Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'm Back- Congrats to DekaYellow

For everyone wondering where I am, I'm still alive. I've had a busy year, especially the last few months. Since August, I've moved from Bakersfield, CA to San Diego (about a 4 1/2 hour drive) and I'm going to school as a graduate student and working two jobs, so I've been squeezed for time. School will be out for the next month so I'm hoping I can revive my blog and make more posts for Sentai and Power Rangers.

In the meantime, I would like to congratulate our favorite ESPER, Ayumi Kinoshita (Jasmine/DekaYellow) on her marriage. I wish her the best of luck, but I would be lying if I said there weren't some fanboys who will have some broken hearts. :P



Monday, August 20, 2012

Thoughts on Power Rangers Megaforce


As many of you know, Saban decided to celebrate Power Rangers' 20th anniversary using Goseiger footage.  The series, officially named Power Rangers Megaforce, will also use Gokaiger footage for the series' second season.  Despite using Goseiger footage, Megaforce will not use Goseiger's angel motif.  Instead, it reverts back to MMPR's theme, five teenagers with attitude.

I'm personally mixed on Megaforce.  There's a lot of things I don't like.  To start off, why is Goseiger being used for Power Ranger's anniversary?  Ok sure, the colors are the same as the MMPR colors, but Gokaiger would have been a better series to use for the series' anniversary.  Sure, they're using Gokaiger footage in the second season (I'm imagining we're going to get 20 episodes of Goseiger footage and 20 episodes of Gokaiger footage), but the route they're using disturbs me.  Are they going to have the same characters for both sets of footage?  Are we going to have characters like Emma (to play Megaforce Pink) transform from the airhead that Erin was in Goseiger to the graceful (and also quite competent) princess that Ahim was in Gokaiger?  Or even worst, Troy (Megaforce Red) go from the rather innocent character of Alata to the bold, brave and adventurous alpha male character of Captain Marvelous?

Saban's reasoning for not using Gokaiger as the main series for an anniversary season adaptation also doesn't make a lot of sense.  He fears that the Pirate motif may cater too much to boys, might not work, and may even be too grown-up for a younger audience.  Uh, hello.  Power Rangers is a series aimed at boys already, why not use a theme that will cater to boys?  Furthermore, how could a graceful, kind, princess-like character like Ahim not be liked by girls?  Frankly, has Saban not recognized the success of pirate themed shows in the United States like Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain Hook?  You're going to tell me they don't have followings of a younger audience?  Seriously, I think Saban is starting to get too old to make competent business decisions.  It's already bad enough that Nickelodeon is meddling around by splitting shows like Power Rangers Samurai over two seasons, and now we get this crap.

Also, as regards to the "teenagers with attitude," it's nice to know that Saban does care about the older fans, but repeating MMPR nostalgia is starting to get old and tiring.  I understand it's an anniversary season, but Samurai had tried to reap the benefits of MMPR nostalgia, and failed miserably.  If you want to learn how bad Samurai did with MMPR nostalgia, you check out this post.  Now I could be wrong.  It can work, and Power Rangers has made MMPR nostalgia work well with Dino Thunder.  However, with Tzachor at the helm (and without Judd Lynn) I'm not exactly confident it will work out.


Despite all of the possible negatives I see, there are some things that are encouraging.  One is the cast.  The two female actresses (Ciara Hanna and Christina Masterson) do have previous acting experience.  Hopefully this means Megaforce won't have Samurai's craptastic acting.  I'm also a bit optimistic that Megaforce will be more original and not another copy and paste job from its Sentai counterparts like Samurai was.  When Power Rangers tries to copy and paste its Sentai counterpart, it usually does a terrible job.  Plus it gets boring seeing the same stuff that I already saw in the original Sentai.  It's like there's nothing to new and exciting to look forward to.  With the teenagers with attitude motif, and the fact that they're using two series circled around Power Rangers' anniversary, I have hope that it will force Tzachor and the writers to come up with some original ideas.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Go-Busters Episodes 15, 16 and 17 Reviews

I'm nitpicking here, but it makes absolutely no sense that the Buglars just disappear from the screen and give the Go-Busters time to morph.

While Masato is driving off with Enetron, does it ever occur to the Go-Busters that Hiromu could catch him if he tried to use his super speed?

Episode 15 begans with Commander Kuroki meeting Beet Buster and his buddyroid, Beet J Stag in a forest.  Meanwhile, Enter tries to investigate why Enetron has been leaking from the construction site of his megazord.  He creates a new metaroid to gather some replacement Enetron.  The Go-Busters try to stop him, but are distracted by Buglars.  However, Beet Buster and Beet J Stag appear to fight the metaroid.  Beet Buster reveals his identity as Masato Jin, Ryuji's senior.  However, Ryuji suspects he might be an imposter since Masato hasn't aged since he was trapped in the subdimension 13 years ago.  After another encounter with the metaroid, the Go-Busters are unable to split up to deal with the coming megazord because both the metaroid and the megazord are too powerful.  Masato and Beet J Stag appear to help and transform into Beet Buster and Stag Buster.  After Masato gets a little irritated with Stag Buster trying to steal the spotlight from him, he says that those flaws make it interesting.  Ryuji overhears the comment, which confirmed to him that it was the real Masato.  Ryuji, Hiromu, and Yoko leave to defeat the megazord, while Beet Buster and Stag Buster defeat the metaroid.  However, after they defeat the megazord, Ryuji, Hiromu, and Yoko find Masato and Beet J Stag stealing the Enetron which had originally been gathered by the metaroid they defeated.

