Friday, June 7, 2013

Kyoryuger Through 16 Episodes

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 In my previous Kyoryuger post, I mentioned how excited I was for the start of the series. Indeed, the first two episodes was an excellent and promising start to Sentai’s 37th installment. Unfortunately, however, Kyoryuger has taken a downhill turn since then.

One of Kyoryuger’s main problems is the lack of originality in its plots. Originally it started out interesting with each of the characters sans Daigo keeping their identity secret. That was an interesting and original twist and could have been interesting if the writers decided to make it a season-long plot. The idea was dumped by episode four. Still I didn’t think dropping this plot was a bad idea and worked out well, but since then the writers haven’t figured out how to make a single episode original. Most of the episodes have been ripped off of episodes from other series such as Kamen Rider Fourze, Gaoranger, Hurricaneger, Abaranger Magiranger, and Go-Busters.

To be fair plots from previous seasons in Sentai are consistently recycled. It’s difficult to keep writing original episodes when you have a show that has been on for 37 years. However, it’s unprecedented to see how many recycled plots Kyoryuger has used in just 16 episodes. Furthermore, many of these plots feel like they’ve been watered down from the originals of previous series.

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One example is the Utsusemimaru-DoGold plot, ripped off straight from the Rouki plotline in Gaoranger. The Rouki plot was an excellent story and the highlight of Gaoranger. Kyoryuger here has literally copied and pasted every point from that storyline including:
* A new villain introduced with the ability to control a spirit animal/Zyudenryu
* The villain ending up being a mask/body that possessed someone in the ancient past to save the season mentor.
* The person possessed becoming a 6th ranger, separating himself from the mask who is revived as a villain.
* The 6th ranger trying to act like a lone wolf out of guilt from a past event.
It also doesn’t help that the story feels a bit watered down and the execution was hurt by badly timed and failed comedy which I’ll talk about in a few paragraphs. To be fair, Ucchi has since then become one of my favorite characters and his history with his master who looks like Daigo was somewhat interesting, but it’s really disappointing to see a major storyline so blatantly ripped off from a previous series in your own franchise.

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 To be fair, recycling plots can work if executed correctly. Sentai’s previous dinosaur-theme installment Abaranger had a plotline with Jeanne/Mahoro and Asuka which was very similar to Jetman’s storyline centered around Maria/Rei and Ryu. However, Abaranger executed it perfectly. In fact, Maria-Ryu was somewhat basic in its execution. The Mahoro-Asuka plotline added a lot more depth to this plot, showing Mahoro at one point being raped, frustrated by Asuka’s inability to save her, and for a long time questioning rather her child was fathered by Dezumozoria or Asuka. Not to mention both juggled between being good, wearing the dark armor and/or siding with the Evolien to save each other. It essentially perfected the original Jetman storyline and never tried to copy it point for point. Whereas, Kyoryuger has literally copied Gaoranger.

Another major problem with Kyoryuger is the ill-timed and often failed comedy. One such example happened in the previously mentioned Utsusemimaru-DoGold plotline. In episode 10 when Amy mentions she changes TV-channels with her feet. It was ill-timed because it happened so randomly in the middle of a three-parter which was supposed to be dramatic and serious, but stopped it in its track. It also didn’t help that the gag was not funny at all. Unfortunately, much of Kyoryuger’s comedy comes off as incredibly stupid, rather it’s because of some of the show’s lame attacks like love potions and fart bombs, or an annoying MOTW like the one in episode 14. 

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The silliness of the villains doesn’t help either. Most of them (except for Luckyuro, who’s voice actress has
done a good job) come off as extremely annoying and child-like. Even the more serious villains like DoGold feel underwhelming. And really, for being a more serious and supposedly “menacing” villain, why the hell does Chaos put up with them?

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Unfortunately, the biggest victims of this messy writing are the characters. I do like Kyoryuger’s acting cast and feel many have potential, but they’re being ruined by the script. Amy’s the prime example. I wanted to like her. I felt at the beginning of the series she could be a good combination of badass and cute, similar to Pteraranger or Shinken Yellow. But she’s been victimized the worst by the poorly executed comedy, with gags such as the love potion, using her feet to change TV channels, awkward dialogue between her and Ucchi in episode 11, or an annoying MOTW during times she’s supposed to shine. It also feels like the show is trying too hard to make her girly and bubbly.

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Amy isn’t the only character suffering from bad writing. Ian’s personality suddenly changed from the brooding playboy to an overly nice guy with no explanation.  Ian’s actor I felt did great as the brooding playboy, but his personality has suddenly been watered down. If you’re trying to make him similar to Black Condor pay close attention to his development. In Jetman, it took Gai a long time to become a nice guy, and it was by gaining mutual respect for Ryu. It wasn’t an overnight thing which was out of the blue. Ian has also lacked focus, going 12 episodes before having a focus episode to himself.

Other characters like Shouji and Nobuharu are rather bland characters, with either no personality or one that consists of a lot of lame puns. It also doesn’t help that Nobuharu’s sister is an unlikable damsel in distress who constantly cries and complains. On that note, why the hell did they give Ayumi Kinoshita this crappy role? Do the producers and writers not notice that she played Jasmine, one of the great Sentai heroine of the last decade? I really hope Nao Nagasawa doesn’t have to play a crappy role in this series when she is due to show up in the series. Should I also mention, Ramirez has been ruined by the accent given to his character, which his actor clearly cannot pull off well. And really, why the heck do you need to give him an accent? The actor himself was born in Japan. He doesn’t need a weird accent.

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On that point not all of the characters are that bad. Despite feeling like a carbon copy of Gentaro from Kamen Rider Fourze early on, I feel like Daigo is a likable character. His actor plays the character well with some charisma. I feel the same can be said for Ucchi as well, despite the fact again that his character is a carbon copy from GaoSilver. I do like the storyline they added with him and his previous master who looked like Daigo, and so far Ucchi is quite the badass. Like Daigo, I feel his actor has done a good job bringing the best out of his character. So on that note, these two are Kyoryuger’s saving grace so far. I still think Kyoryuger can still become a descent series if it stops trying too hard to be funny and find an original story to tell.