Monday, March 28, 2016

Tokusatsu Review: Chōjin Sentai Jetman Part 2: Vyram it up your ass!

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 Alright folks I finally managed to finish Jetman. What did I think? It's good, really good but the best, well I haven't seen the rest of Sentai so I really can't judge but yeah it can be really good once you get past its problems and yeah this series has some problems. They mostly center around the villains and their general lack of motivation, backstory and just the wasted opportunity for character development for Radiguet and Tran/Tranza. The heroes also have some problems from Ryu being a hypocritical asshole, Kaori keeping the stupid love triangle going and Aia not addressing Ryu's mental issues throughout the show and not interfering when issues needed to be brought up to improve the team dynamic and generally keeping them from constantly being at each other's throats.

 Let's start with Vyram since I have the most issues with them. Now their monsters were certainly interesting as these aren't the types of monsters that you see in modern Sentai. They're more like Venjix's attack bots in that they generally display no personality and mostly communicate with grunts or noises matching their theme. At least until they upgrade to the bio dimensional beasts where we see more monsters with personalities. Though if you read the bio dimensional beasts names on the Sentai wiki page tell me this music doesn't pop into your heads.

 As I was watching the show it was interesting to measure their effectiveness compared to the general who sent it out. It seemed the more the general sent out the less interesting or developed they turned out but it was interesting to discover certain themes and methodology each member utilized. We'll start with my favorite of the quartet, Grey.
"Now I may not smoke everyday but when I do, I make it a Marlboro."
 He sent out a total of three monsters ( Vending Dimension, Time Mammoth and Sniper Cat)  throughout the series and by contrast was more inclined to enter the fray himself and his plans were the closest to succeeding. Less is more when it comes to Grey. Sadly this is also reflected in his backstory or lack of one in this case. Who exactly built this guy and why did they program him to act the way he did? I guess sometimes the lack of explanation makes a character more interesting and Grey is a prime example of this, we know so little about him but his charisma, demeanor and presence just makes up for it. 

 His relationship with Maria is a classic Romeo and Juliet story, one a human turned evil, the other a killer robot with a noble heart, he would do anything to protect her even going so far as willing to lose her forever so long as she lived and when she died, yeah not gonna lie I got a little sad as his tears (seriously) dissolved her corpse into the sea ( again seriously) and his final fight with Gai was a great end to a great antagonist.

 Next is a central piece of the shows love triangle Maria/Rie.
Is it just me or does her outfit make you think of the Stay puft Marshmallow man?
 From when we first saw Maria we knew it was Rie. Which set up whether Ryu can save her from Radiguet or would he have to kill his true love to save the earth. She sent out 8 monsters ( Mirror, Diamond, Camera, Voice, Fortune and Trash Dimension, Light Armadillo and Adhesive Cockroach) and was the one who upgraded the dimensional bugs into the bio dimensional bugs showing that despite being human her brainwashing was so effective she was a master of alien bio tech. Her tactics focused around vanity, greed and personal attacks with her monsters.

  Maria always came off like she had something to prove with her being the only female, human member of the group but also since Radiguet kept insisting that she was his. Maria was brought back as Rie once before her last time but the only reason she reverted back was due to plot contrivance. Like Inoue didn't know how to end the subplot so he kept it going through shear stupidity. Let's really look at this shall we? Ryu has Rie back and is fighting one of the demons (not worth mentioning aside from confirming that Rie is Maria due to her changing back when she was attacked by one) so the logical thing would be to take her aboard Jet Icarus so he could be brought back to Skycamp after the fight.

 But since this is Inoue town that didn't happen allowing Radiguet to brainwash her again back to Maria. Which serves to make Ryu look like a complete dumbass. I'll get into what I think would have been better for her character later but suffice to say the only good part of her character was how she influenced Grey. He loved to hear her music and seemed to cooperate more with each other's plans. But then again when the other two people are a sexist one note asshole and a super smart brat, the robot with a smoking problem seems to be the better choice.

