2018/09/15

Ginga Tensei! Seijuu Sentai Gingaman Part 1 of 2


Welcome to my latest Super Sentai overview! This time I am taking a look at Seijuu Sentai Gingaman from 1998. This is a show I really didn't get into when it was new, but thanks to Shout! Factory's ongoing campaign to release Super Sentai series to us in North America I will be revisiting it this month over two posts.

As with my series on Denji Sentai Megaranger, I will be focusing on characters in this post. Ummm...yeah, Gingaman has TONS of characters to cover, so this is going to be a long one. After all, this is the first Sentai series to exist entirely within the new time slot on Sunday mornings. The move to Sunday morning also extended the runtime of the shows from twenty minutes to twenty five minutes per episode. The last series to have a twenty five minute duration was Goggle Five in 1982. Starting with episode ten of Dynaman, episodes of Super Sentai were abbreviated to twenty minutes. It lead to tighter stories, more concise action, and just overall better pacing. When the time slot move happened during the eighth episode of Megaranger, the series just kinda sputtered for the remaining time. Fair enough, the show was already in full swing...so adding five minutes was likely easier said than done.

I'll be talking more about that when I get into series detail in the next part of my review, but it's unavoidable to mention here when you look down and see the enormous list of main cast...and I'm not even going to talk about characters like Gouki's dead-eyed girlfriend.

Oh yeah...where would I be without the *spoiler alert* for this type of post? There you go. The show is twenty years old and Shout! released the DVD in January. It shouldn't be necessary...but you've been warned.

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Seijuu Sentai Gingaman

The series opens with the 133rd generation Gingaman being granted their powers during a ceremony in the Ginga Forest. As coincidence would have it, the seal that the original Gingaman had placed on Uchuu Kaizoku Barban three thousand years ago was broken during an earthquake releasing the band of pirates on the world. Gingaman was forced into battle immediately resulting in the death of Hyuuga (Gingared). With his younger brother Ryoma stepping in to lead the team, would it be enough to stop Barban?

As the characters exist in a world within our world, they aren't the least bit primitive and do mention that they can and have passed freely through the invisible boundaries of the Ginga Forest. I can only think of one time where Ryoma is baffled by a motorcycle after sitting on it and turning it on. Show me someone who isn't like that the first time they sit on a bike, though. These guys aren't weirdos who were flung into the modern world...they just *really* like the emptiness of their home, the Ginga Forest, and were trained to use Earth powers.

During the time that the forest is sealed, the team lived and worked on a horse ranch. It was there that they planted a seed given to them by Bokku that sprouted the team's mentor, Moak.

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Ryoma / Gingared

He was initially considered to be too weak to take the helm as the 133rd Gingared, but was forced to find the courage to use his Earth after listening to the inspiring last words from Hyuuga after he seemingly fell to his death. Ryoma took his new role as Gingared in stride and was a competent fighter once he mastered his Earth.

I like Ryoma. Of the five, he really had the least business being a Gingaman and never had a moment where he was giving up or wanted to quit. The plot kinda forced that on all of the characters of the show. While previous series had characters who up and quit when things got too tough, Gingaman is mercifully devoid of that. Not only was the fate of the planet on the line (as it always is), but their home was also on the line. There is also the caveat that these characters were destined to fill the role as Gingaman and trained from birth to be there. Props to Ryoma for sticking through, having a decent attitude, and never giving up.

After the devastating loss of his brother, he never lost hope that maybe he was still alive. He would hear Hyuuga try to communicate with him from time to time, but never shared this with the rest of the team as he didn't want to worry them.

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Hayate / Gingagreen

Probably the second most tragic of the characters as he was due to be wed shortly after the ceremony to become Gingaman occurred. The Ginga Forest was sealed along with his fiance, Miharu. Hayate is very restrained is the most likely of the group to assemble a thought before rushing into battle. In addition to this, he is a very chill dude. The lack of a temper might fool you into thinking he is a bland character, but really he is.....yeah, he's kinda bland. It's nice to have a level-headed character who isn't driven to endless mistakes guided by emotion.

He does have one fault, however. It's his food pickiness. I was stung up by bees when I was too young to know better as well...but to hate honey for that? C'mon, man. Eating honey is the best way to lord over bees! He has it backwards! Also his hatred of tomatoes was just...weird. He just didn't like them. For someone who lives off the land, how can you develop a pickiness like that? Maybe the Ginga Forest is just that bountiful that you can afford not to like things.

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It was *very* hard getting a photo of him not making some absurd face.

Gouki / Gingablue

It's hard to say what Gouki was up to in the Ginga Forest before it was sealed, but I take it he was into becoming a warrior and nothing else. This kinda lead him to be an awkward and very emotional individual. He is usually the first to be driven to tears over anything. His clumsiness also kinda hinders him on a handful of occasions.

Gouki meets Yuuta's teacher Suzuko while subbing in for his father during a Parent's Day at school. After immediately developing a crush, he spends the rest of the series trying to work up the nerve to ask her out. Along the way he meets Shunsuke Kishimoto (played by Yuuji Kishi......who is basically playing Kyosuke from Carranger again...which was hilarious) who is also seeking Suzuko's affection. In the end, Gouki is able to keep up with his promise to one day show her the Ginga Forest.

Gouki is usually seen doing most of the cooking in the series. He tried his best to make a tomato based dish so good that Hayate would come around on his hatred of tomatoes, but couldn't quite make it happen.

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Hikaru / Gingayellow

The first to rush into battle is always Hikaru. As he shares the title of being the youngest of the group with Saya, he is a little too eager to rush into potential Barban traps. This is usually stopped by the rest of the team, though there are times when he gets tired of being scolded and will go off on his own.

