Peggy Matsuyama/Momo Ranger
I don't know who decided it and why, but the legacy of Pink heroines started off incredibly strong with the casting of Japan Action Club member Risa Komaki as Peggy. She set a standard for kick-ass heroines in tokusatsu at a time when most of the female characters were stuck in Comic Book Land circa 1940s -- if they weren't a reporter, then their unofficial job was to be the love interest and/or worrier and/or food server of our heroes.
Karen Mizuki/Heart Queen
Karen's really kick ass. Like some weird cross between Doogie Howser and 21 Jump Street, she's an 18 year old ass-kicking member of Tokyo Vice. That's a little crazy, but Japan Action Club member Michi Love makes you believe she can lay a beating down on the thugs of Japan. She's a really cool, overlooked performer. I mean, she was handpicked by Sonny Chiba when he was recruiting people for the JAC in Okinawa. That's an impressive endorsement!
The problem with Karen is once the show starts getting "fixed" around in the teens. She loses a lot of her edge and attitude, and they start having her act stereotypically "girly." This is what I like to call a character being "kawaiiped," as in a forced cutesiness wipes out their uniqueness or coolness. I mean...maybe an action actress like Michi Love appreciated being able to show off a different side of herself like that, but it just doesn't seem honest to the character. She goes from being a powerhouse who's kicking the heads of criminals in to shrieking in fear at just the mention of the word "vampires," or they'll have her fetch the guys coffee or show her decorating their (crummy) base.
She at least gets to reclaim (some) past glory in the penultimate episode where a seriously wounded and bullet-ridden Karen breaks into Crime's island fortress in order to save Gorou/Spade Ace, nicely repaying his saving her life in the first episode.
Diane Martin/Miss America
I like Diane, I like her introduction to the show being so dramatic with her father being killed by Egos and her trying to lure out Egos; Diane's depicted as being hip and fun, but...thanks to the limitations of actress Diane Martin, Diane (the character -- they let the actress use her own name for her character!) is ultimately not in the show a lot. (And some people like to interpret her shopping obsession and stay-at-base "laziness" as some comment on America, but...that's probably more thought than Battle Fever J put into writing her.)
Diane's in the first half of the series, but there's stretches where she barely appears. Some say the actress had trouble adjusting because of the language barrier, some say it's because Martin had a hectic schedule as a model. For me, it's a little like Yuki Yajima in Bioman, where we kind of don't know the potential the character had. I don't want this to sound bad, but I at least like that Diane Martin (the actress) was actually American, that the show tried to get an American...
Maria Nagisa/Miss America
...but they then cop out by just getting a Japanese gal to replace her. The smart thing was having her backstory be that she trained with Diane's dad at the FBI, so she didn't feel so random (the way Kensaku's replacement, Jin, always did to me). As much as I like Battle Fever J, the show just seems to me like it's making up for Diane's lack of presence by having Maria shape-shifting to fit whatever the episode requires to be. So she just ends up without a clear identity and doesn't leave much of an impression.
Akira Momoi/Denji Pink
I don't really remember much about her. The only episode I remember of hers is the one with Hirohisa Nakata as a vampire, and that's just because I dislike Hirohisa Nakata. The show treats her like nothing but the token girl, into the cutesy stuff. And actress Akira Koizumi is a mannequin. Next!
Miki Momozono/Goggle Pink
She, like the rest of her team and show, are kind of generic. The show, being Hirohisa Soda's first as main writer, doesn't seem to want to tread all that far from what the Uehara years did. So, Miki's kind of the typical girly-girl, but what's added to her that makes her stand out more than a Denji Pink is just a real strong sense of justice and dedication and compassion. I like her, she's just stuck in a show that didn't want to take many chances.
Rei Tachibana/Dyna Pink
I wrote about her in my post on Dynaman, and will just copy/paste what I said there here.
