2013/12/28

Triple Top Seven!!! Gosei Sentai Dairanger!

 

I did it previously with Zyuranger, and now I'm doing it again with Dairanger. That's right, I made a special marathon of Dairanger (my second of the year--typically I watch Dairanger during the summer) to type up this special blog before the year was out. So here goes...

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.

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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...

06. Kazu

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.

05. Daigo

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...

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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.
 
05. Jin
 
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.
 
04. Music
 
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. [Happy, D3rachi?]
 
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.
 
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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. 
 
Seriously, this is one of my favorite two-parters ever.

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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!

-CC

8 comments:

  1. 1993~1995 were the most important years for tokusatsu for me.
    Those era was my favorite among the 90s and IMO it was on its peak.
    1993 especially, is my favorite year of tokusatsu.
    There were Kamen Rider ZO, Janperson, Gridman, Ultraman VS. Kamen Rider….. and not to forget one of my favorite sentai: Dairanger!
    Like Zyuranger, this will be divided into multiple parts.
    So let’s get started!
    BTW, I was surprise that there was no “neutral” this time. Intresting.

    Top 7 Problems

    7. I agree that ending was kind of weak and mixed. It was kind of anti-climactic IMO. It’s like writers couldn’t come up with good finale and just executed whatever they come up with at last minute (ok, maybe it’s not THAT problematic). I raised more questions than answer, which I don’t mind too much in shows like this, which already had lots of questions, but it always kind of bothered me a bit. This is more of stumbling block of the show, rather than major flaw. Oh well. I rather watch something great with somewhat flimsy and cluttered conclusion (NOT cliffhanger) than watching something bad from beginning til end (*cough* Magiranger).

    6. While I do think every members are solid when it comes to characterization, I always thought Kazu was very weak compared to other. I do like his character and Keisuke Tsuchiya did pretty decent job (better than Wada if he was casted for this character; more on that later). There weren’t much of his character development and story, which I thought it was a little let down. Not a bad character, but could have more depth.

    5. Heh… I never noticed that until now. Now I think about it, I always thought his expression/emption was kind of off compared to other characters.

    4. While I do think individual Kidenju look beautiful when it comes to design and aesthetic, I never been a huge fan of combined form DairenOh. It’s not a terrible mech by any mean, but I do think that it looks *too* powerful. Sad thing is, toy is waaay tragic (but that’s another topic).

    3. This is something I didn’t get to notice until later, since I didn’t care too much about setting when I first watched this show. Since most of the battle took place in Japan, I always forget that this show was Chinese motif show; especially since almost none of the Gorma Clan wear Chinese attire (Gorma Triumvirate wear S&M-type outfit, Cotpotros wear tuxedo (why?), etc.). It wasn’t until introduction of Gorma XV where we start to see more Chinese attire (sort of). Heck even Gekiranger did better when it comes to Chinese motif, but that’s another topic.

    2. While I found Zaidos to be more of comedic relief throughout the series, I never understood why they need to make him crazy at last few episodes? Oh well.

    1. I do agree that this was problematic and confusing for children show. It can get very complicated. But then again, it’s kind of hard to keep the story and character motivation organized in show like this, even for good writers. Also, this is a first sentai to rely heavily on Asian culture (which also tends to have complicated story) so it’s kind of understandable.
    Thankfully, Kakuranger handled and executed better, but that’s another topic.

    As for Kou… I feel sorry for him for having very difficult family.

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    1. RE: Daigo. Go back and watch the Episodes 3 and 4. The look he gives Ryo (and....Shoji? IIRC) right before he punches him for being late was probably more painful than the actual punch.

      If they never brought the show to China early on, I never would've been bothered by the setting. The Gorma outfits...were definitely something. As the story goes on and it becomes clear that Shadam, Zaidos, and Gara are more or less a rogue faction of Gorma, it does make a little more sense that they were given a tough image. I always liked the Cotpotros designs because they were totally random. Hahaa.

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  3. Top 7 Wins

    7. I do agree with ending. One of the best ending for 90’s sentai (or any sentai in general). It gives me manly tear.
    I do agree with epilogue. While it was unnecessary (and pointless) it was nice to see old and new generation of Dairanger and gives me hope for Dairanger in 2043! Hopefully, sentai would last that long though. Keeps my fingers crossed.

    6. When I mentioned that ‘93~’95 was “kid” era (both hero and villain) these 2 are the strong contenders for best kid characters. Both characters have interesting story and personality. While Kou is kind of obnoxious, bright, and cheerful, Akomaru is very cold and sadistic, a polar opposite. I liked the concept of kid rivalry in this show. Great addition to the show I like them both equally. Akomaru death was truly tragic where he died with his mom; way more tear-jerking moment than Kai from Zyuranger.

