Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gokaiger Episode 6 Review

Warning, Spoilers Ahead.

Note: Some photos courtesy of Super Sentai Images.

The episode starts out with Luka and Don shopping for jewelry. Luka is about to buy a ring when a rich girl named Komaki, who at first comes off as a stuck up rich brat. She offers to buy the entire store before her father walks in and scolds her. Luka then complains to Komaki's father about her daughter's lack of appreciation for money, saying "money powers everything in this world." Komaki's father likes Luka's attitude, and offers to hire Luka to work for him to earn the ring that she was going to buy. Luka accepts.


Luka's job is to be the guy's maid for the purpose of fanservice. Nah, I'm kidding. Actually, her real job was to basically baby sit the guy's daughter, Komaki. The man is revealed to be Kazugai Kouzou, who found a tree from a meteor impact site. The tree grows gold, which is the source of his wealth. It is guarded by a sophisticated security system. The Zangyach send Nanonanoda to the mansion in an attempt to steal the tree. Later, Luka is about to throw away a stuffed animal that Komaki keeps, much to Komaki's irritation. Nanonanoda gets past the security system and is about to retreave the tree before being noticed by Luka. Luka grabs Komaki and runs outside to safety. Nanonanoda follows them and rips off a line from Genta/Shinken Gold. :P



Luka then bribes Kouzou, offering to get rid of Nanonanodo in exchange for money. Initially Luka doesn't like Kouzou's offering, and tourchers Kouzou by using Nanonanodo's fingers to tickle Kouzou. Nanonanodo is the weakest MOTW so far on Gokaiger. He was totally pwned by an unmorphed Luka. However, having such a weak monster did make for some good comedy relief, such as the nut-shot given to him above and Luka using his finger's to tickle Kouzou.


Luka then morphs and transforms into Bouken Yellow, and makes good on her promise to get rid of Nanonanoda. Later, Komaki reveals that he wanted Nanonanoda to take the tree because she feels that their wealth had corrupted his father. She intended to buy the jewelry store in an attempt to spend all their money to go back when they were poor, because she feels her father was a better man back then. Luka then scolds her saying that money is what runs the world.


Later, we get a hint at Luka's past. She appears to be a poor girl who was giving bread to other poor people. Later, Joe questions why Luka wants money and Luka seems to answer that it is for her dream.


The next day, Nanonanoda and the Zangyach set Kouzou's mansion on fire, hoping to get past the security system to reach the tree. Luka goes to rescue Kouzou and Komaki from the burning house, while the others transform into JAKQ and stop Nanonanoda. Inside the house, Komaki asks Luka to save her most precious thing, and Kouzou offers Luka 100 million yen to save the tree. Luka tells Komaki she'll do it if her and her father get out of there. Luka retrieves Komaki's "most precious thing" which is her stuffed animal, that her father gave her for her birthday when they were poor. The 100 million yen check was also found inside Komaki's stuffed animal. Kouzou then recognizes his wrong doing and tells Komaki that he'll work hard for now on. Luka then joins the others and single handedly defeats Nanonanoda.

Later, the others are shocked that Luka would help them for free, but she reveals that she didn't as she took a couple rings, one of which was the original one she was going to buy. She laughs it off saying that it was what she was originally offered anyways.

My Thoughts
Previously, I said that episode 4 was the best Gokaiger episode so far. This one comes pretty close. It has some really funny scenes with Luka, the MOTW, and Kouzou, as well as a heartwarming moment between the girl and her father. We get some clues about Luka's past, seemingly being poor and also giving bread to other poor people. She also says that she needs money to accomplish her dream. I wonder, is she a Robbin Hood type character? Perhaps she needs the money to set something up for the poor. Perhaps thats why she became a pirate.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Power Rangers RPM Review

Power Rangers RPM (2009) was the 17th season of Power Rangers (originally intended to be its last) and used footage from Engine Sentai Go-Onger. RPM was vastly different from its Sentai counterpart. While Go-Onger was a lighthearted, comedy-oriented series, RPM was very dark, widely considered the darkest Power Rangers series ever. RPM did use some of Go-Ongers themes, such as race cars, but was vastly different because RPM was based in a post-apocalyptic world in which everything outside the dome city of Corinth has become a wasteland. While also being very dark and serious, RPM can also be quite lighthearted filled with some silly characters and jokes that make fun of Power Rangers quirks such as the zords having eyes and the spandex uniforms. RPM, along with MMPR and In Space, is one of the most popular Power Rangers series ever. However, some fans criticize RPM for ripping off of Terminator and Mad Max, while others argue that RPM is too dark. Personally, I think RPM is an excellent series, and there's plenty to like about this series.

The Good
RPM has an excellent cast, complete with both good actors and good characters. Among my favorite characters are Dillion, Ziggy, Summer, Flynn, and Dr. K. Character development in RPM is much stronger than it had been in several years, each of them given backstories that are often tragic, such as Dr. K's being a military puppet, Dillion with his sister and the Venjix virus in his body, and Scott losing his brother in battle. I particularly like Dillion who's a badass and Ziggy who's hilarious. The story is great with the post-apocalyptic setting that at times can be chillingly dark, especially the first episode. The humor is some of the best in Power Rangers, particularly from Ziggy and all the lampshades used in this series. The villains are mixed, but solid. General Crunch is quite funny and the Venjix Virus, while not as hammy as other villains, still makes a pretty solid villain.

