want more of them, but still, they’re so awesome that you’ll love them with all of your heart.tumblr_inline_p7nmtk993v1rdhiyb_500And same goes for the others. This series is a pure mecha epicness and also the very first one to introduce train-based giant robo. Train that’s made from small cars called GoLiners will transport 99Machines I mentioned above and will be able to become a giant robot called GrandLiner. When you’ll see how train will fly in the sky and when you’ll see GrandLiner on on the rails… I’m out of words here, it’s just something you need to see at least once. And even that isn’t everything. There’ll also be small supporting robot called LinerBoy, that is made from space shuttle, has its own artificial intelligence and can combine with VictoryRobo to give it an ability to absorb enemy shots with solar panels and send them back! LinerBoy is the very first small supporting robot in Super Sentai Series I really liked and giant robo that can talk is sure something new. We’ve seen concept of the “robot with heart” a lot (hello, GalaxyRobo from Hikari Sentai Maskman / but LinerBoy is just so-o-o cute when he’s screaming his transformation words “Tokkyu Buso!” with a lot of excitement that it’s impossible not to love him. Finally, in final episode of the series, we’ll see another robot (yes, for the very first time Toei introduced new giant robot in final episode), that can be powered by the power of hearts. In other words, mecha in this series is something that you won’t forget soon. A lot of fresh ideas, amazing visuals, a lot of excitement.tumblr_inline_p7nmtiqsZA1rdhiyb_500And you know what? Battles of giants are really interesting this time too. And I mean really, really interesting. Mixed with story, those went far beyond regular “punch, kick, finisher”. Toei played with various robots’ specs and they even made GoGoFive to launch their very special giant robot called VictoryMars (again, can be used without full combination) into outer space and fight an evil planet! Yes, the whole planet! We didn’t see such great battles of giants in Super Sentai Series for a ve-e-e-e-ery long time. Space battles, underwater battles with a risk of leak, epic battles in city,… It’s just so… awesome! This series sure has something to show to all giant robots’ fans!tumblr_inline_p7nmtkb1M11rdhiyb_500Talking about our heroes. In this series we have second team fully made from single family members (for those, who forgot, the first one was Chikyu Senta Fiveman / who were elementary school teachers). Tatsumi family includes firefighters Matoi, Nagare and Sho (who’s unlike the other two is a helicopter pilot), police officer Daimon (idea about how police officers are rescuers too, who fight for peoples’ souls that was introduced in this series was really interesting and can really make you think) and paramedic Matsuri. They missed their father, who disappeared without a trace and mother, who went after him and disappeared too after her plane crashed, and tried to save as many lives as possible on the line of their duty, when their father finally returned and turned them into mighty GoGoFive team of super rescuers (GoRed, GoBlue, GoGreen, GoYellow and GoPink respectively), who should fight evil that comes together with Grand Cross and hope that one day they’ll be able to get their mother back too and live as the whole family again.tumblr_inline_p7nmtlq7f41rdhiyb_500It’s interesting thing as is, especially since Toei re-created the best part of Fiveman and showed us both bright and hard moments of being family, but guess what, there’s more. The thing is – villains this time are family too.  They will arrive at Earth and will try to conquer it for their mother Daimajo Grandiene that should soon come with Grand Cross. And with Saima Ichizoku Toei was able to move far beyond Fiveman concept. Not only we’ll learn about all sides of being a family thanks to GoGoFive, we’ll also learn about how important it’s to stay being family and support each others. Saima Ichizoku will show us what you can get if you’ll think only about yourself and use the others as tools. You may regret it, but it’ll be too late.BansheeraIt’s a wonderful thing to see, really. And it really makes you think, especially since Tatsumi family doesn’t feel cheap. It really feel like a real deal. There’ll be older brother, who can get on your nerves with his attempts to be a leader in everything, there’ll be little sister, who’ll try to show that she has her own hidden feelings too, there’ll be a brother, who’ll need the others to understand his dreams, there’ll be a father, who may look like he don’t care, but actually cares more than anyone else… It’s a real family, no cheap “Be good, kids!” stuff that can be ignored in “Yeah, yeah…” way. GoGoFive is something that will get right into your heart and will sure make you a little better, no matter how old you are. I just love it when Super Sentai Series is like that. And, of course, no matter who they are in their daily lives, when they’re on duty, they’ll change into professionals. And it’s another amazing thing to see. This series shows us how real people with their own feelings and problems become heroes, who’ll do anything to save the others.l82krzxx_400x400And, of course, all that, together with translucent visors scenes, makes this series really hard for actors. Too many complicated feelings to express. All of the actors did great, but what I really like here is how they were able to interact with each other. It’s about teamwork in this series like never before. Also, there’ll be a lot of guest and… this series is your rare chance to see legendary seiyu actress Miyamura Yuko-san (????) as regular actress! She’ll play an important role in this series and will even have a super suit in movie! So, interesting cast, complicated feelings and amazing teamwork. That’s how it is here. So, where previous series, Seiju Sentai Gingaman was close to perfect, but suffered from lack of fresh ideas, Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive striked with a lot of things we’ve never seen before. Rescue team as Super Sentai, fantastic mecha, epic battles of giants and incredibly deep and complicated matters. GoGoFive is an underrated gem in Super Sentai history that true fans should not miss no matter what!

