Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Holiday Surprise

Hello my dear readers.

I've had a busy year. I graduated from undergrad with a BFA in Theatre Studies, and I'm currently pursuing my MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch Asia, and it's been really busy. The good news is that I'm enjoying it, and my writing has improved. I'm learning lots of new skills, and I'm meeting a bunch of awesome filmmakers, writers, animators, and producers from all around the world.

And I figured that I owed you guys a little treat for whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First Annual Super Sentai Awards

I know, it's not award season yet, but I've been wanting to do this post for a while.

So I created some unique awards for some sentai characters. They each go to one male and one female. Enjoy!

Best Hair
For me, it's one thing to have good hair, it's another thing to be creative with your hair, and look good doing it, so the winners are.....

Mei/Ptera Ranger and Sion/Time Green

Mei is known for changing her hairstyle every other episode, and Sion's hair is a weird color not because he's an alien, but because he loves dying it, and we see many different colors throughout the season, which Sion rocks.

Best Footwear
I'm not a footwear person. I wear white socks, because they're easy to wash, and ordinary shoes. I have these Doc Martins with roses on them that I like, but I don't have them with me. But some people have extremely good taste in socks and shoes and are creative with it. You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear, as it makes them a fun and unique individual. So the winners are...

Rei/DynaPink and Gai/GokaiSilver

When I watched the first episode of Dynaman, the first thing I noticed was Rei's socks, I don't know why... but she had these white socks with these pom-poms on the side, and they matched her wardrobe nicely. Fellow blogger Fantasy Leader and I were watching Gai's debut episode together (well, not physically together, but we were chatting via facebook), and I'm like "dude has great shoes and socks" and Fantasy Leader was like "totally." Gai has these silver shoes and these colorful socks that say a lot about his personality. Both of these winners not only have good taste in footwear, but they are good at kicking the villains' asses with them.

Best Bod
I know, I sound like a pig, but hey, Super Sentai has tons of eye candy. And all of them (well, most of them) are in great shape. But we don't really see that many revealing scenes. And as well, these two winners don't have to flaunt their bodies by showing them off constantly. You'll be surprised who these winners are. And the winners are...

Natsumi/Yellow Racer and Shirogane/GaoSilver

Natsumi is mostly seen in her not so revealing, baggy mechanics uniform, and for a while, Youko was the sole Carranger hottie (also Naoki too). But then, Youko and Natsumi went shopping and tried on swimsuits, and Natsumi tried on a bikini, and looked amazing in it, and Youko was extremely surprised, as she had never seen Natsumi in this light before. So surprised that she lost self-confidence and thought she herself was overweight. Before Shirogane made his formal appearance, Kakeru recalled, along the same time Rouki appeared, that he saw a man bathing naked in the river. That man, as we see in the flashback was Shirogane, and man, he left a great first impression. Although Gaku remarked in English "Dangerous and Strange!" the rest of us were thinking "Droool..."

James Dean Award
James Dean played the quintessential bad boy/anti-hero in the 1950s, before dying an untimely death. What really makes a sentai season interesting is if there are members on the team who aren't good-doers, and have a different set of morals. Rebels. These bad girls and bad boys add a juiciness to the team dynamics. And the winners are...

Luka/GokaiYellow and Gai/Black Condor

Okay, Gai's here, duh. I mean, he smokes, gambles (and cheats), rides a motorcycle, drinks, fights with his leader, yet somehow has a sense of justice and saves the day all while being a badass. This isn't what your usual sentai hero will do, but Gai pulls it off. Same with Luka. Although most of the Gokaigers aren't exactly heroes (cough, cough, Marvelous, cough cough, Joe, cough cough, Luka), Luka doesn't behave like your typical girl. Despite now having a home, and food, and clothing, Luka is still greedy, and still steals. She never changes, which is kind of refreshing. Like Gai, she gambles and cheats, has money as her top priority, and I'm pretty sure Don and Gai (Gokaiger's Gai, not Jetman Gai) are afraid of her, and she even joked about turning Marvelous in for his bounty. But hey, Marvelous accepts her, the rest of the team accepts her, and the fans love her because of it.

So, that's all there is for now. I hope to write more soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Biggest Shipping Mistakes

Some of the biggest mistakes fans make during shipping.

For those of you who don’t know, shipping is a term meaning the pairing of two characters together. It comes from the word relationship. Some pairings are canon, i.e., what the writers intended, like Ryu and Kaori in Jetman, and others are paired by fans, like Masumi and Natsuki from Boukenger. Some people have preferences. Some do slash pairings (same sex pairings), some only stick with hetero, some only pair red with pink and green with yellow, and some pair siblings.

However, there are big mistakes that shippers often make. These mistakes apply to fan pairings, not official ones. And some of these mistakes can affect a shipper’s own romantic life. Here are some of the most common mistakes.

They are opposites, that means they belong together.

For those of you guys outside the US, there was a horrible sitcom called Dharma and Greg that managed to run for more than two seasons. The premise was that Dharma and Greg are complete opposites, met on their first date, and then got married immediately afterwards. Dharma was a “free spirit” while Greg was straight-laced. 

Anyway, the premise sounds cute, but it gets boring after a while. And in real life, opposites attract has been disproven (not with magnets, with relationships). Relationship sites like eharmony match people based on similarities—and they aren’t scams, the relationships usually work out. Even in real life, matchmakers (they still exist) pair people off of similarities. If you go out of your way to date someone based off of the fact that he’s the yin to your yang, you’re going to get hurt. It won’t be a productive relationship, because you can’t relate to each other. You both want different things, and have different ways of dealing with life.