The Bad
The second half of the season wasn't quite as strong as the first half, particularly because of the Dillion-Tenaya 7 story being a virtual carbon copy of the Andros-Astronema story from In Space. However, it did help with the tragic aspects of Dillion's character and it wasn't a jump the shark moment. Gem and Gemma are initially annoying but settle down as the series goes on, and work well with others such as Gem with Scott and Gemma with Flynn. Probably my biggest gripe is the music. The theme song, while IMO not as bad as some PR fans make it out to be, isn't exactly a good one and doesn't quite fit the series. Also, the background music played during the fight scenes also didn't match the scenes well and wasn't that good. Unfortunately, RPM inherited the awful G9 and G12 zord combinations from Go-Onger, but since many of these zords weren't used until late in the series, we don't have to see these combinations as much as we did in Go-Onger.

The Ugly
There's nothing ugly about this series.

My Rating
A-, 9/10: Most of the flaws I mentioned are minor. Some of which are due to some of the footage it inherited or because of the change of writers during mid-season. Overall, RPM is an excellent season that is well made and much different from any other Power Ranger season.

My Favorite Episodes
Episodes 1-3: Probably the best introduction episodes ever in Power Rangers. We're introduced to the post-apocalyptic earth, as well as Dillion becoming the black ranger and kicking ass, including a prison fight and virtually making scrap metal of grinders.
Episode 5 (Handshake): Technically a filler, but had some really funny lines from General Crunch like "I have a question your most venjixness, are you going to super size the Naz Bot now or wait until the Rangers defeat it first." Also, Dr. K reveals her identity.
Episode 7 (Ranger Red): The character development episode for Scott, where we learn about his background.
Episode 8 & 9 (Ranger Yellow): A generally unpopular episode among PR fans, but I actually like the episode. I felt it was a good subplot for Summer and she seems to be heavily influenced by Ran/GekiYellow.
Episode 10 (Ranger Blue): We learn about Flynn's background. Also had some really funny lampshades at the beginning of the episode.
Episode 11 (Dr. K): The best of the character development episodes, and really makes you feel sorry for Dr. K when you learn what she went through.
Episodes 17-18: Some clues are given about Dillion's past, particularly his sister, and we get a full operation to destroy a Venjix weapons making factory. Also, this two part episode introduces the Whale zord.
Episode 20: As mentioned above, Gem and Scott worked well together, and this helped to advance Scott's character. Scott is always trying to impress his father, here he goes a bit too far.
Episode 21: Also mentioned above, Gemma and Flynn work well together. Here, Gemma and Flynn work together to create the Road Attack Zord.
Episode 28 (Run Ziggy Run): My favorite Ziggy-centered episode. Again filled with great Ziggy comedy, while Ziggy makes amends with Fresno Bob.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Some Unpopular Opinions That I Have in Power Rangers and Sentai

ChrisX recently made a post about some of his opinions that are somewhat contradictory to the typical Sentai fandom. After reading his post, I decided to share some of my views that are also contradictory towards certain PR or Sentai series/characters. I think we all have some contradictory views in some ways, and it's good if you don't let the fandom dictate your opinions. I'll start with Power Rangers first.

Power Rangers
Power Rangers Time Force is Overrated.

Power Rangers Time Force is in no way a bad series. In fact it's pretty good and has some characters that I do like such as Jen, Wesley, Eric, and the villain Ransik. But whenever a series like Time Force copies the majority of its plot from its Sentai counterpart I tend to compare it to the original Sentai. While Ransik was a nice addition to the Sentai material, the character development for the supporting cast, particularly Katie, Trip, and Lucas, was terrible. They were shoved into the background and unlike their Sentai counterparts (and for that matter other PR series like In Space or RPM) they never really got a chance to shine. For example, in Timeranger, Ayase had problems with his incurable disease, Domon had his fighting license suspended and he developed a rather cute relationship with Honami, and Sion's home planet was destroyed when he was a kid, thus making him a virtual loner. This was all left out of Time Force. The other issue I have is that PR fans lash out on series like Wild Force and Mystic Force for being virtual carbon copies of their Sentai counterparts but completely ignore this line of thinking and praise Time Force. Where's the consistency?

Forever Red is Overrated.

Forever Red is definitely a good episode and I loved seeing all 10 red rangers together to fight. It was a great nostalgic episode. However, the episode reaps of terrible writing. There are numerous plot holes and innacuracies such as Jason getting his powers back and the fact that the Zeo Rangers didn't destroy the Machine Empire. Also, the unrealism of the episode goes beyond ridiculous. I can live with humans breathing on the moon and horses on the moon, but that terrible CGI Serpentera that looked no bigger than a 20 story building (in MMPR S2 it was at least 10 times the size of ANY skyscraper and/or zord) and the fact that Serpentera was defeated by Cole on a motorcycle was just stupid.

My unpopular opinions about Sentai

Go-Onger isn't a bad series.

Go-Onger has many Sentai fans split. It's truely a love it or hate it series. Most of the people who don't like Go-Onger criticize it for being too goofy, childish, and even the cast. I personally like Go-Onger, and like many of the things that most fans seem to hate about it. There are some things I don't like about this series, such as the villain's goal of "polluting the earth," the G9 and G12 combinations, and Ren/Go-On Blue, but I really liked the cast and the talking mechas. Most fans tend to like the Go-On Wings. While I do like the Go-On Wings as well, I also like a couple of the original cast members, Sousuke and Saki. The mechas, while having mecha overload problems with G9 and G12, all had really enjoyable personalities.

