2020/01/30

Song Collection: Choriki Sentai Ohranger


Welcome to the other half of my 1995 double-feature. In addition to looking at the song collection from Jukou B-Fighter, I am here to talk about the song collection from Choriki Sentai Ohranger.

I've kinda talked *around* this song collection quite a bit in the past, but this is my first time talking about it proper. There is the first time that I took a look at the abandoned ending theme song. Then the other time I talked about it. There is a ton of weird history behind Ohranger songs...and yet I've never talked about the CD known as Choriki Sentai Ohranger Hit Songs.

So here it is. I'll be using my copy of Ohranger Hit Songs for this review...which I had to dig up for photos since I didn't have any in the archive.

Choriki Sentai Ohranger Hit Songs
COCC-12884
1995.09.21

Ohpink being layered in front of Ohred has ALWAYS bugged me...

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01. Ohre! Ohranger / Kentaro Hayami

The series theme song...and a fantastic theme song it is. While it's always been speculated that Niji iro Crystal Sky was the intended theme song of the series, there is no denying that this is great way to start every episode of Ohranger. Those early episode with the narration that lead into the theme song were really the best.

Over on my B-Fighter review I mentioned that that series had a textbook Tokusatsu theme song. So does Ohranger...

It may not be as sterile as the B-Fighter OP, but it certainly makes up for it in sheer force. When these series theme songs are created, these are the songs that everyone at Toei and Bandai have to put up with for an entire year. They can't suck... This is the type of song they need to make.

I might not think this is the best, but it's damn fine.

02. Niji iro Crystal Sky / Kentaro Hayami

Legendary song.

Not only was it used as the ending song in the final episode, but it was also used as the episode preview music fairly often. It (allegedly) was meant to be the opening theme song, and it shows. It also had KYOKO (again, check out the previous post about this song) all over it. The structure of the lyrics is 100% her style.

While it never made it as a regular theme song, it certainly left a lasting impression on fans.

03. Choriki Gattai! Ohrangerrobo / Kentaro Hayami, Mori no kijido gassho-dan

As mecha-heavy as Ohranger is, it only managed to have two mecha theme songs. This is one of the two themes...and something of a dud.

The thing is, I actually like Ohrangerrobo when they weren't doing those fever-dream training montages with Red Puncher. This song is the epitome of generic filler songs. It's peppy, but never really goes anywhere. Wasted potential, for sure.

04. Kagayaki no mai / Mari Sasaki

I've previously talked about my love of this song in the past. This is the theme song for Juri and Momo.

The slick music track complements the great vocal track by Mari Sasaki. Sasaki previously performed Tsuruhime's theme song on the Kakuranger Song Collection. I definitely prefer this track as it is a much more solid production all the way around. The vocal effects are used sparingly and with expert timing. Plus there is that great music track.

05. Action! Ohranger / Kentaro Hayami

As the name would suggest, this is an action song for the series. I dig it, but can't get over uber-generic lyrics like "Action Action! Go Go Go!" sometimes. Haha.

The rest of the lyrics contain roll calls of all of the toys you can buy the Ohranger weapon arsenal, etc. Generic, but perfectly serviceable and decent.

06. Acha Kocha ChaChaCha / Kaneta Kimotsuki, Shinobu Adachi

I really don't like this type of song, but it certainly has it's fans. This is the character song for Acha & Kocha. Much like the Bandora song from Zyuranger, this track managed to make it into the series.

I will give it credit where it's due...these two aren't bad singers. This song is tolerable as a result, but I generally skip over it.

One of the strangest single pages I've ever come across in any Columbia CD booklet.

07. Makka na toukon! Red Puncher!! / Hironobu Kageyama

One of my all-time favorite mecha theme songs. This is the version to get, by the way. The Super Hero Chronicle version cuts out the "In the Red corner..." intro that makes this song so magical.

Not only is this one of my favorite mecha songs, I think it may be my favorite Kageyama tokusatsu song. Yeah, even better than any of his series theme songs. This is when he was at his finest.

Kageyama isn't the sole thing great about this song, either. The music is wonderfully upbeat with it's horns and frantic energy. Nevermind the fact that this is the theme song for a robot that killed it's test pilot and later played hopscotch with Ohrangerrobo.

CHAMPION DA ZEEEeeee!

08. Ohranger Spirit / Kentaro Hayami

I think this song is an understated gem. It really isn't a full-on action song or anything, but it is a nice little motivational track. OK, it may be a little bit cheesy, but I like it. Especially the little change-up for the outro.

It's just a sweet little 90s song.

09. VICTORY FIGHT ~Shori wo tsukame! Ohranger~

The second of two Kageyema tracks on this song collection. While it's not as sharp as the Red Puncher theme, and let's face it...nothing is..., I still dig the action song-ness of this one. It's pretty catchy.

10. Kinkyuu Hasshin!! Ohranger / Kentaro Hayami

While the series ending song we got is much different from the one we didn't, the one we did get was excellent. Do you follow??

I've always had a soft spot for this ending song. This decade gave us a lot of variety when it came to closing out Sentai series, but there wasn't a single stinker. Yeah, even the Fiveman ending song isn't bad.

The measure of a great ending song is the imagery that comes along with it. I can't not think of the montage-y ending of the series when I hear this.


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While I don't think this song collection is for everyone, I've always been a big fan of it. It's fairly consistent, which is something that seems to be elusive when it comes to these song collections. It also has juuust the right amount of variety. There are only a handful of singers, a single character song, and the super-popular song with Niji iro Crystal Sky.

I definitely recommend this song collection. The behind-the-scenes weirdness somehow lead to one of the most decently normal song collection. It's very good though, even if it's a bit scant at only ten tracks.



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Don't forget to check out the B-Fighter Song Collection while you're here.

See ya!

-CC

Previously...

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Blue SWAT Song Collection
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Song Collection
The CD Collection

Song Collection: Jukou B-Fighter


Welcome to my review of the song collection from the 1995 Toei Metal Hero Series Jukou B-Fighter! What better time than the 25th anniversary to review the song collection from this series and Choriki Sentai Ohranger?

The B-Fighter song collection is something of an odd duck. Not only was it released under two different labels, but the entire song collection has just one singer--Shinichi Ishihara.

For what essentially Shinichi Ishihara's fourth and final (to date) album...just how is it?

For this review I'll be listening via my trusty Super Hero Chronicle Metal Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu III. I previously took a look at the entire CD series in this woefully incomplete post.



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01. Jukou B-Fighter / Shinichi Ishihara

Textbook definition of a great Tokusatsu theme song. It's action-packed, incredibly catchy, and really is a song that works as a fight song as well. It may not be my all-time favorite Metal Hero theme song, but there is no denying that this is really a perfect example of getting it right.

