Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Commanders, Mentors and Allies of Warriors

Rubberbabybuggybumper -- ha! I bet you didn't expect this curveball. Instead of doing another color, I'm going to talk about the commanders, mentors and (mostly robot) allies of the Sentai teams.

The Sentai mentors come in many shapes and sizes. Some shows remember Sentai's link to the military, and have them be basically army commanders. Sometimes, they're goofy robots who annoy you. Growing up, I had the likes of Changeman's Ibuki and Maskman's Sugata, who I consider to be two of the best commanders. I never saw Magu or Koron or Peebo as commanders, but just allies or helpers -- the Reds of those shows seemed more in charge. To me, the commander is a stern older dude. (My family misheard and didn't know the phrase when we watched these shows -- so instead of "chokan," we called these characters "joekans." Hey, that's not bad for a bunch of honkeys who didn't know Japanese.) A good joekan is crucial to a show. Here's my thoughts on 'em. (And they're annoying robot stand-ins, too.)


Gonpachi Edogawa

Honestly? Never really liked the guy. The whole "pretends to be a dunce, but is secretly the commander" thing kind of hurts the character, but it's also the actor -- the guy just acts like he's really, really tired or something. He makes him seem like a lazy boss from a sitcom, not a dependable military commander. How did the Goranger survive 84 episodes with this guy's leadership?

Daisuke Kujirai (Joker)

I like actor Hiroshi Tanaka, even though I've seen him play a ton of villains, so it's weird to see him be head of the heroes here. He's not given much to do, sadly, but is pretty cool in his last episode before being replaced by Big One -- infiltrating the bad guys' lair by dressing like one of the grunts. It's like what Big One ends up doing frequently, so it's sad they waited so long to give Joker something to do.


Tetsuzan Kurama

The Shogun. This guy's awesome. No-nonsense, stern, without a doubt in charge, knows his shit. He's the classic Sentai mentor, but actually does seem like a Shogun of old, so it's awesome that they got chambara star Chiyonosuke Azuma to play him. And it's awesome that they gave him a nice, big, epic sword fight showdown with Masashi Ishibashi's villain at the end of the series. (It's also a funny coincidence that, in such a pro-Japan show, that Azuma looks like one of the dudes on a yen bill.)

IC the Denji Dog

I'm an animal lover, so I think this is cute and all, but...what the hell, man? It doesn't make sense to me for Denjiman to have a (talking, robot) dog commander. (Is it an homage to Satomi Hakkenden?) You'd think that belongs more to an animal team. Whatever.

I want YOU for Taiyou Sentai!

Daizaburou Arashiyama

I like actor Shin Kishida a lot, he's awesome. But Arashiyama is probably one of two of the most overrated Sentai mentor/commanders of the franchise. If not for Kishida, I think he'd be kind of forgettable. Kishida deserved better.

Hideki "Who?" Hongou

Seriously, like, the most forgettable and useless of the commanders. He's there for the first two episodes and splits until the final episodes. Like "Here's your powers, I entrust you to the Comboy, see ya!"

Kyuutarou Yumeno

I love Dynaman, but Yumeno's always been weird to me. I like the character, how he embodies the show's dream theme. I like that they try to give him some importance by the end, in the villains trying to exploit one of his scientific discoveries. The problem for me is actor Junshi Shimada. The guy's just kind of bland and he always seems hammered to me -- look at that pink face. This was the character Shin Kishida should have played (had he not passed away shortly after Sunvulcan).

Peebo

I don't usually like counting the robot mentors. They're all mostly goofy to me, seeming more like assistants rather than mentors, guides or commanders. Peebo always bothered me as a kid, and I still have some of that feeling towards him. You watch the show and he's not exactly cutesy or overly offensive, but...eh, maybe it's the design or the voice.


Ibuki, the Chokan of Chokans

The best. He takes the best things about mentors past and is given such a strong arc and motivation that he beats what the shows do with most mentors. None of it would work as well without actor Jun Fujimaki, who was a real get for the show and took the role seriously, and with such an experience in the entertainment industry brought the character a professionalism, experience and wisdom.

We meet Ibuki and he's a hard-ass drill sargeant from hell. Move over, R. Lee Ermey, because your schtick is kinda comedic, anyway. Ibuki's the army instructor you don't want to piss off. Nobody escapes his wrath, and he wants nothing less than better than the best from you. So, his soldiers are pushed to the brink and kinda hate him for it, but there's a reason to his method and madness. (And I like that Changeman flips what was a Sentai cliche at that point; beginning with Goranger, they liked to have the commander/mentor feign this persona of incompetence, only to reveal that they're the hard-ass in charge, to everyone's surprise. Well, in Changeman, it's flipped so Ibuki is the hard-ass, but reveals himself to actually be thoughtful, considerate, kind, humane...much to everyone's surprise.)

Ibuki's so hard on the Changeman -- and so knowledgeable about space and aliens -- because he himself is secretly an alien, one whose planet was destroyed by Gozma, one who has seen countless planets conquered by Gozma. So, he knows what the Earth is facing, and isn't playing around in preparing his soldiers and getting them to harness and use the best offense they have against the Gozma, which is the Earth Force. I love those final episodes, when things are looking so bad for all of the characters, when Gozma is just on an all-out attack, that Ibuki steps in, fighting alongside the Changeman in his alien form. Ibuki brought Sentai commanders onto a new level, and was the prototype for the likes of Kaku and Doggy Kruger.

Magu

I like that Magu's a security guard robot of the Flash planet, and that the Flash aliens program him to help the team, but...again, he's just kind of cutesy, and Jin always seemed to me more of the head honcho. Jin's the mature one, the one with the answers, the team's guide. Magu's basically a secretary relaying info he Googles back at the Round Base. Sara could have whipped up the technology to have that transmitted directly to the Prism Flash. Was Magu needed?


Sanjurou Sugata

It's funny about Sugata. For a while there, he was my favorite commander. He has just such a presence and knowledge and really embodies all that you expect from a mentor. Hayato Tani's awesome...but, you watch the show, and Sugata's not in much, due to Tani's busy schedule. It's a shame, because you can sense they wanted Sugata to be more involved, but there's stretches of episodes he's barely in, and he's confined to base a lot, which just seems to me like they brought Tani in to shoot and got him out as fast as possible.

