Friday, September 14, 2012

Most Disappointing Sentai Villain Send-offs


Iron Claw's pretty much a generic villain, barking orders, laughing his ass off at his plans forming and growling when they fail -- he also has one of the stupidest looking designs in the franchise. (What's worse, that glittery dress he wears, the mushroom 'fro, or super-fake beard?) But, hey, he's played by cool veteran character actor Masashi Ishibashi, who takes all of this and still somehow makes Iron Claw pass. Iron Claw gets freaky in later episodes, debuting a combat form that's just a bald-headed Ishibashi clad head to toe in silver paint, looking like he's part of Silver Man Group. JAKQ gets canceled, so Iron Claw departs under orders from a new and random villain to take on JAKQ, and so he does, quickly getting his silver ass handed to him and killed by the Big Bomber. And not just any Big Bomber move -- in one of those stupid-weird Goranger things, the Big Bomber missile turns into something before hitting its opponent, and here the missile turns to...a giant stuffed mouse. WTF and how many drugs did it take to come up with this solution? Like I said, Iron Claw's not the greatest villain, but he IS Masashi Ishibashi, the one guy who wasn't afraid to take on Sonny Chiba in numerous Street Fighter flicks, so his "battle version" deserved better than to be taken out by a stuffed mouse.


Kemp's my favorite of Yutaka Hirose's roles -- he advanced as a performer since Flashman, and Kemp is just such a vicious bastard. Kenji wasn't always this way, but once he turns, he turns -- there's no wavering. Kenji's the one who pulled the trigger on Takuji and Mari and couldn't give less of a shit. He's a psychotic narcissist, he's an egomaniac, he's rotten to the core. When Liveman feel sympathy for every other Volt member who begins to turn and question Bias, Kemp uses this as a way to trick them into falling for his "defection," only to end up attacking them and laughing his ass off at how gullible they are. Yuusuke's pissed, this is his former friend, you know? And even after he couldn't bear to strangle an unconscious Kemp to death in episode 35, Kemp continued to be so vile in that episode that five minutes later, Yuusuke vowed that Kemp's life would end by his hands...

But Yuusuke and the writers forget all about that episode. After Kemp's trap, Kemp -- and I think this is a big mistake on the part of the writers -- gets the "ultimate" reward from Bias, which is just being turned into a horribly designed monster of the week. Right after that, Yuusuke sneaks aboard a spaceship in order to take on Bias, completely severing himself from the other heroes and Kemp for most of the final two episodes. So, Yuusuke/Red Falcon is not even present when Kemp is killed off! Even worse, the monster Kemp is defeated by a Koron-piloted Super Live Robo! One of the show's most important characters, the one with the biggest tie to the premise of the series, offed not in a cool duel with Kazuo Niibori, but offed in a quick, forgettable manner, no different than the stupidest monster of the week, the only one of the main villains in the show treated in such a careless manner.

(What's funny about Liveman is how it goes so soft on how they deal with the villains. I know the show got caught up in speechifying about life and stuff, but how do you go from episode 35 to having Megumi daydream about having snowball fights with Butchy? Look at it -- Obular reforms, Gildos and Butchy malfunction, Arashi and Mazenda turn before killing themselves, Bias and Gash die aboard the exploding Brain Base. Kemp's the only one the team actually kills, but even that's a cheat by having him be in monster form. Why did Liveman lose its balls?)


First off, let's talk about how the show never even addresses why the Vyram -- who constantly babble on about how superior they are to humans -- even take Rie and turn her into Maria in the first place. It's a great idea to give Ryu some drama, so the only explanation is that the Vyram had met Toshiki Inoue and had some knowledge of Jetman scripts. It's ridiculous that such a BIG PLOT POINT of the series is never acknowledged, and then because Inoue always has problems wrapping his shows up, the final Jetman episodes are really obvious in a "Oh, crap, our show's almost over, let's wrap this up!" way. After spending all of his energy on what was supposed to be a shocking, unique way to write off Toranza (which beats the way Kemp ended up), Inoue just has no ideas how to deal with Maria. So he wastes two episodes on this really weird, really stupid plot of having Radeige plant a parasite on her that turns her into something that looks like one of those kids' vampire make-up kits you'd find in a dollar store around Halloween. The look really doesn't work with Maria's terrible giant-hat/giant-tie design, either, and I feel like an earlier show would have given her a completely new design when she became monstrous, but Jetman really looks like it's out of money towards the end of its run.

Now, I'm not saying she should have been turned into a monster or whatever, I don't think that works with a villain who's either human or has a close connection to the hero, but something about this story turn just doesn't work for me. I liked Rie's last moments, but to spend two episodes having these silly scenes where she's stumbling around Japan sucking the blood of whoever she comes across (including Gai in a house of mirrors!) just doesn't really fit with the show's tone or what they needed to be doing with the character. An even bigger waste of time had Rie turning Ryu into a vampire -- it's all just very time-killerish. Inoue never had any idea what the heck to do with this character. WHY DID VYRAM EVEN TAKE RIE!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!


  1. At that time Liveman was considered a 10th anniversary series and the final deul between Ryusuke and Kemp was cheated by the writers. Every Volt members had a proper ending except Kemp who I thought should hae had a proper duel. Similar to Red Flash and Sir Cowler.

  2. I had no problems with Kemp's death. For me, his blind loyalty during that time SERVED HIM RIGHT. I mean, really he's so loyal to Bias who's just too biased about everyone he deserves to lose his brain.

    For Rie/Maria, I consider the arc to be the saddest scene in Jetman, very powerful death for me. However I am still thinking why in the world does Radiguet lust after Maria?