Sunday, February 19, 2012

EDITORIAL: Why Gokaiger is the best Tokusatsu Series

Lavender Ranger's Editorial 
Anniversary series that have a lot of cameos from past actors seem to be regarded by as fans as the best series ever, even if the quality is bad. Now I could say that Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger is the best Super Sentai series, but I wouldn't feel right about it. Jetman, Dairanger, Shinkenger and Timeranger all have good points and special places in my heart. But those are my favorites. Plenty of people like other series and find that one as the best. So this will not be a debate over the best series in Sentai. Gokaiger definitely is on the top five. Other anniversary series like Gaoranger fell flat, with little character development and a plot that didn't have a satisfying ending. Boukenger was an anniversary series and a great one at that. Unlike Boukenger that had its own self-contain story with the monsters looking like past Giant Robos and segments after-wards about the past, Gokaiger incorporated a lot of past series as canon and also had lots of elements from the V-Cinema (Versus specials).

Top Ten Reasons Gokaiger is Excellent
The reason I say it is the best Toku is that it not only pays homage to past Sentai, but tells its own independent story, has excellent character development and almost every episodes keeps thing fresh and provide twists to Sentai conventions (like what colors women can don).
1. Cameos or Guest Stars
Not even the idea of gathering one of each 34 past teams sounds easy. Many fans supposed a tribute could be played for each 34 series within the 51 episodes, but it didn't end up that way. We ended up getting more than one member of a team, we did finally see at least one member of each team at the end. At first it seemed being Red Rangers but soon by Episode 20, we started getting other colors. It was extremely hard to get some actors. By evidence of Goushi's appearance in Episode 50, it was probably hard to lock down on a Zyuranger actor. But we will go back to the tributes. Also in Episode 40, we finally got closure to an old storyline concerning Domon/Time Yellow and the son he left in 2000, the Gokaiger befriend the boy.

2. Tributes
When the Gokaiger transformed into a past team in one episode which was the same as the guest star, they would play an instrumental or whole song of the series and do a similar transformation or attack sequence. In the Timeranger tribute, when they transformed into Timerangers, each of them took the pose that the original Timerangers did when they transformed. Fans loved hearing the old songs during the episode. But we didn't get 'tributes' like that for a lot of old sentai (like the ones from Gokaiger vs. Goseiger 199 heroes movie). Soem fans are upset we didn't here the Zyuranger theme in Episode 50 where Goushi/Mammoth Ranger cameoed.

3. Gender Changes
Half of all the Yellow Rangers are male and in Power Rangers, many non-fans believe Yellow is a female color, but three boys have been yellow and five of the females were originally male. I have mentioned this over and over and over again on this blog. But I mentioned again in case a visitor is just reading this post and doesn't read the rest. So anyway, in Gokaiger girls get to be Black, Red, Green, and other colors they never got to be again. They get skirts. And also males became girl suits and the skirt was gone (Blue Dolphin, Magi Blue, Pteraranger, etc.). So that was pretty cool. There were pre-deposed suits we knew were getting skirts and I was thrilled to find out new ones like the girl greens, Ninja Black, MegaSilver, GingaRed, etc. I am disappointed we haven't seen male Go-On Silver.

4. One Color Changes
They did all red four times on the show, pink and white in Gokaiger vs. Gavan, blue, yellow, and green once. They did a 3-person White and a 3-person Black once too. They also did special changes like an all lion-one and teams of random teams like in Episode 51 and 10. The Toei team really thought it through which changes would be done and which ones hadn't gotten focus. Until mid-point in the series, Changeman hadn't been used a lot and then they used it. Newer series did get used more than older ones. Also was calculated was the use of new changes to suits like the gender changed ones and how much mileage they could get out of them. We've even gotten special changes like the Combo Go-On Wing suit and Gokai Christmas.

 5. Monsters from Teamups
What was cool that many villains from teamup specials like the one above from Gekiranger vs. Boukenger and the villain from Shinkenger vs. Gokaiger came back. Also various other villains from past series came back like Ryuwon from Boukenger and children of Saandaru and Satorkura from Hurricanger. But what this did was tie in Gokaiger to past teamups, making fans believe this was part of the V-Cinema universe. Where some seasons seem to be in their own self-contain world, Gokaiger tied them all up as in canon and did so with the teamups.

6. Ranger Keys
I am obsessed with these things! I want to collect them all! Even calling back to AbarePink with a Pink-centric Episode combined with an Abaranger tribute was pure GENIUS. Also the special effects, fighting sequences and all that were awesome. Especially tying in and re-incorporating old attack sequences and moves.

