My Overall (And Personal) Thoughts On Ninninger
It's no secret I think Super Sentai is already having suffering from what I'd call a franchise fatigue. Ninninger just ended and we're having Ninninger vs. ToQGer coming up, Zyuohger is coming in (with it being the 40th Super Sentai, man do I feel old) and I really have a very mixed impression on the series itself.
Kento Shimoyama is still new to being a headwriter so I was wondering what kind of juice he'd pump in. But I guess the bigger problem might be Naomi Takebe (While she was responsible for some of my favorite Kamen Rider shows but I tend to really dislike her as a Super Sentai producer) as the producer or that the action directors involved aren't good at all. I could give another rundown into the series. Plus, aren't there any other themes that they can use already? It can be good to repeat a theme twice but more than twice, it can turn out pretty bad depending on who's in charge.
The series itself may have had the problem of lower ratings that started since Gokaiger ended. From where Go-Busters up to present - it's said that ratings started to suffer. I thought from the time that they started having guest stars here and there and it's not even an anniversary season, I thought of why did that happen int the first place? Instead of guest starring as completely different characters, you have Super Sentai seniors entering as their previously played characters and it's not even an anniversary season. We can understand Gokaiger doing that because the plot called for it with having all 34 Super Sentai series crammed into the 35th season. Ninninger didn't need to do that. I guess they even had to go as far as to get Jiraiya's actor Takumi Tsutsui or Teruaki Ogawa into the show. Did they try to attract older audiences? I can't really tell but it seems to be it.
It's nice to have fanservice for Super Sentai season. In the case of Ninninger, it's different than getting Sayoko Hagiwara and Junichi Haruta into the set as Souji's parents (they were NOT their Dynaman characters) or having older cast members act as new characters. I mean, I couldn't forget how I really love seeing old school cast getting cast as different characters in newer school Super Sentai or returning as older versions of their previously played characters in anniversaries.
In the case of Ninninger, I felt like getting Takumi Tsutsui to return as his character as an older version of Toha Yamaji/Jiraiya and Teruaki Ogawa to play Sasuke/Ninja Red was trying to boost up ratings. Did children not like it all that much? I felt like Kyoryuger did something better namely in introducing some dance gimmicks, colorful toys and even if I personally don't like that series, I felt like the marketing strategy of Kyoryuger was better than Ninninger. I guess the thought that if it worked in Gokaiger, it could work in Ninninger but it may have fallen to a slump instead.
I guess they weren't thinking that if certain Super Sentai seasons succeeded in operating outside of the VS. Timeline - then putting a series into the VS. Timeline doesn't necessarily generate success. Just think of how Go-Busters tried to put Gavan into its continuity. It was probably done to get some ratings but the series didn't get that much of a boost either. I guess they're all trying to milk the success of Gokaiger but only ended up not getting the success they wanted.
Whenever I look at Ninninger's real lack of do your own stunt scenes (the finale did have some of them) and yes while they do exist, but they are a hard find like ToQGer. Kyoryuger and Dino Charge have that necessary do your own stunt scenes. I always thought of the interview done by Chris Cantada when both Kazunori Inaba and Kei Shindachiya commented, "These days not much at all." Did they refer to Ninninger in contrast to Power Rangers Dino Charge? Did both legends watch it and find the show really disappointing? I can't tell but all I can feel is that Ninninger is really lacking in that department. Sure we've seen a few scenes but unlike most of the shows before ToQGer, this show really lacks the cast doing their own stunts before the stuntmen kick in. If this is what newer Super Sentai has to offer then it's change for the worse in that department.
I suspect there must have been some cost cutting measure but the cost of quality. I look at the budget at CGI and toys. Now it's nice to have some cool mecha for sale but I'm afraid it's hitting at full velocity. Back when multi-gattai was introduced last decade, I felt like there was really some plot involved even if sometimes, a new mecha just pops in for the sake of sales. But I think I can still give credit to how Gaoranger handled its multi-gattai or Boukenger introduced some of its new mecha because a certain situation called for it. But in Ninninger, the first set of mecha was really a full velocity near wholesale of toys. If most of the budget got too focused on CGI and toy sales, I guess that may explain why the Ninningers end up as what Inaba may say, "But these days, not much at all." How true.
Considering that Ninninger vs. ToQGer is coming up, I still feel the need to raise ToQGer up again. The difference between Ninninger and ToQGer in not having that much do your own stunts is in the plot. It's already hinted from the beginning the ToQGer were children in the bodies of adults so it's understandable. Meanwhile, Ninninger is a ninja Super Sentai but in terms of action scenes it fails to meet the standards of Kakuranger, Hurricanger and Power Rangers Ninja Storm. I guess, maybe that's why Inaba made that comment about the cast members doing their own stunts back then and not much these days in the interview video. Who knows? It's just my speculation that's why he ended up saying what he said.
As for the finale, I just thought that Kibaoni Gengetsu tends to be real joke after some time. Compared to Vulgyre in Fiveman who really gave the heroes a hard time, the finale just made a joke out of the Big Bad when he got easily defeated with just one mecha. He's just a huge joke compared to Chimatsuri Doukoku. I mean, what has he been doing all along? At least some bad guys who fully manifested in the finale arc still did something. Vulgyre in Fiveman was still commanding Zone as Meadow even with the hints only coming along later. Grandienne may have not been that active in GoGo-Five (because she was incomplete) but she was basically intimidating. N-Ma still used his body parts or whatever in Infershia's quest against the Magirangers. But no, not Gengetsu and I really felt like he was pretty underdeveloped.
The more I think about it, Ninninger is an entertaining series (at first) for me and I had more interest in it than when Kyoryuger came. I thought Shimoyama would be able to come up with something good. The series is passable but as far as I'm concerned, it looks like Super Sentai might really need a break after this year's Zyuohger. I hope Zyuohger under Junko Komura will try something new and try to be a step forward or Super Sentai may truly be history.