Triple Top Seven!!! Gosei Sentai Dairanger!


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

Oh, and you know how I hate when people put *SPOILER ALERT* at the head of things. This is Dairanger, FFS. If you haven't seen it yet--that's your damn problem.


Top 7 Problems With Dairanger!

07. The Ending (for Gorma)

I'm very split on the ending. On one hand, it's perfect. When it comes to how it ended with Gorma...welllllll...it just left more questions than answers. The epilogue was funny, but that too left more questions than answers. I guess we'll find out in 2043...

06. Kazu

Not an awful character, he mostly suffered from neglect. Whenever he did have episodes, they were usually decent...but he was kind of in the background for the majority of the show. I mean, when everyone was getting encouragement from characters who had died or had moved on, he got encouragement from Kameo.....who was alive....who was alive and in his pocket... Kazu was never really given a great trial or rival like the others. Even Rin had Media Majutsushi...but for whatever reason Kou's mother appeared to her for encouragement.

05. Daigo

On the flipside, we have an interesting character who was miscast. Tatsuya Nomi did a good job when it came to action scenes and having a stoic look for Daigo...but once he needed to show any kind of emotion, he totally lost control of his face. He kind of cranked it up to 11 a lot of the time. Which is kind of a shame since he seemed to be the most in-tune with his mission as a Dairanger.

04. Dairenoh's strength

I like just about every mecha in this series, but I don't like Dairenoh that much. He was borderline invincible. I can only think of a few times when Dairenoh was ever in a pinch...especially one that made it necessary for something like Kibadaioh to be created. It took something as massive as Daijinryu for Dairenoh to have a problem...

03. Suddenly...China...or is it!?

A handful of times in the series the characters are suddenly transported to China or end up there. I get that this goes with the theme of the show, but it just felt...oddly done and kind of sloppy. When the group needed to find the Tenpo Lailai, Rin was suddenly teleported there and the others followed (in their Jeep somehow). This is fine, but other times it's less straightforward. Is the Gorma fighting ground in China? It looks like it would be compared to how the setting looked, but the Kiryoku and Yoryoku towers were clearly in Japan. Not to mention the Gorma Palace would have to be located in China for the Dairanger to have never encounter it before the finale. It would make sense for it to be there...and since it seems to remain hidden, wouldn't it be there?

02. Zaidos' Demise

He was as eerie, calm, and competent as Shadam and Gara for most of the series. The last few episodes he was made out to be the screw-up of the bunch. Wha? All three seemed cool in their own ways and suddenly Zaidos is a joke?

Also, what's up with how Zaidos holds his hands? It looks like he's holding two brandy snifters at all times.

01. Pick a damn side!

Some people might not agree with me on this, but there is a mind-boggling amount of side-switching in this show. Ryo's father left the Dai tribe to join Gorma, there was a struggle by each side to get Kou, and there was the last minute switch (well...it was more of a reversal) by Kaku. That was the one that really bothered me. Even though the seeds of this switch were planted early on, it just seemed to be totally unnecessary. I'm not entirely sure what the series would have gained if Kaku was around for the end, but it was kind of a bummer not having him around seeing as he was pulling the strings behind the Dairanger for most of the series.

Getting back to Kou for a second... He is a child of Dai and Gorma. His mother died in the cave with his twin brother, Akomaru. Shadam gets very close to revealing to Kou that he is his father before Ryo tells him to shut up. So...he never finds out the truth about Shadam? I imagine that Kou had an awkward conversation with Rin after she parted ways with the other four.

Kou: Now that Gorma is gone, I can look for my father!
Rin: Yeah...about that...

Poor kid. Sorry, I got off topic...


Top 7 Wins With Dairanger!

