My Current Top Ten Maskman Episodes (In Response To SentaiBandicoot Rambles)
Here's my response to SentaiBandicoot Rambles. Last time Sentai Bandicoot wrote about his favorite Maskman episodes. So here's a bit where I'm copying him. I'll consider story arcs as one episode as "one episode". I originally wanted to write a comment on my favorite episodes but it would be too long. So here's my list of favorite Maskman standalone episodes and story arcs.
10. Episode 25 - Akira joins a martial arts contest
9. Episode 12 - Haruka's pride as a ninja
While Sentai Bandicoot likes episode 18 but I like this episode. This is pretty much the pride of a Shinobi. Both Oyobur and Fumin are fighting for the Shinobi that would grant that much power. It was nice to see how Haruka fought against the two contestants creating a three-way battle. It's said that whoever gets the Shinobi Ball will get granted that much power. Unable to see the art of shinobi descrated, Haruka rebels against everyone. I felt like Haruka may have been intended to be a Mika Koizumi 2.0 in this episode especially with how she also rivaled the catwoman Fumin in several episodes. The episode also taught the important lesson there's no shortcut to powers.
8. Episode 39 - X-1 Mask's guest appearance
Burai? Gai Yuki? No it's X-1 Mask. This is pretty much another testing ground for sixth rangers. Granted, this episode was written by Toshiki Inoue. I think this episode was meant to be a testing ground for both Gai Yuki and Burai. Ryo Asuka goes to the bar like Gai Yuki and clashes with the red ranger. Ryo is also a pretty moody guy like Burai. The story of Ryo is that he's the prototype Maskman before the actual team was formed. He left the team because he felt he couldn't save anyone after his girlfriend died. It took Takeru to actually snap him out of his pessimism to "live in the present". What's amazing is that Inoue who's infamous for killing off characters didn't kill Ryo off. Instead, he's seen leaving the team alive and devoting himself to teach others martial arts.
7. Episode 20 - Momoko saves children
Maybe one of the most badass episodes written for a pink. While Super Sentai has everyone doing their job but this is one moment that we don't see these days. Sure Mako's rescued a group of children but I didn't think the choreography was that good. Momoko trained a group of children in her kenpo but is met by Kotsuhi. This is one episode that I always couldn't forget how I cried over the Great Five's sinking or how it gave me encouragement when things got rough. She fought Kotsuhi out of suit to teach the children the value of never giving up. Anagubas specifically targeted her for a reason. Maybe it's because they know that she's pretty much got a soft spot for children and they used it against her. Maybe it's because she's the heart of the team. It's probably all a part of the plan to weaken the Maskman. It's really disheartening when the team heart becomes the target causing the whole team to have a major loss. She can't stop blaming herself to the point I felt sorry for her.
6. Episode 41 - The female thieves plot
Perhaps a bigger, badder episode than girls with guns with Boukenger. Both Momoko and Haruka made it look like they were under Kiros' control. Kiros was trying to get some jewels hoping to bribe Princess Ial into becoming his. While it looked like that Hariga Doggler controlled them (and it had the audience fooled) but it turned out to be a well-dramatized script. I don't blame Takeru, Kenta and Akira for getting fooled. Both Momoko and Haruka really did a good job with how they made it look like it was a real robbery but everything was staged from the start. After the goods were delivered they turned out to be fake jewels which infuriated the master thief Kiros. It's funny how Kiros was deceived by both women that he wanted to murder them but they were rescued just in time like any ranger getting cornered.
5. Episodes 21-22 - The Galaxy Robo arc
So what's the team going to do with Great Five's captivity? They must take the risk of reviving a malfunctioning robot that ended up killing its pilot Professor Yamagata. The robot was supposed to have "feelings" though it's not explored for most of the episodes. It's revealed that Director Sugata and Professor Yamagata both competed and the Great Five won. Galaxy Robo was built anyway because Yamagata felt it should be built. The Maskmen are tasked to awaken the Aura Power inside the Galaxy Robo. The two-parter presents some buildup as Yumi at first blamed the robot and doesn't want it revived. I don't blame her especially with what happened though the robot's malfunction was because it was struck by lighting. The Maskmen revive the robot in a rather difficult task of awakening the Aura Power within it. Overall, a very interesting two parter.