I’ll use the fan pairing (not canon) of Marvelous and Ahim in Gokaiger. The MarvexAhim pairing can be traced back to the dime-store romance novels that housewives read while they eat bonbons, in which a pirate and princess fall in love.

Marvelous and Ahim is not a canon pairing, but a few fans treat it like it is, and I think part of their evidence is the whole opposites attract thing. Other than being a pirate and a princess, Marvelous is impulsive and extroverted, while Ahim is polite and introverted. Marvelous and Ahim both have different morals. Marvelous and Ahim both have different goals in life. They both have different interests. If this relationship happened in real life, it would be over in a month. Because they would realize that they have nothing in common.

Some people think you need to find an opposite because they would balance you out, create synergy, and make you a better person. But do you really want to change for someone?

One of the best things about Sentai and Kamen Rider is that they usually don’t use this as a reason to pair people together.

Take a canon pairing: Kouichirou and Chisato from Megaranger. They both are extremely studious, intelligent, and are over-achievers. Chisato is a bit more down to Earth and less serious than Kouichirou, but you don’t have to be twins with your partner. It helps, though, to have a lot in common, which they do. And together, they kind of hold the team down to Earth. So their relationship not only benefits each other, but also benefits the team.

One of my pairings, Takeru and Kotoha, is based on this. Both are only comfortable on the battlefield, both have been withdrawn from the rest of the world, both have confidence issues (Takeru doesn’t reveal it, though, till later), both don’t like to let out their feelings, and they are comfortable with living an abnormal lifestyle (being Samurai instead of modern teenagers). That’s a lot in common if you ask me.

When you look at Mako, she has different goals than Takeru. She wants a normal life, she’s lived in the real world, she wants to start a family, and she’s more extroverted. This difference of goals would cause a relationship to fail in real life.

They hate each other, that means they belong together.

This goes all the way back to a Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalytical psychology (keep in mind, I know all this because if I wasn’t going to be a dramatic writer, I wanted to be a criminal psychologist).

Freud believed that unconscious thoughts and impulses controlled are day-to-day life, emotions, actions, and decisions. When deep inside ourselves, we secretly want something that our conscious is afraid of, and become anxious, we use defense mechanisms. Such as repression, when we repress feelings or a bad memory.

One of Freud’s defense mechanisms that are constantly used in pop culture is reaction formation. Reaction formation is when you want something, but believe it’s wrong, and then focus and display the opposite. I’ll use an example from Akibaranger. Mitsuki/Akibablue acts as if she is above anime/otaku culture, but she secretly likes it, and is afraid it will ruin her image.

This seeps into the romantic aspects in fictional works. Sometimes, people also use this as sexual tension, i.e., just hook up already! In Japan, they even have a term tsundere, which applies to reaction formation.

A contemporary example of this can be Helga from Hey Arnold! For those of you who don’t know, Hey Arnold! was part of the Golden Age of Nickelodeon in the 90s. I grew up with this. Like a lot of the Golden Age Nickelodeon shows, there was substance that made it watchable for people of any age. Helga is the female protagonist, an extremely creative and intelligent 9-year-old girl, who has the writing abilities of Lord Byron.

Now, this part is extremely deep for a kids’ show. Helga has a horrible home life. Her father (voiced by the versatile Maurice LaMarche) is hinted to be a former Vietnam vet, who is a successful, and possibly corrupt businessman. He owns a successful Beeper store, Big Bob’s Beepers (remember Beepers? If they did a sequel to Hey Arnold! taking place now, Helga’s father would be out a job), and is extremely devoted to it. Her mother, Miriam, voiced by the lovely Kath Soucie (is it just me, or did Hey Arnold! have the best castmembers who played the adults?) was hinted to be an alcoholic, walked around in a drowsy daze, and was extremely irresponsible, and withdrawn from Helga’s life. Not only does Helga get no attention from her parents, but she has an older sister in her 20s, Olga, who is just as intelligent and creative as her, and who gets all her parents’ attention. Also, she doesn’t have a unibrow. It was shown in a flashback, that her parents were too occupied listening to Olga play the piano, that they forgot to walk Helga to preschool, leaving Helga to walk herself. So Helga’s homelife sucks. And so she has to put on a tough front, making her kind of a bully, and an unpleasant person to be around.

And she has a huge, obsessive crush on the title character, Arnold. But Helga is afraid to show love to Arnold, because the people who are supposed to give her involuntary love in her life don’t love her. Therefore, she’s mean to him. She bullies him. And she can’t control it. And it makes for a great case, but here’s the thing:

This is television. This isn’t real life. People don’t do this in real life. And Hey Arnold’s! approach to love, might have influenced my generation, and the writers that followed.

I used to like Freud back in high school. And people knew it. But then in college, on my first day of my Modern Theatre class which focused on theatre past 1860 (it was an English class, and it was before I officially declared my major. It was my first day of college too), my professor talked about how Freud went to the theatre. A lot. And this was before theatre started using realism. It was still melodramatic. And Freud took a lot of his theory from theatre. Now, I love theatre. I’m a theatre studies major. And certain shows (specifically ones written past 1860) you can take a lot of important lessons from that will help you in the long run. Other shows can actually give you some bad ideas.