Hikaru does have a fondness for food and eating general. He did briefly take an apprenticeship to a chef who cared deeply for him as her reminded her of her son. Other times he is just seen stuffing his face with donuts.

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Saya / Gingapink

While she is way more mature than Hikaru, it is mentioned that the two are the same age and often had to be babysat together by one of the other three. She was crushing on Hyuuga on a few occasions, but nothing ever came of it.

She did have an encounter with her bratty idol doppelganger and took it in stride when she had to fill in due to an injury despite being injured herself. This was par for the course as Saya regularly ignored her own injuries and jumped into battle a few time when she really shouldn't have.

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Kuro Kishi

Prior to their first attempt to conquer Earth, Barban encountered Kuro Kishi on his home planet. After watching his brother, Krantz, get brutally murdered by Zahab, Kuro Kishi swore revenge. This was hindered after he ended up defeated and trapped in a cave beneath the Earth's surface.

Fast forward three thousand years later and Hyuuga falls into the same cave. He saves Hyuuga from falling into lava, but captures Hyuuga within his crystal and uses his Earth to escape the cave. At first, he seems to help Gingaman on their quest to fight Barban. However, it isn't too long before it's realized that his revenge is deeper than that and that he is willing to destroy the planet if it also means killing Zahab and crew. As someone with nothing to lose, he becomes a major nuisance to Gingaman.

As a final act, he frees Hyuuga from captivity after being pestered by the spirit of Krantz. He sacrifices himself and later awards the Bull Riot and ability to become Kuro Kishi to Hyuuga.

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Hyuuga / Kuro Kishi

Ryoma's older brother and the intended recipient of the Gingared Seijuuken. After being trapped within the Earth, he gives Ryoma his Seijuuken and encourages him to fight Barban. During his fall into the Earth, he is saved by Kuro Kishi who uses him as part of his plan to exact revenge on Barban. Once freed from Kuro Kishi, he joins the Gingaman crew. While relieved to have his brother back, Ryoma is secretly panicking about having to return the Seijuuken to Hyuuga. Hyuuga insists that Ryoma is the only Gingared.

After becoming the new Kuro Kishi, he fights alongside Gingaman. Things are derailed once again when he is forced to follow an exiled Buccrates who has captured Bull Taurus. Buccrates instructs him to relinquish his Earth powers in order to train to become a master of the Knight Axe in order to kill Zahab. He is sometimes freed in order to help Gingaman, but he is largely forced to train with the axe.

Hyuuga is by far the most complex character in the series. Actually, I should rephrase that. He is the character that the more complex parts of the plot happens to. Hyuuga as a character isn't much more than Sasuke from Kakuranger (considering Teruaki Ogawa played them both...this makes sense) in tighter clothes. The time when he used flower language to communicate with Saya? Totally a Sasuke move. Once he is driven away from the team by Buccrates, the levity is gone. He largely loses his will to fight effectively and needs to be given the same pep talk that he once gave to Ryoma to restore his Earth.

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Bokku

An annoying and largely useless character that joined the Gingaman team during their escape from the Ginga Forest. He did provide the team with the seed that grew into Moak, but otherwise is just around for chatter. Maybe I'm being a little too harsh. Bokku isn't as annoying as some other little helper robot/creatures. He does the usual thing where he says his name a lot, but isn't really as overbearing as some of them are in other series. Annoying, but tolerable.

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Moak

The real series mentor for Gingaman. He is connected to every tree on the planet which can be very helpful since apparently trees are massive snitches. As long as something happens near a tree, Moak knows about it. Besides being Big Brother, Moak created the Juugekibo and later upgraded them before having to revert back to a seed due to Barban's pollution. He was later revived once the Ginga Forest reappeared.

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Yuuta Aoyama

Yuuta is a young boy who encountered Gingaman while on a trip into the forest with his father. Once the Ginga Forest was sealed, he ended up spending a lot of time with the team and wanted to train with them. Rather than putting him down, the team often let him in and encouraged him to do his best. This resulted in Yuuta saving the day more than once. The image above is actually of a fake Yuuta, but it's one of a few times in the series you see Yuuta holding some kind of Gingaman weapon. If it weren't for him, the Seijuu probably would have been toast early on.

This is where the show reaaaaaaally could have been derailed. Mercifully Yuuta was played by a competent child actor. Shogo Hayakawa actually does very well with the role and can act circles around Shoei (Gouki/Gingablue). I know some people will automatically dislike him for being a kid, but he was acrually a decent character.

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Haruhiko Aoyama

An illustrator and Yuuta's father. He is actually quite skilled at his work and is spending the time documenting Gingaman's adventure. He also set up the team with the Silver Star horse ranch that they live and work on. He is a little bit childish personality wise, but does help the team out when he can. He even helped out Hayate in battle after accidentally gluing their hands together.

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Uchuu Kaizoku Barban

Revived just as the 133rd Gingaman were introduced, Barban immediately sets out to revive the Daitanix *groan* and resume turning planets into jewelry. Lead by Zahab, Barban has four main generals as well as a crew despite being on a stationary ship for the majority of the series. During the course of the series, the four generals devise several different plans to once again sail back into space on the Daitanix after taking Earth as their next jewel.

Before I get into each of the characters, I just want to point out how off-base the ideas are to revive the Daitanix. The hairbrained plans to get the damn thing running again just didn't gel with the rest of what the show was trying to accomplish. If this were Carranger and there was a monster of the week that had to collect the dentures from 137 widowed grandmothers (with one of them conveniently being a main character's grandmother) I would get it. It's all too silly and something that never stopped eating at me. It was kinda necessary in order to keep the plot going, though. The pressure was on for the four generals to revive the Daitanix in their limited time...

