Abaranger: Remembering Naruhisa Arakawa's Big Debut Into Super Sentai As A Headwriter
Naruhisa Arakawa himself was someone who was pretty infamous for writing the Jetman Dryer Jigen episode. He also wrote one episode in Kamen Rider Black namely the episode where Bilgenia tried to crush Kotaro Minami's feelings for humanity. We can also think that he was also a secondary writer for Jetman (6 episodes), Zyuranger (7 episodes), Dairanger (11 episodes which included the Three Stooges Arc), Kakuranger (2 episodes), Carranger (13 episodes), Megaranger (12 episodes including the finale), Gingaman (4 episodes), Kamen Rider Kuuga (main writer with Toshiki Inoue as the sub-writer) and Hurricanger (8 episodes) -- all prior to his big debut as the head writer of his first Super Sentai series Abaranger.
I decided to give Abaranger another visit and it's still my favorite from the Dinosaur Trilogy in terms of personal preference. It was the time when Arakawa was trying to iron out whatever mistakes he made in the past and make them better. It's all part of the learning process.
Rethinking of how I'm still a Jetman fan, I think about the number of elements that Arakawa may have pulled out. It was most likely his time to correct whatever mistakes he had made in Jetman -- including that Dryer Jigen episode. But it wasn't the first time he actually modified something Inoue wrote. Dairanger episode 33 feels like a tribute to the 34th episode of Maskman -- where a monster of the week feels sincere love for the pink ranger. Abaranger would get some Jetman elements and modify them in one way or another.
The most noticeable would be the part where Asuka and Mahoro have their love story which ended differently than the way Inoue wrote Ryu's and Rie's. Mahoro was kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming Jannu of the Evorian. The Evorian are like the Vyram -- they travel dimension to dimension to destroy it and turn it into a barren wasteland. You even have a child villain whose growth is accelerated like Tranza's.
Another obvious rehash and giving it the Arakawa flavor is the arrival of Mikoto Nakadai or Abare Killer and the comedic monster Yatsudenwani. He probably had no idea how to handle Dryer Jigen. He was able to fix the mistake (or not) with Yatsudenwani. Yatsudenwani appears as a defective Trinoid who lusts after Ranru. Mikoto or Abare Killer seems to show how humans can just be as dangerous if not more dangerous than the Evorian. What's so cool about him as a villain is that he even temporarily bossed around the Evorians and became their de-facto boss -- Tranza style!
I simply love saying it that Abaranger beats Zyuranger in execution and writing. Zyuranger in itself is a fun series but I don't want to keep overrating it in the name of my preferences. Zyuranger tends to have too much focus on the child of the week vs. that of Abaranger. Also, it feels more dinosaur-focused than Zyuranger where it was more on RPG-like medieval themes.
It was pretty much his big start for Super Sentai. It must have been a challenge to switch from Kamen Rider Kuuga's serious writing to Abaranger's lighter and softer approach. The success of Abaranger would soon allow him to land on more head writing projects such as Dekaranger, Gokaiger and Akibaranger. Watching Abaranger even further made me wish that he also became ToQGer's headwriter or at least shared a huge slice of that pie. I mean, wouldn't it be more fun to reimagine Emperor Zetto as someone who's like Abare Killer than a guy who's bored with the darkness? Hehe.
He succeeded and pulled it off, he learned from his mistakes and finally did something about them in later projects. Without Abaranger, then Arakawa wouldn't have cemented his name as a Super Sentai headwriter together with other projects.