The only critique I think I have about this song is that it's just a little too sterile. Shinichi Ishihara is wonderful and as lively as you would expect him to be, but something is missing in the overall emotion of the song.

That said...awesome theme song. It's definitely the last of the Metal Hero greats.

02. Shutsugeki! Beet Machine / Shinichi Ishihara

The series mecha theme song...and it's a great little song. If Shinichi Ishihara is great at two things, it's theme songs and mecha theme songs. So far we're two for two!

I genuinely prefer this song over the Ohrangerrobo song of the same year. The only thing that sucks is probably the Beet Machines themselves. Don't get me wrong, they're cool...but I feel like they almost exclusively lived in stock footage.

Great song. It's the song that was chosen to represent the series in Toei Metal Hero Karaoke Collection Vol.2.

03. Kono hoshi no tame naraba / Shinichi Ishihara

Technically this is an ending song as it was used to close out the B-Fighter movie.

Of all of the songs here, I probably enjoy this one the most. While this isn't an action song, it certainly is lively. Shinichi Ishihara himself is closer to the sound that he would later have in his GoGo Five songs and less of the soulful schtick that he put on for his solo albums. I'll have to cover those albums of his someday...

The fact that this was used as the movie ending song and not the series ending song definitely plays to it's strengths.

04. Imakoso shouri o / Shinichi Ishihara

Here's where we hit a big slowdown.

This song is so weird. Ishihara's singing is incredibly out of place here. The music itself sounds like a slower, bizarro version of the previous track. I could never get into this one, but I never really skip it when I listen to this song collection. Possibly because it sounds like it could be a scratch take from his album Positive Groover.

05. Susume! Konchu senshi / Shinichi Ishihara

This song is an alright fight song. I think the thing that I don't like about it is that it sounds a little bit like something out of the largely awful BF Kabuto song collection. Yeah...I dread the day that I get to that one...

Again, this song is alright. I hate the spazzy percussion.

06. Shiawase wa itsumo okurete kurukara / Shinichi Ishihara

A ballad! A not-great ballad.

Ishihara has proven that he can handle this type of song with ease, but something is just off with his voice here. Everything is just a little bit off, to be honest. Let's listen to this Ishihara song instead...

07. Senshi tachi yo / Shinichi Ishihara

I really, really don't understand this song.

This is like a weird samba fever dream with upbeat singing. I almost want to say that this song is inappropriate for Ishihara, but I don't think this song is appropriate -fullstop-. What is this?

Yeah, I usually skip this one. It's just so weird...and bland...and it goes on for far too long.

08. Chikyuu Koukou / Shinichi Ishihara

The series ending song. While this is probably the slowest of slow ending songs out there, I actually enjoy it greatly. It's a great contrast to the fast-faced opening theme song.

Ishihara really nails this one. He is singing against the wispiest melody and really does a perfect job.

From experience I have heard some complaints that this song is a real snoozer, but I don't hear it. When you have a great singer coupled with a wonderful composition, it really can bring even the slowest tune to life.

09. Kurokishi BLACK BEET / Shinichi Ishihara

Ehhh. This song is alright.

Again, this song sounds like a proto-BF Kabuto song. It's about a bad guy, so let's make it a little spooky sounding. Feh. It doesn't even do sinister all that well.

Since Black Beet was the antithesis of the B-Fighters, why not do like they did in Carranger and play off the series theme song in some way? This is just bland.

10. Tatakae!! Mega Hercules / Shinichi Ishihara

I like 92% of this song.

It may not be as good as the Beet Machine theme, but it's definitely a solid, upbeat mecha theme. The only thing that absolutely sucks about this song is when it randomly breaks into carnival music toward the end. It's INCREDIBLY jarring and really screws up an otherwise competent mecha theme song.

So close...and yet so far...

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Before I get into my final judgement on this song collection, I want to talk about the original release of these songs. The song collection proper was released by Forte Music Entertainment and only contained the first eight tracks listed above. The final two tracks were released as a CD single by Columbia once the Forte name folded and the rights reverted back to Columbia. I hope this clears up why there are two tracks after the series ending song. I was more interested in listing them in chronological order.

Do I recommend this song collection? Meh. It's high points are definitely great, but a lot of it is just Forte being awful. Though the two Columbia songs aren't great either. The opening, ending, Beet Machine and movie ending themes are all spectacular, but the rest is just a waste of a great singer.

For the Ishihara completionist, this is a must. Otherwise just stick to the well-known tracks and you can't go wrong.

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Be sure to check out my look at the Ohranger Song Collection as well!

Bye now!

-CC

Previously...

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Blue SWAT Song Collection
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Song Collection
The CD Collection

2019/12/22

Toy Story: Dragon Ball Z Super Battle Collection Movie 7 3-Pack


It's time for another toy story. This time around I am going to do something a little bit different. I will be taking a closer look at the legendary Dragonball Z Movie 7 Super Battle Collection set. 

I really want to examine what gives this particular toy it's everlasting popularity. Something compelled me to buy this toy back after selling it about a decade ago...and I really want to know what made me do it. What made this toy so special? Is it a good toy on it's own, or is it's legacy the result of the circumstance? I suppose the best way to go about this is to talk about all of the factors around this toy before digging into the toy itself.

Super Battle Collection - Chosenshi Daizen


Dragonball Z began it's anime run in 1989 but didn't see it's first line of articulated plastic action figures until 1991 with the Super Battle Collection. These figures began life as high-quality, hand-painted figures that were released in "Volumes" and manufactured in Japan. These Japanese-made figures are largely referred to as the "1992" versions despite the first two volumes being released in 1991 and the final two volumes (Super Saiyan Gohan & Super Saiyan Broly) being released in 1993. Naturally this line began with Son Gokou and haphazardly progressed from there. Here is a snap of what figures were released by the end of 1992...


Kinda disappointing seeing as the series has a fairly diverse cast of heroes and villains. 

After the 1993 additions of SS Gohan and SS Broly, the series was shifted from Bandai Japan to Bandai Asia. The Bandai Japan figures were re-released with all-new bland artwork and a somewhat dull finish. New volumes were also produced and...well, they were awful. Volumes 11-18 are very poorly sculpted figures. Things pick up starting with Super Saiyan Vegetto as Volume 19. The series transitions over to Dragonball GT starting with Volume 28 and concluded with Volume 42 -- Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta. 