Sugata whips the team into shape, he guides them without holding their hands or seeming excessively harsh. I like when he bails them out of a jam by lending his own Aura Power to an attack of theirs, that he's spiritual -- the yang to Zeba's yin -- and anticipated the Tube. I kinda don't like that his background was saving a girl from being pulled into the ground in the exact same way as Mio was -- something revealed just an episode or two after X1 Mask had a similar background story -- but what can you do?

And, to be honest, I always thought the Sugata Racing cover was just about the strangest choice the writers could make for his cover. Just...wha? Don't be cutesy and make his cover, like, a yoga class or meditation temple, but...racing? And force Takeru to become a racer to maintain that cover, when it's Kenta who dreamt about being a racer? Further weirdness!

Naming him Sanjurou kind of makes me think of what Toshiro Mifune as a commander would be like...if Sentai could have afforded him, and if he would have done it. Maybe it was a pipe-dream of the Maskman staff to have Mifune as Sugata?


Koron

One of the few robot helpers that I like. While a nice combination of good suit acting, voice acting and design helps, Koron's just written better than Peebo or Magu. They give her a couple of those classic robot staple stories of trying to humanize her, best represented by the episode when Yuusuke coldly dismisses her advice and expertise, only to come around to realizing she's right. In that eipsode, she also places herself in danger for him, taking a severe hit from Kemp, making Yuusuke realize that, hey, maybe Koron does have feelings and a life, and that he does care for her as much as his human teammates.


Professor Dazai

Dazai, like the show he's in, often falls through the cracks, is misunderstood and under-appreciated. While I feel like he was kind of inspired by Doc Brown, I don't think Dazai is as weird and flaky-seeming as Doc could be. He's supposed to be somewhat eccentric, but actor Fujita Okamoto never makes him too weird or unreliable. He's solid back-up for the Turboranger. He's not stern, but not a pushover. He's smart and you could count on him to help out with advice or a new weapon. The show didn't use him as much as it could have, but I think that's because he's basically co-leader along with Shiron. (And Yamaguchi-sensei plays an important role, too! The show has three bosses.)

And here's where I have to go on a mini-rant. Dazai is shown and said to be a car nut. He loves cars, collects them, and is shown to make model cars. He has cars on the brain, so he designs the Turboranger suits, weapons and mechas around cars. That's more of an explanation than a lot of toku does for its aesthetic theme, yet Turboranger -- still, all these years later -- is always singled out. "Why are they cars? What sense does that make? How do you get cars out of fairies?" Well, why the fuck does samurai and warrior based Riders in Gaim wear fucking fruit? You're OK with that, you spent thousands on the Figuarts for all of those ugly fuckers, but Turboranger being cars is too much for you?

Turboranger's suits are a mixture of magic and technology -- not the first time Sentai's done it, certainly not the last. It's the fairy magic powering Dazai's suits, which he just happened to make resemble cars. You know what's weirder to me? The government in JAKQ deciding to have their dead cyborg spies dress like trading cards. And I know Carranger is often intentionally stupid, but...c'mon, they could have done better than car constellations. You're OK with Kurumagic, people? What the hell, man? Don't always give that show a pass just because it's goofy. Gingaman also has wonkier powers and themes.

And I have no idea if this is intentional -- I don't think it's the same in Japan, but whatever -- but I like to look at the car theme as just going along with the teenage theme of the show. Learning to drive, getting a car, represents growing up and freedom, it's an important thing for a teen. Maybe there's also some meaning behind these car and machine-armed youths versus ancient demons, kind of an industrialization versus the supernatural theme at work. *shrugs*

Turboranger being car-themed made sense to me. I never had a problem with it. But that's me, someone who took a liking to Turboranger from the first moment I saw it. It's just me and Kenta Sato out there waving the Turboranger banner.

Anyway, I like Dazai, so it's always a bummer to see actor the likable Fujita Okamoto, after playing the kindhearted Dazai, return to Sentai as Tatsuya's asshole dad in Timeranger.


Shiron

A character who could have been cloying -- although people act like she was -- but is really just such a sweet, good-natured, pure character, played perfectly by an immensely likable actress. (Mayumi Ohmura was pretty young at the time, too, which could have easily meant a weak performance, but she's perfect for the part.)

With Shiron being the last of her kind, doubled with Ohmura's performance, you can't help but just like Shiron and worry about her. Forget clapping for Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell was kind of a little shit -- but when Shiron put herself in harm's way to protect a powerless Turboranger, THAT had me worried.

I like Shiron, she's the heart of the show. If people didn't charge $400 for her doll, I'd probably buy it. (Don't laugh at me, you have Sailor Moon merchandise!)

Wait, it's EARTHER G6...? Get ready to edit Wikipedia, all you guys who insist it's GORENGER just because Toei spells it that way.

Arthur G6

I don't mind Arthur. I like voice-actress Rika Matsumoto, I like the design, and Arthur is actually important in that he protected the Hoshikawa siblings on that terrible day Zone broke up their family and was responsible for raising them at least until Gaku and Kazumi became old enough to start caring for the others. It makes Arthur seem like part of the family, and you care more about him than you do most other robots.

Aya Odagiri

I never liked her as much as most Jetman fans do. I don't DISLIKE her. I think the actress is too young to pull the character off. (It would probably surprise most people to learn that Mikio Maki was only 29 -- just a few years older than Hawk's or Condor's actors.) She tried a little too hard to convey a strong sense of authority and no-nonsenseness, and it just came across as forced to me because of the actress's young age. She seemed like she was an accidental commander the way four out of five of the Jetman were accidental senshi. They just definitely needed an older actress.

Barza

Barza's kind of useless, isn't he? He doesn't do much to help the team that Geki or Goushi doesn't already do, he's not the greatest magician, but worst of all...can be a complete asshole. The way he and Gnome act when that kid's trying to awaken Burai is something out of a latter-day Inoue script, behavior expected by a psychotic like Kusaka.

