25 years ago today Toei released the first episode of the final Super Sentai before the franchise was regularly adapted into Power Rangers, Chōjin Sentai Jetman. I've heard all the praise; I've seen several reviews and yet with anything the best way to judge something is to see it for yourself. Though before I even get started on this show I have a promise to keep and get some things off my chest by talking about the man responsible for the writing for this series.
|The man I (and many others) consider to be the Japanese Frank Miller who has about as much reused cliches and tropes as Stephen King.|
Examples include Catwoman in Batman Year One, where she was a Dominatrix inspired by Batman (Aka Crazy Steve), Bruno in The Dark Knight Returns is a Neo Nazi who walks around topless and wears swastikas as nipple pasties; and last but not least every female character in the movie adaptation of The Spirit that he directed. In Inoue town if you have a vagina then 9 times out of 10 you're either a horrible person, an idiot, or an abuse victim that wandered off the set of a Lifetime channel original movie. They also have their problems when it comes to restraint in their works but in different areas, see Inoue's problem is when he works on Kamen Rider or something that is targeted to generally older audiences he tends to indulge in creating asshole characters and have a more depressing and anger inducing tone for his shows. The worst examples of this from what I've seen is in Kamen Rider Agito and Kamen Rider Faiz, in Agito everyone is a raging Asshole that would fit right at home in one of those trashy housewives shows, where as in Faiz it's not as bad but for that show he went for quality over quantity and created the undeniably worst character in the history of the franchise to this day.
|Ten years after he died and I would still rather teach Shakespeare to a pissed off mountain gorilla then deal with this guy.|
But all in all I'd take Inoue over Miller any day mostly because Inoue can still make something good once in a while, knows when to hold himself back and isn't a racist, fascist piece of garbage. But enough about that; time to talk about the show itself and to make with the funny already. Our show starts off in the year 199X (aka 1991 for those who looked on Wikipedia) where we see an orbital space station that's owned by the military organization Skyforce whose job is to oversee the earth for any disturbances to peace. They detect that a robot has gone nuts and is attacking a civilian area.
But instead of sending down X or Zero to stop it they instead send down two of their agents to deal with the Maverick. They stop the bot and their commanding officer comes into the monitor room and asks for their names which are Ryu Tendo and Rie Aio. She then says that she wants them for the J Project. Later when Rie asks what the J Project is exactly the commanding officer says that those who are treated with "Birdonic Waves" that Skyforce has created would get superpowers; which would somehow lead to helping maintain world peace. Because that's what the world needs, to live in fear of five super powered weirdos dressed in bird themed spandex.
Ryu is concerned however that if the two are brought in on this project that they'd be assigned to different units, the commander however assures them that the Jetmen are a five man team and that they're in no danger of being separated. We then cut to the fortress of our villains.
|Which looks like a hellish red eye in the bottom of the ocean.|
|Kneel before Zod!|
|And apparently they're in league with Saruman!|
So to prove that he's not fucking around Radiguet says that the first target is the Skyforce space base. The staff evacuates but Rie gets sucked out through a hull breach and is sucked into space despite Ryu's attempt to save her, the CO gut checks Ryu and knocks him out due him becoming hysteric and takes him to a ship to escape the facility. Meanwhile the device that infused Ryu with the Birdonic Waves shatters and the remaining four waves then scatter across Japan and infuse four random people with a lemon, coconut, black licorice and blueberry flavor respectively. After laughing his ass off Radiguet then sends down a monster to attack the city.
The CO and Ryu land at their base, the Sky Camp and when Ryu wakes up screaming that he has to look for Rie. The CO cuts the crap and tells him that she's dead, Vyram killed her get used to it. Ryu is of course emotionally unstable and asks her how the hell he's supposed to fight something that can destroy the Earthbase in one shot. She tells them that he's already a Jetman and that they have to find his teammates. Um Ma'am maybe you should go and look for them while Ryu recovers, grieves and starts to accept Rie's death at his own pace? I mean I know that Vyram is right on your doorstep and what not but you do want humanity's defenders to be in a right, sane state of mind right? You don't want him to die in battle due to him having a grief stricken psychotic episode? No, ok then, there just goes me and my logic again.
In the city we see the monster that Radiguet sent out.
|The Dimensional Bug.|
While Proto-Cell gorges; the CO and Ryu make their first stop to a mansion to meet the young lady of the manor; Kaori who at first is confused by all of this. Making things worse is Ryu basically barking at her telling her to become a warrior since Rie, oh I'm sorry the "world" is at stake. I'll get into this later when I talk about the characters but suffice to say Ryu is basically stuck like this for the rest of the show. The CO tells Ryu to back off and she explains things in a much more calm manner to Kaori. She then agrees to join if only because her inner Disney princess is acting up and she wanted out of her boring, stagnant lifestyle. Our heroes everyone Japanese Roy Harper and a lady who treats saving the world like a vacation.
