Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My First Few Gingaman Episodes


Anyone that knows me knows that my #1 favorite Sentai is Gingaman. Saw it as a kid all the way back in the year 1998. But what was it about this show that caught my attention and drew me in? Well, funny thing is, when I started Gingaman, I started when a little more than half the episodes had already aired. The very first episode I saw of Gingaman was episode 34.



Most will know this episode as the final episode for the third Balban general, Iliess. And man, was this an intense episode! At first, I didn't know Iliess was a main villainess, but found her to be a pretty awesome Monster of the Week! Though through dialogue, I kinda gathered she was a big villain. So what does Iliess do in her final episode? Summons an army of bloodsucking lizards of darkness to take the blood of humans in the entire city, sacrificing them for the revival of Daitanix. The Gingaman will stop her right?



Easier said than done. Iliess uses her magic to create a massive barrier around the city, that once inside, it neutralizes the Gingaman from transforming. Pretty high stakes if you ask me. And this was a big part of the Gingaman showing off how awesome they were in my eyes. If they were going to have to stop Iliess, they were going to have to get to her, out of suit. What's blocking their way?



Iliess summons the souls of her fallen minions and fuses with them, granting her the ability to use magic to revive them from the dead. So the Gingaman are pitted against five of her revived monsters. She also uses her abilities to dissolve part of Hikaru's leg. Ouch!



The Gingaman all manage to show off their courage and perseverance, and prove that they are an awesome heroic fighting force, that just left me in awe. And conflict and action aside, I was very intrigued with the elements that made up Gingaman. The nature and elemental motifs (always had a thing for these). How it was like a cosmic fantasy. And the multiple tribes of the Balban. I was always very into platformer video games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Rayman, and even games like Legend of Zelda. And Gingaman seemed to appeal a lot to the gamer in me.



The next episode I saw was episode 35. While not as big of a deal to me as the other eps I'll be discussing, this still brought me into the world of Gouki (GingaBlue). And man, I love the guy a lot. In this ep, he finally decides he's going to confess that he likes Ms. Suzuko. However, he finds himself in a rivalry with a man named Shunsuke Kishimoto (played by Red Racer's actor from Carranger). And things get worse when Balban's fourth general, Battobas begins his first mission, which results in Ms. Suzuko getting injured and hospitalized.



Kishimoto blames Gouki for Ms. Suzuko's injury, claiming he was a bad influence on her, and that he was unable to protect her. He finishes it off by telling him that Ms. Suzuko has no need to be with a person like Gouki, who needs to be a warrior and protect the city, than protect her. As a kid (heck even as an adult), I could never stand seeing people getting wrongly blamed. And seeing the big tough guy Gouki getting very emotional over this, really struck a chord with me.



The next big episode for me was episode 37. What I really grew fond of were the Brothers of Flame, Ryouma (GingaRed) and Hyuuga (Black Knight). Their sparring match at the start of the ep really showed what a deep bond they had with each other to me. I often related a lot to Ryouma. He was often unsure of himself, and looked up to his older brother Hyuuga. Yet despite that, Ryouma always managed to break through and stay strong. I saw the show through his eyes, and was very impressed with him.



Sadly, tragedy strikes when Bucrates, who has left the Balban, ends up magically sealing away Goutaurus. He uses Goutaurus to blackmail Hyuuga into working for him in order to get his revenge on Zeihab. Should he refuse, Bucrates would end Goutaurus' life. This was a big deal to me. I had never seen a member of the Sentai team actually leave the team before. It was quite heartbreaking.



Another cool thing about episode 37 was the Monster of the Week, Gobies. This guy was able to change the color on his helmet to any of the Gingaman colors, granting him access to their powers. Being the careful analyzer Gobies is, he manages to outperform the Gingaman in all their moves. It takes a lot of careful planning and perseverance for the Gingaman to outsmart and defeat him. I was very impressed with the Gingaman again. Overall, a fantastic episode that really left me on the edge of my seat.



The next ep I saw was ep 38. This was probably one of the sadder Sentai eps I've ever seen. Bucrates has Hyuuga drink an elixir which relinquishes his "Earth" and cuts his ties from the planet. In doing so, Hyuuga may never return home. Despite Ryouma and even Saya's attempts to stop this from happening, it is all in vain. I was left wondering what would happen to Hyuuga. All I knew was that I felt just as crushed as the rest of the team did.



The last ep I will talk about is episode 42, which was the next ep I saw. Man was this ep intense. Daitanix is finally revived, and is wreaking havoc everywhere. Even tearing off the arms of GigaRhynos and GigaPhoenix! And to make matters worse, Zeihab personally stabs Ryouma, wounding him terribly.



