Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Thoughts on Kaoru Shiba, Sentai's First Female Red Ranger



One of the main reasons why Shinkenger has recieved a lot of praise from the Sentai fandom (especially from American Sentai fans) is the appearance of the first female red ranger in the franchise's history, Kaoru Shiba. Interestingly, she recieved a lot of negative comments from the Sentai fandom, in particular from Takeru fanboys who like the Shinkengers, felt that Takeru was the "true Shinkenred." On youtube I've noticed that she's unfairly criticized as a "spoiled brat," mostly by people who seemingly watched only episodes 44, 45, and 46. Basically the episodes that were before we really get to know her as a person.

Kaoru (called princess by the other Shinkengers) was the official 18th head of the Shiba clan, and was in hiding while trying to perfect the sealing character. Takeru served as a decoy to prevent the Gedoushu from finding Kaoru. This was such a gaurded secret that none of the other Shinkenger knew anything until Kaoru comes out of hiding in episode 44. Initially she wasn't well recieved by other Shinkengers, who were loyal to Takeru, and were reluctant fight with the princess. The Shinkengers (except Genta, who's a childhood friend of Takeru), choose to fight with the princess after pleading from Takeru and recognizing that she's kind and easy to work with. Kaoru, however, notices their close bond to Takeru, and maturely keeps her distance from the rest of the team to try to prevent tension. This becomes somewhat difficult due to her very rude and outspoken retainer Tanba. After overhearing a conversation between the princess and Tanba, in which the princess stands up for the Shinkenger's bond with Takeru, Genta decides to rejoin the team. Kaoru is injured during battle while when attempting to defeat Dokoku with the sealing character. Afterwards, she adopts Takeru as her son, making him the 19th head of the Shiba clan. This makes for an interesting plot twist as it is hinted that Kaoru is actually younger than Takeru (Hikoma had raised Takeru for 17 years, who was a boy when he was recruited, while Kaoru's mother was still pregnant at the time). The actress that plays Kaoru, infact, is still only 14 years old although she looks a good 5-10 years older.

As explained above, I feel that Kaoru recieves unfair criticism for being a "spoiled brat" even though she handled the situation with the Shinkenger team in a mature way. Its a shame that there's only 6 or so episodes in which she appears in. She's not given enough time to have her character properly developed. It would have been better if she was introduced earlier in the series. From what I've seen in the movie trailers and pictures, she's not in the upcoming Shinkenger sequel movie. I hope to see her in the Goseiger-Shinkenger team up special, and that more attention is focused on her. It is plausible to have two Shinkenred's fighting alongside each other at the same time, as even after revealing herself both Takeru and Kaoru could transform into Shinkenred. I also hope in the near future there's a complete season with a female red ranger.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Why Mighty Morphin is Not Overrated

14 out of 20 people on a recent poll on the Power Rangers Union blog said that MMPR is overrated. I personally couldn't disagree more with the results and still think that MMPR S1 is the best among all Power Ranger seasons (season 2 was somewhat good, season 3 was so-so).
I can see why some Power Ranger fans tend to think that MMPR is overrated. The fact is that the majority of all Power Ranger fans are either hardcore MMPR fans or MMPR related fans (Tommy fans and Zordon Era fans). Most of the rest of the Power Ranger fanbase is made up of people who either like the first Saban era as a whole or the entire franchise. Some of these fans feel that MMPR's popularity takes away or overshadows the rest of the franchise. MMPR does admittedly overshadow the franchise as a whole (which has plenty of good series other than MMPR), so this is understandable. These are also the most likely fans who would visit Power Rangers Union blog as well. With that said, here's why I think MMPR S1 is still the best season ever in Power Rangers history (In Space comes in at a close second).


1. The Cast- Still, to this day, MMPR S1 and the first half of MMPR S2 has the best and most likable cast in the franchise history. Tommy is imo and many others, still the best ranger of all time. But Tommy tends to overshadow some of the other cast members on not just MMPR S1, but every series he's played in as well, including Dino Thunder. Jason, Zack, Kimberly, Trini, and Billy are all among the most favored rangers as well. In season 2, the MMPR staff didn't do enough to develop the new cast early on, except for Adam, who was the most popular of the new cast members. Saban would learn from this mistake and later on in Turbo, they made it a point to develop an almost entirely new cast early on.



2. The Zords- Saban really has Zyuranger to thank for this, but the zords in MMPR S1, as well as MMPR S3, are among the coolest zords in the franchise history.