I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but I never liked actor Jun Tatara's schtick of always seeming super weak and decrepit. And there's something about his acting style that makes him seem like a non-actor, so he's kinda weird, and Zyuranger already had too much off-putting weirdness.

Barza's best moment? When Power Rangers used a brief shot of him pretending like it was a pre-decapitated Zordon.

Kaku

(CCLemon99, skip to the next entry.)

The other overrated mentor I was talking about. It's like...the Japanese fans overrate Arashiyama, but everyone else overrates Kaku. I always thought he was a Sugata knockoff, but without the charm and presence of Hayato Tani. Kaku also comes across as more of a know-it-all prick. He treats the Dairanger horribly, and then there's his harebrained idea of joining the Gorma, which predictably blows up in his face and we're supposed to feel bad for him, but we don't. He also looks like he smells like stale crab meat wonton farts (if you've had crab meat wontons, you know how that smells) and acts like those farts don't smell.

Sandayuu? The Three Deus Ex Machina?

Kakuranger's kind of mentorless, isn't it? Sandayuu is too flighty for most of the show, and missing for a large chunk of it. The retconning of the mecha, where they're made to be Daizyujin Jr., kind of takes the role of mentor. I kind of don't like that, you know? They just totally made up at the last minute that the mecha were deities.

Naoyuki Miura

I love that it's Miyauchi playing the mentor here. It's a homecoming, he's more at home here than he was in the Metal Heroes he was mentor of. While the rumor that the part was written for Akiji Kobayashi fascinates me, you can't go wrong with Miyauchi. Miura, as written, feels like an afterthought for the most part, with Miyauchi doing all of the heavy lifting, but Miyauchi is good at that. If taking an underwritten part and making it awesome were an Olympic event, Miyauchi would have Gold Medals flying out of his ass like pachinko balls.

Like the Ohranger heroes, he's an actor who was deserving of a better, more serious show. (But of all of the Ohranger performers, Miyauchi is the best when it comes to bouncing back and forth between Ohranger's seriousness and goofiness. You know Miyauchi has a blast playing comedy.)

Miura's stand-out moment for me, though, is in Carranger VS Ohranger. The movie's perfect in having Miura playing it straight training the goofball Carranger team, but you can tell Miyauchi is having a lot of fun.


Dappu, dappu

Another cutesy character with the potential to be annoying, but Dappu is just fun and likable, dappu. Dappu has that tragic backstory which doesn't bring Dappu down, and you gotta love Dappu's spoofing a mentor character dying to spur on the team in the first episode, dappu.

Eikichi Kubota (aka Jouji Costanza)

Can'tstandya! No, really. I can't stand Kubota. A lot of that is actor Satoru Saitou, who I hate in just about everything. (The Ohranger episodes he's in are already pretty heinous, so throw him into the mix, and maybe you'll see why I think Ohranger is an atrocity.) I know Kubota's supposed to be kind of frustrated with who he has to work with as Megaranger, but Saitou plays it as being a judgmental, condescending ass. And I don't buy he ever comes to accept them or that he cares about his former friend being the villain. I just don't like this George Costanza-looking motherfucker (and I like the actual George Costanza!). He's a weak link in a show whose cast I happen to really like.

Mohku

Back in the day, people poked fun at Mohku. But he makes sense, with Gingaman's hippy, nature-loving spirit. A magical tree that keeps tabs on things by communicating with other trees...shut up, I like it! And voice-actor Rokurou Naya is perfect, giving the character such a soothing calmness and wisdom. My main complaint is...Toei, you could have done a better prop. You know you could. Mohku's not all that detailed, and he looks like something a kid made in art class and got a C on. (OK, D+.) It's a really cheap-looking and primitive set piece. Thank goodness the character and actor come through and save it all, though.

Mondo Tatsumi

Maybe the worst father in toku history? And I'm keeping in mind Shin Kamen Rider's dad, who secretly used him as a guinea pig, and the Gouraiger's dad, who was INSANE. Who else? Yellow Mask's mean dad who didn't let her have toys. White Swan's parents who were classist, condescending assholes. Burai's dad, who was a crazy reneger. (Here, you can have my son, Yamoto Prince Yoshinori Okamoto. Wait, how dare you take my son! Give him back and make my family, who has no claim, the Yamato royalty! WTF?) Ryu Ranger's dad, who was an HK knock-off of Darth Vader. Time Red's dad, an elitist, selfish prick. Abare Blue's dad, an elitist, selfish prick. Aka Ninger's dad's dad, an insufferable asshat. Emperor Aton, who openly wished his son dead. Doctor Man, whose son denounced him as a demon. Shadam, sadistic spouse and child beater. Jin Keisuke's dad, who was a distant, manipulative, judgmental, absentee jerk. The nutsack who sold Koutarou and Nobuhiko to Golgom. Otoya Kurenai, obnoxious idiot deluxe.

Just a whole list of terrible fathers in not only toku, but superhero stories in general. And Mondo's really up there. He walks out on his family and comes back one day and thinks THEY'RE the assholes for not jumping right on board with his insane GoGoFive plans. And he's never apologetic, he's always just smirking and self-satisfied and never feels like he's in the wrong. "Hey, kids! You haven't seen me in a decade. Well, that's because I've been building you all this stuff to use to fight against these dangerous demon dudes. Oh, yeah! One more thing -- I'm expecting you to fight against these dangerous demon dudes. I haven't seen you in a decade, but I assume you're well-adjusted and happy enough with life having two asshole parents who walked out on you that you won't mind risking your lives. Toodles!"

That's Mondo if you look at him logically and realistically. I don't know how, but actor Mike Maki makes him likable, and a kook, so you're kind of like "Oh, Mondo, you scamp."

Ryuuya

Asshole extraordinaire. People like to pretend like Ryuuya is this deep character, realistic in his flawed shades of grey, but I think he's just a sloppy, nonsensical mess of a bad writing complimentary of master of sloppy, nonsensical messes of bad writing Yasuko Kobayashi.

