Saturday, January 10, 2015

Slice like a ninja, cut like a razor blade

I didn't want my first post of the year to be anything overly negative, so I'll just say...

I won't say something like "I look forward to Ninninger" -- Toei can't make a person that optimistic -- so I'll leave it at...I'm going to try to keep an open mind about Ninninger. I think the suits look nice; the cast didn't make me want to immediately punch their photo the way Tokkyuger's cast did. Cool and interesting villains would be nice, but I don't expect 'em. People are automatically assuming we're getting a crossover with Kakuranger and Hurricaneger, but I'd like Toei to go the extra mile and get Jun'ichi Haruta to come back as Ryu Hoshikawa/Dyna Black, too. Yuki Nagata has recently resurfaced, so don't forget her Haruka/Yellow Mask, either. I'd really like Toei to go crazy and bring back Takumi Tsutsui as Touha Yamaji/Jiraiya -- the guy still loves Jiraiya and looks pretty much the same. (Who'd have thunk, all these years later, that Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, with its nutty ninjas-around-the-world-competing-for-treasure concept, would be the best ninja tokusatsu? Having Masaaki Hatsumi as a co-star and ninjitsu advisor goes a long way, I guess.)

I've been rough on a lot of producer Naomi Takebe's work in the past, and I still think a lot of Go-busters' problems came from her not having her heart in doing a Sentai (having come from the almighty Kamen Rider), but after that show's massive flopping, I feel like she's actually going to be trying this time -- she has something to prove with Ninninger.

I'm a bit skeptical about newbie head writer Kento Shimoyama, though. He's done a couple of scripts that I thought were funny (Goseiger episode 26 and Go-busters episode 26), but he's also done some stuff that I thought was just awful (the Gavan episodes of Go-busters; Go-busters VS Go-busters). I kinda get the impression from his writing that he doesn't even like tokusatsu, that he likes to mock it. His scripts are always poking fun at the show's team or depicting them in bad ways or mocking tropes. But I'll try to keep an open mind. I mean, who thought that the guy who wrote all of the worst standalone episodes of Jetman would go on to write Kuuga and Abaranger? (Arakawa's Jetman episodes...terrible. I'm surprised he didn't write that dumb tomato one.)

Like I said -- Shougo's going to fight against his normal instincts and keep an open mind. I'd like Ninninger to be good -- it's been a rough couple of years for Super Sentai. Not even in the dark days of Magiranger and Boukenger did I think "Maybe Toei should take a break from making Sentai" the way Tokkyuger's made me repeatedly think throughout its run.


  1. I try to be cautiously optimistic for anything. Including Ninninger. I want to really like it as well. But I also don't want to set my expectations too high.

    I knew you liked Jiraiya, but didn't know you loved it THAT much. Cool~ Been thinking of rewatching it again myself. Memory of it has been a bit foggy lately.

    I'm still rather horrified by the fact that Naomi Takebe is chief producer again. I haven't enjoyed any of her shows so far. Sure I liked Gaim, but I felt she kept the show from being as good as it could've been. And it doesn't exactly make me feel excited, knowing we've got a Go-Busters staff reunion (minus Kobayashi) for Ninninger.

    Shimoyama for me is probably the only bit of hope I have for the show. I have no idea how he'll do. He may or may not do well as a head writer. I am very curious to find out what he'll cook up though. I'm not sure what he thinks of tokusatsu, but his style of comedic writing is certainly rather mean-spirited. Which I don't think is inherently bad, but I can understand how it could rub some people the wrong way. His resume so far has been a rocky one, but I do think he holds potential for a comedic writer. We'll see if he succeeds or not with Ninninger.

    Yeah, Go-Busters, Kyoryuger, and ToQger have kinda been the 3 worst years in a row for Sentai imo. Would love something to hopefully shake the franchise up into a better direction.

    1. "And it doesn't exactly make me feel excited, knowing we've got a Go-Busters staff reunion (minus Kobayashi) for Ninninger."

      it's just producer Takebe, director and writer aren't the same from Go-Busters.

    2. Director Shojiro Nakazawa I know is returning for Ninninger. And Kento Shimoyama did work on Go-Busters as secondary writer.

      I think the notable difference in the staff is that Takebe is being helped by another producer named Gou Wakabayashi (this is not Gou Wakamatsu) this time.

