Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yuri/Time Pink, The Last True Female Leader


While there have been a couple female leaders in Sentai in recent years, Yuri is perhaps the last true full-time leader. Ran/Gekiyellow was chosen as the captain of the Gekirangers but rarely did anything that remotely resembled a leader. Kaoru (female Shinkenred) took over leadership responsibilities from Takeru and actually did lead the Shinkengers, but she was present for only 6 episodes. Yuri, however, was leader from day one with her team. It can be argued that the team moved with Tatsuya or that her and Tatsuya were co-leaders, but for the sake of arguement, I consider Yuri the leader of the Timerangers because she led them in battle and recruited Tatsuya.

Yuri is everything you would want a leader to be. She's tough, serious, strict, and has good leadership skills. In fact, she's one of the more serious pink rangers ever along with Sakura/Bouken Pink, though she doesn't have the smiling issues that Sakura has and can lighten up. She started out as a by the book leader, but eventually loosen up a bit by warming up to Tatsuya and eventually seemed like she didn't care that Domon and Honami were dating (at first she saw Honami as a threat to their mission). Eventually Tatsuya falls for Yuri but they were unable to be together because of the large time difference.

The reason why Yuri was serious and strict with her team was because she felt like she had a mission to accomplish. In the year 3000 she was a cop in the same anti-mafia division that her father was in. Her father and her family were murdered by a Londarz family criminal, who at the time was ordered by Don Dorunero. After Don Dorunero escaped to the year 2000, Yuri volunteered to go after him. Yuri felt that bringing Dorunero back to justice was her chance at redemption for her family. When she was unable to bring him back alive, Yuri felt that she had failed her mission.

Yuri is one of the more well developed pink sentai warriors ever. Given her families past, her sense of a mission to accomplish, and how she eventually warms up to Tatsuya and her team, especially since she's the only girl on her team.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hurricanger Series Review


Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger (English translation Ninja Arts Squadron Hurricanger) (2002-03) was the 26th installment of Super Sentai. It was also the second Sentai season to use a ninja motif. Despite the ninja motif, there wasn't a whole lot of martial arts as its theme would suggest, however, it focused a lot on the stealthness of ninjas. Some fans see it as one of the darker seasons of Sentai, while others see it as one of the lighter Sentais. Personally, while it had many lighthearted moments, overall I felt the story was pretty dark. It had many dark themes including the backstories of the Goraijers, Shurikenger, Gozen-Sama, and the final battle. Among 2000's Sentai's, I would rank only Timeranger and maybe Gekiranger as being darker than Hurricanger. It's a season much like Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, not really popular among the fandom but not really hated either, yet vastly underrated. Personally, Hurricanger is one of my favorite Sentai's, and ranks up there with some of my other favorites such as Dekaranger, Shinkenger, and Timeranger.

The Good
The story I felt is one of the best, with lots of intense drama. The story surrounding the Goraijers and their father I felt was particularly good, as well as the story between Shurikenger and Gozen-Sama. The fight scenes were also pretty solid. While the cast is certainly not the best, it is underrated with many solid characters such as the Goraijers, Shurikenger, and Nanami. All these characters grow and develop really well during the series, especially the Goraijers. While the series did have a few weak villains, it had a few solid villains such as Manmaruba, Sandaru, and Ikki Kasumi (the Goraijer's father). The team-up with Gaoranger was pretty good, especially seeing the Gaoranger mecha's combining with the Hurricanger mechas. The movie was descent as well, though not the best. The intro theme song is pretty descent as well, although I've heard better.

The Bad
While most of the main characters were solid, Kouta I felt is one of the blandest Sentai warriors ever. Yousuke was a bit better than Kouta, but was fairly average at best, especially for a red warrior. Some of the villains are rather so-so as well. Tao Zanto is one of the least interesting main villains in Sentai. The team-up with Abaranger was also kinda bland. I also wish they had went futher than they did with the Isshu-Nanami relationship.

The Ugly
There was nothing really ugly about this series.

My Rating
8.5/10 B+. Despite not having very many impressive villains, this series is awesome. It managed to have a great plot that was dark, had plenty of drama, and still had some good humor in it.

