Seven Possible Factors That Affect Super Sentai's Performance And Reception
After I wrote a post discussing that Super Sentai doesn't get better or worse every year, I felt like writing this post to discuss what may cause Super Sentai to get better or worse per year. Here are the seven factors that I believe that may affect Super Sentai's performance and how critics may respond. These can affect any Tokusatsu show as well. There may be more factors but here's seven possible factors that I'd want to point out that may affect performance and reception.
1.) Production staff
The production staff can affect how Super Sentai goes for better or for worse. So how does the producer end up affecting the way Super Sentai (or Toei's list of Tokusatsu series) to be affected in general? I'll give a few examples of how producers can be for better or for worse.
My favorite producer as of late is Takeyuki Suzuki considering that he's been responsible for a lot of my favorite shows namely Maskman, Liveman, Jetman and Dairanger. Currently, I want to to see more of Changeman and Flashman because they offer a lot more tough action scenes that most Super Sentai don't have today. He's made the most creative concepts and without him, I don't think there would be enough raw material left to keep Super Sentai up and running. There was a lot of creative juices going on with Goggle V up to Ohranger. There were a lot of cool concepts that were added into Super Sentai because of the guy. I always felt like saying he's been a memorable producer and others managed to innovate what he had contributed.
Some producers can be in the hit or miss situation in several ways. Well, my favorite Suzuki was also responsible for some shows that weren't so good either such as Turboranger, Fiveman and Ohranger. I'll discuss more on that while I can also focus on other producers. We can talk about Shigenori Takatera, Jun Hikasa, Hideaki Tsukada, Takaaki Utsunomiya (who's currently working as Zyuohger's producer) and Gou Wakamatsu. I admit that they've been responsible for a whole lot of my favorite shows. But I can't deny that Takatera was also the producer for Kamen Rider Hibiki (first half), Jun Hikasa was the producer for Goseiger's first half, Tsukada was the producer for Magiranger and Utsunomiya for both Kamen Rider Wizard and ToQGer. Those are all shows that I tend to dislike or even hate with a passion and be so unfairly biased and critical towards them. Shinichiro Shirakura who was the producer for Kamen Rider Agito was also the producer for Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Faiz.
One producer that I'm super duper pretty mixed with is Naomi Takebe. While I'm a fan of her works with Kamen Rider namely Kamen Rider Kiva, Kamen Rider OOO and Kamen Rider Gaim but I've not bee fond of her involvement with Sper Sentai. I do like Go-Busters but I feel Takebe herself isn't doing much of a favor. So like Inoue with Shinichiro Shirakura during Kamen Rider Faiz, I felt the producer Takebe was to blame instead of the writer. I guess Kobayashi had a whole lot of ideas to make Go-Busters more serious than it was but the ideas were rejected. If she wanted a doomsday plot then it may have been rejected. Then we have Ninninger where she also didn't do well as a producer. That's why I don't regret dropping Ninninger after finishing it because it's not worth my watch. But I have no regrets that I still like Kiva, OOO and Gaim because they've been a fun alternative to the super serious Kamen Rider series like Kuuga and Agito.
If there's any producer that I still can't help but unleash a full level of hate on it's Takahito Oomori. What's in his mind with him being that "Hey mister girls are weak so there's only one in my terrible, terrible show?!" That's a very rude generalization and I hope all the female warriors beat you up DODO. Aside from that and yes that's a good reason to complain, I always felt like Kyoryuger was a real wreck of a dinosaur Super Sentai because of him. I think the real problem is more with Oomori than Riku Sanjo. Maybe if they gave a better producer then maybe Kyoryuger could have been miles better. I like Sanjo's works such as Kamen Rider Drive and Kamen Rider W but the way Kyoryuger was handled was too much. Daigo Kiryu-centricity is very annoying. The actor's fine but he's stuck with a role that's making him absorb too much of the attention. Sorry Kyoryuger fans but I really, really think it's a terrible, terrible show and it's so not going to get my support! EVER! Right now, I ccould just imagine that Amy/Kyoryu Pink and Yayoi/Kyoryu Violet are beating him up themselves for what he said about girls being weak.