    5. Yutaka Hirose was perfect cast for this character. He play such as great villain/rival and sentai (Ley Wanda[Flash], Kemp [Live], and Tranza [Jet]). He has charisma and his characters are always interesting. I like his rivalry with Ryo and their fight was bad-ass, and it’s one of the best Red Ranger fights of the 90s. I also love his coin. Nice touch.
    I also like how he died. Very manly way to die.

    4. While I’m not a music maniac and know every tokusatsu music, I did love the music of the series; one of the best in 90s. Cheers to Eiji Kawamura for AWESOME music.

    3. I agree with also. I like those characters.
    Ryo is one of my favorite Red of the 90s and Shoji is very cool, yanky-guy of the team. Nice.
    Casting was perfect for those characters.

    I remember seeing early promo on YouTube (before it was removed) and it baffled me that Keiichi Wada was originally Kazu and Keisuke Tsuchiya as Ryo. I’m glad they switched casting as last minute, but it still blew my mind. Granted, if they did go with that casting, it wouldn’t be disastrous, but definitely would not live up to final product. Seriously, I can’t imagine Wada as Kazu… it would REALLY awkward IMO.

    Interestingly enough, Keisuke’s older brother Daisuke, played Blue Beet in B-Fighter, who happened to be main character of the show, and both brothers did appear in show throughout ‘93~’95 in tokusatsu. Boy, they were sure busy back then. If Dairanger (Keisuke as Ryo) aired same time as B-Fighter (or vice-versa), both of the characters would get top billing as leaders. It would have been funny if they had cross-over special, where they would have questioned each other by their similar facial features. LOL

    2. I agree with the design; they were fantastic. It’s less boxy than predecessor and has fluidity. I especially loved the design of RyuseiOh as first Red primary humanoid mecha and it continued its trend in most of the 90’s, such as Red Puncher (Ohranger).

    1. Definitely agree. Truly great show of the 90’s and reason I love 93’! Happy 20th Anniversary!!

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    1. Yutaka Hirose seems to always have a demeanor where he likes to toy with his opponents rather then flat out defeat them. This is especially apparent with Tranza and Jin. I'll definitely have plenty to say about Tranza in my Jetman write-up. Heh.

      The best part about Kawamura's soundtracks is that they progressively grow and get more modern, but you can always tell it's his work. It does kind of help that shows he composes tend to recycle music (BLACK RX music in B-Fighter, Jin's theme music playing during Jiraiya's first appearance in Kakuranger, etc.).

      I kind of wish the Tsuchiya Brothers had a bit more to do in Kakuranger. Especially since they appeared at a pivotal part of the show and didn't really do that much.

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  4. Top 7 Dairanger Episodes!

    7. Shoji race to death with Kamikaze was AWESOME! Ending was very nice.

    6. This episode truly was kids nightmares.

    5. One of the few episodes that highlight Kazu, and they did it pretty well.

    4. Daijinryu gave me a big scare when I first saw it. It’s huge! Biggest living entity in sentai at the time. Frantic music and sheer destructive force was a very unique addition to the show.

    3. Ryo vs. Choryo, son/father fight, which remind me of Luke vs. Darth Vader in Star Wars. It was very epic and tragic. I just wished Choryo was introduced later in the series, rather than this early. He would have been more threatening at the end than beginning IMO. Heck, he was barely mentioned throughout rest of the series and didn’t appear in encouragement from characters who died, where it was replaced with Jin. Afterall, he is Ryo’s FATHER, so it would make sense for him to appear more as flashback or something. But I digress.

    2. Great 2-part episode to start the series. RyuseiOh introduction was…. amazing! I love it.

    1. Another awesome episode that introduce one of the best villain/rival of the show: Jin. His fight with Ryo was amazing.


    Thanks for another Top 7 List.
    I really enjoyed it.
    Looking forward to Jetman one.
    I also want to see more 90’s series (maybe Carranger and GoGo V).
    Have a Happy New Year.
    See you in 2014!

    Take care.

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    1. I'm alright with how Ryo's father was handled. He did pass on an important skill to the team (Dairenoh) but was otherwise a father who was forced to abandon his family.

      While forming Dairenoh was critical knowledge, Jin definitely forced Ryo to become a better fighter and gave him a run for his money. Choryo existed early on more to further establish the Dai/Gorma background further than what was mentioned previously.

      Thanks for writing back. I'll be sure to write more in the future. I marathoned five Sentai recently...time to take a break and play my neglected copy of Gran Turismo 6. Hehe.

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