I didn’t know what to post today. I still have to do a lot of work on my Chemist for FFXIV post, so no dice there. As far as procrastinating goes, EVO is wasting my time with MvC3, and I’m trying to resist resubbing my Netflix account, so I more or less have nothing to do. So let’s talk Super Sentai. What’s that? You don’t know what Super Sentai is? Ever heard of Power Rangers? Screw you. Let’s get down to basics about it shall we?
Super Sentai refers to Japanese superhero television shows that feature color coded heroes. They normally have super human abilities from outside sources, sometimes technological, sometimes magical. And they have a guy in a giant mecha costume that they use to wreck shit with. These shows are basically the source material for Power Rangers. What happens is this: Some guys in Japan make a TV show about super heroes. Some company in the US takes the basic premise of that show and repackages it. They hire new actors and rewrite the story, changing and rearranging things to suit American tastes. Then, they reshoot all the story-based scenes while reusing most of the battle footage. And thus, a bastardization of something that was once pure and untainted has been born.
I say things like that, but I don’t necessarily hate Power Rangers. That much. It’s just the recent series they’ve been pumping out are full of too much pandering, odd choices, and bad acting all around. It doesn’t really hold a candle to the original source material. So I have mixed feelings about it. I consider the current stuff useless drivel, how about that? I know, I know, it sounds like I hate it more than I actually really do. Maybe I do just really abhor Power Rangers and I’m fooling myself.
In any case, maybe you’re wondering what about Super Sentai makes it so great? Nothing really. At its essence it’s just a kid’s show that I happen to like watching. And by kid’s show I mean that in the same way that things like Young Justice or Teen Titans are considered kid’s shows. It’s not the teletubbies. There’s lots of violence. And you’re basically watching adults do shit with a plot that’s easy for youngsters to consume. Doesn’t take away from the fact that monsters are getting exploded in just about every episode. Nevermind the civilian harm and/or deaths that invariably happen as the result of some weird monster-plan requiring the tears of innocents.
Anyway, it’s fun to watch and provides a decent escape without me having to wallow in heavy drama or too much real life reproductions of angst and pain. Of course, there’s plenty of cheese to be had, but it’s the good kind of cheese. The kind that keeps you warm at night.
I was first introduced to Super Sentai through Boukenger. It remains one of my absolute favorites. It focused on globe-trotting and exploration and had a very cinematic feel to it. The gist of it was searching for artifacts called Precious, in order to keep them out of the hands of other evil organizations and factions. It honestly left a really great impression on me. If it hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into Super Sentai as much as I have now.
I watched almost every series that came after that. The shows were great, but I wasn’t impressed again until Shinkenger. Shinkenger was more or less a story about samurai fighting to seal an evil demonic power away. Sounds pretty plain, but the best part about Shinkenger was the characters, their bonds with one another, and their interactions with their enemies. A wholly different experience from Boukenger, but no less engrossing for me.
Most recently, Gokaiger has been great. It’s a bit gimmicky what with their ability to change into any of the past sentai heroes, but the story is great, and the characters are top notch. Ahim de Famile (Gokai Pink) has a smile that I definitely want to protect, and Captain Marvelous makes a great Red. By Red, I’m referring to any character on a Super Sentai team that wears red for their costume. These guys are generally the leader and have the most skill and presence. There’s somewhat of a focus on colors when it comes to character types in these shows, but I can talk about that in another post some other time.
I’m not completely unaware. The idea of a grown man enjoying this kind of stuff would make most people out in the world today balk. I’m kinda lucky in that I’ve found someone into the same sorts of things I am, and can somewhat understand my tastes. Even if she probably thinks Super Sentai is dumb too. But there’s a lot to these kinds of shows that just aren’t apparent on the surface. Characters are taken seriously and allowed some emotional depth and growth. The messages the shows try to convey aren’t ham-handed and weird. And the most important message is usually centered around teamwork and the bonds you share with your teammates, friends, family, what-have-you. I think that’s a decent message for the demographic they’re trying to reach. As a bonus, you get a show that tries to craft a living breathing world full of characters that have personality and weight. That’s probably the main problem I have with the US Power Rangers. You might as well be watching a show about cardboard cutouts.
Well, yeah, so ends my rant. There’s more to talk about, but I can save it for another post. For now, I’d suggest giving it a shot. The real Super Sentai shows aren’t like what you’re used to on American TV, and it’s worth experiencing at least one of the shows I mentioned earlier. It’s all a part of my plan to create more Super Sentai fans that I can socialize with. It’s lonely being the only weirdo around here.