Jetman Revisited: Why It's Still My Favorite Super Sentai!

So I haven't done much postings lately, now I just want to do my revisiting of Chojin Sentai Jetman and also give details why it has become my favorite:

So my first impressions of Jetman was that it was obviously based on Gatchaman but back then, I only saw G-Force (the lousy American adaptation) and later as a teenager, discovered the Gatchaman Trilogy and just thought that it was pretty based on Gatchaman.  So it wasn't a surprise for me that Yellow Owl was a guy but I was baffled at Blue Swallow as a girl?!  So Jinpei's Jetman tribute is a girl?!  For one thing, this was not the very typical Sentai series for me, it really had a lot of great moments which I thought summarized a lot of Hirosida Soda's era like the love story element from Maskman involving the red ranger, the introduction of love triangles and characters that just appeal to me even if I initially disliked them.  So I'm pretty thankful this wasn't the series to start the Power Rangers franchise although I still respect Power Rangers even if I'm more of a Super Sentai fan.

The Jetmen:

So yeah, pretty much that Ryu and Gai Yuki were obviously based on Ken the Eagle and Joe the Condor.  Joe the Condor can be dandy with ladies.  So I pretty much hated Gai Yuki at first due to his opposing my favorite character Ryu to whom I could relate to in some way.  While I still had fear of authorities even if I was a bad student, Gai Yuki was somebody whose sense of humor initially pissed me off.  So Ryu is a responsible guy though the actor Kotaro Tanaka isn't that good, still he convinced me.  He pretty much was like the standard red but with a sense of inner conflict that he hid- that is is longing for Rie whom he believed was dead and thought that he could never love again.  When it came to recruiting Gai Yuki, he was pretty more reluctant than Mika (Mika just wanted to continue her late brother's job, Gai was an irresponsible person) which made me say, "Hey WTF?"  So there began my hatred for Gai Yuki for awhile and I had to sit through with him.  Also, I dared to compare this scene to Takeru and Ryo in Maskman in the one shot X1 Mask episode because of the similarities except Takeru had a better portrayal with some humor.  However as time passed, I grew to accept Gai Yuki for what he was and even wished he didn't leave us so soon or even felt sorry for him when Kaori initially rejected him, I supported the Gai/Kaori tandem and wanted Ryu to be reunited with Rie but oh well, tragedy does hit everyone doesn't it?  I even rode the boat of losing during the Gai Yuki's fate debate because I grew to like him as the series passed due to him learning to be a real man plus he was fun to watch the second time around.  Also, Gai Yuki's best focus had to be when he snapped Ryu out of his delusion... best focus of the rivalry ever!  And what was the real shocker aside from the fact Gai Yuki is really dead after the 20 years debate?  In Toshiki Inoue's TV epilogue after he verifies that Gai Yuki had passed away by the knifing thug indirectly, Ryu and Kaori named their son Gai as well!  This kind of rivalry was attempted in Boukenger with Satoru and Masumi which I still liked.

What I found stupid is that the Jetmen didn't realize Gai Yuki was dying or why he didn't bleed during the final episode when he stood at a distance, giving Ryu and Kaori his blessings which made me realize that Toshiki Inoue's not good in handling shock value and he can have bad finales.  But at least the Jetman finale isn't as stupid as Kiva's (but I enjoyed Kiva a lot!).  For me this is the best rivalry between members ever!  Toshihide Wakamatsu did us all a favor by appearing as Gai Yuki's ghost in Gokaiger 28 but sadly it was a very cruel episode for me that is to Gai Ikari.  So yeah there was internal bleeding but maybe he would have survived if he were rescued.  But sigh... I really felt stupid and also I refused to believe he was dead because the scene was awfully stupid.  I mean, if he were scheduled to die WHY NOT THE FINAL BATTLE?  He could have been badass to death by taking Radiguet to death with him.  I thought that his death was really pretty realistic but still, I wanted him to die in final battle as a soldier.  But then again, I can give credit he did a good deed before dying so I guess I'll accept it easier.  Because I think a badass like Gai Yuki deserves a soldier's death, the Jetmen bury him after the final battle and three years later, his ghost visits his teammates during Ryu's wedding day with Kaori.  That would have been better.

