Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tokusatsu Review: Toquger episode 31: Follow the Ice Cream Bunny!

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This episode is going to be hard for me. Mostly because of the statements I made during my Kamen Rider Taisen Review, where I said Ressha Sentai Toquger is one of the worst Super Sentai I've seen so far. Then again the only other ones I've seen to completion so far are Liveman, Dairanger, Go-Onger, Gokaiger, Go-Busters, and Kyoryuger (and both seasons of Akibaranger if you count those). The ones that I haven't finished are Kakuranger, Ohranger, Carranger and Megaranger. Even then it's because I haven't made time to finish those shows or the subs aren't finished yet on some of the series. The point is that I don't exactly have a large knowledge of Sentai having only seen ten out of thirty eight series so far, HOWEVER! Even from my limited experience I still say that Toquger is one of the worst I've seen so far. Most of the heroes are moronic, annoying dill-weeds, the majority of the mech designs are the laziest I've seen yet, and whenever the show touches on the subject of "Imagination" I just, ugh my mind just goes to dark, terrible, evil places. Kinda like Lordkat when he played Super Mario Brothers 2 Japan. Get this, this show, is trying to teach kids, that children, are the only people who have imagination, and that they lose said imagination when they grow up. 
I'm not putting words in peoples mouths or anything, watch for yourself, they say it in at least the first three episodes. As someone who wants to be a game designer/writer, carriers that primarily rely on using ones imagination, this made me despise this show almost immediately. Also for the Sentai series that loves to spout out its "Imagination" pig crap for it to have some of the laziest designs for the heroes, mechs and their equipment, that is pretty indefensible. However there are some saving graces, I like the villain faction, the Shadow Line. From their designs to their personalities to how much smarter they are then the heroes most of the time. Them; combined with the very, very, very few good episodes in this show is what's keeping me from saying that it is completely irredeemable. What I mean by good episodes are the ones that either focus on advancing the plot or have nothing to do with Right. Everything else tends to lead to various flavors and amounts of pain. Now for a very quick summary of this series so that we can get on to talking about the episode. Ressha Sentai Toquger is about five people who have been recruited by an organization called the Rainbow Line to protect their stations from the Shadow Line who not only seek to capture these stations for themselves but to gather darkness from the people who live there which all goes into making the human world habitable not only for themselves but their Emperor, Zett. The core five consist of Kagura as Toq 5, an airhead who can delude herself into gaining super strength. Hikari as Toq 4, he is the smartest member of the team and my personal favorite. Mio as Toq 3, she's the tomboy of the team and shes kind of starting a relationship with Tokatchi who is Toq 2, he's a bookworm who has about as much common sense as a garden-hose. And finally there's Right as Toq 1, he's a dumb-ass with Bieber hair who through his thoughtlessness, carelessness and outright stupidity often makes situations worse and often times make the personal crises of his teammates even worse, sometimes with only his mere presence. He is a cancer to the team, the worst Red Senshi I've seen on either side of the Ocean so far (including Nick from Mystic Force, Jaden from Samurai, Troy from Megaforce and Alata from Goseiger) and no matter how much I want him to, he will never go away. The five are guided by the conductor named, Conductor, and his Monkey Hand puppet, Ticket; kill me! Their Alpha is a horribly perverted Gynoid named Wagon who seems to only have three jobs, bring the Toqugers food, take selfies of herself, and be horribly annoying. She's almost as bad as Jar-Jar in my book. The five are later joined by Zalam, a former member of the Shadow Line who joins them to make amends for the evil he caused while working for the Shadow Line (yeah his power is to make it rain, truly there is no greater evil in this world) basically his shtick is that he's an over the top parody of the brooding loner hero with his main joke being that every time he goes into battle he says that this will be where he dies. At first I didn't like this at all because it seems like the show is making fun of people who are contemplating suicide, but what saves this is that he does it in increasingly over the top ways and the jokes that are made about this trope is what saves it. I think that its like when someone keeps doing something stupid you eventually have to laugh, like this for example.
So yeah, Zalam joined the Toqugers as Toq 6 and his name was changed by the Toqugers to Akira Nijino which literally means "the brightness of the rainbow" (Niji no Akira) GET IT!? Anyway the plot so far, the Shadow Lines leader Zett is trying to gain the power of the light because he hates the darkness and wants to live in said light. However being in the human world is toxic to the guy, so he figures that by gathering light, whether literal or figurative he could live in both worlds. To that end he absorbed Gritta; the daughter of one of his Generals, Madame Noir to gain her inner sparkle. General Schwartz, the guy I mentioned in the Taisen review does not take this well and he attacked Zett only to be blown away for his trouble. And on top of this Marchioness Morc the General who raised Zett has shown up since the Toqugers are liberating their Shadow Towns, the stations that the Shadow Line have already taken over that is under Morc's jurisdiction. The Toqugers are doing this in the hopes that one of these Shadow Towns is their home town, which is the reason why they became the Toqugers in the first place. However the mech that the Toqugers use to access the Shadow Towns, the Drill Ressha, is in Schwartz' possession.
If not, too bad there's a quiz later. So with episode 31 we open on two kids jogging through some fog training for Baseball judging by their uniforms when they notice the sound of a train whistle and see a giant train shrouded in fog. We then cut to the Toqugers on their trains when Ticket announced that instead of traveling to the next station they are instead heading for the Hyper Ressha Terminal. Apparently it can't be normally accessed by the Rainbow Line and can only show up when someone is summoned. I want to say that sounds familiar, but I can't put my finger on why. I'm being serious, someone help me.
Not going to lie, I like this shot and sequence.
It reminds me of Thomas the Tank Engine but in a good way. After the opening theme Ticket and Conductor say that the Terminal is the most important part of the Rainbow Line. Mostly because it's the control hub for the entire line, like the Shadow Line's Castle Terminal, so like it, the Terminal only shows up for when it is absolutely necessary, like when the President needs to talk to someone. Which is the case here since a voice (who we later find out is the President) tells Conductor over the intercom to meet him in his office. Right asks who that was.
Apparently President in Japanese is Sousai