Having a fiery or "screaming" Red Ranger isn't a bad thing.
Some older Sentai fans, and some PR fans tend to be turned off by the so-called "screaming reds." These screaming reds include DekaRed, MagiRed, GekiRed, Go-On Red, and to an extent Hurricane Red. Many of these fans tend to like a more traditional red that's level headed or a true leader, like Takeru/Shinken Red or Tatsuya/Time Red. My personal personal opinion is that it really doesn't matter. Isn't red a sign of hotbloodedness anyways? When we have other hotblooded or hyper active characters that aren't red (like Genta) they don't receive the same criticism. This seems like terrible inconsistency for me. I'd judge characters based on their personality and development, not the color of their suits. And besides, I think it's a good thing to have a different type of red warrior once in a while. Sentai usually tends to stick one type of personality with a certain color, for example, pink rangers tend to be cute, feminine, bubbly, and sometimes ditzy. I think its good to have some originality in the characters, which is also why I like pink rangers such as Yuuri and Sakura.

Kaoru (Female Shinken Red) receives unfair hate.

Ok this may not be exactly an unpopular opinion, but among all the Shinkenger characters Kaoru is about the most underrated. She receives little to no development, but has a hatedom for the wrong reasons. Many hate her for just simply replacing Takeru as ShinkenRed, which is unfair. Takeru is definitely a likable character, but some fans tend to forget that Takeru was given back the throne of the Shiba clan by Kaoru for the betterment of the team. Also, many fans I think get the wrong impression that she's a spoiled brat based on her jerkass retainer, Tanba. Tanba is annoying, but I don't think Kaoru should be a targeted for hatred simply for replacing Takeru and because of her annoying mentor

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gokaiger Episode 4 & 5 Review

I'd like to apologize for taking so long to get to Gokaiger episode 4 before making a review. I had so many things going on at once, including a research paper and finals, not to mention the earthquake and tsunami distraction.

Note: Images from Super Sentai Images
Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Gokaiger Episode 4- What are Friends For?

Episode 4 I think is the best Gokaiger episode so far. It was a character development for Joe and Ahim. Initially out grocery shopping, Joe and Ahim are attacked by the MOTW, Zodomas. After Zodomas and Joe fight one on one, Zodomas challenges Joe to a one on one sword fight dual. Joe accepts, much to Ahim's dismay, who argues that friends should take on Zodomas together, but Joe refuses to listen. Joe, despite being injured, practices in order to fend off Zodomas' special attack. Later, Luka consuls Ahim and tells her that Joe probably practices hard for the guy who taught him how to sword-fight. It is suggested that something tragic happened to him (probably death), and it's a painful memory for Joe. Before the dual, Ahim loans Joe her sword to battle Zodomas. Joe goes to fight Zodomas with Ahim watching in the distance, but Zodomas tricks Joe and sends the Sugormin to fight Joe. Angered, Ahim transforms to help. Soon enough, the rest of the Gokaigers arrive to fight off the Sugormin while Joe duals with Zodomas. Joe is able to fight off Zodomas' first special attack, but Zodomas was given an upgrade to his attack in which Joe isn't able to fight it off. However, the rest of the Gokaigers give Joe their swords, and he is able to fight off Zodomas' attacks. Of course Zodomas grows large. The Gokaigers then summon GokaiOh and defeat Zodomas. This episode showed the bondage of friendship as well as learning when to take a step back and trying to understand others. This episode reveals that Ahim is well meaning and sometimes a worry rat, she's rather innocent and doesn't understand others emotions at times. Joe has some potential to be a really interesting character. It will be interesting to see how the story with him and his former sword master unfolds.

Gokaiger Episode 5- Judgement Pirates

Episode 5 starts out with Luka stating that their bounties had been raised by the Zangyack. Then Captain Marvelous asks Navi where the Gokaigers can find some treasure. Navi responds by telling them to ask the local police. The Gokaigers then go to the police station, with Captain Marvelous walking in alone. This is where Jasmine/Deka Yellow shows up, and attempts to arrest Captain Marvelous for piracy. Marvelous then questions Jasmine if the Space Police had begun working for the Zangyack, which Jasmine denies. The other Gokaigers walk into the station and then run. Meanwhile Marvelous escapes Jasmine's grasp while being handcuff, but is soon caught by Doggie Krugar. Meanwhile Doggie and Marvelous stumble onto the Zangyack who are about to launch a handful of city destroying missles. Here a fight breaks out between the Zangyack and Doggie & Marvelous. Doggie & Marvelous narrowly escape after Doggie is wounded from a gun shot. Marvelous then pleads with Doggie to take off the handcuffs but Doggie refuses. He tells Marvelous that he can run but he'll find him eventually, but for now Doggie is going after the missiles to destroy them. As Doggie walks away, Marvelous notices that Doggie is bleeding. Doggie is caught by the MOTW, Bravd0, who nearly finishes Doggie before Marvelous saves him. Meanwhile, the other Gokaigers are searching for Marvelous but are intercepted by the Zangyack. Then Doggie asks Marvelous why he saved him and Marvelous tells him it was to repay his debt for Doggie saving him, and also to protect his pride. Doggie then uncuffs Marvelous and gives him his morpher back, and tells Marvelous that he doesn't trust pirates but he trusts his pride. Marvelous then tracks down Bravdo and destroys the launching device for the missles. The other Gokaigers arrive and the five transform into Dekarangers, defeating Bravdo easily. After Bravdo grows large, Doggie tells the Gokaigers that they can now use the Dekaranger powers to their full potential. The Gokaigers then use the Dekaranger powers to form Deka GokaiOh, and Patrol Striker launches from GokaiOh, evading Bravdo's attacks before landing some shots on Bravdo. The Gokaigers then defeat Bravdo with the heavy artillery. Later, a bunch of policemen are about to arrest the Gokaigers before Ban/DekaRed suddenly appears. Ban then announces that the Gokaiger's accused acts of piracy were lies spread by the Zangyack. He then helps a wounded Doggie and tells the Gokaigers not to disgrace their powers because he isn't as forgiving as Doggie. The episode ends with Marvelous telling Ban to complain anytime he wished.

