Thursday, December 6, 2012

Year in Review: Failure of Go-Busters?

(The following is just my theory--not fact to why the series did not perform well with Japanese kids, it has nothing to do with the worth of the series at all. I liked the series, it was a solid show.)

Word is that Bandai president says Go-Busters had low ratings and low toy sales. Initally they thought it was doing great, rumor is probably because of the Ranger Keys sales. Also supposedly they blame the Go-Busters storyline for being too 'Dark.' I personally don't think it was so dark. I think the series just didn't have a lot to go on. I do like Sentai series that concentrate on story, but I just couldn't get into Go-Busters. I don't hate it, I do like it, it just never 'sucked' me in. Go-Busters also served many unconviental concepts such as the monsters not growing but having seperate giant robots fighting the team, no stock footage of transformation, no auxilary robos like most years and also no Sixth member.

The new sentai Kyoryuger has one female and not yellow. I understand the thinking behind one female and 4 males. Because like it or not, it is a boy franchise. And boy toys sell more. And lately, Bandai has only had limited figures of the females so instead of having 3 boy toys to sell, they can sell 4. Most likely they got inspired by Go-Busters' 4 male lineup and decided to do the same with Kyoryuger. I don't see Go-Busters as a failure. But here are some points to review...

No Auxiliary Robos
Most fans would bemoan the use of too many Auxiliary robos or weapons to 'catch them all' (ala Gaoranger), but it has now become a Sentai stable. Not that I don't like the robos of Go-Busters. I did like that they were triple changers: went from animal to vehicle to robo. There was the frog robo from the movie but it wasn't the mass quantity like in Abaranger, Boukenger, Gekiranger, Go-Onger, Goseiger, and Gokaiger. Dekaranger and Magiranger sort of took a break on this concept but Dekaranger had multiple robos and Magiranger had different miscellany. Go-Busters only had one extra mech.

No Collectible Items
 In past years like Go-Onger, Shinkenger, Goseiger and Gokaiger, the teams had a item to collect like the Engine Souls, Hiden Disks, cards and Ranger Keys. Go-Busters did not have this. Mostly because Bandai still had the Ranger Key line going on and released multiple versions of the Go-Busters as keys and continued the remainder of Ranger Keys that were missing. The Ranger Keys were so popular with Gokaiger, they decided to conclude it in Go-Busters. I think the lack of both extra robos and of these items lead to low sales. Could the Ranger Keys have hurt Go-Busters?

Long drawn out Storyline
I might not agree but some might see the downer in the show itself was that since there were no collectible items or auxilary robos, the show didn't have much new to introduce so it was slow moving. Maybe kids do need something new to increase viewership. If they had nothing new to obtain, it just gets boring. I was hoping this was not the case but probably now Toei and Bandai believes that to be the case. Granted that back in the day (1975-2000), there wasn't much of these extra things and the storylines did fine. But maybe since kids are so accostumed to it now, it is hard for them to break free.

Dark, not Happy
I don't think Go-Busters was dark. It indeed was serious and wasn't as lighthearted as Go-Onger or goofy as Carranger but it was just as serious as let's say Boukenger or Shinkenger. But this 'last season was dark, this season will be more light-hearted and fun' sounds a lot like what Saban Brands said when they brought along Samurai, saying Jungle Fury and RPM were too dismal. My suggestion to Toei is that change is good but don't change all at once, if you remove something, then don't remove more elements, keep it balanced. Go-Busters having character development and story is great and should continue for the rest of Sentai, but if you want toys to sell, then sell toys. I see Go-Busters as an empty slate, I am sure that Saban and Bandai will add more gadgets and even another Ranger when it comes stateside around 2015.

Color Combo
When I spoke to one of the Bandai artists (Tsuyoshi Nonaka) at PMC, he said that the color combo of Red-Blue-Yellow-Silver-Gold did great. This was a new because usually Gold and Silver are reserved for the sixth and/or seventh and never for fourth and fifth. They are the first team to have Gold and Silver in the core 5. And that they wouldn't do it a lot because it wouldn't have the same impact. This is probably why Kyoryuger's color scheme is more traditional but also different since it is Red, Black, Green, Blue and Pink. Usually when a team has Black and Green (Liveman and Go-Onger) in the core 5, there is no Pink. But Zyuranger did ultimately have Green, Black and Pink. Also Kyoryuger is the first series since Timeranger to have a single female in pink. Gaoranger, Hurricanger, Abaranger, Gekiranger and Go-Busters all ultimately had one female but none were pink. Also Go-Busters was the first to use leather but Kyoryuger has gone back to Spandex.

 It seems after reviewing all the color combos and designs they did in the past with Gokaiger, Toei wants to try different things now. But it is common after an anniversary season like with Gaoranger (2001), the next two seasons of Hurricanger and Abaranger were experimental. Dekaranger and Magiranger were more traditional. Boukenger (2006) was the anniversary and more traditional and then Gekiranger and Go-Onger were experimental. Shinkenger and Goseiger were more traiditional color combos. Gokaiger (2011) was the anniversary and now Go-Busters and Kyoryuger are more experimental, maybe more radically so than before. I think Gekiranger was pretty radical with Purple and White, but Go-Busters threw us with a curveball with having Gold and Silver as 4th and 5th and now no Yellow with Kyoryuger. What is also curious is that Kakuranger (1994) had 5 members, GoGoV (1999) had 5 members, Abaranger (2003) had 5 members, Gekiranger (2007) had 5 and now Go-Busters (2012) have 5. Each around 4 to 5 years apart.

