Hasbro's Power Rangers era and General Tokusatsu discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Samurai8472, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, Gai's treatment of Kaori hasn't aged well, but I'm taking the period into account. And I think it was clear that there was a line he wouldn't cross.

    And yes, it was very soapy, but that's what made it stand out from the pack. At least all five leads (and Commander Odagiri) had clear, well-drawn personalities, which is more than can be said of many of the subsequent seasons.


    In theory, yeah, but the Red guy was still the central character. And Tsuruhime was made the butt of sexual-harassment jokes more than once.


    As it happens, that's the only Heisei season I haven't seen yet.


    I can't really say why I liked Gaoranger so much; I think it was more a matter of the execution than the stories, given that Wild Force told almost exactly the same stories but was much less satisfying.


    Yes, one of my favorites. It's refreshing to see a less serialized Sentai, basically a '70s cop show pastiche with aliens, with a number of really solid one-and-done crime stories. Great characters, terrific humor, catchy music. It's from Naruhisa Arakawa, who's in the running with Kobayashi for my favorite Sentai writer.

    The one thing I can't stand about Dekaranger is the "Delete" bit. Unlike the Timerangers, they don't arrest the alien criminals; rather, they call for instant judgment from the "ultimate court of the galaxy," which gives supposedly infallible verdicts in seconds and authorizes the Dekarangers to execute the criminals on the spot. The heat of battle is one thing, but this is downright fascist stuff. (The 10th-anniversary reunion movie elaborated that the court's planet was accelerated in time so that it actually took 8 months to render a verdict, but that still means the criminal isn't given any chance to offer a defense or appeal for a reduced sentence.) In Power Rangers S.P.D., they revised it so that the blown-up monsters were actually imprisoned on cards, making it more like Timeranger/Time Force. That's the one thing I like better in S.P.D. than in the original.


    Not a favorite of mine. Okay but nothing special, and the constant recitation of magic spells got really annoying.


    I found this one weak too. It had an interesting premise, with the rival martial arts schools and the emphasis on training and learning, and the focus on the villains was interesting, but I wasn't crazy about the execution, especially with the anthropomorphic-animal masters. I particularly loathed the return of sexual-harassment "humor" with the elephant master who harassed GekiYellow when she was his pupil. That kind of humor is bad enough normally, but here it was an authority figure harassing someone under his power, downright Harvey Weinstein stuff, so it was horrifying to see it treated as a charming comical quirk.

    This is another of the rare cases where I think the Power Rangers version was better than the original. Jungle Fury was one of my favorite PR seasons. It kept the best parts of Gekiranger -- the emphasis on training and the two main sympathetic villains -- and ditched the more problematical parts. (The only other case is RPM, which is far better than the mediocre Go-Onger. Although I guess maybe I like MMPR season 3 better than Kakuranger, but I'm not sure if I'd call it objectively better.)


    Here we agree. I liked it a lot. The characters and actors were appealing, the villain designs were intriguing and elegant, and the emphasis on trains was nice (and clearly calling back Kobayashi's much-admired Kamen Rider Den-O). It was unusual in that the focus was less on saving the whole world and more just liberating individual towns/cities that had fallen to the Shadow Line.


    Other seasons I'd recommend:

    Boukenger: A very entertaining season with an adventure/treasure-hunting theme similar to Warehouse 13 or The Librarians. It had a strong, engaging cast, and an interesting story approach in that there were multiple villain factions competing with each other as well as the Boukengers.

    Shinkenger: Possibly Kobayashi's best season, very rich and dramatic with great characters, and tied deeply into Japanese culture and history. Power Rangers Samurai was an incredibly verbatim adaptation, so much so that its episodes actually gave script credit to the Japanese writers, yet somehow was incredibly more inept in the execution, with dreadfully weak acting and unimpressive direction -- even aside from the jarring incongruity of adapting such a profoundly Japanese story so literally for American characters.

    Gokaiger: Similar to Kamen Rider Decade and Zi-O in being an anniversary season whose heroes could change into past heroes, but much better than either, with terrific characters and cast and excellent writing (it's another Naruhisa Arakawa season). Probably best to save it until you've seen at least some of the previous series it homages, though.

    Go-Busters: I'd pretty much recommend any Kobayashi season, but I quite like this one for its unconventional take on Sentai, avoiding a lot of the usual tropes. As viewers of Power Rangers Beast Morphers know, it goes for a more technological, pseudo-military approach to the mecha, with even kind of an Evangelion feel to the giant robots and their hangars and maintenance crews and such, though it's a lighter, much funnier series than Evangelion, thank goodness. It's one of Kobayashi's weaker seasons, but even that makes it well above average, with the usual rich character work.

