Abaranger: An Amazing Dinosaur-Themed Sentai!
So I just finished Abaranger and again, sorry for pretending to be a know-it-all in the past. Abaranger for me is the first true dinosaur Sentai. Zyuranger had some mistakes in including the Mammoth and Sabertooth Tiger in its category since both are mammals, not reptiles. This was the first true dinosaur Super Sentai. Remember there will be spoilers so read at your own risk.
While Kyoryuger (in Shogo's view anyway) makes dinosaurs happy that they are dead, Abaranger makes me feel like dinosaurs wish they were alive again. I had a previous post on watching Abaranger and I didn't expect to finish the marathon that quick. So what did I feel about Abaranger? Abaranger felt like taking human evolution's concept to another angle with dinosaurs. I feel a bit of Agito influence with the series when it came to the concept of Dino Guts (like the Agito Seed), minus we don't have people who were killed off simply for having Dino Guts.
As Abaranger is a completely different show (and continuity) from Zyuranger, it handles a lot of stuff differently as well. While in Zyuranger, the Earth's dinosaurs were driven to extinction (save for two eggs by Bandora), dinosaurs were merely relocated to Dino Earth (shades of Black RX's Crisis Empire) where they continue to live. However Abaranger has turned Dino Earth into a wasteland of sorts and are now planning to destroy "Another Earth" which is Abaranger's version of our modern Earth.
Considering Naruhisa Arakawa is the writer of Abaranger, I already knew what to expect. So my first Arakawa work to see was Dekaranger then Gokaiger. Then I watched Kuuga after Gokaiger. After which, I watched the parody series called Akibaranger. In terms of Arakawa's headwriting jobs, Abaranger is my most recent work to see from start to end. I already knew that I'd be seeing some well-timed humor, weird humor, cheese and all... but he does it right. Arakawa sure knows how to have fun without being obnoxious. Abaranger made me sit through it while Kyoryuger didn't.
Abaranger's thunder is louder than Dino Thunder's for me. Arakawa knows how to write his characters better than Riku Sanjo did with Kyoryuger. They are lively but not obnoxious. Unlike Connor, Ryoga is a likable idiot. Yukito is indeed another Gai Yuki but don't worry, he lives through the end. For Ranru, well I feel like she's a hybrid of Billy and Kimberly as she is intelligent and attractive. Asuka as the only Saurian/Ryujin member (humans who were supposedly evolved from dinosaurs) plays an important plot in bridging both Dino Earth and Another Earth.
Abaranger somewhat hybridizes Gaoranger and Zyuranger. I did enjoy Gaoranger's multi-gattai concept and Gaoranger should be worth a watch. Abaranger though has lesser mecha and presents talking dinosaurs done right. The show's dinosaurs talk? Well, it's sort of weird but I do like how the show itself has these "weirdness" in it. The dinosaurs have their own personality and bonding. While Gaoranger did have a ranger/animal bonding, here the dinosaurs talk our language. The idea was later reused in Go-onger with their animal/vehicle hybrids. What I like about the dinosaurs is that they are more human than reptile. It feels like a bit of Land Before Time with them talking.
The Evorians were different from Bandora's gang. Like the Vyram, they were inter-dimensional foes. They have their upcoming "Lord of Darkness" Dezumozoryla who is the "Dai Satan" of this Universe, except he's far more active. They have their contempt towards humanity and seek to turn Another Earth into a wasteland with just like what they did on Dino Earth. They have Jannu (who is actually Asuka's brainwashed and crazy wife) and monster creators Voffa and Milea (who look like evolved bacteria)... with the child villain Rije who later accelerates her growth. Fortunately, they didn't speak a different language like the Grongi did.
Then we have Mikoto who is one incredible douchebag (and he's always annoyed when things don't go his way) for most of the series. As Shogo calls him, he plays a Killer Bored Game. He's seemingly perfect as he's got the good looks, the body, charisma, he's an outstanding doctor, as a child he's an outstanding student yet he is quite so evil. It's not explained at first why he's the way he is. For one, as a villain he certainly deserves to be in the list of most cruel ones. From the first episode to the next, he creates his own deadly game which is similar to Jun Shibaura/Kamen Rider Gai in Kamen Rider Ryuki but he also has the aspects of Takeshi Asakura/Kamen Rider Ouja. So he's bored and he carries on his cruel actions, even boss around the Evorians to the point they want him out. Later on, it's explained why he's cruel... because he has half of Dezumozoryla (which probably explains why he even wanted to crash Jupiter into Earth or why he suffers from fits of insanity) in him which plays an important plot of the show. I always thought his redemption felt too last minute even if it was explained by him having Dezumozoryla's other half which logically explains why he's almost perfect as a man.
Meanwhile, the show also gives a bit of a redo of Ryu and Maria. Unlike Ryu and Maria, it doesn't end badly nor is the love story focused on the main character. Instead, it is focused on Asuka who has lost his wife in battle. Jannu like Maria was once Mahoro and she was forcibly transformed into a cruel villain by the big bad, Dezumozoryla. Somehow the show is vague whether or not Dezumozoryla is really the father of Lije or Asuka's... since later on, Ranru mentions that Lije (who was reverted back to a baby) had Asuka's smile.
As the show goes on, Lije seems to blend parts of Gatchaman's Gel Sadora (a force-grown infant), the Jetman Manga's non-canon villain Ruma (who was force-grown from Ryu's and Kaori's daughter Aya while Inoue wrote that they had a son they named Gai, not a daughter they named after Aya), Gara (having existed as both good and evil selves) and Tran (she was later force-grown). She is the daughter of Asuka and Mahoro who was forcibly pulled from her mother's womb, later thought of to be Dezumozoryla's daughter but she was Asuka's daughter. She was the host of Dezumozoryla and as Lijewel, she became Mikoto's lover which creates pedophilia to Mikoto's villainy. Fortunately for her and her mother, they earned their happy ending. She was nearly killed but instead, she reverted back to her proper age towards the finale.
The events behind Abaranger also presents its own more active version of Dai Satan from Zyuranger. Unlike Dai Satan, Dezumozoryla is far more active as he doesn't require any summoning. Instead, he has spoke through Lije's body, he has even used Lijewel's body and he was at first incomplete. So to complete himself, he manipulates everyone and shows what an Eldritch Abomination with a god complex. So he's been destroying worlds and feeding on negative energy which he uses during the finale. He also tries to get his other half from Mikoto and when that fails, he shows he doesn't give up without a fight. He had passed through his first host (despicably combining Mikela and Zoffa into one being) and later, he tries to turn Earth into a barren desert. Fortunately, the Abarangers earned their happy ending even if it looked like (at first) that Ryoga and Yukito died - Arakawa does have a habit of making characters seem dead then gives you a pleasant surprise which he did in Megaranger (he wrote the finale) and in Kuuga (Yuusuke seemed dead but he was not surprisingly alive).
Well Connor (as much as I don't like him as a character due to him being loud-mouthed and obnoxious) from Dino Thunder is glad he decided to sit through Abaranger didn't he? On the other hand, Tommy Oliver may want to cross realities and do a study on Dino Earth huh?