Oh, and you know how I hate when people put *SPOILER ALERT* at the head of things. This is Dairanger, FFS. If you haven't seen it yet--that's your damn problem.
Top 7 Problems With Dairanger!
07. The Ending (for Gorma)
I'm very split on the ending. On one hand, it's perfect. When it comes to how it ended with Gorma...welllllll...it just left more questions than answers. The epilogue was funny, but that too left more questions than answers. I guess we'll find out in 2043...
Not an awful character, he mostly suffered from neglect. Whenever he did have episodes, they were usually decent...but he was kind of in the background for the majority of the show. I mean, when everyone was getting encouragement from characters who had died or had moved on, he got encouragement from Kameo.....who was alive....who was alive and in his pocket... Kazu was never really given a great trial or rival like the others. Even Rin had Media Majutsushi...but for whatever reason Kou's mother appeared to her for encouragement.
On the flipside, we have an interesting character who was miscast. Tatsuya Nomi did a good job when it came to action scenes and having a stoic look for Daigo...but once he needed to show any kind of emotion, he totally lost control of his face. He kind of cranked it up to 11 a lot of the time. Which is kind of a shame since he seemed to be the most in-tune with his mission as a Dairanger.
04. Dairenoh's strength
I like just about every mecha in this series, but I don't like Dairenoh that much. He was borderline invincible. I can only think of a few times when Dairenoh was ever in a pinch...especially one that made it necessary for something like Kibadaioh to be created. It took something as massive as Daijinryu for Dairenoh to have a problem...
03. Suddenly...China...or is it!?
A handful of times in the series the characters are suddenly transported to China or end up there. I get that this goes with the theme of the show, but it just felt...oddly done and kind of sloppy. When the group needed to find the Tenpo Lailai, Rin was suddenly teleported there and the others followed (in their Jeep somehow). This is fine, but other times it's less straightforward. Is the Gorma fighting ground in China? It looks like it would be compared to how the setting looked, but the Kiryoku and Yoryoku towers were clearly in Japan. Not to mention the Gorma Palace would have to be located in China for the Dairanger to have never encounter it before the finale. It would make sense for it to be there...and since it seems to remain hidden, wouldn't it be there?
02. Zaidos' Demise
He was as eerie, calm, and competent as Shadam and Gara for most of the series. The last few episodes he was made out to be the screw-up of the bunch. Wha? All three seemed cool in their own ways and suddenly Zaidos is a joke?
Also, what's up with how Zaidos holds his hands? It looks like he's holding two brandy snifters at all times.
01. Pick a damn side!
Some people might not agree with me on this, but there is a mind-boggling amount of side-switching in this show. Ryo's father left the Dai tribe to join Gorma, there was a struggle by each side to get Kou, and there was the last minute switch (well...it was more of a reversal) by Kaku. That was the one that really bothered me. Even though the seeds of this switch were planted early on, it just seemed to be totally unnecessary. I'm not entirely sure what the series would have gained if Kaku was around for the end, but it was kind of a bummer not having him around seeing as he was pulling the strings behind the Dairanger for most of the series.
Getting back to Kou for a second... He is a child of Dai and Gorma. His mother died in the cave with his twin brother, Akomaru. Shadam gets very close to revealing to Kou that he is his father before Ryo tells him to shut up. So...he never finds out the truth about Shadam? I imagine that Kou had an awkward conversation with Rin after she parted ways with the other four.
Kou: Now that Gorma is gone, I can look for my father!
Rin: Yeah...about that...
Poor kid. Sorry, I got off topic...
Top 7 Wins With Dairanger!
