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Monday, May 25, 2015

Carranger Episode 1 Review: A New Format Begins!

One thing for sure that caused me tons of stress was keeping up with episode reviews. For one I was mostly focusing on current series and it came around the time where the shows were not making me happy at all. Even discussing the shows caused this terrible taste in my mouth. I had a similar thing with my gaming when Heavy Rain came out, I simply couldn’t understand the praise for it and getting into arguments just had me stop my overall gaming. Funny enough this was around the time when I started to get into Toku. Luckily in that same year I already got back into a gaming mood and right now I think I am getting back my Toku love. Now I will say Kyoryuger did not kill this for me, I was actually fine with reviewing that series and I felt like I got my full input on it even if my enjoyment for the show was lower compared to others. Toqger did not help though because this was when I hit the wall. I had trouble finding what to talk about and trying to avoid repeating myself, in the end I could not. Toqger had big flaws and they come up many times in multiple episodes. There are still small amount of good things from what I heard from Fantasy Leader, but I had to stop watching it. Drive even got to that point when I was getting further into it, but I will say the recent developments I have been hearing, I could give it another try in the future. Right now though I am focusing on shows I wanted to see and Carranger has been on the top for a long time.

A big reason why Carranger has been in my thoughts is because of the comedy. The writer, Yoshio Urasawa is a man who wrote for one of my favorite anime series, Nerima Daikon Brothers. Also when I shown Fantasy Leader the game Wonderful 101 and its glorious comedic bits he said this resembles Carranger. I just had to jump right into Carranger because of those reasons and this is going to be one of my favorites.
So the layout for these types of posts will be a one or two paragraphs (or more...) review for an episode, I could easily just do them all separately, but again with how I feel about content, I don’t want to cheap you guys out. For the first one I will focus on the first episode because well I already typed up a lot above this paragraph. Also the first ones for these posts of series I will get the opening theme, design choices, and some more. Next is the fact that the first episode has to be the eye catcher and get the main plot out. So by the time I wrote this, I got to see five episodes of Carranger so far. The next post will be episodes two between five.

So the opening theme is one of my favorites from the franchise and always has been, it easily kept the series in my head. Thanks to subtitles now I can actually know some of the lyrics and it is really motivating and upbeat. Then in the opening theme we see our characters and I can say Green and Yellow are going to be favorites of this show. Mostly Green because of how silly he already looks in the opening theme. Also in the opening are the cars the heroes use and I am loving these cars. This was during the 90’s of Sentai and I love how they used mechs during that era.  First thing that I like is that the cars are dashing along making quick turns and all of that. Along with the upbeat music already gets me in the mood for racing. Also the camera work for these miniatures look strong already and there is a good sense of sizing already. We get good close up shots of the car to make them see huge and then far away shots of when they are together. I really enjoy the use of miniatures and I can’t really remember when current Toku has worked with them so well. The suits for the heroes look good as the car motif is strong with them. They got the headlights and all of the design choices a car would have, what also helps is that in fights these guys fight like they are cars or driving them. It just helps with their motif a whole lot more and makes their suits jump out since it gives the suits themselves some characteristics.

Alright on with the first episode and it is a strong one, nothing too ground breaking yet in my opinion, but this first episode does show what is in store for the future episodes. Shockingly the episode starts more drastic and it is a bit odd right after that upbeat opening. We see the destruction of a plant as the character Dappu is trying to escape. We see the terror of the villains with their menacing vehicles. We then actually see who the villains are and they are a gang and that is it. Even some of their monsters dress up like greasers from the 1950’s for America. Even their hideout is a bar that has this girl called Zonnette and she is pretty much a tease for these alien guys and I’m not joking. She is even the reason why the gang is doing this because Zonnette likes to see fireworks and the best ones are by destroying planets. One of the leaders of the gang even tries to lick her butt… I’m speechless. These villains are great, they are sleazy and I adore that about them. Compared to what villains we had from before and after this series, this is still something different for the franchise. These villains are not organized crime lords, they are hooligans who just go looting and destroying planets with no plan whatsoever. 

Kids' shows back then were awesome!
When the Bowzock have their sights on Earth or I should say Earf for them. First off, the Wonderful 101 makes a direct reference by calling Earth, Plant Chi-Q and that is how the Bowzock pronounces Earf or it could be Dearth if I want to go by Wonderful 101. Either way the gang sees five colorful lights emitting from Earth as Dappu says they are the lights of the Carrangers. The power that will bring peace back to the galaxy and he also reveals himself to the gang as being the sole survivor of his planet. There Dappu gets the power of Car Magic and goes to Earth to find the Carrangers and luckily they are in the same spot. These five heroes work at a garage where they fix cars and their goal is to build their dream cars one day as they have miniatures so far. There Dappu appears and literally throws everything to the team by using Car Magic! He gives the heroes their Accel Changers and already gets their base ready as these five are freaking out for the most part.

The episode then starts to get more insane when the Bowzock invade Earth and make vehicles come to life. For the Bowzock vehicles are alive and for Earth they are tamed by humans and the Bowzock easily made them more wild beings. So we see cars driving themselves or even something like a tricycle flying away with a child on it. Dappu appears to stop them with the five heroes that he tied up and forced them to the scene… again I am speechless here. I never seen the mentor character literally dragging the heroes into battle and the five heroes get into an argument saying they don’t have enough money to be protecting the Earth. This is when I am just enjoying this wackiness at the point of the flying cars because my goodness things keep on getting stranger later on. The heroes reject to be Carrangers as Dappu fights alone and loses quickly. Right off the bat the heroes go to Dappu and hear his story of his planet and mother dying. This gets so dramatic so fast and yet it causes me to laugh because I know this is all a joke. Carranger is the only official Sentai that is a pure parody of the franchise and that is probably why it stands out so much even to today. Dappu dies and the heroes get the passion to become the Carrangers and then Dappu gets back up as he faked his death… you little devil! Again I just laugh along with this even if Dappu was being quite manipulative here.

The Carrangers enter into battle though with… go-karts? To me these grown heroes look silly in the little go-karts, but again I do feel that is the point. Right off the bat these heroes start by saving the civilians from the destructive vehicles and we can see that some added powers are given to them as Red can push a fire truck back. We even got to see the main swords for the heroes, the Vi-blades and man they are awesome to look at. They are big swords with some added functions with charging as the wheels inside the hilt start to spin. The Auto Blasters work the same way then as they have a charge function to release stronger blasts. These are nice simple weapons with a great function with them. Also I got to mention when one of the mooks died an animated octopus appears, I’m going to love this show. The fight soon escalates with the team trying to take down a freighting looking fire truck as the vehicle crashes through buildings and gets the heroes off of it. I have to say I like seeing the heroes falling around because we see them crashing into the buildings, the roads, and even into a car. What also helps is the good camera work and making sure we see the glass breaking in front of us and quickly changing the scope so we can get good transitions for this scene. Soon Red gets a big hit on the leader and causing the Bowzock to retreat as the Carrangers get their first victory!

The action was good and was the standard of the 90’s and I miss this time. The suit action was everywhere as the whole area is used very well. We even get great far and close shots of the scenery as we see different angles of the fight. What stood out is when the heroes had to fight the evil fire truck because things are moving fast and even with many transitions going around, it was easy to follow. What also helped were those great weapons and the series will reveal some even better weapons later on. The overall comedy is strong and this was only the first episode with how Dappu pretty much forced these guys into becoming heroes. For the first episode it got through everything nice and easy. It’s a strong A for the first episode. Also I just realized that this was pretty long, I think the struggle is gone now guys.

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