Mirai Sentai Timeranger: A Complex Battle With Fate!
Happy New Year! This is my first post for the new year!
After seeing Timeranger (but mostly in bad quality videos) I thought I would write about the complex battle with fate of Timeranger. Okay I'm enjoying Gingaman thus far, here's me crossing for more Timeranger quality video subs (since I had seen most of it raw but fortunately synopsis were available). I just thought another masterpiece of Yasuko Kobayashi before her eventual burnout was Timeranger! Warning there will be spoilers ahead as usual, so read at your own risk!
Timeranger was a show that happened during the new millennium, Power Rangers Time Force happened during the 21st Century. A bit of note to consider... the 20th Century is from the year 1901-2000 and the 21st Century starts on 2001. However the year 2000 was also the "new millennium". If you remember the year 2000, talks about the world ending by that time and another, the millennium bug (which would reset systems by then), Timeranger seemed to take a lot of these stuff at hand. We have the 1,000 years leap. Considering that the year 2000 is a new millennium, the year 3000 is a millennial era for Timeranger. The year 3000 is a space age era evidenced by aliens living among humans.
The Asamis and Fate
Timeranger is also about about facing one's destiny and the Asamis play a MAJOR PART in it. The Asamis are shown between the year 2000 and the year 3000. It's assumed that Ryuya's last name is Asami. We have the problem of the Asamis. Tatsuya tries to decide his own future, Wataru tried to escape but was forced to accept what could be "fate". For Wataru, he has lost against his own dad (Wataru's unseen grandpa who's presumably dead). This of course results ot a lot of complex plots.
The earlier episodes reveal that Wataru has set his son's future. Having seen Time Force first, I thought it's no different. I mean, I wanted to smash the heads of Mr. Collins and Wataru on the desks just the same. For Wataru, we can see he is a firm believer of, "It's your destiny, you can't fight it." while Tatsuya has a much different view. I always thought this was a problem that really runs in real life. The first few episodes revealed that Tatsuya placed a bet against his own dad. When he meets the Timerangers, he starts to find purpose in life. Rather than live in the luxurious house, he rents a small apartment where Tomorrow Research was founded.
The pieces of the chess fall together for the Asamis. Wataru wants his son Tatsuya to follow in his footsteps. It's always the "son must be like the father". It's a major problem considering early on, we know that Wataru tried to battle his way out of his destiny but Tatsuya's paternal grandfather had won the bet. The father/son conflict repeats itself with Wataru and his son Tatsuya. They are both estranged from each other. Early on, Wataru convinces his son it's fate to be in the Asami line. At the end of it, Wataru may have been frustrated he wasn't able to choose his own destiny.
The problem would also escalate when Wataru learns that Tatsuya is a Timeranger. Tatsuya was right to argue that he had found purpose as a Timeranger. The whole revelation shattered Wataru at the same time, he had some feeling for his son. The whole estrangement in Timeranger was also this... trying to decide your children's fate may lead to estrangement. The whole father/son conflict also had them trying to fight fate. Wataru wanted to do so but realized it was a big responsibility.
Another important Asami was also Ryuya, a 30th Century descendant of the Asamis, who strongly resembles Tatsuya (both were played by the same actor). So he is the Captain of the Time Police. He sent the four Timerangers into the past with instructions. He authorized the system. He sent those reinforcements. When he first arrived to the 20th Century, he revealed himself to be the Time Red from the future. He's cold, unfeeling and I guess he couldn't do that "troll smile". Because of that cold, unfeeling side and how he leads the field, man does he get annoying. Again, I also feel him in a way.
The battle of fate also happened was when Wataru was supposed to die, Tatsuya was to take over and well, Ryuya was to take back his place as Time Red. Wataru had a battle with fate as archives in the 30th Century had written them as they would happen. Wataru would die, Tatsuya would take over the Asami Enterprise. However in some battle of fate, Wataru lived (even if he was scheduled to die) and Tatsuya resumed to becoming the stand-in Time Red. Ryuya returns to the future who was also fighting with fate... but as a douchebag would!
Now I know some people like Fantasy Leader and Mr. Smith consider him the main villain. My stand is, he's just an annoying douchebag of a villain that I want to slam on the head. He's a complex character who just wanted to live without otherwise destroying or changing the 30th Century. Still you can't deny he's a manipulative character who allowed the main villains to escape, he made the Timerangers chase them and he's fighting with fate. He just wants to live and not take over the world or something like that.
One may credit he did something good as well. His actions create a cure for Osiris Syndrome, brought Yuuri's family back to life and Domon's suspension was limited to a year. Then again, he ended up making Naoto take his place so he can continue living a normal life. I also consider him a very complex character... he's a villain in the sense he's an annoying douchebag. He manipulated the Timerangers, he sought to delete their memories after the year 3001 and well, while he did try to prevent much destruction and not alter his timeline, you can't forget the fact that he freaking had Naoto take his place. I felt like punching this guy because he feels similar to Masato Kusaka of Kamen Rider Faiz.