This episode I felt was pretty good.  It was an interesting twist to see the new Go-Busters also being thieves.  I was hoping they would be on their own side, gathering Enetron for their own purposes and not really on either the Go-Busters or Vaglass side.  That, however, did not happen.  Still, the thievery part was kept, which I felt help makes Masato an interesting character.  He has a rather sly personality, arrogant, jokes around a lot, and attempts to steal the spotlight whenever possible.  It's also kinda funny how his buddyroid, Beet J Stag, tries to take the spotlight from Masato, leading to the latter's irritation.  Masato is played by the same actor who played Tsubasa/MagiYellow in Magiranger.  His acting was pretty bad in Magiranger, but has improved here.  I think his actor fits the role of Masato better than he did the role of Tsubasa, which helps.  Overall, I think this was a pretty good episode.  I give it an 8.5/10.


Episode 16 begins with Beet J Stag knocking on the door of the Go-Busters' headquarters, wanting Enetron to drink.  Since Hiromu, Ryuji, and Yoko have a lot of questions about Masato and the subdimension, they use it as an opportunity to talk with Beet J Stag.  However, all he gives them are vague answers (some not really answers at all).  Beet J Stag leaves and Hiromu, Ryuji, and Yoko follow him.  However, they have to split up because a metaroid was spoted.  Hiromu pursues Masato, while Yoko and Ryuji go after the metaroid.  Hiromu tries to question Masato, but he doesn't comply.  He challenges Hiromu to fight him in order to get the answers.  This fight is interrupted by the metaroid that Yoko and Ryuji were fighting.  The metaroid targets Hiromu with heat seeking missles, and Masato decides to use himself to shield Hiromu.  He tries to take out Enter with the missle as well, and both Masato and Enter blow up.  However, both are revived and they're revealed to be an avatar, kinda like a physical hollogram.  The real bodies for Masato and Enter are still in the subdimension, but their minds are projected onto this "avatar."  When the megazord arrives, it attacks the Go-Busters while they're fighting Buglars.  Hiromu tries to counter the megazord with Ace, but the megazord  creates its own megazords that hold Ace back.  Masato and Beet J Stag launch their own Buster Machines that drain enetron from the two Megazords holding Hiromu.  Hiromu destroys the main megazord, and Ryuji & Yoko defeat the metaroid.  Later, Masato reveals that on the night he and everyone else were transported into the subdimension, he was working in a different section.  He also revealed that he encountered no human while being trapped in the subdimension.

This episode was also a good episode, with a somewhat interesting twist.  The avatar twist particularly gave a new twist to Enter.  The fight between Masato and Hiromu kinda felt like a copy and paste job of a similar fight in Timeranger between Naoto and Tatsuya (also written by Kobayashi).  Despite that, the fight was well choreographed and entertaining.  We also got to see some internal conflict with Hiromu and Yoko.  On one side they want to know what happened to their parents, but on the other they're afraid of finding out what happened to them.  This was an enjoyable episode so I give it 8/10.



Episode 17 starts with Ryuji about to confront a megazord.  However, the megazord happens to be Masato and Beet J Stag stealing enetron from an enetron tank.  Ryuji and the commander lecture him about stealing, which Masato replies that he needs enetron for his transports and can't wait around for it to be given to him.  Later, Masato questions why Ryuji isn't as enthusiastic about being an engineer as he use to be, and his reasoning for fighting Vaglass.  Later, as commander Kurohin is about to supply Masato with enetron, Enter attacks, forcing Yoko to drop the tank full of enetron.  This time, along with the metaroid Enter created, the megazord that Enter had spent ten episodes stealing supplies to build it is finally activated.  This megazord splits off from another megazord, which is a beta-type megazord.  They're unable to defeat it with Go-Busteroh, which leads to their individual zords losing enetron fast.  Ryuji tries to shield Hiromu and Yoko with his Buster Machine.  Seeing the chaos, Masato and Beet J Stag summon their zords and save Ryuji.  During the fight, Masato tells Ryuji that he must find his own reason to fight, because Hiromu and Yoko have theirs due to their parents.  Ryuji decides that his reason to fight is so he can become an engineer after the fighting is over.  He begins to suck enetron from Hiromu and Yoko's Buster Machines, and then destroys the weaker of the two megazords.  Masato transforms his Buster Machine into Go-Buster Beet, which is identical to the megazord Enter had built.  Go-Buster Beet defeats Enter's megazord.  The episode ends with Masato giving Ryuji stolen engineer books and also stealing Ryuji's wallet.

