Sentai Rambling: My View on Naruhisa Arakawa as A Head Writer!
So I can say I've seen all of the series from start to end mentioned above in the following order. My first Sentai to watch from start to end with Naruhisa Arakawa as the head writer was Dekaranger, Gokaiger was the second Sentai series. In between, I watched Kamen Rider Kuuga. After Kuuga, I watched the comedy series Akibaranger but I was hesitant to do so until I realized it has the weird humor that I love. The last would be Abaranger.
Before becoming a headwriter, Naruhisa Arakawa was involved in writing some episodes for Jetman, Zyuranger, Dairanger, Kakuranger, Carranger, Megaranger (he wrote the finale instead of Junki Takegami), Gingaman, Gaoranger and Hurricanger. After Hurricanger, he became Abaranger's head writer. Just a note, I always thought his first Jetman episode was pretty funny which would have probably been smoothed out by the time he was involved with most episodes with Yatsudenwani in Abaranger.
Instead of talking about the shows chronologically, I would talk about them in the sequence of how I saw them. Remember, I will also insert my afterthoughts per entry as well. Now be ready for this writer's rambling... once I've seen Gingaman, I will proceed with rambling on Yasuko Kobayashi. For the meantime, I'll ramble on Naruhisa Arakawa.
If you don't want to be spoiled, I suggest you don't go down any further!
Tokosu Sentai Dekaranger
Dekaranger is the first of the works that I have seen from Naruhisa Arakawa as a head writer. This season did have Arakawa write 27 episodes, Junki Takegami wrote 15 episodes and the Michiko Yokote trio wrote 8 episodes. So I'm not all too familiar with Takegami considering I haven't seen GogoV completely and I've only seen Megaranger and Go-onger. But I'll just talk a bit of how this season affected me personally.
The season itself had a lot of cheesy humor and it got me to know Arakawa's style of writing as well as a taste of Takegami. The series was a detective show that was very atypical to Sentai. In what way? You didn't have an enemy organization and the Big Bad (Abrella) instead worked for the monsters of the week (in the form of alien criminals). Plus, Abrella didn't always show up but was working behind the scenes either working for the criminal of the week or causing trouble elsewhere. I thought the structure of the show (main producer was Hideaki Tsukada) was a stroke of genius for Arakawa.
Also, this was the time I got introduced to how Arakawa writes finales. It introduced his, "Wait I thought he was dead finale." Dekaranger's finale made it look like that Doggie Kruger died. The Dekarangers thought they had avenged their death. But wait, Doggie turned out to be alive and later recovers after the Dekarangers kicked Abrella's sorry ass for good. As of late, this is still my favorite Arakawa as headwriter Sentai season.
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
I wasn't so familiar with Arakawa by the time I saw this show. Gokaiger for me was a season that was a season long crossover. Instead of regular Earthlings, you have a team of humans from other planets going to fight the Zangyack. I thought that this series was a fun season long crossover. But I did have some problem with the series. The more I saw Arakawa's other works, I thought the show had one main problem... the VILLAINS.
Yes the villains. Maybe I'm way too used to seeing the villains of past seasons. My problem was that the main villains, the Zangyack were just too typical for Sentai villains. I felt like that neither Warz Gill or Ackdos Gill really did anything different than your typical Sentai villains. While Sentai isn't complete with the "stupid plan of the week" but most of Gokaiger's villains were hardly threatening. Basco on the other hand really stole the show, manipulating events and getting written off in such a satisfactory manner.
Maybe Gokaiger is a season long crossover but... I felt like Gokaiger as of late is my least favorite Sentai with Arakawa as the headwriter. In fact, I would say I still like Boukenger over Gokaiger for having better villains IMO. On the other hand, I still like Gokaiger for its nostalgic value which was done better than Power Rangers Megafail.
Kamen Rider Kuuga
Okay this isn't a Super Sentai season but technically, this is my third show where Naruhisa Arakawa was the headwriter even if this was his first job as a headwriter. Okay, I'm not that huge a Kamen Rider fan but I'll probably ramble about it here. Arakawa's first headwriting job was with Kamen Rider Kuuga. Although I didn't immediately warm up to it but a second rewatch made me appreciate it more. I thought that Arakawa wasn't afraid to experiment and deviate (ex. Kuuga must use objects to create his weapons rather than the standard Kamen Rider modus operandi of materializing their weapons) while introducing mysteries that slowly unwrap as the series gets by.
I would admit that this show made me dislike the Gokaiger villains more. Again, Heisei era Kamen Rider villains don't operate like Showa era Kamen Rider villains (whose modus operandi were like Sentai villains aka launch a lot of mostly stupid plans with their monster-of-the-week to achieve their organization's goal). Instead, the Grongi played a deadly game called "Gegeru" and the nightmare fuel here was really great. Arakawa's writing of the mysteries and plots of the show was so good, I don't have to scratch my head why Kamen Rider Kuuga is such a popular season. On the other hand, I viewed this show as the framework on how Heisei era Riders would be written. It also showed his habit of making finales look like it was a bad ending then... revealing the hero survived after all!
Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger
So people who read my blog know how I was hesitant to watch this show until I saw the pretty Maaya Uchida. However, I'm glad I didn't enjoy the show for Maaya Uchida's sake. On the other had, it was a parody show with two seasons namely Season One and Season Tsuu. The whole show parodied real life stuff too. It was two seasons mostly focused on well-timed humor, parodying Sentai in itself and even dared to write a tragic ending for Season Tsuu (the Akibarangers died in a very comical way).
I would admit Akibaranger sort of challenged my sense of humor. My favorite sense of humor would involve blatant silliness or people being in awkward situations. Akibaranger's humor felt very well-timed for me. Every last step of Akibaranger challenged me to try and master how to write humor. At the same time I was encouraged to explore the world of delusions.
Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger
For the series that was Arakawa's first headwriting job, this series was my last of Arakawa's headwriting work in Sentai to be seen from start to end (up to present). I thought this show was an amazing dinosaur season. I loved every bit of Abaranger especially Mikoto Nakadai. I always thought Mikoto was an interesting character but sadly, his redemption wasn't that well-written. On the other hand, the show's lighthearted approach or the jokes of the show, made it a fun season for me.
Abaranger felt a bit of a more true dinosaur season. While I do like Zyuranger better (and I admit I had pre-conceived biases towards the show thanks to Zyuranger) but the show was worth its watch. I mean, as much I dislike (not hate) Dino Thunder but Connor's end episode reaction was something I could relate to. The show itself had a lot of fun plots and the right balance of lighter themes and darker themes. Plus, it was amazing to think that Arakawa wrote both Kuuga (a darker, more serious series) and Abaranger (a lighter, less serious series). The more I watched this show, the more I thought he and not Yasuko Kobayashi should have been ToQGer's headwriter.
So far, I'll be looking forward to see Arakawa do another Super Sentai season as a headwriter.