Part of the production stuff are also involved with innovative concepts and gimmicks to be used in the show itself. Innovation for production purposes can go for better or for worse depending on how it's handled. Some of the coolest innovations happen such as giving signature weapons and giving new types of mecha. Signature weapons seem to become very necessary in several Supe Sentai shows while not all of them had them. Some shows knew what they were doing than just selling toys in the mecha department. Goggle V gave a good fixing for the the combining robot concept that Sun Vulcan introduced. Flashman introduced the secondary robot called the Flash Titan. Maskman introduced the idea of each ranger getting their own individual vehicle to form the combining robot. Gaoranger introduced the multi-gattai system which had a lot of reimagination done for better or for worse. More importantly, innovation involves revising an old theme or creating a new theme. Sometimes, a theme can work better the second time round than when it it did the first time round then it may not be as good or it may flunk the third time round.
The best innovation created by the production staff are the gimmicks involved to get people to watch more than just the TV series and keep them wanting for more. Starting with Ohranger, the yearly crossover gimmick happens. Ohranger vs. Kakuranger revived the long buried innovative concept introduced during the Goranger/JAKQ crossover which wasn't anything much of a special for me. After that, we had a series of good crossovers since then. The yearly crossover can be a very fun gimmick with a lot of what if this and that happened between the two shows. It's basically thinking outside of the box of the continuity of two Super Sentai seasons and putting them into one huge crossover universe. The concept was soon integrated into Gokaiger. While Decade was too much of a failure, Gokaiger managed to succeed in creating a much better series that was meant to be a whole year crossover. Gokaiger even came up with the amazing Gokaiger vs. Gavan which may have been intended to unite old school and new school fans.
We can also consider reinventing a previously created concept. Takatera as a producer decided to improve ideas that Suzuki left behind. These ideas were namely cars, teenagers with attitude and tribal warriors. In a sense, he took Turboranger and decided to split the concept for two shows namely Carranger and Megaranger. During Gingaman, he started to re-use the whole tribal concept to another level. Tsukada ended up getting concepts from Metal Hero with Dekaranger and reviving Dairanger's concept in Gekiranger. Hikasa also did the sibling theme with GoGoFive as well as combine ninjas and Liveman to create Hurricanger. A repeated can get better with a good producer on hand. I felt like Carranger, Megaranger and GoGoFive had outdid what Suzuki had left behind thanks to the producers as well as the writers.
So what kind of crossover will Zyuohger get aside from Yamato guest-starring in Ghost and Takeru Tenkuji guest starring in Zyuohger? Hopefully, we'll get a VS. Movie with some veterans but if that's impossible then I'll still enjoy Zyuohger. Zyuohger's not only innovative in the concepts department but it's also a show that has a lot of good characters to go with it. As for me, I wish that the Ghost/Zyuohger crossover happened within two episodes of Zyuohger (since it's an anniversary season), a reverse of what happened during Shinkenger/Decade crossover. But the idea of guesting in each other's show still has its charm. Yamato showing up to return the favor Takeru Tenkuji gave with a jump kick to the monster was a good tribute. Only that, why didn't the Ghost segment feature the whole Zyuohger team? I still wished that the crossover had two episodes of Zyuohger having Ghost as a guest or another crossover movie would have been a better alternative.
2.) Writing staff
The writers involved in the Super Sentai series affect the performance and reception of certain Super Sentai seasons. My favorite Super Sentai head writer might be Hirohisa Soda. I guess I still have my extreme favoritism for the pre-Zyuranger era in some way. We had Hirohisa Soda who might be best called as "Hail to the king" based on the image above created by Shogo B'Stard. I haven't seen much of the pre-Zyuranger era either but I'll just talk about what I've seen as of late. I want to see more of Soda's works to see how the guy managed to innovate Super Sentai writing. Some may say so and so is better. They can say but have they seen more or Soda's shows to make a better evaluation?