07. The Ending
OK, so I mentioned above that I didn't like the ending for Gorma. I did, however, love how it ended for Dairanger. After the Gorma Palace is wiped out by Daijinryu, the Dairanger can finally disband for real. In probably one of my favorite shots in Super Sentai history we see the team slowly part ways. It kind of reminds me of the ending of The Graduate in how it was edited. Rather than the typical cutting point to show how they all lived together--happily ever after (when they join hands) the scene keeps moving with Kazu first walking away, then Daigo, then Rin, Shoji then gives Ryo a light tap before leaving. Wow...I'd be lying if I said I don't get a little misty-eyed whenever I see it. It's really wonderfully done.
The epilogue is kinda stupid, but it does introduce one awesome concept...DAIRANGER IN 2043!!!
06. Kou & Akomaru
This is usually a point of contention for a lot of people, but I actually liked these characters.
Despite being a member of the Dairanger team pretty early on in the series, his affiliation was in jeopardy a number of times as the series went on...and for good reason. Being the son of a Gorma man (Shadam) and Dai woman (Ummm.....Kou's mother never did have a name) he could've been a member of either team. Once you look past his childish behavior (hey, he was a kid afterall) he wasn't that bad of a character. He had a legitimate reason to fight Gorma, and did so despite not being a very strong fighter.
Akomaru didn't really have much to offer Gorma much to his own frustration. He wanted to be leader--and to win his father's approval, but couldn't quite figure out how to achieve either. He ends up dying only to pulled from Hell by Gorma XV. He is never quite successful in his missions, but he has endless determination to become the best.
Both characters are pretty interesting and are given a large share of screentime. They certainly kept the show moving along and both had plenty of reason for existing in the story.
05. Jin
Where to begin...?
First off, I endorse any appearance of Yutaka Hirose in a Tokusatsu series. He was excellent in his three previous Sentai villain roles, but Jin is a special case...because he isn't Gorma.
Having Ryo face an unknown element in the middle of his ongoing battle with Gorma was a brilliant move. Once Ryo was given a savage beating from Jin after witnessing a second assassination (this one was successful), it was clear that maybe Ryo's skill isn't quite where it needs to be if he can't beat someone who isn't even associated with Gorma. During their rematch, Ryo is able to match and eventually beat Jin when he is distracted.
Jin actually *uses* Gorma to become stronger in his quest to beat Ryo, but never willingly joins. To see them eventually become allies is great too. I don't really like when bad people become good in shows, but Ryo's plan of killing him with kindness lead to some nice moments of Ryo and Jin bonding. Especially when Ryo carries Jin and his wheelchair up the stairs. Heh.
I love the idea of an outside variable causing a major disruption for Ryo as it lead to some of the best fights scenes in the show. One guy was able to do what Gorma had failed to do for 26 episodes...beat Ryo into a bloodied seizure.
04. Music
Eiji Kawamura is in my Top 3 of Tokusatsu composers. This is his first Sentai series...and it is fantastic. Some people don't like the music from Dairanger, but I think it has a special darkness mixed with a slight Chinese vibe. Kinda to the same degree with which he handled Kakuranger's music and it's Japanese vibe. It's there...but not all of the time.
In terms of amazing fight music, Eiji Kawamura has it on lockdown. Go back and listen to his catalog of Tokusatsu soundtracks and you'll see what I mean. He also did Kamen Rider BLACK, BLACK RX, ZO, J, Lady Battle Cop, Dairanger, Kakuranger, and B-Fighter. All of them have some fantastic pieces in them and are overall great.
On top of all that, it has my favorite Sentai Ending song. [Happy, D3rachi?]
03. Ryo & Shoji
My two favorites from the series.
Ryo was very convincing at being a team leader and skilled fighter. As I mentioned before, his rivalry with Jin is spectacular as well as most of his fights in general. After a string of red heroes who were really nothing more than a bunch of lame goodnicks, it was refreshing to have an actual skilled fighter in charge of a team. Keiichi Wada did a wonderful job portraying Ryo and bringing a great character to life. This........would've been wasteful casting had this happened:

Keiichi Wada as Kazu...Keisuke Tsuchiya as Ryo...
Shoji is a cool guy. Also a skilled fighter, but also a somewhat troubled guy. He seems to have a checkered past as he was briefly shown to be a failure as a thug. He has since moved on to become a boxer (and is mentioned to have been a champion in the epilogue) and a spirited guy.
One of my favorite Shoji moments is when he is leaving his friends to meet Kamikaze for their final duel (a motorcycle race). He throws down some money and says "Keep the change...!" before leaving the restaurant. After a second Ryo yells "Hey, you didn't leave enough!!". Hahaha...I love that guy.
02. Designs...all of them!
Everything looked good in this show. The Dairanger suits, weapons, villains...everything. The only things I didn't like so much were the Kiryoku Bazooka and Dairenoh. The rest of the mecha looked cool, though--especially Ryuseioh.
01. The Series
This is a little bit of a cop-out, but yes...I consider this show a big win for Super Sentai in general.
I can watch this show every year and it hasn't gotten old. Like all Sentai shows between Dynaman and Carranger, the episodes are 18 minutes long and can be marathoned easily. This show especially is very fast paced, gripping, and easy to watch. The characters are great, the villains are cool and mysterious, the action is top notch--this show is amazing.
Top 7 Dairanger Episodes!
07. Saraba! San Baka (Episode 40)
The final episode with the Three Idiots. Shoji is in a race to the death with Kamikaze. Fittingly Kamikaze lives up to his name and knowingly drives into Zaidos at the finish line after learning that it is loaded with explosives. He did this because he realized that Zaidos had no faith in his ability to win the race on his own.
06. Tamashii Chodai!/Oretachi amai ze! (Episodes 3&4)
Two-parter. This episode.....HAD to have given kids nightmares. Kagi Dokeshi is on the loose and he is stealing souls of children and using them to power his army of killer dolls. This set of episodes is full of great story and fighting.
05. Tofu de yottaa (Episode 12)
A Kazu focus episode! One of, like, two of them... Anyway...I liked the focus on drunken fighting in this episode, even if it never really happened. Shoji and Daigo disguised as Cotpotros and switched Tofu sennin's sake with water, which resulted in Kazu only having to pretend to be too hammered to fight, leaving an opening to attack.
04. Hiken!! Dekee yatsu (Episode 37)
In this episode, Daijinryu appears prompting a couple of failed ceasefires between Dairanger and Gorma. I wasn't too crazy about Daijinryu, but man...did he leave an impression. Between his frantic music and sheer destructive force...this episode was definitely a shock. There was no conceivable way that the Dairanger could stop this thing...and no real idea what it was or what it wanted.
03. Uragirimono!/Oyagiii!! (Episodes 7&8)
Two-parter. The team is faced with a mysterious new Gorma opponent named Choryo who turns out to be Ryo's father. Upon learning that Ryo is his son, he decides to help the Dairanger out by informing them on how to combine their recently obtained Kidenjuu into Dairenoh. Upon his death, Choryo is forgiven by his previous teammates for being a traitor and joining Gorma.
02. Tenshin daa!/Kiryoku daa! (Episodes 1&2)
Two-parter. Not much to say other than this show has a fantastic debut episode. They waste no time getting into the action. I think Ryo is attacked within the first thirty seconds. The introduction of Ryuseioh is also amazing...
01. Iya na iya na iya na yatsu/Saishu ken da da daa (Episodes 26&27)
Two-parter. This episode introduced Jin, showed him mercilessly kill several strict martial arts masters and violently beat Ryo in one of the best Sentai fight scenes ever. In turn, Ryo trains for his rematch with Jin and barely beats him...leading to a new rivalry for the remainder of Jin's time on the show. 
Seriously, this is one of my favorite two-parters ever.


There it is...my Triple Top Seven of Dairanger! Be sure to check out my other Top 7 lists. More to come...because I just finished rewatching Jetman for the first time in about thirteen years...

Anyway...thank you for reading my blog and watching my videos. I will be back in 2014 with loads of new content both here and on Youtube.

See you in the new year!



...Forte Continued...and Jinzoningen Hakaider...

(This is Part 2 of my blog about Forte Music Entertainment. If you missed Part 1, check it out here. I wrote it about two months ago, so it's worth having a refresher even if you did read it already.)

So I covered the basics before, but I didn't mention a couple things in my earlier post...

The career of Susumu Ooya doesn't seem to exist outside of this crappy label. Ooya did four songs from Janperson [this includes both theme songs] as well as a few decent songs from DBZ. All info I managed to dig up on this guy says he retired from entertainment in 2002, but I don't see any recording past his DBZ songs from 1995. Bummer. I might be in the minority, but I liked his songs.