REVIEW: SEIJUU SENTAI GINGAMAN

Seijuu_sentai_gingaman_by_butters101-d73akqu“We pierce through the galaxy with legendary blades.” is the theme of Seijuu Sentai Gingaman. This was the first work that Yasuko Kobayashi had done as a Super Sentai headwriter. This series may have come out as one of the best series in the 1990s.gingamanreviewThe story of Gingaman begins with the inauguration of the would be 133rd Gingaman team by lineage. Although Hyuga would have beent he 133rd Ginga Red but fate soon made his younger brother Ryoma as the show’s main protagonist instead. The other Gingamen are Hayate (Ginga Green), Gouki (Ginga Blue), Hikaru (Ginga Yellow) and Saya (Ginga Pink). Later on, Hyuga returns and becomes the sixth ranger inheriting the anti-hero Bullblack’s powers after the latter’s heroic sacrifice.gingamanreviewThe Gingamen as warriors are imbued with this “Earth Power” that allows them to harness power from nature. Ryoma uses fire, Hayate uses wind, Gouki uses water, Hikaru uses lightning and Saya uses petals. The heroes had lost their home the Ginga Forest to the Balban and are forced to live with the “normal world” where they must learn to adjust. The plot kind of feels like it was taken from Flashman’s rangers where they must try to adjust to a new environment. The heroes must defend the Earth from the Balban Pirates before the Earth becomes their next target for destruction. To guide them in the city, they were assisted by the talking tree Moak and the acorn fairy Bokku. They live in a ranch where Harukiko and his son Yuuta accommodate them and knew of their identity as the 133rd Gingamen.gingamanreviewThe Balban are a group of intergalactic pirates who for some reason could breathe even in the vacuum of space. Captain Zahab and his pirate crew have been plundering and then destroying planets turning them into jewels. Whatever reasons Captain Zahab had, it felt like he was trying to achieve immortality and/or possibly godhood. The Earth becomes the only planet standing in his way as he was defeated by the first Gingamen. These space pirates were sealed off for centuries but were awakened by an earthquake in the modern day. They seek to get whatever energy they could to revive their giant monster Daitanic so they can proceed to destroy Earth.tumblr_inline_n877ce7Bx41rdhiybThe main villain crew of Captain Zahab has Shelinda as his steerwoman, Pucrates as his advisor and the four generals. The four generals are Sanbash the leader of the insect-like humanoid monsters, Budo leads a samurai-themed gang of monsters. Illies is an Egyptian themed sorceress who uses magically themed monsters. Batbas is a viking themed general with mechanical robotic beasts who cause havoc. Like the generals in Goranger, the generals only replaced each other when the previous one got destroyed in the conflict though they all appeared in the beginning. The reason was because Captain Zahab wanted to make sure they prevented any sabotaging done towards each other though it proved useless. Later, Dark Merchant Biznella came in later in the series to assist Balban.tumblr_inline_n877ce7Bx41rdhiybWhile my first exposure to Yasuko Kobayashi as a writer was Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Gingaman was where I soon knew of how she started off as a headwriter right after she was an important secondary writer a year before with Denji Sentai Megaranger. She started out pretty good and she had a lot of good assistance from Naruhisa Arakawa and Junki Takegami as major secondary writers together with Shigenori Takatera as the head producer. Like during the time Toshiki Inoue was the head writer of Chojin Sentai Jetman – the series tried to blend in a lot of stuff from Hirohisa Soda’s era and became a successful series. This was just a preview of what we might expect from Kobayashi’s style as a head writer. This was also where Arakawa was also getting more of an idea on how he wanted to write Tokusatsu his style after he wrote Megaranger’s finale.Tumblr_n7z4uoApvM1s5uxaeo7_1280As I watched through this series and having seen more 90s Super Sentai, I really felt that it was a nice series though I wonder why was it really named Gingaman? After seeing Zyuohger’s premiere episodes, I felt like maybe Gingaman should have been named as Zyuohman or Seijuuman instead because it felt like it was too attached to the forest? I even thought that maybe its U.S. adaptation Power Rangers Lost Galaxy should have been named as Power Rangers Star Beasts instead of the official title it got. The show had some really good writing and production styles involved making it memorable. I felt that like Jetman, it should’ve gotten a post-series TV special (ex. a Hero Encyclopedia) but maybe it was hard to beat Jetman’s record. Instead, we had Timeranger get a post-TV series special where the Timerangers explained about the 23 previous Super Sentai series prior to them. Overall, it’s been an enjoyable series to watch.