This episode personally, I felt was a bit disappointing but still good. Mainly what I was disappointed in was that Jasmine and Ban had such short screen time in the episode. Especially Ban, who hardly felt relevant to the episode's plot. Doggie and Kai/MagiRed in episode 3 both had more screentime than Jasmine and Ban did. Ban is much more mature, as he was in Magiranger vs Dekaranger. While many others like the more mature Ban, I think it really dumbs down his badass and inspirational personality that I felt was really cool during Dekaranger. Other than that, the episode was what you expect from Gokaiger episodes. Awesome fight scenes. When the Gokaigers transform into other Sentai heroes, they mimic their fighting styles perfectly. For example, Luka was able to master Kanzu/KirinRanger's drunkin fist fight style, while Ahim mastered Umeko/DekaPink's sword fighting style. It was also awesome to hear the instrumental version of the Dekaranger theme song in this episode. The mecha fight was also awesome, and as much as I hate CGI at times, I have to admit the CGI in Gokaiger has been nearly perfect so far.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Power Rangers In Space Team Overview

Fantasy Leader earlier asked me what I thought about the a couple Power Rangers In Space characters (Andros and Zhane) that I haven't mentioned much of. I decided to make a single post focusing on each of the In Space rangers. As mentioned before, the In Space cast is easily one of my favorites. One of the few good things about Turbo was the midseason cast change (though some didn't like it, particularly because it was midseason), which In Space inherited this cast sans Justin. The cast isn't quite as diverse personality wise as say SPD or RPM, but still very likable with many charming characters.


Andros is one of my favorite red rangers, and IMO the most well developed red ranger ever in Power Rangers. He got a lot of focus during this season, but unlike some other PR seasons that have too much red ranger focus (like Mystic Force), I felt Andros' heavy focus was well done. The rest of the cast members already got plenty of development during the second half of Turbo, so they could afford to give Andros more focus than the others. Besides, they also needed Andros to be relevant to the story and not just a mere "replacement" for Justin like some other past rangers have been, like Rocky and Aisha. What I really liked about Andros was the tragic aspects surrounding his character, particularly his home world KO35 being deserted, his kidnapped sister, and his best friend Zhane, nearly dying in battle. Initially, he was reluctant to let the Turbo rangers join him in the search for Zordon, but after seeing what nearly happened to Zhane it's easy to see why. I also felt he was a reasonably strong leader, not so much on the battlefield but in the search for Zordon. However, despite his all-business personality and tragic aspect, he was also a bit innocent, particularly with earthly customs.


T.J. is awesome. Easily my favorite blue ranger and one of my favorite red rangers as well (despite the fact that it was Turbo and he set the megazord to self-destruct :P). What I really liked about T.J. was his charming, cool guy, easy going personality, which reminded me a lot of Zack. His actor, Selwyn Ward, is just as easy going as T.J., and I recommend watching this interview with Selwyin. I also liked the fact that he stood up for Bulk and Skull one time when they were accused of stealing packages. Also, during In Space, his strategy for defeating the Psycho Rangers redeemed himself for his failures in Turbo by self destructing the Megazord.


For me Carlos was ok. He got some good focus episodes such as Carlos on Call (despite the girl being a brat), Always a Chance, and Never Stop Searching. During Turbo, particularly before he became a power ranger, Carlos came off as somewhat selfish. I hate to compare him to other rangers, but compared to other black rangers such as Zack, Adam, Tommy, and Dillion, he just doesn't measure up to them as well and doesn't measure up as well against his co-cast members. Don't get me wrong he's not a bad character, it's just other than his thick Mexican accent he comes across as a fairly average.


As I've said before, Cassie is my favorite pink ranger and also my favorite character on In Space. During Turbo, Cassie received a lot of development, particularly during the Phantom Ranger arc. She didn't get very many focus episodes during In Space but the ones she did get she really shined through, like A Rift in the Rangers and A Wasp with a Heart. I liked that she would stand up for herself against even the other rangers and stand up for a monster that really isn't bad at all. I really like her combination of toughness and punkish yet gentle and sweet. The only thing I didn't like is that the producers never used Patricia Ja Lee's martial arts abilities to their full potential like they were used in the movie Extreme Challenge.


Ashley is also one of my favorite yellow rangers despite being somewhat underused IMO. The good thing about the In Space girls unlike some of the other PR girls (like the Zeo girls, Kimberly, and Madison from Mystic Force) is that they actually felt like they could hold their own and were equals to the guys. Ashley, while not as tough as Cassie, was a good fighter that wouldn't back down. She was sweet and bubbly, a lot like Kimberly was.


