2018/11/03

Wins, Opportunities, & Top Seven Episodes! Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo Five Part 2 of 2


I'm back for Part 2 of my look at GoGo Five! In Part 1 I looked at all of the characters in the series. While it isn't as dense as Gingaman was, GoGo Five still had a lot of moving parts involved, so be sure to give the previous post a read.

As I have been doing in my recent write-ups, the second part has what I thought were the wins and opportunities of the series as well as my top seven favorite episodes. To top it all off, I'll give my overall thoughts on the series.

Here we go... Let's finish GoGo Five!

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GoGo Five WINS

WIN: Music/BGM

It was pretty much expected for a Super Sentai series of the 1990s to have a great music collection. GoGo Five didn't disappoint!

Keeping with the family theme of the series, GoGo Five's music was composed by Toshiyuki Watanabe, son of Michiaki Watanabe (...you know his work...). Yeah, Super Sentai was now old enough that the composer of the original series now has a son to score his own series. While I tend to not favor the elder Watanabe's music too much, Toshiyuki Watanabe's lone Tokusatsu TV series entry is amazing. It was a little more modern than recent series scores and just fit like a glove.

Worthy of making a CM appearance

On top of the fantastic music collection for the series, there was a great song collection featuring songs by Shinichi Ishihara (who was FINALLY getting the Super Sentai love he desperately deserved after previously only providing the theme song to Turbo Rugger in Turboranger and three CM songs for Megaranger). The Positive Groover himself even appeared in the series...


It doesn't end there either, we also got songs from Takayuki Miyauchi, future series theme singer Yukio Yamagata, an ending song by Naritaka Takayama, and even a song from one-hit wonder and Mondo himself...Mike Maki. I wouldn't call this series a music-lover's dream, but it certainly exceeds any expectations anyone would have for a series about Rescue Workers for sure.

If I had one complaint about the music, it'd be that it was too quiet during the series. That's more of an audio engineer issue, though. Seriously...crank it up!

WIN: Episode Pacing

There isn't a whole lot to say here except that the episodes were paced a little bit better than the previous two series. During Megaranger's run, five minutes were added per episode and neither Megaranger nor Gingaman really did much of anything worthwhile to fill the time. GoGo Five managed to nail it a little bit better with only a few instances of extended scenes added in to fill the time.

WIN: Plot & Progression

Working the very real-life phenomenon Grand Cross into the story and giving it subsequent reason to continue on afterward is easily one of my favorite things about GoGo Five. The episodes were even timed so that the Grand Cross episode would air the week of Grand Cross. They easily could have gone after the low-hanging fruit of the looming year 2000 and the Y2K Bug having some menacing series device, but it was something only briefly mentioned in discarded in the annual clipshow episode.


While I gave Gingaman some grief for it's smooth and almost uneventful progression, GoGo Five just seems to handle it better while not really doing a whole lot differently. Grandiene was this series version of Daitanix, but it just seemed less stupid that it was a person instead of a monster/ship. Monstership?

While it was certain that *something* would happen with Grandiene during Grand Cross, who really saw Mondo of all people stopping her revival? The results of which leaving Grandiene in this deformed state for almost the remainder of the series. Again...great planning.

WIN: Not Caving In

It was refreshing not having a sixth hero in this series. Liner Boy is considered to fill the role, but he had no bearing on the series outside of his lone focus episode. Good.

WIN: Effects


This series has some absolutely wonderful effects. Between the clear visor helmets and the heavy reliance on incredibly detailed practical effects for the mecha, GoGo Five is a very pretty series to look at. I think one of the reasons I never got into Victory Mars as much as everyone else is the lousy CG transformation. This series, in my eyes, is the last great special effects series. It may not be number one in action, but Super Sentai is waaay more than that.


I'm glad the clear visors was something they didn't abandon early on. In fact, I felt like they doubled down hard on them as the series went on.

WIN: Tech & Mecha 

GoGo Five is full of both of these things. While I never got into Victory Mars and found Liner Boy kind of annoying, I looooove the mecha of this series. This made for some excellent toys, naturally. The GoGo Brace and weapons of the series were also really neat. No need for the gold-plated nonsense that Gingaman had. There are overtech Sentai series that just could not make it work, but GoGo Five certainly got it right.