      I do hope the staff can do better this time around.~

    3. Takebe's still the senior, though, and will have way more say than Wakabayashi. Also: Wakabayashi is the sub-producer of Tokkyuger under Utsunomiya, so...that doesn't give one too much hope.

  2. I just want a good and enjoyable Sentai again. Like yeah that It has problems like all the other ones but still offers good stories and lovable characters. I honestly havent finished any Sentai since Gokai, it was like Go-busters? 30 (THIRTY!) episodes before I realized that I hated it, Kyoryuger? 15 or 20 episodes of pure cartoonish crap, and with To-qger I didnt even bother (not that im missing much apparently). So yeah, my hopes for Nininger are very low but I really wnat a Sentai to enjoy again!

    1. There's a couple of times that I thought that Toei should have taken a break from making Sentai after Gokaiger. Gokaiger ain't perfect, but it would have been a nice note to end on.

      For me, Go-busters would have been easier to forgive if they had just canceled it after episode 30. The show was boring, but I had started to enjoy it once Jin showed up and thought that the mini-finale in 29 and 30, while rushed, would have still been a good place to stop. Instead, they devote the rest of the show to silly filler and I think it ended up really painting a negative picture of the show as a whole.

      Kyoryuger I didn't enjoy at all, and Tokkyuger's been a total waste of airtime. Sad thing is? When Go-busters disappointed and Kyoryuger stunk, I at least had Akibaranger. I think someone at Toei was furious and jealous that Akibaranger was enjoyed more than their regular shows and THAT'S why they stopped making it.

  3. Feh. After giving up midway through Gokaiger, I realized that Toei has farmed the land until it was barren with Sentai.

    Luckily there is a fantastic back catalog of shows. : ]

  4. I remain semi-optimistic each year still.

    I've found ToQ semi-enjoyable, as much as I loath admitting it, since it stems purely from how much I absolutely loathed Kyoryuger - easily the series I've enjoyed least and squandered dinosaur thematics and bringing back the Zyu cast. ToQ is still poor, but at least it's not squandered potential and has far less annoying bells and whistles and hoots and painful CGI.

    That said, ToQ is still dripping in a lot of the problems I've had with modern sentai, and I constantly worry it's an intentional direction that the franchise will continue to go in and not just a phase that will wear off or intentionally be moved away from.

    A shame, since I'd always hoped Sentai would be a continual source of enjoyment unlike Kamen Rider, which I'd long since realised wasn't in my best interest to continue watching, it had just deviated too far from what I enjoyed.

  5. Wait, Yuki Nagata has resurfaced? I'm so excited! I wonder what she's up to?

  6. (it's lazycoconut off HJU/Twitter, hello!)

    I'm not sure that taking a break would really help the franchise. It would need to be at least ten years to see any major difference in the pool of available staff (Kobayashi, Takebe, Utsunomiya, Sanjo, Ohmori on endless repeat) and, with the time slot lost, getting it back on the air could be difficult. There would probably also be a negative impact on Kamen Rider and PreCure. Combined with some of Toei's recent horrid attempts to revive their and/or Ishinomori's past heroes, yeah, I'm not optimistic.

    Ending it all with Gokaiger might have been better, though. Before someone jumps down my throat about how crap they think Gokaiger was, I'm saying this on account of its being the big anniversary series plus the factor of past actors wanting to get involved after the earthquake/tsunami - like it or not, it would have been a high note to end on. I remember a few people suggesting this as Gokaiger was finishing and others responding with "blah blah Gokai fanboy, ending the franchise now would be madness, it's going to go in an amazing new direction." Well, let's be honest, it hasn't, has it?

  7. Shougo PLEASE PLEASE tell us of Yuki Nagata!!! Do you have any other pictures or information about her resurfacing???

    1. Yuki Nagata was in Sousei no Tenma Cafe & bar in last december, along with Hissei "Blue Mask" Hirota and the great suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa.

      The picture´s link:

      The bar´s blog has a lot of pictures from toku actors:

    2. What's funny is, I had posted on HJU something like "They need to find Yuki Yagata for Ninninger! Where is Yuki Nagata?!?" and the very next day, she hit that place.

      Now all we need is a picture of Kanako Maeda.