My Ever-Shifting Opinions On Maskman

As I managed to finish Choshinsei Flashman as subbed by Metallic Fansubs -- I thought that there's always more than one Super Sentai series where I'd always get a shifting preference. Some Filipino fans might call it one of the best old school Super Sentai ever but take note that both old school and new school entries can change my opinion anytime. Hikari Sentai Maskman is no different as I've always had a bit of a struggle with how high or low it ranks in my head and heart.

I remembered watching Tagalog-dubbed Super Sentai in the 90s. Watching them with subtitles and Japanese audio feels like a re-education IMHO. I've remembered two series that I think are dearer to me than my first Supe Sentai namely Chodenshi Bioman -- these are Maskman and Chojin Sentai Jetman. Both of these series consists of a red ranger with a love interest and a love story. I have to admit that I couldn't choose between Maskman and Jetman to which is my favorite Super Sentai in my younger years.

I think I could start with their tragic love stories of Jetman and Maskman. There are times that I think Maskman's Takeru x Ial is kind of rushed and lacks development. I tend to overpraise Jetman's love story with Ryu and Rie even if it didn't end well. I always felt Radiguet deserved worse than his bloody death for making Ryu's mission a failure. However, I can still praise Takeru's desire to save Ial and that he stands for the complete opposite of what Kiros is. Kiros is obsessed with Ial and that makes him want to get rid of Takeru. Kiros would later die as a result of his own actions rather than die at Takeru's hand. I still think Ryu's tragic relationship with Rie was more developed. I can remember how Rie decided to die after she realized how much evil she's done and how Radiguet just chooses to become irredeemable. For me, Jetman's love story has been more developed while I can credit Maskman for actually introducing it.

One can argue Maskman is the seed of both Dairanger and maybe Gekiranger. Take note though Maskman isn't about Chinese martial arts. Maskman introduced the concept of both Aura Power and martial arts in many ways. The whole light vs. darkness concept was experimented upon by Hirohisa Soda. I admit, Maskman has plenty of cool fight scenes but Dairanger managed to evolve it better. Did Kazunori Inaba's appearance in Dairanger make a nod to that? I even wished Inaba or any of the Maskmen appeared in Gekiranger as a guest character. I still want to give Maskman credit all the while I think I've been more open to a Dairanger rewatch. Sometimes, I even think Gekiranger is better than Maskman in terms of tribute to different styles of martial arts. But I do like the three of them except I can never like them equally!

Should I mention Shinkenger does make me (at times) think differently even if only four characters can be compared? I still compare Chiaki to Akira though Kotoha is more similar to Ako from Jetman. But it's just namesake between the two Takerus -- though I think Tori Matsuzaka gets way too much credit from Toku fans! Shinkenger's Takeru may just be a shadow lord but man he does overshadow Kaori (the true Shiba) and even Red Mask the first red ranger Takeru! Inaba himself hasn't had much of a major role aside from Maskman even when he's the way better actor! Matsuzaka is still very active in show business so he might end up marrying much later in life. In fact, most of the Shinkengers still get projects today. Although I do tend to think Shinkenger had that merchandise overload, I still think Mougyudaioh arc will never be as well-written as the Galaxy Robo arc and it was just a desperate bid to sell more toys. Though, I can't blame people who may think Shinken Red is the better Takeru depending on what generation they come from.

Lately, Flashman has gotten me to think I may like it better than Maskman. Was Flashman really more popular than Maskman in Japan? I watched it and I admit that I do tend to think Flashman has more interesting rangers. I also think that Flashman handled its robot plots better. Maybe, I can also start poking fun at how Flashman's Titan Boy had better locations for its cannons than the tit cannons of Galaxy Robo in Maskman. I still think the way Titan Boy served as a substitute for Flash King was better. The very episode Flash King was revived had Titan Boy actually lose. I even think the whole part where Flash King was eventually destroyed in the finale gave us a better reason as to why Titan Boy saved the day. I still think Great Five should've been used in the Maskman finale, get it destroyed and then have Galaxy Robo be the final option to destroy Zeba. Flashman's dilemma may have not been that built up IMHO but it was still well-written nonetheless.

For me, I still like Maskman, I'm still a fan of it but I would never say it's perfect. But no one can deny that it's still a highly innovative series that may have been the seed for many great ideas later on. I'm still a fan of the said show regardless of what opinion I have for it as of late. Though I haven't welcomed a rewatch of it either considering I actually marathoned it more than thrice!


  1. You know, in the Super Sentai Strongest Battle, the MaskMen had fought against each other. Takeru was on the Martial Artist Team, Kenya was on the Black Warrior Team, Akira was on the Speed Team, Haruka was on the Acrobat Team and Momoko was on the Pink Warrior Team. In the Round Of 32, nearly all of the MaskMen except Takeru were defeated by the opposing teams. They disappeared, taken away by a young villainess named Rita and were imprisoned in her gem. In the Quarterfinals, Takeru was with Ryou of the Heavenly Fire Star/RyuuRanger/Dragon Ranger fighting against Tsuruhime/NinjaWhite and Gorou Hoshino/OhRed of the Leader Team when Gaisorg/Gaisoulg intervened. Only Ryou remained because their gems were stolen on both sides. Poor Takeru! His gem was stolen by Tsuruhime and Gorou. Onore (Curse you), Rita-chan! How dare you suffered the MaskMen in your gem like this! Will they ever return in 2021? This is totally unforgivable! JUSTICE FOR MASKMAN! JUSTICE FOR SUPER SENTAI!!!


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