Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tokusatsu Review: Chōjin Sentai Jetman Part 3: Heroes and wrap up.

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 For a recap here's Part 1 and 2. Now to talk about our heroes starting from the suits to the people who filled them out. As most of you know Jetman was heavily inspired by Science Ninja team Gatchaman. However they also seem to have taken a note from pre flashpoint Superman with the underwear outline on the males suits. Which while it works for Supes it just doesn't work for the male Jetmen. While the red against blue helps to balance out Superman's colors because it's their color against white it makes the briefs pop out more and make it more obvious and distracting.  The girls however get skirts and it works better for them. The helmets help show what their birds are and help sell the Gatchaman homage.

 The mechs are also pretty cool, their primary mech Jet Icarus is composed of five bird themed fighter jets and comes with a variety of weapons which makes sense for a government created Sentai team. I especially like the gold chest plate shaped like a bird with its wings spread out, it just looks cool. Their second mech Jet Garuda is a bit of a departure with its Osiris esc bird head instead of a humanoid head. It took some getting used to but it did grow on me. Like all great mechs these two can combine, becoming Great Icarus. The final form looks awesome however I just have to wonder what happened to the spare parts left over from the primary two mechs. Is it like Optimus Prime's trailer and just vanish into the void until the fight is over?

 Last but not least there's the AI mech Tetra boy. It's fast, punchy and desperately needs to switch to Decaf. It can also turn into a four barrel cannon for Jet Icarus. Now that we're done with the mechs and suit designs time to talk about their handlers, starting from my favorite to my least favorite. And yes I have to agree with the majority and admit that my favorite Jetman is Yuki Gai.

 This guy was cool, uncompromising and knew what he wanted and how to get it. Now yeah he did change as the show went on, mostly learning to work with Ryu, that Kaori just wasn't the right match for him and just general compassion for humanity. He was always the one to call out Ryu's bullshit and point out when the team just wasn't working. He was one of the more competent and stronger members of the team and his development was great. Sad to say his final moments were a wake up call and a cold reminder that not every hero just dies in battle. Now to go into any more detail would be redundant as anyone who saw the Jetman tribute episode of Gokaiger can tell you exactly what happened. I think this episode shows just how much Gai changed and how important he was to his team.

 Next is Raita, the second (technically third) yellow Senshi who was bulkier then his teammates. Raita was one of the more relatable members, though that may just be because his and Gai's arc seem to borrow the most from the monomyth. He at least had "boon from the goddess", "call to adventure", "refusal of the call" and "master of two worlds" down pat. Despite not wanting to get involved with this nonsense once he did he progressed with flying colors. He still deployed his pacifism since like Gai and Ryu he also had feelings for Kaori but he knew to keep his nose out of the love triangle bullshit and mostly sat back and watched the fireworks with Ako. The two seemed to hang out with each other the most and seem to be good buddies, with Ako usually helping Raita train and eat with him when the drama gets too overwhelming. All in all he was a good strongman for the team and was a good reminder that people don't need to look like GQ models and be a complete asshat to be a hero, he was just a good guy to hang with and an all around gentle giant.

 Next is Ako, the light blue lass who always had her eyes on herself, sometimes to her determent. Now that last bit was mostly due to Vyram; the best example was with Diamond Dimension when it used its spell to drive peoples greed to insane levels. Though aside from that she was about as balanced as Raita, never one to get directly involved in the drama and more prone to snark. Though she was definitely a kind person who wore her heart on her sleeve, the best example was with her old teddy bear being turned into Trash Dimension and her trying to help him find a place to belong, also when she started to form a friendship with Dan, one of the bird men who brought Jet Garuda to avenge their world that fell to Vyram. She looked out for #1 but not at the expense of everyone.

