Friday, January 21, 2011

Should Saban Have Adapted Jetman Instead of Carranger for Power Rangers Turbo?


Besides having many issues with the casting of several unpopular characters during Turbo, the other major problem was how Turbo handled the Carranger footage. Carranger was a parody of all previous Sentais and was known more for its silly slapstick comedy. Carranger ended up being a major hit in Japan. However, the writers of Power Rangers Turbo wanted to make it a dark, apocalyptic season. The first half of the season, however, failed miserably because of the terrible handling of the Carranger footage. Some PR fans, most notably Linkara, have questioned rather Power Rangers should have even adapted Carranger.

I've also read some comments that Power Rangers should have adapted Jetman instead of Carranger, which was originally planned for MMPR. Admittedly, Jetman could have suited the writers nicely because Jetman was definitely a dark season, which was what the writers wanted. But there are still some issues with adapting Jetman. First, during the beginning of Turbo, Douglass Sloan was still the head writer. While I think Sloan's work as a writer for PR is a bit underrated, he certainly wasn't as willing to adapt darker, more edgier scenes that involved death and violence like Judd Lynn was. This could have watered down the source material tremendously. The other big issue is the casting choices made during the first half of Turbo, particularly with the casting of Justin to replace Rocky, as well as Alpha 6 and Dimitria to replace Alpha 5 and Zordon. Also, Jetman was an older Sentai than Carranger, albiet only 5 years older. Masked Rider didn't exactly do well when adapting much older, Kamen Rider Black RX footage.

Even then, if done properly, Carranger still could have been adapted into a much darker, more serious Power Ranger season. One example of this is RPM, which adapted Go-Onger. Like Carranger, Go-Onger was a lighthearted, comedy oriented season. RPM, however, successfully adapted Go-Onger's source footage for a very dark, post-apocalyptic season. RPM often did not use Go-Onger footage, but when it did, it tented the footage to make it look like it was a post-apocalyptic world. Especially involving fights outside the dome.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Polls, Favorite PR Season and 2000's Sentai

For the first time, I've decided to add poll questions to my blog. The first one's will be choosing between your favorite Power Ranger and 2000's Sentais respectively. Later I'll have polls for favorite 1990's and 1980's Sentais as well. These polls will be open until March 1st. Enjoy. :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Power Rangers Zeo Review


Power Rangers Zeo (1996-97) continued MMPR's story and used footage from Ohranger. Zeo was the first season to change the suits, the series title, and theme song every year. Zeo differed slightly from Ohranger's motif in that it wasn't a military organization, but was still largely technology based as well as having its powers centered around the Zeo crystal. Zeo also went back to using mostly Sentai footage as compared to MMPR season's 2 and 3 which used a lot of American footage. It also marked the return of Austin St. John who reprised his role briefly as Jason the Gold Ranger. Zeo tends to be viewed more like Lightspeed Rescue, as a rather average season. Personally, it's one of my favorite seasons and IMO a big step up from the dissapointments of the last half of MMPR S2 and S3 as a whole.

The Good
What I felt really makes this season enjoyable is that it really allowed for all the characters to develop and florish through the whole season. In particular, Rocky and Adam whom both received little development in previous seasons, really got a chance to shine here. The new characters, Tanya and Katherine, received much more development than the new cast received during MMPR S2. It was also refreshing to see the Sentai footage instead of the terrible American ranger fight footage present through the second half of MMPR S2 and S3. Though this season was episodic much like MMPR S1, the episodes were quite good with some very memorable episodes such as Instrument of Destruction and Another Song and Dance. It still had some good story arcs such as the mystery of the Gold Ranger as well as Tommy's relationship with his brother, both made for some interesting drama. Jason's return to the show was a nice touch although he wasn't as awesome as he was as the red ranger. The theme song was pretty descent as well.

The Average
The villains (the Machine Empire) weren't nearly up to the level as Lord Zedd and Rita but they were definitely better than Turbo's villains. It was also a bit of a dissapointment seeing Billy have a reduced roll during this season. Also, Eric Frank's acting, JDF's real life brother who played Tommy's brother, was kinda wooden. Though fortunately he's not present through the majority of the season.

The Ugly
The only major gripe I have about how this season was written was the whole Dear John letter scenario involving Kimberly and Tommy as well as the forced relationship between Tommy and Kat, and the crappy Christmas episode that followed. To be fair, Tommy and Kimberly breaking up was pretty realistic but forcing a relationship between Tommy and Kat was a bit much. What was also very ugly was how David Yost (Billy) was treated behind the scenes by the production crew.

My Rating
B/B+. This is a solid season, that I thouroughly enjoyed watching as a kid and still enjoy watching reruns today. By no means the greatest, but still fun to watch.

