How Gai Yuki Won My Respect Overtime!
It's no secret that Gai Yuki was one character I really found annoying for some time. Maybe it's because I like Ryu Tendo. Part of it was because he reminded me of someone who I hated at first but became friends later. Maybe he reminded me of my unrequited love, dating someone and breaking up with a girl. But whatever, I always didn't think of him as a cool character until later in the series.
Now let's think of the start of Chojin Sentai Jetman. What annoyed me at first was that he didn't want to join the team. I even thought that WTF come on, the world is going to be destroyed, all you think is YOURSELF?! Maybe I had my obsession with Sentai reds that anybody who opposed them tends to land into my hate list. And yes, Gai Yuki did enter that hate list but not for long. And I thought of the whole reason why I really ticked off was that he didn't immediately cooperate with the rest. He tried to leave the team but the moment Ryu won his respect, that hatred started to die down but not so quite.
If there was another moment that got me ticked off was the episode when the Jetmen were practicing to form Jet Icarus. He's not keeping in pace with everyone. I felt Ryu there again, scolding him. Hmmm I'm very preachy huh?! But that episode also showed me why I should give him a chance. That was, he also made up for his mistake in that episode by rescuing Ryu from the insides of the Dimensional Beast. Radiguet was nearly about to make mince-meat out of Ryu. Gai Yuki jumps in and saves Ryu. So I started to gain respect for the dude... and at the same time, I thought that Kaori should actually give him a chance with his feelings, which she did.
So it started that Gai Yuki showed he can take a girl seriously. In the process of Jetman's rather odd love polygon, I actually thought that he actually has some respect for Kaori. What I found amazing about this guy was love at... first slap?! Provided that did happen to me and my ex-girlfriend who I had a hard time wooing. I always thought that Kaori had a positive influence on Gai Yuki. Again, the show just kept pushing Ryu/Kaori on our throats which was okay with me but I would have wanted Ryu to rescue Rie and get a happy ending he deserved.
The Juuza Arc showed some development for him. He took a shot meant for Kaori and he felt he was going to die. In the end, he was freed from his crystal-like state and... he got even with the bitchy short-lived queen. His predicament towards Kaori made me feel sorry for him even if Ryu is my favorite Jetman. I started to find the whole Kaori likes Ryu but Ryu still likes Rie and Gai likes Kaori polygon and then insert Radiguet and Gure for Maria (who is basically Rie) triangle interesting. So he actually had his slacker attitude but he was always badass when he fought.
My favorite part of the Gai Yuki/Kaori romance was this.... it was the Demon Gods Arc. Kaori was almost sacrificed. He did the unthinkable to give up all his blood to save Kaori. I thought that Kaori was really essential to bringing the better man out of him... while Inoue just keeps shoving foreshadows into the show that Ryu will end up with Kaori. He did leave the Jetmen at first but he realized one thing... Ryu was falling apart. He saw Ryu his rival fall apart because of the revelation that Maria was really Rie Aoi. It was that time I felt like I needed a wake-up call. My former rival sort of did that to me because I was stuck in the past. So there, the more Gai Yuki won my respect. He goes from Ryu's rival to best friend midway while being Raita's buddy.
The romance didn't last long because of the differences between the two. Gai Yuki's some lone wolf, Kaori's some rich girl. It could have worked out with some writing but no, they broke up. I appreciated how he didn't want to be accepted for what he wasn't. He won my respect there to actually break up with her without a fight. Although they nearly made up, they didn't really patch things up. Still I can't help but think that all the while, he was becoming more respectable to me. He grew to respect Ryu, I grew to respect him because of that. He also had a huge respect for his rival Gure which even if he fights dirty, he also has a high sense of honor. He developed as a character as the events went by.
So what did I feel about his death? While I still feel it's a great Sentai injustice, I felt like he still won my respect at the same time, earned Inoue's ire. I know it's hypocritical considering Jetman is my favorite Sentai, still at least Gai Yuki died doing a good deed. I know it's pathetic how his death was handled, he could have died in battle instead. Still, he won my respect like when he descended in Gokaiger so his friends won't be bothered. Now only if Gai Ikari can meet him in a dream or so.