“Cancelations, Comics & Gimmicks”

March 19, 2010

So this week we found out that this may be the last day that Jack Bauer has to save the world from terrorists.  I got into 24 during the second season, but I have stayed with it since.  Of course some seasons were better than others.  Some seasons have had their fair share of groaning moments, including this season, but it’s still been an enjoyable program.  Plus I love how “Jack Bauer” has now become this larger than life persona that now trumps Chuck Norris.  Now granted I’ve read that there’s a possibility that some other network may buy & take on 24.  If that does happen I’ll continue watching, but if this is the last “day” of 24, then here’s hoping Jack can finally have some peace & enjoy his family.

Tom Waltz, IDW Comic’s Ghostbusters editor, recently revealed the above cover for the one shot Ghostbusters comic entitled “Con-Volution”, due out in June.  As you can tell, it’ll center around a revolutionary war story.  Oops, my bad.  Upon further reading & research, the June Comic will be a Convention themed story.  I like the cover art shown here, especially the GB Revolutionary style flag.  I hope this one-shot will tip my scales to the positive side of IDW’s releases.  Thus far I have liked two of IDW’s GB Comics (“Displaced Aggression” & “Past, Present, Future”), while the other two haven’t been worth it for me (“The Other Side” & “Tainted Love”).  

Remember the old days of Sentai/Power Rangers when you had a team of five and then six Rangers, about three to five Mechas/Megazords and while selling toys was important, it wasn’t forced into our faces?  I feel Toei Entertainment & Bandai Japan have really started to go overboard with their gimmicks for Sentai. 

Let’s rewind a bit and I’ll go over when I feel this started (I’ll just be talking about Sentai here).  So 2001 had Gaoranger, the 25th anniversary for Super Sentai and they of course were entitled to some gimmick.  That gimmick was the numerous Power Animals.  Now I’ve never been one to care too much for auxiliary mechs, but all these extra animal mechs were all right.  But this is when I started calling all of the extra mechs the “Gotta Catch’em All” approach.  Then if one expected things to return to normal in 2002 for Hurricanger, they were wrong.  While this season’s Karakuri Balls weren’t as much in the forefront as the Power Animals, it seemed like they were popping up every time you turned around.

Things sort of settled down for the next five years.  2003’s Abaranger only had four auxiliary Dinos, and they even combined together with MaxOhja.  With Dekaranger in 2004 & Magiranger of 2005, they didn’t have auxiliary mechs, though they did have more Rangers & armored allies in their teams than usual.  With Boukenger in 2006 there were the usual arm auxiliary mechs, but at least they all ended up combining into a ten piece mecha of Ultimate Daibouken.  Then were the mostly useless three auxiliary mechs of Gekiranger in 2007.

Now with all these seasons I’ve mentioned, their gimmicks were sometimes more obvious and toy driven than others, but nothing compared to the change that started in 2008 with Go-Onger.  That season brought us the small Engine Souls; the little chips that when inserted into the mechs, changers, or weapons, created unique sounds.  These little guys were showing up in the show constantly, always with a new mech or weapon.  For collectors that wanted to get every one, they had to fork out tons & tons of cash to buy almost every single Go-Onger toy.

Oh but it got worse.  Then with the 2009 Sentai of Shinkenger came the Hidden Disc.  These round pieces worked with the team’s Shinkenmaru.  With every new mech that was introduced, so was another Hidden Disc.  If there was some new attack with the team’s weapons, well here came a new disc.  Again for collectors that wanted a complete collection, they had to buy every Shinkenger toy imaginable.

So we arrive now at 2010’s Goseiger.  Now for a show that is meant to be based around a team of rookie angels that are stranded on Earth, I still can’t see exactly how cards relate to heaven & angles.  Though I will admit I’m glad the changer isn’t another dang cell phone.  But back to the point, Goseiger is a card based season.  This team uses a different card to do EVERYTHING.  The team needs to change?  Use a card.  They need the heads for their main blasters?  Use a card.  They need to summon their main weapons?  Use a card.  They need to fire their combined weapon?  Use a card.  They need to summon their mechs?  Use a card.  They need to combine their mechs?  Use a card.  They need to perform the mecha’s finishing attack?  Use a card.  They need to erase people’s minds from what they just saw?  Use a card.  I am not kidding, if you tried to keep count of the number of times this team has to pull a card out of thin air and put it in their tiki head changer & close it, it would drive you insane.  But that’s not all though, Goseiger also has Headers.  These are different sets of heads that attach to the main mecha, Gosei Great, for added power.  So the Headers are basically auxiliary mechs.  Yes, Goseiger doesn’t just have one gimmick, it has two.

Now before anyone jumps on me and points out Kamen Rider Decade, let me cover that.  Yes if you follow me on Twitter, you likely know that I love the Kamen Rider Decade season & it of course is a card based season.  However, I never felt like Decade was deliberately shoving the cards in our faces.  With Goseiger it’s almost like you can hear the subliminal message when they hold up a card, “Buy the toys & get the cards!”  They make it a point to flash the cards onto the screen showing them usually in the center just showcasing them as key focal points. 

Now I’m not saying that there haven’t been really good Sentai seasons with these gimmicks, because there have been.  But you can tell a great story without having to rely on gizmos.  I just think it’s sad that Toei & Bandai Japan have sunk to this desperate attempt to draw in more money.  Here’s hoping that someday they return to the basic formula.

Have a Nice Day


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