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Zahab

The leader of Barban and captain of the Daitanix. He is incredibly demanding of his underlings. Having been sealed by the original Gingaman previously, he wanted to make quick work out of defeating them as soon as he was revived. Killing Hyuuga was his goal as he had a particular hatred toward Gingared for the deformities his ancestor caused. During the course of the series, he seldom leaves his castle often leaving the planning and attacks to whichever general is in charge at the time.

During his training with Buccrates, Hyuuga learns all of Zahab's secrets including his immortality that can only be broken when the life force from his own planet within his chest is destroyed. This can only be accomplished using the Knight Axe.

In all of the chaos, Zahab was always controlled. Angry? Very, but he never really lost it until the very end when he suddenly found himself to be the last man standing. I love his design...so much so that a long while back I got the action figure version of him from the Power Rangers Lost Galaxy line (along with the figure of Batobas...because why not?). It's also cool that veteran villain voice actor Hidekatsu Shibata to voice him.

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Shelinda

Being stuck on a ship that she can't steer leaves very little for Shelinda to do throughout the series. While the generals do all of the plotting and attacks, Shelinda sometimes supports plans but is often just seen by Zahab's side in his castle. She developed an incredibly forced rivalry with Hayate. So much so...I don't even think any of the other Gingaman were given a chance to fight against her.

She is competent with her sword, but often ends up retreating during her fights against Gingagreen. Ultimately she ends up losing a dual against Hayate, which spells the beginning of the end for Zahab.

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Buccrates

Zahab's mentor and the one who granted him immortality by implanting his own planet's life force into his chest. He is also the uncle of Iliess and wants her to succeed in reviving the Daitanix. Once Iliess is defeated, he attempts to revive her but is stopped. Zahab confronts him that he knew of his and Iliess' sabotage of Budoh and casts him overboard.

Buccrates spends the remainder of the series plotting his revenge against Zahab using Hyuuga as his pawn. He does this by keeping Bull Taurus captive and threatens to kill the Seijuu if Hyuuga refuses or tries to escape. He creates the Knight Axe and trains Hyuuga to use it by using his own planet's life force as his target. He ultimately releases Bull Taurus and effectively Hyuuga once Barban launches an all-out assault on them after finding out his scheme.

In the word's of Zahab upon learning the Buccrates is training Hyuuga "What a weird combination.".

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Sambash

The first and least interesting of the four generals tasked with reviving Daitanix. His plans are probably the most crude of the bunch. His goal is to use energy for the revival. An example would be that he notices that cars are running on gasoline, so he attempts to gather gasoline as energy. His final attempt to revive Daitanix was to retrieve the Hikari no Ginga, which was given to him 3000 years ago and which he hid from Zahab. He tricks Ryoma into using his Earth to enter the cave where it was hidden only to discover that the chest is empty. After a failed last ditch attack, he rides his motorcycle off of a cliff as it explodes mid-air.

I think the only reason I found him uninteresting is because he was the most out of place of the generals. As I mentioned before, the show's villians kinda verged on the edge of what Carranger had already done with it's villains. Sambash might as well have been a Bowzock reject the way he acted and the Majin that he brought in each week. He was dispatched pretty quickly, which gave us...

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Budoh

The calm and resourceful general who took over once Sambash was killed. As it was decided that the Hikari no Ginga was the key to reviving Daitanix, he laid out a several part plan in order to obtain it. Most of the plans, however, were pretty idiotic ("The Hikari no Ginga is hidden in tomatoes...let's go after tomatoes!").

He had a strong respect for the Majin he dispatched to carry out his plans and thanked them for their service after they were killed. After being sabotaged by Iliess, he escaped captivity was forced into a final battle against Gingaman. He was defeated once they gained the Hikari no Ginga.

I liked Budoh. The best part about him was that he got everyone in Barban to chill out while he was general. There was a certain chaos while the reckless Sambash was in charge but once Budoh was in, Zahab was much calmer and almost more patient. When Zahab would give him heat, he largely brushed it off and resumed his plans as usual. I liked that dynamic, but obviously it wouldn't last forever...

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Iliess

Buccrates' niece and the third of the generals tasked to revive the Daitanix. As the Hikari no Ginga had chosen to aid Gingaman, things were back to the drawing board at Barban. Worse yet, it was discovered that Daitanix was rotting and would need to be revived soon. Iliess' plans weren't any less hairbrained than the previous two generals (we need *insert arbitrary number of people's blood/souls* to revive Daitanix). Once she was defeated, her life force was spread onto Daitanix to help revive it.

With the help of her uncle, Iliess was able to fight dirty and dispose of Budoh. Zahab later revealed that he knew what happened all along and neglected to intervene despite the fact that they lost the chance to gain the Hikari no Ginga thanks to her interference. It was Batobas that finished her off for good after he destroyed her crystal and used her life to get Daitanix heart beating again...

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Batobas

The final general. In keeping with the previous generals, he has dumb ideas to finish the revival of Daitanix. "Daitanix has a weak heart...we need someone to massage it. Find a masseuse!". That said, Daitanix *did* actually get revived almost by surprise after his and Biznella's plan to divert the energy from an asteroid through a suicidal Majin actually worked. He was later eaten by the Earth Beast during it's rampage.

While he was the most successful of the generals, I kinda preferred the previous two. Batobas' Majin did have that fun little rally before being dispatched, but really they were just as silly as the previous ones. The fact that the plan that worked to revive to Daitanix actually worked was so out of left field that it actually wasn't a bad idea.

