Sentai Rambling: There's No Perfect Super Sentai Season!
This might be the moment when I realized thatthere is NO such thing as the perfect Super Sentai...
Laugh, cry, scream, do whatever you want... but as said, there is really no perfect Super Sentai season! It's a problem by certain presumably hardcore Super Sentai fans to think that Super Sentai has no flaws, that Super Sentai gets better every year and the same goes for some presumably hardcore Power Rangers fans who think the same way about Power Rangers.
So why am I writing this? When I first started out this blog as a pretending to know it all and later realizing that I could practically destroy myself than I already did, I decided to finally to be myself and disclaim what I once claimed to be because it was a lie. In fact, events have convinced me to write the only series I watched from start to end and later, reconsider my actions as a writer. As said, the road to success is never always an upward path, you are destined to get critics of every kind... friendly, unfriendly, trolls, etc. and while some critics were pretty helpful, others are just plain mean. In fact, I might be a critic in some way considering that I am putting my opinions on how things should be done but I should stay professional as much as possible without mutating into a monster.
When I think about it, I became a Super Sentai purist, I was just full of pure biases. Yes, pure biases when I said, "Man, Power Rangers ruined my childhood. That's it!" I wanted to write this blog with some hate for Power Rangers without realizing, I could just stay neutral. Then I started watching some Power Rangers either on Cartoon Network, Cable TV or Youtube (heh Saban and Toei would do everything to hold their copyright claims to get those videos down, huehuehuehuehue) so really, I want to have some Power Rangers DVDs or borrow them from someone then some raw footages of Super Sentai, started reading fan sites (thinking that reading them was enough without watching the show)... I soon started to think, "Well both sides have their pros and cons."
Chojin Sentai Jetman... still number one in my heart even if there are better seasons like Maskman and Dairanger...
Even I show some degrees of criticism towards my favorite Super Sentai seasons...
When I think that there's no perfect Super Sentai series, I really discovered I am also a nitpicker myself even if I have the tendency to get mad when I'm not nitpicked at. So what's the point? I'll admit Chojin Sentai Jetman is my favorite Super Sentai but I say, that series is overrated by a lot of its fans and I am guilty of it. It was very popular with Toshiki Inoue as its head writer (sad to say, he didn't head write any more Super Sentai) who was also responsible for Kamen Rider Agito but he later undid himself because he probably gave up no thanks to the current management of Toei. Yes, Jetman is a huge fan favorite among many people. I'll even admit I was thankful that Saban didn't get the rights from Toei to turn Jetman into Power Rangers because I felt like he will "ruin it".
I'll admit there are other series better than it. If I want to talk about other series that I think are better than it, I might say Gosei Sentai Dairanger and Hikari Sentai Maskman are better written every series still has its own problems. Just to state the Captain Obvious, no Super Sentai is spared from its problems and I could talk about Jetman itself. I felt like as good as Inoue wrote the series, I still felt like that the series had some problems not only on the writer's part but also on the production part. I might actually name one problem namely the way Gai Yuki was ultimately written off. It took me decades to accept that he died because he truly deserved to die a heroes' death, not death by some random mugger. Yeah I know even after Vyram falls, there's still crime, no need to state the obvious right? I felt like Inoue just loves to troll his viewers especially with how he wrote Hojo into Kamen Rider Agito or Masato as a secondary villain in Kamen Rider Faiz.
Maybe one thing I can accept is that, no matter how much I really like Ryu Tendo/Red Hawk in Jetman, I still couldn't help but agree with the character's lack of acting. Yes it's Kotaro Tanaka and I felt like no matter how much I really love Red Hawk and he's still on my top books, I always felt like there were scenes that Tanaka could have been better. Sometimes I even think like I'm either playing my Great Professor Bias cards again. If I am to confess about acting quality, I always felt like Kazunori Inaba (Ryosuke Kaizo's real name) did a much better job as Takeru/Red Mask than Tanaka did acting as Ryu Tendo/Red Hawk in Jetman. I guess that sort of points out the fact I am now accepting the fact that even my favorite series has flaws.
Perhaps another favorite of mine is Gosei Sentai Dairanger and I love this series. A lot of this series tried to do something new, better characters than Zyuranger and I think based on individual merit, Dairanger stands on its own. Some may want to think it's better than Jetman which they are free to say and personally, while Jetman is my top favorite, I think Dairanger was a more interesting series than my top favorite. Funny huh? Then again, people always have their reasons why they want to stick to certain Super Sentai series as their number one even if they know there are better written episodes. My love for Jetman is at a very personal level and I hope I'm not just a bandwagoning weibo which I tend to ride on other people's opinions for the sake of popularity, rather than make my own stand even when it's not popular. I guess the same can go for why I like Dairanger, it's again at a very personal level since some people don't think of it as a great series while I still do.