The Super Battle Collection was a staple of any Dragonball fan of the 90s' collection. The line never really shook it's problem of focusing on Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Trunks, but it was pretty expansive at the end of the day. These figures saw re-release upon re-release through various divisions of Bandai and the likes of Canadian brand Irwin. 

The lone exception? The Movie 7 Super Saiyan 3-Pack.

Dragonball Z Movie 7: Kyokugen Battle! San Dai Super Saiyajin 


The seventh entry in the Dragonball Z film series was released on July 11, 1992 during the '92 Summer Toei Anime Fair. Like many Dragonball Z movies it followed a plot that somewhat mirrored what was going on in the TV series with disposable alternate bad guys. This movie in particular follows the arrival and defeat of the forgotten Jinzoningen 13, 14, and 15 (the series was featuring Jinzoningen 16-20 at this point). 

The thing that made this movie special is that it was the first appearance of all three Super Saiyan in a movie. The previous, and personal favorite DBZ Movie, Gekitotsu!! Hyaku-oku Power no senshi-tachi!, featured Super Saiyan Goku and Vegeta...but didn't quite have a reason for Trunks to be involved since it took place on the New Planet Namek.

Honestly, I didn't really dig the seventh movie all that much, but it was an alright entry. The three new Jinzoningen were all table-scrap designs and the plot was genuinely non-existent. I don't even recall the animation being all that spectacular either. Even the Hironobu Kageyama ending song Giri-Giri - Sekai Kyokugen is a weak ripoff of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song

Trunks' movie debut is what made this movie special. 

Super Battle Collection - Keshuu San Dai Super Saiyajin


In conjunction with the release of Movie 7, Bandai Japan released a set of the three Super Saiyans from the film -- Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks. Even though these are re-issues of three existing figures, there are varying differences to each figure to make them entirely unique to this set.

Super Saiyan Son Gokou


Previously released as Volume 2 in the Super Battle Collection, this figure actually has some substantial changes to more closely emulate Goku's look in the movie. For one, his belt is no longer a belt, rather a...sash? Band? In addition to this, his top is no longer a tank-top style, but rather a full shirt. This kinda hinders articulation, but who really cares?


The biggest change, however, has to be his hair. Not even taking into account the new, smooth gold look of his hair...it's an entirely new sculpt. The hair for Vol. 2 SS Goku was totally fine even if the bangs were a little weird. I'm kinda perplexed on why they felt the need to redo his hair for this set. Even more perplexing is that they didn't bother to make tweaks to his face sculpt since there are some dead spots where his hair previously covered. The outer edges of his eyebrows are missing on both sides.


Again...weird.

Super Saiyan Vegeta


The two biggest changes here are the corrected name (Vol. 7 erroneous calls him just "Super Vegeta" rather than Super Saiyan Vegeta--this mistake was even carried over to the Bandai Asia releases) and the smooth gold tone to his hair. Otherwise, this is the same terrible Super Saiyan Vegeta figure that Vol. 7 is. Of the Bandai Japan Super Battle Collection figures, Vol.7 is easily the weakest...which also kinda makes it the easiest to obtain. 


I'm not a big Vegeta fan, but even I feel like Bandai screwed his figures up most of the time.


Super Saiyan Trunks


This is the figure that makes the set in most collector's eyes. 

Trunks was previously released as Vol. 5 in the regular SBC line. Despite only really being a cool character as a Super Saiyan, this set is really the only place you can get the Super Battle Collection Super Saiyan Future Trunks in his Capsule Corp gear. 


The hair sculpt is spot on. Really, this should have also seen an individual release when you look at how much effort went into nailing the hair. 


One thing that will either make or break the value of this set is the accessory bag that comes with Trunks. Fortunately the Goku figure in this set ditched his sticker sheet, but Trunks still has his along with a belt, sword, and sheath.


The funny thing is...some intrepid bootleggers solved the problem that Bandai created. Honestly, I wouldn't mind adding that one to my collection some day.

The set overall...


If you've been reading this far you probably think this is the most mediocre set based on the most mediocre movie of the most mediocre anime ever created. When you break it down that way, this set certainly doesn't seem like something I would collect. Dragonball has some incredible moments, but I could never sit through the TV anime. The manga is great beginning to end, and the movies are almost always entertaining despite the fact that Broly is overrated (Movie 10 was fun at least...before he became a poop monster). 

The thing that draws the collectors, myself included, back to the SBC 3-pack is...


Look at it. It is a masterclass of artwork and toy packaging. There isn't a single bit of wasted space. There are no offensive colors or graphics. I own tons of toys, and I firmly believe that the Movie 7 3-pack has the best packaging of them all. The only caveat is that it has to be perfect or pretty damn close to it.

I've owned this set in the past. Back in 2000 I managed to get my first set. It was complete with an unused Trunks accessory bag, but the box was pretty well beat to hell. I ended up selling it circa 2010 and always had a tinge of regret despite making a pretty healthy profit. 


Something compelled me to start searching for a replacement a couple of months ago when I almost immediately stumbled upon a minter that was not only a legit auction (more on that later), but from a seller in my State. After making some offers, I procured my second set at a price that I would consider extremely fair for both of us. We arranged for a local pick-up and I'm glad we did, because the seller was a great dude to chat with -- he's even a Sentai fan. 

The set I have now is just as complete as my previous set, but in a far cleaner box. The ears on the flaps are a little warped due to age, but really I couldn't be happier to have a super-clean Super Battle Collection Movie 7 3-Pack in the family once again. This is a set worthy of the incredible artwork that a nameless designer at Bandai totally aced.

Should you decide to proceed on your own...

This is a set that is highly susceptible to scams. I'm not going to lie when I say there really is no perfect way to buy one of these. Unfortunately this is what lead me to watermark all of the images with my web address. Hopefully it isn't too intrusive, but I also didn't want anyone to get scammed by someone lifting my images. 

The usual precautions apply. Try to stick to ebay even if it means paying more...you'll at least have that safety net. Be sure to do your research on the seller...and don't be afraid to ask questions. A lot of sellers based in Japan are middlemen who might not even have the item on-hand. They might be listing the item based on a listing on either Yahoo Japan Auctions or Mercari with a substantial mark-up. While there isn't anything inherently wrong with that, they won't be able to provide additional details on an item if something isn't clear.

The biggest thing to keep an eye out for is that Trunks accessory bag. Honestly, I can't stand what this set looks like with a used or missing accessory bag. For there to be this big, blank white space on the front of an otherwise gorgeous box is a damn shame. Even a used accessory bag is better than no accessory bag. Some less honest sellers might include an accessory bag from a Hong Kong Trunks figure, which features a much duller sword and different sticker sheet.

