Sunday, January 10, 2016

Worst Sentai Uniforms (According to That Chick)

I know, I've been gone. Thanks to the underwhelming Ninninger I've been on hiatus. Plus I've been watching a lot of other stuff too.

But, with Zyuohger coming up, and the lackluster suits (I'm still going to watch the first episode though), I figured, to contrast my previous post about the best suits, I'm going to focus on the worst suits. I'm excluding Go-ranger because it was the first series, and they didn't have a definite idea of what a sentai suit should look like.

Goggle V: The jumpsuits are okay, it's the helmets that are the main drawback. They're kind of awkward looking, especially the visors which for some of them make them look like they are constipated.

Fiveman: Fiveman is one of the more panned sentai series (although compared to some of the shit lately, it doesn't look so bad, and has many redeeming qualities that make it watchable). And the suits do nothing to help. They just just look awkward. Especially the helmets, with the stripes on the visors. I get the markings (the atom, the musical note) on the helmets signify the subject they teach, but they seem out of place for some reason.

 Ohranger: The suit designs are very bland, and considering they are in the military, I was thinking they'd have something that signifies that, and the design to be more military uniform-like and not as mystical--although they do get their power from a mystical source. The other problem are the helmets. Shinkenger had the same design, however, the visors with the symbols actually pop out and add some dimension. The shapes on each of the Ohranger's helmets don't, and make their helmets look kind of boring.

Magiranger Legend: Yes, super modes aren't safe on this list. I didn't mind the Magirangers' normal suits, and the capes actually made sense, they were wizards. The main drawback is the weird Ancient Egyptian-like chest pieces which look really silly, along with the boots/shinguards which make them somehow look less threatening.

Boukenger: When will I give this series a break? The suits are boring, I'm not big on the logo on their chests, and the helmets are kind of ugly and unimaginative. I get they are supposed to look like their mecha, I think the only time they should do that is if the series is vehicle themed. It does nothing to signify they are treasure hunters or adventurers or total assholes (which is what they are).

Goseiger Super Mode: The only "upgrade" is the chest armor that looks really bulky, uncomfortable, non-practical, and a little ugly (I'm using that word a lot, I know). I like to think what would happen if it was made of actual metal, they'd either fall forward, or have tremendous back pain. Super modes are supposed to be threatening--not silly--unless it is a silly series.

Zyuohger: I'm okay with the helmets, they have kind of a Gingaman quality to them. It's the suits that are the drawback. The animal prints look really cheap, really lazy, and really unimaginative. Is that all they could come up with? This looks like really shitty, last minute, custom-made T-shirts for a cheap-ass Halloween costume. This is the 40th Anniversary: I know Boukenger had bad suits, but Gaoranger, another animal themed anniversary series had great suits! They look like a sentai team who left their shirts at the dry cleaners. And if I was a villain, I wouldn't take these guys as a threat, when they wear the sentai suit equivalent to this:

And expect me to take them seriously.

I know, roar, I'm mean.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Best Sentai Uniforms (According to ThatChick)

I've been wanting to do this for a while! Now, I suck at narrowing them down and making top ten lists, so instead I'm going to be listing them chronologically starting with...

Battle Fever J! Now, Battle Fever J is a hit and miss with some people, but I personally enjoy it, and one of the reasons I love it is because of the costumes! They are extremely unique, and, sadly, there hasn't been outfits like that since. I love the detail put into each costume, making them unique instead of totally uniformed. This is when Marvel was working with Toei, I believe, and you can see the superhero influence on them. I like how they show off each country, and a little bit of each culture. And for those of you who think they look silly, the characters own the costumes, which makes them even more formidable.

Denjiman. Now I know, why are they on the list? I mean, the suits themselves aren't really that flattering (horizontal stripes are never flattering. Why do they even make them?) They're on the list because they represent the first step in the right direction, helmet-wise. Now, we previously had color-coded outfits, specifically with Go-ranger, but these are a little more creative, slightly less bulky, they look easier to move into, and of course the helmets. These are the first series to have the archetypal sentai helmet that we know and love: color-coded, black opague visor, and metal mouthpiece. It's not perfect, but clearly the producers or costume designers liked the helmet, because this is one of the most used helmet designs in sentai.