So Freud saw these shows, where people were behaving like caricatures, with a woman always in distress and hysteric. He also saw some old Greek plays, like Oedipus Rex, a play when a young man, Oedipus is fated to kill his father and sleep with his mother. Guess what happens? And guess which Freudian theory it influenced? Gross, right?

So Freud was kind of misogynist, who believed that women were hysteric, and who based his theory off of some really old plays.

So some of Freud’s stuff is true, but some of it isn’t.

Reaction formation isn’t true. If it was, you’d be dating the girl who gives you swirlies. When a girl is mean to you, it doesn’t mean she secretly likes you. It means that she just doesn’t like you. And that’s true for guys, too.

So, and this is one of the ways shipping can actually ruin someone’s romantic life, if you like a guy or a girl, don’t give them wet willies, because they will assume you hate them, and think you’re weird if you tell them you like them, and don’t assume that the girl who’s giving you wet willies likes you, because she doesn’t. FYI, I fortunately never applied this to my life, but I can imagine what would happen if someone did.

Unfortunately some novice fan fic writers, and even professional writers still use this.

In Icarly (and I was pissed that they caved into this common cliché) Sam was mean to Freddie. Guess what happened later in the series? I was like “Aw, crap!” and my little sister was like “They hate each other, so they belong together” and my mom then sided with me and corrected her, and my sister got pissed, it was hilarious.

We like seeing characters argue with each other. And when they hook up, it kind of ruins it, and destroys a part of a show.

Now let’s take some fan shippings. Marvelous and Ahim shippers will usually ship Luka and Don together. These fans can be younger, so they are more influenced by some of the fictional stuff they see on tv or in the movies.

Luka doesn’t like being touched, or shaken. And Don frequently touches her, and shakes her, because he’s afraid of a lot of thing that are going on in the world of the Gokaigers. Or, and no one would like it if someone did this, he’ll hide behind Luka, making her kind of a human shield for him. Don gets on Luka’s nerves, and Luka will hit him or punch him. You can make a drinking game on how many times Luka punches Don. I wouldn’t say she hates him, but she gets pissed at him. Don’s the only person who Luka hits and treats the harshest, and sometimes for no reason. And fans assume that when she hits him, she wants to kiss him. Which is not true. There isn’t really anything other than friendship and Luka’s wrath between Luka and Don. In real life, this relationship wouldn’t work either. Other than not having a lot in common, he gets on Luka’s nerves. That’s why she hits him. Because he pisses her off.

Now, I’m not going to ignore the fact that there have been several tension-ridden relationships in both Sentai and Kamen Rider. But these usually have reasoning behind this, a non-romantic, non-Freudian reasoning.

In Kamen Rider Kiva, Megumi works for the Wonderful Blue Sky Organization, an organization that seeks to kill Fangires. An organization that her mother worked for, before dying. Megumi has been working her ass off so that she can have the honor of using the Ixa system, and to become Kamen Rider Ixa. She’s strong enough. However, her boss, Shima, gives the Ixa System to the over-righteous Nago, because he’s stronger than her (code for, this series is targeted towards boys, so the second Kamen Rider should be a boy). Can you imagine what would happen if it happened to you? You’d be pissed at Nago alright! But at the end of the series, Megumi gets over it (she even gets to use the Ixa system a few times), realizes that she does have feelings for Nago and vice versa, and they get married.

Another example is the slash fan pairing of Kakeru and Gaku in Gaoranger. This has quite a few shippers, and the show is a goldmine for evidence. I’m not sure if the writers intended this or not. So Gaku has been fighting the Orgs as Gaoyellow for a year by himself, sacrificing his career in the military and going AWOL, in order to do so. Then Sae, Kai, and Sotaro join, and Gaku, having the most experience in both fighting orgs, and as a soldier, is kind of their leader. Imagine what happens when a new guy comes, who has had no experience, but has something that you don’t have: he can communicate with animals. And now, he’s the leader, after all the hard work you did, and after what you sacrificed, considering you could be court martialed for going AWOL. You’d be kind of pissed at this guy, wouldn’t you? That’s what exactly happened to Gaku. But then they gradually warmed up to each other, Kakeru usually trusting Gaku, and Gaku retaining some leadership as second-in-command. And they become friends. But then the series progresses, and you can see that there is something that is evolving beyond friendship, whether intentional or not.

This goes to show that not all hate-based shippings are wrong, as long as they don’t simply hate the person or are annoyed by them, but if they have a reason consciously to hate them, and if they have chemistry.

They are standing next to each other, they belong together!

Look at this picture. This is what fans will actually do. Fans will grasp at straws sometimes. Sometimes, this is towards an ambiguous gesture, such as touching someone’s head, or a glance, or sometimes, it’s as banal as sitting next to each other.

Shippings such as Takeru and Momoko from Maskman are built on this. Shippings where nothing really happened.

We all will get a little desperate, however, building a shipping on trifles is ridiculous.

The double standard

This goes along with ambiguous gestures. It’s friendship if a character does it to another character, but its romance if the same character, or type of character does it to a different character.

I’ll use an example from Shinkenger. It’s the ambiguous forehead touch. So, in the “Lord Butler” episode, the episode where some of us believe that Kotoha realizes she has feelings for Takeru that are more than just loyalty and admiration.