WIN: Cast & Characters

I like the cast in this series. The Tatsumi family are fun and the creepy and cold dynamic in Psyma plays well throughout the series...almost like a better version of Vyram. What are characters without cast? I covered this more in Part 1, but I think a good job was done by all. Even the stuntish casting of Mike Maki was good.

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I can't tell you how much I hate this shot. I know it's supposed to be funny, but c'mon!

GoGo Five OPPORTUNITIES

OPPORTUNITY: Rescue Theme???

While there was a fair amount of rescue theme scenarios played out in the series...there could have been just a bit more. The series begins and ends with some major rescue operations but kinda just falls into filler-hell for awhile. That isn't to say that the series became bad at any point, I just felt that they could have incorporated just a little bit more rescue themes into the filler episodes. 

OPPORTUNITY: Deep Family Rift

While the series tied everything up in a nice little bow, it was a long road to get there. The disappearance of Mondo is quickly resolved in the first episode (Sho certainly is the only one with a memory longer than ten minutes), but Ritsuko was another story. We don't really learn anything about her or her absence until the end of the series. She went out to search for Mondo, abandoning her children in the process. The plane she was on crashed, and she ended up in a coma for several years. Somehow her spirit managed to help GoGo Five escape Hell despite her being alive?

Honestly, this series would have been more interesting if the Tatsumi kids were just adult versions of sadsack kids-of-the-week from previous shows (Mom is dead, Dad is on a business trip). Bringing Ritsuko back in was a pointless endeavor even if it made the Tatsumi family one again. 

I know, I'm cruel like that...

OPPORTUNITY: Psyma Revivals

Zylpheza coming back to life two and a half times wouldn't have been such a bad thing had they not done it in such quick succession. Also, wouldn't Denus have been a worthy revival? She never really had a resolution with her conflict with Nagare. Her sacrifice to revive Zylpheza was a tad anti-climatic especially given how he was dispatched not long after. 

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Top Seven GoGo Five Episodes


07. Otototachi no hanran [13]

After skipping out on Matoi's rescue training to enjoy a meal at a fine restaurant, the Tatsumi siblings are caught without their GoGo Braces in a Psyma attack. While they are able to save the other patrons and restaurant workers, they become trapped inside the building. Matoi is forced to save them.

On one hand, the younger siblings are jerks for swiping those tickets and having a meal without Matoi. On the other hand, it's very likely that everyone in that restaurant would not have made it without their guidance. It was a random happenstance, but it all worked out in the end. 

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06. Matoi ga maketa otoko [41]

Matoi gets a visit from his rival/superior! In the midst of their challenges, Matoi ends up in a real rescue situation that has him hanging from a lone tree on a cliff face. Matoi was able to hold on long enough while his rival, Kudo, was able to go to the bottom and assist from below.

Matoi was the lone driving force behind the Tatsumi's for the entire series. Sure, Mondo created the tech...but they would be nothing without the infinite determination and willpower of Matoi. We learn a little bit more about his firefighter days and learn that he wasn't always top dog. In fact, there was someone who bested him at everything. 

If Kudo looks familiar for some reason, the answer is actually closer than you might think. Kudo is played by Kurano Maki. Yep...Mike Maki's real life son. Real life son versus TV son!

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05. Nusumareta chikara! [09]

Matsuri's disabled former co-worker Mizuki accidently swaps abilities with Matsuri. This leaves Matsuri unable to fight with Mizuki taking her place fighting alongside GoGo Five. While she is unable to transform, she follows Matsuri's instructions and is ultimately able to revert Matsuri's abilities back to her. At the end of the day, Mizuki decides to stop being stubborn and takes up physical therapy to remedy her workplace injury.

GoGo Five isn't very big on notable guest stars, but this one was a great pull. Mizuki is played by Chie Tanabe. She was notably Ran of the Hana Kunoichi Gumi in Kakuranger, but was also a longtime stuntwoman for Toei in the 90s. This lead to a great guest appearance and great episode. 