Hyuuga tries to help Ryouma, but Bucrates keeps him from doing so. It's a pretty frustrating scene, since Ryouma is on the verge of death, and Bucrates won't even allow his brother even a second to help him. But luckily, Ryouma has other friends like Moak and Yuuta to help him. So despite all odds, there was still a glimmer of hope. It was a fantastic episode.

After ep 42, I did manage to watch the rest of Gingaman and catch up on it, just in time for the grand finale. But this was basically how I really got into Gingaman, and just Super Sentai in general. =D

Friday, May 2, 2014

Power Rangers: Understanding the Charm



As a kid in the 90s, not only did I grow up with Sentai, but I did grow up with MMPR as well back in the good ole days. And I did enjoy it immensely and still have nostalgic memories towards it. Today, Power Rangers isn't something I really follow. Nor am I really a fan of it either. Yes, I love Super Sentai, but I've never really viewed Sentai and PR hand in hand with each other (I don't mean this in any negative way). So this is gonna be one of those rare blog posts I type up that will actually tackle the topic of Power Rangers.

One thing I've been trying to keep my distance from was the whole drama of Sentai fans attacking Power Ranger fans. I think it's very sad that so many fans feel like they have to do such things (I guess it's typical of any fandom). And I also find it pretty sad that we've gone to the point where the negative term "Sentai purists" is even a thing. It's not pleasant in the least bit. Now, while I don't follow Power Rangers anymore, nor do I have much interest to invest my time into the franchise, I can still perfectly understand why others out there really enjoy the show. And frankly, it's not rocket science to understand why.

MMPR today is not something someone new to the franchise is likely going to understand the appeal of. To them, it's going to look like some cheap crappy show with terrible writing and cheesiness, baffled by the thought that the show has such a large cult following. MMPR is certainly not a high quality tv show. It's not something one can simply just jump into and enjoy. MMPR is something you have to grow up with, to fully appreciate it. In other words, the majority of MMPR fans are the people that grew up watching it in the early 90s. And knowing what it meant for one growing up as a kid to have MMPR in their lives, making their childhoods awesome, is a fact that needs to be taken into consideration, if one is to understand the charm of the show.




I do know that lately, the Power Rangers fandom has been in a lot of chaos this past decade (considering what's happened to the franchise, it's understandable). You have the fans that have given up on the franchise and have moved on to better things. And then you have the fans that cling onto the current Super Megaforce, trying to grasp at every little straw to claim it's good stuff. This severe breaking of the fandom can date as far back to SPD.

Power Rangers started off a lot more as it's own original thing from Sentai, making it it's own thing that the fans love. This would continue up until around In Space and Lost Galaxy. This was where Power Rangers would start the practice of carbon copying Sentai's stories. Though the shows did still manage to retain a certain level of originality, enough to keep certain fans relatively happy. But by the time SPD and Mystic Force roll around, is when more and more originality became absent, to the point where the shows become mere watered down imitations of their Sentai counterparts. This was also around the time when Sentai would become a lot more known to the Western side, developing their own fan base. Because of these events, more and more fans felt less reason to even bother keeping up with the franchise, with many just preferring to just stop around Dino Thunder or SPD (RPM being an exception).




A big part of the enjoyment of Power Rangers for fans was the tradition of looking forward to each year's Sixth Ranger. The Sixth Ranger arcs from MMPR, all the way to about Dino Thunder all happen to be fan favorite Power Ranger moments. And TV did a tremendous amount of advertising for the Sixth Rangers every year. They were a huge deal. This is a tradition that sadly was broken when SPD came around. The Sixth Rangers starting then, became a lot more phoned in and less prevalent. Since then, the Sixth Rangers have not been as big of a deal to the fandom as they once were.




Along with the Sixth Rangers, the cool Red Rangers were also once a major tradition for the Power Rangers fandom to enjoy. Most of the reds from MMPR to around Time Force are all major fan favorites. Each of them, there was an attempt to make them all stand out as some unique leader, that was capable of performing amazing feats. This all climaxed with the popular episode, "Forever Red." Since then, the Reds have sadly not been as big of a deal to a lot of fans. Many of them even going on to be very hated characters.




The majority of Power Rangers fans are people that grew up with it during the original Saban era. And there's a good reason why. Power Rangers relies a tremendous amount on nostalgia with it's later shows. You'll notice that post-Power Ranger In Space, some of the most popular episodes are often the ones where veteran characters return (like the team ups). Certain characters would even get more popular, if they simply just returned to the show. It's no wonder Tommy is so popular. The guy just keeps on coming back! Even if the episodes were terrible (Once a Ranger), any veteran who showed up would still get a boost of popularity as a result. One could kinda say that the franchise has kinda turned into a popularity contest. But overall, you'll notice how fans tend to relish over the continuity and any returning veterans of Power Rangers, particularly throughout the MMPR to SPD run of shows.


