Jetman...Part 2...

So last time I established that I liked Vyram. They may have made some hairbrained decisions toward the end of the show, but they worked great as classic Sentai villains. When it comes to the heroes, however, things get a whole lot less rosy to me.

The Jetman team is comprised of five individuals from different walks of life. Ryu, Red Hawk, has a career with the Sky Force and is the only member who was always meant to be a Jetman. Kaori, White Swan, is an heiress with very little going on in her life. Raita, Yellow Owl, is a farmer who doesn't seem to have much interest in fighting yet is the strongest member of the group. Ako, Blue Swallow, is a high-schooler who basically exists to translate the drama to kids who may be watching. Finally there is Gai, Black Condor, who is a bar dwelling loner that has a short fuse.

...so basically as far apart as a group of people could get without bringing race into it. It is usually interesting to see how a group of totally random individuals can band together and over come a dire situation, but this show really plays out like a bad drama... Before I really get into the reasons why, let me do a full character breakdown as I did with Vyram in my last entry...


Being the leader and a career soldier you think this guy would the ultimate warrior of the group. Ahhhh...no. He is a hopeless individual who can't seem to connect his words to his actions or his fists to his enemies. Every single time Kaori made a move on him, he would say "We're fighters first and people second.". Five minutes later he would be crying at Rie's headstone. Once he realized that Maria was definitely Rie (I'm pretty sure he noticed early on and the writers kinda whistled and swept that under the rug), he basically turned to putty and let her beat the snot out of him. You know, like a fighter would.

In addition to this, he has to be the most mentally unstable Red in history. When the story got too deep for him, he literally lost his mind. In other shows where there is equal or greater tragedy for the leaders--or any character really, they would use that to fuel their fight and become stronger. Kaori and Gai found Ryu on a swing, where he introduced them to his invisible girlfriend. Ugh.

The biggest bummer to me was the lack of a big rematch between him and Tranza. When Tran became Tranza he immediately started to fuck with the Jetman guys. First he beat the crap out of Ryu, then he stole the girls that were flirting with Gai (which he kinda smiled and shrugged off), and then he beat Raita in a food eating contest (which was probably the most passionate about something Raita ever was in the entire series). Ryu never got a rematch with Tranza. Sure they fought, but there was never a fight. Then Radiguet took out Tranza. Ugh.

Ryu's default face...

Bottom line... Ryu sucked.


For someone whose best years were likely behind her, Kaori seemed pretty cheery. Immediately after she broke off her engagement with the rich assclown she began persuing Ryu...hard. Watching her blush over Ryu was just...ugh. As I mentioned before, Ryu constantly told Kaori that they should be concentrating on being Jetman and not on having *ick* feelings. This didn't stop her for about 30 episodes. She pressed Ryu for a relationship until he brought her to his (not dead) girlfriend's grave. This seems to get the point across that not only was she chasing after someone who wasn't interested...but someone who wasn't interested and an asshole.

So how was she as an actual Jetman? Terrible at first, but I guess she improves. In certain publications it's said that she is the best shot of the group. OK, I guess... They have to give her something...


If there is one member of this group that belongs in a Sentai show...weirdly it's this guy. Of the group he is the most stable...in fact, Raita and Ako are the only two who never quit during the show.

Being a bigger dude from the country, he easily falls into the role of being a bumpkin. For whatever reason he becomes attracted to Kaori (OK, they did give a reason...but it was so lame that I've pretty much forgotten it), which never goes anywhere. Sorry, Raita, but Kaori's sad violin music will never play for you. Beyond this, he is determined and level-headed. Stable...as I mentioned before...

He is a decent member of Jetman. He isn't exactly a skilled fighter, so he relies on his unusual strength and strategy. In episode 15 I think he dresses up as a woman once they discover that Voice Jigen only likes female voices and yells which, ofcourse, saves the day.



Like I mentioned earlier (and in my last post under Tran's entry) Ako almost exclusively exists to point out the unspoken feelings of other characters (Kaori mostly) to younger viewers in the audience. There isn't too much to her, and mercifully she had no feelings for anybody or anyth...wait. She had a little thing with Dan from the Berserk Senshi. Dammit, they couldn't even keep their grubbing mitts off of Ako's feelings. Though, after Dan is killed Ako didn't lose her mind like Ryu did countless times. Gah...the highschool girl is tougher than the military guy...

Ako was an alright fighter. I can't really think of any outstanding moments she had. She did shed her bratiness rather quickly, which is more than I can for the others.


Oh boy...