7. Basco
Basco is such a baddie. Basco is thrilling because he is a character you'd love to hate. He always have that snobby smirk. American and other English-speaking fans (because I don't know about Japanese fans) did not like Walz Gils and his Zangyack forces, they felt they had no character development. But my defense to that complaint is that since the past Sentai needed focus, the villains kind of fell by the wayside. Also Basco was after the Grand Powers and the Zangyack were not, so that factor and that Basco had a past to Marvelous---the leader, unlike Joe's tie to Barizorg---made Basco a good watch. So the only weakness is not Basco but Walz Gils and his crew.

8. Tying to Aka Red and Ninjaman
Many fans were upset to find out Ninjaman was not in the Legacy War and we finally got the answer in Episode 45 when we find out Ninjaman was stuck in a jar and was destroyed when a temple was destroyed before the war even happened. The Timeranger sent Gokaiger to save the temple and they later found out it was the jar and Ninjaman and then later that he was the power of Kakuranger. Aka Red I love because he was an enigma in Boukenger Vs Super Sentai. I like that they related him to a pirate with his high collar which is a homage to Goranger. 

9. Characterization and for the girls too!
There was not only characterization for the boys, but also for the girls. Most of the time in Sentai, regardless of two girls or one girls, they usually get the same amount of episodes. So with two, they get less than a lone girl. There is always a girl power episode, most of the time it is just one per season. Luke and Ahim got one but what was cool was that they got further development and flashback explanations late in the game. We found out more about Ahim and how her planet fell and how she became a pirate. We found out Luka had a little sister who died and how she met Joe and Marvelous, and even found out that she wanted the Greatest Treasure in the Universe to... um... buy the universe. Oh well, not all revelations are gems. 

10. The Gokaiger
All six are great characters and I like how with even all the tributes and Gokai Changes, the writers managed to write fun and entertaining characters and give them development. The pirates as a whole didn't initially care about the Earth or being heroes, they just wanted treasure. Eventually, also with the help of Gai, they became true heroes.


Dessa said...

Found two typos for you:

All-color changes: "green, yellow, and green once" should be "green, yellow, and blue once"

Girl characterization: "even found out he wanted the.." should be "she"

Great article, though. This was my first Sentai series, but I enjoyed it immensely, much different from Decade, which I had problems getting into from not knowing the earlier KR series.

Thetruebigboss said...

Completely agree with everything you wrote especially about Basco. He's the best villain we've seen in a long time.

coolfool2000 said...

Do you feel that there were color changes durig gokai change that were wrong (ex: the gouraijers with gokaig doc and ahim, which i thought kabuto raijer was better fitted for pink and not green or don changing in gekiviloet and ahim changing in gekichopper) In the 199 hero battle movie, kuwaga raijer fought with the greens when the keys were being used by the black cross king?

Also, don't you wish for the tributes of goranger, jakq, goggle v, dynaman, bioman, and zyuranger and during the tributes there was more detail to the past sentai series and better greater powers, like i really didn't like the gozu-drill for timeranger, and ninjaman being a greater power was just cheap.

I wish there were more extra heroes like hero titan, gumanjin, etc. They should have had an extra hero for gokaiger. Plus, i wish they put more focus on aka red.

Gokaiger is great sereies, but i think it partially overated as there are missing details.

Kandou Erik said...

What was good about Gokaiger was that while it was tribute anniversary series - that honor/burden didn't over-shadow the Pirates themselves. They where always at the core of the episodes -- and made them a true 35th Super Sentai team, instead of such a gimmick team to wrap Legendary powers around.

The quality of the writing was there as well -- they obviously took a lot of care to get things right in these episodes, from getting old actors and even original series writers. It's quite amazing what they where able to get away with - given all that could have conceivably gone wrong in such a large endeavor.

What really sold me, though, on the power of these characters is their reaction to finding the Ultimate Treasure. What could have been a simple and far to easy Deus-Ex-Machina story device turned into a wonderful moral dilemma -- their correct choice being all the more challenged given the impending doom they where anticipating the next day.

Shinkenger and Gekiranger still remain my favorites of Super Sentai - but Gokaiger certainly got there as well.

ZeroFlame16 said...

Gokaiger was the first sentai season I watched. I loved everything about it, especially the Gokai Changes (Man, that finale involving them was awesome).

Anonymous said...

perhaps there should be a why decade is NOT the best series.

yes i do agree gokaiger is one of the best, unlike decade, although fans have different opinions

Vickram101 said...

I'm really gonna miss gokaiger.

Goten said...

Agreed about everything. Amazing series and i'll miss it a lot.