Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Just one more thing..." about Dekaranger

I know I talked about accepting Dekaranger, faults and all, but I think we can all agree a big weakness of the show is its villains. Yes, yes, it's obvious that Dekaranger's sticking closely to the well-worn format of a typical cop show -- the episodic following of the heroes going from case to case -- but the show could have still done that and had a decent set of recurring villains.

I liked what they tried to do with Aburera, but he just wasn't enough. (Like Doggy Kruger, I think suit actor Yoshinori Okamoto and voice actor Ryuusei Nakao do a pretty good job with him, though, and make him stand out more than he should have.) But what was wrong with keeping Mayu Gamou and the Hell's Siblings around for at least a cour? But the one opportunity that they really blew, in my opinion, the one that really pisses me off -- the show needed a group of mobsters or a gang, and the villain group in the movie Full-Blast Action came close to fitting the bill, and they were used sparingly in JUST that movie! Oh, how much they would have added to the show if they were regulars...

Mayu Gamou, torturing Jasmine as the Hell's Sibling Succubus, actually auditioned for the role of Jasmine.

The movie's villains, called the Gas Drinkers, gives most face-time to Vodgar, whose human form is played by the super cool Kenichi Endo. Endo's major previous toku experience was as Junior/Gasha Skull in Kakuranger, the first thing I saw him in that caught my attention. Endo's really great at shaking up his performances, and he can do stuff in even the smallest of roles, and delivers in even the lowest of yakuza B-movies. (I'm reminded of how character-actor Lance Henriksen has said that he's done a lot of B-Movies, but has never given a B-performance.) Vodgar's nothing like Junior, and has a handful of screen-time in the movie, but Endo's so slick and threatening in the role -- he makes an impression, and is definitely the type of villain the show itself needed.

What makes the others in his group so special, though? Blink and you miss them, but they're all played by other Sentai vets. Brandel is played by Maroshi Tamura, who played Zaidos in Dairanger; the woman, Giin, was Akiko Amamatsuri, a.k.a. Liveman's Mazenda, Dairanger's Gara and Ohranger's Keris; the third, Vinskey, was played by super-awesome Yoshinori Okamoto (Buuba, Gardan, Ashura). All three were used so sparingly, it was wasteful. Good to see them,, imagine them as semi-regulars in the show! (The Gas Drinkers are all named after boozes, the way the Dekaranger team names references types of tea. So, I guess the Gas Drinkers are the Anti-Dekaranger or somethin'.)

Endo, Tamura, Amamatsuri and Okamoto as the Gas Drinkers gang.

I think Dekaranger could have easily allowed for Janperson/Boukenger-styled multiple groups of recurring villains, and yet still had Aburera be the supplier with ulterior motives and a common link between the villains.


  1. I agree that Dekaranger lacks a proper villain group. Though I find Abrella a bit refreshing, his presence is not enough for a show that is about space cops. I mean, Abrella is basically the black market, so where are the organized crime syndicates that takes at least 10-15 episodes just to beat them?

    And yes, the Hell Siblings needs more screen time that is why I was both happy and disappointed that Succubus was in Deka vs Aba. Happy because Succubus is in the movie, sad because she was reduced to a silent henchman.

    1. Deka VS Aba was a disappointment all around, IMO. I thought it was cool to bring her back, but not only was she just a henchman, but that segment of the movie was just stupid.

      I was so excited about that movie because I like Abaranger so much, and it was their last big adventure, and they went out with a weak movie.

    2. Deka vs. Aba was a fun movie but it is not anything note worthy like other Super Sentai Versus movies.

  2. Dekaranger is MY favorite Naruhisa Arakawa work of all time. Not very typical to your yearly Sentai. I like cop drama. =)