Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Take on the Ban-Hoji Rivalry



This is one of the most unique inter-ranger rivalries in Super Sentai. Unlike many other inter-ranger rivalries, its not about one member of the team trying to surpass the red ranger or the leader. In Dekaranger, we have one of the most unlikely red rangers (Ban), and one person who would seem like a better fit to be the team leader (Hoji). In reality, there was no actual team leader in Dekaranger. The closest is Doggie who is more like their commander.

Ban and Hoji throughout the series would fight for girls, semi-control over the team, and determine which one was the better "cop." Ban often called Hoji "aibou" which means partner, or buddy to Hoji's annoyance. Both were actually the same, competetive, sometimes arrogant, and stubborn.

Ban is the chaotic character, with a hyper, fiery attitude that leads to some fans percieving Ban as a "jerk," which personally I don't see it. Sure he's rather chaotic and a hothead, but Ban's rather loyal to his teammates and has a chip on his shoulders after a kid who wanted to be in the Space Police died in his arms after an alienizer attack.

Hoji is rather skilled (especially at gunmanship), professional, and generally a well like character. To me Hoji"s cool, but he's also the most overrated character in Dekaranger. Why? Sure he's skilled, he has two rather emotional moments (one having to defeat his best friend to save Doggie and the other is killing his girlfriend's brother who committed murder to save his girlfriend), and he's professional. His professionalism, however, is to an extent arrogance, and to me at the beginning of the series he's more of a jerk than Ban. Starting with Episode 1, where he attacks Ban after he disobeyed orders, was a bit too much. Then in Episode 2, after Ban saved a girl and asked her out on a date, Hoji accuses Ban of being "too forward" but does exactly the same thing, asking the girl out that starts a fight between the two. Then in episode 3 & 4 when Ban makes a small mistake during a practice session, Hoji scolds him for it and acts like he's "perfect" and without mistakes. Then when Hoji screws up on an assignment later in the episode (he didn't thoroughly check to see if a kidnapped princess was the real one), he pouts for almost the entire next episode about his one mistake. Thankfully, after this episode when he realizes he's not perfect himself, Hoji grows up a little. He grew out of his arrogance, showed some respect for Ban, and even started to fight more like Ban (such as fighting with more emotion and at times being just as reckless as Ban), although Hoji didn't fully acknowledge Ban.

Near the end of the series these two show that they do actually care for each other. When a big meteor was threatening earth, Ban took control of the Dekawing Cannon, released Hoji from the mecha, and looked like he was going to sacrifice himself. Hoji gets emotional and even called Ban the "ultimate partner." Once its revealed that Ban didn't sacrifice himself, Hoji doesn't hesitate to denounce Ban for calling him "aibou." In the last episode, Hoji finally acknowledges Ban as his partner. Dekaranger vs Magiranger adds another twist to this rivalry when Ban refers to Kai as "aibou", which Hoji becomes jealous, and refers to Hoji as "moto aibou" or ex-partner in a rather cocky way.

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