I mentioned previously that the label was abruptly dropped in the middle of 1995, but I don't think it was a "just walk away" situation--it was more of an "ABANDON SHIP!". The second B-Fighter single being released by Columbia was one thing, but the ultimate weirdness happened to Jinzoningen Hakaider...

A little bit of history...

In 1995 Kikaider's rival, Hakaider, was given his own movie where he somehow portrays the protagonist. Jinzoningen Hakaider [or Mechanical Violator Hakaider OR Roboman Hakaider] was released in lieu of a new Kamen Rider film that year. They even gave the movie the most badass trailer in the history of Tokusatsu movies. Brief, non-spoiler, awesome narration, and full of action.

The premise was bizarre. An evil or is he!? robot is freed from his comically large chains and immediately sets out for vengeance against his creator, Gurjev. Gurjev and his right hand man, Michael, live in the walled city called Jesus Town [...] where everything is squeaky clean and perfect...except for the rebels! Upon breaking into Jesus Town, Hakaider saves a band of rebels and befriends them as much as an emotionless killer could. Ultimately he is able to face Gurjev and Michael [whose white armor suspiciously looks more and more like a mixture of Kikaider and bad claymation as the fight wears on].

That is just a very basic synopsis. It is a very strange movie with a strange message loaded with even more strange imagery. Hakaider enjoyed a different type of popularity than the Kamen Rider movies of the previous three years. It was given a regular theatrical release, an eventual Director's Cut [I believe this is one of the first Toei Hero movies to do so] and it even has an American release [with both versions of the film...Thanks, Media Blasters!] based on Kikaider's popularity in the western States. It's worth checking out--that's for sure!

So naturally there was a music release of some kind for this film. Surely there is just a single and music collection to cover this movie. Try four...

Whatever weirdness was going on with the production of the movie [there had to be some. I refuse to believe otherwise when there are two different versions of any movie--it has to be more than runtime] there was definitely some weird stuff going on with the music. The film's ending theme song is a little song called "WILD SIDE" by MODE that everyone seems to be familiar with. Despite being cross promoted with the film, WILD SIDE does not appear on the Hakaider Music Collection. WILD SIDE only appears on the CDSingle of the same name. Right there, that is two CDs.

On the Hakaider Music Collection [which, by the way, was put out by our good friends at Forte Music] we hear two other vocal songs called "mouichido meguri au hi made" and "omoide o hanataba ni kaete" by pianist KYOKO SOUND LABORATORY. These songs can be considered image songs--as they are in the booklet, but I imagine that one of them was originally destined to be the ending song to the film. In addition to being on the Music Collection the two songs had their own 2-track CD Single. We're up to three CDs.

Oh yeah, I should mention that the majority of the music on Forte's Hakaider Music Collection ummm...wasn't really used in the movie. Variations, yes, but it's kind of like listening to a bizarro version of the music that is actually in the movie. The short, modernized version of "Hakaider no theme" that plays right before the end credits start is a lot campier on Forte's CD.

SO...after the movie was released on VHS and Laserdisc in regular and director's cut, a director's cut Music Collection was also released by Columbia. Their version of the soundtrack featured the music that actually ended up in the movie. The only issue was that WILD SIDE was missing. The KYOKO SOUND LABORATORY songs were also missing, but they're pretty much imaginary at this point. Four CDs.

Let's recap.

MODE "WILD SIDE" Single - Fun House
KYOKO SOUND LABORATORY Single - Forte Music Entertainment
Hakaider Music Collection - Forte Music Entertainment
Hakaider Music Collection Director's Cut - Nippon Columbia

How did this happen? Why did this happen? What the hell?? Four CDs on three labels...

Initially I was going to do this post as a Rare CD Round-up and upload the Forte version of the Music Collection to Youtube, but I decided to just post the two KYOKO SOUND LABORATORY songs along with the Forte Version of Hakaider's theme as well as the Director's Cut CD version. You decide which is better [Director's Cut].


So there you have it. Just before Forte was stamped out of existence it managed to confuse the hell out of us one last time. Good riddance to a lousy music label...

Thank you for reading my two-part rant on a topic that probably nobody cares about. Hahaa.

See ya next time!