This episode was mixed for me.  It had some enjoyable characterization for Ryuji, a funny scene at the end, and I liked the scenes with Masato as well.  Masato has become my favorite character on Go-Busters.  Perhaps because of his personality and the plot twist he brings.  However, the problem with this episode is Enter's megazord plot.  It already had pacing problems, taking 10 episodes from when he first stole the design to actually using it in battle.  Then this episode added another problem to the plot; an anti-climatic defeat.  While it knocked Go-Busteroh around quite a bit, it was defeated easily once CB-04 and SJ-05 entered the battle.  It was extremely disappointing to see Enter's megazord defeated in just one episode after having ten episodes worth of build up.  It makes Enter look like a weak villain, which is disappointing considering that he had been outsmarting the Go-Busters to get all the supplies for this megazord.  The writers could have at least made this a two-parter.  Or even better, they could have had this megazord appear before Masato and Beet J Stag came, in which Masato and Beet J Stag would have came to the rescue.  So despite some enjoyable scenes, the anti-climatic defeat of Enter's megazord made the episode disappointing.  Overall I give it 6/10.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Look at Sentai's Screaming Reds and Ditzy Chicks

Some of the most controversial characters in Sentai can be classified under two subgroups, the "screaming reds" and the "ditzy" girls.  These characters tend to have similar traits, hyperactive, bubbly, sometimes childish, and outright idiots.  They divide fans.  Some love these characters for being fun, energetic, or even funny.  Other fans get headaches from watching them, being annoyed by how loud one screams or squeals, or even how hyperactive they are.  One thing I've noticed is that while Sentai had these or similar types of characters before, the trend seemed to start with Dekaranger.  Perhaps it was Dekaranger's popularity that influenced writers and producers to make more similar characters.  Also, while there were a handful of ditzy girls before the 2000's, I'm focusing more on the 2000's because that's what I've seen mostly and where the trend seems to start.


Yousuke is seen by some to be the first screaming red type.  He was the stereotypical idiot hero, but was more of a screecher than a screamer.  With Yousuke, I'm not entirely sure if he's even meant to be as much of a screecher as he is.  The actor's acting wasn't very good and often had awkward delivery.  As a character, Yousuke also fell flat in comparison to the other Hurricaneger characters.  His character had ego problems, and often fought over little things, had conflicts with his sensei, or with Kouta over who was chosen to be captain.  Yousuke also didn't have a storyline that stood out with his character, like Nanami with her singing career, Kouta with his sister and grandmother, the Goraijers with their father, or even Shurikenger with Gozen.


Some fans classify Nanami as one of the ditzy girls, though I don't really see it that much.  Like the other Hurricanegers (and many who fall under the ditzy stereotype) she's cheerful and energetic, but I don't really see the "airheaded" part in her.  Nanami acted like an airhead in episode 43 after reacting to Gozen not eating her New Years dinner that she cooked, but that's really the only time throughout the series where she seemed airheaded to me.  She had some instances where she fell for a Jakanja trap, but I don't think it would be any different for any average human given the situation. The character herself I thought was fun and enjoyable.  I felt her actress did a good job handling the hyperactive aspects of her character, and had her idol drama going on as well.


Ban was the first true "screaming red" character in Sentai.  With the exception of Boukenger, Ban was the first of a series of screaming reds that ended with Go-Onger.  He seems to be modeled after the cowboy cop stereotype.  Him and Jan are probably the loudest of the screamers, as such he tends to annoy fans more.  His actor does overact at times, but I found many of his quirks to be pretty funny.  Examples being drop kicking Hoji for acting pathetic from a mistake, and the wild, recklessness of his character.  What made his personality interesting was the sharp contrast between him and Hoji, the by the book cop, and how both characters interacted throughout the season.  At times this interaction got a little grating because of their respective personality nuances, but it was still fun to watch them grow together and respect each other throughout the series.


While Umeko wasn't the first ditz in Sentai, like Ban she started a trend with this type of character. Dekaranger through Boukenger all had a ditzy female character, and later Goseiger had a ditz as well. Among all the ditzy characters, Umeko is probably the most simplistic, without much depth or development.  However, her actress IMO did the best job with the character and was fun to watch.  Her actress had good comedic range and was pretty funny.  She had funny moments like the drunken boxing episode, and she felt like what the writers were aiming for: a cute, funny, and more like a kid who was untypical for a cop, but still had her traits that made her valuable to the space police.  However, Umeko isn't all that ditzy.  Despite having her airhead moments, she has some rather good ideas for handling the various cases that the Dekarangers encountered.  This included situations like her being a negotiator, and going under cover in the dream state to help her team catch an alienizer who invaded other people's dreams.


Following Dekaranger's success, Magiranger built many of their characters with similar personalities to their Dekaranger counterparts.  This included Magiranger's version of the screaming red, Kai.  Kai was a lighter version of Ban, reckless, rash, and a screamer, but not as loud as Ban.  As such, he doesn't get criticized as much as Ban does.  Being the youngest sibling of the Magiranger cast, Kai had an innocence element that also added a bit of flavor to the character.  He also matures later on towards the end of the series.  IMO, Kai was descent.  His innocence, along with his interaction with Yuka and rivalry with Wolzard made him interesting enough to watch.


Likewise, Magiranger had its own version of the ditz, Houka. But with Houka, having her as the "kiddy ditz" didn't really make sense.  She was the second oldest of the Magiranger siblings, and the writers seemed confused as to whether they wanted to make her the comedic ditz or the motherly figure of some past Sentai pinks.  They got something in between that didn't quite work.  Her ditzy characteristics were the worst part of her character.  The actress IMO didn't really fit well with the character.  Furthermore, she felt more often like she was more meddlesome and in the way, than fun.  One example being her trying to be a matchmaker for Kai and Yuka, but making the situation more messy.