Zhane I felt was cool as well, and added another dimension to the In Space cast and story. His playboy, flamboyant personality created some interesting drama, such as the tension between him and Andros over Ashley and Zhane eventually dating Astronema. His fighting skills were good, and his development was fair. If anything, he's useful for helping his home world, KO-35 rebuild and for providing the tragic aspect of Andros's character. But like T.J. and Ashley, his personality was more than enough to make up for his lack of development.

Overall, I find it difficult to compare the In Space cast to other PR teams. Each of them had their own unique qualities. For In Space, it was the development and the charm of the characters that makes them great. MMPR's cast had many charming, likable characters that were exceptional martial artists. Zeo was the first season where the cast received strong development, particularly among characters like Rocky that didn't really get any development through a season and a half of MMPR. Time Force and SPD's cast are more or less the same as their Sentai counterparts, but with excellent acting and a bit less development than their Sentai counterparts. Dino Thunder was kind of a throw back to MMPR, with Tommy and some likable characters (except for Conner who's a douchbag). RPM's cast I felt was much more diverse than any other cast and was very much a Sentai like cast, complete with comic relief characters like Ziggy and badass lancers like Dillion. When trying to compare each cast, it's kinda difficult for me to do because most of the In Space characters have a charm about them that's hard to describe.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Magiranger Series Review


Note: Images from Super Sentai Images.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Mahou Sentai Magiranger (English translation Magic Squadron Magical Ranger) (2005) was the 29th installment of the Super Sentai franchise and the first to use a magic motif. Magiranger is kinda like Go-Onger, mostly campy and lighthearted through most of the series, but gets more serious towards the end. Magiranger is generally a popular series (especially compared to its PR counterpart, Mystic Force) for the story it tells, but also has some critics for its campy and childish nature. Personally, I'm a little mixed about this series. It's not bad, it just could have been much better.

The Good
Like Gekiranger, the villains and the main plot are the strength of this show. My favorite villain (and favorite character) on this series is Wolzard. Like many of the villains on this series, Wolzard is a complex villain, who has honor and later turns out to be the Magiranger's father. Other villains I liked included Sphinx, Titan, and Meemy. The story elements I like are the family and courage aspects. I like the story circling around the Magiranger's parents and felt it was well done. I also liked that even the Magiranger's teacher, Hikaru, had to learn some things like learning from Kai to not give up or not overthink. The music from this season, though lighter in tone compared to say Dekaranger, is pretty good. I like both the intro and the outro themes (though it took me a while for the intro to grow on me), and I also like some of the insert songs, such as Mika Kikuchi's Peace in Heaven and the Nae and Mae theme song. Among the main characters, my favorite was Makito. He's easily the most mature and he seemed to be a better leader than Kai, although Kai was definitely courageous. Speaking of Kai, I also liked his rivalry with Wolzard, which was like a lot of good Sentai red warrior/villain rivalries such as Jan/Rio and Takeru/Juuzo. I also liked the Magiranger team-up with Dekaranger, and the movie was ok. The final battle was pretty good and did everything to bring it to a close.

The Bad
The main problem I have with this series is the ranger cast. The cast really isn't bad. They're better than their Mystic Force counterparts and better than a few other Sentai casts (like Goseiger), but across the board all the characters come across as just average. They get solid development, it's just I wish they could liven up their personalities a bit more. Houka for example, does some stupid things (like spying on Kai and trying to play matchmaker, and later dating 15 different guys), though she does redeem herself with the Titan arc. The rest, I'm kinda nick-pickinng on a few things. While I like the story overall, some of the subplots felt either a bit awkward (like the method of how Miyuki "survived) or felt rushed (like the Urara-Hikaru relationship and how suddenly Vancuria/Nae & Mae turned good). Also, the new spell every episode saga was kinda overused and repetitive.

The Ugly
The only thing that I found terrible about this series was Hades God Toad. While all of the other villains were generally very solid, Toad was just, baka.

My Rating
C+, 7/10. Overall, it's an ok show. It could have been much better if it had a better cast.

Favorite Episodes
Episodes 11-12: Houka is turned into a vampire, and we get to see some background of Vancuria as well as hear the awesome Nae and Mae song.
Episodes 16-18: A new character, Lunajel, is introduced.
Episode 21: This episode is one of the reasons why I like Makito.
Episodes 23-24: This one gives some good development to Tsubasa, and Hikaru learns that being a teacher also means learning.
Episode 28: A touching episode about a girl who was being forced to do evil deeds.
Episodes 33-34: The big reveal, I won't reveal anymore than this.
Episodes 37-38: Makito shares his dreams while Tsubasa shows him that he doesn't have to do everything.
Episodes 45-46: This two parter is the best of the season, imo. It shows not to discriminate against everyone even if they're part of the Infershia, and you have to like it when a villain shows he does have a heart. Also, Isamu becomes Wolzard Fire and he's badass.
Episodes 48-49: Magiranger has a pretty impressive final battle.
Episode 26: Some character development for Smokey.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Effort

As most of you probably know by now, Japan has been devastated with an earthquake that registered 8.9 on the richter scale, and a 24 foot tsunami that followed. As a fan of Super Sentai and Japanese entertainment in general, I'm deeply concerned for the lives of the earthquake victims. Riders Rangers Rambles (RRR) has set up a relief effort to donate money to help the victims of this tragedy. I ask those who read this blog to help with the relief effort, either by donating to RRR or to the Red Cross. Doing so can help save the lives of the victims.

Riders Rangers Rambles relief effort.

