Hurricanger's A Bizarre Combination Of Liveman And Kakuranger!
It's official. I've already added Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger to my list of Super Sentai I've watched from start to end. I remembered how I used to think it's somewhat similar to Liveman with the whole three plus two formula. So what do I think of the show? It's actually one of my favorites though I'm afraid that it might enter into the ranks of shows like Shinkenger or Gokaiger... shows that just get too much credit by the fanbase. Let's get started shall we? Just expect me to get so unfair with full mode rage bashing right now so proceed with caution.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Hurricanger's main writer is Junichi Miyashita. Okay, I've had some of my differences with Shogo B'Stard like I think ToQGer actually had the potential to be good, I like Boukenger and this show Hurricanger and he doesn't in some friendly disagreement. So he's been part of some of my favorite shows namely Janperson and Kamen Rider Black. I wonder ifi t's best to call it the era of where he burned out though I think B-Fighter Kabuto was where he burned out. The show also has Naruhisa Arakawa and Atsushi Maekawa (who was the head writer another series that I dislike with a passion, Magiranger) to help as major writers. Other writers are Naoki Sakai, Naruhisa Arakawa (who'd become Abaranger's head writer next year) and Shin Yoshida as part of the cast. I'd say that Miyashita himself may have not been at top condition but he beat Kento Shimoyama's writing in Ninninger.
I alwasy thought of the Liveman/Hurricanger comparison. Let me stress that just because a show supposedly has better equipment or concepts doesn't automatically mean it's better or worse. Some innovative concepts do fail the first time but succeed in later times depending on execution. You can think of how Kamen Rider Black RX didn't do as well as its predecessor Kamen Rider Black because of the poor execution but there were interesting concepts. Hurricanger has more advanced mecha than Liveman but I don't find the show as interesting as the latter with the ongoing conflict. But it did solve some problems Liveman had by actually providing some interesting plotlines. The show had some badass but I feel like the first episode was a watered down version of what Liveman had during the first two episodes!
The Hurricangers are presented to be "just that lucky" to become Hurricangers. They weren't really standing out at first but they became the heroes after they saw their classmates murdered by Jakanja. Speaking of the massacre scene, it actually pales in comparison to what Liveman offered. Yousuke Shiina, Kouta Bitou and Nanami Nono have no choice but to fight the invading partly. Speaking of which, I personally think they're more developed than what Ninja Storm had to offer. Perhaps the most shallow and pitiful reason to say why Hurricanger is miles better (for me anyway) is Nanami is hotter than Tori. No, Nanami's proven herself more badass and developed than Tori. They may not be the best but I personally like the cast.
Unlike Kakuranger, the enemies aren't demons but aliens who are bent on universal conquest. Tao Zanto leads his alien army bent on dominating the world. I personally wished that the show instead had a ninja version of Great Professor Bias instead with rogue ninjas joining his cause. I guess producer Hideaki Tsukada didn't want to follow Takeyuki Suzuki that much or maybe aliens have become more feasible than human villains. At least, we don't have Naomi Takebe here (she was with Ninninger) since she should just stick to Kamen Rider. Their plan is to lead towards making the Earth rot with "that" happening which is the running plot (or gag) of the series. Tao Zanto has several generals who he sends to do his bidding. I'd also like to say that Wendinu and Furaibijou are far more useful than Mara and Kapri from Power Rangers Ninja Storm. The show would later have additional generals when some of them perish midseason in the most badass way possible. Both Chuzubo and Manmarva were destroyed in battle midseason by new mecha combinations.
I could talk about the Gouraigers Ikku and Isshu. Both of them start off as members of the Ikazuchi which is sort of the "dark side" ninja - a concept that was later elaborated with Gekiranger's two rival schools. Their father raised them to be evil and they're focused on proving they're the best so they ally themselves with the Jakanja. Unlike the Thunder Rangers in Ninja Storm, they've got a more sinister streak because they were raised to be evil by their father. They present themselves as the rivals of the Hurricangers. It had me thinking that this was an improvement from what Liveman had with the arrival of the other two heroes Tetsuya and Junichi. Sure I like Liveman better than Hurricanger to the point I wish that the Liveman trio showed up instead in Gokaiger. But I don't deny that the Gouraiger's introduction from their rivals to their allies was more interesting for me.
I'm still pretty mixed on the appearance of the mysterious Shurikenger and how he was wrapped up. I wonder what was Toei thinking at this point? Did the company suffer the same problem? He's sort of like a precursor to Omega Ranger in Power Rangers SPD except he's a little more interesting. Okay I admit, I'm biased because I don't consider myself a Power Rangers fan. Unlike Omega Ranger, I feel that Shurikenger was better done with his ability to blend in. I guess it was a new concept they had rather than because of, "We're too lazy to get an actor so he's a ball of light." scenario. I don't think it's easy to get the old school actors he's impersonated in the show to guest, right? Or maybe, they wanted to give tribute to Ninjaman instead of make the traditional sixth ranger. Who knows? I think a concept like this could still be polished in future Super Sentai seasons.
Okay, I'm about to get bashy so get ready. After watching more than half of Kakuranger, I could still some things. Kakuranger had better action scenes than Hurricanger but I feel the show had less potential. Like, why in the world did Kakuranger eventually write off Prince Junior in the middle of the episode? I think Kakuranger is a good show and I want to get the DVD to see more of the subbed episodes though I know what happened in the end. I think Hurricanger managed to somewhat improve not only on some things Liveman introduced but also the whole ninja theme. I think it managed to innovate both ninjas and a bit of Liveman to create a good show. I personally like the way events unfolded here better than how Kakuranger dealt with them. Remember... it's my preference so feel free to like Kakuranger more.
I also felt this show made me dislike Ninninger all the more. After watching Ninninger last year (and I really paused in between and instead chose to stick with Kamen Rider Drive), I think Hurricanger has these strong points. I agree Ninninger had more toys to offer but what about the quality? Ninninger's swords didn't look as good as what Hurricanger offered. Ninninger had too much mecha while Hurricanger managed to do a beautiful blend of old school mecha styles with the gimmicks called the Karakuri Balls. As for the writing, Hurricanger has had better development. Some may say that Yousuke is an idiot but he does get better at a better rate. I agree but Takaharu Igasaki tends to annoy me instead. Yousuke? Well I'd like to say he's my favorite Hurricanger. Strangely, my favorite in Liveman is Yuusuke Amemiya.
As for the finale, I thought it's kinda weird but kudos for actually trying something new. The way that the remaining villains fall down was somewhat rushed. I didn't like how Saturakura, Sandaru and Tao Zanto were written off. It was interesting to see Sandaru betray Tao Zanto and kill a dying Sargain but I felt like he wasn't all that wrapped up either. It was already expected that Gozen (the 500 year old woman who had the seal for the Grieving Bow used to fire the Raging Arrow) die when the seal was broken. It's not like as if Liveman's finale was miles better... I still think Liveman's finale was a weaker point for a good series. Hurricanger managed to improve a bit in some way with its literally worldshaking event before wrapping thing sup. I felt that the final battle was more like a wrap up though the Hurricangers managed to get their well-deserved graduation.
Overall, it's a pretty good series and I personally recommend it.