Of all the ditzy child-like characters, I felt Natsuki was the most believable and understandable, in the way that she was written.  She acted childish and was airheaded, but she was a character that felt like she actually was a child in an adult's body.  She had no memory of herself, and was in fact, in suspended animation throughout what would have been her childhood.  So without a real childhood and ignorant of civilization, I felt it made more sense that she would act like a child, was airheaded, and still growing up.  Her storyline also helped make her interesting.  The actress did ok with her role, but was still enjoyable nonetheless.


Like Natsuki, Jan was the most well-written of the screaming reds.  I'm personally mixed on the character.  Like Natsuki, he has a believable background of growing up away from civilization (in a jungle actually), and didn't know how to interact with humans regularly.  He also has an interesting storyline to go with his character.  My complaint with him are some of his quirks.  I felt he screamed and overacted too much at times, and also the way he threw temper-tantrums at times got really grating.  He does mature towards the end of the series which helps, but at times it felt like a chore for him to get there.


In terms of IQ, Sousuke is easily the dumbest character on this list.  Sousuke was the standard idiot hero, and had little of a storyline in comparison to Jan, Kai, or Natsuki.  At times his idiocy does get over the top, but I felt he pulled off the idiot hero character pretty well.  He didn't annoy me like other idiot hero characters do, and I felt his actor had the charm to make him enjoyable to watch.  Like Hoji and Ban, the contrast between him and Hiroto made the two enjoyable to watch.  But what really helped his character was his relationship with his Engine partner Speedor.  I thought the two had some good interaction and character development from this interaction.


Eri is the last character to be a ditz so far. She was... up and down.  Compared to the other Goseigers she had a little more personality and probably the most consistent characterization along with Alata (which isn't saying much).  However, there are times where she can get irritating, particularly when she squeals or when her mind goes to a thousand places at once.  Also like virtually all of the Goseiger characters, she has very little character development.  Her actress did an ok job in general, but like the rest of the Goseiger cast, didn't know how to handle the bad script.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New polls

In attempting to get my blog more active again, I decided to finally update the polls.  One is on choosing your favorite between the two currently airing sentai (Go-Busters and Akibaranger).  The other is asking the viewer their favorite tribute episode from Gokaiger.  Have fun with it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts on Akibaranger


 One show I haven't mentioned so far is Hikonin (unofficial) Sentai Akibaranger. While not being an official installment of the Sentai franchise, Akibaranger parodies the Sentai franchise. Eight episodes have aired so far (of which I've seen seven), with rumors that there will be 12 or 13 episodes total. As expected, it's wacky and crazy, but quite enjoyable.

The characters seem to be parodies of anime character sterotypes: with an otaku Sentai fanboy, an otaku cosplay girl, and a tsundere otaku girl. Nobuo is the otaku version of Gai/Gokai Silver. :P In seven episodes he's probably surpassed Gai as the craziest Sentai fanboy. While Gai is an ok character, I like Nobuo a lot more. He's pretty funny, especially when he has one of his own delusions (like being Ban's partner or his cosplay fantasy). His actor does a good job with his character. Yumeria is the cosplay otaku girl. While quite hyperactive herself, she pulls off a number of cosplay gimmicks, and fits them well. Last but not least among the Akibaranger trio is Mitsuki. She's the youngest but also the most serious of the three Akibarangers. On the outside she's a stoic Tsundere, but she also happens to be an in-the-closet otaku as well, being a fan of "Aoi-tan." All three of these characters are fun to watch, but the supporting cast manages to steal the scenes they're in.

Being a parody of Sentai, there's a lot of references to previous Sentai series. This includes many scenes either re-inacted (like DekaRed dropkicking Nobuo) or being discussed (like the dialogue exchange between Natsuki and Eiji in Boukenger episode 20). These references make Akibaranger feel like a second coming of Gokaiger, which is nice for fans who weren't ready for Gokaiger to end. Like Gokaiger, Akibaranger gets powers from previous Sentai, and the theme songs of the previous Sentai are played. I hope Gokaiger gets an episode in Akibaranger, because it would be fitting. The humor in the show is occasionally a little over the top, but still a lot of silly fun. The best example I think is pretty much all of episode three. Overall, I think Akibaranger is a delightful show. Hopefully the last handful of episodes will finish strong.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stunt Director Koichi Sakamoto


One of the few people to work extensively both on Power Rangers and Super Sentai is Koichi Sakamoto. Sakamoto is mostly known for stunt and choreography director, but throughout his run in Power Rangers, he's also worked as a writer, main director, producer, and executive producer. Sakamoto hasn't limited himself to just Power Rangers, he's also done stunt directing for Super Sentai and Kamen Rider as well. Sakamoto grew up in Japan as a fan of both Super Sentai and Jackie Chan. The Jackie Chan influence is evident in Sakamoto's wire-fu style. Here's a look at his works.


Sakamoto began his career with Maskman. He worked as a stunt actor for Blue mask at live shows, many of which were taken place at the Tokyo dome.


In 1989, Sakamoto moved to the United States to study English and become a stunt actor. He formed his own stunt team, "Alpha Stunt Productions" and began working as the 2nd unit director for VR Troopers.


After one season working as a director for VR Troopers, Sakamoto worked as a Stunt Coordinator and 2nd Unit Director for Power Rangers, starting with MMPR S3. He would keep these roles for the rest of the Saban-era, and was even the co-writer of one of Power Rangers' most popular episodes, Countdown to Destruction.


Sakamoto began work as a producer with Power Rangers Time Force.


