GoGoFive: The Heroic Account Of The Tatsumi Family
What can I say? The mission has been completed. It's time to get it over and done with with another review. After watching the series, I don't have much reason to compare it that much to Lightspeed Rescue since both shows had their own merits and writing styles. Lightspeed Rescue wasn't about a family that fights together but the bond of friendship that happens in any superhero team. GoGoFive was more focused on the theme of family bonds like Fiveman and Magiranger. But I guess I'll compare GoGoFive to Fiveman. As for Magiranger, GoGoFive is miles better than that show. So where do I start with this review considering it's official... I've got the mission complete status with GoGoFive!
Years ago, I can't forget how easily I have my biases for Super Sentai whenever a theme gets repeated or anything that came after Timeranger. I guess you know the three times or more I wished Super Sentai actually ended with a certain season. Never mind really that Carranger has been more consistent than Turboranger or that Abaranger may have done the dinosaur theme better than Zyuranger. I remembered joking how the costumes of Lightspeed Rescue (before I discovered GoGoFive's existence) looked like the Fiveman costumes. Like Fiveman, they're siblings but not a bunch of elementary school teachers but they're their own public service announcement Tokusatsu series in one way or another.
But unlike Fiveman, the idea of Super Sentai sibling was more or less at a fresher direction. Fiveman was basically having some issues because Hirohisa Soda ran out of ideas and maybe Takeyuki Suzuki needed to work with newer writers to get his ideas across. Unlike Fiveman which was more or less a lighter and softer season, GoGoFive tries to go back to more serious roots similar to Jetman and Dairanger. The series got it right especially you had other writers like Junki Takegami (main writer), Junichi Miyashita (and note he also was part of the Rescue Police series so it worked), Yasuko Kobayashi and Ryota Yamaguchi as the main contributors. It was time to try and polish some ideas from Suzuki and Soda into a whole new season. Maybe, just maybe Miyashita's part in writing several episodes for the Rescue Police Trilogy as well as the main writer for Janperson (my favorite Rescue Police series) and Blue SWAT must have helped. In Kobayashi's case, she was also the writer of hit series Gingaman and an important contributor of Megaranger.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
I felt it was a breathe of fresh air (in some way) while mixing nostalgia together in the series. Since it's a sibling Super Sentai, I was glad to take a break from the sixth ranger phenomenon that started with Zyuranger's Burai. The template was done during Bioman (Shota Yamamori was tested as the Magne Warrior prior to becoming Juspion, that's where he also met his late wife Yuko Asuka) and Maskman with X-1 Mask where the character ended up becoming used for both deceased warriors namely Gai Yuki and Burai. As for Lightspeed Rescue, I'll still commend the crew involved for not only filming a lot of their own footage with everyone's kickass abilities utilized properly for a kid's show but also for creating the U.S. exclusive Titanium Ranger which makes me want to see the Power Rangers adaptation as its own show instead.
The sibling Super Sentai itself has the story of the children estranged from their father. Years ago, Dr. Mondo Tatsumi had no choice but to split even from his children. I'm really getting Voltes V vibes with that plot when Dr. Kentaro Gou (Prince Lagour) decided to go to Boazan to convince his evil first cousin Emperor Zanbazil not to attack the Earth. In their case. it's not searching to be reunited with their father but a father seeking to reconcile with his children. Dr. Tatsumi faked his death to create the GoGoFive's technology to combat the upcoming Saima. So the children grew up believing that their parents had died. Their mother Ritsuko was gone missing and has been assumed dead. In reality, she lands into a severe coma but is kept alive long enough for some reason. The children meet their father but with some hostility while he never wanted to do what he did.
The children grew up where Matoi the eldest pulls the family together. Years later, Matoi becomes a fireman. Nagare becomes a scientist much like his father but he's a badass one. Shou is now a pilot. Daimon is a policeman. Matsuri is now a nurse. The series reveals a lot of stuff related to them with their past and present. There's also stuff like facing their past and bringing forth into the future. It's not been easy for the Tatsumi family but Dr. Tatsumi tries to get them back together. The team understands why their father had to leave but at that time, he had no choice but to fake his own death until the time comes for the GoGoFive to finally fight the Saima Clan's invasion. So they gear up their rescue machines not only to rescue people but to also stop the Saima Clan from putting humanity to a near end.