4. Episodes 27-29 - Kiros' introductory episodes
Kiros' arrival in Maskman proved that he's no pushover and he's not added there for the sake of being there. He changed the game by actually destroying the Shot Bomber by himself but he has other motives for doing what he did. He revealed that he's got his lust for Princess Ial (which is the origin of my Kiros lusting after Miu Suto or Go-on Silver jokes). I find that funny considering that he's been more after jewels but Ial's beauty captivated him. Aren't there any other girls around? Momoko's pretty hot if you ask me. This is also a turning point because Takeru discovered that his girlfriend Mio is Princess Ial no thanks to Baraba. Kiros felt like that he must destroy Takeru to get Ial. This also began the rivalry between the two characters. The second half also featured the Maskmen defeating a monster of the week without a new weapon. Yet they also realized that while they must rely on their own strength that they're not invincible. They also needed the Jet Cannon to replace the Shot Bomber to continue their fight against Tube.
3. Episodes 43-46 - Fencer Unas and Igam arc
This was an interesting three parter that developed Akira. Originally, I assumed that Akira could be a resident of Tube and that his mother may be a surface human while his father was from Tube. Maybe he had a dual heritage for all we know. The underground had the legend of Fencer Unas who they said would liberate them from Zeba's tyrannical rule. It turned out to be that Fencer Unas a guardian for the Igam family and Akira became Unas. I wish the show decided to make Akira have a dual heritage to further intensify the conflict. What was later revealed to the Maskmen is that Prince Igam is actually a woman. Knowing that he's fought against a woman all along is a hard thing for Takeru. Speaking of male vs. female rivalry it was somewhat developed later with Hayate and Shelinda and Nagare vs. Denus . We might also include Yohei vs. Jarmin but it wasn't all that intense. We also get a glimpse of who the legendary Lethal Doggra was in Maskman. He was supposedly born from the Pond of Evil and later his spirit possessed Gorin Dobler. A pretty dark arc if you ask me.
2. Episodes 48-49 - Rescuing Ial arc
This two parter pretty much leads the finale. What the show doesn't explain in full was why Zeba decided to punish Baraba with death while he did't do the same to the others? Granted, Baraba was very close to discovering Zeba's bizarre secret origin which got explained in Episode 50. The two parter featured Baraba's dilemma he could die and Kiros took advantage of the situation. Kiros wanted to get Ial for himself which further intensified the conflict between the three parties. Oyobur refused to assist Baraba in the final battle. Red Mask managed to defeat Baraba but he must rescue Ial. I also have a feeling that maybe Zeba thought getting rid of Baraba in the most discrete way possible would be another way to prevent the others from knowing his dark origins. Kiros' cowardly actions are seen to how he'd do anything to get what he wanted and how he tried to bribe Oyobur into melting the ice. In the end, Kiros' own lust for Ial was his downfall. He got wounded severely and died while seeing his most hated rival and the woman he lasted after embrace. Pretty much a very powerful story.
1. Episode 38 - Takeru's childhood
It does sound crazy but I tend to have an extreme favoritism for this episode. I don't remember seeing this episode as a child but only as an adult. What I liked about this episode was that I'm reminded not to let my bad childhood define who I am in the present. Little bratty Takeru was different from the Takeru who led the Maskmen into battle. It was funny to see how Takeru tried to cover fire with paper but it only created the awkward opposite reaction. Everyone had a glimpse of how crazy the younger Takeru was. The episode reminded me of how I actually wanted to give up and run away. I seldom feel like I wish I could go back to the past and tell myself not to run away and maybe change my present that way. Overall, I still feel this episode became my motivator when I entered my early adult years not to let a bad past haunt me.