Five Factors That May Contribute To Why Action Scenes Have Been Less Badass From Carranger Up To Present
It may be a good idea to take a look at the 40 years of Super Sentai with how they did with action scenes. While Zyuohger like a huge chunk of Super Sentai from Carranger up to present have action scenes but they aren't like the ones I love from old school Super Sentai. I want to make this speculation to what led to a reduction of the quality of action scenes. I have to remember I'm not watching Wuxia films and series but Super Sentai while I'm writing this post.
During Ohranger, a lot of budget may have been allotted for training the cast members in their fight scenes. Ohranger's really terrible reception happened due to two major disasters that year. It's probable that after Ohranger, it's highly probable that Toei suffered losses from Super Sentai that time. I guess that's why I keep hearing Ohranger also nearly cancelled Super Sentai due to all the retooling caused by the sarin gas incident and a massive earthquake. I may have a soft spot for the show's badass action but I can't deny that much of the show ended up focusing on selling merchandise instead of storyline for the sake of selling toys. The show may have even cost a lot of money during the filming process. I guess this is one of those times when you need to reconsider your next course of action. I felt like Ohranger was a big lesson on not expecting too much on next year's Super Sentai but instead, taking a more conservative approach in one department and that you need to give up something in every decision you make.
Now I'd like to give a list of reasons why I think action scenes aren't as badass as they used to be prior to Carranger. I hope this helps in showing another angle of Super Sentai's decision making process for business reasons. I may not like the new shows as much but I still feel like that I can support the newer changes when it comes to sustainable entrepreneurship.
1.) Allocating more budget for the Research and Development department to make collectibles for children
Since Super Sentai is a children's show then shouldn't the focus of the show be on collectibles for children? I felt like that became even more of the focus from Ohranger then Carranger started that trend. Turboranger had a lot of good action scenes but I wasn't too fond of the mecha designs. Carranger managed to do better with more innovative mecha (and some more consistent writing) at the cost of having lesser quality action scenes than Turboranger. In this case, a good writer and a good producer can properly advertise every collectible needed with a good story arc while a lousy one ends up making them the reason why the story went bad. Some do good in introducing every new mecha while others just do a very horrible job. It all depends in writers and producers.
2.) Time constraints like you've got a lot deadlines to meet and allotted screen time
Time constraints are really that much of a problem. As said, time waits for nobody so be on time. Producers and writers have deadlines to meet. There's a time limit for the shows because commercials will be aired in between when they'll get their air time. When you consider the screen time, mecha battles tend to eat a good portion of the show. I'd estimate around 20% of the show gets devoted to the mecha battle segment. So how in the world are you going to film more intense action scenes? I guess that explains why Goranger had more time to do more action scenes because the innovation of the giant robot wasn't added yet. Battle Fever J up to Changeman only had one giant robot so it wasn't much of a constraint. Flashman and Maskman didn't have that much of a constraints since both robots took turns in later episodes. Then from Liveman up to present, a lot of mecha gimmicks were created along the way such as primary and secondary robots combining or the ongoing multi-gattai phenomenon also eat up more screen time. So it's understandable why action scenes have to be reduced. I mean, you can't ask time for wait for you right?
3.) Focus on writing a good story
Having good action scenes don't necessarily produce a good story. It's nice to enjoy action scenes every now and then but the story tends to matter more than that. While watching some available episodes of Dynaman, Changeman and Flashman I'm really missing that kind of action. Some Super Sentai seasons were badass and had a good story like Maskman and Dairanger but it's a rare combination IMO. I also considered later Super Sentai seasons that focused more on writing a good story didn't have that much badass action. Some Super Sentai seasons just don't have much of all those intense jaw-dropping scenes from the cast members fighting out of suit a lot but they perform better. I felt that Carranger not only beats Turboranger in the mecha department but also in the writing department as the plot is far more consistent. Megaranger's moderate fight scenes made it look like they were real high school students while Turboranger made me feel like that they were military school students every time it's time to do their out of suit fights. Sometimes, when the focus is on writing a good story it's very easy to forget how to write a good story and put the super duper badass scenes with it. Or if you attempt to all all three but you might compromise one of them. I felt that's what happened as Kyoryuger has better action scenes than Abaranger but the story was compromised in the process. But again, why focus too much on action scenes if the more feasible thing to do is to write a good story and sell more toys?