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Biznella

Originally unaffiliated with Barban, Biznella sticks around following his failed sale of Giga Bitus, Giga Phoenix, and Giga Rhinos to Barban. He has numerous gadgets and ended up using them to aid Batobas in his revival of Daitanix and later to track the location of the Earth Beast.

Generals and then sub-Generals. Barban was crowded enough before this guy showed up. He really could have been dispatched much earlier, but was kept around seemingly because the Barban ranks were thinning once Buccrates was tossed overboard.

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Yartots

The grunts of the series. There really isn't too much unusual about them other than they will spill crucial secret if you mildly threaten them. I think it was Hikaru that threatened to shave the Yartot's beard off if he didn't tell him how to escape the protective barrier that he and Saya were trapped in.

I do love the design. Dorodoro > Kunekune > Yartot. Top three of the 90s...

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That is the conclusion of Part 1 of my look at Gingaman. In Part 2 you will read about some of the wins and opportunities that I thought the series had as well as some of my favorite episodes. It will be a little more opinionated and you'll definitely find out what I thought about the series there.

I hope you enjoyed what you read here as I enjoyed writing about Gingaman.

See ya next time!

-CC

Super Sentai Series Reviews

2018/08/31

Youtube Hiatus

Hey y'all.

This post is a rather unfortunate one, but several events kinda brought me here.

I will be taking a (hopefully brief) hiatus from Youtube. I have plans for December, but until then it is very likely that you will not see any new content on my Youtube channel. I really wish I could give more details on what's going on with that, but...yeah, it's just really complicated. Trust me, I'm really going to miss uploading. I promise that I'll be back with some really good videos to close out the year.

That said, I will be serving up some new content here on the site. Gingaman write-up with be happening back-to-back in September and I genuinely hope to have GoGo Five and Timeranger revisited before the end of the year.

Also, if you haven't been to my instagram...be sure to check that out. I've been having fun with it. A lot of it is either using travel photos from my phone and some random toys shots from my folders. Considering only like 40-50% of photos I take end up in videos...there is a good chance some unseen stuff makes it there.

Sorry for the contentless post, but I really had to give this update.

Stay Tuned...

-CC


2018/08/14

Toy Story: Dyna Brace...Dyna Brace, Dyna Brace, AND.....Dyna Brace!


Hey, hey! It's another CCLemon99 Toy Story. This is the series where I talk about the times where I made some crazy scores for low prices...or other randomness along the way. Considering I have zillions of toys in my collection, a good number of them have a story to tell. This time around I talk about impatience and how it can sometimes...pay off? 

Let's flash back to 2007. I was just getting my start on Youtube and looking to expand into more 1980s toys. Naturally I had owned my Twin Brace from Liveman long before my channel was a thing, but the rest of my 80s collection was pretty thin. Since it was only 2007 and toys were cheap and plentiful, I was able to remedy this fairly quickly. 

I've told the stories behind the Masking Brace and Prism Flash in the past, but I've always let the mystery of the Dyna Brace kinda linger. What mystery would that be? Well...for someone who was lacking in 1980s Henshin Items...how exactly did this shot end up in my Dyna Brace video?


I guess I should explain...

While shopping for my 80s Sentai Henshin Braces, I knew someone who was attempting the same feat. We were in a bidding war on a Dyna Brace that ended at a whopping $250 with the other guy winning. I had no idea what this was worth since I'd never seen one for sale. The other guy was smarmy about it, I told him to fuck off and...well, apparently he did because I have no idea what happened to him.

Regardless, I was without a Dyna Brace and still very much wanted to add one to my collection. Now...when a toy like that ends at a ridiculous price, more of them tend to suddenly pop up for sale. This time around, four of them ended up for sale and all of four auctions ended within hours of each other. Not wanting to miss out, I bid on all four. This was before smartphones and whatnot, so I placed my bids before going into work that day and prayed that at least one of them would go through.

...all of them did...whoops... 

I was now the proud owner of four Dyna Braces. The loose one was 500 yen, which I was kind enough to mention in the description of my video. I remember the most expensive being something like $65 and the two other boxed ones being $25 or $30 each. To this day I have no idea what the value is on this particular toy thanks to the uniquely warped experience I had trying to procure it. 


As I also mentioned in the video, I played doctor on the loose one for some time. It turned out to be pretty useful since I had some issues with toys of similar build that had issues. The great part is that it still works! Since the band was so stretched when I got it, I can also wear it without destroying the elastic. Who knew it would turn out to be the most valuable of the four to me?

Do I still have all four? Nope... I have three left. I sold one to someone from France on ebay several years ago. Maybe I'll part with another one someday...if I can ever make out how much the damn thing is worth!


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I hope you enjoyed this latest toy story. If you'd like to read more, I've collected them on one handy page for you to check out.

Gingaman next? Gingaman next. See ya soon!

2018/07/25

CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Six


It's been awhile, but why not? This is CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Six! I have just a handful of topics to cover this time around. As this is my usual repository for smaller topics, how about we get right into it?

Farewell Toys R Us...

I know it's very old news at this point, but I really haven't had an opportunity to weigh in on the closing of Toys R Us here in the United States. I talked about my relationship with the store in a previous post about one of my favorite toy purchases.

I couldn't really bring myself to visit a store once the closure was announced. I really just wanted to have memories of the store being vibrant and full of life. This whole mentality of "Bankruptcy=DEALS!" is moronic on several levels unless you really need some store fixtures for your own business. Liquidators strip anything and everything of value. On top of that, it really just feels like a scummy attitude to have not unlike being totally cool with going through Grandma's jewelry box while she's still on her way out.

Anyway...it's been real, Toys R Us. I may not be able to do my usual Birthday trip to the same Toys R Us I've been going to since the 90s, but I hope to at least be able to drop in on an International location in the future...