 Then comes Kaori, dear dear Kaori. Yeah since she's so low on here I really did not care for her. Now if she would have been fine on her own if this were a normal Sentai however her problems are tied in with Ryu in that she mostly helped to perpetuate the love triangle that lasted more then it needed too on the show. Though yes she did change considerably from when she started, she was thrust into circumstances that her upbringing didn't prepare her for, military service, hand to hand combat as well as the all too real possibility of dying in combat. Normally I would like her development but again she gets dragged down by the love triangle as when it looked like Ryu and Gai looked like they were ready to put their differences aside she would show up, remind that she's trying to get into Ryu's pants and BAM the two are trying to kill each other all over again. On top of that whenever Gai tried to be nice and help Kaori like when her fear caused her to temporarily become paralyzed she instead sided with Ryu's jackass behavior and agreed with him proclaiming that they're warriors of justice first and people second. She just came off as a doormat for a hypocritical, self righteous, self destructive asshole.
This finally leads me to Ryu, our Red Ranger and resident asshole.
  I could just sum him up with one clip 

 but I have so much more to dissect with this guy. Now unlike Right or Takaharu; Ryu's dickish behavior is actually understandable and explainable so yeah Ryu is still better then the last two reds I named but not by much. It all started when Rie died because let's face it if your beloved died right in front of you when you tried to save them of course you'd start to lose it and lash out at people it's how grief often works. In fact Ryu pretty much went through all five during the first half of the show. As expected he was devastated when Aia told him what happened and was at first going about how he couldn't defeat Vyram until Aia and him went to find the other four.

 When he was trying to recruit Kaori and Gai he was lashing out unless they cooperated, he was begging to stay with the illusion of Rie when he was in a delusional state after he learned that she was Maria, and finally was forced to come to terms and accept that fact when he resolved to save her. After words he did try to mix better with the team but there were moments when he relapsed into his jackass behavior. The best example was when he faked betraying the team to sneak his way onto the Vyrock. The problem with this plan? He never told anyone about this plan, now I get not telling his teammates to make the act convincing but he didn't even bother to tell the plan to Aia; his commanding officer who would have no problem carrying on the ruse as well as making sure that the four didn't try to kill Ryu for the apparent betrayal. And besides it's not like keeping secrets and faking betrayals ever came back to bite anyone in the ass 
oh wait,
 Even after Rie died he continued his hypocrisy by going off on his own to kill Radiguet as revenge. And yet somehow after all this he still wound up moving past Rie's death and got together with Kaori,  what? Now I know why that was added, because Ryu and Kaori's actors got married a few months before that scene was shot but in story it just seems like the asshole got rewarded for being an asshole. Eh whatever; Ryu just be grateful that I saw Right and Takaharu first pal. However everything I said about Ryu that can't be traced back to his character can be traced back to Aia.

 Now as far as mentors go Aia is far better then a certain Tiki head and Old Ninja I could mention.

 She did also set the ground for future female mentors in the franchise ( all two of them!) But she still does have her problems from my perspective. I already covered how she handled Ryu and Gai slugging it out but whenever Ryu was acting against the teams welfare she just seemed to tune out mostly just wagging her finger and shaking her head at best. She seems to share similar problems with Captain Mitchell from Lightspeed Rescue but like Mitchell she did get better after her introduction. Her highlights include training Raita, Kaori and Ako in martial arts, assisting the team with building and updating their arsenal, standing up to an asshole General who was trying to replace the Jetmen with his Vr trained rookies, and piloting the Jet Garuda to get revenge on a monster that took her body for a joyride. All in all a pretty decent mentor, not as bad as some I could name but not as good as others either, like at least in the top fifteen for me.

 All in all Jetman is a B+ series in my books. The villains ranged from interesting to one note, the heroes were incredibly diverse (Gai from Gokaiger calling the Jetmen the most eccentric Sentai) and has a degree of maturity that we unfortunately don't see too much of nowadays in Sentai and can be enjoyable if you overlook the many flaws. Some people say that this is Inoue's best work and from what I've seen I tend to agree. Going back to my comparison between him and Frank Miller this would be Inoue's Dark Knight returns and after the success of Jetman he would continue to work on Sentai until it came to a crashing halt with Ohranger, but that's a story for another day. Now for next time I have to decide, do I want a shrunken to the face or to be run over by a train? 

 Yeah this is gonna hurt, ALOT!!!

Super Sentai is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Beauty and the Beast (1992) is owned by Goodtimes entertainment, Golden Films and Sony. 
Teen Titans are owned by DC Entertainment, Warner Bros Animation, Warner Bros Television and Glen Murakami.
Brother Eye is owned by DC Comics and Greg Rucka.
Full Metal Jacket is owned by Stanley Kubrick and Warner Bros, Natant, and Harrier Films.