I could really go ahead and talk about all the "HIYA!" of Dairanger, how it sounds better than the "Hwa-hya-haaaa!" of Power Rangers. I really love the Chinese theme that Dairanger has, all the awesome martial arts, cool mecha and complex plots. Perhaps I could go and talk about how much I felt sad with the Daigo's love for Kujaku, how I felt like Kou was a better child ranger than Justin andthe Ryou vs. Jin rivalry written by Toshiki Inoue, I could talk a lot about the complex plots. In fact, a lot of Dairanger really focused on martial arts at the highest level for me, Maskman was a great series but Dairanger for me achieved where Maskman failed and while I do like Gekiranger for its plot elements, Dairanger for me still beats that show. No matter how cool a series is, I really find myself becoming a nasty nitpicker when things don't go my way.
So what do you think am I having some criticisms towards this awesome series for? I always felt like no matter how much I like Shadam, I always felt like "Screw it! Rintaro Nishi tends to make Shadam look like a Three Stooges foil! Daisuke Tachi, the actor who played Radiguet should be a much better trip!" I really felt Shadam as much of a badass villain he was, had some quirks like I always felt like Nishi was nowhere near as badass as Tachi in playing a psychopathic, manipulative villain or two, it's the Jetman effect for me because Tomite Naruse and Mikiko Miki were also in the season. I even felt like that the plot twist at the end wasn't so well-explained either. I also felt like did the producers really force the ending while the late Noboru Sugimura had a much better ending? I think so too just like how I felt like Kamen Rider Ryuki's original script got hit by EXECUTIVE MEDDLING! Sigh, why didn't the directors get Daisuke Tachi to play as Shadam?! Well you know, those nitpicks I do under the tag "Wishful Thinking"?
Toshiki Inoue... a writer who I am pretty mixed about!
Even the best writers for Super Sentai may have had bad beginnings, practically undid themselves or just burn out after some time
I always thought that maybe if I have any favorite writer for Super Sentai, I think my favorite mention is Hirohisa Soda who for me really is hail to the king. I know I like other writers like Toshiki Inoue, Yasuko Kobayash, Naruhisa Arakawa and the late Noboru Sugimura but I still can't help but mention him. From his works, the ones I'm most familiar with are Bioman, Maskman, Liveman, Turboranger and Fiveman while I've seen glimpses of Goggle V, Dynaman, Changeman and Flashman here and there, hoping to see more of them. I always thought of how Soda's writing style may have given an idea on how later writers can do their works. When I think about Turboranger and Fiveman, I hear those seasons were results of Soda on a burnout considering that he wrote nine seasons straight as the head writer. At the same time, Toshiki Inoue started doing some episodes with Flashman, Maskman, Liveman, Turboranger and Fiveman and he would also later write Chojin Sentai Jetman.
Aside from Inoue, I felt like Yasuko Kobayashi is also a worthy mention. She had a one episode involvement in Janperson and Kamen Rider Agito. In between, she was also responsible for some Megaranger episodes which I thought were truly Mega. She would get involved with writing her two bigger masterpieces Gingaman and Timeranger while getting involved with writing some episodes for other series like GogoFive (When's the sub's coming out?!) and if I can remember she was also responsible for my favorite Boukenger episodes to the point, I think she should have been its head writer, if not Arakawa. She was also the headwriter of the fan favorite Shinkenger which for me isn't really a masterpiece compared to her two other works and I do like Kamen Rider OOO. However she also wrote other works I found to be "problematic" such as Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Den-O, Gobusters (which I think is the best of her worst) and ToQGer... NEVER MIND! Like Inoue, I think it's like she's given up writing better stories due to the current management of Toei.
Naruhisa Arakawa himself wasn't all that with a good start. When I rewatch some Jetman episodes, either they were just okay but that Dryer Jigen episode has been viewed by some as very horrendous by some fans. Back then, I didn't really care to much about it when characters go out-of-character or proper characterization until the more I started to observe my own mistakes and other writers' mistakes. So as said, I wrote a really horrible fan fic due to my high ego problems or two because of a sake-related incident at a Korean restaurant. I just didn't expect him to have written those Jetman episodes but later, he would write Kamen Rider Kuuga, Abaranger, Dekaranger (my favorite), Gokaiger and Abaranger plus, I felt like he should have been assigned to write ToQGer. I mean, he knows humor better than Kobayashi or Inoue does. Really, what was really in the management's heads to put Kobayashi and not Arakawa in charge of ToQGer?
