Sentai DVD Rambling Part 7: The Sci-Fi Revival Era With Kyukyu Sentai GoGo-V And Mirai Sentai Timeranger


I never thought I'd do another rant like this one given the circumstances. With GoGo-V getting its official release this April 24, 2018 then a Timeranger official release may just be around the corner. I'd like to discuss an era which Sentai Bandicoot describes as the Sci-Fi Revival Era where GoGo-V and Timeranger fall into:

Succeeding Takatera for the position of Chief Producer was Metal Hero veteran Jun Hikasa, who’d go on to produce every Sentai from GoGoFive to Abaranger, as well as producing Kamen Rider Blade, Boukenger, Go-onger, first half of Goseiger, and Akibaranger. This short lived 2 year long era delves the franchise into a style where it’s elements are never quite seen as much in Sentai again. It brings back the hard sci-fi approach which was very prominent during the Soda Era. However, unlike the Soda Era, the Sci-Fi Revival Era does not focus particularly on the hero vs villain plots. Rather, these two shows focus more on continuing Takatera’s grounded approach and trying to explore how “realistic” Sentai can be portrayed as. This is shown via the details of GoGoFive’s rescue arsenal and mecha, as well as Timeranger’s futuristic character and criminal stories. It’s possible this era was considered too ambitious for it’s own good, as kids weren’t the most interested, causing numbers to drop. Toei would quickly put an end to this era, and try to switch Sentai over to a different direction for the 21st Century.

Speaking of sci-fi heavy stories, I could think of the 80s and 90s as such where you have Goggle V, Dynaman, Bioman, Changeman, Flashman, Liveman, Jetman, Ohranger and Megaranger. The ones that focused much on the misuse of science were Bioman, Flashman, Liveman and Megaranger. If I'm to send my disagreement against Sentai Bandicoot I'd probably call it the "Super Serious Sci-Fi Era" because I felt like GoGoFive and Timeranger may have gone that far. For me, it's been the "best era" even if I could still enjoy newer Super Sentai seasons like Kyuranger and I'm still looking forward to what could be a a comedy in Lupinranger vs. Patoranger.

Now I'd like to make an extended rant on GoGoFive and Timeranger which I did a short portion rant back in Part 2 of this said series of Sentai DVD Rambling:


Kyukyu Sentai GoGo-V 

From what I heard, Japan's hotline number is 555 and Go means "Five" which may explain why the show is called GoGoFive. Hmmm... that's interesting considering we also had Kamen Rider Faiz also spelled out as 555. I guess that's how the show got it's name and by the way, Kyu means "nine" which is why Kyuranger started out with nine rangers. What's interesting is that Tokkei Winspector may have taken place in 1999 and it was aired in 1990 - the exact same year that Chikyu Sentai Fiveman aired and NEARLY ended Super Sentai. GoGoFive airs in 1999, it was also the year when the Grand Cross happened and it was rumored that December 31, 1999 would be the last day on Earth.

I wonder what was inside the heads of the producers when GoGoFive was in concept? Metal Hero ended with Robotack presumably due to lack of interest to continue the project. But I guess people just didn't want to end the rescue theme. The Rescue Police Trilogy and Janperson were among those more mature shows that didn't feel too much like a "kiddie show". I guess they thought what if they took bits and pieces of the Rescue Police Trilogy, put some scary demons, fix Fiveman and maybe that's how we got GoGoFive.

The series itself can be considered that serious even if there are a lot of times I couldn't take Matoi's Drill Sergeant Nasty attitude that seriously. I tend to prefer the more calm and level-headed approach of the main heroes of the Rescue Police Trilogy or most red rangers who weren't Drill Sergeant Nasties. Maybe that plot was added for balance to prevent the show from being too serious. There were some moments like when Daimon accidentally injured a child with his weapon (OUCH) or there's just that plain creepy nightmare fuel from the villains. Not to mention, GoGoFive has some moderate amounts of blood and graphic violence like the Rescue Police series.

The Saima itself may be one of the creepiest and scariest villains ever in history. They really know how to do horror stuff and nightmare fuel. Denus may be the weak link due to her actress Kaya Hirasawa (yes, I still stand by that) but the plots aren't anything to laugh at. Maybe we could mention Grand Bitch Grandienne (pun intended) is just awfully cruel and manipulative even towards her own children? I wonder how many children were scared to death during the finale? I even feel that it probably beats Zyuranger's finale by a mile or two. Today, their worst enemies wouldn't be heroes in spandex but Toei's new set of executives and current Japanese censorship rules.


Mirai Sentai Timeranger

If t's safe to say Timeranger took darker and edgier to a whole new mile with a cold cast of characters in what some may call as Yasuko Kobayashi's Magnum Opus. I'm personally still a fan of Timeranger but I admit that characters can be that cold and unlikable to a certain extent. I tend to feel that a lot of members of Timeranger are extremely moody, cold, unlikable or something that would be similar to how Toshiki Inoue wrote a lot of his characters in Kamen Rider Agito and Kamen Rider Faiz. You could consider or Kamen Rider Ryuki was also a show full of moody, cold and unlikable protagonists.

The show itself tries the time travel and the first police themed Super Sentai in one. The Timerangers go into the past and try to fight fate itself. The whole scenario is not your typical Super Sentai atmosphere. It's dark, it's gloomy, it's edgy and it may be safe to say it's actually darker and edgier than all its predecessors. Some may argue that it's Jetman (which I beg to differ because Liveman is really darker and edgier) but I'd rather give the title to Timeranger. I mean, most Super Sentai seasons after Timeranger are meant to be lighter and softer in contrast to it.

How's Timeranger that dark and edgy? First episode, you've got a red ranger Tatsuya who can be so cold and unlikable. You've got Yuuri's icy demeanor which she displays a lot. It's revealed because she lost her family so young that it goes deeper into her system. Ayase suffers from the Osiris disease which could end up ending his life. He must decide what he will do because the disease has no known cure yet. Sion himself is ignorant of what life is considering he grew up in the laboratory. Domon himself may be somewhat comic relief but he's not without his serious moments. Later, the arrival of Naoto as Time Fire makes him an even bigger douche than most anti-heroes before him (ex. Gai Yuki and Burai). He somewhat foreshadows Hojo Toru's arrival in Kamen Rider Agito. Should I mention that walking spoiler Captain Ryuuya is basically a foreshadow to Masato Kusaka in Kamen Rider Faiz? Yet for some reason, I still think Timeranger is Kobayashi's best work huh?

The difference between Timeranger and its darker and edgier predecessors can be seen in their characterization of the protagonists. Darker and edgier seasons like Dairanger and Liveman have characters who are far more vibrant and lively. Timeranger may have decided to take it to a whole new direction by trying to be more depressing than usual in hopes of making it "more real" that the heroes aren't exactly perfect or life isn't all it seems while having a very sci-fi setting.

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If a super serious season like Dairanger got pass through the DVD sales then I don't see any reason why these two won't. After GoGoFive, we may inevitably see the Timeranger DVD release. It's time to keep the Super Sentai Spirits up as Shout! Factory helps Super Sentai reach the North American market! Hopefully, it'll be a worldwide thing to continue the spirit of Super Sentai!

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