Liveman Makes You Think On How To Live
This year is the 30th anniversary of Liveman. Instead of trying to write my top ten favorite episodes of this really good late 80s series -- I decided to write a bit of a reflection on Liveman as a show. It may be a Super Sentai season that makes you think on how to live. Maybe, just maybe that's the reason why Liveman is called Liveman.
A few years ago, I could remember reading from Toku Warriors on Hirohisa Soda's science trilogy. The three shows that focused on them heavily are Bioman, Flashman and Liveman. Liveman itself may be summarized with the issue of balancing science, intelligence, ethics and life. This was the battle of the Liveman vs. Volt. Should I mention why I like Soda's writing is because he's the Super Sentai head writer that just loves to insert the moral lesson of the week episode?
The early episodes would show a lot of the right and wrong decisions. Innovation itself is a gift but it can be a curse at the wrong hands. We all need innovative thinking and modernization but it can also fall into the wrong hands. It's sort of a battle of innovative thinkers who seek to help others vs. innovative thinkers who seek to use their gifts to enslave humanity. This was a battle of ideals between the students and Volt. It was also the reason why Dr. Kemp, Dr. Mazenda and Dr. Obular all left the Academia (which pursued science to help humanity) in exchange for Volt.
This was also talking about how to live. Volt's three officers were once their best friends who became their worst enemies. Dr. Kemp, Dr. Mazenda and Dr. Obular all wanted to become better than everyone. They followed Great Professor Bias' biased plan against humanity and even killed their own friends to show they have forgotten what it means to live a meaningful life. Great Professor Bias is biased towards people he considers as inferior lifeforms and he teaches his followers to do the same. He is science without conscience -- the complete anti-thesis of the Livemen. This is two directions that modernization can take people -- either towards progress or towards destruction.
Much of the plots involve living life. I could remember some of the episodes such as Dr. Kemp throwing away every chance he's got, Dr. Mazenda manipulating love which is a feeling she thinks is irrational (plus, Yuusuke used to have a crush on her back when they were younger) and Dr. Obular's road to redemption though the actor hardly showed up. The Livemen prove to be the anti-thesis of the three professors. It made me want to break into tears when Yuusuke tried to redeem Dr. Kemp or when Dr. Obular's mother realized her mistakes. Later, Dr. Obular finds some meaningful existence with his newfound faith in God (which he must have been reading Blaise Pascal's literature and well there are times Megumi's own words tell me not to give up my faith either) towards the finale when he tries to save the mind and heart of his fellow friends. He even saves the remaining humanity in Dr. Mazenda who has become a complete cyborg. Dr. Mazenda had a last minute redemption with her death.
The show also shows how science without conscience is meaningless with how the characters unfolded. Bioman shows how the computer as helpful as it is won't be a substitute for human emotions. Flashman shows how manipulating life can lead to disastrous consequences. Liveman is not just about science but also how to live life. This was also further shown during the finale when Great Professor Bias (who tried to become a god) is shown not to be so great after all and that innovation as great as it is -- it will always have its ups and downs since man isn't perfect. He only lived for himself while the Livemen lived for others. His own selfishness proved to be his downfall and the Livemen's science with conscience prevailed in the end.