Sakamoto was co-executive producer during the entire Disney era of Power Rangers, sharing responsibilities with Douglass Sloan, Bruce Kalish, Eddie Guzelian, and Judd Lynn. At Power Morphicon, Bruce Kalish claimed that during his reign, all the production decisions (including copy & pasting Sentai plots) were made by Sakamoto. However, this seems implausible and more like an excuse for Kalish to avoid the blame for the low quality that Power Rangers suffered during his tenure.


Sakamoto also worked as a stunt coordinator for the opening credits of Magiranger and Gekiranger. Both openings were filmed at New Zealand, which was also where Power Rangers was being filmed at the time.


With Power Rangers coming to an end with RPM, Sakamoto returned to Japan. First he worked as a stunt coordinator and one of the main directors for Kamen Rider W. He was the director of three of the W Movies including Gaia Memory A to Z, Accel, and Eternal.


After W, Sakamoto worked as a director and stunt coordinator for the first 1/3rd of Gokaiger. His wire-fu style is very evident in the early episodes of Gokaiger.


Sakamoto has worked as a director for Kamen Rider Fourze, including its first movie.


In between jobs with Gokaiger and Fourze, Sakamoto has worked part-time as an action director for Power Rangers Samurai. He hasn't been involved in production work like he was during the Disney era.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Super Sentai Idol: Actors and Actresses who Have Musical Talent

For a while I've been thinking about making a post on which Sentai actors and actresses who I think are great singers. In the past decade, many Sentai actors and actresses have sung their own character songs. While others throughout the 80's, 90's, and 2000's have sung theme songs and insert songs. There's plenty of Sentai actors and actresses that have good songs, but these are the ones that I think have the best singing talent (in chronological order). I'm including samples of some songs as well.

Daisuki Shima (Yuusuke)/Red Falcon Liveman

Yuusuke/Red Falcon sung both the opening and ending themes of Liveman. I'm not a big fan of 80's Sentai music, but I think both the opening and ending theme for Liveman are the best among 80's themes. My favorite of the two is the ending theme. Overall I think Shima has a good voice with talent.

Megumi Mori (Megumi)/Blue Dolphin Liveman

Megumi Mori began her entertainment career as a singer before taking the role as Blue Dolphin on Liveman. She sung the insert song "Spark Umi E" on the Liveman soundtrack. That song has a nice rock beat, as you can see on the top video. Megumi also has diversity in her music. The second song I'm showing (Hoshi no Namida/A Star's Tears if my English translation is correct), has a much more relaxed, peaceful tone.

Kenta Satou (Riki)/Red Turbo Turboranger

Kenta Satou (Red Turbo) sung both the opening and ending theme songs for Turboranger, as well as the opening theme for Zyuranger. The openings for both Turboranger and Zyuranger are popular among the Sentai fandom. I personally don't care much for the Turboranger theme song, but the Zyuranger theme song is one of my favorite Sentai themes.

Toshihide Wakamatsu (Gai)/Black Condor Jetman

Toshihide Wakamatsu, who played one of the most popular Sentai characters ever (Gai Yuuki/Black Condor), also sung the Jetman insert song, Honoo no Condor (Flame of a Condor). I think the song is good, but not great.

Nao Nagasawa (Nanami)/Hurricane Blue Hurricaneger

Nagasawa Nao - To you by KHproductions

I had trouble trying to find videos for Nao Nagasawa (Hurricane Blue), but managed to find them. She sung the Hurricaneger insert song "Shinobi Koi" (first video, from 7:03 to 7:28) and also had some mild success in the J-pop industry (her top song reaching #27 on the J-Pop charts). I think Nao has a beautiful singing voice and some diversity in her music (some rock, slower ballads, evens some salsa thrown into a couple of her songs). However, her music is mixed for me, and tends to range from good (like the song in the second video, "To You") to pretty bland.

Shou Tomita (Yukito)/Abare Blue Abaranger

This is the only song that I know of from Shou Tomita (Abare Blue), which is Yukito's character song. However, I think it's a kick ass song. Nice rock beat, and Shou sings it perfectly. IMO it's the best of the character songs by any 2000's Sentai male actor.

Ayumi Kinoshita (Jasmine)/Deka Yellow Dekaranger

Ayumi Kinoshita's song, "Hard Rain," (first video) I think is perhaps the best character song. It has a nice, up-tempo beat. While I don't think Ayumi's is the best singing talent, she's descent and the up tempo beat to her character song suits her well. She also sung the Dekaranger insert song "Girls in Trouble" (second video) with her Dekaranger co-star Mika Kikuchi (Umeko).

Mika Kikuchi (Umeko)/Deka Pink Dekaranger

While Ayumi Kinoshita has possibly the best character song, I think her co-star Mika Kikuchi (Umeko) is the best singing talent among any Sentai actor or actress. She has a beautiful voice that's made for slow melodies. Like other Sentai actors/actresses, she has a character song (Sunao ~ Ima wo Shinjite) (first video), and also sung an insert song on the Magiranger soundtrack (Tenkuukai no Yasuragi/Peace in Heaven) (second video). She's not only good at slower ballads, but at rock songs as well, like the song in the last video, "Chihei no Kanata."