Fortunately the figures themselves are harder to fake and outside of that bootleg Trunks, I've never encountered a bootleg version of this set.


So what makes this set so special? It's a perfect storm of rarity, history, and a dash of nostalgia. It's a bit of my history as well. It's good to let things go, but it's also worth exploring regret when you find that item that you shouldn't have let go.

More than anything...it's just a rad thing to have on a shelf.

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It may not be a Tokusatsu toy, but I wanted to share something that truly brings me some joy and was a legit score for me in this godawful year. 2019 wasn't a great year for me, so I'll take what I can get.

Anyway...I'll be seeing you in 2020! I have some great things lined up for the new year. In the meantime you can check out my previous Toy Stories or maybe even my takedown of that lousy Netflix doc.

See ya!

-CC

Previously...

Running To Horizon: 30 Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast
Chodenshi Bioman Song Collection
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers



Extra Images...







P.S. Movie 6 really was a thousand times better than Movie 7. The ending song was awesome and even Metal Coola was fun. How great would it have been if they did a Movie 6 3-pack with Super Saiyan Goku, Super Saiyan Vegeta, and an all new Metal Coola figure?

2019/12/09

Running to Horizon: Thirty Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast


It's time to stray a little bit off-course. I largely focus on Tokusatsu-related topics here on CCLemon99.com, but every once in awhile I have to give something outside of my realm a fair shout. Back in 2018 I reviewed every Akina Nakamori album. I spent an entire month covering thirty-five years worth of albums and a few extras. It was...an experience. I don't anticipate doing anything crazy like that again, but every once in awhile something special comes along for me to talk about.

Today, on the thirtieth anniversary of it's release, I'll be talking about Tetsuya Komuro's 1989 electronic epic Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast.

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To sum up Tetsuya Komuro's career in short is damn near impossible. He was one-third of the popular long-running group TM Network. Beyond that, his talents allowed him to break off to produce several pop songs in the 1980s before launching a full-blown solo debut with the album Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast.

Following the release of this album, things absolutely took off for Komuro. He went on to compose, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate, and produce some of the best selling music of the 1990s (and the Speed 2 theme). Again, it's impossible to briefly sum up just how important and prolific Komuro is to Japanese popular music. On the list of the top twenty best-selling singles in Japan, he has his hands on the entries in the 14th (Namie Amuro Can You Celebrate?), 15th (Globe Departures), and 17th (H Jungle With t WOW WAR TONIGHT~Toki niwa okose yo Movement) spots.

The end of the story is a lot less rosy for Komuro. He ended up in some pretty hefty legal troubles in 2008, but managed to avoid prison after a bailout by avex, the record label he was affiliated with. He managed to maintain his career for another decade before being entwined in another scandal, which prompted his abrupt retirement from the music business in 2018.

While his name was always out there during the early years of TM Network, largely due to his supreme skills pioneering a new era of electronic music in Japan, he didn't become a name in his own right until he went solo. He has a unique and somewhat unusual voice, but that didn't seem to hold him back when it came to fronting his own disc. I can understand how someone wouldn't be a fan of his vocals, but I dig them.

Let's eat!

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Tetsuya Komuro Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast
ESCB-1013
1989.12.09

01. DIGITALIAN

To set the mood our endeavor begins with an incredibly dense instrumental track. In later years TK had become increasingly theatrical with 30+ minute versions of Get Wild, but this is really the genesis of what would later become a staple of TM Network live shows. These long, sweeping tracks with endless little layers piled on top of one another generate some incredible hype for music that will never disappoint.

02. SHOUT

DIGITALIAN leads directly into SHOUT. SHOUT is really the place where you're really going to want to make up your mind on whether or not you want to continue with this album. If you do, you'll be greatly rewarded...but as I mentioned, TK's voice is certainly unique.

One of TK's greatest hallmarks, particularly in this era, was his habit of either taking these usually long breaks during the middle of the song from his vocals and his propensity for incredibly detailed and extended intros. This song has both. His vocals don't kick in for almost an entire minute and he takes a one minute, twenty second break from singing smack in the middle of the song. Both times are used to incredible effect of building up the power of this song.

I honestly can't think of a better jumping point from DIGITALIAN.

03. OPERA NIGHT

While the previous two tracks are a bit more on the sterile side, OPERA NIGHT is a bit less tense and a lot more fun. It manages to accomplish all of this while maintaining the electronic flow-throughout.

Listen carefully when you check this one out. There is so much going on from start to finish to make up the beat.

04. I WANT YOU BACK

This is the first song on the album that I would call "catchy".

TK likely agreed with this sentiment because he later produced a song for the entirely forgettable girl group CoCo called Haru Milky Way that is VERBATIM the melody from I WANT YOU BACK. I'm not kidding. It's a direct copy minus about ten layers of music stripped out of it.

I WANT YOU BACK is great, though. TK once again employs his trick of building the perfect momentum through a increasingly dense intro and uses a fun little key change when moving into the coda before it gently fades out.

05. GRAVITY OF LOVE

An incredibly chill song. This is TK's second single and it also peaked at number one on the oricon singles chart.

Even in it's slower pace, there is plenty of things here to keep you hooked. The ever-present density is just as available for study as it is elsewhere and subtle little jabs like the random section of English lyrics definitely give this otherwise mundane song some interesting flair.

06. HURRAY FOR WORKING LOVERS

OK, story time. I was randomly listening to this song while working on something at work overnight with a coworker who was wearing headphones and doing his own thing. All of the sudden he was like "OH MY GOD THAT WAS INCREDIBLE! WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO??" just as the sax solo had ended. I didn't realize it, but he basically stopped listening to his bullshit and just started jamming to my TK.

This song...is truly the underrated hit of the album. Personally I think TK's vocals are at their best here. I'm kinda sad knowing I'll never have fresh ears for this album like my co-worker did, but he definitely made me *really* appreciate the Stan Harrison saxophone solo that slides in so perfectly with this otherwise entirely synthetic beat.

07.  NEVER CRY FOR ME

This is another song that TK was quite fond of and later re-purposed. The fresh-lyric version later appeared as the theme song for the 1990 Toei film Ten to chi to. Personally I'm a little more into the film version as it works more as an orchestrated tune than a fully-produced one.

When I say that NEVER CRY FOR ME is the produced version, I mean that very lightly. This is the most stripped-sounding song on the entire album--easily the most instrument-heavy track. Somehow it still fits in very well. A nice little breath of reality.

08. WINTER DANCE

As I am writing this review thirty years to the day of the album's release, it is cold, infinitely dark, and pouring down with sleet. If it were snowing outside, it would be the ideal scenario for this song. I don't know how, but this instrumental track really captures that Winter feeling for me. Is the synclavier an instrument typically associated to cold weather? To me it is...