My Favorite Episodes/Arcs
Episode 3- This one is technically a filler episode, but we learn about Nanami wanting to be a star and a singer.
Episodes 7-10- This is where the Goraijers finally enter the battle against the Hurricangers, and they're badass. The Goraigers whip the Hurricanger's tails everytime they fight.
Episodes 15-18- After a hanfull of filler episodes, the Goraijers' story progresses. After they learn the secret about "that" and their father, they losely join the Hurricangers in the fight against Jakanja.
Episode 26- Technically a filler episode but a funny one, involving a monster who puts everyone under love spells including Isshu. It also established that Nanami and Isshu had feelings for each other.
Episode 30- Gave Nanami some good character development after she was betrayed by Furabijou, and then Nanami gets really pissed.
Episodes 31-33- Ikkou is practically on his deathbead and is saved by Yousuke who risked his life for Ikkou. This is also where the Goraijers finally fully warm-up to the Hurricangers.
Episodes 36-37- Further develops the new bond between the Goraijers and the Hurricangers when the weakened Hurricangers risk everything to save the Goraijers.
Episodes 42-44- Part of one bigger story arc. This part establishes Shurikenger's bond with the others and also introduces the Gozen-Sama character.
Episode 47- Reveals Gozen-Sama's sad past.
Episodes 48-51- The final battle, in which everything that had happened up to this point was all tied together and came full circle. Also showed the bond between Shurikenger and Gozen-Sama.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dark Seasons of Power Rangers

Inspired by Sean Akizuki's blog entry, Sentai Seasons Labeled as Dark Seasons, so I decided to do one for dark seasons of Power Rangers.


MMPR S2 started out as a dark season. At least, that's the direction it looked like it was going during the first 10-15 episodes. Season 2 had a very dark villain, Lord Zedd (who had a dark theme song as well), and when the green ranger powers slowly drained away it seemed like the rangers were heading for defeat. However, the tone shifted during the second half of the season and became much lighter as the season went along. This was due to the white ranger saga, the cast change, and the villain decay of Lord Zedd from his dark nature to a more comical character. This was due to parents complaining that Lord Zedd was too scary for children. By the end, season 2 wasn't that dark at all.

Power Rangers Turbo

Power Rangers Turbo originally tried to be dark. Head writer Douglass Sloan originally wanted Turbo to be a dark, apocalyptic season. However, Turbo failed miserably due to poor handling of the Carranger footage, which Carranger was a light hearted Sentai known for slapstick comedy. Another reason why the writers failed to make Turbo a dark season was due to having some very poor villains during this season.

Power Rangers In Space

Some fans consider Power Rangers In Space to be a dark season due to some of the story elements such as the Psycho Rangers, Astronema, the main villain, being Andros the red ranger's sister, the capture of Zordon, and the fact that all the villains from the previous seasons have formed an alliance which will attempt to take over the universe. This season also featured an apocalyptic final battle, Countdown to Destruction, and the first good-side casualty ever, with the death of Zordon. Some of the villains during In Space were very dark, such as Darconda and Dark Spector. This is a season that I would consider to be semi-dark. There are some dark elements to In Space, but some of the seasons that follow will be much darker.

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy

Lost Galaxy IMO is definitely a season that is very dark. This season had the Magna Defender, who was morally questionable, as well as a dark main villain in Trakeena. This season also had a higher death count than its Sentai counterpart, Gingaman, and arguably the highest death count ever for a Power Rangers series (that is if you don't count all the off screen deaths in SPD and RPM). It was also the first and arguably the only PR season to feature the death of a ranger, Kendrix, when she sacrificed herself in the team up with In Space to save Cassie.

Power Rangers Time Force

At the time that Time Force aired it was easily the darkest season ever of Power Rangers. Like MMPR S2, it had a very dark lead villain, Ransik. It also featured dark elements such as death, terrorism, and destruction. It also is arguably the second Power Ranger season to involve the death of a ranger, Alex, but that depends on what story you believe and if it really counts as a death. The latter half of the season, however, had to be toned down due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that happened while this series was airing.