So, Takeru’s pretending to be Kotoha’s butler, and she’s uncomfortable with it, because she feels that she needs to be the one serving him. These feelings come to surface, when Takeru is dining with Genta’s rich friend, who has become smitten with her.  Kotoha gets uncomfortable with Takeru serving her, and she leaves the room. Takeru catches up to her, and she tells him what’s wrong, and he tells her that just because she’s a vassal doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to question him once in a while. Kotoha says one of her “catchphrases” “Tono-sama is tono-sama,” and Takeru touches her forehead, and smiles.

So a few years later, we have episode 41 of Gokaiger, the episode which is like the bible for MarvexAhim shippers. So, Ahim is about to leave the ship, and possibly die fighting the man who destroyed her planet. So Marvelous, and the rest of the crew confront her, and say that they’re joining her too, and give her one of many pep talks that are in this episode alone. Marvelous touches Ahim’s forehead.

So, when Takeru touched Kotoha’s forehead, it was dismissed as he was being her “big brother,” by several fans. When Marvelous did the same thing to Ahim, it was considered romantic. So it’s a brother and sister relationship when a red does it to a yellow, but it’s a romantic relationship when a red does it to a pink. This double standard is extremely unfair.

Not only that, but a lot of fans say how awesome Luka is. But then they say that Ahim, not Luka, deserves Marvelous. So it’s okay to be tomboyish and kick butt, but you still aren’t good enough for the hero.

Assume that the ship that has the most fans, the most art, the most fanfics is the OTP (one true pairing) and canon.

I’m going to quote your parents. If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do that? Come on, don’t be a lemming.

And don’t assume that a shipping is a fan-preferred shipping. And don’t assume that the fan-preferred shipping is the canon ship. Some fans don’t express themselves on the internet as much as other fans, or feel that they don’t need to. Some fans, however, are overbearing, and produce several videos, fanfics, and fanart. And sometimes people who are new to the media will assume that this is the dominant ship. And some of these videos focus on trifles from a few episodes.

Don’t let other people who interpret actions their own way decide the ship for you. Watch for yourself.

And a lot of the works you see are usually made by one person, two people, or a very small group of like-minded individuals.

I’m going to use an example regarding a group of shippers on To the writers from this group who I am cordial with, please don’t get upset with me.

Starting around December/January, there was a sudden burst of MarvexAhim and DonxLuka fics on You’d think they’d be by a bunch of fans, but they were by two writers. These writers say they are in their teens, but from what I can tell from their writing, grammar, and interactions, they are probably in their tweens. They also use a lot of gratuitous Japanese, which isn’t spelled or used right, which has been corrected by writers who are fluent in Japanese. Within the past few months, this clique has grown to a bunch of writers who are probably within the same age range. They have changed their usernames to reflect that they are members of this ring of writers. And they refer to themselves as a family, and as “oneechans.” Even though some of them don’t know each other in real life.

They will usually say how great a fic is, and give it positive comments, even if it is an extremely horrible fic, if it has their favorite shipping.

And if someone gives a negative review, or a constructive review to a member of their “family,” they can go on the offensive.

This clique has also built up their egos. By getting constant positive reviews, and ignoring negative ones, as people attacking them, they don’t grow as writers.

The fics also reduce the characters to Marvelous’s girlfriend, or Ahim’s boyfriend, and nothing more.

Some members of the “family” I have encountered have been extremely nice. Others have been rude, to some other writers. These writers are older, and more mature, and they have pretty much become annoyed with the “family” being rude to writers who don’t write the ships that the approve of.

So there’s a war a-brewing.

So this “family” is comprised of tweens, who probably hadn’t have real world experience with romance, and who watch Sentai with blinders.

Do you want to take their word for it?

IRL Ship

Even if an actor is playing the love interest of a character, that doesn’t mean that they are going out in real life, or that they should be going out.

Some actors will hook up if they have been in a play, movie, or television show together, in which they play love interests.

For example, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie hooked up after playing husband and wife in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And they finally got engaged.

However, if an actor and actress do hook up, a lot of their feelings can be artificial. If they dive too much into a character, or are constantly together because of their filming schedule, they might develop artificial feelings for each other. Take Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. Both were in that deplorable High School Musical movie that effectively destroyed both the institutions of theatre, and the high school experience. And they were constantly together during filming, as they were the two romantic leads. And they hooked up. And they finally broke up last year.

So if an actor and actress are dating because they played a couple, it’s highly likely that the relationship will fizzle.

It’s one thing to ship actors IRL if they are playing a couple. It’s another thing, however, if they aren’t playing a couple, but are shipped by fans in real life. So you have these fans who are essentially demanding you get together.

You have no right to say that two real-life people deserve to be with each other. It’s their choice.

An example would be two facebook accounts that someone set up for both Ryota Ozawa and Yui Koike. This person was obviously (I’m guessing, but it’s likely that it’s true) a MarvexAhim shipper. The person who set up these accounts then made them “engaged.” Not only is that libel, but it’s a horrible thing to do. You can’t choose a real-life person’s destiny. They aren’t characters.

So a few of the MarvexAhim shippers want them to get together in real life, and I think a few believe they are a real couple.

Believe it or not, though, one of the more prominent TakeruxMako shippers has said that she doesn’t ship them in real life. It’s nice to hear that.

Apply these mistakes to real life.

Please don’t date someone because they are your opposite, or assume that someone likes you because they are mean to you, or that if someone is sitting next to you, or offers you a stick of gum, that they are in love with him.