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04. Utsukushi Psyma no wana [07]

Mondo's old friend Dr. Robinson is in town to deliver a disc of information regarding the Earth's faultlines. Wikipedia not being invented yet, Psyma is hardcore after the disc. Mondo enlists his children to escort the Doctor and ensure that the disc is safe. This leads to some pretty hairy and somewhat funny situations as Denus is actually accompanying them in disguise. Matoi playing an over-the-top hostage negotiator in particular is one of my favorite moments of his.

The disc? It was already delivered to Mondo via a photo that Dr. Robinson asked them to deliver early in the episode.

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03. Hatsuyame wa Psyma no Melody [45]

GoGo Five's cracked out New Year's episode possibly surpasses the Kakuranger New's Years episode out of sheer weirdness.

Psymajuu Bahamuu steals the dreams of Nagare, Sho, Daimon, Matsuri, and Kyoko. In an attempt to wake everyone up, Matoi dives right into everyone's dreams. This leads to a long string of sequences of bizarre nightmares for Matoi to deal with. Mondo is able to sing a song to wake everyone up, but this leads to another bizarre mecha battle sequence.


This episode had so much packed into it. The aforementioned Shinichi Ishihara cameo kicked off this episode and from there it just got weirder. Matsuri and Denus having a song-off during a mecha battle was par for the course. 

The plot was pretty thin, but this was certainly a visual treat and a little bit of levity before ramping into the finale.

Did I mention that this was the first episode to air in 2000???

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02. Kichi kaimetsu 0byo mae [40]

Daimon and Matsuri invited a boy named Nobuhiko to visit Bay Area 55. Before picking him up from the hospital, Denus had given him a bouquet of flowers that were full of Psymajuu Hilgemuuja's worms. The worms successfully infect Bay Area 55 and were aiming to detonate the fuel within. Daimon launches a gritty rescue mission to not only rescue the trapped Nobuhiko and Matsuri, but to stop the insects from overloading and blowing up Bay Area 55. In the end, the three were able to save Bay Area 55 before rejoining the other GoGo Five in battle.

This episode has a frantic pace that jumpstarted the energy of the series leading up to the finale. Where most series start to sputter and lose budget momentum, GoGo Five was just warming up.

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01. Kyuukyuu Senshi! Tatsu [01]

The first episode is really cool. It waste ZERO time not only getting the Tatsumi gang into their GoGo Five Anti-Hazard Suits, but also into their mecha. Before we ever get a glimpse of Psyma, Magma Golem appears as a giant.


I genuinely think that the first episode of Ohranger may be my favorite first episode in all of Super Sentai. The pacing was just perfect. Baranoia was coming and U.A.O.H. was ready...ish. The debut of GoGo Five kinda mirrors that, but in a much more realistic and clinical way. Mondo was ready and his children, unbeknownst to them, were also ready. There was no need for quests to attain weapons and trial of strength to combine their mecha. It was all there. Not only that, the almost-complete second mecha was also there.  

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While I can't say that GoGo Five is my favorite Super Sentai series of the 1990s, I would say that it very comfortably fits in the top five. That's high praise when you look at the rest of the 1990s catalog. Megaranger? Nope. Jetman? Helllll no. I'd probably put this series at fourth favorite of the decade if you forced me to.

GoGo Five may have a bit of a jerky start given how shaky the Tatsumi family was with Matoi being the sole guardian. The stronger they became, the stronger the series became. The fact that this series never fell into the usual spell of malaise that occurs in the forties is what makes it shine. We can all agree that the resolution was the best anyone could have hoped for. Nobody had to die for the sake of *deep plot, yo*.

While I know that my favorite series, Kakuranger, likely won't appeal to everyone...I think GoGo Five is the perfect middle ground for everything. The general lack of opportunities I saw in this series kinda reflects that. Everything just makes sense. There is a little bit of Sentai absurdity sprinkled in, but this series has a common appeal to those who may not appreciate the over-the-top. You may not have the same favorite episodes, but I can almost guarantee you'll dig the series if you haven't checked it out already.


