Shuriken Sentai Ninninger


2-shuriken-sentai-ninninger I’m going to make a change to this blog. In an effort to be more topical I’m going to post reviews of certain series as soon as I finish them. This will prevent my backlog of reviews from increasing and allow me to give my opinions of shows and movies while they are still topical. Today, its time to look at the 39th entry in the Super Sentai Franchise (I know it ended months ago but I’ve been busy).

The Last Ninja, a great warrior who defeated the evil Kibaoni army is looking for a successor. His grandchildren, Takaharu, Yakumo, Nagi, Fuka, and Kasumi are all candidates to inherit the title. Together they must strive to improve their ninjality (the power which allows someone to do ninja skills), fight the now released Kibaoni army, and search for the ultimate weapon, the sealing shuriken. Together they are known as the Shuriken Sentai Ninnninger.

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This show is a mess. All its aspects have problems. Let’s start with the sentai. They all fall into the trap of not out growing the initial character stereotypes they are introduced with. Takaharu is wild, Yakumo is smug, Kasumi is smart, Nagi is helpful, and Fuka is innocent and clumsy. The best ranger is Kinji the Starninger who shows the best growth as an individual and conquers the (literal) demons of his past. Also, despite it being a family sentai they really don’t feel like a family. Unlike Magiranger where there were multiple flashbacks to the members growing up and bonding as kids, this series doesn’t have nearly as many or any to help you understand their family bond. Frankly the show is insisting they are family but you don’t feel it as you watch it.

The mecha are weird to say the least. The main robot is a weird combination of vehicles which should not be associated with ninjas including a train and a dump truck. The later combinations are a bit better once they come together as a final form but the first and main robot takes far too long to get used to.

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The villains are the saving point of this series. The commanders are least as all of them look stunning and are formidable opponents who give the sentai a run for their money. The individuals monsters of the week are some of the worst creatures ever. These things are worse than the Trinoids of Abaranger and those things had the excuse of being three elements fused together. This show has no explanation for some of the lamest designs since the T-rex Dopant from Kamen Rider W.

The comedy aspect which comes from trying to keep the series more light in the beginning doesn’t work either. The jokes just aren’t funny. An episode or two, such as the episode where its played out like an RPG game is funny but overall the humor doesn’t play well.

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The last and final aspect which doesn’t work is the Ninja aspect. They just don’t feel like ninjas. Probably because of their insistence on rampaging and not hiding which is actually the teams personal motto. The poor attempts at humor probably is what killed the feeling of this team being true ninjas.

You weren’t entertaining Ninninger at all. You started okay but crashed hard and still had too many episodes to go to your ending. Eventually, I was begging for you to end. It’s painful enough with you being a bad series but now whenever the studio says they are going to do another ninja themed sentai, we will always be wary of getting another show like you coming out.

RATING: D

Engine Sentai Go-Onger

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Time to dig into another entry of the Super Sentai Franchise. Today’s review looks at a more lighthearted Sentai Series. Does the fact its not dark or deep as other series make it a bad show?

The Engines of Machine World have crossed over into Earth while chasing the evil Barbaric Machine Clan Gaiark who intend to pollute everything. The Engines obtain the help of humans and giving them their power to fight against the Gaiark clan. The humans, Sosuke, Renn, Saki, Hanto, and Gunpei fight to protect the world as the Engine Sentai Go-Onger.

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The characters are decent but a bit bland. No one has a deep character arc and the only real conflict seems to be when the other two teammates, the Go-On Wings are introduced and don’t know how to play nice with the main five, at least not at first. Otherwise, all of them seem to rely on their overarching personality type to get through the series. The interesting thing is this behavior doesn’t come off as annoying, because despite being one note characters in nature, they still are competent fighters.

The aspect of other worlds is introduced early but isn’t utilized as much as it could be. Sure they introduce it and use it to explain where the Engines come from but they don’t really look into the dimensions except in the movie. In the movie, they once again utilize the Toei Kyoto Studio Park and have the team go to “Samurai” world. For the most part the series just takes place on modern day Earth but is seems like their was more potential for a deeper epic story if they had kept traveling to other dimensions. Sadly this doesn’t happen.