Because that’s extremely delusional. You don’t live in a TV series. You live in the real world.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Goodbye, Space Pirates--for now: My Thoughts on the Final Episodes of Gokaiger

So sorry, for being gone for a long time! It's my last semester at college, and I'm waiting to hear from Grad Schools. I'm pretty busy. So here are the episodes I missed.

Christmas Fever J!

Who else to focus on in a Christmas episode but Luka? She's perfect for it. Luka is the kind of person who would love what Christmas is really about: presents! But, unfortunately, Santa doesn't give presents, or a sentai team's great power, to greedy children, or greedy pirates. So, Luka and the rest of the team prove themselves by saving Christmas. It was a heartwarming episode, with a great fight sequence. We get to see a Battle Fever Gokai Change/Dance fight, Gokai-Christmas, and an all Yellow Gokai-Change. All of them were amazing. Plus, there was a panda in this episode. Pandas make everything better. And so does Kenji Ohba. I also like how Luka sacrificed herself as part of a plan, which shows she can be selfless. Also, she made a beautiful MagiMother.

A Ninja New Year

When I saw the promos for this episode, I thought it would be new year themed, because it had an all-lion Gokai-Change, which I thought was a lion dance, a New Year's tradition. The episode was a clip show, which can be somewhat good, or bad. It was good, but it definitely wasn't my favorite. What can I say? I don't really like clip shows. The episode did have a reference to Kakuranger, with Ninjaman narrating what happened to him, while sitting on a stage. If you haven't watched Kakuranger, they have an old man wearing traditional Japanese clothing, sitting on a stage and narrating what's going on. He's pretty cool. The all-blue Gokai-change, and the all-lion Gokai-change was cool. I liked it when Marvelous, Joe, and Luka were trying to be on their best behavior, and dressed up. But, the best part was when Marvelous ruins Joe's cake, and Joe becomes catatonic and sits in the treasure chest. How many of you are pissed that Tsuruhime only made a five-second appearance?

Doc and Gai beat each other up and stuff

Probably one of the weaker episodes. I liked seeing the team use Sun Vulcan, but that was it. I would have liked to see the team use the Kakuranger's individual powers more. Ninja Yellow and Ninja Blue have some cool attacks.

Goodbye, Sally, you Cheeky Monkey

Really sad, heart-wrenching episode. I used to think that Sally was a bad influence on Basco, not the other way around. The rest of the team sans-Marvelous fighting against Basco was so cool! I loved them using the individual Dairanger powers. I liked the flashback sequences between Basco and Marvelous. It was pretty sweet seeing Basco taking care of Marvelous after he was injured. And by taking care, I mean helping him, and wrapping a bandage on him, not "taking care" of him by killing him. I also liked the scene between Marvelous and Joe in the crow's nest. Is it just me, or do some of the best scenes happen in the crow's nest?

Bye-Bye, Basco

The fight between Marvelous and Basco was the most amazing thing! That really blew me away. I actually cried a little when Basco died. Sometimes, you enjoy a character, whether a hero or a villain, so much that you become so accustomed to them. And when they die, you get a little sad. Sure, Basco was a jerk. But he was a fun villain. And he was an interesting character.

Cameos Galore!

What a cool episode. Takakyuki/Vul Eagle II, Sho/ChangeGryphon, Dai/Green Flash, Akira/Blue Mask, and Remi/Five Yellow all appeared. It was so cool seeing them. Sho's still hot, and Remi's still beautiful. I loved the look on the team's face when they discovered all of the great powers. And when they discovered the greatest treasure in the universe. And the individual change sequences and the fighting sequence was so cool! And Insarn had a pretty cool mecha. I was sad to see this sultry scientist go. But she put up a pretty good fight. But will the team sacrifice the greatest treasure in the universe.

Spoiler Alert!

They do. This episode had an amazing mecha fight sequence, and a lot of drama between the team. Plus, Goushi comes back. And so do some characters from the past, and from Gokaiger. I'm surprised the team destroyed the greatest treasure--especially Marvelous and Luka. Shows how much they have grown. Plus, they might find another great treasure. There has to be an even greater treasure. The final scene in this episode with Gai waving the flag reminded me of Les Mis.

So, before I saw the final episode, I had two theories on what was going to happen. One: They'd defeat the Akidos Gil once and for all, and then finally eat that curry they missed out on or Two: When Marvelous defeats Akidos Gil, he becomes corrupted or something and ends up taking over the Zangyack, setting the stage for the upcoming Super Hero Taisen movie. I guess my first theory was right!

Yay! Out of Helmet Shots!

The fights blew me away. They used every power imaginable in the fight against Akidos Gil! And I loved how they combined the powers of the different Sentai teams together in their attacks: Yellow Lion and Time Pink using their bazookas, Red Hawk and GaoYellow flying with their wings spread out, using an aerial attack, Ptera Ranger and AbareYellow teaming up, Goggle Pink and Five Yellow using their ribbons, Yellow Mask, Dyna Black, Ninja White, Shurikenger, and using ninja attacks, Red Racer, Go-on Blue, and Black Turbo using their speed, BoukenRed and TenmaRanger using their rods--no pun intended, the team using the Sentai with Super Modes! So cool! And that's not every power they used.

And I loved how the team just collapsed after the fight, happy that they won!

The team sans Marvelous and Gai giving it all against Dairando was awesome!

And the ending with them giving back their powers made me shed a tear. I loved seeing all the previous heroes--even if it was just for one second.


And of course, the team's going to find the second-greatest treasure in the universe. What? They weren't going to stay on Earth forever. They're pirates, after all!