So we have a character who is completely selfish and prefers the setting of a dimly-lit bar to the cockpit of a giant mecha. It takes a very, very long time for Gai to accept that he must accept his role as a Jetman. Why does he have to accept? Besides the fact that he was mistakenly hit with the Birdonic rays...he actually happens to be the most heroic of the bunch. Granted, most of his biggest heroic acts were to win Kaori's wasted affection for Ryu, but for being so selfish...he was quite selfless a lot of the time. He even saved Ryu early on when he was trapped inside Apartment Jigen.

In addition to being the unlikely hero of the group, he was the best fighter. Some people will probably say that Ryu was, but I just marathoned the show and Gai is consistently the best at fighting. I mean, the last *really* decent fight in the show was reserved for him and Grey.

I like him as a Jetman...but he was terribly obnoxious as a character. He had the demeanor of a date-rapist toward Kaori most of the time and when he finally won her over...he had no idea what to do with her. He was a man who was all about the chase when it came to women. Everytime he is seen flirting with a woman, he is determined and passionate. Once he actually lands a woman, Kaori or any of the random skanks he seems to fancy, he pretty much becomes a lethargic lump of clay.

This man is a tough nut to crack. I liked his determination, but he was driven for all the wrong reasons. He is pretty damn annoying for most of the series, but I can't picture him being any other way. In fact, whenever he does that Double Beam attack with Ryu...it just feels out of character.


She's alright as a commander. She doesn't do enough to smack them into shape, though. Sure she puts them through their training exercises (which we rarely see on screen), but she really needed to whip them into shape a little bit better.

She did get to briefly live out one of my fantasies though...

Aim for Ryu's beanbag!

It was cool to see her piloting mecha atleast. Heh.

The Epilogue...

Alright, so the ending of this show is a character of it's own. Once Vyram is wiped out, the Jetman pretty much go their own ways. We join the action three years later when everyone is gathered for the wedding of Ryu and Kaori. I guess Kaori figured out that she needed three years to win Ryu rather than just the better part of one. Gai is late for the wedding as he stops to pick up flowers. He happens to witness a mugging and steps in. After giving the mugger a stern talking to, he is stabbed in the stomach. He stumbles to his friend's wedding where he is spotted by Ryu. They have a nice chat while Gai is literally dying on the bench they're sharing. After having a last look at his friends having a good time, Gai dies.

That........is fucking horrible.

I thought I had bad luck for getting married on Mischief Night, but getting married on the day that your friend was murdered feels like more of a curse than anything. Ryu and Kaori will have to live the rest of their lives sharing an anniversary for the day they exchanged vows and their best friend died...right in front of them no less.

This was a poor move. I really hate whenever someone throws in the defense "it teaches kids that even superheroes can die". No. It is Indie Film 101. Not sure how to end something? Kill off a lead character.

To recap...Ryu and Kaori are getting married. Raita has begun a relationship with his childhood friend Satsuki and Ako has become a pop singer (really??). Gai...atleast made enough money to buy a snappy suit to wear to the wedding. He may or may not have accomplished anything in the time since Vyram was destroyed, we'll never know. I would've been happier to have an ending where he turned his life around and became something thanks to lessons learned during his time as a Jetman. We'll just know him as the man who died at his friend's wedding.

The creepiness doesn't end with that episode, though...

The umm Second Epilogue...

Years after Jetman ended, a video encyclopedia was released by Toei. The special is basically a clip show that went over character information, facts, and stats. However, there was a little bit of plot woven in.

At the beginning Kaori receives a deliver of vegetables from Raita's farm along with a note saying how things are good and that he is expecting a child with his now-wife. I mean, could you expect anything else from the guy? Ryu arrives home and they go through their photo album and recount their adventures during their Jetman days (this is where the gratuitous clips come in).

As the special draws to a close, and before there is a single mention of what the hell Ako is up to, we hear a baby crying. Oh! So Ryu and Kaori have a kid now? Makes sense.

His name? Gai Tendo...


So not only do they share a wedding anniversary with their tragically dead friend's death, but they named their kid after him? Loving tribute or not, doesn't that just feel like they're trying a little too hard?

If there is a God, he'll live up to his namesake and give his parents hell...

Ryu-Kaori-Gai Forever!......I guess...


So that's the colorful side of the Jetman cast. My overall feelings on the show? Eh. When the show is really good, it's great. Whenever feelings rear their ugly head, I hate hate HATE this show. It is a little bit of a shock watching this show after Dairanger and before Ohranger in my marathon cycle. The drama is too much for a show about five people saving the world.

