When news of Goseiger started hitting the net, the early press materials described Eri/Gosei Pink as the "elder sister of the team" -- that she was smart, reliable, who the rest of the team looked to. You know, everything that the Eri in the show wasn't.
Also: Shoko Nakagawa had been making posts on her blog, cryptic messages that her "dream was finally coming true." As has been well-documented, Nakagawa is a huge Sentai fan, a big Pink nerd, and her dream is to play Pink, and she's auditioned several times. She came close in Dekaranger, and many assumed that she was too old for Toei's liking after that show, but Nakagawa and her fans didn't give up... Well, until around Goseiger, that is. Goseiger was six years after Dekaranger, and Toei DOES like to cast their shows ridiculously young now. But...hey, what do these posts on her blog mean? And Eri IS said to be the eldest one of the team. Could it be...does this mean...is Nakagawa finally a Sentai Pink!?!
Cut to the cast reveal. Rika Satou, a fairly known idol who was also well known for being a dunce on quiz shows, is announced as Eri/Pink. Not only that, but she kind of looks Nakagawa-y a bit. A little. Maybe. Very ear-y. People were also making a big deal that the actresses cast as the Gosei heroines were actually older than the guys, with Satou being just such a geezery 23. (Seriously, 23, people? I know she was cast after a long run of 16 year old idiot heroines, but c'mon. And, besides: Nakagawa is only two years older than Satou, so it's not like she was just sooooooo much older than you expect these cast members to be. Also: if someone who's pushing 30 like Tokkachi can be cast, despite being one of the worst actors in the history of the world, then they could have made a special exception for casting an "older" heroine.) I mean, isn't it possible that Toei would have cast a then-25 year old Nakagawa as this supposedly "elder sister" that held the team together?
OK, Satou's cast, whatever. And from the very start, all of the early info of Eri doesn't match -- they obviously wrote for Satou, because Eri quickly became such an airhead. But, hey, maybe they can still cast Nakagawa for 2011's show, the big anniversary one, right? (Wrong.)
Shortly after the Gokaiger-Goseiger crossover movie, Satou basically went off the grid -- nobody heard from her, her page was removed from her agency's site, she never updated any of her blogs or whatever. There was a bit of a scandal, blind items from news reports about a well known idol who was arrested for drug possession, and this idol was connected to a talent who, it was eventually revealed, had yakuza ties. People more knowledgable about Satou pretty much connected this blind item to her, especially with the dates of her "vanishing" matching up, the talent in question likely being the guy heavily involved with the quiz show she regularly appeared -- who also happened to retire early around the same time as Satou. (I know this sounds crazy, but Google it.) There's only rumors and gossip about where Satou is now, mainly that she's no longer in the entertainment industry and is working in a restaurant in Osaka. Just...getting started in the entertainment industry, had regular gigs, and just GONE.
So here's my kooky theory. What if Nakagawa HAD been cast as Eri? Her "dream came true." Only, tough shit, here's some idol who's maybe favored by the yakuza who wants the role, so take a hike, nerd! And that's why we didn't get Nakagawa as Gosei Pink.
It's sad, man. It just doesn't make sense to me why Toei wouldn't jump at the chance to get someone like Nakagawa -- who has quite a following, obviously -- to be in their show. I know they're tightwads and want to cast people THEY can launch, but...that hasn't always been the way and it shouldn't always be the way. I think Nakagawa would have been even better in Gokaiger, though. Holy crap, imagine a fan of her level getting to transform into EVERY Pink. And it could have been special casting the way Liveman cast Daisuke Shima and Megumi Mori as a way to celebrate Super Sentai's tenth series anniversary. Why did Toei pass that up? And NOW it's probably too late for her to ever be a Pink. And even when Akibaranger basically devoted an episode to Shoko Nakagawa, Toei was STILL too cheap to get her, just instead using a poor stand-in.
|"Oi, kono yarou! Fire that nerd and put this dame in your show! YAROU, ARGH!"|