When you think about the writer's learning process, it's never always up nor always down. You might even find a lousy piece of writing from a good writer. There are writer's blocks, burnouts or well, "That's it! I give up!" scenarios that may contribute to why some good writers end up practically undoing themselves. For writers with bad starts, they may have that inner self-discipline that help them conquer their self-indulgence (which I am prone to and tends to ruin my work and hence, the word "hic" appears a lot). When I think about the writing process, not everybody started out right and some people who start out good can end up bad. So it's really up to me to learn things from other people's works. I'll say that in writing, I am taking the path of a person who must continue to learn as much as possible.
The Timerangers... so there's a real complex battle with fate when it comes to the fate of later series after them!
Super Sentai post-Timeranger ain't that good as old school for me
I just thought that while I am freaking, waiting for GogoFive subs (I've seen some raw and so far, so good but subs would be better) I could talk about how my reactions are. So I started seeing Timeranger with bad quality videos then later, in Portugese subs (and having to use my super duper limited knowledge of the language) and well, hopefully I'll see better quality videos in the future. But I could actually talk more about how things are when I'll admit that I've seen more post-Timeranger subs than the pre-Timeranger subs. I'll mention a few shows since I haven't really seen all the shows from start to end, I am still expecting from proper Hurricanger subs though I feel that I won't like it as much as Liveman.
When I started looking more into 90s Super Sentai and well, rewatching Maskman, I always thought about the quality for me was better with old school like more developed plots and action scenes. Back then, most of the cast did really better stunts. For post-Timeranger, I always thought most of the stunt scenes were pretty much in par with Power Rangers, that is you get to see it but no more of the "WOW!" impact that I used to have. Just my thought that after watching Dairanger, I really miss having all those really badass stunts and not the Power Rangers-ish type of stunts post-Timeranger series. That time, Power Rangers and Super Sentai are getting in par with moderating violent scenes and the tone of the series except for cultural differences. Abaranger and Dino Thunder seem to be proof of the cultural line between the two shows.
Dekaranger may be a unique series on its own but I felt like the series wasn't all that good with action scenes. I do love Hoji's fight scene in Dekaranger, I really still feel like, "Man are we just going to keep getting Jason David Frank-ish (a slang term I made for fight scenes that are passable but could have been better) fight scenes?" As much as Hoji is my favorite Dekaranger, I always feel like my other favorite blues are better. Want a better blue? I thought Ken Hoshikawa's suitless victory against Amoeba Jin in Fiveman was a real badass moment. I think a lot of Yuuji's fight scenes in Ohranger are far more impressive. Even my lesser favorites like Dan in Zyuranger and Shoji in Dairanger for me do better fight scenes than that. Yes the series had some action but may fail to meet the standards of 80s to 90s.
Gekiranger had loads of martial arts, it paid tribute to legendary martial artists in the person of fist saints but as love to say it, doesn't really meet the impact that Maskman and Dairanger had as a martial arts series. Sure I love the gimmick of the weapons, the out of suit action but I thought Maskman and Dairanger have a lot more of "WOW" moments than this otherwise badass series. Badass but not badass enough for my taste. While I may say that their mentor Miki Masaki has shown more badass moments than Aya Odagiri in Jetman, I still feel the series isn't really all that awesome compared to the 80s or 90s Super Sentai but it's still definitely a must watch. Just because I like a show less doesn't mean I won't recommend it. When I think about it, it's just like that even if I like siomai less than xiao long bao, it doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend my friends to eat siomai.
From what I hear, Shinkenger itself is a very popular series though I think that show gets more credit than it deserves. True it's a samurai theme but I felt like the show wasn't all that badass. I know you've got lot of civilian stunts but it's IMO, as I call it, Power Rangers-ish. I even felt like Shinkenger's lack of a true flaming sword stunt is a weakness. As much as I like the characters and even Genta, I always felt like the cast isn't all that kickass either but they are good in their own right. In terms of cast, I still think that Kazunori Inaba's Takeru holds a brighter flame than Tori Matsuzaka's Takeru... I mean who remembers Kazunori breaking bricks and wooden boards in Maskman? When I think of Mako's focus episodes, while Rin Takanashi can act but I feel like her action scenes are more or less similar to Amy Jo Johnson's action scenes, that is passable but never enough to make me go wow compared to older pinks like Momoko in Maskman or Rin in Dairanger. Kotoha may be a cute bruiser but I don't think she's as great as Ako in Jetman. We never saw Tori do any block breaking or really badass scenes in Shinkenger! Sad to say but I feel like most people tend to treat the series for eye candy than for the show being a decent seasonwhich is stupid.
