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All reviews - TV Shows (9) - Music (3) - Games (1)

I Like What I Like

Posted : 5 years, 1 month ago on 12 March 2019 04:20 (A review of Tokusatsu Gagaga)

This is the story of a twenty-something office lady who is a toku ota (tokusatsu otaku) and has a strong love for the lead character in the currently airing children's sentai show, Jyushouwan. Forced to hide her hobbies from her co-workers out of fear of embarrassment, Kano Nakamura spends most of her free time catching up on the tokusatsu on her DVR - and all of her money on tokusatsu DVDs.

With the the addition of some new friends found in unlikely places, Kano grows more comfortable in her decisions and where her life is. Even if that means standing up to the monster she calls "mother."

As a fellow tokusatsu otaku, the scenarios in this show are super relatable and not done in a way that makes fun at their expense. From having to quickly cover up almost having your hobby outed to a non-fan, incorporating sly fandom references into your attire to attract fellow fans, or even mothers who don't understand why their children watched shows targeted for the other gender and then never grew out of them.

The variety of fans seen in this show is also super impressive. You of course have your current target demographic and your adults who look fondly at their childhood shows through nostalgic eyes. But then it just snowballs into girls who want boy toys, thirty-something women who start questioning their fandom life choices, men who like magical girls, women who don't really care about tokusatsu but just want to watch an actor's early roles, closet j-pop fans, non-closeted j-pop fans, mothers who try and understand their kid's "weird" interests, and also just a variety of both supportive and unsupportive friends and family members.

Sure, it's only seven episodes, but I still highly recommend this show to anyone who has ever been in any sort of fandom. Or even if you haven't. It might surprise you.

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The Epitome of Japanese Weirdness

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 16 January 2016 01:41 (A review of Gekisou Sentai Carranger)

People parade Carranger around as a "parody" season, and while I can see their point, it's more of a Monty Python-esque take on Super Sentai with Japanese humor rather than British.

The heroes are not all that likable in their efforts, with Green being the absolute worst. At times it seems like he's actively trying to be more of a piece of crap than he already is. Yellow is just kind of there, being a pretty one-note character as just the [somewhat] butch mechanic. Blue is the youngest, and therefore is a bit immature and annoying at times, but episode 39 showed just how caring he is towards all living things. Red seems to be the prototype of the "Fiery Red" archetype to come, but they clearly hadn't perfected it yet. Pink is the best, but even she has flaws in her writing, with her greatest gift to the series being her wheel kick where she literally spins on the ground like a wheel.

Then there is Signalman. Oh, Signalman, you had so much potential. His introduction was one of the best episodes of the series, and what looked to be a turning point in writing. Until his mid-season departure, Signalman was without a doubt the breakout star of the show. Every episode you'd have wacky Carranger antics, down right weird villain plots (we'll get to those in a minute), but then the show would cut to Signalman and all would be right with the world. However, when Signalman returned it just wasn't the same. Although, that might be because a certain other character took his spotlight.

The villains were just straight up creepy. And not in a scary way, but the fact that Gynamo - the head boss - was constantly creeping on his female subordinate, Zonette. Our introduction to the villains was literally Gynamo lamenting about wanting to lick Zonette's ass! Your villains, ladies and gentlemen! Then we have Zelmoda, Gynamo's best friend who would betray him for the right amount of money and Glutch, who is one of the worst designed villains in the history of Super Sentai! But unlike the male villains, who just talk about growing their own children in flower pots and designing ray guns that take off people's clothes, Zonette is a pretty well-rounded character. Probably the best developed character on the show even, and she did not put up with anyone's crap. Especially not Gynamo's "crush" on her.

In the end, it's not the greatest series by a long shot, but if you just want to watch something super wacky then give Carranger a shot. However, if you want something that plays more like a traditional sentai series, but also plays with its tropes, then Go-onger might be a bit more up your alley.

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The Female Gokai Silver

Posted : 8 years, 11 months ago on 18 May 2015 01:51 (A review of Kagura Izumi)

While most of you are going to be like "what?" let me explain. Kagura really is the female Gai Ikari.