Ooh, Ryuuya, this shady guy who we're going to be cheap and just use the awful guy playing Time Red. He's in the shadows for most of the show while we think up what to do with him. Ooh, he's a descendant of the Red, and is coming to take back the powers! Ooh, he's pulling strings and is up to shady shit to ensure his safety. Ooh, one of our heroes kills him. Just...screw this guy. He made no sense. We're told he's so cold-hearted that he rewrites history in order to have people die in his place*, but he's just such a softy that he feels bad for the Timeranger and repeatedly saves them by sending their mecha, even though they need to die to further his agenda? What? Kobayashi Bullshit. Stupid.

(*I think that's an interesting sounding, villainous character, but Kobayashi sure couldn't pull it off.)

Tetom

I used to be hard on Tetom, because she's not exactly the strongest commander, she's not what you picture when you're thinking of a Sentai commander, but she's not supposed to be. She's supposed to be ethereal, and a hippy. She guides the team in her own way, she's not the military commander you expect. And the actress does a great job conveying all of that. I just kind of feel like...Tetom was meant to do and be more, but the show kind of lost itself in shenanigans and Silver trying and failing to be cool and brooding.


Mugensai Hinata

A cool hard-ass when he's himself, kind of a joke when he's a hamster. (What's that about anyway -- a kind of nod to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?) I like him, but not the team he's in charge of, so that sucks.

Oboro Hinata

She's the tech-head to Mugensai's more traditional style leader. But I always thought she was really funny and amusing and that actress Shoko Takada was pretty good. I liked that Oboro was smart and played by her own rules and always bailed the team out with a new invention. Sucky Bandai promotion, maybe, and it made the Hurricaneger look even more incompetent than they already did, but, hey, it made Oboro look good.

Asuka/Abare Black

Stay tuned for a post about the Black Warriors...maybe.

This one's for all the ladies.

Doggy Kruger/Deka Master

I still feel kind of torn about Doggy. I like him, I think he's awesome, but...I still kinda wish he was played by an actor in prosthetics or something. It's a bit of a shame that the coolest character on the show is a fuzzy piece of blue felt. Says a lot about the Dekaranger cast, eh? (And, no, Power Rangers fans, stop pretending like SPD's Doggy looked better. He didn't. He looked like an alligator and sounded like Dave Coulier's terrible impression of Jack Nicholson.)

Mandora Boy

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa-haaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAA! Ho...ho...hooo...whew...HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Mr. Voice

Stupid. Useless. A waste. And then to top it all off...Mr. Voice is secretly Alex Mack or something? Wha? Heh -- you just suck all around, don't you, Boukenger? Do you have a single redeeming quality?

Master Sha-fu

Sha-fu's OK, and I'm an animal lover and all, but...I don't know if it's the design or the voice-acting, but something puts me off of him. I don't dislike him, but he's not near the top of my list of awesome mentors or anything. A kung-fu cat mentor should be cooler than a dog cop, but Sha-fu ain't no Doggy Kruger. I've always preferred...


Miki Masaki

Kind of a return of an Oboro, but more serious (Oboro's sarcastic) and more kick-ass (Oboro's a techie, not a fighter). I like actress Kazue Itou and think she just brings such a cool presence to the character.

Another thing for if Shougo Ran Things: Sentai shows would be exploited in novel or comic form the way franchises like Star Wars or Star Trek is. The best shows have these little pockets and roads not traveled that would fit a novel perfectly. For Miki, it would be her past as one of Sha-fu's previous pupils alongside Gou and Rio. There's cool stories that could be told about that original triangle of Sha-fu's.

Bomper

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


Hikoma Kusakabe/Jii

Not really a mentor. Is he the first human who's basically the Peebo? Tono's in charge. Jii's the hand of the king. (The king shits, the hand wipes.) I like Jii a lot, though. Goro Ibuki's cool, and a veteran of a bunch of jidaigeki stuff. I like that he's the voice of reason for Tono and the disciplinarian for the others. I like his loyalty to Tono once he and Takeru are ousted as the kagemushas. Jii could have been given more. I would have liked to see him in the final battle or something like that.

Master Head

Typical Goseiger -- guy just seemed like an afterthought. Like "Oh, yeah, we need a mentor guy, that's what the other shows do. How about a giant one of their ugly, ugly henshin devices? OK, what can we name him? Gosei God? Nah. How about something that sounds like a mansion's commode?"

"Jiro, I gotta take a piss."

"Go down the hall, take a left -- you'll find the master head. Have a good piss, buddy!"

Takeshi Kuroki

I never liked Hideyo Sakaki in the stuff I saw him in prior to Go-busters, and I didn't like Kuroki. They wanted SO BAD for him to be a cool, throwback bad-ass, and he just wasn't. He was such a flop, man. It takes more than just forcefully whispering commands to seem like a cool, in-control commander. It was great when Jin came along and put a kick-me sign on Kuroki.

Torin

As with everything else in Kyoryuger, Torin's design put the "fucking ugly" in fugly. He was a dick. He wasn't cool. He was a wannabe Kaku, and didn't come close. (And look what I thought about Kaku!) Voice-actor was weak and tried too hard.

Conductor

Painfully unfunny. This actor acts like he never acted before. He's just terrible, really reeking of "This is a kids' show and I don't have to make any effort." Wrong! And that's why you suck. You're no Owner, man.

Tsumuji Igasaki

This character could be more sympathetic with a performer who was decent and likable. He's been overlooked, underestimated, treated like crap, but still does his best to guide the team. Instead you have a guy you hate because the actor is really silent film-like, and he looks like that Michael Gelman turdball.

Yoshitaka Igasaki

HATE this guy. Seriously hate him. I couldn't stand him on B-Fighter, either, but at least there he's just boring. Here, he's the most obnoxious character imaginable, a sociopath who just likes fucking with the minds and lives of his family and followers. He's supposed to be funny, quirky and endearing, but is far from it. Where's a shogun to command him to commit seppuku when you need one?

[If you're inspired by this post to write a similar one of your own and/or to paraphrase/quote any parts of it, first off thanks for liking it so much! But also please credit my blog and link back to this post.]