Dynaman. Denjiman was the first step in the right direction helmet wise, and Dynaman was the first step in the right direction suit wise. Previously the outfits were made out of cotton, but this was the first series to use spandex (although BFJ might have used it, I think), and to forgo the fashion nightmare that was the effing ascots! Seriously, what the hell was with the ascots? Ascots aren't cool, they're one of the worst parts of late 70s fashion, and apparantly one of the costume designers was like "1977 called, they want their lame ascots back!" I think this (the ascot) was one of Shotaro Ishimori's contributions, but, and I'm gonna sound sacrireligious, they looked really, really, really stupid! So no ascot, but not only that, they started using spandex. The spandex was not only much more flattering, but also gave the suit actors more economy to move around in. And honestly, they looked a lot more comfortable fighting baddies and not having to worry about a rip.

Bioman. Bioman's here because I like the unique helmet designs, along with how the microchip-like chest plate lit up after the transformation sequence. The helmets were truly one of a kind, and I kind of wish a series would use that kind of design again.

Flashman. I like Flashman mainly because of the simplicity of the outfits, but also because of the function of the helmets, how the visors (or "goggles") actually can retract (or "set"), which they actually used in one of the earlier episodes, putting masks over their eyes so their vision wouldn't be screwed up by the Monster of the Week. It's one of the series where they actually took advantage of their suit's design. It was also nice during the transformation sequence that they used the "set goggle" part, mainly so that you can see the actor's eyes behind the helmet.

Maskman. In addition to the unique helmet designs, Maskman was the first series where I can say that the outfits were actually very sleek and stealthy. And it's the only series where you kind of forget the girls have earring on their helmets mainly because of how cool the suits look.

Liveman. Although a series before it (Sun Vulcan) had an animal theme with the suits, Liveman was the first series to truly take advantage of it. The animal of choice was incorporated into both the suits (with an animal patch on the chest), and with the helmets. Sun Vulcan had a small bust of the animal on the top, over the visor, but Liveman was like, let's make the whole helmet look like the animal. This lead to some extremely unique, creative, customized, and beautiful helmets, my personal favorite being Yellow Lion's. In addition, Red Falcon's helmet design would be used again in a slightly different variation for...

Jetman. This series used the bird design of Red Falcon's helmet, customizing it to each bird, and making it slightly sleeker and rounder. If you look closely, each Jetman's helmet is made to look like the bird they represent. It's also the sentai version of one of Jetman's inspiration series, Gatchaman. My personal favorite part, and the reason they're on the list is because of the wings that can be retracted, and how they use them to fly.

Zyuuranger. I think of the reasons MMPR became iconic, and really stuck with the fans was because of the suits. The helmets once again used the Liveman formula of having the helmet decked out to represent the animal or dinosaur that the Zyuuranger represented. And they are so intricate and ornate. They also used the thing where they put lips in the mouthpiece, and I think the last series to use that was Bioman. This made the helmets look a bit more human-like. They also gave the sixth ranger something a bit more special, the golden vest, setting him apart from the other members of the team, showing an outsider status. But not only that, his vest actually did something, it protected him. Once again, major points for parts of the suit having a function outside of just looking cool.

Kakuranger. I personally love the minimalism of the Kakuranger's outifts and helmets. Why? Because they're ninjas! Minimalism is everything to ninjas! The outfits actually look like the uniforms (is uniform the right word?) that ninjas would wear, with a sentai spin (the helmet looks like a ninja hood, with a visor where the open part for the eyes would be). Along with the regular ninja uniforms that the team wears, this makes their sentai forms look like an armored version of their ninja outfits.

