2018/09/21

Wins, Opportunites, & Top Seven Episodes! Seijuu Sentai Gingaman Part 2 of 2


It's time for Part 2 of my look at Seijuu Sentai Gingaman! The enormous Part 1 is a focus on the never-ending cast of characters that this series had, so be sure to check that out. This time around I will be talking about some random bulletpoints that I noted as I watched the series twice to prepare for this post. Yeah, Gingaman isn't really my first choice of Sentai series to watch. I never really got into it in the past, so I really had to go through and watch it carefully to make sure I was doing it right.

As the title says, I'll be listing my Wins, Opportunities, and Top Seven Episodes just as I did last year with Megaranger. While Part 1 was more of a basic overview, this is where the opinions come out. I'll be sure to save the final verdict for the end, but the Wins and Opps may be a little divisive.

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Gingaman WINS

WIN: Music/BGM

I've sung the praises of Toshihiko Sahashi in the past, but the music in Gingaman is his absolute peak. Prior to this he had done the awesome soundtracks to Ultraman Powered and Gekisou Sentai Carranger. While virtually interchangeable, those soundtracks had a unique new sound that really fit whatever mood the script called for.

I won't say that the music saved the show, but it certainly elevated the mystique of the show. There is a small patch of woods next to my house that could double for the Ginga Forest. Really...the place that was so incredible wasn't more than a small patch of trees. The music really painted in a lot of the flat spots left in from the rest of production. That haunting piece with vocals by EVE? Awesome. The Ginga Tensei theme? It hid the fact that the sequence was like twelve minutes long. Any of the mecha music? Incredible.

I can't even say that the music in this series is underrated as it is a big favorite among fans. It was just refreshing to hear after the disappointing-for-all-the-wrong-reasons Megaranger music. That was a case of the better music never being used while the weakass stuff flooded the series.

WIN: Designs

I like the Gingaman suits. The weapons are all great. The main villains all look cool. The only thing I think could have been improved upon was some kind of small variation to the Kuro Kishi suit once Hyuuga was given the Bull Riot. I understand why they didn't change it (the nineteen minute long Go Taurus combination would have had to have been changed).

WIN: Henshin Effects

I love the Henshin effect shots in this series. From the main Gingaman to Hyuuga as Kuro Kishi. Hell, even the Go Taurus combination was cool. Not all effects were good in this series, but I am willing to concede that there were some good looking effects for each of the Gingaman henshin sequences. Were they used for runtime padding? Yep. Far too often? You bet. Hahaa.

WIN: Cinematography & Locations

Another well-shot series. It was a continued improvement over Megaranger, which was also nicely done. As the Ginga Forest was dispatched early on, the series was forced to take place in the real world. None of the action takes place at the horse ranch which lead to some more urban battles. I like that. I don't think the quarry even made an appearance until the final episode during the fight against Zahab. 

WIN: Villain Pacing & Details

I mentioned in the last post that Balban consisted of a small band of main villains with one of four generals being the one carrying out the attacks. Once one general failed, a new one was introduced. Rather than having some stupid way of introducing new generals to the show...why not have them from the start? All four generals appeared in the first episode. I like this kind of forward thinking even if it's a little less practical than real life. I can't imagine being at my job and having three others waiting patiently for me to fail before taking my place.

The details between the generals were pretty cool too. Sambash was more reckless and therefore got a less patient Zahab. The cool Budoh only drew minor irritation from Zahab and was completely unflustered by threats at his lack of results. Iliess was the obnoxious relative who was driven by greed and then there was Batobas...who really should have just been one of the main villains from the start. All of them had their own Majin with little personalized touches...including different casks for their Barba-X.

WIN: Skipped Tropes

Things you may predict will happen, never seem to come up. Barban never goes after Moak. Barban never really goes after Yuuta. The Saya themed episodes are all incredibly softball (actually...that was kind of a bummer. Remember how awesome it was in Dairanger when Rin walks up to Gara and grabs her by the collar?). That isn't to say that this series is full of unpredictability, it just left a lot of tired tried and true tropes on the table.