28 comments:

  1. Hi Shogo. Great post there on the mentors. I personally can't talk too much since I haven't seen all the shows you've mentioned. I'd like to give you my personal thoughts.

    I could name the Sentai mentors that both you and me don't like:

    1.) Torin - I didn't really take too much of a liking of him or Kyoryuger in general. I thought he like the rest of the cast is subjected to Takahito Oomori's really weak shots.

    2.) Conductor - Yes, he's painfully NOT funny and tries to be. I can agree with you on that.

    3.) Yoshitaka Igasaki - Worse grandpa ever. Why didn't he just tell them he was DEAD ALL ALONG?

    As for those you don't like but you like I'd go for:

    1.) Takeshi Kuroki of Gobusters. I personally feel he's one of the best mentors ever. No offense but I don't think he's such a flop. He's not great but I still like him.

    Some stuff I could disagree on with you:

    1.) I personally thought Captain Ryuya added a little more grey area in Timeranger making it not so typical. I just thought he was a forerunner to yet another asshole namely Masato Kusaka. As a Timeranger fan, I still think his character made the story more complex and a fight against fate.

    On the other hand, I wrote similar posts in the past:

    Never Mess With Swordsman Sentai Mentors!"

    Super Sentai Mentors Who Are My Top Favorites

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    1. @ Sean Akizuki

      Thanks for reading!

      Kubota...like I said, I just really can't stand his actor. Sometimes you just take a disliking to a performer and you can't get past that even if you like the character. But I still don't really like Kubota. While the randomly-picked Megaranger team needed guidance, I kinda felt like they found their way on their own and Kubota wasn't even entirely necessary to the show. He could have vanished like Goggle V's Hongou and INET's Tachibana become the mentor and the show wouldn't have lost much. Hayakawa could have stepped in as mentor, too.

      I also found his connection to Hinelar to be a bit of a letdown. IMO, it's even worse than Shibata/Gou and Dr. Man, because Megaranger practically only addresses it for two episodes -- once in episode 5 or so and then in the 40s. Kubota barely seems to care, Hinelar never addresses it, it's never a big concern it seems. Shibata/Gou and Dr. Man might have only been five or six episodes shoved at the end of the show, but it was at least pivotal to the show's theme and main character.

      I'll be sure to check out your mentor posts!

      Delete
    2. @Shogo B'Stard

      I do agree with you on Kubota's actor. Yes, he's weak. Made me think that while I do like his plot with Dr. Hinelar though I agree, the show could have made it deeper.

      Also, I don't think the whole Shibata vs. Doctor Man battle was all that shoved. We just needed more knowledge of Doctor Man's past. Only if Megaranger tried to expand more on it but I like the plot nonetheless.

      I could also think about it. Can I ask about Ryuya? Would you personally still consider him a villain or just an annoying douchebag?

      Delete
  2. I'm fine with Fujita Okamoto's return in Timeranger, mostly because Okamoto managed to show his range as a actor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Morten U.

      I can appreciate Okamoto getting to flex his muscles as an actor, but it doesn't sting any less to see him go from the super likable Dazai to Timeranger's most intolerable character.

      Delete
    2. Speaking of Timeranger's intolerable character, as much as I'm a fan of the series but I tend to think almost everyone there is a douche don't you think?

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    3. I don't think any of the Japanese materials ever refer to Ryuuya as a villain. And I never saw him as the show's villain. He's not a good guy, though. I think he's basically just the show's attempt at having depth, but it not really working as well as they think it does. A big problem is how hard they tried to turn it into a full year mystery, and it seemed to me like they never had it fully mapped out how villainous he was supposed to be.

      And I do think most of the Timeranger characters are assholes. That's kind of typical of Yasuko Kobayashi's writing, though. She likes writing characters that are rude or moody or have attitude, and she likes to think that makes them "real" or "deep," but...she's wrong. But the casting in a lot of her shows doesn't help.

      You probably have read my complaints about the Timeranger cast, how I think they're mostly poor performers or they come across as seeming like they think they're too cool for the show and so on. They're supposed to clash, but become friends, but it never feels that way to me because of the writing and (especially) the acting.

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    4. Though one can think that Ryuya's really the king of douches himself. Come on, he's been doing some questionable stuff just so he could live like he allowed Dolnero to escape or that he's almost a precursor to a much bigger asshole in the future: MASATO KUSAKA. I always look at Ryuya and Masato as villains because of their questionable behavior.

      Speaking of douches.. I think Timeranger's biggest ones are well Tatsuya, Yuuri (she's a really huge bitch) and Naoto. Yup, I thought Naoto just gave us a preview of Hojo for next year with Kamen Rider Agito. Maybe Toshiki Inoue would have Naoto as his favorite Timeranger character if he had one.

      Speaking of Kobayashi's rude or moody characters, Timeranger's the epitome of it. The cast of Gingaman, Shinkenger and ToQGer are mostly fine. ToQGer may not be my cup of tea but I thought that none of the characters had the issues with Timeranger. Though take note I prefer Timeranger over ToQGer.

      Speaking of complaints, I still agree with you Ransik is a better villain than Dolnero. Though I think Ransik's not an improved version of Dr. Giba. Dr. Giba's scarier. Ransik was more on the hammy side for most of his run. Ransik maybe you could shed some pity in some way but not Dr. Giba.

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    5. I could never take Giba seriously, because Leo Menghetti was pretty bad and just over-exaggerated his mouth movements, making the dubbing by Shozo Iizuka even goofier. (I hate dubbing, it's so goofy to me.)

      Ransik's actor stunk, too, but I've seen him in a couple of action movies where he's not as bad as he is as Ransik, so I think he's either been told or is under the impression to water it down for the kiddies. I like Giba for having that monstrous final form, that ugly Keita Amemiya monster, but I thought Ransik had the better overall storyline.

      What I HATE about Ransik is his full redemption in the Wild Force team-up, where he's human and having a freakin' picnic with the Rangers. A picnic! A lame, safe, cowardly low even by Power Rangers standards.

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    6. For Ransik, his ham was enjoyable and sometimes toning down stuff can be good. Like I think too much serious stuff can be bad for any franchise. Super Sentai has had continued with lighter and softer trend these days.