Carranger. Carranger was a very silly series, so let's give the Carrangers a very silly outift. It was one of the sentai series to use an outfit to match the tone of the series. Also, I like how they incorporate the Carranger's cars into the helmet design.

Megaranger. I like the sleekness and the uniformity of these suits, which is perfect, as the whole Megaranger concept is technology, and the suits were probably designed to be technologically advanced. When you go back to another sentai series that incorporated a little bit of technology (Bioman), the suits were bulky compared to Megaranger, which shows how when technology evolves, technology gets sleeker. (Sorry I didn't use a pic with Megasilver, but I find this picture to be too cute)

Gingaman. Once again, amazing helmet designs. I like how the visors are shaped differently as well for the team members. They don't fully look like their animal, it's more like their helmets are symbols of their animal instead, which kind of goes with the kind of tribal (is that the right word?) aspect of the Gingaman.

Gaoranger. Once again, they go the Liveman route of having the whole helmet look like the animal they represent. In addition, they actually have claws on the gloves. As well, there are some subtleties to the costumes. On the chest of the suit, there's like this diagonal sash with gold lines, which go hand-in-hand with the number they press on their transformation device. (Gaowhite presses one, Black two, Blue three, Yellow four, Red five), so white has one slash, blue has two, and so on. Also, they took a cue from Jetman's design and gave GaoYellow a set of wings, only instead of the cape-like wings of Jetman, these looked like actual feathers. It's pretty rare that the Yellow Ranger has an upgrade on the suit that sets him apart from the rest of the team--this usually is given to the sixth ranger. But it kind of goes with Gao Yellow's own character (he's more serious, resentful of red, and the lancer which makes him kind of an outsider).

Hurricanger. In addition to having a unique suit design, the team takes a cue from Flashman, and has the helmets actually do something--they can open up, showing you there is a hero behind the mask. And they even gave Shurikenger's helmet something to do as well.

Abaranger. Abaranger is like a sleeker, more simplictic version of the dinosaur motifs from Zyuuranger. But what really puts Abaranger on the list is the super mode. It takes the spikey triangles on the suit, and has them stick up, like an actual dinosaur's spikes. Instead of other series where the super mode is usually another layer of armor (or usually comes mid-series with an upgrade), Abaranger simply has part of the suit stick up, and become 3-d. In addition, major props for giving yellow wings like her Pterodactyl.

Dekaranger. Taking a cue from Megaranger, Dekaranger once again has a sleek, advanced, functional uniform. It's one of the few that has the girls on the team not wearing skirts or a variation (Bioman, Changeman, and Flashman didn't have skirts but the bottoms were different on the female members). The last time the suits were like this was with Fiveman. This gives the team a kind of uniformity that you'd expect from the police. As well, the SWAT mode might have been armor, but it fit the motif well, it looked like stuff you'd wear if you were doing SWAT.

Gekiranger. Gekiranger once again uses the animal-based helmet designs of Liveman, but instead makes them more simplistic and sleeker. In addition, both GekiViolet and GekiChopper have more different yet suits, with kind of a martial arts motif (for example, GekiChopper's suit looks kind of like a gi). Gekiranger also has a unique super mode, where the suit changes colors, and get these cool jets. I also like how the main trio uses their own gloves as a transformation device.

Shinkenger. Previously, we've seen some more abstract, geometrical helmets with Ohranger, but Shinkenger kind of has a cooler sleekness to them. I like how the kanji bounces out from the helmet. There's kind of a more 3D element to it. There's this simplicity to it that works.

Gokaiger. They take the pirate motif and run with it. The helmets all look like captain's hats (or in Silver's case, a bandana), and it's the only suit to actually have jackets as part of it. As well, as a 35th aniversary series, there are a few callbacks to some of the past sentai series. The collars are reminiscent of Goranger, however, the suits make them their own as part of the pirate-y jacket. The helmet visors shapes are reminiscent of both Goranger, but also reminiscent of Flashman, another sentai team from space (although they are all earthlings).