Yumi Sugimito (Miu)/Go-On Silver, Go-Onger

Yumi Sugimoto also has a good singing voice that really shows in her character song "Yume no Tsubasa." She joined her Go-Onger co-stars Rina Aizawa and Nao Oikawa to sing the song "G3 Princess." That song personally I think is ok, but Yumi and Rina both have much better character songs.

Hidenori Tokuyama (Hiroto)/Go-On Gold, Go-Onger

While not an actual character song, Hidenori Tokuyama's song "Miss You" managed to make an appearance in episode 31 (the G3 Princess episode), which I thought was easily the best song in the episode. The song sounds kinda like country, which isn't my type of music, but it's still a good song (the full version of the song is in the video above. I think Hidenori displayed a great singing voice in the song, which makes it easy to listen to.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Go-Busters Episode 1 Short Review- It's Morphin Time


The episode begins with what appears to be either a flashback or a dream (I'm not sure which one) of a city being destroyed by an army of megazords. The next scene is set in "Neo 2012 A.D." (not sure what that means exactly, perhaps 2012 after the city was destroyed?), and this year's red ranger, Hiromu, is frozen in shock from reading a newspaper. Meanwhile, the other two Go-Busters- Ryuji and Yoko- are fighting this season's mooks (Buglers) disguised as humans. Then one of the season's villains, Enter, is introduced. Later on, Hiromu has to tell his apparently overprotective and ill sister, that he's joining the fight against Vaglass. Vaglass launches a megazord, leading to Hiromu defeating the Megazord with his mecha, CB-01 Go-Buster Ace.

Plot wise the first episode was effective in establishing some plot points to look forward to in later episodes. It didn't answer a whole lot, but as I see it the first episode should be setting up questions instead of answering them too early. Overall I thought it was a really good start, and Go-Busters has a lot of potential. It looks like Gokaiger gave Sentai an upgraded budget. The cinematography was good and for once, it didn't look like the mechas were fighting in a model city. The action and the fights were well choreographed, the special effects good, and the acting seemed pretty good as well for the first episode. The spy/professional motif that this series seems to have is interesting, and it feels like the series has merged a lot of concepts. It feels like a mixture of MMPR (due to shout-outs like "megazords" and "it's morphin time"), RPM (computer virus as a main villain), Go-Onger (robot buddies), and even Keitai Sousakan 7 (again mechanical buddies, professional team of spies/detectives). The story also seems to have a lot of potential as well. The theme song was pretty cool, not surprising since it's by Project R. The ending theme was alright, but I'm happy to see another dancing outro again. However, I do miss the Gokaiger outro. Other than that, I do have a minor pet peeve, this year's Gratuitous English. I don't normally like to sound like a grammar nazi, but even if the actors get the pronunciation wrong, they can at least get the grammar right. "Let's morphin" should be "let's morph" and "let's driving" should be "let's drive" or "drive." Other than that, I think the first episode was a solid start. Overall, I give this first episode 8.5/10.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Various Running Gags of Bulk and Skull

Here's a look back at all of the running gags given to Bulk and Skull throughout the years.


In MMPR S1, Bulk and Skull's gag was simplistic. They were the school bullies and bumbling idiots. Often times the humor was over the top but they were still a fun group.


After being saved by the Power Rangers in the season's first episode, Bulk and Skull spent the rest of season two trying to figure out their true identities. Sometimes they were close (only for Billy to switch the video tape). In the episode When is a Ranger not a Ranger, Bulk and Skull actually do discover the ranger's identity, only to have their memories erased when they tried to save the rangers.


Season three saw a popular change for Bulk and Skull. They became members of the Angel Grove Jr. Police Department. Most of the time they were nothing more than their stereotypical idiotic selves. In all seriousness, one has to wonder how the heck do these two not end up getting fired after all their constant blundering. However, there was one cool moment in Catch That Cab when they actually did catch a car thief.


Along with In Space, Zeo is the season where Bulk and Skull really shined. They had perhaps more development in this season than any other. Initially they were still members of the Jr. Police Department, but quit out of loyalty to Lt. Stone after he got fired. Then they joined Lt. Stone to form their own detective agency. This season, Bulk and Skull had some pretty cool moments, including my all-time favorite Bulk and Skull moment in Instrument of Destruction. There, Skull bravely showed off his musical talents in which Bulk later approved.


In Turbo the writers simply ran out of ideas and didn't know what to do with Bulk and Skull. They were initially turned into Chimpanzees because the actors who played them were experimenting with a Bulk and Skull spin-off show. That went nowhere, perhaps due to Turbo's declining ratings. Even in the second half of the season when they were turned back to normal and the writing had improved, it seemed like the writers still didn't know what to do with them. Their running gag for the second half of the season was getting hired and fired from various part time jobs, which became too repetitive.

In Space

Bulk and Skull spent In Space with Professor Phenomenus searching for alien life. Phenomenous added more comedic relief, but Bulk and Skull got a lot less screen time compared to the first five seasons. This is mostly due to the fact that most of In Space's story took place away from earth. However, Bulk and Skull had perhaps their most popular moment during the season's finale, Countdown to Destruction, in which they mimicked the "I am Spartacus" moment.

Lost Galaxy

In Lost Galaxy, Bulk and Professor Phenomenus boarded Terra Venture and accidentally left Skull behind. From what I have heard, this was due to contract issues with Skull's actor. Bulk and Professor Phenomenus ran a coffee shop on Terra Venture called Comet Cafe. However, the two were rarely seen throughout the series.