      Speaking about the picnic, I still feel that Ransik himself should have been destroyed for his crimes. Sure, he was an outcast but that doesn't excuse his utterly bad behavior. I agree... the whole thing is too low even for Power Rangers standards. Wild Force is also considered a failed anniversary season. Megaforce and Operation Overdrive were also failed anniversary seasons.

      I admit though, I'm not really a fan of Jiban all that much either but I'd like to rewatch it. I kinda preferred the fully mechanical Janperson as a Robocop inspired character over Jiban who had the formerly human plot.

      Back to Timeranger, I just thought whether or not Kobayashi had all the freedom that time since Gingaman and Shinkenger have a better cast. Mako's too sweet compared to Yuuri. Saya may not be top-tier but she's likable compared to Yuuri.

      As for Naoto Takizawa, I sort of thought his actor Shinji Kisihara could have been a better guy to play Hojo in Kamen Rider Agito.

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  3. Ibuki is the boss!

    Turboranger always deserves love. It /is/ kinda silly how people act like it's the nadir of the franchise when it's much better than that and has a lot of neat things about it. Also, Sumo Bouma!

    I never really thought that on Odagiri before though, always kind of assumed she was much older than that. Huh.

    Yeah, that ep. with Barza and Ryouta always bugged me. Like, I guess it's meant to be "Any means necessary" but they didn't have to make Barza so hideously out of character to do it.... this is supposed to be the same guy who goes on about defending Earth from Banddora? Whuh?

    That side-story about Miki sounds like it'd be awesome; if anyone at Toei ever feels like celebrating a Geki anniversary, that's what they should (keyword: should) do.

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    1. @Painted Outlaw

      You know I love Ibuki. I should have pointed out that I also think it's awesome that he leaves Earth in the finale to go help rebuild the places ruined by Gozma. It further shows what a big-hearted character he is, and that his work isn't finished and that he's still going to be dealing with Gozma well after Bandai's moved on to the new guys!

      The Turboranger hate has always puzzled me. Like I said, I took an instant liking to that show, and its reputation was even bad then. I have no idea why people treat it the way they do.

      What made me think of Kusaka when talking about Barza is that, like many of conflicts in Faiz, Barza and Gnome could have saved trouble by using words. If they were just like "Hey! Burai's an asshole, and he's going to make you suffer, Geki!" instead of dressing up like soldiers and shooting everyone with their A-Team aim, I think the Zyuranger would have been on board in stopping Ryouta.

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    2. I felt baffled when I realized there was the Turboranger hate. I'm a fan of Turboranger myself.

      Oh speaking of the whole Barza firing guns to stop Ryota, I felt that was super stupid scene that proves he's worse than senile. Sometimes, I wonder if Barza is better off sealed in a time warp which never happened in Zyuranger?

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  4. Y'know, I actually kinda had a thought on what if you had done a post on characters like the Mentors or even some of the villains. And I can say I'm glad you went for doing one for the mentors (and others)!~ =D

    I do like Yumeno myself. I never really had an issue with Shimada personally. I think the issue I had was that I felt Yumeno just never really got to do much of anything, which I think is a shame. It strangely felt like the show was kinda scared or not yet ready to do anything too daring with the mentor. Thus, I feel Shimada just hardly got anything to work with. He's stuck with this old outdated setup. I mean, look at where he's hidden his HQ! Just feels too safe to me. I guess this is why I kinda enjoyed Shimada a bit more in that one Liveman episode, lol.

    I admit, I too have issues with Peebo. I think his design and voice are alright. I think my issue tends to be these other elements. Like the way Peebo is suit acted. There are times where they try to make him both robotic, yet "hilarious" and "overly endearing" at the same time. But I feel it's a tad bit obnoxious. And while I find his voice okay, I did not care for some of the ways Peebo screamed or over dramatically reacted to things. I kinda blame this on the directing too. I feel sometimes the staff just tried too hard to make Peebo kid-friendly, when they should've just left him alone.

    I can say I was pleasantly surprised to hear your thoughts on Dazai. He's kinda under appreciated I feel. The best way I describe him is he's that cool uncle who perfectly gets what the kids like and can speak their language.

    I really loved your little rant on Turboranger too. Seriously, you need some more Turboranger posts on here Shougo! ;D
    But yeah, it sometimes kinda astounds me how... innocent a lot of fans tend to be when it comes to toku weirdness, and what they consider to be crossing the line. And I'm glad you brought up Gaim. Cause lately, I've been rambling on about how some fans still can't seem to accept or comprehend Carranger's weird approach to toku, yet the Rider wearing the friggin fruit is what passes as vintage wine these days.

    I'm glad more fans have opened up to shows like Carranger, Gingaman, GoGoFive, and Abaranger. Those were all previously hated for having "dumb" concepts. But we know no one truly sat down and watched them. Glad they have subs now. Sadly, Turboranger seems to have fallen behind. It still has no subs, and people still think it's the dumbest setup to a Sentai ever.

    I do kinda wonder if also part of people's troubles with getting into Turboranger is cause it starts off a little wonky? The first handful of eps aren't exactly the strongest. Nor do they really play around with ideas that are bound to be the main focus of the show. And I guess people being aware that Turboranger shifts gears halfway through doesn't excite them either. Also, the characters.... we know how much fans prefer their characters to be Kobayashi style (Timeranger, Shinkenger, etc) and be all about the drama and character development. bleh.

    I honestly would've loved to have seen you include Ms. Yamaguchi on the list. I really loved her personally, and thought she was a standout to the show.

    I think Odagiri is alright. Not great. But I feel she gets the job done decently enough. She has a few nice moments here and there.

    I like Kaku well enough. He's kinda like Odagiri for me. Not great. Not bad. He's decent. And does get his fair share of nice moments here and there.

