That Possible Blurry Line In Super Sentai Generation Gaps
I can't really understand what really happened to me after Gokaiger or was it after Go-Busters? I started to pretend not to like Gokaiger as much because of some people who keep insisting it's the best Super Sentai ever without checking everything before or after it. Personally, I end up rewatching Go-Busters more than Gokaiger though I won't be such a staunch defender of said show. Then I thought about the reality that Super Sentai is really the longest running series ever. Changes happen here and there and some of them happen really well for some time (such as the late 80s to 90s and last decade) or just fall down flat (which is prevalent when writers just get overworked or the wrong writer-producer tandem) every now and then. Then there's also the case of not everything new will click immediately. Sometimes you need to check what went wrong and re-invent your innovative concepts like what GoGoFive did with Fiveman or what Gokaiger did with Kamen Rider Decade. Then there's the problem of making changes based on past successes rather than trying something new. The whole process of innovation is trial and error so always be ready for failures that may come along the way. I even reserve my right to be critical when some changes don't work while still embracing change. Part of a scientific mindset is to develop a critical mindset while being open-minded at the same time. Embrace change while pointing out mistakes that are brought about by change -- all done in order to make change better!
Now, I'd like to speculate the possible blurry line between old school Super Sentai and new school Super Sentai. The series running from 1975 up to 2019 with only a year hiatus means there's going to be existing generation gaps. Your parents may have watched Gorangers and maybe these parents have grandchildren watching Super Sentai. The differences can be very plentiful due to available technology, learning curves, and innovative concepts introduced to name a few factors. Sometimes, I just feel newer Super Sentai doesn't appeal to me as much as old school Super Sentai while I ironically prefer new school Kamen Rider over it! I'm also now known for not really caring about the Showa era Kamen Riders that much as the Heisei and I'm excited to see how the first Reiwa era Kamen Rider will do. Heck, I'm now more willing to accept Toei's changes with Kamen Rider more than they have with Super Sentai -- at least at a very personal level.
Do you remember the time when Super Sentai used to be well, more violent than usual? I watched Goranger and somehow the brutality of the first episode doesn't surprise me. Bioman's first episode had people getting shot by Mecha Clone soldiers. There's all those gun violence (such as Changeman), severe bleeding (and Dairanger was notorious for that) and fight scenes that really got people beaten up. A good example is Flashman's fight between Red Flash and Sir Kaura was full of brutal exchanges and you wonder how both of them live through it. Zyuranger has notorious amounts of violence for a show that had too much focus on children of the week. Timeranger itself was also that violent that even the rather funny-looking Don Dolnero was no laughing matter. Just imagine if Ransik were in Timeranger without the TV-Y7-FV chains -- the consequences can be deadly!
The 21st century Super Sentai then started a shift of mood. Quite a contrast to how the first seven entries of the Heisei era were considerably more bloody and violent. Gaoranger started a shift to lighter and softer. Hurricanger's first episode massacre is nothing compared to Liveman's massacre. Abaranger's violence is considerably lower than Zyuranger except for Mikoto's final moments. Dekaranger may have scenes of drugs and alcohol but don't expect for the levels of violence from Winspector up to Janperson. The shift of mood has been going on for 18 years now. Villains started to become less threatening than previous villains. Think about Joffrey Baratheon who's a genuinely dangerous Stupid Evil villain later gets replaced with Dr. Evil who is a comedic Stupid Evil villain. This may have started to alienate older fans but not necessarily. There may still be older fans watching newer Super Sentai while not liking it as much as their older shows. I would be among those who don't like the newer Super Sentai that much for the reasons of toned-down violence and not being that serious -- all the while I can still enjoy newer Super Sentai shows!
The newer fans would have their own reasons for not watching older Super Sentai. Personally, I understand why new schoolers may not want to enjoy what I enjoyed before and I respect that! The older days used some weaker CGI and stop-motion while newer Super Sentai shows have used better CGI. Mecha fight scenes in the past are considered a weakness in contrast to today's mecha fights. I even dare agree that new school Super Sentai mecha scenes are better done than the old school ones. Another would probably be that newer fans actually think darker and edgier is overrated. I agree that a darker show will not necessarily make a better one. They may have been more used to the lighter and softer series that watching the more serious Super Sentai can be a task for them too. Can you imagine yourself having watched a show with lots of mecha only to end up watching a Super Sentai season with only one giant robot or no giant robot at all like Goranger? I think that's just one huge adjustment you have there if you ask me! In fact, I even consider it very much excusable if children today don't want to watch old school Super Sentai!
I believe there's always this generation gap that won't be so easy to address. I can still enjoy newer Super Sentai if it has a plot that appeals to me at a personal level. A good example is I'm a fan of Lupinranger vs. Patranger as well as Kyuranger. I would still have higher personal regard with shows like the classic masterpieces namely Maskman and Jetman while enjoying new school entries. I do take a vacation from new-school Super Sentai not because I'm resistant to change. It can be because I do suffer from taste fatigue or there's some new school stuff out there that distract me. I just have my preferences shifting back and forth (and way too much) between new school and old school. It's like I'm willing to watch more of old school Super Sentai but I don't like most old school Showa era Riders then maybe the reverse can happen! But I'm still willing to give it a shot like I eventually gave everything else after Go-Busters a shot.
What's important is to keep an open mind and try to understand the old and the new as much as one can. Learn from the old while seeking to learn new stuff at the same time. If you don't want to be a Super Sentai completionist (and I have no intention of becoming an expert on the said subject either due to my multiple interests) then I can respect that too. Becoming a Super Sentai completionist is going to become more of a challenge due to the fact, "Would you be willing to watch all Super Sentai series from 1975 up to present?" Then again, I end up finding myself not willing to watch Taiwanese drama that some old schoolers watched back then either! So in the end, can I call it a fair game?
Cheers and once again Go Go Super Sentai!