Hero #3 Raita is just as bad as he's a farmer who even when he's told that the world is in danger of being destroyed by the Vyram he just still tells them that he's a pacifist and to fuck off. Kaori offers to stay and convince him while Ryu and the CO go find the last two. She manages to butter him up by playing on his pride in how much care he gives his vegetables. What seals the deal is when Radiguet sends down his foot solders to destroy Raita's crops.
|Meet 1991's foot solder model the Grinams.|
Porto-Cell corners Raita and Kaori in a nearby rock quarry (because in Sentai there's always a nearby rock quarry) but Ryu swoops in from his mech and finally transforms into Red Hawk, cleans house with the grunts and tosses Raita his Cross-changer. But before he can show them how to transform Proto-Cell tries to drink him.
|YOU WANNA SEE ME DRINK THIS GUY?!|
|First is their robot Hitman Grey, who's basically a badass, cultured version of Bender.|
|The technological wunderkind Tran who looks like he took lipstick application tips from Bruce Payne from the Dungeons and Dragons movie.|
|Who we have never seen before!|
Meanwhile the three Jetmen are searching for the last two, Ryu searching from the sky in his Jet Hawk while Raita and Kaori search by car. We cut to a high school where a girl is apparently summoning the evil from Evil Dead, but she snaps out of it and decides to jump the high jump and aces it. This is Ako Hayasaka and the gym teacher is so impressed that he asks her to participate in the school sports competition. Of course since she has a brain in her head she'll gladly do it, for 2000 yen.
Let's take this a step further here, first I'd send out a Dimensional Beast to keep the Jetmen busy while I have another group working on kidnapping thousands of people to feed the Bug Mother, for every 1 I lose I'll gain about 20. Then once I have enough I'll release them all on mass all over the world and then BAM total conquest! You know for someone who claims to be the new gods of earth and who have apparently conquered other worlds before this you'd think that they would at least come up with a strategy so simple!? But then again this is the same guy that thinks the leader of the world should look like if the Phantom of the Opera joined the blue man group wearing a spiked cornucopia on his head so there you go.
Fonzie of course sees through Ryu's crap and tells him to piss off. But of course after Ryu keeps spewing his bull about saving the earth Fonz just head butts him right in the face and walks off.
|And I just love the look on his face as he head butts him. This is the face of a man who does not give even a microscopic amount of a fuck.|
As for the CO, she does absolutely nothing about stoping this, she just sighs and shakes her head, our Mentor everyone! I mean I know nothing about military code of conduct but let me see here, an officer under your command is assaulting a civilian who you are giving top priority to recruit and yet you're doing absolutely nothing to stop him. Now I may not know but I think a President, General and a Colonel can give you a suggestion.
We cut from this episode of Japan's funniest drafts to Kaori and Raita trying to persuade Ako to join. As demonstrated before she can be bought off for the right price and lucky-lucky that the rich girl is here so she cuts off a 10 Million Yen check!!! Which back then would equal about 76.881.600 american dollars which today with inflation would reach about 89.135.900 American dollars!!! Now I might be wrong since math is not my forte but suffice to say Ako is undoubtably thinking one thing right now.
So Ako is now a Jetman and just in time as Proto-Cell begins attacking the three. They call in Ryu for back up with Fonzie chasing after the two since he's not through with him yet. Ryu takes the Jet Hawk to the three but is intercepted by Fighter Dimension who engages him in a dogfight so ridiculous that even Maverick from Top Gun is telling him he's out of his mind. Meanwhile Gai (that's his name Gai Yuki the only reason I haven't said it is because the show hasn't yet, yeah the second episode and only Ryu and Ako had had their names spoken aloud) has lost Ryu but gets abducted by Fighter Dimension probably due to them both giving off Birdonic waves. Of course since Gai is a hostage Ryu can't shoot the monster down but he does manage to shoot the arms forcing the monster to let Gai go and crash.
Ryu manages to give Gai his Cross Changer and they both transform saving themselves by flying down to safety. Raita, Kaori and Ako transform too and meet with the others, at last the team has been gathered, but Fighter Dimension isn't done yet and assumes a humanoid form.
|Apparently on top of working for Vyram it was also a Decepticon.|
So we wrap up with Ako giving Kaori back the check saying that she'll join them for free.
Yeah the only reason he helped in the first place was to get revenge on the monsters that attacked him and now that they're gone he has no reason to stick around with an asshole he can't stand the sight of let alone listen too. So he tosses them his Cross Changer and drives off. So those were the first two episodes of Jetman, tune in next time where I give my thoughts of the season over all, the heroes, the mechs, the villains and anything else that deserves mention. Also Happy 25th Birthday Jetman and me!
Super Sentai is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Kamen Rider is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Power Rangers is owned by is owned by Saban Entertainment, Haim Saban, Renaissance Atlantic Entertainment, Toei Company, Ltd. and MMPR Productions, Inc.
Heartbeeps is owned by Allan Arkush, and Universal Pictures.
Dragon Ball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT is owned by Funnimation, Toei animation, Fuji TV and Akira Toriyama.
Dragonball Z abridged is owned by Team Four Star.
The Dark Knight is owned by Christopher Nolan, Legendary Pictures, Syncopy, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures.
Patton is owned by Franklin J. Schaffner, 20th Century Fox and based on Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier's Story by Omar Bradley
Spaceballs is owned by Mel Brooks, Brooksfilms and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Chappelle's Show is owned by Dave Chappelle, Comedy Central, MGM Television and Comedy Partners.