My Personal (And Final) Thoughts on Ressha Sentai ToQGer
So I'll be presenting my personal and final thoughts on ToQGer as a Super Sentai season. Okay it's been two episodes of Ninninger (which it's too early for me to judge the show) but I'll be giving my thoughts on ToQGer (and maybe I'll soon ramble on Yasuko Kobayashi as soon as I'm done with Gingaman so I hope the subs will d be done).
Okay I can start with the characters. While they are not obnoxious and I can understand why they behave in a certain way. While they are not stiff like the Gobusters (a series I'd watch over ToQGer) or obnoxious like the Kyoryugers (makes dinosaurs glad they're dead), ToQGer offered some refreshing new characters. So they are powered by imagination in all their battles. Now I have nothing against that, I mean I do like Akibaranger. However the cast members here come nowhere close to the likability of Shinkenger. Shinkenger had a healthy balance of serious and fun tones as a lighter and softer show, I would say ToQGer failed to do so. I would explain what really happened with the show.
I'll admit that I would have come out pretty hypocritical considering I am a fan of Kamen Rider Kiva and I intend to finish Kamen Rider Wizard, I do like Go-onger (even if the show itself had problems), I find Boukenger to be a fun season (although I don't like it as much as I used to) and I dunno why I'm personally still having some load of problems with ToQGer. I don't mind horror elements used in a comical fashion, just do it properly. Sad to say but I feel like Yasuko Kobayashi either is burnt out or if she's still producing other works, just gave up writing a better story.
Warning! Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!
Again, the current problem of Sentai is too much mecha and well, Ohranger was the biggest toy commercial last 90s. The whole show had loaded more and more mecha, just for the sake of selling toys. Shinkenger had that problem so not that surprising here. Again, they are after toys and the problem is when mecha is just kicked in for toy sales. I guess this reality has made Kobayashi probably just "give up" on writing better stories or not.
Akira/ToQ-6's concept of being a member of the Shadow Line was interesting. However the idea for me got lame WHEN it's all self-deluded. He has the power to cause rain. Rain is not inherently evil, we all need rainy days to balance with the sun otherwise we'd all be dead. So really, if that's his only reason to join in then that's just bad writing. Why not really make him do something more guilt-worthy instead of just causing rain?! WTF!
Okay I have nothing against comical villains. I mean, Go-onger is a comical season and I like it (but not love it). I didn't have too much of a problem with the Gaiarcs and their idiocy, IMO they had better personalities. Shinkenger had some comical moments with the villains but it was well-balanced. ToQGer well at first the villains were okay but they felt bland later on. I would probably comment on one person I particularly dislike in ToQGer as a villain more than the others.
That's right... it's Emperor Zed. What I pretty much didn't like about this guy is not that he's a young monarch but that his obsession with things that shine is just STUPID just like a vampire that would love to go to the beach. I can understand how Ryuya's plot in Timeranger went from being an ally to a secondary antagonist for allowing the main villains to enter the year 2000 because he wanted to live, the obsession with things that shine for me is really a lame plot. When he arrived, I wanted him to really be obsessed with getting rid of things that shine, not collecting them. For an "emperor of darkness" he surely falls flat in being a scary, malevolent monarch except for a few moments like when he starts killing people who went against him or not having qualms of hurting a child just to get a balloon. But still, most of his actions are petty and shallow, although he did survive Noir's treachery but you can't deny that he's pretty much a disappointing big bad for me. Well he has awesome powers but still, that whole obsession with shiny stuff is just stupid and very stupid one way or another.
I felt like Emperor Zed really, really a disappointing villain in contrast to Kobayashi's previous villains like big bad scary Zahab, Dolnero even as a recurring big bad was badass hard to defeat, Doukoku had scary moments even if he does also get played for laughs, Kamen Rider Ryuki's villains were all dangerous (Ouja was a mass murderer, Gai played with the lives of others), Dr. Kiryu Maki in Kamen Rider OOO surpassed all the Greeeds in terms of depravity despite being a human himself (he freaking killed his own sister in his younger years like some killer in a slasher movie) but Zed?! The Fangire King of 1986 in Kamen Rider Kiva (Inoue season) had a better personality and story than the idiot emperor ever had. Okay I'm just biased so feel free to disagree with me.