3. The Music- Although the first half of season 1 consisted of basically only two songs, Go Go Power Rangers short version and Zords, the second half of season 1 as well as season 2 added some of the best songs in the franchise history, all of which were sung and composed by Ron A. Wasserman, a.k.a. The Mighty Raw. No other series matches up with MMPR's music, and most (but not all) of the good theme songs in the later years are by Wasserman.

4. MMPR set the franchise- If it wasn't for the popularity of MMPR, the series would never be what it is now. A near 20 year long franchise, which is hugely successful. Many shows can't even reach 2 years, let alone 18 with the new season coming up. Also, MMPR as has been mentioned many times on Power Rangers Union, was the gateway for many Americans as well as other people around the world to Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, exc.

Now admittedly, there are some weaknesses in MMPR. Season 1 still lags behind In Space and practically the entire Judd Lynn era in story writing. Season 2 as mentioned above didn't properly develop the new cast, and season 3 ditched a lot of elements that were largely successful in season's 1 and 2. But MMPR is still, among the best in the franchise history.

Dekamaster Tribute Video

My just recently finished Doggie Kruger video. It features the song Hero by Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott. This is my second Super Sentai video, and I will be adding more Sentai and Power Ranger videos as soon as school ends. Enjoy :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Arguements commonly used against Dekaranger


A couple weeks ago, I was reading the Dekaranger discussion topic on the Japan Hero forum. I was surprised at how many people on that forum berated the show. To me, Dekaranger is my favorite Sentai series that I have seen so far (I've seen roughly 5 either partially or entirely). If the topic wasn't four years old I would have created my own account to put my own two cents into it. Right now, for whatever reason, the forum is offline atm. Here were some of the common arguements that were used against Dekaranger.


The most common arguement was against Ban. Many Japan Hero members found Ban to be "annoying." I understand that a lot of Sentai fans are not too fond of a fiery red ranger, but personally I found Hoji to be more annoying at the beginning of the series than Ban. Hoji in the first 4 episodes or so has kind of an arrogant, I'm better than anyone else attitude, but that changed after he screwed up on an assignment in episode 3. In my opinion, Ban's fiery, passion for justice, chaotic attitude is what gives Dekaranger its spice.


Another arguement that I encountered was that there was "no main villian." This is only partially true. The alienizers generally were not led by a lead villain and attacked on their own will. Agent Abrella was basically the main villain, although he did not lead them except on a few notable occasions (such as episode 44 and the final battle). Generally, Abrella was just an arms supplier to the alienizers. Personally, so what if Deka didn't have a lead villain? With the space police theme, it was necessary to not have a lead villain. Its more believable that in order to fight crime, criminals committ crime at their own will instead of taking orders from someone else. Power Rangers SPD tried the lead villain route with this theme (emperor Grumm), which really screwed up the purpose of the Dekaranger theme.


Another arguement was the amount of the English language that was used in Dekaranger. Conversational english was never used, but most of the characters had english catch-phrases, with Hoji having the most. My response is so what? Dekaranger isn't the only Super Sentai to have extensive use of english phrases, nor was it the first. Gao Yellow used as much english if not more than Hoji did. Also, english is used in virtually all of Japanese pop culture, rather its in anime, jdoramas, or even in their music. Kids even have to take six years of english in Japanese schools. With increasing American influence (which I will discuss next week), english is becoming more valuable in Japan and is making its way into Japanese pop culture.

The last arguement that is used is that Dekaranger is that "Dekaranger isn't a true Sentai show, and would be better off as an independent cop show." Thats the great thing about Super Sentai, that it has different themes every year instead of using the same boring theme. Hurricanger was a ninja themed show, Abaranger was dinosaur theme, Dekaranger was a space police theme, Magiranger was a magic theme, Boukenger had an adventure theme, and so on. Furthermore, having multiple colored rangers, giant robot machines that could combine into one, and monsters to me qualifies it as a Super Sentai program.

Reasons why I like Dekaranger

After that long explanation here are my reasons why I like Dekaranger and why you should watch Dekaranger.


1. The Girls- Dekaranger has by far the hottest (Jasmine), and I would also argue the cutest (Umeko) girls in the entire Sentai series. This is by far the best heroine combo in all of Super Sentai. Besides these two, Swan-San is a lovely technician, and Marigold (only seen in the movie) is also beautiful.


2. Doggie Kruger- Doggie Cruger is one of the most bad ass rangers (and commanders) in the Super Sentai franchise. You have to see for yourself. He's like Arnold Schwartzenegger on steroids. Oh wait, Arnold did take steroids :P

3. The Cast- The cast & character development in Dekaranger is top notch. Some of Sentai's most likable characters (Jasmine, Umeko, Tetsu, Doggie, Swan) are in this series. Shinkenger also has good character development.