They are both fans of superheroes and use that to their advantage to become them on the battlefield. The only major difference being that Gai's admiration was for other Super Sentai members, while Kagura's heroes were more generic.

Can we speak about her hero worship for a second because it's kind of amazing? Kagura knows her physical limitations, but also has an extremely powerful imagination, so she looks toward her heroes and puts herself in their shoes. Basically, Kagura is every fangirl/fanboy ever.

Think about it. Television is escapism and most people live vicariously through the characters. This is exactly what Kagura is doing, and she is showing a whole new generation of young girls that they should embrace this.

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A Really Divisive Series

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 6 March 2015 05:58 (A review of Ressha Sentai ToQGer)

The bar was set pretty high from the beginning with Yasuko Kobayashi being hired as the head writer, as she had just come off Go-busters the year prior, which was a fantastic season. And her other works for the franchise (eg. Timeranger, Shinkenger) are not too shabby either.

We were out of the gate and running to a bunch of wacky fun. Something that I'm not used to from a Kobayashi series, but it still had her handwriting all over it. A Kobayashi series always introduces a major curveball of a "second Red" within the show. ToQGer was like, "screw that" and straight up gave the team the ability to change colors right off the bat. Now the entire team could be red!

(What I imagine Yasuko Kobayashi looking like for most of this series.)

Kobayashi had set up this world and then she took a backseat and let some other writers have a turn at the wheel. This is where it started going south. Mommy sent these characters, that were just about the blossom, to go live with Daddy for a while. Mommy may have breastfed them and changed their diapers, but Daddy took them to their first day of school (and other Daddy got them on the weekends). By the time Kobayashi was writing for her characters again, the first round of character development was over and it was time to tell more story.

I feel like Mio suffered the most from Kobayashi not being as hands on as she usually is. At the start, Mio is tough and headstrong. This is pretty much a Kobayashi staple. Then the other writers got a hold of her and turned her into a cliche "soft on the inside" character. To the point where that character trait overshadowed her original one completely. It seemed to me like this was not the direction that Kobayashi wanted to take with the character, and wrote accordingly, but the actress was already accustomed to the traits written by the other writers and didn't deliver.

On the other hand, Kobayashi did write all of the story-driven episodes and the show certainly delivered in that aspect. Apart from feeling a bit of dรฉjร  vu in the final episodes (Episode 45 felt very much like a recycled Timeranger script), the story itself was pretty satisfying. And I feel like, because Kobayashi wrote the story-driven stuff, the villains were not as rough around the edges as the heroes were. Emperor Z, Glitter, Schwarz and even Noire were all interesting enough villains to keep you entertained.

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It Just Gets Better With Age

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 30 September 2014 04:01 (A review of Engine Sentai Go-onger)

Go-onger was my entry point into the world of Super Sentai. I had gotten back into Power Rangers midway through Mystic Force, then continued with Operation Overdrive while I caught up, and during this time I heard people talking about a Japanese franchise in which Power Rangers derived its footage from. So, with fansubs being widely available at this point, I jumped in at the start of the next new season. That season being Engine Sentai Go-onger.

At the time I wasn't that familiar with franchise at all, outside of the fights that Power Rangers cherry-picked. I was all wide-eyed with just how silly this show could be, and I loved it. I lucked out with my first season also being the first to introduce a permanent female Ranger outside of the core five, and I just fell in love with Miu because of that. After catching up on fifteen years of Power Rangers in the span of a year, I jump over to Super Sentai and see this girl who gets to have the stock Sixth Ranger treatment. Yes, she has to share it with her brother, but a person of the female gender still got to have that treatment.

Then, after watching a crapload of other seasons, I decided to come back to my first. Because I now had the feel of over ten more seasons under my belt, Go-onger was suddenly less "OMG this is too funny" and now felt more smart oddly enough. Every single character is a stock sentai archetype subverted/turned up to eleven, and they are just let loose on the normal stock episodes to do as they want. And yes, while it's funny, it's also very natural. It feels in no way forced at all.