It really should come as no surprise that TK's follow-up to this album, Hit Factory, has a beach-themed instrumental track that fits into the glitzy beach theme of that album. He also produced a quadruple album of instrumental music broken into seasons. The man knows his seasonal ambient music.

09. RUNNING TO HORIZON

Ohhhh yeah. The big daddy track of this album. Here it is all the way at the end. This is also the first single from the album AND a number one single on the oricon singles chart. How's that for a debut? Well...except that he had been a major musician for five years at this point with TM Network.

A little back story to this song. RUNNING TO HORIZON is the theme song to the thirteen-episode City Hunter 3 from 1989. Both City Hunter and City Hunter 2 frequented TM Network songs (Get Wild, Still Love Her) and even a song from the TM Network touring band Fence of Defense (Sara). It only makes sense that CH3 kept it in the family by using a song from Tetsuya Komuro.

Like SHOUT, this song has this incredible sprawling intro that builds this awesome momentum. From there it is just this wonderful assault of just pure pop music. TK bends the lyrics in a mighty bid to avoid disturbing the impeccably constructed flow of the music.

It's incredibly easy to compare RUNNING TO HORIZON to TM Network's Dive Into Your Body since they was recorded concurrently, but these are two very different songs. Outside of the similar backing vocals, both are just these wonderfully constructed and LOUD pop songs.

Think of the hits of Stock, Aitkman, and Waterman. I love 'em. Just shameless and unapologetic bangers. Songs like this, and this (it's relevant), and this (even though it's completely stolen from this). RUNNING TO HORIZON is obviously a bit more complex than any of those songs, but their all of the same ilk.

When it comes to a good pop song, I'm a sucker. This song is pop song perfection.

The opening animation for City Hunter 3 cuts down a lot of the awesome intro of the song, but it is easily my favorite of the intros in the franchise.

10. CHRISTMAS CHORUS

Since this album has a December release and Christmas songs have a habit of becoming an annual tradition if they're good enough, here we are. This song did get to be the third and final single from the album, but it peaked at number two. So close to that trifecta.

You know what? TK does sincere incredibly well. TM Network bandmate Naoto Kine provides some wonderful strings, and the children's choir is very effectively used.

I will take this a THOUSAND times over TM Network's Christmas song of the same era. It's a very sweet and simple close to our journey of an album.

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For a musician that comes from a band that I've always given a solid "B" to, Tetsuya Komuro totally excels as a solo act and producer. This album has no fat. None. Everything on this disc is 100% necessary. It's ten tracks, forty-nine minutes of just solid music. There isn't a single song here that is out of place, there isn't a single dud of a song. It is literally THE album of the tail end of Japan's bubble.

Is it my favorite JPOP album of the 1980s? Nope. It's definitely up there, though. My heart 100% belongs to Akina Nakamori's Stock for the record. The interaction I had with my coworker is proof-positive that TK was a goddamn genius producer. From here...he would only go on to rule the 90s...

Digitalian is Eating Breakfast even has a legacy of it's own, getting a sequel in 2011 and 2013. How are they? Never heard them. The samples were kinda off-putting...but I may check them out some day.

Is this album worth your time? YES. At the very minimum, RUNNING TO HORIZON is a fabulous song, but as a whole it is an experience from start to end.

Here's to 10,958 breakfasts...and many more!

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It's always nice to talk about one of my favorite albums. Be sure to check out some of the posts I wrote about TM Network previously...and my month-long Akina Nakamori marathon if you dare.

See ya!

-CC

TM Network Original Singles 1984-1999
TM Network Get Wild Song Mafia
Akina Nakamori Month

2019/11/30

Song Collection: Chodenshi Bioman


Welcome back to my series of reviews on Tokusatsu series song collections. This time around I am taking a listen to a song collection that I've been avoiding for some time. I've alluded to my thoughts on these songs in both my Goggle V and Machineman song collection reviews. In my previous, and somewhat completely unrelated post about a garbage Netflix toy documentary, I even mention the series proper in passing.

It's time to talk about Chodenshi Bioman songs I guess.

For this post I'll be listening to my copy of the Chodenshi Bioman Complete Song Collection from 1996. I briefly talked about that disc here in the past.


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01. Chodenshi Bioman / Takayuki Miyauchi

100% Overrated.

I know a lot of people hold this series theme song near and dear for nostalgic reasons in the Philippines, but it's just a lousy theme song for all the parts that aren't 01:04 ~ 01:18. Those fourteen seconds don't save it, though.

I should back up a bit. This is the first Super Sentai outing for the now legendary Takayuki Miyauchi. He handles the theme songs and a handful of additional songs in this collection. His singing is perfectly serviceable on this track and all of the following tracks, but the music just doesn't match his style...at all. Miyauchi has a powerful voice...a voice that really shined during his stint as the resident Metal Hero songster between 1990 and 1992.

This theme song...with it's middling pace, uninspired bassline, and goddamn xylophone are a horrible waste of a Super Sentai theme song. Think of the Dynaman theme song...think of the Changeman theme song. This mundane slab of nothing is like watching a competitive snail race.

I know I previously railed on the xylophone being the worst part of this song, but then I remembered a far superior theme song from just a year prior that had everything the Bioman theme song has and does it 100% better. Yes, I'm talking about Aura Dunbine Battler's Dunbine tobu by the brilliant MIO (MIQ these days). I really want you to dissect both songs. The forceful singer, the xylophone, the bassline. EVERYTHING is better in Dunbine tobu and yet the songs are incredibly friggin similar.

I better stop talking about MIQ. Everytime I do, I get bummed out about her lack of Tokusatsu songs outside of her lone Gekiranger jam...and a cover of Sharivan's Danger Melody...

02. Oretachi Bioman / Takayuki Miyauchi, Koorogi '73

Kicking this thing off with...an incredibly boring song. Again, Miyauchi does his best with what he has, but this isn't his type of song. The best thing I can say about it is that this is the perfect amount of Koorogi '73 that any song should have. You know...background singers.

03. Sexual Lady / Maki Ishido

This song gets a lot of love for reasons that are beyond me. It's appearance in Gaoranger vs Super Sentai probably has something to do with it.

The engrishy title aside, this song isn't particularly fun. Maki Ishido isn't a great singer, either. The fact that I know her from nothing else probably speaks to that.

I guess the only other thing this song has to offer is this choice random engrish lyric: You are rhythmical dancer. Well.....yeah. Aren't dancers typically following a rhythm? You are interpretive dancer.

