Monday, November 7, 2016
Super Sentai spirit, crushed again
Over the weekend, the latest Super Sentai Spirits concert was held. The tenth edition of these concerts, dating back to 2004, lands on the franchise's 40th anniversary, and sees franchise favorite Daisuke Shima participating for the first time, performing his Liveman themes.
These concerts started out as just one show, held every other year. They eventually started doing them yearly, the set list growing so much they had to split the concerts into TWO main shows a year -- one covering the 20th century shows, one covering the 21st. They've only released the first two concerts, from 2004 and 2006, on DVD. It's surprising they decided to release that second one, because it had virtually the same set list as the first one; the biggest of the new additions were the Fiveman themes, and the themes for the two newest shows that aired in between both concerts, Magiranger and Boukenger.
I kinda blame them releasing this second concert for why they haven't released one since, and yet...the concerts have grown. They've gotten more of the older performers over the years (Denjiman's Ken Narita appeared once; Ohranger's Kentarou Hayami and Megaranger's Naoto Fuuga began to make frequent appearances.) Not to mention we've had TEN years of new shows to add, so the set list would be quite different from the first two.
Not to mention...the upgrade in recording equipment. Or that there's a new video format that's taken over since 2006 (Blu-ray would make it easier to slap on both the 20th and 21st Century concerts...it would fit one disc and they could have jacked the price up to whatever they wanted.)
But...they didn't film the latest concerts, either. I thought for sure that, with a name like Shima's and considering the popularity of Liveman and his Sentai character, they would have filmed at least 2016's 20th Century concert. (There's a couple of rare instances where they'll film portions of one of these concerts to air on TV or pay-per-view, but they didn't film this one -- period.) It's a big mistake, in my opinion. They waste time filming and releasing all of those lackluster Masked Rider x Super Sentai Live & Shows -- which ARE pretty much the same damn thing over and over again, except for the latest crap (it's always Reeky and the Rider Chips, Kamen Rider Girls, latest crap) -- but have skipped taping and selling about a dozen Super Sentai Spirits concerts, which are the superior concerts.
What I like about the Super Sentai Spirits concerts is the atmosphere. It's a smaller crowd, it's an adult crowd, the performers are performing for adults (not dumbing it down or sugaring it up for a crowd of kids) and there's the crowd participation that's fun. (One thing I love at the Super Hero Spirits concerts: when Ichirou Mizuki performs the Zubat OP, the crowd yells out "Asuka!" at the moment Hayakawa does in the credits. It's hilariously awesome.) They're a totally different feel from the Live & Shows or seeing the performers do glorified karaoke on the terrible Anipara program or bootleg performances from them performing in a foreign country where the crowd is singing along and drowning out the dude they've paid to see perform the song they can't even hear because they're singing over him.
Oh, and another thing. The Rider/Sentai Live & Shows are HEAVILY Rider biased. The Rider portion of the concert gets to leisurely perform the entire song, while the Sentai guys have to look bad by rushing through a medley of just the TV size themes. (This year's Live & Show's going to be a mess with Project.R covering TV size versions of ALL 40 Sentai OP themes. Really, no matter what your opinion is of any of the Project.R performers, they all sound bad being so rushed at these medleys.)
The Live & Show's usually all of the same Sentai people -- Project.R, meaning it's going to be nothing but Hurricaneger up through the newest show. Once in a while, they'll get an older guest -- one year had Kushida showing up to do Gavan (of fucking course) to plug one of the shitty new Gavan movies, while the latest concert inexplicably had Yukio Yamagata to do the Gaoranger OP. I was at least hoping, since Daisuke Shima just came out of retirement, that they'd get him for this year's Masked Rider/Super Sentai Live & Show's bonus non-Project.R guest, but, nope. It's Halko Momoi to squeak out the Akibaranger OP.
I was really wanting to see Shima, Hayami and Fuuga. There's also the fear that some of the older performers are going to retire. I thought the tenth concert for the 40th anniversary would be perfect to film and release, but the fools didn't. And I kinda don't expect them to ever film them again. It's like people have taken the various "Spirits" concerts -- Super Hero Spirits, Super Anisong Spirits, Super Sentai Spirits -- for granted. They've done far more concerts than they've released, and it's not like it's something they've always done. These things really started up with regularity in 1999, so it's a newish concept that everyone kind of assumes is just a thing that's always happening and filmed and takes for granted.