Speaking of stunts, I thought of the interview that Chris Cantada had with both Kazunori Inaba and Kei Shindachiya, I thought of the lines that both former actors said about Power Rangers. Based on the translation, Kazunori said, "From what I heard, present day don't really do much of their own action. However the guys over on Power Rangers do a lot of their own action/stunts. During our times we would do all our stunts right? While these days not much at all. In that respect Power Rangers is much better." I will admit that the answer caused some Super Sentai purists to be in denial or what but I'll admit, Ninninger doesn't have the cast do much of its own action and Goseiger suffered from that problem. I'll also admit that ToQGer was pretty weak when it came to action scenes. As much as I'm not all that impressed with the stunts of series prior to Goseiger and Power Rangers in general, I think Power Rangers' cast still has that advantage even if I am not a huge fan of the series. However, Power Rangers may soon reach that decline period too.
Why do I feel that the action scenes and tones were well... toned down? My speculation is that maybe Timeranger was too dark and they wanted something lighter. Gaoranger came in with lighter themes then again, remember September 11, 2011 aka the World Trade Center incident? So I guess lighter themes had to come again, something similar to what happened in 1995 with Ohranger when the Sarin Gas incident and earthquake happened during its airing or for Power Rangers in 2001, Time Force was forced to tone things down due to the aftermath. I guess it also has to do with changing times that Super Sentai had to tone down with violence and dark tones. I believe with that having taken effect from 2001 up to 2011 may have been the cause for Gobusters' bad reception, again it's just me speculating than actual facts okay?
One is so moe... the other is really hot... either way I'm so gonna "die"... but I'm choosing the second one... HUEHUEHUEHUEHUE!
Both Super Sentai and Power Rangers always have their pros and cons, deal with it...
Whether you like it or not, there are PROS and CONS in Super Sentai and Power Rangers. Now as of late, I don't like Power Rangers for most of its run but I don't hate it. While I do get tempted every now and then to say, "It's Power Rangers' fault!" or not blame Toei for its overall existence but I realized, the TV stations are to blame. But again, I really hate Tokusatsu dubs considering that I feel like that they tend to be worse than my lack of charisma.
Maybe I can really talk about the time I was in denial when I was watching Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (raw) and later subs, then I don't know if I'll get the DVD soon enough to show my support considering my Super Sentai fire is really not as hot as it used to be. So I could talk a few matters of everything. Some people prefer Zyuranger over Mighty Morphin' and vice versa. I really can respect all that opinion with valid defenses. I could present the pros and cons that each side can have and maybe I'll mention about a few series I felt like did some things better. I really can't help but think, "Hey only if this was in the other side instead of this side!" in my mind.
The same can go for certain seasons for Power Rangers and Super Sentai. I always love doing th eGingaman/Lost Galaxy and Time Force/Timerangercomparison which are all series I have respect for but out of bias, I like the Super Sentai counterparts better but I can't deny that the Power Rangers counterparts have done some things better in my point of view. If I want to name anything good about the Power Rangers counterparts, I will just give where credit is due even if I have my Great Professor Bias cards in my sleeves. I might get shot for this but I personally thought Lost Galaxy was innovative to move out of the Earth scenario for once, something that might have not been so well received by other Power Rangers fans. I also thought Gingaman could have kept the tribal motif but should have gone Star Trek style. But as said, you can't have everything at once right? In terms of acting, I think Erin Cahill manages to do better than Mika Katsumura and at the same time, her character Jen tends to be less bitchy than Yuuri or some events in Time Force were better done than in Timeranger. I also like the idea of the mutant/human war in Time Force which I think was a very important message against racism.
What I may also love to point out is other ways in how Power Rangers can be better than Super Sentai at times. While I don't really care too much about Power Rangers and I'm or less the casual fan and again, I am more or less a casual fan to Super Sentai these days, I still want to give credit where credit is due. I think the idea of having a multiracial team in Power Rangers is something where Super Sentai doesn't have. I may also raise up the issues that Power Rangers as a franchise seldom has better toys than Super Sentai does. But again, I'm not too particular about toys either. Besides, I can also say that I still prefer the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Super Nintendo game over the Zyuranger NES game. I'm just weighing whatever pros and cons there may be.
Not having a perfect series actually allows more diversity and innovation in the future. When you think about it, some of today's successes are based on past failures. Just like how Naruhisa Arakawa did struggle when it came to writing his Jetman episodes but later, he ends up writing some of my favorites namely Kamen Rider Kuuga, Abaranger and Dekaranger though I'm not much of a Gokaiger fan. In fact, since everybody has flaws then it's always better that while you should expect a good Super Sentai series but there is NO such thing as the perfect Super Sentai season. Besides if there was a perfect Super Sentai season, I doubt it I would be sharing my positive and negative opinions in the first place.