Toqger. Say what you will, the suit designs are silly, but they are reminiscent of another silly series, Carranger. The helmets actually look like their own trains, and I like how Toq2go actually uses the train tracks like they're his glasses, and adjusts them as well.

Ninninger. Ninninger has probably the coolest suit designs in a while. Why is it that ninja sentais have cool suit designs? I like how, much like Shinkenger, the shurikens pop out. In addition, red has a asymetrical shuriken, compared to the others, because it's supposed to be moving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Possible Super Sentai Themes that Would be Awesome

So it's October, and the moment of truth is upon us, what will the theme and motif be for the 39th Super Sentai series. There's one rumor that it might be bird themed, ala Jetman, but then again, this is when all sorts of rumors pop up. Who knows what it will be. But while we are waiting for the verdict, here's what I'd love to see that hasn't been done yet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Toku Rant II: Why Do People Like Mako So Much? EDIT

So, when I went back and read this post I realized that I sound like a total social justice warrior idiot, which I'm not. I wrote this post a while back, and didn't publish it until last week. And sometimes when you go back and read something you wrote, you realize you made a mistake, like when you go through your old clothes and can't believe you wore some of that stuff. So I decided to edit my post, but my opinion stays the same: I don't like Mako. And remember, this is an editorial, so a lot of it is my own opinion. It's not fact.

Okay, I'm going to get something off my chest. Ready? I'm probably going to piss a lot of you off, just to warn you (Sean Akizuki and FireandHeaven27, I'm looking at you). Okay. (Takes Deep Breath). Remember in my last post, I said I didn't like the Boukengers? Well, there's another sentai character who I really hate: Mako aka Shinken Pink.

As with Sakura from Boukenger I don't hate the actress, I hate the character. Granted, a lot of the reasons why I don't like Mako is because of the fan response to the actress. They think she's the hottest thing ever, when really, she isn't as hot as they think she is--and this is coming from someone who is attracted to women as well as men. You want a beautiful sentai actress, look at Sayako Hagiwara, the actress who played DynaPink, or Ayumi Kinoshita, the actress who played DekaYellow.

Mako has done some of the meanest things ever, at least in my opinion. In addition to saying "she likes men she can fix," she dropped Shinken Blue like a hot potato as soon as he was "fixed." Also, for those of you who think that she's "good" for Takeru, that she is compatible with him, she would probably drop him as soon as he's "fixed." As well, when you look at their interactions, they seem to have a negative affect on Takeru: when you look at the episode where Takeru pushed her (which was actually kind of awesome, but remember, I'm biased). Takeru was practically catatonic in the next episodes--in fact, it was KOTOHA who got Takeru out of his funk. Hell, in the Lord Butler episode, even the narrator acknowledges that Kotoha holds a torch for Takeru. Why do people want to see Mako, who is, as FireandHeaven27 ironically says "a nosy bitch" together with someone who clearly enjoys his privacy?

But I'm not the only one who doesn't like Mako. According to susurro, a commentor on a blog post glorifying Mako:

"Also, Mako isn't as perfect as you keep saying here. Almost her only appeal as a character was her looks. If she weren't played by an attractive actress would people care how "badass" she was or want to see her get together with Takeru? No. She was only ever nice to Takeru, not the rest of her teammates - she was horrible to Ryuunosuke, hit Chiaki, ignored Genta and dismissed Kotoha when Kotoha was worried about Takeru. A tokusatsu hero is supposed to be someone exemplary, a role model to the audience - not someone who's really a horrible person but the fandom worships them just because they're 'hot.'"

But because Mako's "hot" isn't the only reason why the fandom likes her: particularly the male fandom. 