Goodbye, Gokaiger-for now!

Expect a review of the series as a whole soon!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How SOPA Affects Us

For my American readers, a controversial, and detrimental bill is set to be voted on in the US congress next week. Now, if you've been reading the news, SOPA, or Stop Online Piracy Act, is, like it's called, a bill to stop online piracy. Read about it here:

SOPA has the potential to threaten free speech, and the Internet.

Now, as fans of a genre of media from Japan, it's pretty hard to enjoy it without some people uploading it onto the Internet. We have no other way of watching it, other than buying DVDs. But not all of us speak Japanese, so we need subbers to do their magic and sub them for us. So even if we buy the DVDs, we probably won't understand them, and won't enjoy them.

So, let's say that possibly the juiciest episode of Gokaiger, or Gobusters comes out. And you need to watch it, because it looks epic. And not only that, but you probably need to have subs because there is a lot of dialogue and dramatic confrontations, so you need to understand Japanese to understand what they're saying, and why did Marvelous get so upset at what Joe just said. Well, you would usually download a sub from one of the more reliable sub sites. But, if SOPA is passed, you probably won't be able to access those sights. In fact, the bill could put the people behind the site in jeopardy. The bill poorly defines what they want to criminalize, that anyone could get penalized.

So the people who work so hard to upload, sub, time, and QC series could face penalties. And this goes for RAWs too.

And this doesn't just go for the current series. A bunch of the older series are really good. And the only way to get a hold of these series is, you guessed it, the internet.

And we, the viewers, could also get penalized as well.

So, if you have an urge to watch an episode of Battle Fever J, and you get hooked, so you download a half a season, and in a few months, there's a knock on your door, you're busted, and could be facing prison time. And all you wanted to do was to watch Battle Cossack (both ones) and Battle Kenya kick butts to disco music, because there was no other way to watch other than, you guessed it, downloading it.

So, for my American readers, sign this. Your zip-code is required, so you can't sign it if you don't live in the States:

And for my international readers, please support the actions of those protesting the bill, and protest the bill yourself. Because it affects not just us fans of an internationally obscure Japanese genre (come on, ask your neighbor if they're heard of Super Sentai) but pretty much everyone who enjoys using the internet.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Thoughts on Kamen Rider Den-O

Now, I know there have been a lack of updates, but that's because I've been working really hard on this post. So enjoy.

I recently finished watching Kamen Rider Den-O. It's an amazing series. I'm going to give you guys a basic run-down of my thoughts on the characters, plot, and anything else I can think of.

The Plot
In the near future, these creatures called Imagin destroy the world by going in the past. Imagins are creatures that thrive on the memories of humans. When an Imagin comes in contact with a human, they will gain a form based off of the human's memories, and then attempt to grant the human's greatest wish. Once they have granted that wish, they will use the human (or whom they call their contract holder) as a portal to travel back in time to a memory of the human, and reek havoc on that time. The only people who can resist the lure and influence are singularity points: people who have the ability to exist outside of time, and can't have their memories altered by changes in the past. One of them is Hana, who is from the future that the Imagins destroyed. She bears a strong hatred towards them. Hana now lives on the Den-liner, a train that travels through the sands of time. Hana was given a boarding pass by the mysterious owner of the train to save the future and preserve the flow of time. When the train makes a stop in 2007, she encounters another singularity point, Ryotaro Nogami, an optimistic yet severely unlucky man who dropped out of high school to help his older sister, Airi, run her coffee shop, the Milk Dipper. But his luck has changed because he has found the rider pass. Hana convinces him to become Den-O and join her to save the flow of time. At the same time, Ryotaro encounters the Imagin, Momotaros, who literally joins him in his fight by possessing him, due to the fact Ryotaro is too weak to fight on his own. Ryotaro uses his Den-O powers not only to defeat the Imagins bent on destroying time, but to make the future better for the contract holders, causing subtle changes in the past to happen.

Gradually, Ryotaro becomes possessed by three other Imagins, who like Momotaros, don't really seem to have an interest in destroying time. And a new Kamen Rider appears: Zeronos--who is really a younger version of Airi's former fiancee, Yuto Sakurai, who disappeared months before the series began. In fact, Airi doesn't even remember being engaged to Yuto Sakurai. And this Yuto is nothing like the Yuto Ryotaro has grown to bond with. Can Ryotaro work together with this incarnation of Yuto? Of course he can, but can Yuto work with this unlucky young man claiming to know who he is?

Later in the series, the true villain, the one controlling the Imagins appears. Is he an Imagin or not? And what is this junction point he's so obsessed with? And will Airi remember what she forgot? And not only that, but Ryotaro's Imagins are starting to disappear because of Ryotaro and Yuto's actions as Kamen Riders. Will they live to help Ryotaro during the final battle?

Ryotaro Nogami- Our Unlucky, yet Lucky Protagonist

Ryotaro is a genuinely nice guy who happens to have really bad luck. It's like the universe hates him. And most of the comedy on Den-O comes from it. But, he has one thing that cancels all of that out--he's a singularity point. That means that changes in time can't harm his memory, he can exist outside of time, and Imagins can't influence him. Albeit, he can still get possessed by them-- and Ryuutaros and Sieg are the only Imagins who can over-power him.

Ryotaro is a nice guy. He dropped out of school to help his older sister, Airi, he genuinely trusts people, he cares more about saving people, even if it does change time, and most importantly, even though he has bad luck, he deals with it, and he's optimistic.