You've been with him this long and you've only realized this now?!
Once again we've learned something today.
Okay Ticket, you're redeemed. This is why you're my favorite character in this thing.
 After Right once again proving that his mother drank while he was in the womb. The Prez chimes in again saying that they need to evacuate so that the trains can get cleaned. Apparently this is to clean the trains of any residual Darkness left behind from fighting the Shadows since it's corrosive to them. And the Diesel Ressha is proof of that. While the trains are getting the evil scrubbed off, the dummies decide to take in the wonders of the Hyper Terminal, which apparently is the Mega Mall since it has a movie theater, a gym, a library, several restaurants and almost any facility you could want, minus an S&M dungeon. While the team heads off to get food Wagon decides to go polish her body at the Salon.
This is them normally.

This is them a few seconds later.

Notice something off?
We cut to the Shadow Line Castle. Zett is informed that the Hyper Ressha Terminal has appeared and Morc is more then ready to take advantage of this. She tells Nero to lure the Toqugers away from the Terminal while she attacks the Terminal directly. Zett decides to tag along since he's attracted to the Sparkles.
They're not even real Vampires!
Ugh Lady, this is a kid's show remember?!
Noir notices that Gritta hasn't been fully absorbed by Zett and she plans on saving her. Why? Last time I checked all you were concerned with was having her marry Zett so she could absorb him and take over with you pulling the strings. So now you're concerned about your daughter? Well at least you're the villain so I'm supposed to hate you. Once Zett left Schwartz starts to move himself with the Drill Ressha and his personal Kurainer. We then cut to the Rainbow President's office where he and Conductor are talking. This is big, we can finally see the head of the Rainbow line, the one that set this all up, the source of the Toqugers and the Rainbow line and; it's an escaped prisoner from Deadman Wonderland?!
I quit.
 I give up. Is this the Ice Cream Bunny? Are we going to see Tom Sawyer and Huck Fin watching a Gorilla pulling Santa's sleigh on a beach in Miami next? This is my head cannon, the Ice Cream Bunny convinced Santa to help him set up the Rainbow line if he would finally give him some damn Ice Cream and the first train was the Fire Ressha. It makes perfect sense I mean what else would they do with the Fire Truck they drove away on? At least you could take the Station Master from Den-O somewhat seriously, Jesus Christ. President Ice Cream Bunny tells Conductor that there's a problem with the Toqugers. I know, four of them are as dumb as hell, chuck the rest and make Hikari Red. He says that they've been exposed to the darkness too much and even if that wasn't the case they're changing by themselves anyway. How? We'll figure that out later. We cut to some people who finished eating at a restaurant but can't get out of their chairs. Not because they're morbidly obese but because a Shadow Kaijin has used his magic to seal them on to the chairs.
This is Chair Shadow
 While Chair Shadow does this his big brother then uses his magic to flip the tables and chairs several feet into the air simultaneously while the people are still stuck to them.
This is Table Shadow, is it just me or does their design remind you of rams?
Thankfully nobody landed on their head, that would have killed them instantly.
That's kind of what I would expect to happen when people's heads meet the floor with that amount of terminal velocity. But there goes me and my logic again. The Toqugers get there before there were any fatalities (on screen anyway.)
Two things, #1 Nero, quit breaking the 4th wall we've got a guy that can blow your ass out of the water. #2 Because this show loves to make our heroes look dumber every chance it can. :)
Anyway they show up, transform and fight the brothers. Table Shadow starts off by flipping the bus they rode in on with so much kinetic force it made it explode! Now imagine if he did that to a normal person oh wait yes he did! Honestly there should be several piles of chunky salsa everywhere.
