Sentai Rambling: Beyond All Space And Timeranger, Beyond All Space And Time Force!
Timeranger and Time Force are viewed as popular seasons and perhaps another source of debate. I'll admit that Timeranger and Time Force are pretty much some cultural differences. Although both kept the theme of time travel but there were also some differences between two series. Again, this is sort of a bit of contrast of similarities and differences with Judd Lynn and Yasuko Kobayashi. Now this has the "battle against fate" as the "main villain" of both series.
So I just did a Gingaman/Lost Galaxy rambling on two well-loved seasons. I think Timeranger and Time Force also deserve the spotlight. I always felt like Judd Lynn and Yasuko Kobayashi are somewhat beloved by the fans of their respective franchises.
Warning spoilers ahead!
Mirai Sentai Timeranger, a Sentai for the new millenium
Timeranger itself is a pretty popular series in Japan and I dub it as a masterpiece. I thought about how Timeranger was pretty much an atypical Super Sentai series which worked with a charm. The story was about four people from the year 3,000 teams up with one man from the year 2,000 in a very time police setting. Just in case you didn't know this, the enemies they fight are ALIENS not MUTANTS. I don't know how this show may be with Power Rangers fans who watch Super Sentai considering that I've met people who prefer Lost Galaxy over Gingaman and I am pretty much the opposite even if both series have their own merits and demerits.
Timeranger's case is probably Kobayashi's Magnum Opus after Gingaman. The whole plot of Timeranger is trying to save the future and if you think about it, the real main villain is fate itself. The plot involves the destiny of the Timerangers especially with Tatsuya who must face his destiny to whether or not he should take over the business. The Asami family's three key members are Tatsuya, Wataru and Ryuya (who is from the year 3,000) and somehow, that family is plagued with issues. Tatsuya not wanting to be manipulated like a puppet joins the Timerangers although they are at first hesitant to let him join them.
The recurring villains of Timeranger are a crime family. One obviously non-human but not a mutant but the alien Dolnero, Lila who gets the trademark bitch attitude and the cyborg Gien. They have escaped to the year 2,000 hoping to establish their own criminal empire away from the Timerangers. What became their major shocker was when the Timerangers have entered into the era. They also hatch some rather ridiculous schemes to hold money via alien prisoners they release from cyrogenic prison. Dolnero himself was supposedly sentenced to freeze compress for a 100+ years (which is equivalent to life imprisonment) or perhaps for life because he's the most wanted criminal of that era. He escaped with the help of Lila and Gien with who he formed the Londarz Family. Criminals were to be captured and brought back presumably to avoid messing up with time.
I was thinking Timeranger's mecha were pretty cool looking and that you can assemble the Time Jets in three different ways as Time Alpha Robo, Time Beta Robo and Time Gamma Jet may have been a hard to repeat gimmick. We also had Time Shadow which can combine with either of the two robot modes of the Timerangers. The V-Rex Robo may have also gained a lot of toy sales. I wonder if Toei and Saban saw $$ on their eyes with the merchandise?
Power Rangers Time Force, Power Rangers a year after the new millennium
So I guess we can understand why Time Force took place in 2001, a year after the new millennium because Timeranger occurred during the new millennium. So we get another more serious than usual Power Rangers with Time Force which is again, I want to seriously rewatch it! Now we do get some very similar ones like Wesley is your American Tatsuya, Trip and Sion are both aliens and Jen is well, your bitch in pink but relax, she doesn't easily slap your face or punch you on the nose! The different rangers are well Katie is female and Domon is male or that Lucas doesn't suffer from any incurable disease to reduce any drama. Later, 9/11 would affect the show's direction. I just like this show less well... as said, I usually prefer Super Sentai over Power Rangers but I'll give credit where credit is due.