The idea occurred to me in my Genres in Television class. My professor asked us if there was anything on television today that could be considered "trash." My hand immediately shot up and said "Two and a Half Men," and everyone agreed with me. He asked the class why people watch it, then, as for a while, it was one of the highest rated shows. One of my other classmates replied "Because it's misogynistic, it has misogynistic humor. It makes men feel comfortable." Now, not all men are sexist pigs, but some of them are, and some would wish they could go back to the glory days--they do all the work, the wife greets them at home with a martini and a warm meal waiting, and doesn't complain about the fact she has no life outside being a baby-maker/mother/prisoner her own home whose only way out is bridge with the girls and going to the grocery store. Not now when women are more empowered, are making decisions not to have children and have the ability to control their bodies, wearing pants and suits, are going to colleges and using their degrees and are advancing more and more, and hold the same positions as men, and can be their bosses even.

The fact that you have a female character who wants to be a wife and mother, might entice some male viewers.

Feminism is about choice. You can choose your own career, your own future. Mako wants to be a wife and mother, it's what she's passionate about. And I'm pretty sure she'd be a good wife and mother. Now, Shinkenger had two other female characters who some fans either ignore, blast, or hate.  First you have Kotoha, who is a freakin powerhouse. She isn't weak, at all, and she had to grow up really fast. She's awkward off the battlefield, though, and constantly suffers from crises of confidence which mirror Takeru's. She can be shy, but she overcomes it. Throughout these series, she comes of age, becomes stronger off of the battlefield, starts to deal with her feelings for Takeru, and finally acknowledges that she is the real Shinkenyellow and not a stand-in. It seems she enjoys being a samurai, though, as it's what she's good at. In my opinion, and this is my bias, as I like strong, daring, female characters who break social norms: she's a better positive role model than Mako. But fans refer to her as weak, or "junior", or "cute", or "inexperienced," and the little sister, or the other girl. And they ignore her.

And then there's Kaoru. Kaoru kicks ass. And people instantly hated her when she declared that she wants to fight, and that she will be ShinkenRed from now on. But people forget the reason why she wanted to reclaim her position: she was tired of hiding, she was tired of being the princess being protected, and she was tired of probably living with that asshole Tanba. She wanted to fight. I know, Takeru and the team took it extremely hard, but she didn't know this was going to happen. And they also forget that she constantly hits him with her fan for being an asshole. And at the end, she pulls an extremely ballsy move by adopting Takeru. She's an amazing fighter, made an amazing entrance, and is a pleasure to see whenever she returns in the vs. movie and in Gokaiger. And she was a nice princess, she wasn't a spoiled brat.

So Kotoha is a young woman who is coming of age and is becoming stronger and ballsier, yet has a lot of flaws which makes her a more fleshed-out and real character, and Kaoru is a freaking warrior princess in a kimono. But NOOOOO they aren't the beloved characters. It's Mako. Why? Because Mako wants to be a Yamato Nadeshiko--a traditional Japanese women, a housewife, a mother, subservient. At the time, I guess male viewers were getting tired of seeing women take charge in sentai, male viewers were getting tired of seeing women either reject them, emasculate them, or hold superior positions to them, and when they saw a woman who's dream was to take the big step backwards, they couldn't help but fall in love with her.

And it's not only that: they see Mako as perfect--A woman whose only flaw on the surface seems to be her bad cooking (she has a flaw as well: obsession and fixation, but none of the Mako lovers seem to acknowledge it). Mako's whole character song is about being a freaking bride and housewife. Kotoha's character song however, is called "Bushido Girl." See the difference?

Now, why do female fans, in particular a certain group of female fans worship Mako so much to a point where it is an obsession?  Maybe it's because they believe she's "perfect." And they want to be as "perfect" as her. And they would want to be like Kotoha because she's so awkward or like Kaoru because she's such a meanie. Or maybe because they have a crush on Takeru's actor and would rather see Mako as their surrogate.

Another factor is being a lemming. Remember in my shipping mistakes article where I said one of the biggest mistakes is being a lemming--assuming that because a non-canon ship is "popular" or considered the "fan preferred shipping " on TV tropes (which is usually added by just one troper), or that has vocal fans, is the most popular/canon ship. The same can be applied to characters as well. 