BWAHAHAHAHA you see why I've changed on Akira? He's mourning a bus for god's sake how is this not funny?
I mean come on this is actually funny. While that's going on Zett and Morc head to the Hyper Terminal to tear the place apart. One wonders why they didn't bring every single Monster, Kurliner and Kuro under their command with them, but we need to save all of that for the finale. Tradition and all that. Schwartz then rams Zett and Morc's train with the Drill Kurainer and forces them to land in an office building. Schwartz fights against Morc which draws the attention of Right. Noir shows up to back up Morc to make sure that Schwartz doesn't kill Zett. Zett however finds this to be annoying and sends out shock-waves of Darkness to punish them, but Right shows up to save a little girl who was cowering in a corner, no doubt scared. Right then decides to fight the Shadow Emperor for sacrificing others to obtain what he wants. Also for scaring the little girl.
After a really good cutaway Zett transforms into his monster form to meet Right's challenge. But then Morc, Noir and Schwartz then get in on the fight and it quickly turns into an uneven five way brawl. Back to the rest of the core four Toqugers, the fight against the dining set brothers is not going well, when Hikari tells the others to retreat. Akira on the other hand still has his hands full with Nero. Back to Right; Zett is starting to lose it and is attacking everyone that gets in his way. Thankfully there were no civilians in the area otherwise, they'd be dead. Right then decides to try and match Zett with the Hyper Ressha armor.
Which is still one of the worst Battlizers I've ever seen! It's just stupid gold shoulder pads for god's sake!
Ugh this does give Right the power to repel Zett's strikes and forces him back. Schwartz then takes the chance to strike a fatal blow against Zett but sees that Gritta is inside of him and hesitates giving Zett a chance to repel him. Zett starts to feel pain in his chest forcing him and Morc to retreat. Noir confirms for Schwartz that Gritta is really alive inside of Zett and that's why she can't let Zett be destroyed just yet. Meanwhile back to the Dining bros they're looking for the Toqugers when they notice a Kotatsu right in the middle of the walkway.
This totally doesn't look suspicious at all does it?
Of course for a monster that's all about flipping people and tables; this is like the old shave and a haircut trick and he absolutely can't resist. So he flips the thing revealing the Toqugers who use their blasters to shoot the Demon Duo. Table uses Chair as a living shield letting him be destroyed. Of course in Toquger when a monster is destroyed it just causes him to grow. For no explained reason! He just grows, not even a throw away line to explain why. Hell I'll even take torpedoes being fired at them to make them grow, just give me something! Of course the Trains are finished being cleaned up at this point. Welcome to the plot convenience playhouse kids. So yeah, the Toqugers form their terribly constructed mech, beat the giant Chair Shadow and all's well that ends well. Except for when they get back to the trains where Conductor gives the Toqugers bad news, but good news for me. The Toqugers are disbanded! YAY! But of course we still have at least 18 more episodes of this show left to go so not really. Next time we'll find out what President Ice Cream Bunny told Conductor. And we reveal a new twist!

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Super Sentai is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
History of the World Part 1 is owned by Mel Brooks and 20th Century Fox
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Naked Gun 331/3: The Final Insult is owned by Jim Abrahams Jerry and David Zucker, and Paramount Pictures
Wayne's World is owned by Lorine Michaels, NBC Films and Paramount Pictures
Scanners is owned by David Cronenberg, Avco-Embassy Films, and Manson International
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