Takeru Sato shines as Ryotaro. His acting chops really manifest when his character is possessed by the Imagins. He adopts different mannerisms for each one. And he can break-dance too. Also, he's pretty hot.

I also applaud Takuya Mizoguchi, who took over Takeru's role from Decade on. He is able to play a young man trapped inside his pre-teen self's body pretty nicely.

Yuto Sakurai-Don't You Forget About Me
Yuto was the antithesis of Ryotaro: Lucky, spoiled, and he cared more about saving time than saving people. But, now here's the shocker, Yuto is really a younger version of Airi's fiancee. The present Yuto gave the past Yuto the Zeronos belt and cards before he disappeared. Now past Yuto is in the present, where no one knows who he is--except Ryotaro, who figures out within the first few episodes of his debut, and Hana and the rest of the Denliner crew. Yuto obviously had a lot of growing up to do. The Yuto that Ryotaro knew was nicer. The Yuto that we see now is kind of a snot, and he still does a lot of childish things, even though he's the same age as Ryotaro, such as putting a lot of sugar in his coffee, and refusing to eat Shiitake mushrooms (okay, I love mushrooms, and Shiitake are some of the best mushrooms, so I'd get a little upset when someone refuses to eat Shiitake mushrooms). But he still has some of the qualities as the Yuto that Ryotaro knew: his interest in stars. In fact, Zeronos's motif is stars. When Yuto joins the series, he brings a lot of drama with him. Not only is he different from Ryotaro and has a different motivation, but there immense tragedy surrounding his character. He is without a time. He's stranded in the future (our present), where no one knows him. And if they do, it's his future self. Also, he uses cards to Henshin, and they gradually run out. And these cards also connected to him. They are based off of people's memories of his future self--the self that Airi was engaged to. And every time his Henshins, people gradually forget about his future self. But he runs out of cards. And he gets new cards, but now, every time he Henshins, they forget about him, the Yuto we see. The only people who remember him are Ryotaro, Hana, the Imagins, and the rest of the Den-o crew. But Yuto isn't this angsty, moping character. There is a lot of comedy surrounding his character. Most of this humor comes from his interaction with Deneb, the Imagin who is contracted to him. Deneb kind of spoils him, but he can't help it, Deneb's a very caring Imagin. And sometimes, when Deneb interferes with his life too much, including possessing him, or dotes on him too much, Yuto gets angry. And believe it or not, Yuto is very funny when he's angry with Deneb. Also, Yuto's actor, Yuichi Nakamura is just as talented as Takeru Satoh. He is able to portray Yuto's tragic circumstance with realism, and is able to take on the character of Deneb when he is possessed, and he can be extremely funny.

Hana- The Pint-size Big Sister Power House
Hana is a pretty interesting character. She is Ryotaro's guide to his power as a Kamen Rider, and acts like his big sister. Plus, she has enormous strength, both emotionally, and physically. She initially treats the imagins with disdain, because they destroyed her future. Her present, her place in time has disappeared because of them. But eventually, she learns to respect them. I think she is even unaware of how important she is. Hana, like Ryotaro, is a singularity point. So her mind wasn't affected when Ryotaro and Yuto's meddling in the past caused her own future to be changed, and caused her body to physically change into a child. Even as a child, she still acted like Ryotaro's older sister, and her strength against the Imagins looked more powerful. Both of her actresses were really good, especially Takumi Matsumoto, who had to play a young adult trapped in a child's body.

Airi-Did I Forget Something?
Airi is Ryotaro's older sister. She cares about him a lot, probably because their parents are dead, so she is not only his sister, but a mother-like figure as well. Airi has completely forgotten about her fiancee, Yuto Sakurai, after he disappeared, so Ryotaro has been watching out for her as well. Airi can be... well... airy. She is oblivious to the fact that most of the customers who come to the Milk Dipper are there to flirt with her. And she doesn't return their advances, because she isn't aware that they are flirting with her. Oh, and she hand grinds her coffee beans! She's a very important character.

The Owner-An Enigma
He's a pretty mysterious but funny character. I love the way the actor portrays him. In addition to being all-knowing, he's obsessed with eating either rice or flan with a flag on top, making sure it doesn't fall down. All and all, he's a pretty trippy character.

Naomi-The Hot Waitress who puts Wasabi in Coffee
Naomi was a funny character. She makes un-edible coffee (but if you ask me, putting Wasabi in Coffee is the perfect thing to wake you up in the morning). Besides being eye-candy, she was a funny character, and her interactions with the Imagin are hilarious. She's always doing something funny in the background so pay attention!

The Imagin
Let's face it, the Imagin are the true stars of the show. They are voiced by some talented Seiyuu's and portrayed by talented suit actors. And they make Den-O, Den-O.

Momotaros-The Badasss with a Heart of Gold

Momotaros was the first Imagin that Ryotaro came in contact with. Unlike the meek, and weak Ryotaro, he is extremely rash and strong. Despite this, he and Ryotaro gradually become best friends, with a few bumps in the road. Momotaros is kind of silly: he usually gets pwned by Hana, is afraid of dogs, can't swim, and announces his attacks, gradually forgetting the numbers. He's the main Imagin that Ryotaro uses, so you'll see a lot of him as Den-O.