The Red Cross

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Entertainment and Quality in Power Rangers and Sentai

One major debate between different factions of Power Rangers and Sentai fans is the value of entertainment and/or "quality." Specifically, which of the two makes a better series? It's kind of like how movie critics view movies and the audience views them. Personally, I think defining "quality" is really subjective and a matter of opinion. I also value entertainment more than trying to be overly critical about a show's quality (though bad quality can make a show awful), such as the acting and occasional plot holes. This is also one reason why I don't pay much attention to movie critics who value more "quality" than entertainment, although some critics like Linkara, who's also a big Power Rangers fan, I feel is awesome. Now, what do I find entertaining? For me something is entertaining if it grabs my attention and makes me want to watch it, even multiple times. Anything with a good story, good characters and development, action, drama, good humor, and awesome music are entertaining to me.



There are some seasons like MMPR and arguably Shinkenger that have very mixed quality, but I find very entertaining. To start off with MMPR, season 1 had mixed acting and mixed writing. Virtually all MMPR seasons had terrible American ranger footage as well. However, MMPR S1 had many redeeming qualities as well and to me was very much entertaining. It had an interesting cast of very charming characters, put the Zyuranger footage to good use (something that half of season 2 and all of season 3 didn't do effectively), had awesome unmorphed fight scenes due to the actors' excellent martial arts ability, better character development than season 2 and season 3, and had awesome music. The first half of season 2 had better quality and was even more entertaining than season 1. Season 2 introduced a more fearsome villain, Lord Zedd, and started to add some story elements to the show, such as Tommy losing his Green Ranger powers and becoming the white ranger. However, the second half of season 2 falls apart both entertainment wise and quality wise. This was largely due to a lack of development from the new cast. Also compounding season 2's quality problems was too much focus given to Tommy, relying almost exclusively on American ranger footage that was terrible, and the villain decay of Lord Zedd and Goldar. Season 3 had better story writing than season 2, but was also quite boring. Particularly because of the lack of unmorphed fight scenes, dropping much of the awesome music from season 1 and 2, as well as having a full season of terrible American ranger footage and villain decay of Lord Zedd and Goldar.

Shinkenger on the other hand, is high quality in many ways. This includes well choreographed fight scenes, excellent character development, and an overall excellent story. However, some will argue that the quality is detracted by stumbling a bit with its story during the 3rd quarter of the season, too much focus on Takeru, and mecha overload problems. I do kinda agree on the last one with the mecha overload problems, but I still find Shinkenger an entertaining season. Along with Shinkenger's strong cast and character development, Shinkenger had a good story, with awesome sword fight scenes that made for great action, and also had an awesome soundtrack.


Another season I feel that might fall under the same category of MMPR and Shinkenger as having mixed quality but very entertaining is Hurricanger. Hurricanger lacked in many areas, such as having some very weak and unimpressive villains and a couple bland and underdeveloped characters, Yousuke and Kouta. However, like MMPR and Shinkenger, I felt that Hurricanger had many redeeming qualities that made it enjoyable. The story for Hurricanger is very good. I loved the Goraijer's story as well as Shurikenger's and Gozen-Sama. Despite Yousuke and Kouta's shortcomings, I felt the rest of the cast was very good and charming, and the fight scenes were awesome to watch. These factors made Hurricanger fun to watch and one of my favorites.



I know I talk about In Space and Dekaranger a lot, but for me they're very easy to talk about in post like this when analyzing certain series. I think In Space and Dekaranger are seasons that are both high quality and entertaining.

Starting with In Space, it was the first full season for Judd Lynn, and the first season to have a fully serialized plot that had a beginning and an end. The acting was solid, the cast was strong, and the characters got very solid development. The villains were strong and received stronger development than any other villain before them, particularly Astronema and Ecliptor. Also adding to the quality and entertainment was the awesome theme song composed by Ron Wasserman. This combination I feel makes In Space the best Power Rangers season. RPM is pretty close to In Space's quality and entertainment value, but I like In Space just a bit more.

Before getting into Dekaranger, I have to say there are many Sentai seasons that are very high quality and entertaining such as Jetman, Dairanger, Timeranger, Boukenger, and Gekiranger. Unlike Power Rangers, which is prone to poor quality seasons, Sentai rarely lacks in quality. For me, my favorite example of quality and entertainment is Dekaranger. Dekaranger didn't do as much story wise as other Sentai seasons, such as Timeranger, Hurricanger, Gekiranger, and even Shinkenger. Dekaranger for the most part was episodic. However, Dekaranger still had some very good story arcs such as Jasmine's past, Hoji's struggles of having to delete his best friend and later his girlfriend's brother, and particularly the relationship between Ban and Hoji. Dekaranger also had one of the most well-liked casts of any Sentai with very charming characters. Character development was strong during this season, which was a mostly character-driven season. The acting was also pretty solid for this season. Entertainment wise, Dekaranger had some very good comedy as well as an awesome soundtrack. There are a couple elements that Sentai fans don't like about Dekaranger, such as Ban being a loudmouth (particularly by older Sentai fans) and the amount of silly English used in Dekaranger, but I don't think either really hurts the quality and entertainment of Dekaranger too much.