The villains in GoGoFive were pretty much a cool bunch compared to that Magiranger. They felt like an improvement of the Bouma in Turboranger as the show as more consistent in how they were portrayed. Turboranger ended up shifting moods too often. I'll discuss how I felt like the Saima had a lot more consistency in their writing than that of Turboranger's Bouma.
The Saima happens to be a dysfunctional family. So we do have sibling bonds between Zylpheeza, Kubolda and Venus but that bond is soon to be broken. They're all focused on serving their mother Grand Bitch I mean Grand Witch Grandienne. So she's still not descended during the Grand Cross. The eldest son Zylpheeza (unless you consider GoGoFive vs. Gingaman to be part of the series' continuity) is concerned about bringing their mother back so they can take over the world. But during that strange ceremony to bring their bitchy mother, she's just half a bitch but still as mean and spiteful. She turns her own family apart that after Zylpheeza's death, she turns Drop into the cruel Salamandes which divides the family. There's still some bond between Kubolda and Venus as they plan to bring back their defeated brother into the world of the living. But this of course gets spoiled as Salamandes trolls his other siblings unaware of his mother's wicked ambitions.
Each of them had some rivalries to display. Zylpheeza as the "team captain" normally rivals the red ranger. Venus herself as the bitchy female of the group rivals Matsuri and Nagare. The first three siblings had a real bond in spite of being villains. They all wanted to do their best for their mother unaware she views them as merely disposable. That's not what a mother should be doing! They all were doing for her and what does she do? Simply treat them like they were disposables.
Years ago, if my memory serves me right, I remembered Sentai Bandicoot mentioned that he was afraid of Grandienne. She's such a mean, cruel bitch that there's no reason to give her the mother of the year award unless if it's for the worst mother of the year award. Not only does she mess up the world but also her own family. She sets her own family apart by "favoring" Salamandes over the others. She felt no remorse for her own son Zylpheeza's death. Now other Super Sentai villains like Daimaou and Ackdos Gill promised to take revenge for their heirs' deaths. But not with Grandienne because she's a heartless bitch who really, really should have been called Grand Bitch Grandienne because that's what she is. She's a mean, abusive mother who thinks of NOTHING else but her own benefit. You had Shadam do that to his sons in Dairanger. While Hysteria was a villain but she cared about her husband and son. Not so with Grandienne. She's just plainly the bitch energy of the Universe.
Her actions even make me pity her own villainous children. For Venus' death, I felt like she really died for what? A mom who doesn't care about her. She even disowned her own son Salamandes for failing to destroy the GoGoFive. Then she ends up doing a lot of horrible, horrible stuff to her own family. During the finale, she tricks Kubolda into fighting the GoGoFive and for what? She ends up ordering Zylpheeza to fire at Kubolda. Man, what kind of a mother is that? This results to me pitying the villains even for all the evil they did. Their mom really deserves the worst mom of the year award doesn't she? So her body gets destroyed but that's not the end of her as she finally unleashes herself into the atmosphere.
That reminds me didn't the Kakurangers have a similar plot with its finale? In Kakuranger, they didn't destroy Daimaou because if they did, all the evil will be unleashed. I felt like writers wanted to revisit the idea and imagine what if Daimaou was actually destroyed and his essence filled the Earth? That's what she did and she's become a more frightening version of the illusion projected by Vulgyre known as Empress Meadow in Fiveman except she's no illusion. She dominates the atmosphere and just when you think everything's okay, there's a real massive surge of such evil energy that I'd say it's a better finale than Fiveman. I felt like why did they decide to destroy Empress Meadow off as an illusion and insert Vulgyre at the last minute? So I felt like the producers and writers revisited Empress Meadow's concept and inserted her into Grandienne and she's the negative energy of the Universe. No wonder she's such a bitch because she's really negative energy. She then turns her sons Salamandes and Zylpheeza as puppets as she wrecks havoc hoping to dominate Earth (she's now inhabiting it) then the Universe in her own image.
Well the finale is kinda cheesy. So why introduce another version of the Max Victory Robo? Toy sales? But regardless, the last weapon plan still worked its charm. After the second Max Victory Robo (which is powered by their hearts to replace the first destroyed robot) destroys both her puppets, she then erupts in the atmosphere as a result. I wonder, did Hirohisa Soda really plan to blow up Meadow in the same way but decided to insert Vulgyre in the last minute? I felt like GoGoFive was again taking some unexplored potential in the past to create another great series. Too bad Magiranger couldn't match up to it. In the finale, we see the family reunite after several years of painful separation.