Another major add-on in Time Force is the creation of Ransik who was born out from some freak accident. My reaction is WTF he is practically Power Rangers' own version of Dr. Giba from Jiban. Ransik was a reject of humanity and he grows in bitterness, coldness and he wants to punish humanity in every act of revenge possible. What might not be allowed by producers is to make Ransik as cruel as Dr. Giba considering he has his hammy moments but he couldn't be underestimated. I mean, he really deserved the cryogenic freezing for starting a mutant/human war, a plot that was also similar with Kamen Rider Faiz's human vs. Orphnoch war but in its own way. Shades of X-Men anyone? Yes, Ransik is also the Magneto of this show! The actor Vernon Wells does a good job serving delicious portions of ham!
While I thought it was pretty awkward to change the alien monsters into mutants (visually speaking, you would think that they are really aliens) but I thought the concept was interesting. Ransik as the main villain was born out of a laboratory accident, shunned by humanity and he would grow these metallic (?) blades from his body and cause all sorts of mayhem. His aim was to really punish humankind for all the suffering it wrought to him. While it wasn't excusable but it was also interesting to try villains who use their tragedies to do the evil they do which was going against the standard of villains who just do what they do. The whole sub-plot was based on an ongoing mutant-human war which was not present in Timeranger but may have been inspired by Marvel Comics. You know, Marvel Comics did also inspire Toei so I don't see any reason why it wouldn't inspire Saban too which the subplot also called for in a lot of original footage for Time Force.
Differences in writing style and production
Like Lost Galaxy, you'll end up finding out Time Force isn't a carbon copy but ends up trying its best to be a different show. Sure it's based on Timeranger but still, you'll see there was much of a diligent effort to try something new while keeping some stuff in Timeranger in, it also took its own stuff. Now be ready for spoilers, told in a non-linear way.
I think one of the more obvious ones are the differences between Jen and Yuuri. If you notice both of them are stern and hard as nails. My problem with Yuuri is sometimes she can be overly such a bitch like when she slapped Domon or when she attempted to kill a Londarz prisoner. Well Jen had her bitchy moments too. In Yuuri's case, it was explained with the fact that her family was killed before her very eyes as a child. Jen lost her fiance Alex (who is Ryuya's counterpart) to Ransik. That scene made me think where's Jiban when you need him, oh wait wrong show!
When it came to the relationship with the red ranger, I also thought they were similar yet different. I thought that Timeranger in some way gave Tatsuya the chance to hug Yuuri more before the finale. In Jen's case, she was engaged to Alex (who happens to be Wesley's descendant) so she gets caught in a love triangle between her fiance and her ancestor?! Yuuri never had any romantic relationships with Ryuya. Yuuri's whole life was dedicated to capturing Dolnero but it was ruined at the moment the latter was fatally wounded by a berserk Gien. In Jen's case, she wants to turn in Ransik herself but later saw her supposedly dead fiance Alex alive maybe due to timeline changes when Ransik entered the past.
In terms of how the pink rangers split up with their red rangers, I thought Timeranger's finale was really sadder. In a way, Tatsuya was left without any more friends as Naoto was killed by a distant Zenitto. The other four Timerangers were forcibly pulled back and they had to return to a new 30th Century... where Tatsuya was hugging Yuuri as she was slowly pulled back to her time. In Jen's case, she was able to give Wesley something to remember her by. So neither red ranger got the pink ranger because of the 1,000 years gap. While Wesley still had Eric (who survived and it still makes sense), Tatsuya is later seen roaming around the city seeing doppelgangers of his friends realizing it isn't them. Still both are bittersweet endings.
I could also talk about the acting. I thought there was another bit of a bizarre coincidence between Mika Katsumura and Erin Cahill as both had their own acting experiences. In terms of acting, I tend to criticize them as stiff at the start but they gradually improved. In terms of acting bitchy, I think Mika Katsumura can pull it better. Erin Cahill also does her part well in her own way. I personally don' t want to compare them. Though honestly, I thought Mika Katsumura badly needed that punching bag scene that Erin Cahill had. Neither Yuuri or Jen however, turn me on in terms of appearance and I give them both a 7/10 rating appearance-wise.
