After reading Fantasy Leader's recent post, and also having an interesting discussion in the comments on one of my previous posts, I decided to weigh in on Sentai characters whom I feel receive too much hate or too much criticism. Criticisms on these characters tend to range from being the ditz, the "loud and annoying screaming red," too girly, too hyper, being bland, or being a jerkass. Before anyone asks, I do plan on doing a similar post for Power Ranger characters, at a later time.
Next we have Ban, one of the most infamous and controversal characters ever in Sentai. Ban's one of the "screaming reds" which also includes Yousuke, Kai, Jan, and Sousuke. However, Ban was probably the first among the group that received sharp criticism. He's criticized for being loud, annoying, and even being a jerkass. Others criticize Ryuji Sainei's acting and portrayal of Ban. The latter I disagree with. Based on the nature of his character and how later, similar characters are portrayed, I think Ban was meant to be overplayed. I think Ryuji Sainei nailed his portrayal of Ban spot-on. Furthermore, whenever Ban had an emotional scene or an instant where he had to slow down, I felt his acting was very good. It is understandable that some people will find him annoying, but I think Ban was a unique character. Like Fantasy Leader said, Dekaranger parodies its motif, cop shows, and Ban is a parody of a cowboy cop. I thought Ban's wild, recklessness was quite fun to watch, and he's pretty badass as well.
Along with Ban, I think Umeko is another Dekaranger character who gets bashed too much. Criticism on Umeko range from her being a flat one dimensional character with little development, being overly ditzy and childish (especially for being a cop), and for being Ms. Fanservice. With her character, I think some fans take her and Dekaranger too seriously at times. It is true that she is kinda one dimensional, but I think she received a fair amount of development. Throughout the show, she grew out of an inferiority complex (episode 17) and showed that she's daring and capable of taking things into her own hands when needed (episodes 24 & 39 are good examples). Even then, I think some fans judge characters too much on their development at times while overlooking aspects that make him/her a fun character. Umeko, along with Ahim (whom I'll get to later) is a perfect example. I know her ditzy nature might not appeal to everybody, but I think Umeko is quite a funny character. Furthermore, I think her ditzy nature is portrayed in a way that actually makes her character unique, and provides a refreshing balance to the more serious characters in Dekaranger like Tetsu, Hoji, and Jasmine. I also think her actress, Mika Kikuchi, is quite talented as both an actress and a singer.
Like Umeko, Natsuki gets criticized for being overly ditzy and even more childish than Umeko. However, with her character I think Natsuki has an excuse. She was in suspended animation for 100,000 years, from the moment she was a baby. Her body only aged one year for every 5,000 years, and thus she was basically 20 when she woke up. Because of this, she never really had a childhood and thus never had a chance to grow up, so I think it's realistic that she's childish, ditzy, and a bit off. Furthermore, I think Natsuki has one of the most interesting backstories among 2000's Sentai characters, being the princess of an ancient civilization.
To a lesser extent, Eiji also gets criticized. He's one of those characters that while has some popularity, isn't the most popular. Some fans criticize him for being "bland and boring" which seems to be a common criticism of Boukenger in general by the fans who don't like the series. With Eiji, I just don't see it. I think he's one of the most interesting 6th rangers in Sentai, and is among my top three favorites among 6th rangers (including Shurikenger and Doggie Krugar if he counts). Like Natsuki, I think Eiji has an interesting backstory as being one of the watchers of the Ashu. He's one of the more complex characters on Boukenger, and I love his rash yet badass personality.
With Jan, I won't lie. I'm not a big fan of his character, and I do find him at times to be annoying and an extreme version of Ban. Besides being one of the "screaming reds" Jan also gets criticized for his unique dialect of made up words. However, also like Ban I think the hatred of his character is often overexaggerated. He does gradually change, and has some good moments here and there (particularly the KaGeki arc, episode 22, the Gekiranger movie, and his backstory when it's revealed). Like Ban, his actor is fairly good when he has to show emotion or has to slow down a bit. Like Natsuki, while his childishness and dialect can get grating at times, I think it's a realistic part of his character since he lived away from society.
Like Umeko, Ran is criticized for being one dimensional and lacking development. However, I think her character receives a fair amount of development. Throughout Gekiranger, she had to learn to lighten up a bit and smile, deal with Jan and Retsu being turned into kids, learning how to be a team captain, and dealing with her mother. I do however, think her character gets the short end of the stick because she's underused, lacks focus episodes, and her leadership isn't developed as much as I would like. But for the short amount of focus I got, I think we got quite a bit out of her character.
Sousuke is also at times bunched up with the group of "screaming reds." However, unlike the others I think he gets more criticism or is overlooked because of the series he's in, Go-Onger. He's much like Ban, and IMO plays the screaming red part better than anyone else except for Ban. Like Ban, he's quite reckless, but like Yousuke he's an idiot hero. While I like Ban better, I think he plays the "idiot hero" better than Yousuke. I also liked his relationship with his partner, Speedor, and also some of his dramatic stories such as episodes 35 & 36, and the Go-Onger movie. I also thought his interaction with the more serious characters was interesting, like the Go-On Wings or Takeru in Shinkenger vs Go-Onger.
Despite the popularity of the Gokaiger cast, there's a trio of Gokaiger characters whom are a bit underappreciated by fans. The first is Ahim, whom like Umeko gets criticized for being the "girly-girl" of the team and being a flat one dimensional character. She also gets criticized for having a bland personality. Like Eiji, I just don't see it. Yeah she is "girly," but I don't think that's a good reason to dislike a character. I also don't think she's that bland of a character. I think she's shown some toughness, excellent gun skills, and I think is one of the best among recent Sentai senshi in terms of battle strategies and figuring out the opponent's strategies. Her development hasn't been as strong as the other Gokaigers so far, but I'm hoping we get a backstory episode about her past. Other's have even criticized her for being "badass" when the focus isn't on her, yet doing nothing in her own focus episodes, which I also disagree with. Episode 13 was kind of an oddball episode for me, but I like how she outsmarted Basco in episode 23 and the MOTW in episode 29. I also think unlike other stereotypical princesses, she's not your damsal in distress and holds her own pretty well.
Next we have Joe, who's not really "hated" but I feel is a bit underappreciated. Some fans accuse Joe of having the opposite problem as Ahim, being great in his focus episodes yet doing nothing or kinda just "being there" when the focus is not on him. To me this makes no sense. If the focus isn't on a certain character, he or she's not suppose to steal the show. So I don't think it hinders his character or the show at all. Others criticize him for being bland, which again I just don't see. It seems like some fans tend to associate "stoic" with being bland. Joe's focus episodes I think are among the best in the series, partly because of his backstory with the Zangyack and his friend Syd Bamick/Barizorg, but also because his acting talents really show in his focus episodes. This makes for some great drama. Also, like the other Gokaiger characters, he's quite awesome in terms of fighting ability.
Gai I think is another character who receives some unfair hate. He tends to get criticized for being a fanboy, Genta's clone, and being just there to cater to little kids and to sell toys. Admittedly, his fanboyishness does get a little grating once in a while, but I think just about anybody would act that way when meeting their favorite super hero or celebrity. In a way, his fanboyishness is a tribute to the franchise itself, and representing a fan's dream. Also, I think he contributes a lot to his team with his Sentai knowledge and has become relevant to the story. He's received some solid character development so far as well, particularly with his backstory, the Gingaman tribute episode, and even the Hurricanger two-parter.