It is an interesting concept...but it is an interesting concept that constantly needs to remind you how clever it is. "Heh, the characters in the show are all different and they're forced to work together, heh. Watch what happens when they have a love triangle. Heh.". Ugh.

Bottom line...give it a watch. It's acceptance is polarizing, so you might love or hate it.

The ending song is amazing, though.



Jetman...Part 1...

I just want to start this post by saying...welcome to 2014! The past couple of weeks have been kind of a time for me to decompress. I made a couple of new videos to finish out March (minus Mammothranger) as well as a bunch of videos that aren't on my published list. Basically...I'm just trying to get 2014 videos scheduled. I found that working this way has made my life easier and made working on my channel less of a burden.

So yeah, basically I have been watching some Tokusatsu shows and playing a ton of Gran Turismo 6 since I wrote my last entry. Before I started rewatching Ohranger (which I am currently stuggling through) I tortured myself with a viewing of Jetman for the first time since 2000ish.

...OK, that wasn't fair. Jetman is actually a good show when it's at it's best...but there are times when the show just hurts to watch. I want to reserve my full thoughts for the end of my Jetman posts, so I'll leave it at that for now. In this entry I would like to talk about the show's background menace--Vyram.


I kind of like Vyram, but at the same time they are almost as bad as Jetman with their ongoing feels. This is especially puzzling seeing as one of them is a robot. Also puzzling is their back story. Maria, as we know, is Ryu's kidnapped girlfriend Rie. So basically, she is a brainwashed human. Radiguet is seen to have a human form that he can willingly switch to later on. Tranza also has this ability and uses it to his advantage after he made the transition from Tran. Juza, who is the closest thing to serious leadership in Vyram, is disposed of in two episodes fairly early on in the series. That leaves Grey.....who is a robot. It's kind of hard to picture how Vyram was formed or even who built Grey. It obviously wasn't Tran since his robotic engineering isn't quite up to scratch after the G2 incident.....

OK, I'm rambling. The point is that Vyram is mysterious in a way that doesn't really gel with me. I can buy villains like Bandora who grew in power over many years, but Vyram just seems to be made up of (possibly) brainwashed people and a robot who made the leap from one dimension to the ours. Their former leader is killed by Jetman and eventually Radiguet...along with the full Vyram backstory.

What is known about Vyram is that they are engaged in a four way fight for control. Whoever is able to defeat Jetman wins the leadership of Vyram (and the front dimension).


Now that I got the Vyram story out of the way, I want to take a look at the individual members of Vyram with thoughts on each of them.


While Vyram has no leader for most of the series, Radiguet is seen to be the closest thing they have to a leader throughout (and possibly through the eyes of Jetman). Despite some bouts of powertrippin', he does seem to use careful calculations and dirty tactics to maintain the balance in Vyram until the very end. For example, he uses Jetman twice in the series to despose of members of Vyram who have overtaken him for leadership--the first time with Juza and much later with Tranza. That's right, he doesn't just thwart them and let Jetman handle it...he takes care of them personally.

I like Radiguet for his ruthlessness and technique. He is a classic Sentai villain, so this is expected. When the series starts and 90% of the focus of the show is the team relationship within Jetman, he is more or less hanging around with the rest of Vyram. Once Juza shows up we start to get a real glimpse of what he is like. From there he seems to have bouts of viciousness and paranoia. It's cool to have a villain who must win at all cost but is ultimately responsible for the death (or braindeath) of every member of his crew.


Tran is a child who seems to exist for the same reason that Ako exists on the Jetman side. Since the story is complex, each side has a character who basically explains what's going on to younger viewers in the audence who might not pick up on such things. Regardless, Tran is a powerful member of Vyram despite doing any fighting on his own, relying on mental attacks carried out through his power glove gauntlet.

I like Tran. The idea of having a child on the other side was new and something that hasn't been done as effectively since. The last minute addition of Kai in Zyuranger sucked and Akomaru in Dairanger really had to struggle to gain what little he could. Tran was already a powerful contender when he was introduced and he had some of the cooler Jigenju designs. Then, all of the sudden, they completely undid his character.

Tran was no more of a screw-up than anyone else in Vyram by the time episode 36 rolled around. All of the sudden he was made fun of by just about everyone for being a kid the same way that Zaidos became up a screw-up at the very end of Dairanger. This anger at the lousy writing being made fun of forces him to undergo one of the biggest meltdowns in Sentai history. Not only does he scream his lungs out for about a minute straight, he becomes.....he becomes............