And well, for Aya Odagiri I thought she was gender flip of Dr. Nambu until I heard of Gatchaman II's tragic character Sylvie Pandora (who was friends with Dr. Nambu and a really pretty scientist) whose two year old daughter was force-grown and turned into a Gallactor officer.  What Toshiki Inoue was thinking that he wanted to break the chain of Dr. Nambus in the past Super Sentai and then got the rather underused Sylvie Pandora, took her into the live action world and made her the mentor of the supposedly new Gatchaman team but not kill her at the end of it but rather, Gai Yuki died in her place.  In fact, the Dr. Nambu counterpart who was even unnamed got killed at the beginning.  But he didn't take the missing daughter plot, rather that plot went into the non-canon Jetman manga when Ryu's daughter also named Aya was turned into the Vyram officer Ruma by a resurrected Radiguet.  For a commander, I really love how badass she is of a beauty, fortunately she didn't die like her counterpart in Gatchaman II.  She shows that women can be good mentors, in fact she shows that a woman can be a good commander as much as a man.  My favorite focus on her was when she faced off against Ichijou and risked her neck to save the Neo Jetmen from their deaths or the other, when she piloted Jet Garuda to defeat Drill Leech Jigen.  Overall, she's my favorite female mentor though Miki Masaki of Gekiranger or Swan from Dekaranger are still good in their own way, I just think they lack the factor she has that's all.  Not that she's the first female commander but her merits goes to how awesome she is, a man could still do a good job as much as a female could with her character.  While Mikiko Miki's character survived in Jetman, her character died in Dairanger.

I had my crush on the cute and bubbly Ako who I thought was a female version of Jinpei and a gender flip of Akira in Maskman with their happy go lucky nature.  Not really, she was different from Jinpei, she was a high school student who was pretty silly herself.  She was my crush in the show considering her cuteness and it didn't help I met a girl who looks like her back in my high school days and got into a love triangle over her with a guy who was kinda like Gai Yuki!  For me, I didn't care too much about her development art first, I just had a crush on her sweet personality. Too bad girls like her are a hard catch!  I dunno if Haruka Suenaga has her kind of behavior, seems to be.  For her favorite focus episodes, I do like her episode with Pooh-Tan the best and also her one-time crush on Dan of Dimensia, drove me nuts when she was "marrying" Gai Yuki but I grew to accept it they could be a potential couple but he had to leave us so soon.  Every step of the way, I just love her focus episodes.  Maybe her best focus was when she gave a little girl courage to face her heart operation, even when she was temporarily blinded she still kicked ass though I also like her focus episode with Kyoko.  While Sentai teams usually aren't allowed to reveal their secret identities to their friends, Aya gave Kyoko the exception as long as she doesn't reveal the Jetmen's identities.

For Kaori, I thought that she was probably just pretending not to care because she was afraid though I like the part where she decides to find meaning beyond her rich girl life.  For one thing, I didn't really ship her with Ryu at first, I thought that she and Gai Yuki could have been developed to the very end but sigh but I was okay with her and Ryu ending up together.  For me, she wasn't really anything special at first though I grew to accept how she becomes the "team mother".  Her crush on Ryu can be understood considering he's really manly though I kind of supported her with Gai Yuki, Ryu with Rie but then things didn't move the way they should.  Overall, I grew to accept her as well not only because of her caring for Ryu but also because she managed to help in Gai Yuki's development which made me grew to accept Gai Yuki.  Like Jun the Swan, she was fan-paired as well- Jun with either Ken or Joe.  My favorite focus episode of her was when we see her beyond her rich girl image and later, how she uses her wealth to help others like to snap Ako out of her greed spell with all that diamonds. Her development with Gai Yuki was fun to watch, too bad it had to break up but I had no ifs and buts about her marrying Ryu since she and Ryu did have some development, not like the Nago/Megumi ending in Kiva.

For Raita, it did make me go WTF that an overweight person became a ranger since I haven't seen Goranger prior to Jetman but hey, he's pretty much based on Ryu the Owl (which the name shocked me because the name Ryu was used on Ken's Jetman counterpart!).  For me, I pretty much thought that I didn't mind the eyeglasses, Billy in MMPR had eyeglasses I didn't mind either.  For me, he was a likable funny guy and hated it when he got dragged into the conflict for Kaori though I like the fact he and Satsuki ended up together.  My favorite focus episode of him was with him and Satsuki.  Also, I just love his rock throwing episodes, his friendship with Gai Yuki and how he really loves nature.  His love for nature became his motivation to fight the Vyram.  So he did marry Satsuki.  For me, could have been better if Raita and Satsuki were the ones married in the finale, maybe Gai Yuki could die at the final battle

I do love the show's mecha from the Ikarus Haken to the Jet Ikarus (with the training arc that was fun to watch and developed the characters) to the Jet Garuda (which sadly was a very tragic arc as the three Dimensians had to die!) and Tetra Boy, introducing the first AI mecha.  In this area, it's just extreme favoritism.  The mecha plots were well executed for me, but there are just some that are done better.  My favorite design here has to be when Jet Ikarus and Jet Garuda combines into Great Ikarus and releases that extremely awesome Bird Maser and it still remains my top favorite two robot gattai sequence ever!