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Mecha which are sentient aren’t always a bad idea (like with Abaranger) and fact they are doesn’t detract from them as a Sentai Mecha. There is a more glaring problem and it is a case where one of the design of the robots just didn’t work because of how they combine. Every combination really just looks they are piling on top of one another in an awkward moshpit. It’s not exactly the most interesting mecha design to say the least.

The villains are okay but are better when they are act more comical then trying to be downright malicious. Let’s be honest, ever since Captain Planet came out the idea of a show where the main purpose of the villain is to pollute for pollution’s sake really doesn’t sound feasible, dangerous, or even plausible.

This show is weird which really is the best way to summarize it. Between the talking sentient car animal mecha to the enemies whose mission it is to pollute the world but are quick to join forces the with heroes sometimes on a whim (like when Kegalesia decided to join the female members of the team to form an idol group) everything about it is peculiar. Don’t even try to take this series seriously. It may have a serious moment or two but these are few and far between. This is a more comical Sentai but it succeeds in being one. Even if I don’t count it as one of my more favorite series I still found it to be more entertaining than some series like Ninninger (the review of which is coming) which will live in infamy as causing the fan base to be worried every time a ninja themed series is announced. So it doesn’t do any harm and is kinda fun. Really its the best way to summarize the show overall.

RATING: C+

Denji Sentai Megaranger

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Sentai series are an experience. A weekly superhero show where you watch a team rise to an occasion to fight a force of evil that plays out over he course of a year. There are many emotions a person can experience on this long journey. Despite how entertaining it can be if it doesn’t leave a lasting impression was it really that good?

The Neijirejia, an army from another dimension wants to conquer Earth. The International Network of Excel-Science and Technology (INET) has recruited a group of teens, Kenta, Shun, Kouichirou, Chisato, and Miku to combat them. Together they become the Denji Sentai Megaranger.

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The problem with this show is that after watching it, not much really stands out as groundbreaking or incredible. The sentai members fall into the stereotypes based on their major personality traits. They are playful (Red/Kenta), serious (Black/Kouichirou), sensitive (Blue/Shun), bossy (yellow/Miku), ditz (Pink/Chisato), and eccentric (Silver/Yusuku). Sure, the character have a bit of growth as they are students working towards graduation but that’s all there is. The team could have used a few more emotional moments.

The support team of the series is okay but need a bit more. Their mentor figure is Professor Eikichi Kubota, who acts like father figure to the team. He’s intriguing enough but one interesting character can’t save the show. Also, Yusuku Hayakana, the silver ranger really just wants to goof off and act like a kid with the rest of the team. It was fun at watch at the time but looking back its kind of awkward as he was a 25 year old man hanging out with high school students. Megaranger 38

The villains of the series are just as shallow. There isn’t as much growth or intrigue like in other sentai series. The commander Yugande has a huge following from being turned into Ecliptor for Power Rangers but sadly he isn’t as intriguing as he is in that series. Yes, he’s devoted to the main leader Dr. Heinler but it isn’t as touching to watch as Ecliptor willing to sacrifice everything for Astronema. That relationship still tugs at the heart strings. The Jaden Sentai Naeziranger also appear in this series, but yeah, they an evil sentai, but again, that’s it. Just evil for the sake of evil. Their novelty wears off fast.
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The mecha is at least half way interesting with what they do with the design. The show makes an approach that hasn’t been done in a series in a long time. They start with the Galaxy Mega, which is not only the HQ of the team but also their main robot. It’s a departure from the previous sentai robots as it isn’t a combiner. Sure, a combiner robot does come later in the series but not until after the halfway point. For a long chunk of the show, its Galaxy Mega, fighting by himself.

All and all its not a bad series and is really enjoyable as you watch it. The problem is that when you over you will find yourself looking back and saying, “Is that it? Is there nothing more.” Basically, its like a diet sentai. Great taste, but not very filling, and you always reflect on shows you enjoyed a lot more instead. Man, I was really harder on this show then I thought I would be.

