Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dairanger - first 10 episodes

Sorry about not posting in awhile, life got in the way.

Anyways, in addition to weekly reviews of current Kamen Rider episodes, I'll be reviewing older shows as I watch them, and i'll probably start doing some toy reviews when I get my next figures in the mail from Japan.

Anyways, without further adieu,

Gosei Sentai Dairanger

The 17th Super Sentai series, Dairanger was the second Sentai series to be adapted for American audiences, providing mech and villains for the second season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. None of the suits were used in MMPR except the White Ranger. It must have been an editing headache to get that to work, but never mind that.

Dairanger focuses on 5 youth who have the ability to use Chi. They are assembled by the ancient Master Kaku, and told they have to battle against the evil Gorma Tribe, an ancient Chinese tribe that was sealed away over 8,000 years ago. In order to battle the Gorma, the Dairangers are given Aura Changers which allow them to transform. Each Dairanger has special abilites, RyuuRanger (Dragon Ranger) controls Fire, ShishiRanger (Lion Ranger) controls Illusions, TenmaRanger (Pegasus Ranger) controls Gravity, KirinRanger (No translation for Kirin, that's what it is) controls Time and HououRanger (Phoenix Ranger) controls wind.

While any sentai that doesn't use colors in their names gets confusing, Dairanger gets better after awhile. It took me about 8 episodes to fully get who every ranger was, as they didn't wear their color outside of their transformations often. Really, that's my only complaint about the show so far, it can be a bit difficult to remember everything initially, but by the time episode 8 hits, you'll understand pretty well.

Some of you might be saying that this sounds a lot more Chinese than Japanese, well you'd be right. Dairanger has a huge emphasis on Chinese mythology and martial arts, which really makes the series stand out. The ranger suits all have nice classic Chinese designs on them, the mechs do as well, and then there's the action. Oh man.

The action in DaiRanger is amazing. I've seen a lot of Tokusatsu, but Dairanger has probably the best fight sequences in any i've seen. Whoever the suit actors are, they're amazing martial artists. Each ranger has a specific fighting style that is markedly unique, and corresponds to a different style of martial arts. It's not like your usual Sentai or Rider show where the battles play out pretty much the same, the DaiRangers use individual weapons (RyuuRanger has dual swords, TenmaRanger uses nunchaku, etc) at times, and when not, they use DaiRen rods which are long polearms that are used surprisingly well. I really can't go on about how much I enjoy the action in this show.

But action isn't all that Dairanger has to offer. It deviates from the usual Sentai formula of a monster-of-the-week, and proceeds more like a Kamen Rider show, with storylines carrying directly over to next week's episode and ending with cliffhangers, etc. Also, Gorma beasts don't follow the usual formula of Arrive -> Beat Rangers -> Rangers come up with plan -> Rangers beat monster -> monster grows to enormous size -> mecha come out and they beat the monster a second time

Nope, sometimes the monsters just plain die for good after being killed in human size, other times the rangers could piss them off so bad that they grow huge out of spite. Not to mention, it took 8 episodes for the mecha to all be introduced. Until that point, RyuuSeiOh (Dragon Star King) was all the rangers had to deal with large threats, and using him was a huge gamble since the orbs needed to properly control the KiDen Beasts had been lost 8,000 years ago. The show really broke the formula in a lot of ways, and makes it stand out among the 35 Sentai series in total. TV Nihon is subbing the show, and they are currently at episode 35. It's really worth a try.

DaiRangers don't look at explosions.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kamen Rider OOO 32

I'll start up a weekly review of the most recent Kamen Rider episodes as they air/are subbed. I'll try to avoid spoilers (EDIT, I SUCK AT AVOIDING SPOILERS. SORRY), but that might be a bit difficult.  I'll include highlights of the episode, a basic synopsis, my personal thoughts and what I thought was the most striking image from it. Seeing as a good amount of you probably don't know what i'm talking about right now, I strongly suggest you download the prior episodes from either TV Nihon or Overtime. Those are both reputable fansubbing groups, and Google will help you find them.

Key Character List:

Kamen Rider OOO:

Eiji Hino/Kamen Rider OOO: Protagonist, very altruistic. Lived as a travelling hobo until he became OOO to protect people.
Ankh: Benevolent Greeed, companion to OOO. Kind of a douche. Currently possessing the body of the detective Izumi Shingo. Bird Greeed
Kougami: President of the Kougami Foundation, has big plans for the medals. Unknown what they are
Gotou: Assistant to Kougami, main goal is to protect the entire world. 
Date/Kamen Rider Birth: Secondary rider in this show, a former doctor, works as Birth for Kougami in order to earn 100 million yen.
Hina: Shingo's sister, outrageously strong despite being a tiny japanese teen (she is shown lifting vending machines with ease. This hasn't been explained yet). Kind and caring.
Doctor Maki: Scientist working for Kougami, has a fixation with ending the world. Works alongside other Greeed, against Kougami's orders
Cazali: evil Greeed, one of the biggest trolls in any media, he constantly tricks everyone to his own advantage. Based off of felines.
Uva: another evil Greeed, he hasn't done much recently. Insect Greeed


The latter half of the story arc started last week, this episode picks right off with Eiji being infected by the new purple core medals. After a scare, he seems to be relatively fine, until a new pair of Yummies show up. These Yummies are both pterodactyl-based, and breathe out this black smoke that devours any living thing it comes into contact with. I'd estimate that about a good 30 or so on-screen deaths were caused by these two. Yikes. This smoke also has the added bonus of canceling out the transformation of both OOO and Birth, leaving them defenseless. After getting beaten once, the group returns to the Cous Coussier restaurant to recuperate. While there, Date remembers that he had heard of Eiji before.