I guess my favoritism for Soda can be defined with these titles that I've seen from start to end: Bioman, Maskman, Liveman. Turboranger and Fiveman are still in my likes list but they're not that great as I used to think they were. I personally think Turboranger's concept was only improved much later during Carranger and Megaranger. Carranger stayed true to the turbo theme and Megaranger did teenagers with attitude better the second time around. I also think GoGoFive is miles better than Fiveman in almost every way. Soda's era was involved with several secondary writers such as Kunio Fuji (who sadly never became a Super Sentai head writer) or Toshiki Inoue who was responsible for fan favorites such as Jetman and Kamen Rider Agito. During this time, Soda started out basics with Goggle V and Dynaman then started writing Bioman, Changeman, Flashman, Maskman and Liveman as major hits. But then he crashed into Burnout Ville considering he was at a major streak so Turboranger and Fiveman didn't get so much of good ratings or critics weren't getting what they wanted during its time. He needed to be replaced as soon as possible because he was really running out of fresh ideas.
Chojin Sentai Jetman saved Super Sentai with Inoue as the head writer. Inoue himself introduced some new formulas. While Jetman was intended to end Super Sentai but instead, it became a finale for one era and opening another. Zyuranger ended up opening a new era with Noboru Sugimura. Sugimura was already involved with Jiban, Winspector and Solbrain which were all Metal Hero shows. So at least he had an idea. Then came Zyuranger which didn't do as well as Jetman. For one, I don't even think Zyuranger is as good as Abaranger. Zyuranger focused too much on the children of the week. Then we had Dairanger, Kakuranger and he ended with Ohranger. Dairanger was pretty good considering that it had Inoue, Fuji and Naruhisa Arakawa just got better after Jetman and Zyuranger. Kakuranger and Ohranger had Soda returning as a secondary writer. I felt like Soda was trying to make sure that writers who'd eventually take over him would eventually re-invent his ideas to another level.
Other writers came in such as Yoshio Urasawa (one time for Carranger) then we have Junki Takegami and Yasuko Kobayashi. Kobayashi was involved in some Metal Hero episodes with one episode of Winspector and being a minor contributor for Janperson, Blue SWAT and B-Fighter. She was a major contributor during Megaranger along with Takegami as the head writer and Naruhisa Arakawa as another major contributor. Then Kobayashi proceeded to become the head writer for most of Gingaman, Timeranger (which became her magnum opus like Kamen Rider Agito was to Inoue) and Shinkenger while serving a secondary writer for GoGoFive and Boukenger. Junichi Miyashita was also involved with eight episodes of GoGoFive with Ryota Yamaguchi with also eight episodes. Naruhisa Arakawa was involved as the head writer of Abaranger, Dekaranger and Gokaiger while serving a as major contributor in the 90s ore more importantly he was the head writer of the major masterpiece that's Kamen Rider Kuuga. Others can be hit or miss such as Sho Aikawa who was responsible for Kamen Rider Blade and Boukenger (both favorites of mine but not so much anymore) was also responsible for Mikoto Nakadai's poorly handled portion in Abaranger during the finale arc. Plus, I thought Atsushi Maekawa wasn't so good with handling Magiranger IMO.
It's sad but everyone hits Burnout Ville sooner or later. Miyashita was involved with several Metal Hero series such as Exceedraft, Janperson, Blue SWAT, B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto (which wasn't so well-received). He was the head writer of the popular Super Sentai series Hurricanger but some fans like myself felt that his writing style didn't match up so well as Soda's writing of Liveman or Sugimura's writing of Kakuranger. Takegami was not at his best during Go-onger compared to when he was the head writer of Megaranger, GoGoFive and Gaoranger but I still like the show. Kobayashi inevitably started showing signs of burnout during Go-Busters and the series hit super low during ToQGer but I want to see Kamen Rider Amazons since I heard good things about it. There's always that time when the writers end up hitting Burnout Ville and end up going worse after going better every year. Some new head writers just don't reach the cut such as Kento Shimoyama with Ninninger. Others really made the cut like Inoue with Jetman as its head writer. So I wonder why didn't Toei's executives let Inoue write more Super Sentai as its head writer? I felt like he should have had more episodes in Timeranger and maybe, he should have been part of Go-Busters' contributors.
