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Friday, February 28, 2014

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Series Review

Whoops I meant Daigo Sentai Kingenger.
Last week I finished Kyoryuger with the pretty bad finale that barely has any redeeming factors and in some ways it does represent the whole series. Now I'm going to try the same method that I had with my Ghostbusters review since I was planning for this review to be the first one in a new format. My main reason is that I think pros and cons wouldn't work well anymore. So let’s begin with the third dinosaur Super Sentai series.
The story of Kyoryuger starts out with showing us the rebirth of Debos many months before the team is fully formed. Debos was around since the age of the dinosaurs and they were even the cause of their existence and surprisingly enough the first move Chaos makes is a full out attack on the whole world! Here we see all of our heroes fighting the armies in different countries and then there is Daigo. He hasn't been selected yet and during the invasion he helps out the village people as he is on an island. While fighting a red Tyrannosaurs Rex appears before him and he has to fight it! Torin appears who acts like the mentor of the series as he is gathering up the members of the team. The only way Daigo can prove himself is that he defeats the dinosaur and he does this, now it takes months, but he took down a dinosaur! I will not lie I did like that beginning sequence because seeing and knowing our heroes fought dinosaurs to get their powers is amazing. When Daigo's fought started, Torin gave him a tan gun and now since he won the battle his gun changes colors as he can fully use it now. Torin now sends Daigo to Japan to meet up with the others and so he does in the middle of his first fight as Kyoryu Red. For some reason though, the team members don't want to know who each other are. Daigo now has to get his teammates to open up with each other and actually form a team while Torin just watches... All I have to say about this summary before the actual review parts (for those who don't read the full post) is that I tried so hard to not mention Daigo, but it's unavoidable and saying that describes the series biggest flaw.
I have to get this out of the way first for this review since Daigo couldn't have been ignored. The series focuses on him too much and how the series did it is possibly the most Red focus ever. Along with that the use of Daigo is even the worst example of how to do a Red focused series. I have seen Red focus before with Maskman and Shinkenger and yet those series did it very well. With Shinkenger it's understandable because of the idea of the lord and his retainers and it's an actual theme of the series. Shinkenger even still gives the other teammates notable moments and Kyoryuger does this as well, but to a lesser extent. Looking back at the series I keep remembering what King did and what happened to him and the many shots he was in. At points I was fine with the guy like in the beginning of the series as he was helping his teammates finally be a part of the team and getting to know each other. Then came the rest of the series, King just jumps the gun all the time and easily put more people at risk at times and why does everything have to revolve around him? There are many key points and the side parts where King has a big role if it's interacting by talking or just fighting. The worst part is that his actor, Ryo Ryusei can only do comedy. Whenever there are serious moments with King he cannot act as well compared to him just flailing around. He's not the worst actor on the series as that goes to Amy's actress, Ayuri Konno. It's a massive flaw to the overall series and the ending doesn't help this whatsoever as now I call King a God since he survived the impossible.
Onto the other characters now, the second in lead of the team is Ian as he's a playboy gun expertise. Notable things about Ian are his story of revenge as his friend Shiro was killed by one of the commanders of Debos. Ian goes through struggles and has to learn that fighting for revenge is not the hero's way, even though before the ending of this story arc the last time this had any focus in the series was episode twenty-six and I'm not lying. I will say that episode did show that Ian could be leader, but the series never followed that up... Next is Nobuharu who is known as Nossan because he is the eldest member of the team at the age of thirty-two and his is "punny." I'm not the biggest fans of puns, but what I love about his puns is that he's so proud of what he says. Along with that there are good follow up jokes to this as there is only one other person who liked his puns as everyone else hated them so much they ended up ignoring him whenever he delivered a pun. The notable part other than the puns for Nossan is looking back at his whole life and the last episode to do that was episode thirty-one. At least they followed up with a new aspect for him, but man it should have come much earlier in the series. Along with one other character who I will get to, they are my favorite members of the team. Ian and Nossan had good moments, but their parts of the story get ignored or dropped and with Nossan something new comes up too late.