I could also yap and yap again about the stories involved in ToQGer. Yes, the plots are usually out of pace or just focused on selling toys. Also, I thought that the idea of the ToQGers are really children stuck in the bodies of adults wasn't really my cup of tea. But at least, it explains their childish behavior and explain why they have vague memories. Even the finale was so rushed with people just getting killed. I would also admit that the final battle with Emperor Zed was lame... two of his trusted generals just merge with him, Right gets the energies of the others, Emperor Zed is defeated. However he is rescued by Grita who takes him. Presumably Zed is just in a coma like the Orphnoch King in Faiz (that plot was lame too). Well the ToQGers return back to their actual ages in the finale.
The staff behind ToQGer:
Yasuko Kobayashi herself as a writer was involved as a major writer in most Super Sentai seasons. She wrote 13 episodes of Megaranger then she became Gingaman's head writer. After that, she wrote 11 episodes of Gogo V then she proceeded as Timeranger's head writer. She wrote episode 28 of Kamen Rider Agito then became the head writer of Ryuki (where Toshiki Inoue wrote a good portion of the show) but it dropped the ball in the finale no thanks to executive meddling. Kamen Rider Den-O was her first time to try and dabble with comedy in Den-O like Inoue did with Kamen Rider Kiva which came out as funny shows which while I can like them but I can't call them true works of art. She became Shinkenger's head writer which for me was her first headwriting work I watched from start to end but as of late, the whole series for me isn't that great after seeing Timeranger (so any of my favorites there are no longer in my top ten favorites like Takeru Shiba and Mako while I like them, I can't really call them super). She was also Kamen Rider OOO's head writer which for me was my favorite Kamen Rider season from her. Then she became Gobusters' head writer as well. At this point, either Kobayashi has given up writing good stories due to executive meddling or she is really burnt out like what happened to two other talents, Toshiki Inoue and Hirohisa Soda.
At the same time Yasuko Kobayashi had help from Sho Aikawa (head writer of Blade and Boukenger) and Akatsuki Yamatoya (who was her co-writer in Shinkegner). I do like Sho Aikawa's shows Blade and Boukenger, just that he couldn't do the charm of Boukenger towards ToQGer. For some reason, I still like the cast of Boukenger even if those guys like they are high on alcohol when they are adventuring. For Yamatoya, I did like his episodes in Shinkenger but definitely not those in Gobusters. She could have used the help of Naruhisa Arakawa, Junki Takegami or Toshiki Inoue (go ahead and get mad). Or another, I even thought that Arakawa may have handled ToQGer better than Kobayashi. I mean, Arakawa has been better with how he does funny scenes than Kobayashi. Kobayashi is either hit or miss with her humor. I did like her humor in other series but not ToQGer.
Then the show had Takaaki Utsunomiya as its producer. I just thought for the man who produces Shinkenger and Gokaiger, ToQGer for me was a decline. For me the idea of wizardry (Kamen Rider Wizard) and trains isn't bad but the direction it took. ToQGer attempting on trains and imagination is not a bad idea, the premiere for me was good but the whole show wasn't all that worth remembering. Even if Utsunomiya was teamed up with Yasuko Kobayashi (they were the Shinkenger tandem), the charm Shinkenger had couldn't be rubbed into ToQGer. It's like acting Leonardo Da Vinci to paint another Mona Lisa just like his previous one. I might discuss on ToQGer and Shinkenger in another Rambling so be wary of it.
Overall, the show itself has me mixed overall and I don't think I can treat it the way I had biases over Kyoryuger. While I can't truly hate the show, but I really think this has to be where Kobayashi has really burnt out. In fact, I'd watch Kamen Rider Kiva or Kamen Rider OOO over this show. I still respect the fans but this show isn't just right for my taste.