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Friday, March 1, 2013

Sentai Month: My Thoughts on the Super Sentai Franchise

 To begin Sentai month I will describe my personal reactions to the franchise. First I have to say this, I don't hate Super Sentai series. If you seen some of my reviews I am very positive about the franchise. That doesn't mean I got some personal issues and there are some series that just make me grind my teeth together. So let's start with a personal bias I have.
There is a reason why I have a Kamen Rider image in this post and this brings me to the first point. I am a bigger fan of Kamen Rider and that is mostly because of the single hero motif. I just like it more compared to team motives. For example I say both Amazing Spiderman and The Avengers and I liked Spiderman more. This is because a single hero series really focuses on the main character and tells his story. With Sentai it's a team and it's hard to have a story for every member. Now not all Sentai have this issue. There is the red focus issues though that some recent Sentai series have been doing and I'm not the biggest fan for it. I guess this also goes with having too many characters, like Shonen manga and anime. Again not every Sentai does this. There are some though that have too many characters and sadly some will have to be ignored. Look at Go-busters it had three people helping the team and yet we didn't learn much about them. So this is a bias I will admit to that, but I won't give a series a low grade because of this. It's only when a Sentai completely ignores characters including team members. It's a team series and I can see why people can like that more than a single hero. For me personally though I like the idea of having a main hero with secondaries coming in later like Kamen Rider series.
Kamen Rider VS Super Sentai, an endless debate.
Now continuing on with Kamen Rider I feel some of the recent Sentai series have been influenced by some rider series. I mentioned the red focus before and sometimes the leader gets too much focus and it doesn't feel much as a team series anymore. Now with the broadcast wars I will say Kamen Rider is more popular since it had that resting period while Sentai continued on. I mean we are talking about 37 straight years there is bound to be a bad egg in the mix. I know Kamen Rider isn't perfect either, but since it was gone for a while when it came back it had explosive results. Then Sentai followed a motif that was started in Kamen Rider, the power in the pocket motif. Den-o was the first as the hero held a pass in his pocket that could lead him to transform. It was Sentai though that used it to what it is today, small collectable items. Go-onger came up and used this idea and it was very high with humor and wackiness, like Den-o. Then the most recent influence was with Go-busters since the series had too much focus on Hiromu and his rivalry with Enter. I mean really it felt like Hirmou was alone at times because he fought by himself most of the time. So I do believe Sentai has been trying to get a rider feel at some points, but there are series during this period that step beyond that like Gokaiger.
Now onto the biggest thing the Sentai series has and that is the mecha. Ultraman easily had some influence here since giant battles got people's interests. In the first two series the mecha weren't used, but an airship to be exact. Then came Battle Fever J and the robots started to be used. Now this is a point where people can like Sentai a whole lot or makes them want to fast forward. For me it's a mixed bag. There are amazing mechs in the design portion, but when you see them in battle they can barely even move! There are some mechs that are just plain ugly and do the dumbest things possible. Shinkenger is an example for me cause Shinken-oh did have a nice idea, but when doing it, it falls apart. The mech fights in Shinkenger for me were some of the worst parts of the series. The robot was blocky and had trouble moving at points. Then came the clusters in recent series. Go-onger was the first to do a cluster with G-12 and it looks good, but it just makes the fights sooooo slow. Then there was Shinkenger's cluster which had wheels to move.... yea I find that to be dumb. For me the best era for the robots were the 90's since there were so many cool looking and fast moving mechs. It didn't make a negative for the series and the same for some of the 80's mechs. I guess to be completely honest how mechs are being handled lately, I'm not a fan of it. Hopefully Kyoryuger is going to fix this.
Now one thing that didn't effect me watching it was having knowing of Power Rangers first. I am a person who takes things with a clean slate and watch it through making some marks as the series continue on. I am more of a Sentai fan than a Power Ranger fan, but I won't have hatred for any of these franchises for no reason. The debate between Sentai and Ranger purists can be annoying since I look at it as a coin. Sentai and PR are on the same coin as they are both team hero series. Where the differences are though are the engravings on their sides. Sentai is more mature as it had tons of time to age and only has been having issues recently. Power Rangers did fall to the ground and it took a while for it to come back on it's feet. So I am not saying which franchise is better, but if I look at the series I will say if the original or the adaptation is better.
Again another endless debate
Overall I have no unnecessary hate for Super Sentai. I really only have some biases, but again that doesn't mean I am going to give a Sentai series a lower grade. I will critic them, but some aspects are very different. There are team motives, the mecha, and the how everything plays out. I bet there are also many other things I can talk about, but I'm leaving one thing in particular for the next post, as next time will be the first Rant post.

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