Also, because it's only the characters that are subverted/turned up to eleven, when the more serious stock episodes come up, everyone quickly puts on their game faces and it doesn't have any mood whiplash or out of character moments. And every single episode of Go-onger is entertaining. Even the ones that would normally have nothing more to add than to be a toy commercial. Go-onger is FIFTY (50) episodes long and in not one did I feel like hitting the skip button. There are also over TWENTY (20) main characters and all of them get focus and develop over the course of the season.

Go-onger does get a lot of crap for being "silly," but if one actually watched the show, they would find it to be more "sophisticated silly." And I'm not even going to get into the Power Rangers R.P.M. fans that praise that show for "fixing" Go-onger, when in reality it took two steps backwards in terms Go-onger's progressive storytelling. (And I like R.P.M., whiplash-y beginnings aside!)

I could not recommend Go-onger any higher. In fact, if you were disappointed with the recent Kyouryuuger, I especially recommend this to you because they feel like complete opposites as far as execution goes.

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All Bite, No Bark

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 23 September 2014 04:30 (A review of Jennifer "Jen" Scotts)

While I love her for giving me a Power Ranger with my name, the character of Jen leaves a lot to be desired.

Jen's character revolves entirely around the men in her life. Yes, she can kick butt, but she's not her own character. Even her leadership is questioned because the show is basically The Wesley Collins Show: Featuring Those Other Guys.

The very first episode has Jen's love interest, Alex stuffed into the fridge so that Wes can have someone to "fix" as the series progresses. There is way too much wrong with that statement. This is not how you write strong characters. Jen deserves to be more than just a broken toy that needs to be fixed.

Lets look at Jen's characterization, shall we? Outside of things involving Alex, Wes and her former partner, the only things that we actually know about her are that she likes martial arts films and can't cook. That's it. And those things were throwaway lines! I could name more interests for Lucas than Jen, and pretty much everyone agrees that Lucas had the worst character development on the show.

So, while Jen is a kick butt kind of girl that gave me a Pink Ranger namesake, I can't help but hang my head at how much they dropped the ball on her character.

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My Spirit Animal

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 15 September 2014 07:07 (A review of Katherine "Kat" Hillard)

Katherine is a great character, with a lot of potential, that gets crapped on by shippers just because Tommy had the nerve to ask her out after Kimberly broke his heart.

First of all, her introduction. One of the greatest arcs ever in the entire 20+ years of the show. Kat is just the new girl in town, being friendly to a random dude, and Rita comes along to brainwash her into being evil. However, unlike when it happened previously with Tommy, Katherine is the mole. She's there to spy on the Rangers and report back to Rita. But it's shown repeatedly that the spell won't stick, and Kat is so pure of heart that she breaks the spell completely to save the person that Rita sent her to destroy.

Because of this, Kimberly views her as a worthy successor of the Pink Ranger powers. However, Katherine does have lingering side effects from the spell that are later purged completely.

Once we get to Zeo, Kat is sort of put on the sidelines in favor of Red Ranger focus and the show's new creator's pet, Tanya. But that doesn't mean that she didn't have awesome moments. Katherine held her own with a twisted ankle, agreed to a duel [that she knew was a trap] because her friends were in danger, and grabbed a blaster pointed directly at her face, saving a brainwashed teammate with the power of friendship.

Then we have Turbo, and while her episode focuses were not all that great (we do NOT talk about the anorexia episode!), Katherine finally showed us just how gracefully bad ass she could be without super powers. When has your favorite ever done a scorpion kick without a stunt double?

And before you say "but she was always yelling for Tommy! She sucks!" No, she wasn't. Katherine was usually yelling AT Tommy because he was being stupid and/or reckless. Kat was like his guardian angel, always trying to keep him out of trouble and from ending up dead.

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The Wesley Collins Show

Posted : 9 years, 8 months ago on 23 July 2014 04:33 (A review of Power Rangers Time Force)

While I love this season, and have watched it numerous times, my most recent re-watch has changed my outlook on the overall product.