REVIEW: UCHU SENTAI KYURANGER

uchu_sentai_kyuranger_wallpaper___2017___by_malecoc-datdb2c.png
Uchu Sentai Kyuranger has come to an end, So  It’s time to do a review of the series.
12_Kyurangers
Kyuranger happens in what looks like a distant future — presumably the year 2317. The legend of the nine saviors of the Universe is born and they will be known as the Kyurangers. But when nine isn’t enough — more warriors join into the fray to defeat the Jark Matter. But unlike most Super Sentai series — the villains have already taken over the Universe. The heroes must recover the Universe from the dictatorship of the Jark Matter’s Space Shogunate. Much mysteries happen especially when they fight the evil that loomed 300 years ago.
KyuRanger-Sho-Ronpo
The default nine-team are from different planets seeking to liberate the Universe from Jark Matter. Lucky starts off as a hapless space adventurer who becomes the red ranger. Hammy is a ninja from the Chameleon system. Stinger is a humanoid with a scorpion tail. Naga is from a planet where emotions nearly don’t exist. Balance is Naga’s best friend and he’s an android. Champ is a bull robot. Spada is aiming to be the best chef in the Universe. Raptor is a female humanoid robot who deviates from the standard pink ranger. Garu is a wolf humanoid who has lost his tribes.
maxresdefaultAdditional heroes are added namely Kotaro who becomes the first child ranger in many years — the last one being Riki from Ohranger way back in 1995. Shou Ronpou their somewhat lax commander later becomes the purple ranger. They are joined by the warrior of 300 years ago namely Tsurugi Ootori who seeks to stop Don Armage once and for all. As the show progresses — the heroes discover various mysteries that could help them destroy Don Armage once and for all. So how does the show deal with nine rangers? A selection system similar to Etoranger is done. Commander Shou Ronpou spins the Kyulette which selects five warriors that will go for the mission of the day. Their mission is to save certain planets (and certain areas of Earth) from the captivity of Jark Matter. They must also find Kyu Globes in their quest to go into Jark Matter’s home base so they can liberate the Universe.
don-armage-hologram_orig
Jark Matter exists as the villains who have already conquered the Universe before the series started. Their leader Don Armage has ruled the Universe for 300 years. The villains are built by various story arcs that manage to end and a new one begins when a certain general dies. It’s similar to how the generals of Goranger and Gingaman ultimately succeed each other. They are taking over planets and they are absorbing Planesium as part of their modus operandi. The Kyurangers must defeat the Malistrates (magistrates) and Menasters (Ministers) from certain planets in order to liberate them. The Space Shogunate can be viewed to have several popular culture references. Don Armage can be viewed as the show’s version of Emperor Palpatine. He may also remind some of some past Toku villains like Black Cross Fuehrer. The whole empire uses fear and terror to rule over the Universe like the Galactic Empire in Star Wars.
uchuu-sentai-kyuranger-space-37
Although the show still appears to have the standard elements such as heroes in spandex, giant robots and villains but there’s some major overhaul. As mentioned earlier, the villains have already taken over the Universe and the heroes must take it back. They also have nine rangers instead of the standard three to five heroes — which adds a challenge on how to add layers to everyone.
uchu-sentai-kyurangerThe return of the space theme was pretty good. After all, 2017 was the celebration of Star Wars: A New Hope’s anniversary. It’s probably on purpose that Super Sentai was going back into space is to honor the popular Star Wars film. Plus, there’s a lot of new school special effects which might be considered a waste if they don’t do a space-themed Super Sentai. The use of the new CGI works like a charm which worked well with the list of merchandise for the show. It’s the start of modern space Super Sentai. Hopefully, there may be more ways to work through Kyuranger’s formula for future installments. This may be the big leap that may bring Super Sentai to new ideas.