It's 2018...I guess it's time to buy Blue SWAT

I've been putting it off for too long. I'm buying the damn series on DVD. I have a mix of rental VHS and TV recorded episodes, but haven't really moved in a direction to really see the entire series. I ran into a really good deal on the first and last volumes of the series DVD. The next move to make is to, you know, get everything in the middle. That's how they get you, right? At least the prices have kinda leveled off a little bit better since the series was released in 2011.

The show turns 25 next year, so maybe I'll get into it then on the site...and probably Kakuranger again while I'm at it. I watch Kakuranger every year and still pick up little things...


S.H.Figuarts White Ranger...the last hurrah??

...or should it be the last "UHHYAHHHHH!!!"?

I'm not going to lie, I absolutely dig the bizarre and sudden return of Power Rangers Figuarts for the 25th anniversary of the franchise. The Red and Green Ranger Figuarts that were released as San Diego Comicon Event Exclusives for this year are neat, but the White Ranger one is the real deal.

I'm sure I've said it over Twitter a few times, but I don't think I mentioned it anywhere else...but Kibaranger / White Ranger is my favorite Super Sentai Figuart. If you don't own it, I HIGHLY recommend picking up this reissue of sorts. NOW...given that we haven't seen this figure in person there is the chance that they nix my favorite feature, the pearl finish, but I kinda have faith given the cost that this Figuart is going for.

Even if the pearl finish is missing, I totally recommend getting this new White Ranger Figuart. It may not have the stupid Akibaranger bonus items, but you get Tommy's head...so there!

More CD and Series Reviews on the horizon...

I know that announcing future content is kinda stupid, but I feel like I need to put this out there since I've gotten away from both in recent months. Autumn/Winter is my favorite time to review series since I won't have to fend off drug-induced nodding off as I watch series (thank you, seasonal allergies...) and I also have been pulling together some unusual CDs to review in pairs. I have some good ones coming up...so stay tuned.

Gingaman is next on the list of series reviews. I never cared too much for the series, but if I'm hoping it'll be like my revisit of Ohranger last year and I end up enjoying it way more than I remember. We'll see! Stay tuned for that...I know I've fallen behind on Shout!'s releases...but it's not like I'm getting paid, right? Hahaa.

MEGAREAL Digitizer & Battlerizer

Not much else to say other than...yes, I am very much looking forward to this one. I love the little control plate that holds the Battlerizer. I know some people are moaning about the lack of the Keitaizer, but I could honestly do without that one.

As usual, it's great that Bandai Japan is going back and reissuing old toys and giving them some new features to appease collectors of the originals. That reminds me...I never did review the Legacy Zeonizer, did I?

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So that's all I really have for this issue of the CCLemon99 Magazine. I kinda did an extended article earlier in the month on the video for Beastie Boys Intergalactic and it's importance to a young Tokusatsu fan such as myself.

I'm just getting back from a big trip and am still unpacking (well...my bag isn't unpacked, but I certainly uploaded the 700+ photos I took to my computer). If you're reading this early, expect the glorious return of CCLemon99 to Youtube very soon with some unusual toys I picked up over the weekend.

Outside of that, I just want to give a quick shoutout to everyone for the love I got for the 11th Anniversary video that I posted a month ago and the continued love I've been getting this Summer. Thank you!

I'm off to work on the next post. Take care!

-CC

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2018/07/10

An Appreciation of Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" and "Body Movin'"


I'm kinda fond of the Summer of 1998. I remember hanging out with certain friends, going to the beach, playing a ton of Nintendo 64, and most importantly...Hello Nasty.

I don't think I've ever talked about this on the site, but I'm a massive fan of the Beastie Boys. I haven't been to too many concerts in the past twenty years, but the best show I've been to was seeing the Beastie Boys on October 11, 2004 at the (then) Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA. If you want to get a feel for what I saw, check out the concert film Awesome! I Fuckin' Shot That.

Getting back on point, I love the band and that Summer was absolutely the most glorious time. Their fifth album, Hello Nasty, was released on July 14, 1998. It's safe to say at this point that it's my all-time favorite album from the band. I have a difficult time describing the album accurately as the songs bounce from rap to rock to jazz and all of it is incredibly good. Mix Master Mike became their new DJ and it really gave a album a fresh sound. Good albums on their own don't sell albums on their own...

June 1998 saw the release of the music video for the first single from the album, Intergalactic. If you're reading this site and you've never seen the video, correct this immediately...



There are many things to unpack here. The Beastie Boys have always done some great music videos (well...not so much in the TTFB days), but this one was untoppable. Sure the fast motion stuff isn't all that great, but the Robot vs Octopus fight is incredibly fun and actually pretty well done. On the DVD commentary, the band tried to piece together some kind of plot for the fight. Ultimately they settled on the robot steppin' on the Octopus' turf. That's all. Perfect.



It's absurd and I utterly love it. Imagine being a Tokusatsu fan in 1998 and your favorite band releases this video. Not only that, everyone loved that video. The song itself is kinda polarizing through it's somewhat shrill repetitiveness, but the video in undeniable.


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A few month later the second single from the album, Body Movin', was released. Naturally a music video was released to promote sales and the results...were just as silly as Intergalactic. The idea behind it was to license a film and shoot new footage to weave a new plot around it. Sound familiar? The film in this case was Danger: Diabolik from 1968. Check it out...



A high-society burglary based on...a fondue recipe? Sure! Again, I couldn't help but loving the hell out of this creative re-purposing of old movie footage. Like...how did it all come together? Why the decapitation? A crow took out an entire plane? How did the Adrock have a harder landing WITH a parachute?