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Gingaman OPPORTUNITIES

OPP: Episode Pacing

I don't think the five extra minutes bestowed upon the franchise were ever used to it's advantage. Gingaman's method to combat the extra time was to draw things out...as......long.........as...............they..........................could. Gingaioh's combination? Forty two seconds. Go Taurus? Forty seconds flat. There was a slightly abbreviated version for each, but it really felt like they used the full combination sequence often. Once Giga Rhinos and Giga Phoenix were introduced, they never just showed up combined. They needed their full combinations as well. It wasn't limited to mecha, either. The Ginga Tensei and poses just went on forever. Sure they looked cool and were easily the best effects in the series, but they really did give me plenty of time to check Twitter while revisiting the show in 2018.

OPP: Mecha

*sigh* I know I'm going to hear it for this one. Take this one as a soft OPP.

Outside of Bull Taurus/Go Taurus, I'm really not a fan of the mecha in this show. I *do* like that there wasn't a super-clusterfuck mecha, and I do like how the Seijuu had different forms until they abandoned that idea once Bull Taurus showed up, but not much else. Gingaioh is.....alright. Giga Bitus, Phoenix, and Rhinos are clearly rejected Megaranger designs that were too valuable to throw away. They designed some vaguely animal themed helmets to slap on them and viola! Giga Bitus never really did anything outside of dispatching Rhinos and Phoenix either. Meh.

OPP: Non-Henshin Effects

There are some awful, awful effect shots in the series. Remember how the Gingaioh transformation effect was unfinished for a few episodes? How about that baffling effect where the sword transformed into the Galcon Bowgun? Bad effect aside, this made ZERO SENSE. Why did the sword need to transform into a mecha that was already present on Gingaioh's back?? Considering how the effect disappeared from the series and the Bowgun was dropped altogether, I can't be alone in thinking that effects for the sake of effects is a stupid way to go about things.

OPP: Endless Power???

While there were some truly dire situations in the series, Gingaman always made it through in much better shape than they should have. More than once Ryoma was beaten to a pulp and he *still* managed to muster the strength to carry on and win. Zahab was the invincible one...and who were the ones still standing at the end? Yeah...

OPP: Ginga Forest & The Gingaman Legend

I've mentioned it before...the Ginga Forest is the single most unremarkable thing about the series. We get it...they like *their* trees more than they like ours. The altar in the first episode is the closest we got to seeing any kind of shelter/structure in the forest. I imagine that there was some kind of CG establishing shot that was so lousy that they couldn't be bothered to use it.

This kinda ties into the flimsy Gingaman Legend. Ummm...so the ancestors just sealed Barban? Granted, they didn't have Buccrates to spill the beans on how to kill Zahab. In those three thousand years, did their ancestors teach the Kakuranger episodes how to seal the Yokai? The whole thing is whack. Now that Barban is gone, I imagine that the Gingaman ceremony carries on through the new generations. Surely the 134th Gingaman ceremony is happening now. Did any of the 133rd Gingaman show up the way their parents did...not...? Bah.

OPP: Barban's Motivations

This is a big one, but I absolutely hate how lousy the Daitanix plot is. "We need our ship back if we're gonna be pirates. Let's spend the better part of 40+ episodes making that happen only to have it immediately get wiped out". Yeah... I liked Barban as villains, but whenever they talked about the Daitanix or what they were doing to raise it, I kinda checked out. Carranger did it way better only two years earlier...and they were making fun of the exact trope that Gingaman eventually ended up doing. Megaranger at least avoided this by having a villain who was more interested in reducing humanity to ones and zeroes.

Daitanix was stupid. What it eventually lead to was also pretty stupid.

