Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2/27/88 -- It's alive! It's a Liveman!

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of Choujuu Sentai Liveman. The first episode is called "My Friends, Why Did You?" -- and I don't care what you say -- it's a classic. It's personally my favorite Sentai premiere. It just keeps coming at you, and yet, it takes its time to establish everything.

A lot of the Sentai premieres -- most of them -- up until that point had a similar formula. The bad guys are established, invade, the team is assembled. Liveman uses time jumps and flashbacks and fills you in on details -- where the villains are coming from, how the heroes react, the time it takes them to build their arsenal.

One of my favorite scenes in all of Sentai is from the first episode, when Yuusuke, Jou and Megumi collect themselves after Volt's first attack on Academia Island and it turns into a nightmarish reunion with their former classmates. The Bofura battleship lands, the silhouettes of the three traitors as Tatsumi Yano's excellent BGM plays. Look at the smug faces of the three -- they're so damn proud of themselves for annihilating their old school, it's disgusting. They boast of their transformations, the things they learned from Bias. The three protagonists are cornered, Kemp becoming the freakishly bizarre Beauty Beast, Mazenda firing upon them with her surgically-attached arsenal. Our heroes stand -- "We've changed a lot in the last two years, too." They transform, and our smug villains are in SHOCK. I love that they were just two minutes ago so self satisfied, but are just so surprised by Yuusuke, Jou and Megumi's becoming Liveman. And I love that the show wasn't afraid to show that the Liveman just weren't quite there yet, that they take more hits in their first battle. They don't just instantly cream the Volt's troops. Yellow Lion gets so fed up with being beat that he goes and gets his mecha!

How different Liveman must have seemed at the time, huh? This different premiere episode, the first Sentai with completely human villains, only the second team to have just three heroes. I grew up with the Bioman through Liveman run, and had only the vaguest idea of teams that came before Bioman from retrospective books, so a male Yellow and female Blue was an interesting change. I thought just having three heroes was so cool...

It didn't dawn on me until I was older that the two murdered friends, Takuji and Mari, would have filled out the five members of Liveman. The power suits of their project, the plans of which ended up being turned into the Liveman suits, featured the logo of a swallow and beagle. So, last year I had a friend draw me what Takuji and Mari's Liveman suits might have looked like, had they survived and become Liveman. The swallow on Takuji's suit is orange, while Mari's beagle mark is brown, so I wanted to switch up the colors Sentai usually uses and have them be...


My friend came up with the weapon designs -- all I knew was that I wanted one of them to have a sai, because I think it's moronic that Green Sai had friggin' boomerangs and not the sai! I also kind of think that Takuji would probably have been leader of the team since he seemed to have his act more together than Yuusuke did at that point.


  1. That's it, you got me convinced to watch Liveman!

  2. You still haven't seen Liveman yet!?! It's a good show! (Well, it gets shaky in its second half, but, still...it's a good show!)

  3. Because I have a lot of shows to watch and review! Adding Liveman on my list back then might kill me! Considering that I am almost done with my backlog of reviews, I guess I will give Liveman a shot.

  4. "all I knew was that I wanted one of them to have a sai, because I think it's moronic that Green Sai had friggin' boomerangs and not the sai!"

    That would've made too much sense. -_-

    I'm with you 100% on Liveman, especially on the premiere. I typically only watch Sentai episodes if I'm marathoning a series, but the first episode of Liveman is one that I regularly just watch whenever.

    I should probably just marathon the who thing again. Heh. I just need to remember to skip 31. Because...really.

    Oh, and the Bimotion Buster music is the coolest.

    1. 31's a dumb episode, but I think I hate that one with the pig school more. People make such a big deal out of 31, though, it surprises me -- I don't think Liveman was making a big ol' political statement with it, it was just supposed to be odd, and it was instead just...dumb.

      I think my favorite "cannon" music is the Rolling Vulcan's, though.

    2. I never even considered it a political statement until a bunch of whiners pointed it out a few years ago. I mean look at old Looney Tunes and you'll see shorts featuring an established character suddenly finding themself taking care of a newborn creature. Maybe they pushed it (way) too far in Liveman.

      Just...in Liveman it was horrible. Then again, I'd rather watch this episode versus a viewing of the movie "Junior". Ahnold--pregnant? Please. -_-

      Little CC hated this episode back then. My tastes in everything have hardly changed I guess. I still like fish sausage every once in awhile, even though I can't get the cool Sentai ones anymore.