My Favorite Episodes
Episodes 1-2, A Zeo Beginning: A Zeo Beginning was a solid start to the season.
Episode 12, Instrument of Destruction: My favorite Bulk and Skull moment ever, involving Bulk's appreciation for Skull's musical talent.
Episode 14, Mr. Billy's Wild Ride: One of the few focus episodes that Billy received during this season, and it was a pretty dramatic one.
Episodes 18-21: A descent story arc concerning Tommy and his brother David.
Episode 28, The Power of Gold: The introduction of the Gold Ranger.
Episodes 33-34: This two parter involved the revelation of the Gold Ranger's true identity as well as Jason's return and assuming the Gold Ranger powers.
Episodes 41-43: A three parter that included Tommy getting kidnapped, brainwashed, and fighting against the rangers once again. Nothing like the Green with Evil arc, but still fascinating.
Episode 46, Another Song and Dance: One of the funnier episodes during PR's early history. This episode included Tanya and Tommy singing their morphing lines as well as zords dancing.
Episodes 47-48, Rangers of Two Worlds: First major team-up in Power Rangers history, involving the Alien Rangers and the Zeo Rangers. It was also Billy's departure, which wasn't well done, but the cool part was the team-up.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quality of Acting in Power Rangers and Super Sentai

It's no secret even among hardcore fans of Power Rangers and Super Sentai that neither show is an example of good acting. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms against either series is the lack of "quality acting," and it's noticable in some seasons that the acting is outright terrible. It is true that many Power Ranger and Sentai actors and actresses begin and end their careers with Power Rangers/Sentai because they can't get any other roles. While by my own admittance, neither show has what very many people would call "great acting," I also argue that you don't need great acting to make a show, series, or movie good. Don't get me wrong, acting should count for something, but as long as the acting is sufficient and not outright terrible (like Wild Force and Operation Overdrive), the quality of the show, the characters, and the actors/actresses that play them can still be very much enjoyable. In fact, sometimes a show with good or great acting can still be mediocre or awful due to bad execution, story writing, directing, special effects, exc.

One such example from Hollywood would be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger by no means has Oscar award winning acting talent, and for that matter he wasn't that good of a governor either. However, Schwarzenegger is still a very enjoyable actor to watch. Not because of his acting skills, but because of his big physic, charisma, and because his acting is sufficient, he makes a great action hero. The fact is, 90% of all audiences don't recognize bad acting unless it's painfully obvious.

Sufficient Acting, Good Shows

In Power Rangers the two season's I'd like to point out in particular are Mighty Morphin and In Space. Mighty Morphin especially had mixed acting. Overall, I thought Amy Jo Johnson was as good of an actress that's ever been on Power Rangers, David Yost, Thuy Trang, and Johnny Yong Bosch were descent actors, Walter Jones was ok. Austin St. John and Jason David Frank weren't very good actors initially (although the evil Green Ranger laugh was chilling) but they were both great martial artist which made their fight scenes awesome to watch, and their acting did improve quite a bit over time. Despite the mixed acting during MMPR, the acting did improve overtime and the actors were good enough to make their characters likable. And as mentioned above, hardly anyone is going to recognize bad acting and especially not young children which was the bulk of the demographics watching MMPR.

In Space had better acting than the early days of MMPR, but still didn't have anyone with the same acting quality as Amy Jo Johnson or even Johnny Yong Bosch. However, In Space is a great show, IMO the best PR season ever. The acting was sufficient enough to get the job done and make the characters enjoyable. What really makes In Space great was the quality of the story, the character development, and the awesome villains that this season had.


Sentai, however, has many numerous examples of "sufficient acting, good/great shows." This includes Jetman, Timeranger, Hurricanger, Boukenger, Gekiranger, Go-Onger, and Shinkenger. All of these series, while some have other obvious flaws, tend to be well written, have solid characters and villains, tend to have good stories, and excellent humor (except for Timeranger which doesn't intend to be humorous). Some of these shows have had some mildly good and successful actors. Timeranger had Masahiro Kuranuki (Sion/Time Green), Hurricanger had Nao Nagasawa (Nanami/Hurricane Blue), Boukenger had Haruka Suenaga (Sakura/Bouken Pink), and Gekiranger had Kazue Itoh (Miki of Gekiranger). However, for the most part, these series had PR-like sufficient actors that were good enough to get the job done.

Good Acting, Lower Quality Show


Then there are seasons with good acting but are lower quality seasons compared to others. One such example is Power Rangers SPD, which has very quality acting by PR standards, perhaps the best ever for a PR season. However, YMMV greatly on rather SPD is a good season or a bad season. IMHO, I think it's a descent season. It has many good points and a few interesting characters and story lines, but is still filled with many flaws. The most noticeble being the Omega Ranger scenario and the fact that SPD's story really lost steam as the season progressed. For me, while not a bad season, it's good acting is not nearly enough to overcome the other flaws this season has to make it a great season.