Tran is pushed into a rage and becomes the super powerful (and adult) Tranza. Upon transformation, he immediately takes the throne, angering Radiguet. His new form didn't really add too much to the character outside of now becoming a skilled fighter. On his first appearance, he wastes no time pounding Ryu's head in. He also loves to toy around with the Jetman while leaving Radiguet grinding his teeth being forced to kneel before him. Radiguet thwarts him twice from defeating Jetman, the second being the end of Tranza. After forcing Tranza to kneel before him, he wipes his brain of function. The last we see of Tranza he is drooling and being wheeled around a mental institution.

OK...so for starters a character I like suddenly becomes Yutaka Hirose. This is awesome on paper, but in retrospect...eh. I like how he toys with the Jetman and Radiguet in a way that you can tell he always wanted to as Tran but was never able to, but it kinda got old. Also the plot that lead to his demise was pretty rushed.

Like I said though...the way he toyed with the Jetman, especially Ryu, was pretty damn cool. I mean, come on...how badass is this?

Just off screen Ryu is moping about his not-dead girlfriend...

Now we have a pretty interesting character. Grey is a robot who seems to parallel Gai. He drinks, smokes, has a fondness of music, and has feelings for a woman that he has no business with. Since he is a robot, he is the most logical of the Vyram gang (well, once you look past the feelings-for-a-woman part). He takes his battles seriously and does not rely on cheap tactics, though he did have a steep advantage on Gai during their roullette games. Ultimately he fought Gai one-on-one in his final battle.

Grey is interesting in that he never really seems to want to be in control of Vyram. He is kind of along for the ride for most of the series and doesn't really have the emotional capacity drive him to become leader. During the episode with Tranza's failed robot, G2, he briefly aids the damaged G2 but brushes off every attempt at bonding that G2 makes. His feelings for Maria become a problem within Vyram because *shock* Radiguet saved Rie and brainwashed her to become Maria and be his. Yeah, the love drama was basically the same on both sides and just as annoying.

One thing I notice about Grey is that at some point in the series his suit seems to get altered. Early on he is lighter in color but looks almost black by the end. For the better I say...I thought the suit looked pretty lame early on.

His final fight with Gai was pretty cool. As I mentioned, the characters paralleled each other with the only difference going into that battle being that Grey had nothing to live for as Rie/Maria was already dead. He didn't want his final moments to be seen and he died in a worn down industrial park...............Skynet anyone?


Another interesting character here. Maria is the brainwashed girlfriend of Ryu. She was originally destined to be part of Jetman but became the very thing that Jetman would fight against. She is very ruthless and as driven to become leader of Vyram as much as Radiguet and Tran are. She does not yield to Ryu, who constantly lowers his guard to her once he determines that she really is Rie. She ultimately reverts back to Rie and realizes that she has too much blood on her hands to ever return to Ryu. She stabs Radiguet in the back, which becomes critical later on as his becomes the weak point they use to kill him. After stabbing Radiguet, she is slashed by Radiguet before being wisked away by Grey...where she died in his arms.

While I can't stand the love aspects of this show, having a lead villain not only being the girlfriend of the leader of the good guys but also someone who was supposed to be a member of the very team she ended up fighting was interesting. I liked Maria for basically slapping around Ryu whenever she could. Despite his preaching about being a warrior first and a person second he sure did get treated like a training dummy by pretty much everyone...

Like the rest of the Vyram gang, she unravelled at the end--though I would say that she maintained her composure the longest of the bunch. Right up until she decided that it would be a good idea and become a weird vampire monster for Radiguet. I think her downfall kind of rubbed me the wrong way. We could have done without that little plot and jumped right to her stabbing Radiguet in the back with no effort.

The fact that she would never return to Ryu didn't bug me, however. She was right. She had done some terrible things during her time with Vyram. Even if she were brainwashed and was finally able to remember everything up to that point, what would stop her from waking up one night and smothering Ryu with a pillow in his sleep? Sure Radiguet is gone...and even if she were powerless, PTSD is a nasty thing. Considering everything she went through I would say she was damaged beyond repair.

One more thing...Maria was portrayed by Maho Maruyama. She did a fantastic job portraying Rie and Maria. Wonderful job playing both of them so convincingly.


Overall I liked Vyram. If I could change a few things about them it would be that Tranza should have reverted to Tran when he was institutionalized and skipping that whole Maria vampire thing. Other than that, they were a cool bunch of villians with some of the craziest monster designs.

Next time: Jetman.......