REVIEW: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack

hqdefault

Even though it wasn’t released until December, 2017 was a year that was surrounded by Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hype. So much so that the film even unexpectedly showed up as a sponsor of Uchu Sentai Kyuranger as the release date drew closer. However that wasn’t the only link that could be drawn between the film franchise and the 41st Super Sentai series either, with Kyuranger giving it a few obvious nods in its summer movie – Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack. In typical fashion the movie was released alongside Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending in cinemas, taking place roughly between episodes 22 and 23 of the series itself.Kyuranger-Movie-Hoi-KorolAs the planet-sized Geth Star battle station approaches Earth with the intent of destroying it, the Kyurangers suffer their biggest loss yet as Shou Ronpo is shot and seemingly killed by its creator Geth Indaver. The team has no time for mourning though, as Indaver plans to destroy the Earth in 72 hours – harnessing the power of the legendary destroyer Kerberos. It’s a race against time as the Kyurangers split up to find the three fragments of the stone needed to summon Kerberos, with Indaver’s unit not far behind them. Can they succeed before time runs out? And who is behind the mask of Geth Indaver and what is his history with Shou Ronpo?Uchu-Sentai-Kyuranger-the-MovieSimilar to how Zyuohger’s movie The Heart-Pounding Circus Panic! kicked things off in media res, The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack throws the audience straight into the action with little to no information about both the Geth Star and its mysterious creator, using the apparent of Shou Ronpo as the launching point of the movie rather than as an emotional turning point midway through. It certainly works in giving the film some immediate punch.Space Sentai Kyuranger the Movie - Geth Indaver Strikes Back [BD-720][2CD3832B]_19 Jan 2018 at 07.41.54The movie does what Kyuranger arguably does best – split the team up and engage in some cool sequences. Sadly as usual Raptor/Washi Pink gets the short end of the stick and stays onboard the ship until the climactic fight featuring the whole team. The lack of Ryu Commander, Koguma SkyBlue and Houou Soldier are forgivable since they begin to fall into “extra” ranger territory, but having Raptor just standing on the sidelines really does spoil it. Speaking of Koguma SkyBlue and Houou Soldier, both characters are in the movie – just not for very long. Kotaro’s there for the final fight, while Tsurugi just kind of shows up to help out at the very end. Watching this back at a point where Tsurugi hadn’t fully aligned himself with the Kyurangers would probably make more sense, because in hindsight it does feel a little disjointed.Kyuranger-Movie-Stinger-Champ-HammyThat isn’t to say there aren’t other cool things going on in this movie though! Lucky riding Garu transformed into a motorcycle, Champ fighting a cage fight! Kyuranger has always done well at mixing its space theme with all kinds of wacky scenarios and power ups, and the film is definitely no exception. All of the segments could easily be replaced with something else and the outcome of the film would be exactly the same, but it’s the kind of big dumb fun you can really get behind – especially when thought of as something being watched on the big screen. That’s what makes this movie shine, because despite the rushed nature and other flaws it still feels like it’s trying to be something bigger in terms of spectacle. Whether it truly succeeds at that is a different thing entirely, but the effort to make the Kyuranger movie feel like a movie (or at least a pre-movie special) shows.Kyuranger-Movie-Geth-IndaverOn the villain side of things Geth Indaver works to mixed results. Both conceptually and visually he’s excellent, but the actual execution of his back story falls a little short. Given how quickly the introduction breezes by there’s barely any time for his history with Shou to resonate, and his joining with Jark Matter and eventual plan don’t really match up with his initial motivation in the past. If his original plan was to defeat Jark Matter using Kerberos powers, why then go and immediately work for Jark Matter just for revenge? Maybe it’s that Kyuranger is insistent on showing how deep Jark Matter’s influence runs throughout the galaxy, but Indaver would have worked just as well (if not better) had he just been a neutral third party looking to wipe out both sides in the fight. His relation to Jark Matter is pretty tenuous anyway, as at this point in the story there weren’t any regular series generals to speak of so he pretty much just goes about his own devices.Kyuranger-Movie-KerberiosThis year’s movie-exclusive mecha is of course the Kerberos Voyager, which despite seeming like a big part of the story feels somewhat overshadowed by everything else going on around it. Ultimately the Geth Star is the main threat, so the “legendary beast” is tamed by the Kyurangers fairly quickly to simply play a role that could have feasibly been filled by KyurenOh. The most memorable movie mecha are always the ones that feel properly intertwined into the story (and in special cases then go on to later appear in the show itself), and Kerberios just doesn’t have that same lasting impact as something like Tobaspino or Safari Gaoh.Kyuranger-Movie-TeamThe movie offers an enjoyable one-off space adventure that puts more focus on spectacle and set-pieces then it does on shilling summer 2017’s latest toy. It’s good to see Kyuranger making the most of what it has.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: DOUBUTSU SENTAI ZYUOHGER – The Christmas Witness