    Zyuohger: A solid season in which a biologist Red Ranger is teamed up with four anthropomorphic animal-people from a parallel world, disguised as humans in our world except for their tails. More well-drawn characters, and effectively vile enemies who are wreaking havoc and mass murder purely as recreation. Although the mecha are among my least favorite, inexplicably inspired by Minecraft and based on cubes.

    Lupinranger VS Patranger: Longtime readers of these threads may have already seen it from when its episodes were posted here. It's the series that got me hooked, with fantastic character work on both the team of phantom thieves and the rival team of police officers. Pitting two teams against each other made for really rich characterization through the contrasts and all the different character pairs they could explore. One of my favorite Sentai scores too, really jazzy. Both it and Zyuohger are from the same head writer, Junko Komura.
     
  2. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A big part of what makes sentai more effective than Power Ranger's is the music. Some musical pieces can be very emotional.

    JD if you're interested, most of Go-busters is on youtube.



    As Christopher said, it tried to change a bit of the formula after the heavy anniversary series that was Gokaiger that paid tribute to all 35 of the past seasons

    Go-busters is a nice entry into super sentai.
     
  3. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Premium Member

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    Repetitions in sentai don't bother me (Jasmine's ans ESPer :rommie:) but I can see why people wouldn't think Magiranger's special. For me it's really the characters, I liked them all both heroes and villains.

    The Elehan stuff wasn't good but thankfully not a big part of the season but the rest was so good, but to each their own. The great thing about sentai is that there's always some variation in themes, style and execution.

    The different villain factions were a good idea but only Dark Shadow and the questers/ashu tribe were actually interesting, whenever another faction showed up I kind of zoned out.

    Both Zyuohger and Lupin vs. pat didn't connect with me, I didn't dislike them but simply lost interest.‍:shrug:
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Power Rangers had some excellent music in its heyday, once they started going orchestral after the first few seasons. I think GoGoV/Lightspeed Rescue might be the only case where the standard mecha-deployment music is better in the PR version than the SS version. These days, though, the music in PR is weak. I would love it if they'd recycle the actual Sentai scores.

    The one case I can think of where an actual Sentai musical motif was used in PR was for Tommy Dragon Dagger in MMPR season 1. The melody he played to summon the DragonZord was essentially the same one his Sentai counterpart used, though I think it was a new arrangement rather than the same actual cue.

    Well, there was one other instance, after a fashion. When Dino Thunder did that episode where the Rangers were watching a Japanese series based on themselves, which was a comedy dub of an Abaranger episode, they kept the original Abaranger score for the episode within the episode.


    A stock line repeated once per episode is fine (and I never get tired of Jasmine). But henshin or mecha sequences where the announcer voices are constantly yelling out repetitive phrases over and over in the span of a few moments is way too annoying. The worst example was in early Zyuohger where the names of the mecha kept getting called out in that weird Dudley Doright-voiced Tarzan yell every time one appeared. "CubeEeeaglllle! CubeShaaaarkuuu! CubeLiiiiiionnnn!" Make it stop! Luckily they did make it stop, or at least used less of it later in the season.
     
  5. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Premium Member

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    I absolutely understand why it can be annoying, it just doesn't annoy me.:shrug:
    What drives me crazy are the stupid bandages when someone gets hurt, bandage around the chest and one shoulder and one around the head ... at least once every season.:rolleyes:
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I love how a character can be beaten to the brink of death in one episode, be bandaged up in the wake of it, and then be up and fighting again through sheer willpower by the climax of the next episode, with no more sign of any injury.

    Much like how, in recent seasons, a monster can destroy a whole cityscape clear to the horizon, and a few scenes thereafter are set amid the ruins, but the city seems perfectly back to normal within a couple of episodes, or sometimes even within the same episode.

    But then, part of what I like about tokusatsu, at least from Toei, is that it makes no pretense of being realistic. It's proudly stylized and non-literal. The fourth wall is casually broken; transformations and fights often take place in random alternate realms with no explanation; fight scenes abruptly change location, e.g. from inside a building to way out in a quarry, in a matter of seconds; scenes are often staged/directed with blatant theatricality, stylization, or anime-style exaggerations; and so on.

    That's one reason I like the elaborate Sentai roll calls of the modern series. They're just so unapologetically theatrical and unreal. The villains just stand there watching while the team does their ritual recitation, maybe make some snide comment about it afterward, but still let it play out. And I love it when they play with the convention, like in one of the recent seasons where the team was in a real hurry and so they all rushed through their individual roll calls simultaneously, and the villain was upset because they didn't do it right.
     
