Why I Still Think the 80s-90s Super Sentai Are The Best Eras for the Genre

I would admit I enjoy the works of Naruhisa Arakawa and I like modern Super Sentai but lately, after Gokaiger, it seems Super Sentai is entering into the dork age especially when writers like Toshiki Inoue and Yasuko Kobayashi have burned out beyond belief.  Even Riku Sanjou's performance in Kyoryuger is pretty questionable.  Now for why I think the 80s-90s Super Sentai are the best:


It was the era where Hirohisa Soda had much influence.  He was the head writer of the shows mentioned in this picture made by Shougo B'Stard.  I would really say that he's still a legend even if he's now past his prime.  I love Arakawa's work but I still love Soda the best.  I mean, Hirohisa Soda revolutionized Super Sentai writing as well.


Sentai mecha days weren't too focused on toy sales plus if a new mecha came in, there was a really good plot written behind it most of the time. Most Super Sentai these days usually include newer mecha just for the sake of selling toys.  I would say I really prefer Shigenori Takatera who sadly was removed from Toei during the second half of Kamen Rider Hibiki.  Ever since then, Super Sentai ended up introducing too much mecha that didn't really cut an important part.  Gaoranger was still good but later ones like for example I'd name Go-onger (I don't hate it but I don't love it) was notorious for that and also Boukenger and Shinkenger.  My favorite example is that in Shinkenger, Mougyudaioh had a very poor plot for me like it was even not really helping the plot improve at all, it was a very poor version of Galaxy Robo which had a much better reason why it was there because Great Five sank!


The fight scenes were usually much better.  For example, I would make the fight of Red Flash and Kaura to be the best example of really badass fighting in this era of Super Sentai.  Made me really think most Super Sentai fight scenes from Timeranger to beyond aren't that good.


Most of the 90s villains were really more menacing, interesting and more personality than most recent villains.  In fact, while the standard absurd villain plan to take over the world is there like turning people into something or releasing some plague or whatever, I thought most the 80s-90s villains were really, really cool.  In fact most of my favorite villains exist in the 80s-90s era like Doctor Man, Silver, Kiros, Emperor Zeba,  Count Radiguet and Shadam to name a few. Also there were some rather interesting backgrounds given to them not really making it just evil for evil's sake but rather, some villains even have their more human sides.  No offense but I have to admit that while watching most 2000s Sentai, most of the villains for me feel pretty bland or a poor tribute to older villains.

Can you name any?  COMMENT.

Comments

  1. I agree with a lot of what you say. Though I feel Kobayashi isn't over yet. In the last decade, she's done Ryuki (not a Sentai but still), Shinkenger and Go-Busters (I admit that at the onset, I didn't like the characters), but by the end, they did gain my respect. Maybe that was an issue of acting, or budget since they spent a lot on graphics on the Subdimension.

    I ABSOLUTELY AGREE with the Mecha issue. I think that in Shinkenger's case, the Akumaro saga isn't irrelevant, just that it's purpose isn't obvious. It's to explore the motivations of the other forces apart from the Shinkengers in this war.

    One other point which you raised in bits and pieces, but presents itself as a whole to me, is the focus on aesthetics. Graphics, bulky mecha because big is somehow "badass" since DekaBase Robo came along. We really lose the shrill pleasure of simple turning badass. Shinkenger tried very hard to rectify this, and got it right in all ways except Mecha.

    The interesting villain issue is also true, but weren't Juuzou and Tayuu a decent but imperfect attempt to have personality? Juuzou's as crazed, yet rational like Radiguet, but doesn't hunger for the same authority.

    Sadly, I'm disgusted that the after all Shinkenger and then Go-Busters tried to do (I under appreciated the latter at first, because of the actors), we couldn't get the same Revolution we had with Inoue, and NEED in this era.

    Then again, we're victims to the tendency to substantiate things with our times. We're not the INTENDED audiences for Sentai now. Sentai is more mature, but made for those younger than PR fans. But still, can kids today stomach the blood we have in Liveman etc? Also, you grew up with and were drawn in by the 80s-90s era, so it is a natural mistake to make.

    Just my thoughts. Cheers!

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  2. That's no lie, that 80s-90s Sentai( Super Sentai) is the best hands down!