 A lot of new sentai fans who aren't familiar with the shows might look at other blogs for info, particularly well-known blogs that appear on the top of your google search, and believe that said "sentai expert" is objective, and believes his or her opinion to be true. So if a popular blogger who acts as if they are speaking for the rest of the fandom shills a character they like, the new fan might believe it to be the truth, which is sadly the case with Mako. I'm not saying that new fans aren't smart, but sometimes they assume that if someone is seemingly well-versed in sentai, then they are telling the truth.

The most important thing to remember is that Shinkenger is one of the best sentai ensemble series. A lot of people will dismiss the rest of the characters as annoying or comedic relief or "mean" sans Takeru and Mako. This is partly because of the example above, and another reason is that a popular blogger refers to Shinkenger as a tribute to the popular manga Rurouni Kenshin, and even based off of it, which like Shinkenger, is about samurais. Kenshin has both a male and female lead which said blogger believed Takeru and Mako to be based off of. However, if one actually reads the premise and character summaries to Rurouni Kenshin, they'd see that it is far different from Shinkenger. It's like saying Hurricanger is a tribute to Naruto. (Hell, the only manga that was incorporated into a sentai season would be One Piece as Gokaiger, mainly with the character archetypes, but Gokaiger was it's own series too). But because said popular bloggers assertions, along with someone (probably said blogger) writing it on TV Tropes some people come to believe it to be so. And therefore they forget that Shinkenger is an ensemble series.

I've stated how important Kotoha and Kaoru were for the series. Ryuu (I suck at spelling his name) will be blasted for being over-the-top and annoying or comedic relief. Okay, he can't help the over-the-top part. He's a kabuki actor. Even his pose is a kabuki pose. Kabuki can be over-the-top at times. Ryuu acts like a kabuki actor. And he is loyal. Really loyal. So loyal that you'd want him as your best friend or even as your boyfriend or partner. I've never seen a character that loyal before. And he kicks ass and is an amazing dancer.

Chiaki's journey is humbling. He learns about humility, he learns about being part of a team. He learns how to use his inexperience, his playfulness, his bravery, his unconventional way of looking at the world to his advantage. And he kicks ass. As well, I like his relationship with Kotoha. He acts like a protective older brother to her. A lot of people see it as romance, I see it as a guy who is protecting the youngest member of the team, who doesn't need protection, and as someone who owes it to her for being kind of a jerk to her.

Genta is extremely loyal as well, matching Ryuu's. He's creative like Chiaki. Sure he's a little too enthusiastic, but this guy loves being a samurai! He takes actual joy out of it. And he brings some positiveness to the team and allows Takeru to start to open up. Plus, he had to learn how to do modjikara (I'm spelling it wrong, I know) on his own, without having the ability, and was able to create his own henshin device. Yeah, he can be a little shrill but he's more than just "comedic relief."

Each character is the hero and heroine of the series. Remember that. Shinkenger did what sentai is at it's best: an ensemble series.

The more and more I think about it Yasuko Kobayashi is one of my favorite sentai writers, someone who I will go to the ends of the Earth to defend. She wrote Kamen Rider Den-O, my favorite Kamen Rider series. She is great with twists, suspense, characters, and yes, storytelling. And as someone who is studying to be a television writer, and is a woman, she's kind of a hero for me--especially in Japan, where the system is still patriarchal. In one article I read, women are forgoing marriage because people expect them to stop working (and some women still need to make a living) and be a full-time mom.

So those of you who know about my love of Yasuko Kobayashi might bring up the fact that Mako is her creation, so I need to like her. Well, some of my favorite writers have created characters that I've hated. Matthew Weiner, the creator of one of my favorite TV series Mad Men created the frigid unsympathetic bitch known as Betty Draper (later Francis).