As of late, I feel that Junko Komura as Zyuohger's head writer is doing a great favor for Super Sentai. She's somewhat trying to innovate the Gaoranger spirit with her own touch. Considering that she's been involved with Bima Satria Garuda as its main writer, I guess that explains why Zyuohger is a breath of fresh air for fans. Meanwhile, Shimoyama ended up screwing up big time with Ninninger. There's always a lot of expectations for success or failure with how writers do their jobs.
3.) Cast members involved in playing the key characters
It seems to be that Super Sentai cast members tend to affect the whole show as well. I always felt that whenever a certain Toku season gets mocked, acting can be one of the reasons. I think the only reason why Boukenger ends up getting more fans than Operation Overdrive is the acting department. Certain Super Sentai, Power Rangers and Kamen Rider seasons can also be praised for really good acting. For me, the best acting for Super Sentai was in the 80s to 90s while acting after Timeranger doesn't stand out as much. While people can say shows such as GoGoFive and Lightspeed Rescue have good acting but I felt neither show could beat that time Super Sentai had better acting during the more badass days. These shows such as Changeman, Flashman, Maskman and Liveman have real badass actors portraying the key characters.
I could think about how I acting in later Super Sentai can either be that good, good or really horrible. I always felt that why I didn't like ToQGer and Ninninger was because of the acting was so-so in several levels. Kyoryuger has good acting while my problem is that the writing style tends to focus on Daigo Kiryu too much. If you've compared some acting in old school Super Sentai vs. newer school Super Sentai it just varies from celebrity to celebrity. I still feel that Kazunori Inaba will always be the better between the two Takerus compared to Tori Matsuzaka while Aiko Ito has better skills acting than Reiko Chiba. Some of the better cast members belonged to the old school department while others belong to the new school department. It's all about who's really a better or worse actress.
I could also mention the cast who play the villainous characters. Who could forget the late Soga Machiko in playing Queen Hedrian for Denziman and Sun Vulcan, Empress Pandora for Spielban, and Witch Bandora for Zyuranger? Who can forget the legendary Yutaka Hirose for kicking the asses of red rangers in several shows as Ley Wanda in Flashman, Dr. Kemp in Liveman, Emperor Tranza in Jetman and Jin Matoba in Dairanger? I could also mention Daisuke Tachi managed to make a frighteningly cruel villain in Count Radiguet felt like as such that he was just there to murder you. Kenichi Endo tends to play hammy characters a lot while playing the badass Volga in the Dekaranger movie. Akiko Amamatsuri herself was pretty much involved in both Liveman and Dairanger. Not so many villain actors are that great these days for me. But again, I don't expect too much of a performance while watching Super Sentai. As long as they could play the part without resulting in any kind of overacting then it really deserves credit for good performance.
There are also scenarios where you can have a good cast in a show that wasn't doing good. Turboranger, Fiveman and Ohranger had a good cast of actors and actresses assigned to play the rangers but the scripts was already falling apart or weren't that good or receiving really bad reception during its run. Some may like the shows later but sometimes, a show ends up having bad reception before it gets good reception. A season with better writing may or may not have such good acting for most of its cast. I think that the GoGoFive's siblings weren't as good actors as those cast to play as the Fiveman siblings, that the Abaranger cast weren't as good as most of Zyuranger cast (except I felt Aiko Ito was a way better actress than Reiko Chiba) or that Carranger's cast wasn't as good as Turboranger's cast in terms of acting and stunts. Kenta Sato did a better job as Riki than Yuji Kishi did as Kyousuke. Kishi did well but I thought Sato had better stunt scenes out of suit. Okay, Kishi did beat a monster out of suit but I felt like the action director could've done better. But if there's at least good acting and the guys can throw in good action scenes then it's passable for a children's show. Not for kung fu movies and other more mature series though so I better remember that this is Super Sentai I'm talking about!