    Yeah its a super hero kids show and there is bound to be toy sales.

    Back in those days it was a show, drama and a damn good one.
    The characters are cool and they actually meant something.
    Now with the 2000s and beyond.
    It ain't perfect but there is only series I like and the three series that really went back to its roots are Boukenger, Shinkenger and Gokaigers. If the rest of the series did have the careful element that the three series have then we would have no complaints for the current series.

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    1. I absolutely agree! These 3 were my favorites (though I don't entirely count Gokaiger because it was a year-long anniversary movie). Go-Busters somewhat counts, though not entirely like Gokaiger, as it put the same old Sentai spirit in an overly suffocating modern look, and that was what made it initially repulsive if you ask me.

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    2. I am commenting on your statements and you can agree or vice versa.
      For me a great Sentai series should have a great original motiff via there costumes. The three set weapon props that you have seen on certain Sentai series. A decent number of the mecha that can transform into unique individual robo not like Abarerangers or Kyoryugers where there is shit load of robots that transforms arms, arms, and more arms!!!!! Last but not least characters, they better be well driving heroes and villains. Especially with villains, 1 or 2 is not going to work. Dekaranger's Abarella and Gobusters' Varglass did not work.

      Yes, Liveman was a very hardcore kids show that was too dark and violent but it hold the test of time and fans who are now adult can look back how good it was.

      Gobusters is original and meant well with the Buddyroids, pleather costume and dark stories. But as a writer and organizer it should have more characters especially villains cause Enter and Escape was not enough to carry the threat as Messiah was unconvincing as a head villain, not enough weapons as their machetes and guns was not enough for the fights ( I am not counting Beet and Stag Busters because they are Bangai heroes and they only get one set of weapons).
      Heroes are boring which kills the show in general. Ryuji and Yoko has what it takes to be more dramatic heroes, Hiromu is just plain boring, and the only characters that are worth watching as they pretty much steal the whole show is Masato and B.J. Stag.
      It could have been a top series if Kobayashi really put effort which it shows she didn't. With Kyoryugers on and ending it makes Gobuster much memorable.

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    3. GB seemed underfunded. I guess they didn't pay her as much. You really seem to share my sentiments on the Busters being boring. It wasn't well organized because GB wanted to ground everything with a reason. With a mindless search for reason, we lost a lot of time on plot. Let's face it: 50*24 mins is 20h of story, and it's not a lot with action included. We lost 6 eps to Mecha Setup, and then Jin & J steal the show.

      GB had A LOT of potential for the characters, but time and the actors themselves didn't do the show good. The Busters made sacrifices, their chance to reunite with their family, Jin's suicidal strike on Enter etc. But the portrayal, and time management to show these emotional moments was bad. In Shinkenger, Kobayashi managed to clear everyone's emotional baggage clearly, and even devote Acts 28-38 to Villain Development. But that's because the Origami all took 1 ep to be introduced (2 for Ushi), all gattais were done fast and simply. She had time to put character growth fillers in and still balance it out. But if we wait for 6 eps for a Tokumei Gattai, we lose time. And that cannot entirely be her fault, it's because they wanted to market Buster Machine toys well. Notice that in Gokaiger all except Galleon are useless apart from forming GokaiOh? So this was Kobayashi being limited by Bandai.

      Go-Busters, I feel, could be so much better, if they hadn't focused on providing technical explanations mundane for things like how Go-BusterOh was not meant to fight Megazords like Ace, only to perform the Dimension Crash, and instead focused on character growth like Ryuki and Shinkenger did.

      Abrella didn't work. That's true. Messiah was never meant to be the big villain, he's just a figurehead, on purpose. Enter was supposed to provide a surprise as a final villain, just like how Odin double crosses everyone in Ryuki to try to save Yui, but because of pacing issues due to Bandai's pressure, we got bad wrap ups. (Bandai holds a lot of weight on a show's preliminary development. Gaim is a fruit Rider because Bandai asked for that)

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  3. Definitely agree with this statement.
    In my view, the golden era of sentai took place in 90's; almost every series (minus Fiveman) were very memorable.
    My most favorite time took place in '93~'99.
    GoGo V (1999) marked the last time I was engorged with sentai.
    Every thing after that in 00's were either good, meh, and awful.
    I missed the good ol' day.

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