I guess Time Force wanted to cut down on the drama and two, having a terminally sick ranger isn't really all that necessary. Lucas was more or less your average character in Super Sentai or Power Rangers. In Ayase's case, he is a man who is fated to die anytime soon from the Osiris disease. Rather than do nothing but wait for death, he chose to fight against the Londarz in any way he can. Both are race car drivers, the case of Lucas though is very atypical since you hardly get a ranger in both franchises with a terminal disease that's ready to kill them. Ayase does manage to survive the Osiris disease which I think, what if he was originally meant to die? What if Lucas was meant to have a terminal illness but the executives rejected the idea?
Katie and Domon is well, self-explanatory. Katie's more level-headed than Domon though. On the other hand, Domon is a professional wrestler who fights with fate. I mean, Domon must also face the fact that he can't turn back time to be with his girlfriend Honami. Katie was more or less typical as a character except she got strong thanks to genetic engineering.
Now I think this might be controversial on who's better between Eric Myers or his original counterpart Naoto Takizawa. I'll think Eric is a toned down Naoto. Naoto Takizawa is sort of like Hojo Toru in Kamen Rider Agito since he has his own personal agendas. Both characters were the anti-heroes of the show who you might see like Gai Yuki (Jetman) or Burai (Zyuranger) but there were some areas where I think Eric beats Naoto.
In due fairness, Eric did not try to take control of the City Guardians nor was he really all that crazy even if he was born poor. At times, I felt like telling Naoto things like, "Just because you were born poor doesn't give you the excuse to do what you do!" more often than not. Both of them start out as pretty cold characters who start to defrost as the series goes on. My issue with Naoto was not only did he try to take control of the City Guardians but also.. you may think of the time he wanted to exploit the Timerangers out of spite for Tatsuya.
There was also the plan that Eric was supposed to die but the script was scrapped off. Granted, Naoto's wound while trying to save two pet birds for a sick girl was really fatal, Eric's survival would be more believable than Naoto surviving. I mean Naoto's wound from a distant Zenitto bullet was really fatal... outside your suit, you are even more vulnerable. In Eric's case, he got into a deadly wound (which would still make sense if he died) trying to save both Wesley and his father. Now to talk about the unreasonable fathers.
Mr. Asami and Mr. Collins were written similar yet different from each other. I was thinking of how both of them actually make me want to uppercut both f*ckers in how they control their children's lives. It made me think maybe that's why Ryuya turned out the way he did because of this mistake 1,000 years ago. Both of them had some problems with their sons who ran off. While some events like Mr. Asami and Mr. Collins discovering their sons were red rangers were on, the way the finale handled them was different presumably due to the 9/11 crisis.
In Timeranger, Mr. Asami said, "No he is my son, he will definitely make it." while he was questioned about whether or not he should look for his son. I think Mr. Collins actually did a better job in the finale. I mean, he decided to put his mantle aside and SEARCH FOR HIS SON. I guess the original draft was that Mr. Collins would think like Mr. Asami did but due to executive meddling and circumstances, it was time to alter the script. I don't know what was really in the original draft but I think it was better that Mr. Asami would look for his son in the middle of the conflict. Both fathers also nearly died of a terrible accident... though in Mr. Collins' case, it was revealed that his descendant Alex Collins helped him recover.
When it comes to villainy, I really can't help but think that Ransik and Dolnero had their own individual differences. Ransik was a mutant mafia leader who wanted to punish humans for how he was treated but still that doesn't excuse his rather ill behavior. While Dolnero cared for his subordinates especially Gien who was going crazy, Ransik usually doesn't except for his daughter Nadira. I thought it was interesting how Ransik was a bitter guy through and through. In Dolnero's case, he does care about his subordinates and his real aim was to become the most powerful mafia in existence.