04. Blue Togetherness / Takayuki Miyauchi

Ahhh. Another overrated gem from Gaoranger vs Super Sentai.

I genuinely prefer the BGM version of this song over the vocal version. I should probably explain. The Bioman music collection features some modified versions of the vocal songs on a level that I don't think any other series reaches. Sometimes you'll hear lashings of songs in the BGM. Series composer Tatsumi Yano takes solid chunks of his songs and works them into the BGM. It's odd and, in pretty much every case, the BGM version is better.

05. Oozora kakete! / Koorogi '73, Japan Echo Singers

What the hell is this song?

It's certainly fun and peppy, but it isn't very good. Before I start this song collection project I had fond memories of Koorogi '73. Now that I've reviewed several song collections that have appearances by them, I'm beginning to question my assessment. Their suckitude far outweighs their decency.

I appreciate this song's liveliness in an otherwise bland song collection so far, but there is a very good reason why I skip this one often.

06. Colorful Bioman / Takayuki Miyauchi, Koorogi '73, Japan Echo Singers

Ugh.

The way this song farts along just makes me want to snooze. That's damn near impossible, though, seeing as the synth is set at it's most shrill setting. The contents of this song are a stark reminder that Super Sentai is children's programming. Colors...and numbers...! At four and a half minutes, this song goes on longer than it would take to get shot and bleed out. Guess which one is more preferable...

...the song of course, but that doesn't mean it doesn't suck.

07. Yumemiru Peebo / Yoshiko Ota, Columbia Yurikago-kai

UGH.

OK, so this is the song that people seem to bring up every time robot helper songs are the topic. For some reason I went into this listen thinking that it was as bad as Flashman's Mag song. NOPE. This is far worse. Irritating lyrics aside, Yoshiko Ota is NOT up to singing a song. The warbly notes are easily the worst I've heard in a Tokusatsu song prior to like 2001. Oof.

08. Biorobo no uta / Takayuki Miyauchi

By FAR the best song of the song collection. Like...not enough to justify any of the crap before it, but it's great.

When your debut mecha theme song is this flippin' good it's no wonder Toei would call you back several times over. I'm willing to say this is the first major Sentai mecha theme song. The Dynarobo theme is *sooooo* close to this greatness, but Miyauchi's voice has finally met it's match with the music. Perfect. When the finisher BGM closes out this song...AH *chef's kiss*

Seriously... 03:08 to the end are just perfection. You can be excused for not buying the Bioman music collection, because the best bit is right here.

09. Yuuyake no Pegasus / Ryosuke Sakamoto

Hey...a song by Red One himself, Ryosuke Sakamoto. You know what...I've always really liked this one. Sakamoto is actually a really decent singer. The song itself is fast-paced and actually really chill. It reminds me of some of the songs from the much better Machineman song collection of the same year. Even the end is fairly sweet in how it closes out.

This one gets regular play from me for good reason. I genuinely like it as a song.

10. Biomic Soldier / Takayuki Miyauchi

Billy Joel. Tell Her About It.

In case you were wondering where your brain heard this one before. I know a common connection people make is Wham!'s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (a song that famously got it's name from a typo), but that song was released *after* Biomic Soldier. Tell Her About It is from 1983, so yeah. It is something of a generic peppy beat, though. Playing Biomic Soldier over either of those two songs is pretty uncanny.

Biomic Soldier is...alright. Fun in a very, very stupid way. I used to actively dislike this song, but I would be a hypocrite to like Zyuranger's goofy Bouken shite rapappiya and not like this. I guess. Miyauchi actually does line up with this one pretty well given the song has a pulse.

11. Chodenshi Bioman [Original Karaoke]

12. Oretachi Bioman [Original Karaoke]

13. Sexual Lady [Original Karaoke]

14. Blue Togetherness [Original Karaoke]

15. Oozora kakete! [Original Karaoke]

16. Coloful Bioman [Original Karaoke]

17. Yumemiru Peebo [Original Karaoke]

18. Biorobo no uta [Original Karaoke]

19. Yuuyake no Pegasus [Original Karaoke]

20. Biomic Soldier [Original Karaoke]

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I had some reservations about reviewing this song collection after my previous post about the unwatchable Power Rangers episode of The Toys That Made Us, but I guess it's time for this to happen. Negative November in full effect...

This song collection is terrible. I would even give the frankly bizarre Uchuu Keiji Shaider song collection a listen over the Bioman songs any day. Even Miyauchi's Shaider song is better than most of what's here. You have a wonderful singer who is woefully under-utilized on top of some of the most boring songs to accompany a Tokusatsu series. It's bad...and I really don't understand the acclaim outside of the sudden sharp turn this takes once you get to the Biorobo theme on the disc.

If you really need a Bioman fix, I would check out Tatsumi Yano's Bioman music collection instead. It's definitely something I play fairly often since it has all of the good bits from the song collection woven into a lot of the music.

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That's that for the Bioman song collection. Check out my CD Collection page and until next time...

Miracle Bio Electron Laser Beam!*

-CC

Previously...

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Song Collection
Seiun Kamen Machineman Song Collection
The CD Collection

*Yes, I know that's Bycrosser. You really need to check out my post about The Toys That Made Us. Fuck those idiots...

2019/11/17

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers


I've lost my edge. In recent years I've really felt the need to stop blasting things mercilessly. Maybe I've become more passive about things because nothing really matters. Maybe the fact that my line of work is largely in the shadows has left me with a "I'll give it a pass, somebody worked really hard on this" kind of attitude towards creative endeavors. Maybe things aren't so bad after all...that I was the problem.

So......I watched the Power Rangers episode of the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us...

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Here's a little back story to this whole debacle. I knew what I was getting into before I watched this show. When the Power Rangers episode was first announced for Season 3 back in the Summer of 2018, I decided to check out the Transformers episode since I figured it would be on par with what we could expect for our Power Rangers episode. The format and editing was cringe-as, but it was full of information for someone like me who really didn't know anything about the franchise outside of Diaclone history. I knew a bit more about the history coming out and really learned quite a bit about the toys and their creation. Given the crappy format, however, I had incredibly low expectations going into my viewing of the MMPR episode. It could only go up from there, right?

The MMPR episode was so awful that it made me question every positive thought that I had about the Transformers episode. I question the validity of everything I heard. I don't trust their overdubbing of what anything that anyone at Takara had to say. The credibility is gone.