Wild Force

Bulk and Skull showed up for the 10th Anniversary episode, Forever Red, in Wild Force. Here Bulk had mysteriously gotten back to earth from Mirinoi (bad writing) and ran a juice shop named Bulkmeier. Their appearance was just a little wink to longtime fans of the show.


In Samurai, Bulk returned to teach Spike, Skull's son, the way of the samurai. Here the writing just completely fell apart. Bulk and Spike have next to no interaction at all with the Samurai cast, and feel like nothing more than mere add-ons for fanservice.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


In case not everyone has noticed the declining activity on my blog the last few months I'll explain why. I've recently moved to a place where I don't have internet access at home. Furthermore, I've been busy due to coaching basketball and going to a school that's a three hour drive away from home.

Because of this situation, I haven't been able to keep up on episode reviews for Gokaiger. Now that Gokaiger has ended and GoBusters starts next week, some of you might wonder if I'll be doing episode reviews for GoBusters. I've decided that I will, but only for major episodes. Most likely episodes related to the plot.

As a little heads up, I'll be releasing a couple series reviews within the next month. One for Go-Onger and the other for Gokaiger. I'll do my best and hope everyone likes them. In the mean time, I'll try to keep my blog as active as possible.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kamen Rider W Review


I like to apologize for my lack of activity recently. I've been busy between moving into a new place and going to school part-time out of town. To bring ing the new year, I'm reviewing Kamen Rider W (also known as Double). It's the first Kamen Rider series I watched (about a month ago), so I thought it would also be a great place to start for giving a review. A few months ago, I ran a poll to see if anyone would like for me to review a Kamen Rider series. The majority said they would, so I hope everyone enjoys. :)

W has a detective theme and follows an episodic format. All of the cases (except the last one) are two episodes long. Each case involves the criminal of the week using what's called a Gaia Memory, which transforms them into a dopont (the monster of the week in this series). These Gaia memories are distributed behind the scenes by the well-intentioned extremists Sonozaki family (also called Museum), who in turn are test subjects for another organization, Foundation X. However, W is far more than an episodic cop show. It has an overlapping plot that has a lot of depth to it. Along the way, there's plenty of interesting twist and lots of character development for the characters and the villains.

The story revolves around two main characters, Shotarou and Phillip, who combined make up W. Usually, Shotarou's body is used while Phillip's concience is transferred to W's body. However, sometimes they use Phillip's body when they use the fang memory. Later on in the series, they become W Xtreme which uses both Shotarou and Phillip's bodies. Initially, the viewer is led to believe that Shotarou is the main character due to the events of "Begins Night," being W's body, and narrating the end of each case, the main plot is mostly centered around Phillip and his relationship to the Sonozaki family. One of the better subplots that I liked was the relationship (non-sexual) between Phillip and Wakana, the Sonozaki daughter who's the least interested in the family business. What makes this subplot so great is the characterization of these characters, which I'll get into when I analyze the characters individually. Shotarou and Phillip are part of the Narumi Detective Agency along with Akiko, the daughter of Shotarou's mentor. Also joining the team later is Fuuto Police officer Ryu, who becomes Kamen Rider Accel. The only major flaw with the story is it starts a little slow initially, but starting with the movie, there's plenty of interesting plot twists along the way.

Besides the story and the characters, there are many other awesome things about W. For starters, the action is among the best I've seen so far in a tokusatu. Koichi Sakamoto, a veteran director and stunt coordinator for both Power Rangers and Super Sentai, brings his talents to W, which I think is his best work. All of the fights, car chases, and special effects are awesome in this series. Along with good action comes good music, in particular the awesome theme song. Overlapping with the story are a series of excellent movies, including Begins Night, A to Z, Accel, and Eternal. My favorites were Begins Night (a crossover with Decade) and Eternal. The action and the fight scenes peak in the Eternal movie, which shows the villains from the A to Z movie in a new light. An added bonus for Sentai fans is that there are a lot of Sentai actors that guest star in W, usually as a MOTW.

Despite the good story, there is one small issue I have with it, the ending. It essentially traded one heartbreaking and bittersweet ending for another. The second ending isn't bad itself, and I did want to see Phillip live, but I also felt it wasn't needed. The first ending (in episode 48) was heartfelt, powerful, and I think would have made an appropriate ending to the series and to Phillip's character.

The Characters

Phillip is my favorite character in W, and he has the most interesting development. He's quite a mysterious character initially, because he has both a mysterious past and mysterious powers that allow him to access any kind of information about dopants. This mystery becomes even more intriguing when his past is revealed, and how the villains try to use his powers for their own gain. Phillip's also a tragic character, with his sad death (although he gets revived), lack of a family initially, and not being able to save his sister Wakana.

Shotarou is the "half boiled" detective who wants to be "hard boiled." He's the character that has a large burden on him, from trying to live up to his mentor (Sokichi Narumi/Kamen Rider Skull), working alongside both Phillip and Sokichi's daughter, Akiko. At times he struggles to find his own identity as a detective, but he has the support of Phillip. Him and Phillip make a great duo, and the friendship aspect between these two characters is really well done. They support each other and help each other grow.