  7. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Premium Member

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    I love that about toku too, it's just plain fun to watch. The magical bandage still annoys me.

    I didn't watch that episode, is there any chance you remember it or at least the series because it sounds funny and I want to see it.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it was probably a Kyoryuger episode. That season played around with the roll call tropes a lot. Like the bit where the Rangers pose at the end and a big explosion goes off behind them for no reason. Kyoryuger toyed with that a few times -- e.g. in the ToQger crossover movie, the ToQgers accidentally got caught in the explosion when they were standing behind the Kyoryugers. And there was one episode where they changed inside their headquarters and their mentor advised them to "restrain your Brave" (their power source) when transforming, so they did their roll call really quietly and just a few little puffs of smoke erupted behind them. :D

    ToQger played with the roll call too. There was one time where they went into the villains' realm, transformed, did their roll call and pose... and then immediately de-transformed, because it turned out their powers only lasted 30 seconds in that realm. On finding this out, they went, "Oh, why did we waste all that time posing?!" (But that can't have been the series with the "catchphrases all at once to save time" scene I remember, since the ToQgers' roll call was announced by a "railroad PA announcer" voiceover instead of by the ToQgers themselves.)
     
  9. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  10. Stephen!

    Stephen! Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Judd Lynn is apparently leaving after Beast Morphers is done
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There was a time that would have worried me, but his work on these past few seasons has been inconsistent (though perhaps that's due to network meddling), and there are other producers who've done good work on the series.
     
  12. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm. That seems more clickbait/ racking up views more than anything.
     
  13. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I checked out the first episode of Jetman this morning, and I enjoyed it. It was a little cheesy, but I expected that, and to me that's half the fun of this kind of stuff.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, the production values were cruder back then, and Jetman was in keeping with them. But its writing was well above average for early Heisei-era Sentai (it's from Toshiki Inoue, who's better known as a head writer on several Kamen Rider seasons in the 2000s). You'll generally find it and Liveman at the top of most lists of the best early Sentai. I like its music too. Some of its dramatic cues are really poignant.

    I should've put Liveman on my recommendations list too. It's from three years before Jetman, and it's also notably dramatic; the Livemen are alumni of a utopian science institute, and the villains are three of their former friends and colleagues who betrayed them and led the assault that destroyed the institute and killed most of its members. So there's a personal stake to the conflict and some complexity to the villains, even the potential for redemption. Their relationship with the main villain who recruited them is interesting too; at least in the early episodes, he's encouraging his evil-scientist minions to improve and grow their intellects, and I've rarely seen a Sentai villain who was so nice and supportive to his underlings, rather than ranting at their incompetence (although he did some of that later on as the Livemen kept winning).
     
  15. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Zero-One episode 21 AKA "Law and Order Rider style"

    "Are you a gorilla?"

    Sick burn by Izu.

    It's interesting to see that everyone wants to see Aruto succeed. Fuwa wants Aruto to make better humagear. Aruto's company wants him to succeed.

    It was also nice to see two sentai alumni back. Tsurugi as Humagear Lawyer and Arisa Komiya as the girl in the case.

    This contest arc is mostly the same. We were told Bingo was backed up but Aruto still gets angry at Thouser destroying the humagear. We even see Bingo 2.0 in the preview

    The choreography continues to be top notch


    Ryuusoulger 44

    What the heck? We get a shout out to martial artist and actor Mark Dacascos? It would certainly be something if they were able to get him to cameo. He did appear in Kamen Rider Dragon Knight.

    The episode did well enough with the mystery of Master Black (even though it again highlights a pacing problem), and with Asuna taking a stand, and getting the upper hand again even after Pricious mocks her.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Zero-One: I see that Japanese TV plays as fast and loose with courtroom procedures as American TV does. Even without knowing the specifics of the justice system, I'm sure it doesn't work quite like this. I mean, surely that alibi video from the Humagear comic would've been found during the initial police investigation and would probably have cleared him then. The prosecutor didn't even explain why he considered it inadmissible. And if there were doubt as to its admissibility, I don't think they'd let the jury see it until that was resolved.

    I'd say it's a safe bet that the real culprit is the cyber crime investigator who "took over" the case for mysterious reasons. He's the one who arrested the defendant and who pegged the prosecutor as the mysterious attacker... although come to think of it, those actions sort of work against each other, since the prosecutor is trying to prove the defendant guilty. But maybe his plan was to destroy the defense attorney and only frame the prosecutor if that failed. Anyway, he kind of has to be the culprit, because he's the only other significant character in the story and they went out of their way to establish him.