For Ransik, I really thought what he did to Dr. Ferricks (who later became Gien's counterpart Frax) was so uncalled for all because of his childish prejudice mutated to horrible levels of evil. So Ransik doesn't die and I thought it would have served him right if Frax went crazy and killed him in the process. I guess the writer wanted to explore his relationship with his supposed daughter Nadira. While he does kick the asses of the Time Force Rangers, nearly losing the very thing he loved caused him to turn himself in. However as said, I think would have been better if a totally berserk Frax killed him and Nadira turns herself in to atone for what she did. His redemption was too sudden don't you think?
So why was Dolnero's counterpart turned into a slob and comic relief named Gluto? If yo take a look at American comics like X-Men, notice most of the fat slobs aren't taken so seriously like Fred Dukes aka the Blob. Knowing Saban also had the permission to make the X-Men cartoon series based on the comics, I guess X-Men played some influence when it came to writing style. Gluto was made into an incompetent fat blob while Dolnero could really hurt someone. Theoretically speaking, I think while Gluto may not be able to beat Ransik but maybe, Dolnero could. I mean, Dolnero is a scheming mastermind and he might actually use a giant magnetic device to rip Ransik apart assuming the latter's bones were really made of metal.
Now drum roll because there might be a huge surprise between Alex Collins and his original counterpart Ryuya Asami. Now aside from the fact that Ryuya didn't have any romantic relationship with Yuuri, you can see how both characters are different. For those who have seen the series start to end, you might as well think that Ryuya had a deep, dark secret and that many fans of the series think he is the "true villain" with his actions. So how does Captain Ryuya differ from Captain Alex in execution style? Now both of them are the "other red" although spoiler, Captain Ryuya was also Time Fire.
In Timeranger, Ryuya reveals that a new future was about to be created and that he allowed the recurring villains to escape. Which made me think, was he just lousy or was he an opportunist? More like the opportunist considering that he was a hero wannabe of sorts. By allowing Dolnero and the villains to escape, by sending every Bandai merchandise needed for the Timerangers to win their battles, he was both an ally and an enemy. I personally want to insert the Overlord of Darkness music from Kamen Rider Agito with this guy. He wanted to cheat death without otherwise permanently changing the timeline. Which made me think after he was going to mindwipe the rangers, was he sending them back again? If I am think though, this guy still did some good compared to Masato Kusaka in Kamen Rider Faiz. Masato was a real asshole through and through while Ryuya still cared to do some damage control as the latter DID NOT give orders to the Londarz and I don't think he was directly responsible for Naoto's death either... he simply just allowed it for his selfish purposes.
In Captain Alex's case, I thought the guy entered in as such a douche when he came back to life under unknown circumstances. As you see, Alex supposedly died from Ransik's attack but maybe when the mutants escaped to 1,000 years prior, he was brought back to life in the process. His changed attitude was so sudden even for Jen. What made him different from Ryuya was how he was handled. Whether or not it was originally scripted to have allowed Ransik's escape and faked death that I don't even know. But I think the fact he allowed the Time Force Rangers to return back to the year 2002 without a fight (but he's a moron who nearly deleted his existence as well) made him better than Ryuya. In Ryuya's case, he was accidentally shot by Ayase. Ryuya revealed that he did all his actions because he just wanted to live, nothing more but shoot, Ryuya got promoted as second to the last boss thanks to his idiotic actions.
I always thought again, I am cornered by my personal opinions. That is, well Time Force is a good series for many fans. Some may say, "Time Force is better." or "Timeranger is better." depending on one's personal preferences or the third is, "I like them both just the same." which I am not that kind of fan since the more I watch Super Sentai, the harder it is for me to appreciate Power Rangers. I would say that both series somehow dared to be different in their own ways, resulting to some rather unique stories and concepts that might not be so easy to replicate. So what's your opinion on Timeranger and Time Force?