Why I Think ToQGer's Imagination Theme Was A Great Idea But It Wasn't Carried Out Properly!
I don't have anything against lighter and softer Super Sentai as long as it's done well. Some of my favorite Super Sentai and Kamen Rider shows happen to exist in the world of teddy bears and rainbows like Kamen Rider Kiva. Ressha Sentai ToQGer also takes place in such a light environment. The show itself could have actually tried to become an official version of Akibaranger running for an entire season instead of a two season mini-series.
I think Toei really wanted a season long Akibaranger and thus ToQGer was born. Good idea, good innovation. But in every step of innovation a brilliant idea can go down the drain if the wrong people are assigned to it. That's what I thought happened during ToQGer. I don't think the producer was a wrong choice. It doesn't necessarily have to be Jun Hikasa the producer of Akibaranger. The idea of trains was a brilliant idea. Takaaki Utsunomiya could've been kept as the head producer of the whole show. But I could start talking about what I think really went wrong with Toei's management decision than the innovative idea itself.
It was on the cast of writers that the assigned. Yasuko Kobayashi was pretty much overworked already. You can observe the signs of burning out that happened during Go-Busters. The decision was as dull or even duller when they made Toshiki Inoue the head writer of Kamen Rider Kiva. While Kamen Rider Kiva came out pretty enjoyable for me but not ToQGer. Kobayashi was the head writer of Gingaman, Timeranger, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Den-O, Shinkenger and Kamen Rider OOO which is a whole lot. What's worse Kamen Rider Ryuki's awful end was because of all the executive meddling that happened. I guess by then, Kobayashi herself was already on, "That's it! I quit!" mode when she wrote ToQGer.
If they wanted ToQGer to come out better, they needed a headwriting team that worked with Akibaranger. Who can't forget Akibaranger's power was generated by their delusions? The ToQGers had their IMAGINATION to help them fight the Shadow Line's idiotic schemes. The best team of writers that could have been assigned were Naruhisa Arakawa. Junko Komura (just added her in due to the fact I'm enjoying Zyuohger's silliness and fun cast) and we can add writer Yoshio Urasawa into the mix or the same writers from Akibaranger. I think Arakawa himself would have known how to handle the intended silliness of the ToQGers' fight using their IMAGINATION. The cast had the potential to be funny but just fell flat because of the writing. It could have been more fun if the train ride of ToQGer was actually in Imagination World as it's own version of Delusion World in Akibaranger.
I feel that that trying to treat Imagination Power at the level of Shinkenger's Mojikara isn't a good move. Most of the Mojikara in Shinkenger was focused on their elements and it doesn't really work the same way as Akibaranger's delusion power and ToQGer's imagination power. So as said, why get a burnt out Kobayashi to work on it? Trying to grab Shinkenger's charm into ToQGer was a horrible idea to start with. One show is about samurai and the other show is about trains and IMAGINATION. Why didn't they find a more similar idea to innovate? Sorry but Shinkenger as much of a fun season as it is can't be easily copied into ToQGer. IMAGINATION power may have been better carried out of they tried to get Akibaranger's charm and expanded into an official season.
I even felt ToQGer may have better been named as Sozo-Rokyu Sentai ToQGer which means Imagination Sentai ToQGer. A lot of the episodes were focused on the power of IMAGINATION and the first episode already said it. The next episodes could probably give some teasing hints that a lot of fights seem to only occur in the heads of children. Unfortunately, Shadow Line's stupid villainous activities are starting to affect reality. Whatever happens in Imagination World may affect the real world as well. This becomes some kind of burden for the ToQGers to make sure that the world of Imagination is saved from Shadow Line.
I thought making Emperor Zetto a bored villain who's allergic to light but wants to have sparkling objects was just dumb. He could have been given the vibes of the Akibaranger main villains for the two seasons or make him a male version of Malsheena. Or just make him a promoted version of Prince Warz Gill. Either way, I thought that he could have been also given more or less the Gynamo approach as a main villain. No, there's no need for a scary midseason arrival villain. I thought that the villain had the potential to be funny if the right writers were assigned. He could have ended up as a Dr. Evil type of villain or Ritchhiker type of villain. He arrives and just makes the villains' plans even more stupid than when it started and I think Arakawa, Komura or Urasawa could have done that better. Like I could imagine what if in the finale arc, Zetto ends up doing what Malshina did in altering reality in such a hilarious way.
Plus, I thought the Shadow Line had the potential to be yet another fun series of villains. I had a lot of laughs with the idiotic schemes of the Bowzock and the Gaiarcs. The Shadow Line did have that potential but it ended badly. I think Arakawa, Komura and Urasawa could have done a better job than Kobayashi and Aikawa in that department. I may have been a fan of Boukenger and Kamen Rider Blade but ToQGer is a totally different show that requires different treatment. It needs people who have had experience in writing comedy and unfortunately the show's writers didn't have it. So from heroes to villains, I felt like what could have been a great comedy show didn't meet my standards so I felt like saying, "That's it! I quit with newer school!" with Super Sentai while I still enjoyed newer entries of the Kamen Rider franchise. Having Ninninger for the following year didn't help things either.
Overall, I felt it was a wasted idea in general because Toei didn't get the right people to be the writing staff of TOQGer.