It may not have anything to do with Tokusatsu or anything, but I can't help get that vibe I get if I ever happen to catch an early episode of Power Rangers or Masked Rider. It's like "OK, so how are they going to write their way around this one?".

I may not like the remix that was used for the video all the much, but I love the video for this one just as much as the video for Intergalatic...even if that Jaguar E-Type getting wrecked was painful to watch.

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From there, things kinda sputtered. The video for Three MC's and One DJ was an impressive single-take video of the song performed live. That was really it for this album... Did it really need any more, though?

This is to twenty years to a great duo of music videos from one of my all-time favorite albums. Did you latch on to Intergalactic as much as I did? Let me know!

See ya!

-CC

2018/06/24

11-Years on Youtube ~ The Odd History of Daijinryuu


Hi there!

Welcome to a special anniversary post on CCLemon99.com. It's hard to believe, but my Youtube channel is turning eleven years old on June 25th. Eleven years of somehow keeping some relevance without chasing trends or really making this anything more than a hobby. For that I have to say...Thank you!

I really haven't been too interested in analytics, but they're unavoidable to glance at when I open my dashboard to do anything on Youtube. Things have been...actually pretty good recently. Views have leveled off thanks to a few years of bizarre algorithm changes. I wish Youtube would be better about delivering videos more directly to subscribers. Some people say that this is a myth and that necrosubs are to blame...but I don't really think so. Every once in awhile I get a random "Nice to see that you're back" comment. Yeah...I don't get it either. Just get my damn videos to the people who signed up to receive them.

Speaking of subscribers...I've been getting a lot recently. Thank you for subscribing! I've jokingly said that I would face reveal at 100K. That number is still far enough away that I can still make that joke without sweating on the possibility. You never know, though. Maybe I'll have to show off my diastema sometime... Is it cheating if I wear a hat and sunglasses? I've been saving this pair of blue suede Ray Bans for a special occasion...

I guess I should wrap this up before I get into my second Dairanger theory post of the year.

Thank you for sticking with me for yet another year. As a reader of the site, you've likely noticed that I've dipped my toes into different types of content...and I hope to try some new things on my Youtube channel in the future as well. The year since ending weekly videos has been much less stressful and I think the videos have been way smoother as a result. My recent Winspector and SunVulcan months were actually really fun to work on when they likely would have been a complete drag. Two whole months of content in a day of filming with a few days of editing. It's definitely helped me balance my life considering I've taken on an elevated position at my job. 

I was emotional about leaving weekly videos behind, but it was all for the best. I probably haven't cut back as much as I should have...but the recent bump in subscribers and views has really spurred me on. I can't thank you guys enough!

Now...onto the damn content.

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It was only a few short months ago that I made the proclamation that I was finished with 1990s Sentai mecha. From Fiverobo all the way up to Victory Mars, I've made videos on them all. I even got the stupid ones like the Jusho Fighters in there. One "mecha" remained absent from the list, however.

Meet DX Daijinryuu from Gosei Sentai Dairanger. As far as designs go, Daijinryuu was very, very cool. Naturally he got his own toy, but it never seemed right. Daijinryuu was a world-destroying entity that towered over even the largest of Dairanger mecha. Daimugen? Slowly squashed like...well, like a turtle. So when the DX toy came out for Daijinryuu, it never seemed genuine considering it's reasonable toy size. For it to be more on scale, it would have to be like five meters tall instead of the advertised 450mm tall. He's still a giant friggin' guy, but not to scale.


When I was thinking about what I was going to do for this video I remembered two things. 1. 2018 is Dairanger's 25th anniversary. 2. Didn't I own a tiny Daimugen at some point?

As it turns out, I did in fact own a smaller Daimugen by Yutaka......but I sold it at auction years ago. Whoops. So I set about acquiring a super-clean Daijinryuu from my usual haunt for new-old toys (BOOK-OFF...I've talked about it in my 500th Video post when I snagged my King Brachion) and then went looking for a Yutaka Daimugen. After some patience, one actually popped up when I was just about to abandon the notion.

While the scale isn't perfect, it really remedied the biggest issue that I had with DX Daijinryuu. It looks entirely ridiculous when partnered up with the rest of the DX Dairanger mecha, but check it out here:


Since I tend to overthink a lot of things...I couldn't help but really wonder about Daijinryuu's size. Was he always supposed to be so big? Looking forward to Gingaman, Giga Bitus was enormous and it's toy was never given the DX label. Daijinryuu could have easily existed as a larger anti-Ryuseioh. 

If we take a step back to 1992, it's easy to look at all of the great Tokusatsu that Toei provided. Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger...Tokusou Exceedraft...Shin Kamen Rider Prologue...Daiyogen~Fukkatsu no Kyoshin?? Yes, this completely forgotten two-part original video story actually happened in one of the more memorable years of Tokusatsu.


I've been thinking about writing about Daiyogen~Fukkatsu no Kyoshin for over a long time now...I even went out and got the DVD a few years ago. The movie is...interesting? Having not seen it in close to a year, here are some of the memories I have.

-One of the characters could pass for Yutaka Hirose at a quick glance.
-The movie was basically a chase episode of any Tokusatsu episode with almost zero payoff.
-Trimesistan, the guy on the cover, is ENORMOUS.


While the plot was a little dense, it isn't a terribly difficult movie to follow. Maybe I'll swing back around and do a closer review someday. If rumors are anything to believe, this movie came very close to being a tenth anniversary movie for Uchuu Keiji Gavan. If that were the case, it certainly would have lived on to have some relevance today. Personally I checked it out because it had a soundtrack by Eiji Kawamura.