07. The Ending
OK, so I mentioned above that I didn't like the ending for Gorma. I did, however, love how it ended for Dairanger. After the Gorma Palace is wiped out by Daijinryu, the Dairanger can finally disband for real. In probably one of my favorite shots in Super Sentai history we see the team slowly part ways. It kind of reminds me of the ending of The Graduate in how it was edited. Rather than the typical cutting point to show how they all lived together--happily ever after (when they join hands) the scene keeps moving with Kazu first walking away, then Daigo, then Rin, Shoji then gives Ryo a light tap before leaving. Wow...I'd be lying if I said I don't get a little misty-eyed whenever I see it. It's really wonderfully done.
The epilogue is kinda stupid, but it does introduce one awesome concept...DAIRANGER IN 2043!!!
06. Kou & Akomaru
This is usually a point of contention for a lot of people, but I actually liked these characters.
Despite being a member of the Dairanger team pretty early on in the series, his affiliation was in jeopardy a number of times as the series went on...and for good reason. Being the son of a Gorma man (Shadam) and Dai woman (Ummm.....Kou's mother never did have a name) he could've been a member of either team. Once you look past his childish behavior (hey, he was a kid afterall) he wasn't that bad of a character. He had a legitimate reason to fight Gorma, and did so despite not being a very strong fighter.
Akomaru didn't really have much to offer Gorma much to his own frustration. He wanted to be leader--and to win his father's approval, but couldn't quite figure out how to achieve either. He ends up dying only to pulled from Hell by Gorma XV. He is never quite successful in his missions, but he has endless determination to become the best.
Both characters are pretty interesting and are given a large share of screentime. They certainly kept the show moving along and both had plenty of reason for existing in the story.
Where to begin...?
First off, I endorse any appearance of Yutaka Hirose in a Tokusatsu series. He was excellent in his three previous Sentai villain roles, but Jin is a special case...because he isn't Gorma.
Having Ryo face an unknown element in the middle of his ongoing battle with Gorma was a brilliant move. Once Ryo was given a savage beating from Jin after witnessing a second assassination (this one was successful), it was clear that maybe Ryo's skill isn't quite where it needs to be if he can't beat someone who isn't even associated with Gorma. During their rematch, Ryo is able to match and eventually beat Jin when he is distracted.
Jin actually *uses* Gorma to become stronger in his quest to beat Ryo, but never willingly joins. To see them eventually become allies is great too. I don't really like when bad people become good in shows, but Ryo's plan of killing him with kindness lead to some nice moments of Ryo and Jin bonding. Especially when Ryo carries Jin and his wheelchair up the stairs. Heh.
I love the idea of an outside variable causing a major disruption for Ryo as it lead to some of the best fights scenes in the show. One guy was able to do what Gorma had failed to do for 26 episodes...beat Ryo into a bloodied seizure.
Eiji Kawamura is in my Top 3 of Tokusatsu composers. This is his first Sentai series...and it is fantastic. Some people don't like the music from Dairanger, but I think it has a special darkness mixed with a slight Chinese vibe. Kinda to the same degree with which he handled Kakuranger's music and it's Japanese vibe. It's there...but not all of the time.
In terms of amazing fight music, Eiji Kawamura has it on lockdown. Go back and listen to his catalog of Tokusatsu soundtracks and you'll see what I mean. He also did Kamen Rider BLACK, BLACK RX, ZO, J, Lady Battle Cop, Dairanger, Kakuranger, and B-Fighter. All of them have some fantastic pieces in them and are overall great.
On top of all that, it has my favorite Sentai Ending song.
03. Ryo & Shoji
My two favorites from the series.
Ryo was very convincing at being a team leader and skilled fighter. As I mentioned before, his rivalry with Jin is spectacular as well as most of his fights in general. After a string of red heroes who were really nothing more than a bunch of lame goodnicks, it was refreshing to have an actual skilled fighter in charge of a team. Keiichi Wada did a wonderful job portraying Ryo and bringing a great character to life. This........would've been wasteful casting had this happened:
Keiichi Wada as Kazu...Keisuke Tsuchiya as Ryo...