RATING: B-

Juken Sentai Gekiranger

JyukenSentaiGekirangerTime again to look at another entry in the Super Sentai franchise. This time the show we will be looking at is the 31st entry of the series which debuted in 2006. The martial arts focused team known as the Juken Sentai Gekiranger.

Juken, an ancient form of martial arts where the practitioner mimics animal traits. Two practitioners, Retu Fukami of the Fantastic Technique and Ran Uzaki of the Honest Heart are taught by Grand Master Xie Fu under the guise of the sporting goods company, SCRTC. They train to fight against the Rin Juken School and their Kyonshi (hopping ghosts) who wish to resurrect a great evil. Joined by the feral boy Jyan Kandou of the Unbreakable Body, they become the Juken Sentai Gekirangers.

The team is an interesting bunch to say the least. Retu (the blue) is a man who has mastered various techniques and strives for perfection and Ran (the yellow) is the highly energetic one who is the heart of the group. The two of them resemble the behaviors of the blue and yellow members of the Akaranger team, but are distinct because of their red member. Jyan is annoying to say the least. The feral nature makes him unaware of how to act in too many social situations while at the same time spewing nonsense words like “Waki Waki” and “Gokin Gokin” which have no actual meaning but to Jyan. They get old fast. The other two members that come later do a offer a more appealing performances. Gou (the purple) has to overcome an evil presence which turns him into a werewolf and ken (the white) offers a more whimsical aspect to the team. A pretty decent team other than Jyan’s behavior.

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The supporting team is very unique to say the least. SCRTC is owned by Miki who backs up the team with equipment and lodging along with her daughter Natsume. That’s the normal part. The seven Kensei Masters of Juken are each an animal who walk around without anyone questing that they are that they are a walking talking animals in people’s clothing. This is strange but you get get used to it as the show goes on. Also the Masters after Xie Fu offer new weapons and animals spirits that become the mecha. Great segway to talk about giant robots.

The mecha are based on animals and are called Geki Beasts. The main three are Geki Cheetah, Geki Tiger, and Geki Jaquar who form together into Geki Tohja. The other Geki Beasts become weapons for the Geki Tohja (and later Geki Fire) to help them in battle. The Mecha are controlled by the team mimicking movements in a group together which allows them to act out the moves they learned in the episode on their opponents through the machine. Also notable is that the Mecha battles get ringside commentary by Bae, a fly that lives in Mele, henchwoman of the main villain.

Another clever segway. The villains are led by Rio who is doing all he can to raise the three Kenma. He has a bit of a one track mind about wanting to train harder to obtain this goal. he is so blind to what’s going around him and doesn’t realize that Mele is in love with him. Poor girl.  So devoted but sadly she just can’t get her guy to reciprocate. Also, no spoilers on who is the last boss but he truly is an evil individual. The kind of evil boss that doesn’t mind stepping over his underlings to obtain his goals.

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Despite the annoyance of Jyan and the one track minded plans of Rio, Gekirangers is still an intriguing show who’s training and martial arts allows for character growth and action. Though it would have been nice to see the weapon based Geki Beasts do more than just be weapons. Fans who enjoy the martial arts side of the Sentai series will find Gekirangers particularly entertaining.

RATING: B

Tensou Sentai Goseiger

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After Power Rangers was briefly cancelled in America I decided to break down and start watching the original Japanese Sentai series. I had already been watching Kamen Rider for a few years and I looked at it as an opportunity to keep my love of the franchise alive. My first show was Gosei Sentai Gosieger ,which looking back makes me wonder how I stayed a Sentai fan at all after watching this dreck.

As the gateway to Angel world is destroyed by the Alien Menace known as the Warstars, five Angels find themselves stuck in the mortal world. With the help of a young boy named Nozomu the five angels, Alata, Eri, Agri, Moune, and Hyde keep up their job of protecting humanity by becoming the newest sentai team: Gosei Sentai Goseigers.