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    1. @Fantasy Leader

      One of the many things I don't understand about the Turboranger hate is how people can't get past the fairy stuff. Like...what? All of the strange things you've seen in toku, and that's where you draw the line? Do they not get that Turbo's riding the fantasy wave of the mid and late '80s? What's wrong with the fairy magic backing Dazai's technology? Magical or mystical forces are behind a lot of toku power. How's it worse than the vague YUUKI! behind Magiranger's stuff? Shinkenger's word power? Bah! (BTW, I find it HILARIOUS -- like, rolling around on the floor kicking my feet up -- that Gaim is considered the "best" written and "darkest" of all tokusatsu.)

      I've never minded the early Turboranger episodes. Like I said above, Turboranger's always had a bad rep, and I was afraid to get into it, but I took an instant liking to it. The early episodes are more comedically tinged, but there's a lot of good and fun stuff there, too, like background info on the Fairy and Bouma war, Jinba's backstory, and a lot of school-focused scenes, with the Turboranger making adjustments and Yamaguchi getting concerned for them. I don't think they're bad episodes. It's not like Ohranger or something, where there's two good episodes and a string of godawful unwatchable stuff for the rest of the show.

      I WAS going to include Yamaguchi, but thought the two biggies from Turbo was enough. But, yeah, I probably should have just included her. (I also got somebody telling me I should have included Hakase Hakase Hakase, but...she slipped my mind, even though I covered the Akibaranger themselves.)

      I didn't even think of Tock from Timeranger! Yeah, maybe I should have included him. I didn't mind him, and that's pretty much thanks to the voice acting -- he's like Moak in that it's just a good voice actor doing a lot of the lifting, bringing an appropriate amount of wisdom to the robotic owl. I hate that kid's voice Time Force gives him. (I also hate the kid's voice that Daniel Southworth gives Time Fire. HEYOOOOOOOOOOOO.)

      Seeing Torin as a Sakamoto stand-in makes sense, LOL!

      I didn't think about picking a mentor for my team. A lot of my favorite guys are too damn harsh. I'd kind of like to see how the rest of my team shapes up to judge who I think could wrangle us the best, but right now I'd lean towards Dazai or Doggy.

      I think Dazai offers the appropriate amount of guidance and leadership, but he's also pretty affable and his inventive mind would come in handy. Or Doggy because he's kind of a stickler, but still pretty loose to let you be yourself, and he'd also join you on the battlefield and kick a lot of ass. Hmm...have to think about it.

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    2. Hi
      I'm surprised you didn't include Abaranger's Suke san; while he's not really a mentor, as a warrior, he's still a father (or perhaps grandfather) figure to the heroes, trying to send thel some wisdom from old age, and having them live in his restaurant.
      I guess you didn't like him a lot. And yeah, Tac wasn't included as well.

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    3. @live jetabare

      I didn't think of Suke-san, but that doesn't mean I don't like him. I like him a lot, and he brings a lot of emotion to the show. (My favorite part of the character is when he cheers Asuka up by sharing his own post-war stories.) I just kind of view him more as a supporting character. To me, it would be like counting Sunvulcan's Misa.

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  5. I had no idea you hated Kubota so much. I don't think I ever heard you talk about him, but I always knew you loved the Megarangers. That's too bad. But I get what you mean. Kubota for me is... I actually don't mind him too much tbh. But maybe that's cause he's not always around. He comes in doses (for better or for worse). His actor... not all that great. But not too big of a deal breaker for me either. He's kinda a level below Odagiri and Kaku for me.

    You know me, I obviously love Moak, lol. But yeah, his design was probably not the best. HOWEVER. I love what they do with him in eps 13 and 48. Moments where he gets ill. Yeah, it's kinda cheap stuff with the webs or the purple color, but I felt it worked narration-wise well enough. Also, his death in ep 48 really tugged at my heart strings as a kid (and as an adult)! That scene is always heavy to me.

    Mondo Tatsumi.... I LOVE HIM. Is he a terrible father? Yeah, he kinda is. xD But y'know, I feel Mondo works, all thanks to his actor. Mike Maki I feel really saves the character from what I felt could've just been one big disaster (and we know how bi-polar Jun Hikasa tends to be with casting choices). I feel what Mike Maki brings to the character is a person who has the crappiest social skills ever, but with a strong sense of love and justice for his family and the world. Mondo does good, but at a horrible cost. I like how Maki portrays him as this guy who's head is kinda up in the clouds, yet at the same time, seems super focused as well. Whether he's just thinking about having a nice meal, or is focused on finishing his latest gadgets for the GoGoFive. He does tend to act a bit absent minded as a result. Like when the Tatsumi Siblings are angry at him, and he seems kinda oblivious. Mondo has a great mind. Perhaps, sometimes too great for even himself to truly grasp! But I think his heart is in the right place all the same. And there are moments where Maki really shows that Mondo at least tries and shows he does care for his children and worries for them, and tries to do whatever he can. Even if it's small things like making them takoyaki. Oh, and can I just say Maki nailed the scene where he freaks out when Victory Mars blows up Grandeo.

    I wasn't expecting Ryuuya to make the list, lol. I was more expecting it to be Tac. xD I always classified Ryuuya more as a villain. But any who, Ryuuya... I think he's an interesting idea. And I do like the plot twist involving him. But I don't think it was executed the best. I feel the time travel shenanigans sadly made the whole thing a tad bit more complicated than it really should've been imo. I don't mind what we got too bad. But I always felt there was tons room for involvement, as far as basic narration for this went.

    I always felt Boss from Dekaranger, him being a dog made sense from a narration standpoint. Dogs have always been a part of the police force, so I felt that fit. Unlike the Power Rangers counterpart, which I felt made no sense at all for it's narration. He's reptilian cause... Americans think reptiles and aliens go hand in hand? whatever.

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    1. TO be fair, the American Kruger actually looks like an alien. I never went for the "stuffed animal" route that Toei seems to keep going down for Sentai. Torin in that regard looks better in that you can actually believe he's a flesh-and-blood ET.

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  6. I do like Sha-Fu. And I love his voice actor. But he's definitely quite cutesy looking. And I feel this is the result of the changing of times. Toei was really pushing forward the safer and more lighthearted goofiness into their toku in 2007, in the wake of the Hibiki screwjob. I feel the result of Sha-Fu just shows that we're about to enter an era even goofier than the early 2000s were.