4. Story Writing and Diversity- Dekaranger storylines and episodes vary greatly, from touching tear-jerking moments (such as Jasmine's past problems with her ESPER powers, and the death of Tetsu's parents), tough moments (particularly Hoji having to delete his best friend and later his girlfriend's brother), and even some outright hilarious moments (Tetsu's bug boyfriend in episode 45). Boukenger also had some good story writing.

5. The Music- The music in Dekaranger is also awesome. I own the soundtrack and can listen to it all day. Some of the character songs admittedly aren't that good (specifically the ones sung by the boys), but its a two disc set. The first disc is filled with great songs, and both Umeko and Jasmine have good character songs as well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sakura Nishihori, not your typical Pink Ranger

While Sakura (Boukenpink) is one of the hottest female rangers in the Super Sentai series (to me she only ranks behind Jasmine and Marigold form Dekaranger), she is far from your typical pink ranger, just like Ban from Dekaranger isn't your typical red ranger. Sakura is a sharp contrast from past pink rangers that are often cute, sometimes dorky, and very feminine. Sakura is ultra serious in a way that reminds me of Hoji from Dekaranger, except without Hoji's arrogant attitude that he displayed at the beginning. She's so serious in fact that she rarely smiles. She gets her seriousness and toughness from her time spent in the Special Defence Forces (the Japanese military). Her tough, serious demeanor reminds me a lot of Jen from Power Rangers Time Force, and the gun scene in Task 12 reminds me a lot of Tomb Raider. She's the most badass Boukenger, I dare say, even more so than Eiji. Sakura is one person who would make you run for cover if she's in a bad mood. Despite her serious side, she had a soft spot particularly for Akashi (Boukenred) although she really never fully confesses her true feelings for him. As revealed in episode 31, she has difficulty expressing her feelings because of the way she was raised by her family, which was very wealthy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Saban should do with the new Power Rangers Season

Saban's buy-back of Power Rangers has generated excitement among the fan base for a number of resons. To start off, the Disney era finally comes to a merciful end. It was during the first Saban era that Power Rangers was in its glory days. While there's excitement and anticipation of the new Power Rangers series coming up next year it won't be easy to bring back the glory days of the 1990's.

Saban must (and will) recognize that the fan base is much older today than it was in 1993. Power Rangers is and always will be a kids show. Old school fans such as myself recognize this, but one of the areas where Disney went wrong is they made the show "too kiddy." Saban has also been guilty of this during Turbo when they added a kid (Justin, played by Blake Foster) to the show to try to appeal more to kids. Saban quickly recognized this mistake and there hasn't been a kid on the show since.

Lessons can be learned starting with In Space. With the fan base by then getting a little older, the shows writers and producers recognized they needed to change. Better story writing and character development, as well as slightly more mature scenes (such as rangers actually getting hurt and/or dying) helped save the franchise from cancelation. I believe these elements will be needed for the new season to appeal to the older fan base. While Power Rangers can't have the maturity level, the violence, exc. thats in Super Sentai because American standards won't allow it, the show still has some room for maturity.

It also could help if Power Rangers could somehow reference the past. Among the ideas I've read from Sean Akizuki's blog would be to bring Zordon back or to have rangers from Eltar. Bringing Zordon back (or a ranger) for an entire season may be a bit too much. As I discussed on one of my earlier blogs, while Dino Thunder was praised by most PR fans for bringing Tommy back and reconnecting with the past, it also recieved its fair share of criticism for some of the Parody's it had with MMPR (which I also mention is not entirely the show's fault). However, having a former ranger guest star or rangers from Eltar could work. My idea would be the new rangers gained powers or Zords related through Zordon and they discover the connection through a former ranger like Tommy or Andros.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Goodbye (and good riddence) Dysney, welcome back Saban

Saban has officially bought back Power Rangers from Walt Disney. Saban also struck a deal with Nickelodeon to air the 18th season, starting with 20 new episodes to air in 2011. This will help Power Rangers in the long run after being dragged on its feet by Disney. Finally, the dreaded Disney era ends. This might excite the fan base with a new season and with Saban back in control. The big question is will Saban adapt from Shinkenger (first picture below) or Goseiger (second picture below). I personally hope Saban adapts Shinkenger because seeing a Samurai themed Power Rangers series would be fun to see. Not to mention if they use Shinkenger and succeed, they can use Goseiger in 2012.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why Dino Thunder is not a parody of MMPR