More importantly, eye candy is just a bonus as it's all about what the cast brings to the menu! What still bothers me though is this funny truth on eye candy that while it can't save a bad show but it may also be one reason why a good show gets overrated. I guess superficial fans still have those stupid reasons to like Shinkenger. Some of the better shows don't have that much eye candy. A lot of older Super Sentai didn't have that much delightful eye candy but the story is really worth watching. I know I'm a sucker for eye candy but it hasn't stopped me from becoming a harsh critic towards certain shows I've bashed. Like it hasn't stopped me from bashing what I conceive to be Ninninger's really horrible direction. On the other hand, it's making me watch Zyuohger without considering why it's a huge step up against the three seasons before it. The cast of Zyuohger is pretty fine with how they carry out their intended cartoony behavior.
4.) The level of badass in Super Sentai action scenes
The choreography can affect how Super Sentai gets received because its audience may watch it for all that badass action. Until now, I think a lot of people can praise so and so for really having good kicks and punches for any of Toei's list of Tokusatsu shows in general. One can think of the legendary stuntman Kazuo Niibori who played most of the red rangers in stunt scenes from Goggle V up to Jetman. Others can think of legends like Hiroshi Miyauchi, Masashi Ishibashi, Joji Nakata and Yutaka Hirose to name a few. I could really try to think about the time that once upon a time, there was a time Super Sentai was really tougher than nails. Today, we have tough as nails but not tougher than nails. As said, there's been more budget for mecha scenes than there's for intense action scenes these days. I guess there's some censorship laws in Japan now than it used to be during the 1980s era when Super Sentai was tougher than nails.
Some time ago, I thought of how I was impressed with Goranger's first episode (in terms of action scenes) and how the scenes were really tougher than nails regardless of who the character was. While watching Changeman's first episode, I had that feeling that not so many warriors in spandex in later Super Sentai series are indeed that worthy to receive much more think they can endure the super duper hellish training the Changemen had from that super duper badass Commander Ibuki! I'd dare more Super Sentai teams these days to try and get training from the Changeman's mentor and see if they can survive all that intense training exercise! Maskman showed real and huge intense martial arts scenes and some time later Dairanger really had very good choreography involved. Gekiranger was one show I felt where the rangers weren't all that badass with martial arts in spite of returning to more serious roots. Doggie Kruger may be a badass commander but I felt like Dekarangers didn't show that much of high levels of badass scenes compared to Changeman and Ohranger. Shinkenger may be a samurai Super Sentai but Tori Matsuzaka hasn't shown as that much of great impact as his predecessor Kazunori Inaba. Keiichi Wada's been that hard to beat as a martial artist and not so many today can match his contributions and achievements.
The problem for action scenes anyway is that these days it can also end up with more budget for CGI and mecha scenes instead. Back then, CGI wasn't too much of the focus so one can see how rangers were really tougher than nails. Today, not so much and even for series that have a lot of the main cast doing their own stunts for the past several years. Zyuranger had less of CGI and more intense action scenes while Abaranger had more CGI and less intense action scenes. ToQGer and Ninninger ended up getting the problem of not only having too much CGI but also the cast relied too much on the stuntmen and CGI. I guess that's why ToQGer ended up having to write them as children in the bodies of adults. For Ninninger, what's your excuse to make them as ninnie-jas instead of ninjas where there's much less stunts for the main cast? Jiraiya, Kakuranger and Hurricanger had a lot of good scenes but no, not Ninninger because the whole cast relied too much on stuntmen and had kept the whole cast at a minimum in the stunts department for its main cast. Plus riding on other shows didn't help the show either. So that's why I was watching Kamen Rider Drive over it. Kamen Rider Drive had a lot more stuff to offer than Ninninger. The crossover with Ninninger was pretty good in its own way. Good thing Zyuohger came back with a kick especially when Yamato Kazakiri did an out of suit jump kick during his guest role in Ghost.
Having good action scenes don't always make a good show either. I could name a few shows where the action scenes were better but they weren't so good with writing. Turboranger had better action scenes than Carranger. Fiveman had better action scenes than GoGoFive. Zyuranger had better action scenes than Abaranger. But for me, Carranger had more consistency with the automobile theme and better writing than Turboranger. GoGoFive did the sibling theme better than Fiveman. Abaranger did the dinosaur theme better than Zyuranger. Sometimes, action scenes can be that distracting. But back in the 80s and early 90s, there were some shows that had a whole lot of badass action scenes and good story like Changeman, Flashman, Maskman, Liveman and Dairanger. These days, I guess we can't expect much of that anymore can we? Trying to save up cash is still that important so trying to balance the budget for every Super Sentai is 100% needed. So that's why action scenes may need to be watered down to a certain extent to save money as a safety precaution. I mean, you're not sure if your series will automatically succeed, would you?
