Thursday, February 14, 2013
Wishful Casting: Shaider Edition
The Space Sheriffs... While I enjoy the shows, they never really ranked up as high as shows like Juspion, Spielban or Metalder do -- Gavan is a fun show, Sharivan has a little more going on, so those two are great shows, but there's just something about Shaider...
Main writer Shouzo Uehara wrote every episode of Shaider -- probably not a good idea, and one reason why the show can seem so much weaker than its two predecessors. When Gavan and Sharivan had low-plot episodes, they made it up by letting Kenji Ohba and Hiroshi Watari cut loose with some cool action. And that's where I think Shaider went wrong -- I don't want to sound like I'm speaking ill of the dead, because late Shaider actor Hiroshi Tsuburaya is a pretty good actor and I like him, but he wasn't an action guy. And his casting and Shaider's (lack of) action sticks out even more when Juspion and Spielban went on to again cast JAC stars and went back to featuring fun action scenes. So, when Shaider had a weak episode, they would just cover it up with a bunch of seemingly drug-induced, Lynchian weirdness.
I have no idea why they wanted to go with a non-JAC lead for Shaider -- writer Uehara goes back with the Tsuburaya family and recommended Hiroshi, but I think Toei was already looking at regular actors since Jun "Poe" Yoshida auditioned for the role of Dai/Shaider. I think having another JAC talent would have really helped the show out, and I think the best candidate would have been...
Jun'ichi Haruta. C'mon, it's the logical choice! Ohba went from two Sentai heroes to Gavan, Haruta needed to go from two Sentai heroes to Shaider. Had he been cast as Shaider, he most likely wouldn't have gone on to play Metal Villain Mad Gallen in Juspion, but I think he might have gotten more out of playing a lead like Shaider. Like I said, Tsuburaya is fine, but his not being a JAC guy just makes him and the show stick out.
Or, you know what, Toei? Just have the balls to make Naomi Morinaga the one who transforms.