At first you feel sympathy for Betty, her husband is cheating on her, and she has some issues of her own. But then, by season three, you lose all sympathy for her and are totally okay with the fact her husband is cheating on her, and Weiner wants you to be sympathetic towards her, so does her actress January Jones. Betty is a horrible mother to Sally, her and Don's oldest daughter who around that time was, like, nine. Betty is unpleasant period. You hate her more in season 4, and then kind of stop hating her in season five, and season six, because she undergoes a redemption--although she still is a crappy mother.

Ron D Moore wrote Battlestar Galactica, one of the best sci-fi series that proves that sci-fi isn't outdated, and can be used to explain modern issues and philosophy, especially on TV. It's an awesome show. With tons of awesome characters. Except one. Cally. A nebbish deckhand who, actually I can't tell you too much because it will spoil too much. But watch Battlestar Galactica, because it's awesome.

I guess Yasuko wanted to show how women have a choice and balance out the motivation, or maybe she wanted to comment on how conservative values affect Japanese women, or maybe there was pressure from executives. But I still like her. She's made some other mistakes (Go-busters), but not every Sentai series is flawless, and not every writer is flawless. They sometimes have a bad season.

So why do people like Mako: because of looks, self-insertion, the fact she wants to be a wife and mother, and the swaying of a few vocal fans of her.

I can't really give any advice, to most of those fans, but to the new sentai fans: a popular blogger's opinion isn't set in stone, and my opinion isn't set in stone. Watch the series yourself and making your own opinions. You may like Mako or hate her.

Well, that's my post. I know, it's an extremely unpopular opinion, but sometimes, it's okay to have an opinion that's different than what some people believe to be the fandom consensus. So, go ahead, hate on me. But you Mako lovers have expressed why you love her so much. I have as much a right to discuss why I dislike her. But, hey, at least she's just a character. And I treat her like a character.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Behind The Helmet: My Interview with Jason Chan

I admit it: I enjoy some of the Power Rangers series. And Ninja Storm is among my favorites. And my love for toku, and this blog wouldn't exist without Ninja Storm.

When I was in high school, my senior year, I was flipping through channels and came upon a re-run of Ninja Storm. And I immediately liked it. It had me at the line: "What, you've never seen a chick in blue spandex walk on water before?" It didn't take itself seriously, it was a fun, entertaining series. And one of my favorite rangers on that show was Cam, who started out as the disgruntled techie, and then became the Green Samurai Ranger through an amazing journey.

As some of you know, I've been going to grad school in Singapore for the past few years, and Jason Chan, who played Cam currently lives and works here. I had the pleasure of meeting him for coffee, and interviewing him.

Here's the audio. I haven't used iMovie in a while, so it probably looks bad but it sounds good.

We talked about the audition process, stunt mishaps, guinea pig wrangling, elements, spandex.

Also, Jason has a production company in Singapore as well. Check it out:

All and all, it was a fun interview, and Jason is an awesome person!

EDIT: Here is Jason's instagram. Be sure to follow him: @jasonchankk

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Toku Rant I: The Boukengers are Jerks

Ah, Boukenger, one of the most overrated sentai series ever. Where do I begin:

1. There are too many mecha, and they are all BOOORING. I mean, in Gaoranger, we had a lot of mecha, but each mecha combination in Gaoranger was different and they had personality.

2. Way too many villains.

3. The alum cameos do nothing for the children watching the show. In Gokaiger, the former sentai warriors appeared, showing that super sentai is a series that has been going on for a long time, and that no matter how old you are, you can still fight and be a superhero. The children knew "hey, that guy who is my dad's age played OhRed. That's really cool." I guess the alum cameos in Boukenger are supposed to be a wink to the older fans, but first off, they are too subtle. You can't recognize the sentai actors--especially GaoBlue, considering his was a dragon abomination most of the time. Secondly, Super Sentai airs at 7:30 on Sunday morning. Kids are fine waking up early to watch their favorite show, but teenagers and adults want to sleep in.

4. The monster designs are supposed to be another "subtle" wink, as they are supposed to be homages to sentai mecha. But I can't tell that clusterf!ck monster A is a tribute to BioRobo. And the kids aren't obviously going to get it.

5. Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai>Boukenger vs. Super Sentai. I mean, in Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai, they got some recent actors, all who played lovable character who you'd want to see again (gentle giant Gouki, spunky cell phone addict Miku, and hellfire calcium-obsessed Daimon) and then they get Red F!cking Falcon, who does this amazing scene with GaoYellow, and BIG ONE who is in his 60s, and still kicks ass, and somehow gets cooler and likeable because he's older. Boukenger didn't even dig deep enough, and only got recent actors. Granted, AbareBlack is cool, but still.

6. The forced Red/Pink romance. I hate BoukenPink. The actress is okay, I don't hate her. I hate the character. She is a Mary Sue. And looking back at all of the female sentai characters, she is the only one I could think of that is a Mary Sue. She's a perfect fighter, she's the subleader of the team, she's smart, and every guy on the team wants to bang her, and she gets red in the end. It's so forced and thrown in. Most of you guys know I hate Red and Pink shipping (because it's lazy, amongst other reasons), and it's like the writers wanted to give me the middle finger before I even got into sentai (although I doubt they know me). So yeah, let's throw it in last minute. BoukenPink is soooo perfect but she has one flaw: she loves red. But he doesn't notice. Gollie Jee Wilickers! What's a girl to do?

But no, those all pale in comparison to this realization I had:

So, originally it was Satoru, Souta, and Sakura who were on the team. Then they hire Masumi and Natsuki. Now, I can understand Masumi, I mean, he's a treasure thief or whatever, but Natsuki. I know Masumi found Natsuki who was trapped under a rock or something, but she has no skills.

In fact, Natsuki shouldn't be on the team. She should be in a hospital, for rehabilitation as she's been unconscious for 3000 or so years! You know how when astronauts come back to earth, they need to do some physical therapy because they are adjusting to the increase in gravity, well, what Natsuki endured is more than a few years in zero gravity. She should be undergoing the process the Timerangers went through in the first episode of Time Ranger, when they had to watch 20th history really fast and absorb it all in before travelling to the past.

And because Natsuki didn't get any help, she is a trainwreck. And that's when I realized the real reason she was on the team: so they could feel better about themselves. And so they could look good in comparison to her. And that just makes them even more horrible people. Natsuki has nothing to offer the team despite the fact she gets random psychic visions sometimes--but she shouldn't be fighting. Satoru is all like "she has the soul of an adventurer" or something in the first episode--no, she doesn't, Satoru is really saying "hey, if we screw up, at least we aren't like her." At least she's a scapegoat.

And because of that, the Boukengers are horrible people.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Gokaiger Fan Fic Challenge

Remember when you were watching Gokaiger, and you thought "Dang, I wish they did a tribute episode to (insert series here)."

Well, here's your chance to make that happen. Here is a list of the series they didn't cover, and whose heroes appeared as floating heads saying "here, take my power," or the ones who appeared after it (like Satoru from Boukenger, and still did a tribute episode)

Sun Vulcan
Goggle V

Basically, my challenge is is to write the tribute episode that never was. I know some of my readers are fanfic writers, and we all have different styles. So it's basically this: chose a series (or two) and write through story format (you don't have to write a teleplay) a standard tribute episode for Gokaiger. This is our chance to be creative.

Here are some ground rules

1. The author must have written fanfics or stories in the past.

2. The author must have both familiarity with Gokaiger and the series they have chosen. No OOC-ness, and no BSing your way through it.

3. Remember the formula of each tribute episode, and use it as a cornerstone to help you write the fic.

4. If there's going to be pairing, canon-pairings only.

5. Fics must be in English, or translated to English. No gratuitous Japanese unless it's necessary.

6. First come, first serve. Comment on which series you want to do.

7. There's no deadline, it's a fun little challenge. And publish it on your blog,, or your livejournal or whatever.

8. Remember to write with your own style.

9. Feel free to spread the word.

And before we start--DIBS ON JAKQ AND FIVEMAN!