On the other hand, there are shows like Power Rangers Time Force that are high quality but IMO aren't that great entertainment wise. Time Force isn't terrible, and actually is pretty good. Time Force had excellent acting, put the Timeranger footage to good use, and had excellent American footage. To top it off, it had an original villain, Ransik, who was both fearsome like Lord Zedd, but yet somewhat sympathetic and had human emotions like Astronema. From the outside looking in, Time Force seems to have a good story. However, I do find Time Force to be quite overrated. Much of Time Force's story was copied from Timeranger without much originality (except for Ransik). Many of the good elements of Timeranger was left out of Time Force, such as Ryuuya's story of basically manipulating the Timeranger's predicament, a lack of development for characters such as Chip, Lucas, and Katie where as all of their Timeranger counterparts were very strongly developed, and Domon's cute relationship with Honami. Time Force also had a theme song that really isn't to my liking either. I do like Judd Lynn's work on other series such as In Space and Lost Galaxy, but here I just feel that Time Force isn't quite as good as it's made out to be.


Then there are very bad seasons like Power Rangers Operation Overdrive (or for that matter, any Bruce Kalish season except for SPD) and Goseiger that are both terrible in quality and not the least bit entertaining. Like many of the other Bruce Kalish seasons, Operation Overdrive had terrible characters with some being annoying, terrible writing that was spotty, over use of explosions, bad dialog, bad acting, exc. Actually, just about anything you can name that could be bad for Operation Overdrive was bad. There was also nothing that was redeeming about the series that could make it fun.

Goseiger similarly to Operation Overdrive, lacked strongly in character development and had very spotty writing. Goseiger was largely episodic, but nothing really to make it fun. While the characters weren't annoying, they were largely boring and bland (except for Eri). The villains in Goseiger were terrible and like many previous seasons, Goseiger suffered from mecha overload problems. Goseiger isn't nearly as bad as Operation Overdrive, but it is about as dull in terms of quality and entertainment that you will find for a Sentai series.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy Review


Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (1999) was adapted from Seijyu Sentai Gingaman. Lost Galaxy was the second consecutive season that differed from its Sentai counterpart to use a completely different motif. After having success with the space travel motif during In Space, the producers decided to stick with it in Lost Galaxy as oppose to Gingaman's nature motif. Some fans have criticized Lost Galaxy's handling of the nature themed Gingaman footage and its use as a space theme. Some fans include Lost Galaxy as part of the Zordon Era, due to being the last season (other than Dino Thunder), to have connections to the Zordon Era such as Alpha 6, Bulk, the Astro Megaship, Karone, and the team up with the In Space team. Personally, while not a perfect season, Lost Galaxy is one of my favorite seasons, and my second favorite season during the "Judd Lynn era," (not including RPM) next to In Space.

The Good
Lost Galaxy really has a lot of good upside to it, despite some of its flaws and occasional spotty writing. This season was one of the darkest, with more casualties in this season than any other season, with notable casualties including Kendrix and the Magna Defender (first two rangers to be killed in battle), and the Magna Defender's son, Zika. Lost Galaxy has a strong cast with some very likable characters such as Leo, Kai, Kendrix, Karone, Maya, and the Magna Defender. While I typically don't like seeing copy and paste story arcs from the Sentai counterpart, I felt the story surrounding the Magna Defender, Mike, and Leo which was coppied from Gingaman, was well done and fit in really well with the Lost Galaxy story, especially considering Leo's character, how he cared for his brother, and snuck onto Terra Venture initially. Also adding to the story was the excellent team-up with In Space, the story surrounding Kendrix's death (unfortunate due to her actress Valarie Varone having leukimia), and Karone's story as her replacement. Many of the villains are awesome and sympathetic, such as Trakeena, Villamax, and Deviot. The final battle was pretty good as well. Fight scenes were awesome and even the American footage was good during this season. This season's theme song was also really cool. It was ashame that the theme music would start going downhill with Lightspeed Rescue.

The Bad
The handling of the Sentai footage wasn't that good but it certainly wasn't the worst. Turbo, MMPR S2, and Operation Overdrive were much worst. The writing at times was spotty, particularly the Lights of Orion arc and the "Lost Galaxy arc" which was originally planned to be longer, although the Lost Galaxy arc did have an excellent ending. However, the overall story does redeem the spottiness in the writing. The one character that came off as waisted potential was Mike. After giving a strong introduction to his character at the beginning of the season and having him gaining the Magna Defender's powers after his death, he was hardly used or had any focus episodes (except for The Rescue Mission). He was hardly ever seen with the team and seemed to show up only for battle, kinda like Burai from Zyuranger except without Burai's reason or purpose. Also, Kendrix's actress Valarie Varone underacts a bit, but she's not too wooden and nowhere near as bad as what would come in later seasons.

The Ugly
How the Lost Galaxy cast was treated on set. They were initially promised two year contracts and a reuinion movie and got neither. Also, Lost Galaxy was screwed over by Saban during the second half of the season. The first half had the highest ratings of any Power Rangers series, but the ratings went downhill during the second half due to being aired 4 months after the first half and Saban deciding to promote Digimon over Lost Galaxy

My Rating
B+: Despite some spotting writing and a lack of development for Mike, this season has all that you would want in a Power Rangers season. Good characters, good story, complex villains, good action and fight scenes, and another awesome theme song.

