We are living in the future.
It has been 20 years since my favorite year of Tokusatsu movies. In 1995 we were treated to the third straight Toei Hero Fair triple-header with new Sentai (Ohranger), Metal Hero (B-Fighter) and
How about we start with Jukou B-Fighter The Movie.
Jukou B-Fighter The Movie
The film opens with Takuya (Blue Beet), Daisaku (G-Stag), and Rei (Reddle) shopping. Almost immediately Rei is abducted by a driverless black BMW. Takuya and Daisaku give chase on their motorcycles and attempt to stop the vehicle as it rapidly approaches a man dressed in all black on the street. The three are suddenly transported to a far away wasteland where they are all seperated. Rei is attacked by the same mysterious man from before but is saved by Daisaku. Both end up getting captured and having their B Commanders stolen.
Takuya is confronted by the mysterious man, now revealed to be Drago, an insect warrior, who has no recollection of his past. The two have a brief fight as Jamahl sends their monster Hellsgyra to attack the already trapped Daisaku and Rei.
Drago. Not THAT Drago...
Hellsgyra. The most generic name/costume we had laying around.
Enjoy four whole minutes of stock footage.
Once they defeat the Jamahl Fighters, they take on Hellsgyra as a team and are able to defeat him after a pretty intense battle.
If B-Fighter did one thing right, it was looking awesome.
After defeating Hellsgyra, Drago thanks the B-Fighters for all that they've done before flying off into the sunset.
What is it with the B-Fighters always ending up on tall buildings/cliffs/hills/etc.?
One of us will be written off in a few episodes after a on-set mishap.
Before I get into the movie itself, I should probably talk a little bit about B-Fighter.
The show itself isn't all that spectacular. In fact, Metal Hero shows in general have this certain deadness to them that doesn't really exist in their Super Sentai counterparts from the same year. While they certainly played with the Metal Hero formula in later years, they never seemed to get the shows on the same wavelength as Super Sentai. B-Fighter, which is probably the closest the genre got to being a full blown Sentai Series, is no exception.
That said, B-Fighter has some amazing suits, music (even if a lot of it is recycled from previous Eiji Kawamura composed shows), and gadgets. This has always made it one of my favorite soundtracks and toylines...but the series itself is...meh.
So how does the movie stack up?
In all honestly, the movie is fantastic. It didn't have much in the way of B-Fighter specific plot which totally works in its favor. The generic plot lead to them relying heavily on strong visuals and action. I imagine this movie would give a viewer reason to check out the series if they saw it during the Toei Hero Fair '95. It's really nothing more than extremely well-done action with some great editing.
Highly recommended. Just don't expect the series to live up the movie. It's alright, but the movie is honestly my favorite part of the series.
Choriki Sentai Ohranger The Movie
1975-1995. Not this idiotic series counting that they do these days.
The movie begins with Buldont and Acha scouting the location for his film studio (Buldont Studio) and the film The Century of Baranoia that he is preparing to make. Camera Trick is dispatched to kidnap unwilling participants in the film.
Camera Jack. Baranoia had a drone before it was cool.
After a string of disappearances, Goro (Ohred) and Juri (Ohyellow) are sent to investigate. They discover that Acha is distributing flyers from a plane to recruit cast for the film. They also encounter Camera Trick after it kidnaps a girl reading the flyer. The two give chase, but are intercepted by a malfunctioning Barlo Soldier.
The group of kidnapped kids are greeted by Locker Knight then led into Buldont Studio and shown around the bizarre soundstage where Acha introduces himself as Producer. They are given "Artificial Reality" goggles and are lead on a virtual train ride where they meet with Neko Signal.
Locker Knight on his soon-to-be-jacked horse
The now-familiar Toei soundstage
Neko Signal. What the hell were they smoking to come up with this?
Goro and Juri meet up with Shohei (Ohgreen), Yuji (Ohblue), and Momo (Ohpink) who are waiting for them just outside of Buldont Studio. They break into the studio in their groups just as the kidnapped kids are lead away on a bus. Once on the soundstage Shohei, Yuji, and Momo are attacked by Kabochumpkin while Goro and Juri fight Neko Signal and Jagchuck. After their brief seperate fights, all three monsters vanish forcing the now rejoined Ohrangers to travel through a mysterious portal to a battlefield.
Kabochumpkin. Note the horse's ass. Yes, he came out of that.
Jagchuck has a problem...
Once on the field they chase after the runaway bus with the kids, on horseback, after their driver is accidently shot. They manage to save the kids just in time before the bus explodes. They then try to escape, but are trapped on a suspension bridge which predictably breaks, causing the Ohrangers to fall and the kids to get kidnapped by Baranoia once again.