Bad Acting, Low Quality


Then there are seasons like Wild Force, which has bad acting even below MMPR's early day standards. When I say Wild Force has bad acting, I mean even the 90% of all audience members who normally can't recognize bad acting will notice the terrible acting of this series. Particularly by Ricardo Medina (Cole Evans/Wild Force Red) who overacts and is quite often prone to chewing out the scenery, and Ann Marie Crouch (Princess Shayla) whom both overacts and underacts in the majority of her scenes. Besides the terrible acting, there are some rather very cheesy aspects of Wild Force (cheesier than MMPR IMO) that make the viewers cringe, such as reading the story of Animarium from a childrens book, singing a god awful song to the zords, defeating an enemy with a zord used like a soccer ball in a CGI soccer stadium, and the ultra-preachy environmental message from Animus. Many of the guest actors/actresses are also aweful in Wild Force. Still, unlike the next series on this list, Wild Force does have some redeeming qualities, such as the team-ups, the story behind Cole's parents, and the overall dark story behind the series.


Like Wild Force, Operation Overdrive also has considerably noticable bad acting. Almost the entire cast is terrible but most glaringly are Gareth Yuen (Dax Lo/Overdrive Blue) and all the voice actors for the villains and the Sentinal Knight. Unlike Wild Force, simply everything is terrible about this season, including the dialog, the extreme overuse of explosions (Kalishplosions named after writer/producer Bruce Kalish), and very spotty writing. Not even the anniversary team-up, Once A Ranger, was enough to redeem this series.


For Sentai, one series that could be argued to have below par acting is Goseiger. Almost all of the main characters are pretty wooden. However, this can also arguably be blamed on the writers/directors, because most Goseiger characters have pretty bland personalities and the series overall is very weak on character development.

Good Acting, Good Show


Lastly, there are some series where the quality of acting makes an already good show, better. For Power Rangers, the most noticable examples are RPM and Time Force. Unlike previous seasons, the producers of RPM had handpicked already well established Australian and New Zealand actors that had previous experience in other series. All of these actors could show a wide range of emotions. Among the best IMO were Ari Boyland (Flynn), who displayed a convincing Scottish accent, and Milo Cawthorne (Ziggy) who was incredibly funny.

For Timeforce, the performances by Erin Cahill (Jen/Time Force Pink), Jason Faunt (Wesley/Time Force Red), Daniel Southworth (Eric/Quantum Ranger), and Vernon Wells (Ransik) were particularly good and believable. Overall, Time Force is a pretty good series, but personally I think it's on the overrated side due to copying the bulk of it's story from it's Sentai counterpart, Timeranger, and for the lack of character development given to some of it's other main characters such as Lucus, Trip, and Katie.


I may be biased since Dekaranger is my favorite Sentai but I also think Dekaranger had the best acting among any 2000's Sentai. Like RPM, all of the actors were able to show a wide range of emotions, portrayed their characters beautifully, and many have had somewhat successful acting careers. Ayumi Kinoshita (Jasmine), Ryuji Sainei (Ban), and Tsuyoshi Hayashi (Hoji) have appeared in quite a few Japanese movies and TV dramas, while Mika Kikuchi (Umeko), Tetsu Inada (voice of Doggie Krugar), and Ryusei Nakao (voice of Agent Abrera) have had successful voice acting careers in anime. As far as the show itself, it's quite awesome. The characters are lovely, the music is cool, and so are the fight scenes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, My Thoughts on Power Rangers Samurai and Gokaiger

First, I would like to apologize for my recent decline in posting. First, I was busy with school due to midterms/finals and then after winter break began, I've become more occupied with other things, such as non-Sentai Japanese TV dramas. I haven't forgotten this blog, so don't worry, I'll continue to keep posting. I would also like to wish all my fellow bloggers a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. :-) With the new year, I'd like to talk about the upcoming new Power Ranger and Sentai series, PR Samurai and Gokaiger respectively.


First about PR Samurai. I have to admit my excitement that Saban repurchased the Power Rangers series has died down quite a bit. PR Samurai looks like it will be mostly a carbon copy of Shinkenger, with a few minor differences. I was hoping for a more original series. However, I will say that after watching the promo, the dialog and the humor does seem somewhat interesting. I also hope that the rumors that Cole (Wild Force Red) will appear in PR Samurai are not true. But, until the series premiers, the verdict is still out.


With Gokaiger, I also have mixed feelings. I'm a bit skeptical as to rather the pirate motif will actually work with Sentai, but I do think it's cool that the Gokaiger can travel to "different Sentai worlds" like they could in Kamen Rider Decade. I think that would be interesting to see a team-up with a previous Sentai almost every episode. The suits are ok, I think the weapons are awesome, and do really look pirate like. The mecha seems ok, what you would typically expect from Sentai. I do hope, however, that they won't resort to CGI zord use or the mecha overload syndrome that Sentai has done since Gaoranger. Like PR Samurai, until I actually watch the series, the verdict for me is still out.