Super Sentai Series I Think Have Much of A Soap Opera Feel

As a fan of quality soap opera (specifically from Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) and Super Sentai, I just want to make this rather weird article I made up.  So what's my point of view right now?  These series are more than just typical Sentai, I felt like I was also watching soap opera side by side with it and here are they:


Hikari Sentai Maskman- I felt like that aside from just being a regular Sentai (and yeah drama is always present), I felt like the whole Takeru x Ial love story is really a strong driving force that makes me think it's more than Super Sentai, it has plenty of quality TV drama in it.  Okay I've got my downs with Momoko's and Kenta's lack of focus but still, I felt like it was the start of a real Sentai Drama especially with character conflicts.  Also the villains here I felt were just more than villains, they really had personalities and the rivalries were quite personal especially when Igam is angered by her sister's liking a surface world human in the person of Takeru (which led to an interesting rivalry that showed more drama than just plain bad-ass action).  It was in fact the first love story Super Sentai.


Chojin Sentai Jetman- Still number one in my heart (or maybe not?!), Jetman for me was more than Super Sentai.  Aside from just fancy dandy equipment, there's a LOT of drama behind it aside from just being a Gatchaman-inspired Super Sentai.  I did like how each character interacted with each other, each of their flaws shown piece by piece and how they soon learn the value of each other.  And of course, there's the Ryu and Rie love story that though it ended in tragedy, it was still well-written.  I do even think that Radiguet himself was really pretty much of a character who transitioned from a standard villain to becoming a completely insane genocidal monster in such a well-written manner who while given chances to redeem himself, chose to continue being despicable until he had to be destroyed.  My beef though was that only if we knew Gai Yuki's past was like or maybe even give Radiguet more reasons to hate humanity (and why he went insane).  I also kept comparing some of this to Maskman in terms of quality.


Gosei Sentai Dairanger- For the Dairangers, there have been tons of backstories like from Ryou's family life to his rivalry with Jin Matoba, Daigo's love story with the beautiful Kujaku (yeah reminds me of Lotus Lantern where a goddess fell for a mortal) and even Kou's character development from pervert to competent warrior (that would remind me of Yang Guo as a child from Return of Condor Heroes) were well written.  The Gorma was kind of a sad fact of reality how people go from bad to worse. The monsters of the week were not all just generic, in fact some of them had bigger backstories than just being fodder for blowing up. The betrayal within the Gorma just felt like a Chinese imperial drama to me.  For me Shaddam's death by stabbing at the hands of the protagonist (out of suit) was a lot more like Chinese imperial period dramas with how the antagonist died than the typical "I blow up the end" type of death.  Either way, all very well written dramatic elements by the late Noboru Sugimura and kudos to Toshiki Inoue for doing the whole Jin arc.


Mirai Sentai Timeranger- Though this was time travel theme, it was also filled with a lot of drama like the theme is, "You can't history but you can change tomorrow." running around.  Each of the rangers' backstories imo are just very well written and mix so perfectly.  In fact, I pretty thought of it that the Osiris illness of Ayase was perhaps what made the show have that soap opera feel- I mean in some soap operas there's that terminal disease that claims the life of any of the characters.


Tokosou Sentai Dekaranger- I consider this season to be more of a typical police drama (like the F4 Drama Black and White or much earlier police drama from Hong Kong) than a typical Super Sentai.  Why?  I could hardly consider the Alienizers to be monsters of the week but rather criminals of the week, instead each week presented a case to crack and the Alienizers do possess a LOT of real personalities of real life criminals that are in police dramas so I count them in as "culprits of the week".  The Dekarangers are what I'd call an entire elite force despite conflicts, they do get the job done.  Each one was a pretty interesting, solid character even for Umeko who I liked least (don't worry I still like her) and the villain Abrella being the typical soap opera manipulator mixed with super powers is just awesome.  Some can also compare this to police series too, no problem with that.


Juken Sentai Gekiranger- It felt like a Wuxia drama with the opposing martial arts schools, the existence of Rio and Mele were so well-woven from how they were anti-villains to anti-heroes or even Jan's backstory as well as the Fukami siblings Retsu and Gou.  I pretty felt like Long as a villain had that much personality, like the typical immortal villains of some Wuxia novels.


Oh how could I dodge this?  Shinkenger's characters getting much character interaction with each other (How could I forget?!  Thanks Fantasy Leader).  It almost feels like "Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils" but a lighter version.  The characters' interaction with each other was really well-written by Yasuko Kobayashi and her co-writers.  For the villains?  Nah... kinda too generic but with the characters, I felt like it had the Rurouni Kenshin feel to a certain extent.

