“The Greatness of Gokaiger”

March 17, 2012

I have tried several times in the past, to get into a Super Sentai season, but usually I only got as far as about the third or fourth episode. For whatever reasons, I could never get that invested in a season of Super Sentai. However, all that changed in February 2011 when the 35th Anniversary Season of Super Sentai premiered with Gokaiger.

By the time I finished watching the first episode of Gokaiger, I was hooked. I’m not even talking about seeing the episode with subtitles either. Once I had seen the episode raw, without subtitles, I knew I wanted to see even more of this Sentai season. Everything just held my attention and made me instantly fall in love with it. So let’s go over all the coolness that was Gokaiger.

The Heroes

What makes a season of Super Sentai or Power Rangers is, of course, the heroes that don the powers. With Gokaiger, the cast of brave Space Pirates all had unique personalities. Starting with Ahim, who for the most part comes across as your typical caring, princess type. Yet, as the season progressed we learned her tragedy. Luka was a very strong character that was well used for both comedy, as well as some dramatic bits. Doc was the usual smart, yet clumsy kind. Still, Doc had his own strong moments that made him shine. While Joe came close to falling into a lot of the emo Ranger archetypes, there was at least some good backstory to help explain that attitude. Gai was the excited fanboy in every sense of the term. However, I found his enthusiasm & energy a great asset for the team when he joined. Finally, there is Marvelous as the team’s leader. Marvelous is brilliant with his perfect balance of easy going, non-hero style some of the time, and then full strong hero when it counts. The entire cast brought a great deal of originality & personality to this season. Oh and Navi was great too.

The Villians

I will admit that the forces of evil were perhaps the one weak point for this anniversary season. However, when celebrating 35 years, you do want the focus to be the heroes & their past, not the villains. The weakest & most annoying villain was the one we had to suffer through the longest. Warz Gill was a very annoying evil leader, so much so that when I first saw him & how he acted, I knew I could not wait until he got destroyed. Luckily his destruction played out excellently. The strong man in Damarasu intrigued me much more, and I enjoyed the episodes where he had a strong role to play. Insarn I saw as just okay, and more of just a tool used to make the Monsters of the Week grow. Barizorg was a good general with a heart-wrenching backstory with Joe. The fights between Barizorg & Joe were some of the best in the season. The Emperor & his Generals were okay, but I feel they could have been done a bit better. Now the BEST villain was one with no real allegiance to the evil empire; Basco. Everything about Basco was awesome for a villain. His backstory with Marvelous & AkaRed was well done, and the battles with him were stunning. The final fight between Marvelous & Basco was, to me, the best Sentai / Power Rangers fight I’ve seen for some time.

The Weapons

In many recent years, Sentai has been a series of hits & misses when it came to the weapons the heroes used. But with Gokaiger, everything was a hit. To start with the core five Gokaigers all had awesome looking guns & sabers that tied greatly into the Space Pirate idea. What made this work even more was the fact that the Rangers did not have individual weapons. The Gokai Gun & Gokai Saber were the weapons they had to use, and there were no Ranger-Specific weapons. I feel this helped make the group really feel more like a team, and I hope this is a trend that will continue into the future of Sentai. Gokai Silver’s Gokai Spear was a good weapon for a sixth Ranger, in having actually three modes. To finish things out, a team would not be complete without a big cannon. The Gokai Galleon Buster is really cool. I love the design of having it look like the Gokai Galleon, and having OhRanger influence the weapon was a huge plus.

The Mechas

Anyone who has been following Sentai for a while knows that things have been getting a bit too cluttered when it comes to the Mechas. I admit that this was one area I feared would falter with it being the 35th Anniversary. I was very pleasantly surprised though. Gokaioh is a very nice looking main Mecha, though I think it would have been better just to have the Gokai Galleon change into the main Mecha, and not need the other four individual mechs. GoJyuJin is an amazing triple changing Mecha that fits a Sixth Ranger greatly. All three modes look great and really helped pay tribute to the past. Finally we have the Auxiliary Mechs. This is where I thought things would go overboard, but it did not. The MagiDragon, Pat Striker, Gao Lion, Furaimaru, & MachFalcon all made great looking combinations with Gokaioh. Finally, the last combination of Kanzen Gokaioh was a great looking robot, yet not a huge brick that other past final combinations had been.

The Ranger Keys & Changers

I LOVE this idea. When the pictures first came out of Gokaiger back in late 2010, and we learned they would change into past Ranger teams via small keys, I knew this was a great idea. Now while I have never been a fan of the cell phone changer design, the Mobirates is different. With the Ranger Keys, I see the Mobirates as more as just your typical power accessing device, rather than a cell phone style changer. I know they still used the Mobirates as a communication item as well, but the focus was using it as a changer & accessing past Ranger team’s powers. Now the Gokai Cellular I do feel was just a useless brick. I think it would have been better had they just repainted the Mobirates to match Gokai Silver’s color scheme.

The Story

The story is of course where everything is tied together. This is where a show either rises to success, or falls into the pits of failure. Gokaiger’s story was original, while still one that paid homage to the teams that came before them. I loved the explanation of how all the past teams lost their powers, how the Gokaiger got them, and  how the Space Pirates intend to use them. The idea of a huge evil empire conquering the universe, and a raggedy group of Space Pirates being the Earth’s only hope, all just made of a great series of adventures. The entire story helped show how these characters grew and turned them from just individuals looking for treasure, into absolute true heroes.

I really loved everything in Gokaiger. It was an awesome ride week after week. It always captured my attention and excited me. Gokaiger was a season that I was happy to have watched all the way through, and am sad to now have it finished. I have watched the 199 Heroes & Flying Ghost Ship movies, and will watch Gokaiger vs. Gavan & Super Hero Taisen when they become available. The adventures of these heroes will never get old.

Gokaiger will always remain a great season I enjoy watching over & over again. Yet now, I cannot help but get excited for how Saban Brands may indeed make Gokaiger the 20th Power Rangers Anniversary.



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