I think this type of show is meant for the casual dork who blindly hitches their wagon onto everything nerdy. The type of schlub who Funko Pop executives masturbate furiously, frequently and violently to just before securing another licensed property that totally needs more toys. The type of shithead who thinks they're edgy for thinking that Star [Trek/Wars] is more refined and sophisticated than Star [Trek/Wars]. Despite Tokusatsu, and Power Rangers by association, being the only thing in my pop culture wheelhouse (I would legit be a 100% car bore otherwise) this episode was not meant for me. It wasn't meant for my laser focus on the subject to point out the incredible errors shat out everywhere in this corny documentary.

So for you, dear reader, I am going to watch this piece of shit one more time and record some of the errors and grievances that stick out as I go...

-Intro: The first of many chalk jokes. Get ready for some knee-slappers.
-"Kamen Rider is the first Henshin Hero." 'Fraid not...
-Not mentioning the Popy name when speaking of Bandai is forgivable since brevity is key, but maybe a little more history than "Yeah, they've been around since the 50s lol" would've been enlightening versus stock footage of their morning exercise routine.
-Repeatedly referring to Shotaro Ishinomori as "Japan's Stan Lee" fits your narrative I guess, but it's horribly reductive considering Ishinomori had an enormous career outside of heroes as well. That may sound like a dig at Stan Lee...and I guess it is, but whatever.
-Fansub Denjiman and Sunvulcan clips?? I guess Youtube was the source for a lot of their clips. How did any of this get cleared?
-Margaret Loesch is talking about Stan Lee and their combined efforts to attempt to adapt Sun Vulcan for the US. The quality of the clips used tends to oscillate between crystal clear and 240p.
-Trouble at Bandai lead to Bandai America and the Godaikin line flop in America. That's great...except it was almost framed in a way juuust to bring up Transformers and another effin' chalk joke. Also, Bandai America was really founded back in the 60s as Bandai Overseas. The way the info is dropped here makes it sound like it was formed overnight in 1982 with the sole purpose to sell off unsold Chogokin toys.
-Oh, and the Godaikin line wasn't even the first attempt at Sentai toys in America. Mattel imported some toys over from Japan in the 70s. Godaikin was Bandai's first attempt, but not the first attempt.
-Our boy Saban tells the story about Bioman being his first Super Sentai experience over a montage of Super Sentai footage........that inexplicably begins with a clip from Kyodai Ken Bycrosser. You know, the very much NOT SUPER SENTAI SERIES Kyodai Ken Bycrosser...
-OK, so there is a weird run where the Toei group is talking about how they thought Saban was "crazy" and a "loud guy" (lol) and these little hit and run reaction shots from Saban are thrown in. It's horribly distracting. All of this is played over *sigh* this. Please...for the love of everything that is holy...RETIRE THIS FUCKING MUSIC. Did Saban's meeting with Toei in 1984 take place in 1955? No? Why is this piece of shit music playing? It's 2019, Happy-Go-Lively is unacceptable. Ren & Stimpy made wonderful use of it in the 90s, but it's gone on to be the "corny music" of choice for shitlords ever since to the point where it's lost all meaning and is just obnoxious.
-Probably worth noting that the aforementioned Bioman and subsequent series would become a big success in Europe, South America, and Asia to build up Saban's strong, yet failed case for adaptation.
-No mention of the 1987 comedy Dynaman dub here in the US.
-Margaret Loesch talking about Sentai and the deal that she inked with Saban, there are Power Rangers clips of varying quality playing. First off, we're kinda jumping the gun with the season 2 MMPR clips since, in the narrative of the episode, the pilot hasn't even been shot yet. Second...what's with the inconsistent quality of the clips again?
-Talking about Zyuranger with some Zyuranger clips playing. Fantastic. Great. Finally, something lines up. Except why were the clips a mix of fansubs (white text) and Shout!Factory's subtitles (yellow text)?
-Tsuyoshi Nonaka is speaking about the Zyuranger and Super Sentai toys. This is the guy. This is what the episode is all about. Twenty minutes in we finally get to hear from the guy who designed "The Toys That Made Us". "Yeah, I'm the guy." That's literally all he had to say.
-Chalk joke.
-"Please remember, in 1991 Zyuranger aired in Japan." 100% False.
-"They can use the toys from Japan...and what toys they were..." *Proceeds to show line of 8" Power Ranger figures that were never released in Japan and created specifically for the MMPR toyline*. The other fuck-ups are really bad, but now that we're talking about the toys this one is particularly heinous.
-Trish Stewart from Bandai America seems to think these figures are from Japan as well. Patently false. Unless they were prototyped and never-released Zyuranger figures, this is very incorrect information. Since we were given no information on the toys from Nonaka, you'd think Bandai America would be able to guide us through the toy line better than bizarrely pointing the finger back over to Japan. Also, maybe give an explanation as to why the figures have the logos on their chest despite being absent in the series.
-Narrator's brain blue-screens trying to pronounce "Shinka Gattai Daizyujin"
-The name "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" being crafted to capitalize on the popularity of Transformers (in 1993???) is briefly stated as seemingly another reason to bring up Transformers for a third effing time. We get it...you have a boner for Transformers. This theory is quickly discarded for the real answer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
-Chalk joke #4.
-A mistake that I credit Burgundy Ranger and John Green for spotting: the original broadcast time of Day of The Dumpster. It's stated here as being 7:30am on August 28, 1993. In reality it was 11:30am. So kids didn't wake up to Power Rangers...but were maybe having an early lunch to it.
-Michael Buoni shows off the underside of his DX Titanus that has the King Brachion logo and "Bandai 1991" date. This is where I think the previous error came from where it is mentioned that Zyuranger aired in 1991. The error was in the form of a dubbed response. I can't make out the Japanese end enough to hear what year he stated, but it sounds like they misrepresented the translation because of this segment. For what it's worth, the year on the bottom of Bandai Japan toys typically is from when the toys are designed, not manufactured (as Michael correctly states). This may have to do with patents--I'm not entirely certain. I'm also not on trial here, so nyeh.
-Nonaka, speaking of America toy safety standards, shows a gold Zyusouken that he represents as "the American version" with a incredibly dull blade tip. I have the American Dragon Dagger...it's nowhere near as dull and, despite other big differences between the Dragon Dagger and Zyusouken, is the exact same blade. A better example of toy safety differences really lies with the swords that come with things like DX Won Tiger/White Tigerzord.

Blade of the US DX Dragon Dagger that I have on my desk.
Blade of the DX Zyusouken from my 2010 video.  Don't let the camera angle fool you, it's the same exact blade.