Urataros-The Silver-Tongued Turtle
Urataros is the second Imagin that Ryotaro comes in contact with. Whereas Ryotaro is an honest, klutzy person, Urataros is smooth, cool, and an extremely talented liar. He is so good that the only person who can see through his lies is Hana. Urataros comes in handy whenever Ryotaro has to talk his way out of a jam. However, he can easily manipulate Ryotaro into letting him use his body. During these excursions in Ryotaro's body, he'll flirt with girls, resulting in Ryotaro waking up on the couch in a girl's apartment. Despite this, Urataros is a true friend.

Kintaros-The Noble Bear
Kintaros is a rather unique Imagin. Out of all of the Imagins, Kintaros is the most noble. When we first meet Kintaros, he isn't possessing Ryotaro, he's possessing a former karate master, who couldn't fight anymore, due to either a sickness or an injury, I forget which, to help him find the ultimate fighting style. After Kintaros is mortally wounded, protecting his contract holder and another Imagin's contract holder, Ryotaro allows him to possess him, and become one of his Imagins. Like I've said, Kintaros is noble. He didn't want to destroy time, or manipulate people, or truly hurt anyone. He cares the most about Ryotaro, which is especially evident in the New Year's episode. Kintaros is super strong, which can put Ryotaro at a disadvantage when Kintaros possesses him. Whenever Kintaros possesses Ryotaro, Ryotaro's mass increases, causing him to easily break things, even things he is standing on. Since Kintaros is like a bear, he's in hibernation mode most of the time, and can't be waken up, unless he hears any variation of the word "cry." That usually results in him instantly possessing Ryotaro. Kintaros speaks Kansai-Ben, giving him a rustic feel. If Kintaros's voice sounds familiar, his voice actor voiced Shadow Moon from Kamen Rider Black.

Ryuutaros-The Dancing Dragon

Ryuutaros possessed Ryotaro about the same time as Urataros. He lied dormant in him, and a few episodes later, he completely possesses Ryotaro. Ryuutaros was told if he killed Ryotaro, he would get to be the conductor on the Den-liner. But he decides to let Ryotaro live because he likes Airi, like a little brother, and if he kills Ryotaro, that means that Airi will be sad. Ryuutaros is mischievous, and child-like. He is a dancer, and even dances while he walks. He has a soft spot for animals, likes drawing, and spends most of his time on the Den-Liner with Naomi. When Ryuutaros possesses Ryotaro, he not only has the ability to dance, and to control people, but he also completely overtakes Ryotaro, and unlike the other Imagins, it's hard to get Ryuutaros to leave Ryotaro's body. When Yuto arrives, you can guess how Ryuutaros felt. Like a jealous little brother, he didn't like anyone taking his sister away. Honestly, Ryuutaros is the little brother you wish you had. He isn't one of those annoying little brothers who makes it his goal to ruin your life, but instead wants to protect you. Isn't that cute?

Deneb-The Butler
Deneb is a modest Imagin, and the only other Imagin, besides Kintaros, who had a noble goal. Deneb was contracted to Yuto in the present, and because he made a wish to aid his past self, Deneb is able to have a physical form in normal time, unlike the other Imagins, who can only exist in a physical form outside of time (i.e. on the Den-Liner). Deneb not only fights with Yuto, but dotes on him as well, like a parent. He cooks his meals, keeps him entertained, and protects him. He wants to make sure Yuto makes friends as well. Whenever Deneb will possess Yuto, it will result in Yuto getting pissed. Deneb hands out Deneb candy to everyone he meets. He's a friendly, sociable Imagin, and is a good foil for Yuto and vice versa.

I'm not going to reveal the force behind the Imagins. Because you guys should watch it. It's an awesome series.

My thoughts:

Kamen Rider Den-O will have you laugh, cry, and fall in love with Takeru Satoh. A lot of people don't like the fact that Kamen Riders lately have a lot of forms, but Den-O manages to balance it out, and it works.

Den-O can suck you in, due to the characters, the story, the twists and turns.

Before you watch Den-O, I highly recommend you watch a movie or TV show that has time travel in the plot. I recommend Back To the Future (I or III) Dr. Who (speaking of which I need to watch it) or, and this episode is a great example of changes in the timeline, the Futurama episode "Roswell that Ends Well." That way you'd be familiar with time travel.

Just to warn you, pay attention. This show can get confusing, which is one of the downsides. You might have to look at some previous episode summaries, or watch the episode, to remember something that happened.

One of the best things about Den-O is that there are no filler episodes. Every episode is important to the plot.

Now, there are two things that you may like or not like. First off, every episode ends with a cliff-hanger. Okay, not every episode. Usually the odd-numbered episode. So you have to watch two episodes to see a whole plot. Now, I don't mind this, but some people might. And the other thing that you may hate is that sometimes there is a lot of computer animation, especially the Denliner fight sequences (yes, the train can fight giant monsters that can sometimes be released by dead Imagins). But there's no other way to do those fight scenes without using a computer. Using miniatures might be a little hard.

One thing that a lot of people hate is Toei's milking of the series. After the series ended, there was another movie, a Kiva vs. movie (which is a given), a Decade vs. Movie (note: this is when Takeru Satoh was replaced, because by this time, he was starting to get more and more roles, and the producers understood that, Takeru Satoh doesn't hate being in Den-O, you can tell he's having fun, he wanted to move on, and the producers didn't want to hold him back), the Cho-Den-O trilogy (which doesn't even focus on Ryotaro) the OOO 40th anniversary crossover with W, and the Imagin anime. But that doesn't mean it's all bad.

So, watch Den-O. The future depends on it!