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I hope you enjoyed my GoGo Five write-up! Like I mentioned in the previous part, it was a series I was looking forward to revisiting once again. Next time, in my slow catch-up with Shout Factory's releases, I will be looking at Mirai Sentai Timeranger. Look forward to both parts of that and my year-end wrap to close out 2018.

See ya next time!

-CC

Chakuso! Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo Five Part 1 of 2
Super Sentai Series Reviews
Top Seven Lists


5 comments:

  1. Let me see..your top five is:

    1.- Kakuranger
    2.- Dairanger
    3.- Carranger
    4-- Go Go Five
    5.- mmmm zyuranger? maybe?

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  2. Great write-up & I'm on the same page as you about a lot of things. I love all of the eps. you picked as your favorites, but for me I would have episodes 25 and 30 in there. I love the tense pacing of those episodes, and think they do a really good job of making you feel the threat and danger the GoGoFive are placing themselves in. (When I first saw 30, I was kinda like "GoGoFive in space? That might be going a little too far," but I think it's a pretty exciting episode.)

    You know I'm not a mecha fan, but GoGoFive always handled that aspect so well, IMO. I even love the Grand Liner debut two-parters, and to me, mecha debuts are usually tedious or the same old plot. But GoGoFive crafted two cool little against-the-clock scenarios with the hostage situation and the volcano's eruption. That's one of the things I love about GoGoFive, is that...it took Gingaman's idea to make everything epic, but really cranked it up and did it in a way that was an engine to the storytelling, and not really just Gingaman's surface attempts. GoGoFive wants to be a big disaster epic and does what it does well. I give a lot of credit to new-to-Sentai-at-the-time producer Jun Hikasa, I think with his background in Metal Heroes, he wanted to give his first Sentai a lot of excitement and make it cool and fun. And, as you pointed out, the show does such a great job with the miniatures and effects that it makes you care a little more about that aspect of the show.

    I have to disagree about Kyoko, though. I get why she might seem irritating to some people, and I think the show could have remembered her a little more, but I liked how much she wanted to help out and be useful to the Tatsumis. I also thought it was pretty refreshing that they avoided having her be Shou's love interest. (And then, of course, there's the awesome V-Cinema, which wouldn't work without Kyoko's series-long dream, and is a nice payoff for her and her fans.) It's also funny how much she wants to be a hero knowing that Yuko Miyamura said at the time she was a big Super Sentai fan, so that gave the character a little something extra in her desire to pitch in. It made her enthusiasm seem more genuine. (Miyamura said her favorite Sentai is Jetman, though, so...don't judge her too harshly!)

    I'm glad to see you like GoGoFive so much! I'm a little surprised. (I don't recall seeing you talk much about it before.) GoGoFive was a show that surprised me at the time; it pulled me in with its dedicated cast of heroes, big, big disasters and high stakes. I felt it was closer in spirit to the Sentai shows I grew up with. (I, of course, complained about suited villains, though. I still think GG5 would be improved with visible actors! You're telling me they couldn't modify Salamandas' suit to make it for a visible actor?)

    And while this doesn't sound like much, since its competition is weak, but I think GoGoFive's the only good sibling Sentai. The Tatsumis actually felt and acted like a family.

    Sorry for the late reply. And the long reply! (Can you believe I cut some stuff out?)

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  3. For real? I love your long replies. :D

    I've always had an affinity for GoGo Five, but I've never felt prompted to bring it up. Like...maybe if someone were to ask what the last great mecha Sentai was, GoGo Five would be my answer. You can always tell how good a series is based on how many toys I have from it. Hahaa.

    Now that you mention it...yes! More visible actor villains would have been an improvement and made sense. Why is Mullet Princess Dinas the only one in the family?

    It's kind of a shame where Super Sentai is twenty years later...

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    Replies
    1. And not only did I take out some paragraphs because I thought I went on too long, but I still had to take out MORE because I went wayyyyyyyyyy over Blogger's character limit.

      Not having some actors as the Saima has always been a big complaint of mine; nobody agrees with me, but I still blame Power Rangers. Look at Dairanger -- aired the same year as PR, nobody knew PR was going to be big, so we had mostly all visible actor villains. Once PR blows up? Suits, with only the token chick.

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