-25:33 some toys concepts are finally shown incredibly briefly. Nonaka explains "It's a robot of an animal form". Riveting...
-Stock footage of British parents swarming upon a Toys R Us while Trish is talking about complaints Bandai America was getting. I get it, they're white and the footage was available...so who cares that it's England and not America?? The footage shown is more of a Bandai Europe problem with misplaced narrative.
-27:52 FINALLY...mention of the Auto-Morphin' Figures. The talk about the toy line in America has so far been somewhat incorrectly giving Japan all the credit. Auto-Morphin' figures are entirely a Bandai America creation. But are they? Nope. Kakuranger had a line of figures with a very similar transformation action that released earlier in 1994. At the very least, the figures could have been developed concurrently...but maybe Nonaka could have been more useful in clarifying as the sole representing voice from Bandai Japan...
-Already talking about Zeo with no mention of the 1995 movie. Weird. This toy doc seems to be more concerned about Zyuranger footage running dry over framing the growth of the franchise into a major motion picture and related properties.
-Nonaka on King Pyramider/Pyramidas: "I just said I wanted to make a giant toy--it's really big". I'm beginning to think that they're intentionally editing around anything useful that Nonaka has to say and leaving us with something resembling the ramblings of a man with an ether-destroyed brain.
-Loesch on the difficult decision to leave the franchise behind being interrupted by a screaming baby from an episode of Ohranger. It's a fairly dramatic moment since Loesch still seems to be upset about the situation that is shattered with this ADHD random bullshit reaction shot from a random episode of Ohranger. Fuck. Off...
-Power Rangers Turbo failed because car...I think? I'll buy Transformer instead. Paraphrased. Wasn't Transformers doing that early CG Jungle Transformer horror at the time of Power Rangers Turbo? This statement stinks of personal opinion. The Power Rangers Turbo toys, from observation, seem to be fairly popular...it's the series that wasn't. The logic doesn't connect. Also, another Transformers shout out. Shocking, I know.
-Disney-era now. Talking about how Bandai is still handling the toys they show a clip from a Ninja Steel toy commercial. Yeah, no.
-In a moment of clarity they brought the focus back to the toy line to talk shit about Operation Overdrive toys. Not an error, but the sudden focus reminds me of someone who insists on singing along to a song they only know two lines of. We've reached that moment, friends.
-Talking about Legacy toys and they keep cutting in clips from 1994 toy commercials and Nonaka's gold-plated Kyuukyoku Daizyujin instead of highlighting the Legacy toys themselves.
-Fansubbed Kyoryuger clip. K...
-Saban signs the toy rights over to Hasbro...NOW it's appropriate to mention Transformers. I mean, you didn't have to, but you did. It was irresistible, wasn't it?
-"My Little Transforming Megazord, perhaps?" Fuck off.
-"Parting ways with Bandai and Toei studios..." What? Wrong! Toei is still very much involved. Hasbro's first Power Rangers series is an adaptation of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters.
-Once again attributing the 8" Power Rangers figures as "the Japanese toy line" despite never being released in Japan.
-"Be it the first Sentai toy..." *shows Kamen Rider Henshin Belt* Fuck off...

So that's almost all of the falsehoods presented in this forty-five minute bowel movement. How about a list of things that probably should have been addressed?

-Any of the three movies. With regards to toys, I feel like the '95 and '17 films are incredibly important--especially since the 2017 movie and it's toy line likely being the dud that forced Bandai out and Saban to flee.
-Instead of focusing on friggin' chalk, maybe talk about Bandai's other efforts. Did you know that Bandai America adapted a line of figures from the 1988 Toei Metal Hero series Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya in 1990 called Tacky Stretchoid Warriors?
-For that matter, why not even talk about Saban's subsequent properties? There is approximately 0% chance VR Troopers, Masked Rider, or Big Bad Beetleborgs will have their own episode. Saban went from "failure" to media mogul within the span of three seconds in the episode with no hint on the success that he built upon. Hell, I'm curious why VR Troopers ended up in Kenner's hands. Was Bandai too overburdened? Since the show was in syndication was it a more lucrative deal to go elsewhere with a full cut of toy sales? So much information is missing on the business side.
-How the toys progressed from series to series. Or just any focus on the toy line changes by the year. It literally jumped from Season 1 > 2 > Zeo for the meatier bits and then Turbo > In Space > Lost Galaxy > Lightspeed Rescue > Disney in breakneck speed.
-More PLEX design concepts. There have been books published on the matter. Saying the toys are "from Japan" and really not having more than Nonaka give about three useable soundbites make it feel like the toys just materialize at the foot of Mount Fuji.

The things I can give this documentary credit for are slim, but I'll do my best.

-For the casual fan, the explanation behind the long and painful history into getting Super Sentai onto American shores is likely new information.
-Despite the errors, the talk of Godaikin being the previous attempt to bring Sentai toys to the 'States may not be something everyone knew.
-Acknowledging the awfulness of 2000s Bandai America toys.
-Not calling Toei's Spider-man "Supaidaman", though I think one sneaks in.
-Some incredibly rare toys and prototypes are very briefly peppered in. Nonaka's gold Kyuukyoku Daizyujin, the prototype Scorpina figure, and the effin' prototype Zeo Morphin' Zeo Ranger I. As I've written before, that was my favorite line from Bandai America...and I and II were never released or even shown publicly, just III, IV, and V.


This episode clearly had zero passion behind it. It has the feel of some potentially good information being buried in favor of the shit format and editing. The more alarming errors make it clear that the first draft was handed in despite being in production for over a year. Really, this is just fucking awful. Avoid it. Considering how fast and loose they treated facts, I really have to step back and wonder how many errors are in the Transformers episode. Probably significantly less, but any credibility built up previously is 100% destroyed after watching this.

If you want to know about Power Ranger toys, this site is all you need. I promise. Don't listen to this gaggle of stooges from Netflix since they couldn't be bothered to focus on the property OR the toys to put together a cohesive documentary. It didn't have to be boring, it just had to be correct...and there is a community of people who could have helped get this there.

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That's it for now. I thought I would feel bad about ripping this to shreds, but I honestly don't. Yeah, there are people behind work like this...but it was obviously not a topic that anybody making this was interested in. Oh well. If I can direct you to my farewell letter to Bandai America from last year, you might get a slightly more accurate taste of the rise and fall. Also, I touch on what some intrepid retailers did to cope with Power Ranger toy shortages in this post.

Oh, and to the Funko Pop fans out there that I may have lambasted: Don't worry! Your Pops will always be worth a fortune and the company totally won't collapse under the crippling debt accrued by going whole hog on prohibitively expensive licensed properties.

Bye!

-CC

P.S. Walter Jones' closing statement...I like to think he was talking about JDF.

Previously...

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Song Collection
Seiun Kamen Machineman Song Collection
Dai Sentai Goggle V Song Collection