Power Rangers Wild Force

Some fans consider Wild Force to be a dark season. It involved a story of war, as well as the death of Cole's parents. Wild Force was also the first and so far only season to feature the death of a child on-screen. However, I don't consider this season to be that dark. I compare it to Zyuranger, having some dark elements but overall being rather cheesy and kiddy. Wild Force had some lighthearted themes such as the story of Animarium being read through a childrens book and having a narrator.

Power Rangers Dino Thunder

Dino Thunder as I see it wasn't really a dark season, but it had a few dark elements such as a dark lead villain, Mesogog, the story of Anton Mercer's failed experiment that turned him into a split personality with Mesogog (and being Trent's father), as well as Zeltrax being a former colleague of Tommy's who wanted revenge.

Power Rangers SPD

SPD is another season that like Dino Thunder isn't really that dark but does deserve mentioning because it has a few dark elements. These elements includes the murder of Sky's father who was a former power ranger, and Doggie Crugar's home planet being destroyed and his wife being kidnapped.

Power Rangers RPM

RPM is easily the darkest Power Rangers season ever and even darker than most Sentai seasons. RPM succeeded where Turbo failed. RPM turned a lighthearted, comical Sentai series (Go-Onger) into a very dark Power Rangers series. To do this, RPM used less Sentai footage than perhaps any season since MMPR S3, and had a very dark story that was lacking in Turbo. RPM is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the villains have won and the last bastion of free humanity lies in the domed city of Corinth. This season has several flashback episodes that involve death and the events of what was happening during the war with Venjix.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are Longer or Shorter Seasons Better?

Recent seasons of Power Rangers, from Mystic Force to RPM, have often been labeled as too short. Each of these seasons are only 32 episodes long. However, when looking at the bigger picture, I personally prefer shorter seasons.


The first two seasons of Super Sentai, Goranger and JAKQ, were Sentai's longest and shortest seasons respectively. Goranger was the longest with 84 episodes while JAKQ had 35. Since then, Sentai seasons had consistently had roughly around 50 episodes, give or take 1 or 2 episodes. Most Sentai seasons are typically longer than most Power Ranger seasons, with the exception of the first two seasons of MMPR and Zeo, which I will get to in a minute. While some long seasons can be enjoyable (especially with a good cast), sometimes they can have a side effect of having too many filler episodes or the story moving at a slow pace. These seasons can also be episodic, though if you ask me that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've seen this with both Sentai and Power Rangers.


MMPR S1 was PR's longest season with 60 episodes. Originally MMPR S1 was planned to be only 40 episodes long, ending at Doomsday. MMPR was also expected to be a one season flick like Kamen Rider Dragon Knight was. However, MMPR experienced unprecedented popularity, which forced Saban to ask TOEI to produce more Zyuranger footage (known as Zyu2). This extended MMPR S1 by about 20 episodes and the Zyu2 footage would also make up the bulk of the first half of S2's ranger footage. MMPR S1 did have symptoms of a long season, such as having many filler episodes and being largely episodic. However, IMO, many of the filler episodes were rather enjoyable due to the good cast that MMPR S1 had. MMPR S2 and Zeo were also 50+ episodes long. Eventually under the Saban Era, Power Rangers would be reduced to 40 episodes.


One comparison I'll make is Timeranger and Time Force, which I'll admit I'm somewhat schizophrenic over the two. Timeranger was 10 episodes longer than Time Force. For me, the first half of Timeranger suffered from the symptoms I mentioned above, moving at a slow pace. For example, Naoto and the City Guardians don't show up until episode 27, while their PR counterparts, Eric and the Silver Guardians show up in episode 11 or 12 of Time Force I think. However, despite the slower pace in Timeranger, it did a lot better job with character development than Time Force. All of Timeranger's major characters were well developed, while Time Force felt like there were only 3 characters that really mattered, Eric, Jen, and Wes, while Trip, Lucas, and Katie were kinda just there. Perhaps the stronger character development in Timeranger was due to having a longer season.


After the Disney buyout, Ninja Storm-SPD had 38 episodes. This was a slight cut from the 40 episodes that Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force, and Wild Force had. Because of the slight difference it's not really noticeable and therefore, Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder, and SPD are rarely ridiculed for being too short.