Update: Judd Lynn of Power Rangers Dino Charge at SDCC 2015 says Saban ultimately decided to skip Go-Busters because they wanted to do Kyoryuger and cash in the Dino theme for Jurassic World, Jurassic Park's anniversary and Mighty Morphin. Because of the year gap and 2-year themes, they were able to pick between Go-Busters and Kyoryuger. 


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

After coming off of the "Fantasy Kitchen Sink" and Continuity Bingo of Gokaiger, it was a bit tough to get into GoBusters. Sure Gokaiger started off a bit slow in laying out how it would play out, but there were the Gokai Changes to wet our appetite.

GoBusters seemed to start a bit more serious and things there were things like the fear of chickens was an absurdity that threw me for a loop.

Jonathan said...

I was also just never sucked in by Go-Busters. More than anything else, it has just bored me. Maybe it's because it's following an action-packed season like Gokaiger, or maybe it's the show itself. Adding Jin helped simply because I was fond of his character and liked the interactions between him and J, but even that hasn't kept me that loyal to the show.

I think Go-Busters problem is really that it tried to be too many things. It had animal mecha mixed with the buddy aspect mixed with vehicles. It was serious, but silly. It had a grim apocalyptic premise and yet had a main hero who was afraid of the image of chickens. Perhaps they felt the need to offset the serious storyline with the random absurdity? However the random absurdity just felt completely out of place.

I hope Bandai and Toei don't become afraid of more serious storylines but rather learn that they shouldn't try to make every show be everything.

Lavender Ranger said...

I think Goseiger was more boring!

Garland said...

The new sentai Kyoryuger has one female and not yellow. I understand the thinking behind one female and 4 males. Because like it or not, it is a boy franchise. And boy toys sell more. And lately, Bandai has only had limited figures of the females so instead of having 3 boy toys to sell, they can sell 4. Most likely they got inspired by Go-Busters' 4 male lineup and decided to do the same with Kyoryuger.

Goranger, J.A.K.Q., Battle Fever J, Denjiman, Goggle V, Dynaman, Liveman, Turboranger, Zyuranger, Dairanger, Kakuranger, Gingaman, GoGoV, Timeranger, Gaoranger, Hurricaneger, Abaranger, Gekiranger, & of course, Go-Busters all have one girl or woman on a team, just to let you know.

The worst of all this is Sun Vulcan, as they have no girls or women on the team at all.

lionel_B said...

For now, I consider this season as the best season of Super Sentai I've seen since I started watching 5 years ago.

But failure ... Even if it does not attract children, I think it's exaggerated. I am sure that General, and if I compare with the seasons I've seen, it is at least better than Go-onger and Goseiger.

Cyber9989 said...

I am sorry that this series is both a failure and a weak point in the series. There are things of the series I am disappointed as there are no 6th or 7th member. They had only the gun and sword props. And there are only 2,3 if you count Messiah. The Buster suits are the more original with the pleather. the Buddyroid was fun as well. 2012 for me is a pretty dreadful year but this is a great series though.

I will miss Gobuster as I am looking at Kyoryugers, the costumes are very tacky and even worse, the Robo are the ugliest. It is insulting that Yellow is missing in the line up. Sure Changeman and the previous 2 of JAKQ and BF J has zero yellow. That was the past and yellow help balance the other colors with the bright positive shine. Who knows, if the series will have a 6th he or she will be yellow.

Lavender Ranger said...

wow Garland. I didn't know that. being webmaster of, writing about 1 girl teams on this blog and watching every ep of gokaiger you'd think I would.

Garland said...

@Lavender Ranger:

wow Garland. I didn't know that. being webmaster of, writing about 1 girl teams on this blog and watching every ep of gokaiger you'd think I would.

Hey, don't take it personally. I just thought that you might have forgotten about it, that's all.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's a failure... they did great with gobusters... and the story is not that 'dark'. dekaranger was darker (my opinion).

but gokaiger was bad ass, pirates as earth protector, that's very rare to see in the sentai world.

go-onger and goseiger are less of my interest, it's too bright for me. and the character of the reds... think there's something wrong there but i don't know...

just another fan... hope for huge success with Kyoryuger..

Unknown said...

My posts comes kind of late, but I loved GoBusters. I tried getting into Kyoryuger, but didnt feel it. Probably its because of the wanna be Samba Brazilian influences that it has. If you know what Samba and Brazil is like, its more than jumping and whistles. And thats what I didnt like. And I still dont see the connection between Samba music and Dinosaurs.... its like polka dance mixed with egyptian gods Sentai theme...

marty said...

Dont forget that Battle fever J does the giant robot looks the origial part thing like gobuster did part .

marty said...

at least on the bright side it reached cult status and will be vindicated by history someday.

Dexter said...

The roots of Sentai had to do with special forces and government responses to outside threats. I do like Sentai to go back to those roots in a good show and wish Go-Busters would be it, but it doesn't look like it will be (still very early in my viewing).

I just find it strange that shit would be happening and governments and populations would just do nothing/wait for the sentai to do everything.

Also, how many buildings are left in Tokyo considering so many are blown up in each sentai run. LOL.

Unknown said...

i want to watch based on looks alone but i was let down thing is go buster looked cool but the plot wasn't there but i take gobuster over ToQger any day