 Speaking of Casanova let's get into my problems with the good count. 
Yeah this is from the Non Cannon Manga sequel where Radiguet possesses Tranza's body (getting to that) and while he doesn't look like an idiot he now looks like he was resurrected by Studio Clamp. Hang on, a blue skinned pretty boy alien who can transform into a horrible monster... Sure is Zarbon in here.
 He is just evil for evil sake and any development he could have had was flushed down the toilet. What we did get however was at least enough of a credible threat to justifiably hate and take seriously. However the guy seems to be incredibly shortsighted, for example sending out the Bug Mother, attacking Juza half cocked and killing his human love interest just so he can get his hands on the Semimaru egg, one of the reasons why he betrayed Juza in the first place; just so he could use it. His 9 monsters were the Bug Mother, Fighter, Road, And House Dimension, Semimaru, Armor Snake, Poison Gas Mouse, Torpedo Piranha, Meteor BEM, and Leach Drill. His monsters tended to focus more on general offense if not to kill humans then the Jetmen. 

 We get almost no development for this stupid looking would be god. He had a chance when his memories were removed by Juza and he found a human love interest, but that lasted all of one episode he killed Juza, got Semimaru's egg, killed his girlfriend and then BAM business as usual. He started as an elitist dickhead and died an elitist dickhead. But that just leaves Tran/Tranza who I honestly wound up hating the most and not in a good way. 
OH MY GOD look at that hair, now folks I've seen some really stupid hairstyles in my time but this is right up there with the top ten at least.
 Moving on, perhaps to reflect my thoughts of him the second least developed villain wound up sending out the most monsters. Faucet, Fashion, Noodle, Bus, Paper, Vacuum and Dryer Dimension; Ant Bazooka, Laser Lizard, Hammer Chameleon, G2, Veronica and Great Tomato King. When he was Tran he was a sadistic and impulsive brat who saw those around him as toys and thus his monsters were less made to cause death and destruction but more as tools to aid in his sadistic fun. Tranza was just the same brat in a grown mans body, showcased when he discarded G2 when it didn't work right away when he was in the midst of his robotics research when any normal researcher would have more likely kept G2 to improve on what went wrong before moving on to the next project, you know work out the bugs in the prototype before working on the next model. 

 His end was karmic but aside from that he started a sadistic brat and ended a broken shell of a man. But as I said before aside from Grey there really wasn't much to Vyram which could have been fixed by making Juza part of the main cast and rewriting things a bit. Based on their full title and that Radigut is referred to as a Count my theory as to who they are is that they're just a group of aristocrats from another dimension conquering dimensions for fun. Like how British nobility used to have hunting parties the Vyram's conquering could be their version of a fox hunt. So my revisions is to make Tran and Tranza brothers, their mother Juza and Radiguet their advisor who is undermining Tran behind his back when the initial assault begins.

 Eventually Tran gets sick of Radiguts crap and calls in his mother to put him in his place, Radigut turns human like before but stretched out longer like lasting about 5-6 episodes before he regains his memories seeing a fight between Juza and the Jetmen. He gets his full memories back but instead of killing his human girlfriend he just walks away his girlfriend joining the Jetmen as a supporting character trying to bring Radigut back because she still sees the man inside the monster. Radigut helps the Jetmen kill Juza but afterwords starts to question whether coming back to Vyram was worth it at the cost of his true love. After Juza dies Tran then summons his older brother Tranza, the two exile Radigut for good and become the new leaders of Vyram. Radigut's girlfriend is killed in one of Tanzas schemes prompting Radigut to still drive Tranza insane and Tran is left to take care of his broken brother.

 Then all that's left is a heartbroken conquer with absolutely nothing to lose and wanting to either finish what he started or die in battle against his greatest foes the Jetman, and as he dies he thanks them for letting him at least die on the battlefield. But that was what could have been instead of what we got and what we had worked, but could have been far better. 
Or far worse.

Super Sentai is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is propriety of Hirohiko Araki, David Production, Tokyo MX, Warner Bros Entertainment and Viz Media.
Mega Man x is owned by Capcom, Tokuro Fujiwada and Keiji Inafune.