Others as well, most of the Jetman equipment when introduced carries a well-written plot like the Fire Bazooka was written in an effort to save Kaori or the Beak Smashers had a well-written drama between a deceased father and his daughter.

The villains:

The Vyram were pretty much a different group without a big bad.  Instead the four members (eventually reduced to three) bet to whoever beats the Jetmen will be the leader while Radiguet is the de-facto leader considering he's more powerful than the rest.  Now revisiting the villains...

For the villains, I'd say Radiguet is what scared me the most in Jetman that I had nightmares about this guy.  He's one incredibly evil psychotic maniac of questionable sanity, great degrees of cruelty and he's got one gruff scary voice that made me wish his actor Daisuke Tachi played Shaddam in Dairanger!  At first I thought he was based on Berg Katse but he's too scary to be based on such as Berg Katse was just a moron.  After doing some research, so he was based on the Gatchaman Fighter villain Egobossler (right) who was no doubt Tatsunoko's biggest SOB ever as he is Toshiki Inoue's best bastard villain if not Super Sentai's most cruel complete monster (though some may say it's either Shaddam or Grandienne).  But compared to Egobossler, Radiguet's cruelty exceeds his Gatchaman Fighter's counterpart and he's one incredibly genocidal maniac with a very bad temper (Egobossler was cunning and more patient than he was!) but times came when I felt sorry for him like when Juuza appeared for two episodes and two, when Tranza appeared even if he's tossed every chance of redemption he's got, he chooses to remain as the self-righteous snob he is (Seriously does this guy even think he's a good guy despite the fact he's been killing people for his pleasure?) believing himself to be better than everyone because I think he's really the best villain in the series if not in all Super Sentai history.

He's really one villain who despite his evil, justifies his reasons saying that humanity are full of bastards, they're stupid and he's justified in murdering people as if he was appointed to cleanse the world from evil and as if he's any better as he's been responsible for destroying civilizations in the past with or without a boss to work for.  Man does this guy have a life?  He killed the Dimensians just to get the job finished for his own sadistic pleasures, he doesn't even treat his fellow Vyram well and his lust for Maria makes him mistreat her.  Most satisfying scene from this awesome villain?  Him bullying a helpless Tranza after he intended to kill both Ryu and Tranza in one shot while I also did like the scene he killed Juuza out of cold blood.  Also his crush on Maria is perhaps the most disturbing since he really killed her after many times she refused him, how cruel can he get?  Fortunately no Berg Katse counterpart to ruin the show but made me wonder why Vyram doesn't have a Sosai X counterpart?  Then again Sosai X already has several Super Sentai counterparts like Black Cross Fuehrer but Egobossler had no counterparts save Radiguet.  But it seems Inoue took Egobossler and dropped him to a pit full of narcotics resulting to this really scary villain who has some brain damage issues.  Yeah pretty much I wish Daisuke Tachi were Shaddam in Dairanger.

Of course, I can't deny the similarities of the rivalries between Ryu and Radiguet to Ken and Egobossler.  In the case of Ryu vs. Radiguet, theirs is a very intense rivalry.  Ryu thinks humanity deserves a chance, Radiguet is judgmental about them and they had frequently clashed swords which is made worse since Maria is later involved.  Ryu wants Maria back, Radiguet's lust for Maria makes him hate Ryu more to the point he later killed her when he can't have her.  The rivalry was pretty heavy, not standard at all with all the personal issues while Ken vs. Egobossler was pretty standard.  It does have traces of Takeru vs. Kiros (both were after Ial and in here Ryu and Radiguet have Maria in between) while having a real bastard to deal with.  To make matters worse, Radiguet takes pleasure in making Ryu's life miserable.  Fortunately Ryu decided to put his quest for revenge for Rie's death aside.  I thought Ryu should have killed Radiguet himself after the final battle out of suit to wrap up the rivalry.  Fortunately Ryou did that to Shaddam in Dairanger.

For Maria, well she really concerned me because I really believed she was Rie Aoi even before it was confirmed she was and Gure was also in love with her since they looked alike.  Her story is pretty tragic being evil against her will and her blaming herself for things she didn't do at her own choice later in the series.  What I can never understand is why Radiguet would choose to spare her if he thinks humans are stupid, maybe he developed the hots for her and thinks she could be useful to him for his pleasure then why doesn't he go around Earth and enslave as many hot chicks as he wants?  As a villain, Maria is pretty cruel and usually focuses on human misdeeds like using women's voices as a weapon or how she plans to steal love.  Her worst act ever was executing Pooh-Tan as a traitor which made her really cruel which maybe is another reason why Radiguet liked her aside from lusting after her beauty.  I could relate to Ryu since like him, I yearned long for a girl I liked who also played the piano but fortunately she didn't become Maria and me and her can move our separate ways.  What's worse is that Radiguet lusts after her to the point that when he realized he can't have her, he killed her.  I really wanted her to be with Ryu, give Ryu the only love of his life but sigh she had to die.  Sad really and I cried a lot when she died looking at her sad fate while she uttered Ryu's name before she died.  Fortunately Naruhisa Arakawa let Asuka and Mahoro reunite after a similar love story.