Apparently, Eiji used to be the son of a wealthy politician. While traveling in Africa, he gave a huge amount of money to a village that was suffering from poverty. This caused a civil war. After that fiasco, Eiji just gave up on desire, and stopped really wanting anything for himself, and just to help others fulfill their desire. That 'void' made him a perfect host for the new core medals. The pterodactyl yummies appear again, and OOO goes berserk and turns into PuToTerano for the first time, and then attacks his friends.
OOO's dinosaur form, PuToTerano's ultimate attack with his Medalgavel.

All in all, a really good episode. It explained a lot of stuff about Eiji's past, had GREAT action, a new form and nice plot stuff. I'm glad that they're remembering to put in plot after the 15 or so episodes that went without it. One of the better episodes of OOO so far.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bin Laden's dead and other political stuff.

So yeah, usually I'd like to not talk about political stuff but some important events have happened recently that I feel the need to talk about for a bit.

Firstly, Osama Bin Laden has been killed. I'm sure EVERYBODY knows this by now, but it's worth mentioning. A major development in the situation in the middle east for the first time in ages. However, chances are we'll probably stay over there for another ten years despite this.

Secondly, Syria. I recently found a video on YouTube of a crowd in Syria after the government opened fire on a group of protesters. This happened on the 22nd, which I believe was good Friday. It was some of the most disgusting footage I've seen. In the video, we saw bodies on the street in pools of blood, children with their brains pouring out of their skulls, and lastly a man with his jaw completely removed, and still conscious.

NOT for the faint of heart, but this is pretty serious stuff. That happened like 10 days ago while everyone was still talking about the Royal Wedding.

Yeah, sometimes the real world makes you sick.
Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome dear readers, a taste of what to come.

Hello everyone, Massani here.

Seeing as this is my first blog post, might as well give some more info in case you don't read the info. Anyways, i'm a Geek. Nerd, Gamer, Otaku, whatever you want to say, i'm that. Now, in my interests and favorite movies, etc, I listed a lot of stuff. But here, chances are i'll mainly be talking about Tokusatsu, Video Games and Toys.

For those of you that don't know what Tokusatsu is, it's the Japanese word for Special Effects. It's a genre that is mainly used for live-action super hero shows and movies. Some good examples would be Daikaiju franchises like Godzilla, Gamera and Ultraman, or the more life-sized Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Garo, etc. Think guys in rubber suits people.

Some of you might be thinking of Power Rangers. Good, Power Rangers is technically Tokusatsu. What some of you might not know, is that Power Rangers was originally a Japanese Tokusatsu franchise called Super Sentai. Sentai has been running every year since 1976, this year being it's 35th Anniversary. What Saban and Disney do when making a Power Rangers show, is cutting and pasting. The action sequences (whenever they're in suits and mechs) are directly ripped from a sentai show. Around Lost Galaxy was when they started following the same plots. Lost Galaxy and it's counterpart, Gingaman were largely similar, however, whereas Power Rangers focused on humor and slapstick a lot of the time, Gingaman was more serious. Sure, it still made jokes, but they were nowhere near as much of the focus. And puns. Nowhere near as many bad puns. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' counterpart, Zyuranger was completely different. There were no "teens with attitude" there, but 5 ancient warriors resurrected to battle the evil witch Bandora, who destroyed entire cities and didn't make as many bad jokes.

Personally, whenever something remakes or adapts another piece of media, I usually end up liking the original better. This is no exception with Sentai and Power Rangers. It's still technically for kids, but Sentai can be a lot stronger and more coherent, and much less self-degrading to watch. Samurai Sentai Shinkenger had an amazingly well-crafted atmosphere and tone, while it's currently airing counterpart, Power Rangers Samurai, donates huge chunks of episodes to slapstick and saddening puns.

Now, i'm not a huge Sentai fan (despite that huge block of text there). What I really like in Tokusatsu is Kamen Rider. Barely ever adapted for American audiences (The abortion that was Masked Rider which aired alongside MMPR, and the recent Kamen Rider Dragon Knight which was pretty good in my opinion), Kamen Rider was around before Sentai, but hasn't run as long consecutively. No 5-man teams of heroes, Kamen Rider usually focuses on one hero with a couple secondary riders, the exception being Kamen Rider Ryuki with a grand total of 13 riders! Like Sentai/Power Rangers, most Rider shows have no inter-connecting canon (outside of some movie crossovers and an anniversary series) so there's probably a rider for any taste. Kamen Rider Hibiki focuses on music and japanese culture, while Kamen Rider W (Double) is about a detective and is generally more western. The currently-airing rider show, Kamen Rider OOO (they have odd names occasionally) is very well done, and of all of my friends that I have showed it to, not one went un-hooked. You can find these shows subbed by the fan-group TV Nihon (google will direct you to them). I highly recommend you look them up.

One of the main reasons i'm so into toku is for the toys. Kamen Rider specifically has one of the best figure lines on the market right now, S.H.Figuarts. I've been a toy collector for awhile, and having these great toys made me want to watch the shows, and watch I did. I also collect Revoltech and Figma, some other Japanese figure lines. For American toys, I mainly stick to comic-book characters from Marvel and DC.

As for Vidya, I'm an RPG, Platformer and Action-Adventure fan, who enjoys Fighting games. Not to big a fan of First-Person Shooters, but games like Bioshock are great. I just don't like Halo or Call of Duty like some other people.

So there you have it, a big rant about Tokusatsu and a taste of what the blog will be like. I'll update with more rants, reviews of things and new news from the internet, be it a newly announced toy, game, movie or what have you.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. Doctor Who is a great show too. British, not Japanese so it's kinda a non-sequitur, but it's on Netflix, so watch it.

Location:Jenny Ln,Lexington,United States