Souji is the next male member of the team as he is the youngest of the team. He's a young boy who trained with his father, but Souji started to pick up his own sword technique. Really that is the notable part about Souji, his sword style. Other than that he's a bland character with the bland actor and the series did try to focus on him starting to be more emotional and starting to open up with others. Sadly it's one of the other aspects of the series that gets dropped. The last focus episode for him all of a sudden goes back to his family issues which was his problem in the beginning with his father. Then there is Amy and she is the most ignored of the whole series even though she becomes the love interest for King. Amy barely had anything important in the series as her whole character arc of being herself barely had any focus. Now she does help Yayoi at one point in the series, but the rest of her character is just working with the most forced romance in a Sentai. So yea Souji and Amy were just ignored and that made them boring characters as even their quirks got dropped as I barely remember that Amy had the whole "Wow" gag.
The sixth member of the team came much earlier in the series compared to other series in the franchise. At first I hated Ucchi when he got his reveal he was such a blatant rip off of Gao Silver as I was worried about that. Luckily his character expanded out as the stern samurai was just an act he was playing. Ucchi is actually a kind man who was told to hide his emotions and become a true samurai. Ucchi learns how to be himself around the team just like the others as he even got to learn about a great part of being a samurai, accepting rivals. Dogold and Ucchi have a rivalry and it does get mentioned in the series a good amount of the time, but most of the time it's just them fighting and the actual jump for their development comes near the end of the series. Torin is the mentor and he actually had a good back story as he has is heavily connected with the villains. Sadly in the beginning I thought Torin was an idiot because I don't get why he didn’t just have the Kyoryugers meet each and not just hide in the shadows for the beginning of the series. Now Torin did evolve from that and it did set a theme for the series and it did come at a good point in the series around the halfway point. I will say his bigger reveal should have been earlier. Overall most of the big flaws for the series is not focusing on the different stories of each member of the team and just putting more focus on King and his part of the story and what he does.
For the villains they follow an older standard of the franchise with the group of villains and being separated in different categories. The villains have the theme of emotions and it works along with a Wizard of Oz them, again I'm not joking. The designs for the monsters were pretty good with the main villains being the stronger designs. There are three main emotions, happiness, sorrow, and anger then the series introduced a fourth emotion and a new commander, resentment. For happiness the two villains are Candy and Lucky and these two aren't that good at fighting compared to everyone else. Candy does do a good job of being a supporter of Debos though and helps with the plans in her own way. Lucky was just a comic relief and I didn't care that much for the little kid. I will say Candy got a good developmental point near the end of the series and again it should have come earlier. For sadness there is Aigarion the sad tin man who keeps shedding tears. Personally he is my favorite villain of the series and it's mostly because he had the potential to be a bigger villain. The tin man is the killer Ian was looking for and this guy did mess with Ian about this and he soon goes through a change of emotions at one point in the series. The bad part is most of that happens at the halfway point and then he is treated as a comic relief until the end of the series. Dogold represents anger and I didn't care for him until it got near the end of the series. He was just fighting the whole time and that was pretty much it. Then when there was someone else in his way he would pull off some smart plans to get rid of them as he wants to be on top. His rivalry with Ucchi was great at the end, but too bad the overall focus was weak. The leader is Chaos as he was actually a smart villain and sadly he doesn't do all that much compared to the others, but whenever he does something it leaves an impact. There was even Endolf who was the new emotion, but he is gone for a chunk of the series so I don't even want to talk about him. That's another problem with the series; whenever a big change could have happened for the series it just takes the safe route.