Honestly they probably do have more horsepower than that bus.
Bus goes boom following a fender bender.
'The bridge is out!' in this never before seen Tokusatsu trope.
The Ohrangers make it back to the battlefield where they discover that the masked grunts that the Barlo Soldiers have been fighting are really kidnapped people. The kidnapped kids are set up for execution but are saved by the Ohrangers just in time. After fighting off the Barlo Soldiers, they stun Locker Knight, Neko Signal, Kabochumpkin, and Jagchuck with a shot from the Big Bang Buster.
BARANOIA! -Goro [He has a special way of saying it]
Alright, this pose is pretty awesome.
All four monster combine into the gigantic Steampunk, which once again kidnaps the kids. Ohrangerrobo is summoned and the two begin fighting. Ohred enters Steampunk and retrieves the kids for the final time. Steampunk now transforms into a locomotive form to attempt to evade Ohrangerrobo. Ohrangerrobo does the Crown Final Crash while Steampunk is crossing a bridge which destroys the bridge and causes Steampunk to fall to his explosive death. Buldont, Acha, and Kocha abandon the studio and flee Earth.
Floating over the trees.
Kids recovered for the 987th and final time this movie.
Screw you, taxpayer!
Ohrangerrobo let gravity take care of this one...
A little bit about Ohranger before I talk about the movie...
Ohranger is a series I never fully got into. It's an alright show in retrospect, and I like many of the elements, but at the time I think I was just riding a Dairanger and Kakuranger high that left me kinda unimpressed with a show that is a little bit all over the place not long after it started. I have always said, however, that the first episode of Ohranger is one of the finest debut episodes for any Super Sentai Series. Even if you have no intention on watching the entire series of Ohranger, I highly recommend checking out the first episode. It's incredibly solid. The series as a whole, though...it's alright I suppose.
The movie, on the other hand, is a completely different animal.
The Ohranger Movie is possibly the most crazy bananas Tokusatsu feature ever made. I know that's a pretty bold statement, but this movie is just on a whole 'nother level of crazy. I mean even with the really long summary I typed, I left quite a bit out. There are just some really super-absurd moments peppered throughout the film. One of which I took a screencap of...
As the guitar carrying kidnapped human removes the legs from the creepy doll, you can see various props of Sentai series past discarded in the background. Chief of which is the Kiryoku Bazooka from Dairanger. You can also see some weapons from Zyuranger monsters laying around. Why are they there? Well, since this movie takes place at a studio they just filmed outside of their own studio. If you've ever watched that 2-hour Youtube video made during the first half of Dairanger, the setting will be familiar. Toei's lot is littered with discarded props as small as helmets and going all the way up to motorcycles. It's a sad sight to see a lot of awesome props laid to waste, but I guess it was nice seeing some of them one last time during the Ohranger movie.
Whoops, I sure did get off topic...
On top of being straight up weird, it is delightfully entertaining. There are plenty of little skirmishes throughout and, despite it's extended runtime, never a dull moment. Like the B-Fighter movie, this is just a solid feature that doesn't really reflect on the series itself. It has a pretty self-contained plot that relies on being a little more tongue-in-cheek over being super generic. After all, this is the Sentai 20th Anniversary movie. The little bits of pulling back of the curtain were certainly intentional. The behind-the-scenes bits were meant to be a love letter to longtime fans.
The flyer that Acha was dropping from the plane.
Ohranger dialogue was so predictable it was probably also in the script.
He even did up some storyboards.
The movie within the movie was even shot silently. So they had to go back and dub their lines?
I should also mention that the end credits sequence is a rollcall inside Camera Jack's lens of every character that appeared in the film shown during a lively performance of "When The Saints Go Marching In". Why? Who knows, it just adds to the wackiness.
This movie is a totally recommended watch even if you have no intention on check out Ohranger. It is definitely a dedicated film rather than a slightly longer episode that was too weak to show on TV like the usual Sentai movie. It's also easily a better film than Ohranger vs Kakuranger. So be sure to check this one out and try to make sense of it for yourself.
Toei really outdid themselves this year with three solid movies. We had the flashy concept film (Hakaider), the pure action film (B-Fighter) and the outlandish fun movie (Ohranger). For the first time we had an awesome year at the Toei Hero Fair...and how did they top it? They didn't. This was the last one. After this the Sentai movies were relegated to V-Cinema, J's stink killed off Rider until Kuuga came along and Metal Hero's decline sealed it's fate.
Toei Hero Fair '95 will go down in history as my favorite batch of Tokusatsu films and the ones I can't recommend enough. Seriously, you should check these movies out if you haven't already.