Sentai Rambling: Which Super Sentai Series Is Better? Darker And Edgier Or Lighter And Softer?

The two Overlords now argue whether darker or edgier or lighter and softer is better!

It's too early (for now) to determine whether or not whether this year's Kyuranger will be darker and edgier or will it be lighter and softer. In my case I haven't seen all of them but in case you're curious you may take a look at these Super Sentai series I've watched from start to end. Meanwhile, I want to start rambling on Super Sentai's tones namely darker and edgier vs. lighter and softer. When it comes to Super Sentai just expect that there's going to be a change of tone every now and then.

Now let the two Overlords namely Light and Darkness debate which tone is better!

There's always a preference shift depending on one's mood. I couldn't forget that one of the reasons why I bashed Power Rangers was my conceived utter lack of seriousness or that Super Sentai was darker and edgier. That's really ignoring a lot of facts that Super Sentai isn't always that serious. Some are pretty lighthearted. One instance of the reverse is the more serious Power Rangers RPM in contrast to the comedic Go-onger. Most Super Sentai series are more or less on the well-balanced side where seriousness and comedy aren't excessively used. Now I'd like to talk about the two sides of the coin. I won't do too much of a Super Sentai and Power Rangers comparison but on the side of Super Sentai.

I can remember how a lot of Super Sentai series in the past were usually that serious. There were instances of heavy bleeding, the use of alcohol, brutal character deaths, drug use and really cruel villains just to name a few stuff that I miss whenever I'm watching newer Super Sentai. A good example I could give would be the following series more or less the same motif for analysis in this post where one is considerably more darker and edgier than the other:
  • Chikyu Sentai Fiveman vs. Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive
  • Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger vs. Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger
  • Gosei Sentai Dairanger vs. Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger

Chikyu Sentai Fiveman vs. Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive

It's no secret anymore that Fiveman nearly canceled Super Sentai. I was really shocked to learn about that since it's part of my childhood. Not only was Hirohisa Soda really burning out that time but he was also in the verge of collapse. Turboranger was already that start. Fiveman was back to the tone of lighter and softer but that's not the reason why it was doing poorly. Soda was not only worn out but also toy sales were pretty low. There was nothing to back it up like Ohranger and Carranger had in spite of slump ratings. Fiveman may be considered a mess of Soda's previous ideas.

Fiveman gave the innovative idea of a sibling family but it wasn't implemented properly. Then came GoGoFive which I consider as the superior version of Fiveman. I can't resist making Fiveman throwbacks whenever I talk about GoGoFive. I wouldn't say GoGoFive is better than Fiveman because it's more serious. You can still get less serious and still be better. GoGoFive has better character execution (though somebody should tell Matoi to tone down that voice of his) and Fiveman though it had a likable cast had no idea on what to do with its villains. GoGoFive knew how to deal with both sides to balance things out.

My pick for the better series: GoGoFive

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger vs. Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger

I keep hearing Zyuranger was considered "too kiddie". It may have been considered "too kiddie" during its time but that show's just way too serious compared to Mighty Morphin'. Let's face it you can't have scenes of Billy and Kimberly wrecking the whole town or Tommy dying in Jason's hands can you? Back to Zyuranger it's pretty serious for most of its run even in the comical episodes. There's a lot of nightmare fuel moments like when Bandora wanted to eat children turned into apples or when a little girl hallucinates her vampire is a vampire. Stuff like that isn't so kiddie to me.

On 2003 which would be 20 years after Zyuranger ended, Zyuranger's 21st anniversary and you might consider it Mighty Morphin's 20th anniversary as well we have Abaranger. It looks so kiddie and toned down compared to Zyuranger. Talking dinosaurs, dance numbers, Anime style humor... it just looks "pale" compared to Zyuranger but don't that fool you. In terms of writing, I think it beats Zyuranger by miles. Zyuranger tends to get focused on the child of the week while this show doesn't. Also, it has a more understandable plot. Zyuranger had some confusing plots like Daizyujin still remains an enigma to why the Zyurangers are needed to form him if he's a freaking god? Overall, it's an amazing dinosaur themed Super Sentai series.

Sidenote, I dare say that Abaranger's probably an example of what I'd call darker and edgier doesn't always mean it's better. Toning down Super Sentai to a certain extent isn't always a bad idea. Sure Abaranger feels more cartoony and Zyuranger's always more intense but the former improved the dinosaur theme of Zyuranger. Kyoryuger more or less has the same tone as Abaranger. For a full comparison please read my entry on the Dinosaur Trilogy.

My pick for the better series: Abaranger

Gosei Sentai Dairanger vs. Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger

Dairanger was pretty much hailed by Super Sentai fans. I think the whole idea that Jetman is that serious is an overstatement. I wonder if its fans and some critics have ever bothered to watch Flashman, Maskman or Liveman before Jetman. It had a lot of blood, alcoholism, brutal deaths, betrayals and a whole load of conflict. I think it even exceeded the seriousness of Jetman. Some people may consider Shadam to be Radiguet 2.0. A lot of sad plots happen in this series with a lot of well-written plots. While I thought the Three Stooges plot wasn't so good but most of them kept me interested. Kou wasn't even just a gimmick but he was really plot material.

Gekiranger might be considered as more serious than its predecessor Boukenger. It's a lot more serious than every other series starting from Gaoranger up to Boukenger. It may be considered darker and edgier but the plots aren't all that serious. Maybe you can call it to be more well-balanced in both darker and lighter themes. Sure there's some serious plots typical to Super Sentai but it's a lot tame compared to Dairanger. The deaths involved aren't as brutal as to that of Dairanger. Rio and Mele may be serious villains and Long's one incredible bastard but the series' violence is considerably low compared to Dairanger. There's more humor in this series than Dairanger.

I find it really that hard to determine which of the two Wuxia themed series is better. Sure Dairanger had a lot of good plots but Gekiranger theoretically dwells deeper into the world of Chinese martial arts. Dairanger felt more mythologically focused while Gekiranger explored a lot of martial arts legends and concepts. While Gekiranger's action scenes are less intense but it's easy to see how it has a deep story on its own. Dairanger felt like an introduction to Chinese martial arts while Gekiranger may be another chapter for advanced students in terms of writing. Gekiranger's considerably less serious than Dairanger.

My pick for the better series: Just got too lazy to pick, time to play spin the bottle anyone? My preferences between the two shift a lot. I watch Dairanger for stupid reasons (the eye candy, Rin) and for its plot while I watch Gekiranger for its plot alone since I don't find anyone attractive for my taste in that show. If I'm to put Rin aside then I can't really decide which series appeals to me better. I guess it's time to let readers comment!

Closing words 

In the end, it's not a question of darker and edgier vs. lighter and softer. It's a question of which series did it better. Whether this year's Kyuranger will be darker and edgier or lighter and softer is not the question. It's all about whether or not it will be handled properly and we get a good show. Also, I'm just sharing my own views here of which is better so no offense if my opinion clashes with yours okay? At the same time, please watch out for my planned "massive" Zyuohger finale arc review anytime soon.

Also, I'll do some Kyuranger short posts (weekly if possible) though expect less posts about other series since I'm pursuing other new school stuff like Wuxia series, Korean series and other East Asian stuff and not just Tokusatsu.

Comments

  1. I like both Wuxia themed series because they both have decent plots and I like the characters in them as well. This is a theme they should reuse in a future season in my opinion. The only gripe I have about Gekiranger is the silly looking masters but that's about it.

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    1. I think a Wuxia themed comedy would be good...

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