I remember when I really got mad with the series and that was because the series played things out way too safely. Until the end of the series not much changes or happens. Notable things that happen are new heroes joining the team, new giant robots, and a power-up form for Kyoryu Red. Now when there are new things entering the series they should be some losses as well and yet the series doesn't do this. It feels like that the writer of the show had good ideas for the beginnings and the ends of the story arcs and just couldn't think of how to do things in between. This leaves many elements just sitting around on the park bench while the new kids on the block get to have fun with King. The sad part is that the writer is Riku Sanjo the same man who did most of the writing for my overall favorite Toku show ever, Kamen Rider Double. Personally, I think he got burned out with this series has he wrote the whole series by himself. Or what could have happened is that the producers or director wanted to keep things safe so that kids would stay happy while watching. Another aspect that was too safe was the humor of the series as people say it's over the top, but the comedy doesn't go out there. Now there are three Sentai shows that went crazy with the humor, Carranger, Go-onger, and Akibaranger. Those series were unexpected with their humor and Kyoryuger did have some unexpected moments like episodes thirteen and forty. I didn't get many laughs from the series though and that is because it doesn't play with the actual gag and just expect it to be funny. Again this is the same writer who did Kamen Rider Double, he knows drama, how to write characters, how to use them, and even knows how to write comedy and yet Kyoryuger doesn't have that.
For the action of the series, it got good when it was with the teammates fighting on ground, but the giant robots fights were just terrible most of the times. The robot fights disappointed me because it went back to use more piratical effects most of the time and then when the series continued on it betrayed that aspect and started to use more CGI. Even when they were using more of the suits it ends up being so fast and forgettable which is the opposite of Double as that series did have fast fights, but that series knew what to show in that amount of time. The other fights that don't involve robots are pretty good as there are different fighting styles for the members and at least that can make the characters more memorable. Sadly even the special effects start to become overwhelming in those fights thanks to Carnival Mode. I have to say this first the design for it is ugly, but I did love the physical style it had. Sadly, they barely focused on that aspect and just threw effects everywhere and I think that's the reason why most of the robots fights were terrible, it felt like the budget was wasted on Carnival. The final thing to say about the action is that is barely mixes with the comedy aspects and for a series that tries to be over the top that would have helped.
This series was a battle for me as every element of the show has positives and negatives. There are good character points, but some are ignored, dropped, have too much focus, or come too late. The comedy is very mixed as I can laugh here and there thanks to Nossan or when the series actually had comedy with episode thirteen and forty. Even the action gets mixed around thanks to blasting the budget on useless effects and sometimes cutting away from it and making things anti-climatic. Even the music choices are mixed up as the series use the main theme song for about a whole three-fourths of the series and they had other music to use. The episode reviews I did for this series were a lot of fun for me because I got to see the many problems and yet see the potential for it as well. I will say there are slightly more negatives thanks to the worst Red focus in the franchise, as I give Kyoryuger a C-. This is my second least favorite Sentai series and this came right after Go-busters. That is a sign things got better at least as I do hope the new series will actually be a good series and not a wreck.