Why do I bring this up? I'm convinced that someone at Toei was completely smitten with the idea of a giant that fought in the clouds while their feet were still on the ground. They didn't copy anything from the plot of Daiyogen~Fukkatsu no Kyoshin, but the 400/4000 meter giant theme has to be more than a coincidence. Especially when you bring the Gavan rumor into play. The idea of an unstoppable force is an intriguing one...and maybe after the movie quietly slipped into the background, it was worth exploring again with a more mainstream franchise.

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Thank you once again for being one of the 67,000+ subscribers to my channel and likely being one of the 125,000,000+ views that I've accumulated. I hope you'll stick with me for much longer as I still have so much to explore.

Thanks for watching!

-CC


2018/06/08

A Decade of Sentai Henshin Item Toys


Welcome back to the second part of my look at Super Sentai Henshin Items of the 2010s. Last time I declared an early winner and issued a challenge to Bandai to prove me wrong in 2019. This time I want to detail the decade-long decline of my favorite toyline. In order to do so properly...I have to go back just a little bit further...back to Engine Sentai Go-onger...

I vividly remember 2008. I was excited for the initial Go-onger toy line. Cars are my first love and outside of a trick Henshin Brace and some cool weapons, I don't think shows like Turboranger and Carranger did a great job of living up to their potential with the theme. Go-onger...actually did some things I really liked. The suit designs were pretty slick and the mecha really grew on me over time. The show itself sucked, but I tried.

So it was a case of a neat toy line with a lousy show? Well...no, not really. It was way worse than that. It was the beginning of the end of the ease of collectability of Super Sentai Henshin Items. Let's review, shall we?

Engine Sentai Go-Onger

While the Changers themselves aren't too bad, it did introduce the gimmick of interchangeable electronics to unlock new sounds and features. That's right, I'm talking about the dreaded Engine Souls. Each of the Changers came with a Change Soul that was unique to the group of character Changers, but they could also house individual Engine Souls.

Go Phone > DX Engine Oh, DX Highway Buster, DX Mantan Gun
Shift Changer > DX Birca, DX Gunpherd
Wing Trigger > DX Jetras, DX Tripter

That isn't the worst considering you could ignore Engine Souls and stick with the Change Souls. Bandai had gotten a taste of the collector's blood, though. People who would have otherwise completely skipped out on the DX Highway Buster now had to have one in order to get that damn BeaRV Engine Soul.


Samurai Sentai Shinkenger

Shinkenger's Henshin Items were actually spared the nonsense that Go-onger fans were forced to endure. You had the DX Shodophone which, despite it's faults (row of keys that are painted on instead of being actual buttons), is my favorite Henshin Item of the 00s decade. The Sushi Changer was pretty rad as well and only makes me hungry to think about...

It wasn't a bad year. Sure, the Hiden Disks were a thing, but outside of the one that came with the Sushi Changer, these were irrelevant to Henshin Item collectors.

Tensou Sentai Goseiger

What a mess this year was... You had the Headders AND flippin' Gosei Cards which were seemingly willed into existence whenever someone needed help. I don't know, it didn't take me long to abandon this series. The cards, though... You'd think it wouldn't be bad, but this just may be one of the worst offenders considering how much you had to spend to get the DX cards...

As far as I recall, these cards were only bundled with the soft vinyl figures. I looked up the receipt for my figures and realized that I spent a good $60 just to get the Pink, Blue, Black, and Yellow cards. Just for the Henshin sounds... Even then, the cards were only limited to the initial pressing of these toys. If you didn't buy them when the show first aired, you missed out. The Tensouder came with the Goseired card and a bunch of random shit cards I didn't care about. Out of the box, this toy was painfully limited.

Plus the forgettable DX Leon Cellular... Almost forgot you, but I didn't...

Fuck Goseiger, and more importantly...fuck 2010 Bandai...

Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger

Ranger Keys. I might be in the absolute vocal minority, but I hate these goddamn things. When you buy the DX Mobirates, the only keys you get are Gokaired, Shinkenred, and Go-on Red. Heh, that sure is a kick in the pants to Goseiger. Are you only after the Gokaiger Ranger Keys? Well, here is what you need...

Gokai Blue > DX Gokai Gun
Gokai Yellow > DX Gokai Sabre
Gokai Green & Gokai Pink > DX Gokai Buckle

There was also Gokaisilver and his Gokai Cellular. It came with his Ranger Key, but if you wanted the Golden Anchor Key, you needed to get Ranger Key Set 5.

Given the nature of the show and the Ranger Key concept, there is a good chance you won't stop there. Getting DX Ranger Keys or just the reds is incredibly expensive. There were cheaper options, at least (Candy Toy, Gashapon), but the amount of money you need to spend to unlock the damn sounds that are already inside the damn toys is incredible. Not to mention, some series Ranger Keys look like absolute dogshit (Zyuranger comes to mind first). Clearly series were assigned out to different people with varying levels of quality sculpts.

Ranger Keys...yeah, not a fan. They've done nothing but clogged Yahoo Japan Auctions and probably will for years...


Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters

Go-Busters did us right with a legit Henshin Brace for a change. While Ranger Keys continued to burn along well into (and past) 2012, it freed up the series to skip the gimmicks and focus on spy tools. The Henshin Items were...

DX Morphin' Brace (Great)
DX Morphin' Blaster (Alright)

It was a good year...one that really looked back to the golden 90s.

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

Ugh. Back to this...

The Zyudenchi are lousy. If there is a rhyme or reason to anything in Kyoryuger, I don't care enough to know what it is. Batteries...that are bullets...that are used in a dinosaur gun...that requires dancing... I don't care.