Any more you felt had that soap opera feel?  Feel free to comment!

Comments

  1. Honestly, I don't think any of these seasons would be considered "more than your typical sentai" or have a "soap opera" feel. They're all pretty much the same tone for the most part. The only ones that I think fit the whole soapy experience would just be Jetman, Timeranger, and Shinkenger. Love stories and intense drama isn't what classifies something as being like a soap opera. Or else, you could practically say that the majority of the franchise is like that.

    Soap operas are about specific dramatic executions. Jetman had that love triangle thing going on. And I think Timeranger had even more of a drama style due to how it focused so much more on the character conflicts and interactions, compared to the more traditional toku aspects. Shinkenger also had a similar style to Timeranger.

    The analysis for Dekaranger doesn't make much sense. You're comparing it to cop shows rather than the "soap operas" that you were comparing to the other seasons.

    Sorry Sean, but there's not much consistency in this post. And most of what you pointed out for each of the seasons are just a simple analysis for what each season offered, rather than how soapy they actually are. And drama can be found in pretty much every season. What you mentioned for each of these shows can pretty much be found in many other shows.

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    1. Well there's the Wuxia genre in Chinese soap operas that focus on martial arts and love stories. I felt Dairanger had that feel especially with how the characters were.

      There are also police type of soap operas. There are soap operas that focus on policemen and their cases too.

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    2. I personally don't think Dairanger falls under the Wuxia genre. Yeah, it's Chinese martial arts, but I think Gekiranger falls more under the Wuxia genre more than Dairanger does, due to it's styles and aesthetics. Dairanger focused more on having that underground war with a trippy atmosphere. And the Wuxia genre having love stories can be kinda vague, since love stories come in so many different styles. Is there a specific type of love storytelling style that you're pointing to?

      If you don't mind me asking, how exactly did the Dairangers feel to you that felt so Wuxia style?

      I know there are police soap operas. And I know that Dekaranger is pretty cliche as far as cop shows go, but your explanation for why it's a Hong Kong police drama still doesn't make sense. What is a Hong Kong police drama like? How is Dekaranger similar to that? What you've written are a bunch of things that Dekaranger is, and claimed that they're Hong Kong police drama material, but you haven't actually expressed why yet. And I don't understand why you consider the Alienizers as not Monsters of the Week. They fit that trope perfectly.

      Remember, love stories are not a soap opera thing only. It's more about how drama is executed (like Jetman's love triangle). And stuff like complex villains, personal rivalries and sentai drama was present even before Maskman, like with Changeman and Flashman. But these elements can be found in many styles of story telling. And saying a series has good quality writing does not make it a soap opera. That's just a merit that the show has.

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  2. "If you don't mind me asking, how exactly did the Dairangers feel to you that felt so Wuxia style?"

    Well in my opinion since wuxia is about (in the broad sense) the adventures of martial artists and I felt like Dairanger fits there. Dairanger borrows certain elements from martial arts dramas like "Journey to the West" and for novels in Chinese literature, the four gods (dragon, phoenix, tiger and turtle were present in the ki-beasts) or that the Gorma imo operates like those in Chinese imperial period dramas laced with fictitious elements. Also I thought Kujaku x Daigo was pretty much like that of Lotus Lantern, the love of a goddess for a mortal except theirs took a twist. Chinese mythology heavily inspires magic-laced Wuxia.

    Well thanks for the last paragraph enlightenment. Yeah for Jetman's love triangle, that was pretty much a favorite plot of mine. And can I ask also how you consider Shinkenger to have soap opera material?

    Thanks for the enlightening comments once more.

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    1. Okay, what you just said about Dairanger is what should be in your post. THAT's a comparison. Saying stuff like Shadam is more cruel than Gorma XV, or that Sugimura wrote Dairanger well is off topic and contributes NOTHING to the overall comparison.

      As for Shinkenger, Kobayashi took the Timeranger approach where the show focuses much more heavily on the characters interacting with each other, rather than focusing on the more fantastical aspects of the show's concepts and stories. The 6 characters all had different personalities and different quirks that would rub each other either the right way or the wrong way, and they would all interact with each other to try and get used to each other and to trust each other and grow that way. One thing that Kobayashi has always been good at imo is that she writes some really good dialogue, so I'm not surprised that she would try to take this approach with Shinkenger, since that's what she's good at. Overall, with what I said, it feels like a J-drama with some fantasy elements slapped onto it.

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