  1. Nice review.
    I agree about King. IMO, he's probably the worst Red Ranger EVER existed for being such an asshole! If Kamen Rider have "Onore Decade!", then Super Sentai has "Onore King!"
    Personally, I think he's more jerk than Decade IMO.
    Kyoryuger is more like KyoryuJERK IMO.

    I think the main problem is that this series tried too hard to play safe, ending up unenjoyable for most of the time.
    The comedy was very hit and miss.
    Among the comedy sentai series I have seen so far, this one maybe the least effective; joke was corny, Nossan pun's got too old very quickly, etc.
    Among the dinosaur themed sentai (Zyuranger and Abaranger) this is my least favorite.

    I also though many of its best story ideas felt underdeveloped and/or wasted potential; which is such a shame for series like this.

    Overall, series itself was both stepforward and backward in the franchise.
    While toy sells was pretty good (highest since Gaoranger) and appealed to kids very well, this series just wasn't for me. It just didn't have enough hype, drama, and epicness as Go-Busters (which despite being failure in toy sales and ratings, it's one of my favorite series in past 5 years IMO).

    To sum it up: I didn't hate it or like it too much. It was bright, colourful, loud and placed a big emphasis on fun. It just wasn't for me.

    Looking forward for ToQger review.

    1. You and I had similar problems with the series and there are times I want to hate the series, but then there are moments where I don't want to be too hard on it. The series had potential and it just didn't do well in the end, I can say this is the most indifferent series I reviewed.

  2. Hey Sean, I stumbled across your blog a couple months ago after I finished watch Double and I immediately became a fan of your work as your sentiments often mirrored my own about different series (especially your ranking of Dairanger, as I have been wanting to get into it but have rarely seen anyone post it as their favorite).

    But alas, I think this will have to be the one hiccup in our agree-ing relationship lol

    I think the main difference in this series might be the tonal shift of the creative team, I think after the more darker/complex tone that was tried during Go-Busters (I really don't know first hand as I didn't watch it, but from what I heard), they decided to alleviate that with one that was bit more simpler and fun. Which was really what I got out of this one. After Gokaigers, I kinda needed a break after being shot in the face with awesome-ness so i skipped Gobusters, so coming to Kyoryugers wasn't that hard of a transition, because I wasn't looking for another ball busting series, just one I could kinda relax and enjoy without too much expectation.

    Though this series had its fair share of it's problems without a doubt: lack of balance with fully developed characters and relationships, unreached potential in overall series arc plot, and terrible big robot designs, I able to look past it to see some good points. I enjoyed the music, without a doubt, that main theme, though overused, was freaking awesome, every time it came on I got chills and wanted to get into a punch a monster in the face, with explosions behind me lol I enjoyed the cast relatively, and though I know you hated Daigo's character, I actually didn't mind him. I never found him to be a "jerk" or cocky, I just felt he was not challenged enough, he never had enough bad things happen to him for us to see where all that jovial nature comes from. We need to see him fall hard and see him rise up smiling for us to like him, or else we either think he's a cocky prick, or retarded lol. TBH I woulda loved if they kept his dad evil, that woulda been some nice character development into Daigo, however late that would be. Also I enjoyed the actor Ryo, it never really felt like a lack of range with his choice to smile and make a goofy face, it seemed to be a character choice. Again, I maybe wrong as I've never seen his other work, but judging from his subtleties and energy with certain scenes I could tell they we're choices he made. I never felt it was out of the realm of who "King/God" was lol.

    I wouldn't have given this series an A or B, I probably would have given this seris a C+ or solid C, because in my opinion it achieved what I think was the main focus: fun. If you look at the theme, the character designs, the "high energy" voice over, the music, and the dancing henshin, it seemed what they we're trying to promote was good time. It's like a Katy Perry song, it's not that great but you can shake your ass to it and grind up on a chick. lol thats my analysis Kyoryugers= a Katy Perry song.

    But either way, great stuff Sean, I love your blog keep doing what your doing! Huge fan of your critiques, their well grounded and they really focus on viewing these shows like true works of film/tv and I applaud you for that! Can't wait to read your next review!

    1. Well comparing the series to a Katy Perry song is odd... Personally I'm not a big fan of hers and she had possibly the worst song of 2013 in my opinion. Kyoryuger did have the fun element which is true, but sometimes it did just feel boring at times, like episode 34 which just drained any sense of fun out of me. I will say Kyoryuger did have that at times episode 13 and 40 for example. The series is just a mixed bag there can be trash, but there is also some jewels in it as well. Thanks for reading my blog, quick little update I'm getting a Gaim catch up in process.

  3. lol yeah I dont like her that much either. But I had a difficult time finding a popular contemporary artist that people didn't either love or hate. Awesome! I've yet to start on Gaim but its next on my list. Can't wait to see your review.

  4. he should be called "kamen rider king"

  5. Too bad, though, as Amy has become my favorite eye candy.Fuck you, Riku Sanjo... >.<