Onore Ryu!! >:o

Ryu, unlike Shotarou and Phillip, works with the Fuuto Police Department, is a much darker and edgier character. He's the stoic, brute, anti-hero. Yet despite his stern nature, he's the butt-monkey of jokes at times, which makes for some funny situations (like the end of the Accel movie) because of his personality. His motivation for becoming a Kamen Rider was revenge for the death of his family. His development circles around him growing from hating the enemy and wanting revenge, to learning that revenge and hatred isn't the answer. After his character development, he also helps Shroud grow from similar problems. I think this development is pretty well done, and he works as both a stand alone character and a supporting character.


Among the main hero characters Akiko is the one character that I had some issues with, especially in the early episodes. Her somewhat bitchy, spoiled brat attitude made her annoying and hard to like initially. However, as the series progresses, she turns out to be not all that bad. After the Movie War 2010 (with Decade), she did manage to grow on me. Her spoiled attitude becomes an afterthought. She shows that she actually has some clever plans (like with the nightmare dopant), and she had some of the better episodes as of the series, such as episodes 9 & 10, and the doll episodes).

Sonozaki Family (Museum)

The main villains of this series is the Sonozaki family, former paleotologists who have based their museum and the GaiaMemories on the creatures they formerly excavated. The Sonozaki family sales the GaiaMemory behind the scenes to ordinary humans who have an issue such as revenge or even wanting to perform magic tricks for their family. Their ambition is to improve human evolution to avoid its extinction. This doesn't sound so bad, but they distrubute the GaiaMemories to other human beings to experiment their effects on them, and the Sonozaki family doesn't care if their customers die in the process. In fact, they see this as an opportunity to weed out the weaker-minded humans.

The head of the Sonozaki family is the family's father, Ryubee. Ryubee is the well-intentioned extremist who gave up his humanity for his ambition. To carry out his intentions, he used his family to his advantage. As a big bad, Ryubee is pretty good. He's a madman who only cares about his own ambitions, and cares less for human life just as long as his goals are reached. However, he's not quite the best villain in W.

Ryubee has two daughters, Wakana and Saeko. Next to Phillip, Wakana was my second favorite character in W. Early on she acts like a spoiled bitch, but she changes after meeting Phillip in a case that revolves around her. She's rather easy to like because Wakana was being pushed into a corner. Unlike the rest of the family, Wakana cared less about the family's business of distributing the GaiaMemories, and more about doing her own hobby (a radio DJ). She's pushed into a corner by her father who wants to use her to create the ultimate being and become the Earth's queen. She's also a tragic character, and it's really heartbreaking when her father successfully brainwashes her.

Ryubee's eldest daughter, Saeko, is the main henchwoman for most of the series until Wakana is brainwashed. Saeko has her own ambitions. She hates her father due to her upbringings, and also gets jealous of Wakana because she's chosen by Ryubee to be his successor. Because of her jealousy, she tries to take control of Museum anyway she can, rather it would be marrying a powerful boyfriend or by force, to make her father recognize her power. However, she ends up saving Wakana when she realizes her father wouldn't recognize her in the way that Wakana was going to die. Saeko is bitchy and even slutty, but I think this makes her a good villain. This makes her the person you love to hate, which is what villains are suppose to do.

Then there's Shroud, mother of Saeko and Wakana and Ryubee's ex-husband.
She cares only about protecting her son, and uses the Narumi detective agency as tools to do so. She arms both W and Accel with weapons, and sees Ryu's hatred of Isaka as a useful tool in order to protect her son. When training Ryu in preparation for the Trial memory, she tries to teach him that hatred is the motivation he needs.


Among one of Saeko's boyfriends was Kirihiko, who was initially a GaiaMemory salesman. Saeko ends up marrying Kirihiko, seeing him as a tool to achieve her own ambitions. Kirhiko claims to love the city of Fuuto, and seems to believe what he's doing by distributing the GaiaMemory is for the good of the city. However, he has an anti-villain tendency that surfaces he finds out that not only were a group of teenagers given a GaiaMemory, they were also used as test subjects for it. As a villain, Kirihiko is ok. He has some depth to his character, mostly for having his own standards as to who should be given a GaiaMemory. However, other than his development as an anti-villain, Kirihiko doesn't do much other than acting as a standard henchman.

Other villains

For me the best villain in W is Isaka Shinkuro. Like Saeko, he's trying to surpass Ryubee and defeat him. However, what separates him from Saeko are the methods he uses. He uses vicious means to obtain these powers, by testing various memories not only on himself but also innocent civilians whom he knows will die as a result of the testing. He killed Ryu's family while experimenting with the weather powers. He uses Saeko as a tool so he can get close to her father, and also because he saw Saeko as a powerful ally.


The other main villain that's not a member of the Sonozaki family is Jun Kazu, a researcher for Foundation X. He sponsors the Sonozaki family's research into GaiaMemories. After the defeat of Sonozaki Ryubee, Jun tries to purify humanity by whiping out all of humanity that's not compatible for GaiaMemories. Jun's an ok villain. He's menacing and vicious, much like Isaka, but he comes in late in the series. He feels like an add-on villain, much like Senki from Gaoranger. He's not a bad villain, but he's also a villain that W didn't necessarily need either. Still, I felt he was used well and helped explained where the GaiaMemories come from. At the least his character was vital for the group NEVER, which was awesome in two separate W movies.

My Rating
Overall, I give W 9/10. It's a pretty solid series packed with a lot of good action, good characters, villains, and an excellent story. I definitely recommend it to toku fans or anyone who's a fan of detective shows.