Starting with Mystic Force and lasting through RPM, the episode count on Power Rangers was cut to 32. This was likely due to a lower budget from Disney, and a move to cut cost. Many fans have complained that these seasons are "too short" and feel rushed. Personally, I think it's more of a problem with Bruce Kalish's writing than the number of episodes each season has. These seasons also lacked in character development in comparison to RPM.


Like Mystic Force- Jungle Fury, RPM has 32 episodes. I personally liked the shorter season. RPM had much better writing than the Kalish seasons did, thanks to Eddie Guzelian and Judd Lynn. There's a lot fewer filler episodes in RPM than most PR seasons, and the characters were all well developed early on. For me, RPM moved at a fast but steady pace, and keeps me more interested than a long, dragged out season like MMPR S3 for example.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Ayumi Kinoshita/Mika Kikuchi Pic


You can never get enough pics of the Twin Cam Angel girls (Jasmine and Umeko). Here's one where it looks like they're having plenty of fun, and Mika maybe having a little too much fun with Ayumi. :P This sorta makes me jealous lol.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remembering Bulk and Skull, the Dynamic Duo


One of the main reasons why MMPR and the Zordon Era is so popular among Power Ranger fans is the characters of Bulk and Skull. While Turbo was airing, Fox Kids was experimenting with a spin-off Bulk and Skull TV series, but this project never left the writing board. Bulk and Skull were comic relief characters that developed from bullies to good nature bumblers and eventually to heroes. The humor involving these two was often campy and cheesy, but fans still loved it. Every year they were on the show there was a new theme for these two. For example, in MMPR S1 they were bullies, S2 they tried to reveal the identity of the Power Rangers, and S3 they became cops, and so on. However, being on the show for 6+ years, over time they would develop out of their one dimensional characteristics.

The two were actually written off at the end of Zeo when Skull's actor, Jason Narvy, wanted to leave the show. However, Bulk's actor Paul Schrier, convinced Narvy to stay on for two more years. Despite this, no adequate explanation was given to why them and Lieutenant Stone were back in the police force at the beginning of Turbo, especially given that they were fired from the force in Zeo and that Bulk and Skull would quit on Lieutenant Stone at the end of the season.

Despite their popularity for the comic relief they provided, some of the most popular Bulk and Skull moments are their most serious ones. These include the episodes When is a Ranger Not a Ranger from MMPR S2, Instrument of Destruction from Zeo, and Countdown to Destruction during In Space.

My personal favorite is Instrument of Destruction, when it revealed that Skull is a very good pianist. Bulk had dismissed classical music during the entire episode but came to terms with it and recognized Skull's musical talents. This episode did two things to develop these characters. Pretty much every episode before Instrument of Destruction portrayed Bulk and Skull as one-dimensional dummies with little or no talents. This episode however, showed that Skull was more than a one dimensional dummy, and did have some talent. The other thing it developed was how deep their bond was. Even though Bulk hated classical music, he cared more about Skull and came to recognize his talent.

Perhaps the most popular Bulk and Skull moment occurs simultaneously during Countdown to Destruction, which happens to be the most popular final battle ever in Power Rangers. After it appeared the rangers were defeated, Bulk and Skull reenacted the "I Am Spartacus" scene, each claiming to be a fellow power ranger. The citizens of Angel Grove would follow their lead. Later on after the Rangers morphed, Bulk and Skull led the charge to fight off the Quantitrons and to protect the rangers. This was a fitting end to their story, and for that matter, Countdown to Destruction would have been a fitting end to Power Rangers if it had ended there, which we know didn't happen.

Bulk showed up sparingly during Lost Galexy, while Skull made a cameo during the season premier. Both of them would make a cameo in the episode Forever Red, much to the delight of the PR faithful. At that time Bulk owned a cafe and called it "Bulkmeyers." Tommy happened to be there, and it seemed they knew his identity as a former power ranger by then.

Through it all, it's safe to say that Bulk and Skull are the most popular comic relief characters in Power Rangers. Dino Thunder tried to duplicate these two with Cassidy and Devin. Power Rangers Samurai will also try to parody these two, with Fat Jack and Spike. Though, it's unclear how it will turn out.