This week, as promised, we journey to Japan, where the tokusatsu phenomenon got its start. However, we are not too far removed from the West, or the present for that matter. Take a quick trip in your DeLorean DMC-12 to February 19, 2006 and relive the goodness:
Go Go Sentai Boukenger
This is, of course, not to be confused with Disney’s adaption in 2007, the crap-fest that was Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect and fond memories of Power Rangers. In fact, Disney has recently put together some genuinely good series in Jungle Fury and the current RPM, however, since Disney bought Saban, the Ranger‘s franchise has been rather inconsistent. There has been some awesome (SPD and Jungle Fury), some mediocre (Ninja Storm and Mystic Force), and just down right horrid, and that was Operation Overdrive all over the place…
Fortunately, Toei has the Super Sentai formula down so well, that when it tries to innovate and make motifs it has visited before cool again, they generally succeed. This is what Toei does with this series. The Boukengers are exactly what their name suggests, adventures for those of you (like me) who don’t know Japanese. The team is composed of five individuals with a passion for exploration and danger and the thrill of pushing one’s self to the limit in the search for adventure. And like most of the Super Sentai franchise, the core team is a relatable one and memorable. In my opinion, Bouken Red (Satoru Akashi) is one of the coolest Red Rangers EVER. Period.
Interestingly, unlike most shows in the franchise, the real main hero is not the Red Ranger. There are two focal heroes that the story revolves around: Natsuki Mamiya (Bouken Yellow) and Sakura Nishihori (Bouken Black). The plot lines tend to flow around and through the relationship these two have with each other as the newest members of the SGS team and as comrades before, and Natsuki’s mysterious past ultimately becomes a huge factor in the series’s closing arcs. And to complicate things further, the show throws three – that’s right, three – villainous groups that all want to get their hands on the Precious, artifacts of all types that harness great power and the very things that necessitate the existence of the SGS Foundation.
While Operation Overdrive loosely follows the overall story of Boukenger, the latter is by far the superior show, in every way. Sure the argument can be made that the original is almost always better, but in this case, OO just sucked. If you have not yet seen OO, don’t. If you have not yet seen Boukenger, I advise you to seek it out and enjoy it. Like, right now. You won’t have to suffer through cringe-inducing, life-shortening, brain cell-killing bad acting and dialogue. You will not be treated to an anniversary special that fails to adequately celebrate 15 years of Power Rangers and introduces a retarded Rita/Zedd son out of nowhere. You won’t even be asked to believe that the Red Ranger is Astro Boy…
Instead, you will get to watch competent actors act in a reasonably serious children’s show that has heart and humor. You will get treated to a cool 30th anniversary special that introduces a new Red Ranger that is made from the very spirits of all 31 Red Rangers up to that point and can use their powers, abilities, and mecha at will. You will be asked to believe that silver is not mercury and that sixth rangers can be both dramatic and funny and can pwn hordes of bad guys with a metal detector blaster/lance. And by the final episode, you too will think that crooked teeth are the sexiest thing on this earth and that Bouken Yellow was meant to bare your children.