5.) Soundtrack used during the show's run
One of the reasons why I've enjoyed Super Sentai is because of the musical scores and themes involved. I'm not musically inclined but I like some good musical scores. While music doesn't necessarily make a good show but it can be a plus. I could remember all the music involved that's played when there's a sad scene, when the mecha's launched, when the enemy fortress appears, when there's a victory scene or just for almost every scene. There's always that emotional appeal whenever the musical score is played. I can't comment too much since I'm not too familiar with all the staff involved either. Character mecha songs were included as part of the trend. There's always that unique feel whenever another song plays for the mecha than just the opening theme song replayed all over and over again.
My favorite Super Sentai opening and closing theme singers are Akira Kushida, Takeyuki Miyauchi, Hironobu Kageyama, Taku Kitahara, Daisuke Shima, Kenta Sato and Kenji Suzuki. I felt like they stood out the most. Do I hate the others that came after them? Not really. As much as I felt like some opening songs had really good composers but not everyone had that much impact. I felt like singer Tou Chi Chien (who was probably using a Chinese name as a screen name due to Dairanger's Chinese theme) didn't have as much emotion as the singers I've mentioned in spite of having such a badass musical score. I feel like a good Super Sentai theme needs both a good composer and a good singer. Others have good singers but not so good composition. It's hard to find a good combination these days isn't it?
Character-related songs were added as part of later releases of Super Sentai OSTs. Jetman has Honoo No Condor where Toshihide Wakamatsu delivered it with so much voice power. For years to come, there were character related songs and I feel like Suzuka Morita had good vocals in singing Bushido Girl. I felt like she could have made a good commercial singer for "Kotoha Ramen" (an imagined product I made on what if a noodle was named after Kotoha like Ako had one in Jetman), Rin Takanashi has a good voice as shown in the Shinkenger OVA or my favorite is Eri Tanaka's singing in Megaranger. The late Soga Machiko deserves honors for the badass Song of Witch Bandora song. Other villain theme songs like Maskman's Ungler theme or Zonette's theme song are pretty good. I really love the innovation of having character songs. Now only if more of them were sang during the shows during the most badass moments!
Some of my favorite Super Sentai seasons had really good musical scores are namely Bioman, Changeman, Flashman, Maskman, Liveman, Jetman, Dairanger, Megaranger and Gingaman. Other favorite seasons of mine don't really have that much good music for me are Carranger, GoGoFive and Shinkenger to name a few. But I find them to be good in their own way and it's just that I have my own preference. I guess younger fans and older fans will really have a lot of differences in their taste of Super Sentai music. But music alone doesn't make a good show. I can give a few examples based on my favorites. I think that Turboranger, Fiveman and Zyuranger have better soundtracks than Carranger, GoGoFive and Abaranger. But I feel like that Carranger, GoGoFive and Abaranger have better storytelling. I can say Fiveman's opening theme is miles better than GoGoFive's opening theme but GoGoFive's execution with story and plot is miles better than Fiveman. Zyuranger has the cool opera feel in contrast to Abaranger's to what I think was the more "generic" music but Abaranger got the dinosaur theme better done than Zyuranger.
6.) The artistic personnel involved with designs and special effects
From suit designs, mecha to special effects I felt these contribute to a critic's viewpoint. Depending on who the artists are may affect the quality of costume design and special effects. How costume designs and everything tend to blend in is hard to determine.