A lot of the charm of Power Rangers comes from growing up with it. People loved collecting the toys, enjoying the mystical and technological world of Power Rangers, catching the next ep, jamming to the rocking music, wanting to see their favorite rangers kick butt, finding out who the sixth ranger is, seeing who's returning for the next team up, etc. It's certainly too bad that the majority of this past decade's seasons have not managed to keep up that kind of energy, and have instead broken the fan base with each new installment.

I also don't think there's much reason to compare Power Rangers to Sentai (comparing is something that so many fans obsess over). Many feel the need to claim out of frustration that Power Rangers can indeed be high quality stuff, capable of rivaling Sentai or any other Toku. But you know, sadly to say, Power Rangers is not high quality stuff on a writing or production level. But you know what else? I think that's perfectly okay. I don't think Power Rangers' charms are high quality writing or production values. It's charms lied in other areas. And those charms made a whole generation of children very happy, for many years to come. And honestly, I think a Power Ranger fan should be more proud of those elements, rather than worrying about trying to one up Sentai or any other Toku. There's just no necessary reason to do so. And to wrap this up, while I admit, I'm a bit ticked off that Power Rangers has practically stolen the whole image of the entire tokusatsu genre to the world (and sadly damaging it's reputation in a lot of ways), I would also like to thank Power Rangers for being the gateway that would introduce so many people to tokusatsu. The seasons from MMPR to about SPD were all instrumental in doing that.~

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Writer's Block

For a while, I've been suffering a bit from writer's block for my blog. I frequently stumbled over the thoughts of what sort of blog posts I should type up. As well as what sort of blog posts were even worth typing up at all. On top of that, not even knowing who to type any of this to (I do know I have a few regular visitors who frequent this blog).

So what now? Well, I would really love to have some sort of a new beginning. Get a new act together for this blog. I know of plenty of topics to talk about that could last me more than a lifetime. Be it toku, anime/manga, video games, etc.

Basically, what I want out of those topics is for interesting conversations to come out of them ("interesting" being the key word). Or even just bringing stuff up that can get people thinking. And talking about stuff particularly based on facts. I love these topics a lot, and it is so much fun to talk about them all. It's also very interesting if they can lead to one's changing of opinions too!

I wish to continue enjoying everything I love to do, and to just sit back, relax, and to continue enjoying them, with fellow friends. =)

Most to Least Favorite Kamen Riders (Primary)

Request from an anonymous. My most to least favorite of the Kamen Riders themselves. For now, I'm just going to stick to the primary Rider protagonists, since there are so many secondary and minor Riders in the franchise.~

Top Favorites:
1. Godai (Kuuga)
2. Shouichi (Agito)
3. Kouta (Gaim)
4. Shotaro (W, Joker)
5. Kotaro (Black)
6. Hibiki (Hibiki)

I also like:
7. Shigeru (Stronger)
8. Ichimonji (Nigo)
9. Hongo (Ichigo)
10. Philip (W, Cyclone)
11. Amazon (Amazon)
12. Yuriko (Tackle)
13. Joji Yuki (Riderman)

The Middle:
14. Gentaro (Fourze)
15. Ryo (ZX)
16. Jin (X)
17. Shin (Shin)
18. Masaru (ZO)

The lower list:
19. Shirou (V3)
20. Kouji (J)
21. Kenzaki (Blade)
22. Shinji (Ryuki)
23. Takumi (Faiz)
24. Tsukuba (Skyrider)
25. Haruto (Wizard)
26. Wataru (Kiva)
27. Kazuya (Super-1)

The Bottom:
28. Eiji (OOO)
29. Ryoutarou (Den-O)
30. Tendou Souji (Kabuto)
31. Tsukasa (Decade)

Most to Least Favorite of all Power Rangers seasons

A request from an anonymous. Since I've seen the majority of the franchise, I see why not.~

Mixed:
1. Time Force

Lower List:
2. RPM
3. MMPR S1

The Bottom:
4. In Space
5. Lost Galaxy
6. Lightspeed Rescue
7. Dino Thunder
8. SPD
9. Zeo
10. MMPR S3
11. MMPR S2
12. Wild Force
13. Ninja Storm
14. Turbo
15. Jungle Fury
16. Mystic Force
17. Operation Overdrive
18. Samurai
19. Super Samurai
20. Megaforce
21. Super Megaforce