Chojuu Sentai Liveman: Exploring The Darker Side of Science!
While watching Liveman, what impressed me about the series was the very idea of the dark side of knowledge aside from the fact that majority of its conflicts are drawn from human characters. The series starts with three rangers and midseason, they are joined by two more rangers to complete the Liveman team. Now I would like to explore on the darker side of knowledge in Liveman. Science itself is a vital power but when used wrongly, it create serious consequences and eventually backfire on the person who misuses it.
The whole start of Liveman begins in Academia where the three main heroes Yuusuke, Joh and Megumi join in order to help humanity. Their three former friends Kenji, Rui and Gou however had one day enough of the idea of science to help humanity. What the Livemen didn't know at that time, was the wicked scientist known as Great Professor Bias had begun recruiting people to join Volt. A battle for the great power of science begins with Liveman's struggle with how Volt uses science vs. how science should be used.
What amazed me was that Volt was mainly ran by humans and Great Professor Bias who somehow embodies evil science. The three new recruits namely Kenji, Rui and Gou are renamed into Kemp, Mazenda and Obular each representing some area of evil science. Kemp is the representation of manipulating biology (Yutaka Hirose's Flashman character was a result of genetic experiments), Mazenda represents the idea of discarding humanity for robotics (similar to Bioman's theme of robotics vs. life) and Obular is the young genius who tries everything to please Great Professor Bias. The students only yearn to please their new "god" Bias who has been manipulating events behind the scenes for some time.
Warning there are spoilers so read at your own risk!
When we think of the Liveman's struggles, the beginning of the show summarizes what you should expect for the rest of the season. The Livemen use ethical science while Volt uses science in their mad quest for world domination. Science allows one to use technology or applied science but when misused, it becomes a dangerous force. The Livemen have no choice but to battle Volt and stop them from doing their sinister experiments in their quest to take over the world. Kemp's experiments were to manipulate life, Mazenda uses the weaknesses of human emotions and Obular who just wanted to prove himself.
What intrigued me the most was Gou/Obular's early departure and late return. It's discovered to why he joined Volt was no thanks to an overbearing mother. But that's where he also learns to forgive and that science should not not only for selfish ambition but also for personal vendettas. However Gou's departure and return were not for nothing as for some time, he sought redemption for his crimes and found life's meaning in religion. He also showed the idea that science and technology without regard for life, humanity and God is a foolish and vain, no matter how intelligent one is, Volt was indeed becoming stupid with its regard for only science without consideration of what Gou later embraced in the series.
Later events in the show could continue to show how the darker side of science eventually backfired at Volt. For instance, after Gou left, Great Professor Bias found the perfect experiment in Arashi Busujima who was ridiculously poor in Math. Arashi became the latest general through artificial intelligence became Ashura the mad-bomber thug. This of course later provided a symbolism of easy come and easy go intelligence. To gain true knowledge, you cannot just take the short cut and Ashura's story had learned it the very hard way. He would later blow himself up as revenge after he had lost all the intelligence that was instantly put into his brain.
During Gou's return, he wanted to assure peace towards his fallen comrades which worked its way towards Mazenda. Mazenda was obsessed with removing humanity that she slowly converted herself into a cyborg until she was fully mechanical with whatever quack science she had. However she soon lived to regret her actions to how it led to her tragic death and last minute repentance. What was really amazing was how Gou showed Mazenda that it wasn't too late to attain forgiveness. I was thinking her death in a graveyard was again showing how their evil science was't going anywhere and her last minute redemption.
This would lead to Kemp's final battle where he showed how he was blindly foolish. I mean, no proper student would allow his professor to get his brain for a mentor's selfish ambition right? When Kemp finally bowed down and allowed his 1,000 point brain to be taken, it was symbolic of fully casting off one's humanity. However for some reason, he soon rebelled as a ghost, which may assume that the other victims were once loyal disciples ended up rebelling against Great Professor Bias. Again, it showed how the darker side of science may at first be fulfilling but its pleasures are indeed fleeting leading to Great Professor Bias' death.
In the end, I thought Great Professor Bias' death was really symbolic to the show's darker side of science. His death in front of a cross he previously had Yuusuke tied to, was somehow symbolic of how his godless views of science ended up as his downfall. Everything collapsed with him, unaware of what's going on may have showed how his delusions ended up as his downfall. It also showed how science if misused and how if one becomes arrogant with science, may soon end up in a real painful death. In fact, I felt like the whole death of Bias symbolized losing his own dark, twisted soul while the triumph of the Livemen was the triumph of science that had love, friendship and that "Science without conscience is the ruin of the soul." as quoted by French author, François Rabelais.