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Top Seven Gingaman Episodes


07. Densetsu no yaiba & Seijuu no sairai (01 & 02)

I can't deny that this is a solid set of debut episodes. I did air my grievances about the things I didn't like already, but I really enjoyed the dynamic of Gingaman's first encounter with Barban. From the lowest of lows to... even lower lows than that. Gingaman has a lot to accomplish over the year to restore everything that they once had. It's all tied up pretty neatly.



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06. Hitori no tatakai (20)

Ryoma has a horseback battle on Red Spark against Hyodogasa. Need I say more?

Oh...there is also some more drama with Kuro Kishi. Speaking of.....



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05. Nazo no Kuro Kishi & Fukushuu no Kishi (18 & 19)

These were the debut episodes for Kuro Kishi. At first, he seemed to help Gingaman out in their fight against Barban. In the next episode it became clear that he wouldn't hesitate to harm Gingaman, or any human for that matter, if they got in his way during his revenge. While it wasn't the most inventive plot, bringing Kuro Kishi in as an unknown certainly shook things up a little bit. We even got a sweet new mecha out of the deal.

Oh, and the Kuro Kishi suit looked awesome during his debut. I suspect that it was a high maintenance costume as it just looked tired toward the end of the series.



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04. Kyofu no shakkuri (15)

This was a rare silly episode of the series that actually landed the punch.

Hikaru feigns sick to get out of helping Haruhiko and Yuuta move. Ryoma takes charge in working to get Hikaru mended from his fictitious fever. They bump into a scientist who had discovered a three-thousand year old un-detonated Barban bomb. In the mix-up, Ryoma ends up feeding the bomb to Hikaru instead of medicine. Moak informs them that the bomb will explode once Hikaru hiccups one hundred times. Meanwhile, the other three get locked inside a room with the key falling into a box of several hundred other keys. They're forced to wait it out as Haruhiko tries every key with the very last one being the winner. He opens the door to find...


I genuinely enjoyed this one. Between Ryoma almost uncharacteristically taking tedious count on how many times Hikaru hiccups by writing on his hand and the tense time limit, this was a fast paced winner.




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03. Budoh no shuunen (24)

The final episode for Budoh. He was betrayed by Iliess despite having a winner of a plan (well...not really since the Hikari no Ginga chose Gingaman anyway) and exiled by Barban. Budoh and his final two Majin, Yamamaru and Onimaru, head into battle one last time.

Budoh was a class act until the very end. Really, his arc couldn't have ended with a better episode.



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02. Gouki no sentaku & Chikyuu no Majuu (35 & 44)

Plot-wise, these are two completely unrelated episodes...but they share one common thread: Yuji Kishi's excellent guest starring role as Shunsuke Kishimoto.

In Gouki no sentaku, Gouki finds himself in sudden competition for the affection of Yuuta's teacher, Suzuko. Kishimoto makes an ass of himself in only a way that Yuji Kishi can pull off. He tries to slime his way in by saying that Suzuko would be in danger if he hung around Gouki. In the end, Suzuko chooses Gouki.

At the end of the episode, the rest of the team finally encounter Kishimoto and are like "wtf is this guy?"

In Chikyuu no Majuu, Kishimoto returns...this time seeking to become Gouki's apprentice. As they walk the streets, Gouki handles minor interactions and situations smoothly while Kishimoto overreacts to everything, completely missing the point.

While witnessing Gouki put his life on the line to save a young girl's doll, Kishimoto finally learns what Gouki is all about. In the end, he helped an injured Gouki hold his Jugekibo to make a critical shot on the Majin of the week, Dangs.


As I mentioned in the previous post, Yuji Kishi returned basically to play Kyosuke again for a couple of episodes. Two episodes were the perfect amount as he didn't overstay his welcome in the slightest. Even if you don't plan on digging into Gingaman, these two episodes are a must for any Carranger fan.