Shoji is a cool guy. Also a skilled fighter, but also a somewhat troubled guy. He seems to have a checkered past as he was briefly shown to be a failure as a thug. He has since moved on to become a boxer (and is mentioned to have been a champion in the epilogue) and a spirited guy.
One of my favorite Shoji moments is when he is leaving his friends to meet Kamikaze for their final duel (a motorcycle race). He throws down some money and says "Keep the change...!" before leaving the restaurant. After a second Ryo yells "Hey, you didn't leave enough!!". Hahaha...I love that guy.
02. Designs...all of them!
Everything looked good in this show. The Dairanger suits, weapons, villains...everything. The only things I didn't like so much were the Kiryoku Bazooka and Dairenoh. The rest of the mecha looked cool, though--especially Ryuseioh.
01. The Series
This is a little bit of a cop-out, but yes...I consider this show a big win for Super Sentai in general.
I can watch this show every year and it hasn't gotten old. Like all Sentai shows between Dynaman and Carranger, the episodes are 18 minutes long and can be marathoned easily. This show especially is very fast paced, gripping, and easy to watch. The characters are great, the villains are cool and mysterious, the action is top notch--this show is amazing.
Top 7 Dairanger Episodes!
07. Saraba! San Baka (Episode 40)
The final episode with the Three Idiots. Shoji is in a race to the death with Kamikaze. Fittingly Kamikaze lives up to his name and knowingly drives into Zaidos at the finish line after learning that it is loaded with explosives. He did this because he realized that Zaidos had no faith in his ability to win the race on his own.
06. Tamashii Chodai!/Oretachi amai ze! (Episodes 3&4)
Two-parter. This episode.....HAD to have given kids nightmares. Kagi Dokeshi is on the loose and he is stealing souls of children and using them to power his army of killer dolls. This set of episodes is full of great story and fighting.
05. Tofu de yottaa (Episode 12)
A Kazu focus episode! One of, like, two of them... Anyway...I liked the focus on drunken fighting in this episode, even if it never really happened. Shoji and Daigo disguised as Cotpotros and switched Tofu sennin's sake with water, which resulted in Kazu only having to pretend to be too hammered to fight, leaving an opening to attack.
04. Hiken!! Dekee yatsu (Episode 37)
In this episode, Daijinryu appears prompting a couple of failed ceasefires between Dairanger and Gorma. I wasn't too crazy about Daijinryu, but man...did he leave an impression. Between his frantic music and sheer destructive force...this episode was definitely a shock. There was no conceivable way that the Dairanger could stop this thing...and no real idea what it was or what it wanted.
03. Uragirimono!/Oyagiii!! (Episodes 7&8)
Two-parter. The team is faced with a mysterious new Gorma opponent named Choryo who turns out to be Ryo's father. Upon learning that Ryo is his son, he decides to help the Dairanger out by informing them on how to combine their recently obtained Kidenjuu into Dairenoh. Upon his death, Choryo is forgiven by his previous teammates for being a traitor and joining Gorma.
02. Tenshin daa!/Kiryoku daa! (Episodes 1&2)
Two-parter. Not much to say other than this show has a fantastic debut episode. They waste no time getting into the action. I think Ryo is attacked within the first thirty seconds. The introduction of Ryuseioh is also amazing...
01. Iya na iya na iya na yatsu/Saishu ken da da daa (Episodes 26&27)
Two-parter. This episode introduced Jin, showed him mercilessly kill several strict martial arts masters and violently beat Ryo in one of the best Sentai fight scenes ever. In turn, Ryo trains for his rematch with Jin and barely beats him...leading to a new rivalry for the remainder of Jin's time on the show.
There it is...my Triple Top Seven of Dairanger! Be sure to check out my other Top 7 lists. More to come...because I just finished rewatching Jetman for the first time in about thirteen years...
Anyway...thank you for reading my blog and watching my videos. I will be back in 2014 with loads of new content both here and on Youtube.
See you in the new year!