I do credit the heroic and villainous side of Ryuya to at least three of his ancestors. If we're talking about why he's gone like that, maybe whoever his dad was, was even worse than Wataru or Wataru's father. On the other side, he may have gotten his manipulative nature from the Asamis' past although unlike his ancestor Wataru, he's not shown to be money hungry but still, Wataru's actions may have turned Ryuya the way he is. Still, you can't deny that he had Naoto die in his place. A lot of these events weren't copied into Time Force IMO thanks to executive meddling.
Yuuri... The Badass Bitch vs. Fate
Yuuri is another person that got me intrigued with the show. Okay some people like Jen better but IMO, Yuuri got me to understand her better. Jen was only bitter because Alex (Ryuya's counterpart) was her fiance who supposedly died. In Yuuri's case, she never had a relationship with Ryuya. Instead, what made her into some kind of badass bitch was this - it was somewhat fated that her parents would die by the hands of an assassin Dolnero sent. Her dad was a policeman and it was as if fate drove her to become one. It was a real battle with fate.
Her real battle with fate is when she realizes she has fallen for Tatsuya. This creates the problem BECAUSE they are 1,000 years apart. It's predictable that they won't be together. 1,000 years is too long a time period. By that time, Tatsuya would just be a dead man. I'm just thankful that unlike Jen, Yuuri didn't have any romantic relationship with Ryuya. I mean, that whole love triangle that Wes enters with his distant descendant Alex is... well awkward as Honami thinking Ayase is Time Yellow and Domon falling for her, and both men are from the future.
Ayase and Facing Death
Ayase also battles with fate. It's known quite early he has the Osiris Syndrome, a disease that not even the year 3000's technology can cure. It looks like that as advanced medicine was, cancer was not even completely curable. I feel like Osiris is a type of cancer that Ayase must battle with. It really puts him in a dilemma. He chose to continue fighting rather than whine about his fate.
In the later part, we discover that a cure for Osiris Syndrome was developed. So in a way, he might have lived or not if he ever took the cure. It's unclear if he takes the cure. Another thing was certain was how he actually took part in Ryuya's final fate. That is, he accidentally kills Ryuya. I thought Ryuya deserved that shot for being such a douchebag. I thought even if Ayase didn't mean to kill Ryuya, the latter deserved it.
Domon and Wrestling With Time
Domon is one character who fights with destiny. I always thought of the whole idea that he's from the year 3000 and then he ends up messing with time the most stupid way. This really starts when he actually starts falling for the reporter, Honami Moriyama. Honami at first falls for Ayase due to mistaken identity. Later on, she sees that Domon IS Time Yellow. It creates a rather weird love triangle... but remember it started out as Domon likes Honami but she likes Ayase due to mistaken identity. It's weird if you ask me.
In the year 2000, he ends up siring what could be his own ancestor, Mirai (originally called Domon Jr.). I always thought that the affair with Honami leaves a question - is he REALLY the father of Mirai?! Granted, when did he even have the time to well... DON'T ASK... with Honami when he returned to the year 2001 to fight? It's Yasuko Kobayashi's shock value which... felt like a weird way to write an epilogue for Timeranger!
The plot was later carried over in the alternate continuity of Gokaiger (which most likely exists within the VS. Timeline as opposed to most Sentai operating within its own continuity). There, Domon later realizes that he had a son from 1,000 years ago.
Sion, Fated To Be the Last Hubbardian
What we know is Sion that he's a Hubbardian, a human from some other planet. He was rescued from his fate in the laboratory. He became a Timeranger. He was fated to be the last survivor of his own race. Sad to say, his fate remained the same... he's still the last survivor of his own race. He had no change of his future whatsoever.
Naoto Takizawa... Fighting with Destiny!
Another one to fight with destiny is... Naoto Takizawa. Okay I admit I really had issues with this guy with him being that jerk. He's always opposing the Timerangers and later, you can see he is sort of an opportunist. But all these actions were "justified" by his terrible, terrible past. He was born into a poor family, he envied Tatsuya and he ascended as captain thanks to his hard work. He wants to prove that being born poor does not mean you are always fated to be poor. I always thought he was a prototype to Hojo Toru in Kamen Rider Agito. Both characters both impress and annoy me at the same time. Hojo in Kamen Rider Agito was a jealous bastard, so was he, who had respect for his rivals.
He was also a chess piece of fate. So it was later discovered that the real Time Fire was actually Ryuya. Ryuya was destined to die in battle and well... I still find that douche-y. Okay Ryuya wasn't planning to get rich nor was he stealing public funds, but one has to look at it this way. Ryuya just wanted to live on but he didn't have to sacrifice Naoto. Some can argue that Naoto was responsible for his actions. Partly yes, but remember that Ryuya allowed his death (not that the Zenitto was under Ryuya's control). He was used as a chess piece of fate to avoid leading towards the fate that Ryuya would die. Ryuya then died being killed (accidentally) by Ayase in a conflict... like Masato died when his neck was broken by Kiba.