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01. Honoo no Kyodai (26)

After Hyuuga had finally been freed from Kuro Kishi's captivity in the previous episode, there was reason to celebrate at the Gingaman HQ. There was a slight worry in the air, however. Since Hyuuga was the rightful owner of the Gingared Seijuuken, who would take on the mantle as the 133rd Gingared? After the rest of the team is captured, Hyuuga and Ryoma carry out a rescue mission in the Abandoned Warehouse District™. Hyuuga uses the Seijuuken once and then tells Ryoma that it was the final time he would use the weapon. He then formally presents the Seijuuken to Ryoma and tells him that he is the true 133rd Gingared.


For his trouble, Hyuuga is presented with the Bull Riot from the spirit of Kuro Kishi to become Kuro Kishi Hyuuga.

It took half the series, but Ryoma had finally been given some legitimacy to his title of Gingared. It was a great moment as well. I really enjoyed the back and forth between Hyuuga and Ryoma during the series...it's a damn shame that Buccrates had to swoop in and basically ruin Hyuuga. On the other hand, Ryoma had definitely developed into the leader he needed to be at the end of the series...but it all kinda started here. Great episode.  

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I guess this is the part where I talk about the series overall. I think the best way to describe Gingaman is this... It's almost like a greatest hits of 1990s Super Sentai. Sasuke from Kakuranger was a cool character, let's bring him back. We also liked Burai from Zyuranger being the older brother of the red one, why don't we also do that as well? Kyosuke from Carranger was the greatest wasn't he? Well, we can't bring him back, but let's see if Yuji Kishi wouldn't mind playing a similar character for a couple of episodes. Speaking of Carranger...the music was great, so how about more of that? The only thing that they *didn't* do was force Shelinda into a crush on Hayate (mercifully).

I think that would be a fair assessment of the series. Intentional or not, it did take a lot of the better elements from previous series of the decade and tied them into a series with a razor thin plot. When people say that the series is a better/worse Zyuranger...I'm kinda puzzled. Gingaman doesn't really share much in common with Zyuranger outside of having the same color suits and the sixth being the long-lost brother of Red.

The real Zyu2?!? Nah. Also, I think Ogawa is having serious nostalgia in this shot for all the Kakuranger fights that took place here.

I think the cast is fairly likeable outside of the general whininess from Hikaru and the crocodile tears from Gouki. Despite Gouki being the baby he is, the heavy emotional stuff was left to Hayate (fiance stuck in Ginga Forest), Hikaru (dead mother mentioned once), and the On/Off/On Ryoma & Hyuuga drama. They were a decent bunch to spend the year with. As weak as their plans were, I'll say that Balban was a fun bunch as well.

The biggest thing this series was lacking was memorable episodes. I had such a hard time thinking up the episodes I liked the best. There weren't even that many big moments that were really entertaining. The series just kinda...progressed. It progressed at such a normal pace that it really it wouldn't get ticketed in the strictest of speed traps. It started, stuff happened, the end.

That isn't to say I don't like the show. I actually found myself enjoying it way more this time than I have in the past. It's a great show that does a lot of things right. The lack of the 'secret identity' aspect certainly remedied some of the weak action from Carranger and Megaranger. The key word is 'remedied', not 'cured'. Some of the action beats could have been better, but once the effects budget dried up after like the fourth episode, things improved.

I certainly would recommend the series if you haven't seen it already. It's pace is as chill as it's characters and it delivers a solid story on top of a largely basic plot. Check it out if you haven't already!


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That's it for my write-up on Seijuu Sentai Gingaman. I hope you enjoyed this series and it's write-up. With the release of Jetman right around the corner as of this writing, how about checking out Part 1 and Part 2 of my write-up of that. Will there be a Part 3? Perhaps in time... For now, keep an eye out for Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo Five.

-CC

Ginga Tensei! Seijuu Sentai Gingaman Part 1 of 2
Super Sentai Series Reviews
Top Seven Lists


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
Wins, Opportunities, & Top Seven Episodes! Seijuu Sentai Gingaman Part 2 of 2

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

CCLemon99 Magazine Issue 2
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue 3
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue 4
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue 5

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