    Really interesting to see Aruto losing faith in HumaGears and Fuwa setting him straight. Fuwa now accepts that Humagears are capable of both good and evil, and that it's up to humans to guide them down the better path. At least, he trusts Aruto to make the attempt. Nice to see that friendship developing.

    On the other hand, Yua is really getting sidelined lately. We didn't even see Valkyrie this week. And Gai/Thouser has largely taken over the storyline. I think lately we're seeing Thouser fight more often than Zero-One. Though that's an interesting turnaround, in a way. Usually in tokusatsu, the armored warrior blowing up the monster is a triumph for the hero. Lately, it's usually the villainous Thouser killing victimized HumaGears, with Zero-One trying to save them. I have mixed feelings there. On the one hand, it makes the hero seem somewhat ineffectual. On the other hand, I was never really comfortable with Aruto destroying the Magear when they were clearly victims, so if someone's going to destroy them, I'd rather have it be the villain.



    Ryu: I find this show isn't giving me a lot to think or talk about lately. It's just settled into being okay but unremarkable. The most interesting character is Kleon (Kureon, whatever), and he was only in the teaser here.

    It kind of bugged me that they had the heroes doing their best to kill a Druidon that had been coded as a newborn baby. I mean, if you think about it, most Sentai monsters are newly created (at least depending on the series), but they're usually played as mature beings. This new Druidon was barely verbal and crying like an infant, so it felt wrong to see the Ryus trying to kill it.

    Interesting to see that Oto was basically controlling YokuRyuOh (Pii-tan's humanoid mecha form) from inside the cockpit, like a Ryusoulger would. Can any Ryusoul Tribe member do that without needing a Ranger form, or is Pii-tan just letting her do that because of their friendship? Does this make Oto an honorary Ryusoulger?

    There's a deeper cut than that -- he would've been the lead actor in Bio-Man, Saban's first failed attempt to adapt a Sentai show for America. Of course, he's better known as the host of Iron Chef America.
     
  17. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    3rd quarter toy sales results for Bandai. Zero-One is doing good. Ryuusoulger's numbers are comparable to Kyuuranger's so it brought back from the lower sales of Lupinranger VS Patranger.

    Ryuusoulger's merchandise weren't as a costly as other dino sentai's so that factored into lower numbers

    https://twitter.com/d3rachi/status/1225353557664313345?s=21

    https://www.bandainamco.co.jp/cgi-bin/releases/index.cgi/en/press/9672?entry_id=6760

    [​IMG]



    Ryuusoulger character songs. I use to pay attention to some of the character songs but not that much. Nothing really stuck out for me. I think the last time was around Boukenger

    Here's the sound cloud upload of Boukenger's character song album

    https://soundcloud.com/mikekwon95/sets/gogo-sentai-boukenger



    Ryuusoulger's

     
  18. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yesterday was Rita and Zedd's 25th wedding anniversary. To celebrate it Hasbro is releasing their first Rita figure along with re releasing Zedd. The set comes with a few accessories like the wedding cake and green crystal that took Tommy's powers

    https://news.tokunation.com/2020/02...-rita-repulsa-anniversary-set-announced-65695



    Lightning Collections’ Silver Wedding Anniversary set will be available exclusively at GameStop with an expected release window of August 2020. The price is a modest $49.99 USD!
     
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  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's been 25 years???? How did I get so old?

    "The Wedding" was a weird 3-parter. It was one of several storylines made to accommodate the cast's shooting schedule on the feature film in Australia, so there was a frame sequence at the beginning and end of the characters on vacation in Australia, but everything in between was done entirely with suit actors, plus Carla Perez as Rita, of course (since a different actress played Rita in the movie), while the Alpha 5/Command Center sequences were cut together from stock footage with new voiceovers. Part 2 didn't feature the main cast at all except for their voices. Weird that something slapped together as a way to compensate for actor unavailability ended up being such a memorable piece of the franchise that it's getting commemorated a quarter-century later.

    But then, it was pretty fun. Bringing Rita back and turning the villains into a comically dysfunctional family was one of the best ideas the original series had.
     
  20. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Interview with Kiramager producers

    https://animageplus.jp/articles/detail/30192/1/1/1

    A translation of the interview


    Some interesting parts.

    -The jewel them is meant to appeal to boys and girls.

    The toys will still be targeted towards young boys but they are pushing a motif than can appeal to both. Just think of Jetman with its use of drama or Toqger with the Ressha they are both still target towards boys but have a particular element that can be seen as niche that will garner another demographic.

    -The series is harkening back to a "simpler time" of sentai. It's probably going to feel like an late 80's/90's sentai
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020