While most fans have no problem saying that Lucas, Katie and Trip are shafted in terms of character development, they are not alone. While the main story arc is good, it's still Wesley's story. He is the one that decides who is relevant. Also, while his journey into manhood is great, he is still childish and I can't help but agree with whoever is knocking him down a peg, no matter whether they are supposed to be in the right or not.

Then we have Jen, who most fans will say is the real hero. No, she isn't. She's set up that way in the premiere after her fiance is fridged, but then she just becomes someone for Wes to defrost. She has no real character of her own, and I would argue that she's the second least developed Ranger after Lucas. Jen's toughness and overlap in Wes' story make her seem more relevant than she actually is.

Speaking of Lucas. While Lucas actually does get a lot of screen time in battles and such, his actual character is really lacking. Which is odd because "vain, pretty boy race car driver" is more character than half of the cast could say that they have. But Lucas just isn't that interesting to anyone except whoever put the opening credits together.

We also have Katie. Katie is probably one of the strongest characters (pun not intended) of the season. She is (presumably) a designer baby with super strength, very opinionated, focused on her family, and loves feminine things. But Katie's story has nothing to do with Wes' story, so the show decides to just brush her under the rug. Also, as of 2014, Deborah Estelle Phillips is the last woman of color to portray a Yellow Ranger.

There is also Trip, our resident alien Green Ranger with only one name. Whether he is excited to have a job picking up garbage or is depressed as he tries to find his place on the team, Trip is adorable. But, like Katie, he is mostly ignored because his story does not involve Wes.

Then there is Eric. As Wes' rival, he is the second most relevant person on the show. And as such, he is the only person other than Wes (and maybe Ransik) to get decent characterization AND development.

I also must mention the acting. Many fans praise this season for having some of the best, but I disagree. People especially praise Erin Cahill as Jen, but she makes me cringe more than she impresses me. Time Force is more average than fantastic or horrible.

However, despite all of my criticisms, I would still recommend this season for anyone looking to get into Power Rangers as it does have a good balance of what you will find in your average season.

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Please Don't Renew This

Posted : 12 years, 11 months ago on 17 May 2011 03:15 (A review of Nikita)

As a fan of the genre, I feel almost offended by this show. To clarify, I haven't seen the original series (or movie) either, so I have no nostalgia goggles to shatter.

I thought it started out alright, but the further it went, the more wrong it got. First of all, the lead character. I'm happy that we have a leading lady doing her own stunts, but she can't act all that well outside of trying to be a bad ass. Shane West isn't much better, with his one facial expression and tone of voice. In fact, everyone on this show, sans Birkhoff, act like they have a stick up their ass... which is not that fun to watch. Although, Lyndsy is at least trying to deviate. I give the writers credit for at least trying to spice things up. It just fails horribly.

After Michael joined Nikita as a second mole, things just started spiraling. I didn't even know that it was possible to make the two even more unappealing. At least prior to that they had the rivalry thing going. And then the "reveal" of Nikita killing Alex's father made me feel like the writers think we're stupid and have the attention span of a goldfish. Anyone with a working braincell can do the math and come to that conclusion. In fact, it makes Alex just look like an idiot for not coming to that conclusion herself. Don't even get me started on the season one finale, where I was one step ahead of them for the entire hour. And the shot of Michael and Nikita driving off into the storm was just hilarious.

In closing, if you want to check out a show about assassins and a morally ambiguous secret agency with a female lead, don't go for this show. Instead, try out [Link removed - login to see], [Link removed - login to see] or even the eight episode [Link removed - login to see] remake first.

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Different... in a Good Way

Posted : 13 years, 11 months ago on 5 May 2010 05:35 (A review of Reinvention)

With this being the band's second remix album, it's definitely different. The tracks on Regeneration were, no question, upgrades from the original. This album takes mostly songs that left little to no room for improvement. One of which was already remixed on Regeneration! So while Regeneration upgraded the tracks from their first two albums, Reinvention mixes things up when it comes to Beauty from Pain and Rock What You Got. Also, Reinvention throws more new tracks into the mix this time, with three brand new songs; while Regeneration only had one.

In the end, don't go into this album expecting another Regeneration. This time it's a remix album in every sense of the word.

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