There's the phenomenon of weirdly designed mecha accompanied by a really good story. There may also be the combination of good mecha accompanied by a really good story. I always wanted to laugh at Changeman's robot design while loving the show's badass scenes. Flashman had both nicely designed mecha and a good story. As of late, I don't like Zyuohger's mecha designs because they look like they're for babies while the show itself is pretty good. Nicely designed mecha doesn't contribute to a good story while it may contribute to high toy sales. I won't say that Carranger isn't better than Turboranger because of the mecha designs but because of the story writing. Some shows may have badass mecha but aren't as good. Zyuranger may have better designed mecha than Abaranger but I prefer Abaranger's storytelling over Zyuranger's. Zyuohger may have really weird mecha designs than Ninninger's but it's a much better show.
Some monster designs can either be very good, good or just plain horrible. My picks for the best monster designs as of present are Changeman, Flashman, Maskman, Liveman, Megaranger and GoGoFive. There's also this fact that just because certain monster designs don't look as good doesn't mean they can't harm you. There's even times when a good Super Sentai doesn't have very good monster designs like Jetman's and Dairanger's monsters don't look that scary yet both are beloved seasons. Others I could mention have that situation of not so good monster designs mixed with a good storyline are Carranger (but it's understandable because the show was meant to be really stupid), Timeranger, Gaoranger, Dekaranger, Shinkenger, Gekiranger and may I add to the list this year's Zyuohger. For really horrible, well I think I can only name some earlier days like I personally didn't like the Goranger Mask Monster designs.
The special effects also have an important part to play in the artistic department. Older Super Sentai tends to have the problem of old hat special effects depending on which show it was. While watching my first few episodes of Dynaman, I always felt like the show's weaknesses were with the Michael Bay effects or the Dynaplosions. Dynaman didn't have great special effects either. Later series managed to work things out. Maskman made scary special effects for its monster plots even if it was an 80s show where most special effects were pretty much on a tight budget. Some mutation or monster transformation scenes really help trigger the "necessary nightmare fuel" in older Super Sentai shows. Later Super Sentai managed to make better mecha combination scenes to sell more toys. Depending on who's in charge, the special effects department can either improve or derail the quality of work altogether.
7.) Circumstances involved from both inside and outside
Ohranger was one show where they wanted to explore more of the consequences of reckless science. I felt like the war in Pangaea that divided the continent was like a continuation of the Bio vs. Anti Bio War in Bioman. But then it happened... earthquake that year and the sarin gas bombing in Tokyo station hit at that same year. So many casualties happened that they had to force a retool to get ratings only to get the show to slump down that year. Ohranger started to move between lighter and softer and darker and edgier at times. Back then, the people didn't really care too much about the show. Fortunately, there were cool toys to keep the whole show going on.
It was said that the comedy Carranger saved Super Sentai but others suggest that it was really Jetman and not Carranger that saved the series. Carranger's ratings weren't much higher though the ratings aren't really that reliable for a show's popularity. But I guess Super Sentai was still lucky to have toy sales with two seasons that didn't have that much of good ratings. But I'm a fan of Carranger though. Then we had Megaranger which said was the one that saved Super Sentai. I really can't determine which is which since I'm no expert in the matter. I wish somebody can really verify these because I have very little or no idea what really went on. I guess Carranger was an attempt to restore everyone's interest in the show but its cast never answered to that claim.
What can be observed was that post-Ohranger Super Sentai series were really getting less serious for most of its run except for Timeranger, Gekiranger and Go-Busters. I felt like after Ohranger, not so many wanted a more serious Super Sentai. What's interesting was that Gaoranger was already lighter and softer and it was that year 9/11 hit. I guess after the 9/11 terrorist incident any attempt to return to a serious Super Sentai was halted for a very, very long time. Innovation requires to go lighter and softer whenever there's something horrible happening like the tsunami that hit Japan last 2011. So Gokaiger ends up focused on more fun stuff. Then I guess that's why Go-Busters may have flunked because it was a serious Super Sentai season just a year after the tsunami. Would have they decided to do something much less serious then maybe Super Sentai that year would have been good.