    I love Miki. And I agree with your idea of Sentai having novels and comics. Like... PLEASE. So much untapped imagination out there~

    Sigh. I really wanted to like Torin. He sounded like he could've been the second coming of DekaMaster. I feel Torin had plenty going on for him to make a really cool character. Perhaps it requires greater tolerance levels than what I had, but I think what always bugged me about Torin was his dialogue. How immensely pretentious he was. His constant spoon-feeding to the audience.
    "Look kids! All five Kyoryugers have assembled! Now we'll see them transform together! I'll be sure to repeat myself!"
    "Can I also say I am Daigo's #1 fan? Let me share with you all how it amazes me how amazing Daigo can be every single time! I dunno how he does it! Did I mention Daigo is amazing?"
    I remember when he first became KyoryuSilver, how I just wanted him to shut up so badly. He spent his whole entire first fight monologuing nonstop for SO DAMN LONG. Cause what's subtlety? Never heard of it. So Torin is just gonna have to shove down your throat how his character development progressed.
    Sometimes I couldn't help but think Torin was just Sakamoto in disguise, and fanboying over how "awesome" everything was.

    Hey, anyone gonna decide a mentor for their team?.... if not, then I guess I will. xD
    Dazai, Dappu, and Moak were the ones to immediately come to my mind. I guess the kind of mentor I'd love to see help lead my team (currently Matoi, Shouji, and Ranru) would be one who is lovable and fun, yet gets the job done.... I think I'm gonna go with Dappu for this, lol. Love the guy! xD And I wanna see him doing what he can with my team, LMAO.

    Once again, an excellent post Shougo. Thanks for the nice read! Keep up the good work!~ =D

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  7. Oh Shogo, I think I forgot to mention that I do like Kubota as a mentor. So you don't like him? I for one think that Dr. Kubota's conflict with Dr. Hinelar is a season long version of Dr. Shinichiro Gou's conflict with Dr. Man in Bioman.

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  8. Nice mentor list.
    Interesting you didn't include Navi; Yukati Tamura did a pretty decent job with voice acting for character.
    Since your list tends to include Akibaranger, despite not an official sentai, I'm surprised you didn't include Hiroyo Hakase (aka Hakase Hakase, Professor Professor). I thought Maaya Uchida did an OK job with character. Probably the weakest among cast... at least for Season 1 (Sawada (Luna/Blue II) was worse IMO for Season 2).

    I lol' at Mandora and Bomper.

    Igasaki's are the absolute worst mentors of tokusatsu (not just sentai) IMO. lol
    Though to be fair, Tsumuji at least had his moment in father day episode.

    My favorite is probably Jii.
    Even though Shinkenger is not my all time favorite sentai (I think it's very overrated and sonewahat boring), Goro Ibuki shines out as awesome guy. He also plays guitar and rides bike. lol

    Looking forward to see Black Ranger post.

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    1. @SunnyC247

      Thanks for reading and enjoying the post!

      Hakase slipped my mind. I think she's funny, and I really like her and actress Maya Uchida. One problem is, she represents my least favorite part of season one in the whole Doctor K thing, and I feel like she's barely present in the lesser season two.

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  9. Glad to see a new post in the blog (the fist of many in 2017, I hope).

    I like strong leaders. My top 5:

    1 - Ibuki
    2 - Kaku
    3 - Doggie Kruger
    4 - Arashiyama
    5 - Sugata

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    1. @Ricardo

      Thanks! I feel pressure now... ;)

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  10. It took me several tries and just as many days...but I made it! I finally got through this post after constant interruption. Wooo

    Terrible parents in Tokusatsu. That's a great topic on it's own. Hahaa. I think Hakumenro was pretty rotten too. Exactly how beneficial was his being an obvious mole? He gave Sasuke a clue once...yeah. Because of him Sasuke ended up smacking Tsuruhime. Hahaa. Sure, the guy was all smiles in the finale...but not too long before that he was destroying buildings.

    Honestly, I didn't really have too much of an attachment to Kaku. Maybe my interpretation of Dairanger has always been a little weird, but the fight between Dairanger and Gorma was never black and white. Things like Kaku's eventual switch back to Gorma and the arrival of Daijinryu kinda support this. I love the show to bits, but the vagueness in the conflict kinda bugs me. Instead of people rooting for Dairanger in their universe, I'm willing to bet they all wanted them to go away just as much as they did Gorma.

    Here is something that maybe we can all consider to make Kaku a better character. You see, while Kaku was assembling the Dairangers, he thought that Ryo was pretty weak and that Kazu should have been the leader. So he took to brainwashing the group. First he got Rin to change her fashion sense. Then he gave Ryo Kazu's identity and Kazu Ryo's identity. He then sent them back out into the world and re-recruited them. He also brainwashed Ryo's sister...but she started asking questions, so we never heard from her again. The end. See? Maybe Kaku wasn't so bad afterall...

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    1. @CCLemon99

      I tried to list as many bad parents as popped into my head, but there's just so, so many. That's a topic that goes so far that I don't even want to touch it. You can find a bad parent in just about every toku show, even if it's just a one-off episode about a parent visiting and disapproving of their kid.

      Hakumenro made some choices that made him seem a bit foolish, but when you compare him to people like Shadam or Choryou or Mondo Tatsumi, he's world's best dad material.

      Interesting theory about Kaku's meta behind the scenes meddling! :D That's still too good for him. He's probably the one who wanted Tsuchiya Ryo. And when that didn't go his way, he paved the way for Sentai's first kid hero.

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  11. I disagree on Kubota and Mondo. I always thought Kubota was kind of laid back instead of condescending, at least after he got used to Kenta's antics. He kind of takes the kids' issues in stride. (However, I do agree with you that he looks like a Japanese Jason Alexander.)

    As for Mondo, take a look at the early episodes. Whenever there's something not Saima-related, he's awkward toward his kids. He knows it's not an easy thing to come back into their lives after ten years, and he's not comfortable with them until much later. It's only when the Saiam show up or there's something tech-related to deal with that he gets in his element and directs his children.

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