4.) Budget allocated for Kamen Rider's development
They may have been a Civil War between Kamen Rider and Super Sentai in the budgeting department during the earlier days. Try to watch the following programs namely Kamen Rider Kuuga, Timeranger, Gaoranger and Kamen Agito just to name a few examples of which show obviously had more budget over the other. There's been a stark contrast between the two shows. Kamen Rider Kuuga has had shown more intense action scenes than Timeranger. Kamen Rider Agito has shown more intense action scenes than Gaoranger. I felt like because Kamen Rider made a major return so Toei may have wanted to focus on reviving Kamen Rider for some time. But after some time let's say after Kamen Rider Kabuto, Kamen Rider more or less got the same treatement of having more research and development for collectibles than intense action. As of late, I feel like maybe just maybe more money is allocated for Zyuohger's execution since this year is an anniversary year. During Gokaiger, I also felt like Kamen Rider OOO and Kamen Rider Fourze didn't get that much support. So I guess it's okay to give more budget for anniversary seasons though during Gaoranger, I felt like more money was allocated for Kamen Rider Agito. But these days, anniversaries tend to get more budget. Kamen Rider Decade though had a budget but that show really fell apart since day one just like the storyline of Rider Worlds falling apart. Then we had Kamen Rider W which was miles better. As of late Kamen Rider Ghost seems to get more budget for action scenes since no matter how much I feel it's not as good as Kamen Rider Drive but the action scenes of that show are much better than Zyuohger's.
5.) Parental complaints anyone?
I heard that Dairanger got some parental complaints because it was too violent. Did the same thing happen during the earlier days of the Heisei era of Super Sentai? I felt like that parents were probably complaining about the extremely high levels of violence in some earlier Super Sentai seasons. But I don't feel this was the biggest factor considering that Kamen Rider Kuuga up to Kamen Rider Kabuto had a lot of violence involved in contrast to their successors. It may not be the least possible reason but I don't want to dismiss it as another possibility either. If ever they didn't heed to them then there's the possibility of losing major opportunities in the process. Well it's a smart decision for Toei to adhere to parental complaints even if I may not like the result of the show.
So there's really a trade-off with action scenes and other factors?
My answer is yes. It's just like how if you're going to improve on one area, another area may be compromised. Let's take the Super Sentai teams for example with all their flaws. Let's think about the Zyuohgers. Yamato himself can fly but he doesn't have the powers of the other Zyumen. Tusk has a strong sense of smell. Leo has the instincts of a lion. Sela can hear things better than the rest. Amu well the show doesn't seem to show what's her specialty but I may have missed it. For every pro they have there is a con. I'd personally want to be Yamato because I can fly but I know I definitely that I need the rest of the Zyumen to help me defeat the Deathgalien. For Kamen Riders, multiple forms have been more than needed these days against foes that are a greater threat than most Showa Rider villains.
With Super Sentai, focusing on the fact it's a children's show means you may need to compromise action scenes to get the bigger market share. Like you want to be more kiddie then be less badass with your action scenes. You want more budget for merchandise then you need to reduce the budget in another area. You want a good story while having all the merchandise to sell? Then again, you need to be less badass because you need to focus more on how to introduce the new merchandise with a good story. It's all about thinking this one, "Am I faithful to my target market?" That and that makes me think even if I personally may not like the newer Super Sentai series as much as old school but I still salute Toei for considering the fact that Super Sentai is aimed for a younger audience.