Reviews: Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
Before I start this review I would like to say I was introduced to Super Sentai from Gokaiger and as a result had no nostalgic connection at the time that I watched it. Because of it, I am now a fan. Getting notes out of the way, I think Gokaiger was a very good series. One of the best in the franchise, in fact. In my perspective, I see Gokaiger as a tribute series. It wasn't supposed to be focusing on the story but rather giving the 34 Super Sentai that preceded it a big tribute. In that department, with tribute episodes, Gokai Changes, former actors, etc it did very well. And while it was a tribute series, it also did a very good job of telling its own story (YMMV). It was a simple get the treasure story with twists and overall, made interesting. It also made a very good framing device for the tributes. One thing, from what I've seen, many people don't realize is that the villans are part of the supporting cast. Them being good helps, yes, but in the end it's the heroes that really should be judged as good/bad characters. Another thing, Walz Gill was mostly for comic relief. He really was never meant to be serious. He was surrounded by serious characters, but in the end he was always going to be comic relief. He still had his awesome moment in episode 37 and I credit him for that as well as showing that he did think of Barizorg as a friend. Though I do like that the Zangyack got a lot more serious by the last 1/3 of the series. Now for the heroes. I like all of them and I think all of them got ample development throughout the series. All of them (with the exception of Gai) came to love Earth. They are cliched but they were still interesting to watch. Some of their cliches are to blame on the fact that all 5 of them are tributes to the original Gorangers. But all-in-all they are still pretty fun and interesting to watch. Some things I didn't like since I've been very positive. Akudos Gill is a typical dark overlord. Not too interesting as a character. I'm a bit disappointed that some of the older Sentai didn't get tributes. I am curious to learn about them. If anyone can send me a link to the episodes that would be great. I would list more but I'm running out of words. A great series, great action, good characters and a great tribute.
Gokaiger: Could have been better.
As the series has met its end I think its time to give my full thought on this series. This show really felt like it was about Marvelous and Joe half the time. Not much focus was given to the rest of the Gokaigers and I believe that they haven't really grown much throughout the series. They do learn, as a group, how to respect their Super Sentai heritage by the end, but they seem to have little growth individually. One of my biggest peeves with this series is the incredibly boring Zangyack. To help understand the point against the villains this year, just imagine how much less Gekiranger or Magiranger (or Time Force and In Space) would have felt for their stories without the villains to make you care about what they are actually fighting against and why. If those teams just had a threat whose only power came through numbers, and their own stories never once mattered. People say it's "awesome" for the fighting and the transforming into other suits.Who here thought it was awesome because an evil empire was fighting against a band of terrorists like the Gokaigers? Who here thought it was awesome because there was a giant evil empire a la Star Wars that truly needed to be defeated to bring peace to the galaxy in an emotionally and story driven way? How much better of a show would have Gokaiger have been if it had a full and resolved story from start, middle, and end where it where their foes weren't just excuses to use new powers and fight? How much would would this show had been changed if it was just random blank robots fighting all the time and the Gokaigers just decide to try out new suits each time, getting the exact same results and "showy" fight scenes that people love? Defeating a large number of ships and random grunts, while fun for Shoot-Em-Ups and Dynasty Warriors style games, does not give that to me. Zangyack were not "awesome" villains of foes, they were just basic foes for the sake of fighting and that's okay at best, never "awesome". The vast majority are in love with this show and I understand it, but given time and when people look back, revisited, or see it when it's no longer new? This issue, the story over all, will decrease in value. A good to great show, but not one that was perfect or without faults, a show that could have been the best Sentai of all time with a better story and villains.
Glorified Fanfiction (or, You Can't Please Everyone)
I don't think Gokaiger is as awesome as most people claim it is. To me itís just glorified fanfiction. Everything about it just screams "fanfic turned official": most of it is done for fanservice, nearly every new character is poorly-developed and cliche (except Ahim who is pretty decent), and Gai just seems like an overpowered, exaggerated author self-insert. If they wanted to make an anniversary series so much why didn't they do what they did with Gaoranger and Boukenger, instead of splattering "OMG IT'S THE 35TH SENTAI" all over the series? That's something I don't get. UPDATE: Errr, sorry about being so negative. Okay, there are good things about the season (like I said before, Ahim is a decent character, and it's good to see Sentai alumni returning) but overall it just falls flat on its face. Of course a lot of this season is fan-service. Boukenger had tons of it too if you hadn't noticed. With many little shout-outs, homages, the history of Super Sentai, Vs Super Sentai, they simply wanted to go beyond here. But there was no need to. There's a difference between subtle homages and "OF COURSE IT'S AN ANNIVERSARY SO WE'RE GOING ALL OUT". Gokaiger does wrong what was done right in Boukenger.
Kicked up with Nostalgia but...
With two episodes left, one should have a reasonable feel for the 35th anniversary Super Sentai series, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. More than anything else, this is a love letter of sorts to the fans of Super Sentai series, from Goranger to Goseiger and all series in between. While the characters seem somewhat out of place, with the crew being space pirates and all, this follows the Sentai Formula. Five warriors don the spandex colored suits, defend the Earth with courage, bravado, and hutzpah against insurmountable odds in the Zangyack empire. In the course, they get help from the previous 34 Super Sentais. In short, this is a love letter to the fans. First episode and the Legend War, featuring all 34 teams vs. the Evil Overlord. It gets better on from there, with cameos from former teams and Gokaiger performing trademark attacks from the previous thirty four is a treat for the most part. Not all teams have been represented or given full due, but given the format, that's understandable, unless you happen to be fans of those not represented (sorry, France, Bioman happens to be one of them). It just feels right as an anniversary series that is celebrating the past 34 years. And that gets me to the main point. Gokaigers themselves doesn't really feel as if they are a team of their own. Character Development is shallow at best. Gokaiger themselves could be interchangeable with anyone else as does the villains, save Basco and Sally. Even then, though, the characters themselves do end up playing the colored stereotype, with Marvelous as the Red-Hot Blooded leader, Joe as Blue cool second in command, Luka the Tomboy Girl, Hakase as the Green newbie/mechanical genius, and Ahim as the Pink Girly Girl. Overall, this is a good series with the gimmick being that Gokaiger can take the form of the previous 34. The previous anniversary serious, Boukenger, the team was their own and had their own story. Gokaiger, because of its predecessors' and its heritage, ends up losing out. Has this been the 34th or 36th series, it would've been interesting where the series could've gone. As it stands, it's a love letter to us Fans of the past. Kids will love Sentai so that base is covered. As for everyone else? It's a tough call. As for me, after seeing that Rolling Knuckle, I can say that I'm content.