While Bandai did show some restraint prior to Gokaiger, all bets were off with Ranger Keys. Zyudenchi are no different. These are millions of them for all I know. If you want the Zyudenchi to complete the core Kyoryuger Henshin, you'll need to get...

Kyoryured > DX Gaburivolver
Kyoryublack > DX Parasagun
Kyoryublue & Kyoryupink > DX Kyoryujin
Kyoryugreen > DX Zakutor

Kyoryugold also had the Gaburichanger and there was the Giga Gaburivolver for Kyoryuviolet.

Unlike Ranger Keys, there were other ways to get DX Zyudenchi, but I'm trying to kept what's left of my sanity intact trying to keep up with toy lines at this point. There were options to do this a little bit cheaper, but I'm still not convinced that these are a worthwhile gimmick.


Ressha Sentai ToQger

While I kinda dig the concept of the Henshin Items for this series, they are FAR too complex. It takes like five minutes to do the whole song and dance plus, once again, this is gimmick heavy. DX ToQ Changer comes with the Red Ressha and that's it. However, there was a set version that contained the ToQ Changer and DX ToQoh. Just get that set...it's easier that way.

The DX Applichanger was as basic as most Sixth Ranger Henshin Toys. Not much to report there...

Not the worst year for the Henshin Item collecting, but it did kinda force you to buy the stupid mecha. You could technically get it all in one box, though...


Shuriken Sentai Ninninger

I would very much like to forget this year. Not only is the DX Ninja Ichibanto utter garbage but the gimmick of the year, Nin Shuriken, were expensive. The DX Ninja Ichibanto came with Akaninger's Nin Shuriken, and the DX versions of the Nin Shuriken were also mercifully sold separately. In fact, I think that was the only way to get the Pink one if I recall correctly. Don't even bother with the DX Nin Shurikens that are packed in with other toys...just get the individual ones. Unless, of course, you want those toys as well... Just be prepared to pay.

At least the DX Ninja Starburger was kinda fun...

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger

I talked about this series main Henshin Item, the Zyuoh Changer, at a pretty fair length in my previous post. It's a great toy that does it all! It fits the theme of the show, has tons of sounds, and doesn't require an extra crap to work. It's a great toy that I think a lot of people overlook because "LOL MINECRAFT". So what? I like it. The other Changers are just as complete and fun out of the box. Zyuoh The Light is just that, a three-way light for Zyuoh The World. Zyuoh Changer Final is a boring repaint/update of the Zyuoh Changer, and the Whale Change Gun is a oddly technical changer/weapon. Yeah, I hate weapon changers...but I actually had fun with it while making my video.

I dig the 2016 Henshin Items. It was a good year to be a collector again.

Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger

What an awful, awful year for Henshin Items. Not only are there four of them (one being a Tamashii Web Exclusive for the first time ever) but two of which are horrible weapon changers and all of them use yet another overbearing gimmick. I have all of these damn toys and still haven't reviewed them. I have no desire to. I have no reason to. They're stupid. This show was a horrible waste. Toei/Bandai looked to America for input and only a year later finds themselves locked out of the damn country. Hasbro, meanwhile, is looking back at Go-Busters for 2019 Power Rangers. That's the same amount of time between shows are Kamen Rider BLACK RX > Masked Rider and Metalder > VR Troopers. Weird how this is happening to Sentai this time...but then again Shinkenger never stopped being adapted here...

Kyutama are the cancer of the year. If you want all of the DX Change Kyutama for the three main Henshin Items, you have to buy...

01, 03, 05, 07, 09 > DX Kyurenoh
02 > DX Sasori Voyager
04 > DX Tenbin Voyager
06 > DX Hebitsukai Voyager
08 > DX Washi Voyager
10 > DX Ryun Voyager
11 > DX Koguma Voyager
12 > DX Gigant Houou

This, folks, is what extreme greed looks like. Do you see now why I have zero fucking interest in this line? It wasn't appealing in the first place. I bought all that shit and never even bothered to open the shipping boxes they came in. They're just languishing...

Kaito Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger

This is the current Sentai series for 2018. In keeping with the current trend of too many fucking characters, there are two different Sentai in this show, but they both use the same Changer, the hideous VS Changer. The VS Changer comes with the Red Dial Fighter for Lupinred, but of course you'll have to buy all of the other Dial Fighters (Lupinranger) and Trigger Machines (Patranger) for the full Henshin line for both teams. The cost? ¥1500 each. There is always the DX Lupinkaiser and DX Patkaiser sets as well, but I don't think you'd be saving any money going that way outside of not having to buy a second Red Dial Fighter.

The X Changer is also happening, but yeah...snore.

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Bandai is not only losing me, but they seem to be losing a lot of others as well. Rather than focusing on making a handful of must-have toys per year, they are absolutely spamming the toy market with absurd quantities of gimmick-laden toys every year. It all started with Engine Souls, which seemed to work out well for Bandai. That then parlayed into Ranger Keys, which was a sheer jackpot. From there...the hits stopped coming.

I only want the best for Bandai, but their approach is absolutely the wrong one to take in this decade. Space is limited and parents are wise to their game since, well, they were kids too at one point. They know what to expect every year from Super Sentai and Bandai. Except...it's only gotten worse. Twenty years ago you could pick up a DX Ginga Brace, turn the dial, and get five different sounds for all five Gingaman. Now you have to buy an enormous gun and two different sets of mecha just for essentially the same experience. It's getting old...

People out there are going to disagree with me, and that's totally fine. I just want some justification for the extra spending. I understand the appeal of Ranger Keys, so that's cool. None of the other heavy-handed gimmicks have impressed me, though. It's just the toy version of downloadable content. I want the full experience out of the box...

-CC