Maybe just maybe that it's also the trends that go on that tend to affect Super Sentai's performance. If the focus is more on merchandise then I don't expect the writing to be as good as when there was less merchandise. If the focus right now is lighter and softer then writing a darker and edgier work out of the blue may not be as the good as lighter and softer. It's just like trying to write something that's so serious while you've spent so much time writing lighter stuff so there's a high chance it can turn out bad. Darker and edgier isn't always better like more people may prefer Shinkenger which is very light hearted in contrast to Go-Busters and Gekiranger. While I personally prefer Gekiranger over Shinkenger but I prefer Shinkenger over Go-Busters. This also shows that sometimes darker and edgier doesn't always make a good series. Kamen Rider Faiz was certainly that serious but the series was also another hit or miss. Good thing there was Abaranger that year to help fix the problem as it was a pretty good show.
And now the conclusion to bring this rambling to a close...
Super Sentai may get better or gets worse depending on the seven factors I've just mentioned. There's always a change of trend and that Super Sentai may get better the next year but it can also get worse the next year depending on circumstances. The seven factors play a major factor in determining what really happens. You may get a good producer, writer and acting cast for one year but the next year can be a disaster. One can think that after the success of Gokaiger there was a downward slump yet again from Gobusters up to Ninninger. Other examples were like Turboranger and Fiveman weren't as good as Soda's other series or that Ohranger ended up as the lowest point in the late Sugimura's legacy. That's why I feel like certain seasons are not worth the watch if they can't innovate for the better. But if a season innovates for the better then it's worth a watch. It's not about this show is better because it's new or it's old but it's all about quality of the seven factors. The huge question is are they meeting the standard to make a good Super Sentai or not?
So what's having good innovation all about? It's not necessarily always what's new is always better or what's old is always worse because not everything improves with age or innovation but rather the quality of innovation is what makes something improve. Does the innovation meet to improvise the needs and wants of people or does it just simply innovate for the sake of innovation? Some innovators put their heart into it to make sure that it really benefits others. Old concepts can be modified in some way without totally disregarding certain concepts like Super Sentai itself is an old concept subject to revisions every now and then. Others simply just innovate without any consideration of the outcome or consequences of such innovation. Like I feel like certain new Super Sentai seasons have the problem of failing of balancing between keeping the old and introducing the new. At the same time, innovation can fail at its first time then somebody can fix it a second time because of other factors. Like Turboranger had a burning out Soda while Megaranger had a very much primed up Takegami with Kobayashi and Arakawa as the show's major writers. ToQGer had an interesting concept it's just that the writer assigned was already falling apart. Really, for the nth time Arakawa should have been its writer or somebody else who wasn't still burning out. Kobayashi was really falling apart and that's what led to the whole show's lackluster moments!
I personally still think that both Turboranger and Fiveman are still worth watching even if I think Carranger and GoGoFive are miles better in almost every way. So I've said GoGoFive is miles better than Fiveman while I can still enjoy the latter's unusually silly moments with a likable main cast. Carranger may be more consistent with the turbo while Turboranger still has still a likable main cast. Critics can also get a lot and I mean a lot of change in their views. I'll admit I had a series of instant biases towards GoGoFive and Abaranger before watching them. But the moment I saw Abaranger and GoGoFive with subs, I really saw it having better writing than Zyuranger and Fiveman. I do like some unpopular Super Sentai seasons as well like Turboranger, Fiveman and Go-Busters. On the other hand, some people may not like the more popular shows. One may end up thinking that Fiveman is better than GoGoFive or Zyuranger is better than Abaranger even if the latter is more popular. I really don't care about that one as long as they defend their stand properly.
Besides, nothing's wrong if I don't like certain seasons of Super Sentai or just any entry if it doesn't suit my taste. If I don't like this particular season then it doesn't mean it's good or bad. It's all about preferences for every individual. Like I don't like certain seasons of Super Sentai by using the seven factors I just mentioned as a standard rather than liking all seasons without question. It's all about the marketing mix that Toei comes up whether either an innovation fails or it succeeds and it also still focuses on its primary market namely Japanese children. As a fan, I don't like some of seasons of Super Sentai but Toei and Bandai has to sell toys for a new generation of children so I'm still okay with whatever changes happen every now and then. It's just that I'm talking now at the level of my personal preferences. On the other hand, innovative changes should focus on the target market of what toys children would want to play with.