For Tranza, well at first he was that cruel kid who later grew up to become the Emperor of Vyram.  So at first I thought I could relate to him because I was bullied and I wanted to speed up my growing process when I was 10 or so I could bully all who bullied me. But as a grown up, Tranza reminded me of bullies I had to face and also, because he was usurping the place of my favorite villain Radiguet.  He reminded me of Kiros and Chevalier who I both liked, but him I disliked.  So pretty much, it was satisfying to see him being hit by the Fire Bazooka, survive it with extreme wounds and Radiguet pierce his ORGANIC hand with a sword, bully him to submission and let him land in the mental facility for all his life though I would rather kill him myself if I were Radiguet.  In the Manga, Radiguet used him as a host body and later, he got his revenge too in the cycle of revenge by allowing himself to die with Radiguet.  But I'd say I give credit to Takumi Hirose for playing him and doing all those awesome fight scenes!  My favorite end fate of him was in the fan fic called "Zyuranger vs. Jetman" where he had a redeemed death from being an arrogant braggart to stopping the enemy scheme after he's seen the truth.

Gure what can I say?  I think his rivalry with Gai Yuki is an honorable one, he is an honorable villain who could care less who won and he was Maria's submissive bodyguard out of love for her, he is even willing to let her go.  So despite being machine, he has more of a heart than Radiguet who is fully organic can ever have.  I do admire his noble qualities which is quite different than his expy Yaiba in Boukenger who is a plain, real bastard.  Noble villains like him make a show more three dimensional as villains aren't always evil for evil's sake.  His death scene for me was pretty much an honorable one, in fact he chose to die a warrior's death and died thinking of Maria who he truly loved.  Overall, I wish he didn't choose to die a warrior's death and chose to die protecting the Jetmen instead as a last redemptive act.  It was sort of a rehash of Change Dragon vs. Buuba in a way except he's been too heartbroken.

One shot villains like Juuza as well as the demon gods arc were interesting.  For Juuza, despite her two episode only appearance but she helped Radiguet's development like seeing Radiguet has redeemable qualities which he freely chooses to discard.  For the demon arc with Ramu and Gogu, that was real nightmare fuel which I believed inspired the Questers in Boukenger.

The Vyram footsoldiers are pretty scary to me with their designs.  Are these guys faceless or are those eyes designs or their real eyes?  I pretty thought they are pretty good nightmare fuel.  I guess these guys if they were in Power Rangers would make soccer moms complain. =P

Although I had a issue with some monster designs that were silly (ex. Garbage Jigen, Sound Jigen) but I also had liked some monster designs.  For me, it's pretty much nightmare fuel to think of it when suddenly something you cherish becomes a Jigen.  Or worse, the Bug Mother plot was disgusting considering we see children also being devoured by it just so Radiguet could begin his rampage against the Earth!  The monsters were not really that well-designed but they were all well-written (except for Dryer Jigen who I think was responsible for the creation of Yatsudenwani later in Abaranger, considering Naruhisa Arakawa both wrote the Dryer Jigen episode and is Abaranger's head writer.).  Fortunately Dryer Jigen didn't develop a crush on Ako.  But overall, don't let a "cute face" deceive you, these guys define it so well.

The music:

Jetman in itself as a bonus, has all the cool music like the opening theme, the ending theme (which is so good that Combat Butler Hayate later had a cover of the song!), Gai's saxophone is badass and so is his theme song and my favorite is also the Jet Ikarus theme!  Now looks like all the music is so well done, it makes a good bonus.  My favorite overall is the end theme "Heart is an Egg" because I could relate to that song.

Overall, these parts of Jetman revisited made me think of why I still like the series, why it still sticks to me like Fantasy Leader's love for Gingaman.  If you are a fan of Power Rangers who right now might be enjoying Zyuranger or any of the adapted Super Sentai, I suggest you should watch Chojin Sentai Jetman to see a really good series.

So I might do some more revisiting of Super Sentai in my childhood such as Bioman, Maskman, Fiveman and Turboranger or do a Super Sentai/Power Rangers comparison series by series.


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