My Favorite Episodes/Arcs
Episodes 1&2 "Quasar Quest"- The openning of the series is very strong.
Episode 10 "Sunflower Search"- Reveals the origin of the Magna Defender
Episode 15 "Redemption Day"- The Magna Defender sacrifices himself to save Terra Venture and sets Mike free.
Episode 16 "Destined for Greatness"- Mike assumes the Magna Defender's powers.
Episode 18 "The Rescue Mission"- One of the best filler episodes ever that feels like a sci-fi horror flick.
Episode 21 "Heir to the Throne"- The rangers defeat the original lead villain, Scorpius, while we're introduced to a new villain, Villamax. Villamax helps beef up Trakeena into a tougher villain.
Episode 28 "A Red Romance"- A ship tease involving Leo and Ginger, a girl Leo saved from a bike accident. Unfortunately, they did nothing with this relationship.
Episodes 30-33- This 4 episode long story arc involves the team-up with In Space, Kendrix's death, Karone replacing her, and Karone facing her past to help Leo gain the battlizer.
Episode 42 "Escape from the Lost Galaxy"- The end of the "Lost Galaxy arc," which involved Captain Mutiny holding a slave camp and Mike sacrificing his powers to allow Terra Venture to escape the Lost Galaxy
Episodes 43-45 "Journey's End"- The final battle, which is one of the more intense ever in PR history. Not as good as Countdown to Destruction but still pretty good.

Poll Results, New Polls

Favorite Power Rangers Season

Voters were allowed to make multiple picks. Of 177 votes, Power Rangers In Space came out first with 77 votes. RPM was second with 71 votes, MMPR S1 had 68 votes, and Time Force came in at a distant 4th with 50 votes. The lowest number of votes not surprisingly, is Operation Overdrive with just 14 votes.

Favorite 2000's Sentai Series

On my polls I include a single decade starting from year "0" to year "9," which is why Timeranger is on the 2000's poll which aired in 2000. If you're wondering why Goseiger is also on this poll, it's because we haven't had a full 2010's decade yet. As with the Power Rangers poll, voters were allowed to make multiple picks.

Not surprisingly, Shinkenger won by a wide margin with 70 votes. Timeranger came in second with 41 votes, Boukenger and Dekaranger both received 38 votes, Gekiranger received 36 votes, Magiranger 35, and Hurricanger 33. The lowest number of votes, somewhat surprisingly, is Gaoranger with only 22 votes.

March's monthly polls will be a pair of Sentai polls. Favorite 70's/80's Sentai and favorite 90's Sentai.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gokaiger Episode 3 and PR Samurai Episode 4 Reviews

I usually won't be doing episode reviews of both Power Rangers and Sentai together but since I've barely saw both episodes within the last couple of days today will be an exception. Instead of making two separate post, I decided to write reviews on both at once, starting with the Gokaiger Episode.

Gokaiger Episode 3

Note: Pics from Super Sentai Images

Gokaiger episode 3 was a character focus episode for Don Dogoier (Gokai Green). I don't know if that's his full name or first name, but since Don is a respectul term in Spanish like "Mr." in English or "San" in Japanese, I'll refer to him by the whole name. Don Dogoier reminds me a lot of Sion (Time Green). Besides the similar hair style, he has a sort of childish innocence about himself that Sion had. Kai/MagiRed is the guest star for this episode. In this episode Don Dogoier suffers from a lack of courage and/or bravery. Kai puts him and Captain Marvelous to the test, and when Don Dogoier recognizes that Captain Marvelous was in danger, Don Dogoier gathers enough courage to save his friend. With his new courage, Don Dogoier and the Gokaigers can fully utilize the Magiranger powers. Kai's part in this episode was a stroke of genius since the Magirangers powers were based off of courage and he helps Don Dogoier gather his courage.

Power Rangers Samurai episode 4
Note: Image from Henshin Grid

Episode 4 (Sticks and Stones) of Power Rangers Samurai is the best episode so far. Partly because it takes from one of the best episodes of Shinkenger (episode 6), which centered around Kotoha, but also there were some definite improvements in the episode. For starters, Bulk and Spike were finally a little bit more involved in the episode's plot and had a run-in with the MOTW. After being turned away the first time, they went back to fight him again only to discover that the MOTW was already fighting the Samurai rangers. The acting from most of the characters was better than it was during the first three episodes and even the child actor that played little Emily was actually pretty good, a rarity for child actors on Power Rangers. However, Brittany Pirtle's acting still felt quite awkward. I think she would be better fit for a tomboyish character than the character she has. Back in Time Force, another Sentai carbon copy series, Erin Cahill's acting ability convinced me that Jen was just as tough if not tougher than Yuuri (Time Pink). Here, Emily just does not convince me that she's Kotoha, just as Mia doesn't convince me that she's Mako, and Jayden doesn't convince me that he's Takeru. Other than that, I felt this episode was actually pretty good, one of the better so far.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Thoughts on Gokaiger



Sorry for the delay for my Gokaiger reviews. They're going to come slower than my PR Samurai reviews partly because I'm busy with school work and coaching basketball, but also because I'm waiting on the subs to come out so I don't have to worry about guessing the dialog. I've seen the first two episodes so far, and I've got to say I'm really impressed. The action and the fight scenes were awesome. It's also awesome that the Gokaigers can change into any Sentai warrior and that past heroes can and will appear in the show. I can't wait until episode 5 to come out so we can see the Dekarangers. From the story perspective (the Legendary War, AkaRed giving Captain Marvelous all the Sentai powers and appearing to die), it looks like Gokaiger could be rather dark. I admit I was skeptical about the pirate motif initially but I now I actually like the idea of space pirates. We haven't got a lot of background on the characters yet except for Captain Marvelous, but it's understandable after only two episodes. However, I will say that so far their acting is much better than Power Rangers Samurai and that the character's personalities are much more fun and energetic than the rather bland and boring Goseiger characters. This season has some potential. I'll give episode reviews starting with episode 3.