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The best experience with any Sentai is enjoying the journey that they go on. How they constantly fight to protect the innocent helps to shape them and allows them to grow as characters. Watching some of the struggles they endure like Takeru’s identity crisis from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger or Uchii’s eternal vendetta with Dogold from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger are truly moving movements that helps fans to bond with the characters. Sadly Goseiger lacks any of these moments and show no real growth of the individual team members. The five members of the team are angels from angel world and that’s all the character development they really get. Sure we get glimpses that shows their maybe more to them but these plot lines are never explored and the characters start bland and remain bland the entire series. I did enjoy Gosei Knight as a character but mostly the fact that he was a robotic sixth member of the team which is always great to see in a show. Unfortunately, a good team plays off of their wasn’t much for him to do.

The villains are some times the best part of the series. Sadly the series has such a high rotation of villains organizations, each of which could have been the main boss of the entire show if they had been written better. I personally though the main boss of the Warstars Mons Drake had the potential to be the ultimate enemy but he gets destroyed before Gosei Knight was introduced. Sure all the groups have the common member of Brajira who becomes a member of each of the evil organizations but I really get attached to him. Sadly just like the Goseigers his interest is surface level at best and you stop caring about hwy he is working these evil minion jobs after the second bit of team hopping.

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The Mecha are the only redeeming factor of this series. I enjoyed the different Gosei robots and the fact that Gosei Knight transformed into his own robot was also very interesting. Sadly this aspect isn’t without its faults as well as the show seems to introduce new robots almost every episode leaving you with no wiggle room to get accustomed to any of these machines.

Bottom line: This is a bland Sentai. I can’t recommend it even in the slightest and had to knuckle down just to finish it. Skip it entirely and go onto Gokaiger. Space Pirates? Who doesn’t love that? Unless you are a completionist stay away from this series. *Skick Power: Memoryfly* There! Your forgot it.

Rating: D

Mahou Sentai Magiranger

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I’m overdue to once again review a Sentai series. I also haven’t taken the time to review any Kamen Rider Series. Thinking of making those a Patreon exclusive. I’ll work on those later. For now, let’s talk about the magical family, the Ozus.

The Infershia, a monster race, wish to revive their master, N Ma and take over the surface world. Ozu Miyuki takes notice and starts to fight but finds its too much for her. After her defeat, her children, Kai, Tsubasa, Ura, Houka, and Makito take up the charge and become the team, Mahou Sentai Magiranger to fight the Infershia with the power of courage as their main weapon.

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The team is family based and each of them has a role and personality based on that. Each member fulfills there roles very much how they are in the family line up. Kai, the youngest is hot headed and eager to prove himself. Tsubasa the middle son is always looking for a fight. Makito, the oldest son is doing his best to watch over the whole family. Houka, the youngest daughter is spacey at times. Ura, the oldest daughter is almost a mother figure to the rest of the team. Top it off with the 6th member, Hikaru who comes in like a new teacher to help polish there skills and there’s your team. Not bad at all once they really get into the sync of things. NEOGDS-55432_3

The mecha of this series is interesting as the team actually transforms into their robots. Each of which is based on a different magical beast (Phoenix, Fairy, Mermaid, Garuda, Minotaur). This is interesting as they later still combine and become a bigger robot. A bit out there but I do like the look of the main megazord. Maybe because of the different spells, they use through the series resulting in different final attacks. The 6th member uses a train. A magical train. I wonder if its parked at platform 9 3/4. Sadly there is no ultrazord or major combination. Sad but still impressive designs. Magi12

The villains are massive to say the least. The series goes through 2 commanders, 10 members of a special boss group, and the main villain on top of the usual monster of the week. There also is the dark night Wolzard who has much more to him than meets the eye. Also, I’m very partial to the minion characters of Nai and Mare are adorable. 2 girls in Gothic Lolita outfits that are evil, but see the light and become good. Yes. Please. This is definitely a series where the villains grow on you and you find yourself drawn to the evil they do.

The series has a good flow to it and one of the most memorable and heart warming ending to a series I can remember. In the total, this series was memorable and even though its not one of my favorite themes. I’m still looking forward dot he next Sentai that is magical base.d I do wish though with all the crossovers with Kamen Riders that the team would be seen fighting along side Kamen Rider Wizard. Sees like wasted potential. Maji Maji Majiro!

RATING: A-