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,