Power Rangers Dino Thunder is often criticized by Power Ranger fans as being a poor attempt by Disney to Parody MMPR. While I personally am not a fan of the direction that Power Rangers went under Disney ownership (especially during the Bruce Kalish era), Dino Thunder is one of my favorite PR incarnations, and I view this as a misconception. Sure, the series does poke fun here and there at MMPR, but some of the similar elements are not Disney's fault. To start off, Disney and Doug Sloan (who was one of the main producers in both MMPR and PRDT) are only dealing with the hand they are given by TOEI, the company that owns Super Sentai. Some of the similarities between PRDT and MMPR include a dinosaur theme (even more specific the Red Ranger drawing powers from the Tyranosaurus, Blue Ranger drawing power rangers from the Triceratops, and the lone female ranger drawing from the Pteradactyl), an evil power ranger (in this series the white ranger), and even the Dino Thunder logo that looks similar to the original Green Ranger power coin. These similarities that I listed above are all in Dino Thunder's Super Sentai counterpart Abaranger. The white ranger in Abaranger (called Abarekiller) fought against the other Abarangers for excitement before ultimately joining with them to fight a common enemy. This is the source material that Disney was given and had to adapt to. Also, Mesogog is vastly different from Rita or Lord Zedd, and there is no equivilant of Zordon in Dino Thunder.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Umeko (Dekapink) video featuring My Star

I just recently made a music video featuring Umeko (Dekapink). It features the song My Star by Mika Kikuchi, the actress who played Umeko. Umeko is one of my favorite characters from Super Sentai and Dekaranger is my favorite Super Sentai series. I hope you like it :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Zordon is a Racist (humor video)

With all the racism talk in Power Rangers, rather its Disney portraying Asians in a racist manner, MMPR having an African American black ranger (Zack), an Asian American yellow ranger (Trini), and even a caucasian white ranger (Tommy), I think all of these accusations are ridiculous. I decided to post a hilarious video that parodies these stereo types. Its titled Zordon is a Racist. I do not mean to offend anyone by posting the video. It does play on some racial stereo types, but I think its a bit of comic relief from the criticism that Power Rangers has recieved.


As a fan of both Super Sentai and Power Rangers, I would like to welcome you to my new blog. This blog will be both informational, and my personal opinion. I grew up as a Power Rangers fan and have over the last couple of years started watching more Super Sentai footage. Disclaimer, I have not seen every single Power Rangers or Super Sentai series, so I do not claim to know everything about both series. However, I have begun to watch more of what I haven't seen, so that will change soon :).

About Super Sentai


Super Sentai is a Japanese kids show owned by TOEI, and is part of the Tokusatsu genre (or Super Hero in English). The Tokusatsu genre includes other Japanese shows such as Kamen Rider (also owned by Disney) and Godzilla. The word Sentai translates into English as "task force" or "fighting squadron. Super Sentai begain with Himitsu Sentai Goranger in 1975 and lasted two years. Since then, Super Sentai has changed incarnations, cast, suites, and weapons every year. The current Super Sentai series is Tensou Sentai Goseiger. Most Super Sentai series' have at least five super heroes or "rangers". Starting with Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger in 1992, a sixth hero (and sometimes a seventh) has also been added to the show midway into the season.

About Power Rangers


Most people who come across this blog will know what Power Rangers is. For those that don't I will give a brief discription. Power Rangers is the American adaptation of the Super Sentai series. Power Rangers was originally created by Saban Entertainment but is now owned by Walt Disney. Power Rangers uses battle footage from its Super Sentai counterpart, but Power Rangers is NOT a dubbed version of Super Sentai. Instead, Power Rangers has its own characters and its own story line. The first Power Rangers series- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (MMPR)- begain in 1993 adapting footage from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. MMPR lasted three seasons until 1996. After MMPR, the next series, Power Rangers Zeo (PRZ) begain. Unlike Super Sentai, the four incarnations of Power Rangers (and first six seasons) had the same characters and a common storyline. This is commonly known as the Zordon Era (named after Zordon, the Power Rangers commander who dies at the end of the "Zordon Era"). The Zordon Era includes MMPR seasons 1-3, PRZ, Power Rangers Turbo (PRT), and Power Rangers in Space (PRiS). Starting after the Zordon Era in 1999 with Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (PRLG), Power Rangers adopted more Super Sentai traditions such as changing the cast and storylines every year, and making team-up specials. Changing ranger suits every year had begain in 1996 with PRZ. Power Rangers ended (or at least is in hatius) in 2009 with Power Rangers RPM.

Differences between Power Rangers and Super Sentai

Besides what is written above, there are many other differences between Power Rangers and Super Sentai, mainly because of cultural differences. For example, what may be viewed in Japan as appropriate or acceptable for children to watch may not be in the United States. Super Sentai tends to have stronger, more mature content than Power Rangers. This includes more violence, sexual innuidy, and foul language.