The main villains Dolnero, Lila and Gien escaped into the year 2000 because there is "no Time Police" in that era. I always had my thoughts on their escape. The Londarz Family try to mess up the Year 2000 because they can't be opposed right? Well they are more high tech than the year 2000 which gives them that advantage. Although I do find time travel to be sometimes a headache... but it can also be entertaining if written right.
The villains weren't really all that typical but rather, more of a super powered crime mafia. The monsters of the weeks were actually alien criminals than the standard monsters of the week. The Londarz Family was to be re-arrested. They also played their battle of fate when Dolnero escaped what looked life freeze compression for life. Remember Dolnero is not a mutant nor does Timeranger have babies grown in laboratories. The whole space age era of the year 3000 was at the balance when Dolnero escaped. There's also manipulation of history itself getting involved.
The main villain Dolnero himself tries to fight with fate to the point he and his gang flee into the 20th Century. However unlike most big bads, he is more concerned about hoarding money than world domination aka just like a typical mafia. He tried to fight with fate when he arranged his escape. Again, Ryuya allowed his escape. Still, while he remained the main villain, he was also manipulated by a douchebag behind the scenes but the two are enemies. His own actions also resulted to his death in the 20th Century which... changed time for the better in some way. It was similar to Spielban's ending - killing Wahrer Empire in the past, destroyed their existence in the future.
Yet even as the main villain, he was also a chess piece of fate. He was part of Yuuri's fate. It was his very act of sending an assassin to kill Yuuri's father. His actions caused Yuuri to become part of the Time Protection. His escape was him trying to escape fate yet it was also part of the battle with fate. Ryuya allowed his escape. His actions to try and change the 20th Century only led to his demise. He was killed by Gien whose insanity he wanted to temper. It looked like he was supposed to be arrested by Yuuri. It was Ryuya's plan... and to think both of them were enemies. So it's the enemy manipulating the enemy.
So we have Gien who was once human. He was a member of Dolnero's gang and one day met an accident. The process of turning him into a cyborg. Dolnero had a concern for his growing insanity. He was already relishing in destruction which led to him killing Dolnero in the process. In the finale, he just kept relishing in destruction. In the end, part of his former self resurfaced before he died in the the year 2001, that is the 21st Century had already entered.
Closing notes with some Time Force comparison
I started to also think how these events were somewhat "softened" in Power Rangers Time Force. Maybe some soccer moms complained about how Power Rangers Lost Galaxy had tried to cross the border of Power Rangers more than once (ex. The first Magna Defender dies like Bullblack did, Trakeena is arguably that cruel). Then again, think that Power Rangers Time Force happened during 2001 and somewhere within its broadcast, the 9/11 incident happened (and Thuy Trang sadly died that year too). One can consider the dark times that may have toned things down. I guess parents were already complaining about Ransik to start with.
For one, it looked like Judd Lynn wanted to do the following. Perhaps he wanted to actually have Lucas accidentally kill Alex or Alex being responsible for Ransik's escape. It seems to be that he also wanted to kill Eric. I also thought of how we have a scene of Mr. Collins looking for his son, a scene quite opposite to Timeranger where Wataru doesn't look for his son Tatsuya. I guess it was all a result of executive meddling because they didn't want viewers to dwell too much on negative thoughts. Maybe that's why Eric manages to live on which his scene was flexible to two endings. On the other hand, Naoto dies from that gunshot wound which was more obvious to be fatal.
Lynn also had one thing unique but something I have a hard time swallowing. It's the whole love triangle across time between ancestor (Wes) and his descendant (Alex) over Jen. Timeranger didn't have any romantic interaction between Yuuri and Ryuya. On the other hand, Alex was also the fiance of Jen from the future, supposedly dead but was revived thanks to some time alteration. So this is my bias towards Time Force itself. Again, I confess I can get biased with Power Rangers even if I don't hate it or campaign for its removal. Still, what in the world was Judd Lynn thinking with that love triangle? Trying to pull off a Toshiki Inoue style of writing anyone?!
On the other hand, Time Force's softer changes actually gave more distinction aside from creating Ransik and adding the mutant/human war, a concept similar to X-Men and continued into Kamen Rider Faiz.
Overall, Timeranger was really a battle of fate. Tatsuya always believed in fighting to choose one's destiny. Again, it's not always avoidable either. Ryuya still died and well, being a douchebag towards your own teammates may lead to your own death. Another is also Naoto is that he also shows that poverty isn't an obstruction to climbing up the ladder of success (though as I've said, he also tends to annoy me). Unfortunately, this concept wasn't done so well in Den-O compared to this series. In the end, Wataru had decided to let Tatsuya live his own life.
What was also interesting with the ending was this. Tatsuya runs into doppelgangers who may or who may not be the ancestors of Yuuri, Ayase, Domon and Sion. Again for Sion, he was from Hubbard so it's not likely the doppelganger was his ancestor. Also the Naoto doppelganger may not even be related to Naoto at all. It was always a battle of fate. The only time Tatsuya got meet his friends again was in the non-canon Legend War.