doubutsu_sentai_zyuohger_by_blakehunter-day3odn

The Christmas Witness

zyuoh43-1005Azarudo feels like he’s already won the Blood Game of Earth now that Cubaru is gone. But Ginis reminds him that the winner is the one who amuses him most. And Cubaru’s rebellion was very amusing. At the treehouse, everyone is happy to see Misao out of the hospital. He also has a Christmas present for Uncle Mario, a whetstone to help sharpen his chisels. Tusk asks Yamato what Christmas is and he explains. Uncle Mario thinks it’s weird the Zyuman have no idea what Christmas is about. To keep Uncle Mario from asking more questions, Yamato suggests they have a party tonight to celebrate both Christmas and Micchan’s recovery. The Zyuman head out to buy a present for Uncle Mario as well. They decide on a sweater, but they don’t have enough money. Even worse, their tails go hard as Azarudo’s Gakkarize terrorizes the plaza.zyuoh43-1001Gakkarize paints drawings that become real like masks on people’s faces or a giant Buddha. While the Zyman fight off the drawings come to life, Uncle Mario and Yamato work on decorating the Christmas tree back home. Uncle Mario remembers he and Yamato haven’t celebrated Christmas at the treehouse since Yamato started getting into girls in elementary school. He also asks if the others will be going home for Christmas and New Year’s. Yamato says it’s complicated. Uncle Mario suggests they are like Yamato, but Yamato says while he chooses not to go home, the others can’t go home. Uncle Mario reminds Yamato that he can always talk to him. The Zyuman pass by a cake shop that’s been painted over by Gakkarize. They offer to help sell the cakes outside where people can actually see. When sales are slow, the Zyuman decide to go full-on Zyuman to drum up more interest. And it works as even the local news are reporting on them.zyuoh43-1002Micchan hurries to the treehouse to show Yamato what’s going on. Uncle Mario gets a call and he says he must now fly to Canada to buy wood that’s on sale so them kids should just have the party themselves. Micchan is a little sad, but he and Yamato must hurry out to get the others to stop messing around. Seeing the kids happy with the big animal people, Yamato realizes there’s a special connection between humans and Zyumans. The Zyuman sell all the cakes and the shop owner gives them their pay. They hurry back to the store to buy the sweater, but they forgot about tax so they don’t have enough. Yamato and Misao arrive and Yamato offers to pay the difference. They object, but Yamato says he also owes his uncle for many things and for far longer than them. Yamato tells them Uncle Mario is leaving the country for Christmas. They hurry as they want to give him his present before he leaves. But Gakkarize stops them. Yamato and Micchan say to leave Gakkarize to them while the Zyuman go find Uncle Mario. Azarudo stops them.zyuoh43-1004On the way to the airport, Uncle Mario sees the explosions and commotion. He finds Yamato and the others after they’ve just been forced to demorph. Seeing they’re in trouble, he tries to find a weapon to fight off the Deathgaliens. The Zyuman mock Gakkarize for his fake art, so Azarudo calls them out on their fake life forms living as humans. The Zyuman4 decide to show their true forms just as Uncle Mario comes back with a fire extinguisher. The Zyuohgers morph once again and do a roll call to complete Uncle Mario’s surprise. They Zyuohgers defeat Gakkarize and all the painting things disappear. Naria pops in to Continue Gakkarize who starts painting an army of Moebas who begin decimating the city. As Yamato goes Whale to fight Azarudo, the others hop into Wild Tousai King. The others are in trouble so Yamato summons Cube Whale to help. But when Cube Whale sees Azarudo, it attacks. Azarudo retreats. Cube Whale gets rid of all the Moebas allowing the Zyuohgers to go Wild Tousai Dodeka King to finish off Gakkarize for good. Back at the treehouse, the Zyuman are sad they couldn’t give Uncle Mario his present. But Misao says to just give it to him when he gets back. Not a big deal.zyuoh43-1007It was a pretty basic Christmas episode. At least they didn’t kill off a cool character or something like that. (Looking at you Ex-Aid.) The most important part of the episode was Uncle Mario finally finding out about the Zyumans and the Zyuohgers. On one hand, I’m sad Uncle Mario didn’t know the whole time. But at the same time, it’s refreshing to have that “It was them the whole time?!” moment. The other interesting thing from the episode was of course the mystery over Azarudo’s possible true nature. Overall, an okay Christmas episode worth a watch for any Sentai fan.