The 90s Started With With Fiveman And Winspector, Ended With GoGoFive
I remembered how I wrote about how I called GoGoFive as a product of Fiveman and Winspector. Now one can always argue that Timeranger is the end of the 20th century Heisei era Super Sentai yet GoGoFive is the end of the 90s. We can consider how it seems the 90s got planned accordingly by Toei huh? GoGoFive can be considered as a pretty innovative series yet I can't deny that I do have my shifting opinions towards it. So what's with the 90s?
The 90s can be considered an era where I have a love-hate relationship with it -- those were simpler times yet who can remember some technology you're glad won't make it into the space age of Kyuranger? There are some great shows from several places before they sucked. The 90s Super Sentai can be like that and I still think the 80s to 90s Super Sentai are the best while newer generation fans can't relate to that, right? So how did Toei's Tokusatsu series open during the 90s? The Kamen Rider series was put on hiatus and the only new Riders were just feature films pretty much like Kamen Rider ZX (which also never became a series during the Showa era for some unexplained reason)
Metal Hero started going to a different direction with Winspector. Yup, it's that show that somehow shook my high opinion on GoGoFive and even Dekaranger. Okay, I may still like all the shows I mentioned but what I liked about Winspector is what I'd call the more "mature, realistic approach". Sure, we all know Super Sentai heroes aren't invincible and they have to retreat when need be -- Winspector takes that vulnerability to a whole new level.
Enter the badass Ryoma Kagawa. He may be the top police officer of the Winspector organization yet one can't deny that he's not invincible. He only can use the Fire suit for up to six minutes only. So why did Toei come up with that limit? Were they trying to make a hero who you can relate to? Okay, the bug was somewhat fixed during Solbrain and Exceedraft -- but that wasn't the case with Winspector. Ryoma had that challenge to accomplish his task in such a short amount of time. Just imagine him having to face the Saima Clan or Alienizers with just that? He'd actually perish!
The unique approach of Winspector as a Rescue Police show is that there was really no main villain (though Solbrain and Exceedraft introduced one during their midseason in the persons of Ryuiichi Takaoka and Iwao Daimon). The series may be selling toys for children all the while any teenager or adult can enjoy it just as much too. I remembered how I didn't like Solbrain that much as a child but enjoyed it a lot as an adult. Also, it was a series that took place nine years ahead of its actual year of airing!
Besides, it was the success of Winspector that spawned both Solbrain and Exceedraft. I wonder did it also help inspire the arrival of Janperson and Blue SWAT? If so, I wonder why didn't Janperson get a crossover with the Rescue Police Trilogy?
I know this is going to draw in some flak and I admit -- I grew up with Fiveman but even then, I didn't like it as much as I would with Jetman, Maskman, Bioman and Turboranger during the time that Tagalog-dubbed Super Sentai was aired. Then again, I don't really care anymore because the local Filipino TV networks are really just doing a disservice with how bad their dubs are these days.
While Winspector became a smashing success -- Fiveman NEARLY ended Super Sentai. It may sound stupid but Fiveman really nearly ended Super Sentai in the 90s. It took Jetman to make the Super Sentai franchise to raise up like a phoenix! So what went wrong with Fiveman? I may have enjoyed Fiveman and maybe I should mention Machineman (again) but as an adult -- both shows aren't as interesting as they used to be compared to others from my childhood. It's just like how I used to like Power Rangers before but now I just don't like said franchise anymore.
Fiveman suffered from what everyone should acknowledge -- Hirohisa Soda was really burning out and that's not good for innovation isn't it? Innovation doesn't only make new ideas -- it also includes making sure you deliver good results. Unfortunately, Soda was already burning out and just kept combining almost every idea he had from Goggle V up to Turboranger. Fiveman did have the creative idea of sibling Super Sentai though almost everything the show had was but Soda's recycling. He was clearly super burnt out that time!
Yet, I would admit that I do still have a soft spot for it for many reasons. There's still cool action scenes, likable characters and the family bond. I may not like it as much today but still, I probably still have a soft spot for it.
Then the 90s was coming to an end and GoGoFive really featured some of real life events. It was rumored that the Year 2000 would be the end of the world, there was the real Grand Cross event and some doomsday naysayers were really surrounding a lot that time. What's also interesting is that GoGoFive takes place in 1999, Kyukyu means 99 and Winspector's story takes place in 1999 aside from the hoax that the Year 2000 would start with a great darkness -- which was eventually shown later on into the series!
GoGoFive would become the second sibling Super Sentai and a better one at that! I guess people know I don't want to bring Lightspeed Rescue up too much all the while it's hard for me not to bring up Fiveman. It's not just the costumes that may make me think of Fiveman -- it's also the fact that they are a sibling team. The show's contrast between both the Tatsumis and the Saimas as siblings show a great difference. The show's main villain Grand Witch Grandienne doesn't really care about her own children but only herself. The GoGoFive's parents made many difficult decisions and try to reunite as a family. I also felt that GoGoFive's sibling development was better than than Fiveman considering that head writer Junki Takegami wasn't burned out yet during that time!
GoGoFive seems to tie in to real life events such as that the episode of the Grand Cross happened three days before the actual Grand Cross on August 18 of 1999. It also featured the Y2K bug scare where they believed that there would be this great reset. It also worked itself to the finale when a great darkness finally started becoming the focus of GoGoFive's final episodes. Who couldn't forget just how scary Grandienne really is? The finale showed her becoming the negative energy of the Universe, plunging the Earth into darkness and using her own two sons Zylpheeza and Salamandes as mindless husks to cause havoc.
GoGoFive's final episode aired on February 6, 2000 which marked the end of the 90s Super Sentai making its way for Timeranger. The finale of GoGoFive was probably mocking the idea that the Year 2000 would be the end of the world as we know it. The final episode would have that great darkness finally expelled by the GoGoFive with the rather life-threatening use of the last minute gimmick called the Max Victory Robo Sigma Project to finally end the series.
So what are your thoughts on the beginning and the end of the 90s with Toei?