"I feel like Sayoko Hagiwara is one of the more underappreciated tokusatsu actresses. While Rei can be a little cutesy at times, I never thought of her as being weak or as bad as SMILE-SMILE, and a lot of that is Hagiwara -- she looks like she's perfectly capable of smacking you upside your head and causing serious damage. She also goes nuts with her voiceovers. It's no wonder she was chosen to play the wicked Neferu three years later in Flashman. How unique that she played one of the only female Ultramen/Ultrawomen, a Sentai Pink and then a villainess? Nao Nagasawa receives 85% of the worship that should go to Hagiwara."
Hikaru Katsuragi/Pink Five
She's just real likable. I've made fun of her acting in the past, but it's hard to dislike the character when she's so caring. (And I started liking her more once actress Michiko Makino started popping up at fan events, seeming like a good sport.)
Hikaru starts the show pretty timid and weak, having to be bailed out of fights by Mika. But the dynamic changes once newbie Jun's on the scene, and Hikaru starts stepping up to the plate, getting more courageous, no longer taking a back seat to Yellow, but becoming more of a Dynamic Duo. I like that sense of growth for Hikaru.
Mai Tsubasa/Change Phoenix
The bad-ass. She can be a bad-ass, but she can also play comedy. I really think Mai Ooishi is underrated, and I think she was deserving of a better career. (A lot of the problem was timing; by the mid and late '80s, the style of action movies the JAC were doing were kind of dying off in favor of Hollywood imports.)
People have criticized the show for shortchanging Mai, and while it's true she doesn't have a whole lot of focus episodes, I never really thought she seemed to vanish in the crowd or seem under-developed, and I credit a lot of that to Ooishi and just what a committed performer she was and all that she brought to the role. She's like Shiro Izumi, in that she's always just ON and adding something to the character.
Poor Ruu. (I can't stand "Lou.") She gets really ripped off compared to the others, and it's a shame, because Mayumi Yoshida is really fun and likable and the last JAC Pink.
I feel like they just didn't really know what to do with her; she was the young one of the team like Blue, so she skewed more towards the lighthearted side. But even Blue got his share of more dramatic stories, and Ruu's only real solo dramatic story was that early one where the Juu-Senshi hatches and thinks she's its mom, which...could have been written for any of the Flashman characters, even one of the guys.
If you missed my previous post on her, it's new to you!
Haruna Morikawa/Pink Turbo
Another Pink who I think is really underrated. A lot of what I like about Haruna, though, and a lot of what makes her great to me is actress Yoshiko Kinohara. She just brings such a strong sense of caring, kindness and resolve. She's the most popular girl at school, and that could have made her seem snotty or unlikable, but she's not that at all. She's strong and shows a real consideration and kind-heartedness for her teammates or anyone wronged.
Haruna has two episodes that always stick out to me. One being the one where she pretends to defect to the Bouma in order to get the remedy for the monster's poison that's killing Youhei. (The one Ohranger rips off of.) The other, the one where she falls for the trap of trying to find a magical solution to end the Turborangers' fight with the Nagare Bouma. I like that she ends up realizing her mistake in thinking she could stop the fight, and that -- when their powers are on fumes -- the guys trust her enough to pool together all of their remaining power so she can make things right and defeat the monster. (That means: only Pink Turbo transforms and gets the final fight, even piloting the mecha on her own. Pretty cool.)
Kazumi Hoshikawa/Five Pink
I kind of wish the Fiveman team was just Gaku, Remi and Kazumi, because they're the best ones, IMO. (I know I poked fun at some of the stories they gave Gaku in my Reds post, but I still like him and Toshiya Fujii.)
Kazumi's mature and intelligent and supposed to be pretty analytical. As the eldest daughter, she fell into the trap of having to be the "mother" of her siblings, which actress Kazuko Miyata makes you feel sympathy for. Miyata makes the character, because she's just so sympathetic and kind-seeming. She's kind of unconventional casting for a hero, IMO -- kind of foreshadowing the casting of Jetman -- she's kinda short, often looks worried and like she's working out a math problem in her head, but, hey, doesn't that fit math teacher Kazumi?
I've seen people try to act like Mei is cooler or stronger or more important than you think she is, but...c'mon. To me, she's kind of like Sigourney Weaver's character in Galaxy Quest -- her biggest contribution is usually just repeating some shocking information that's just been discovered or making some really obvious statement.
Poor Rin. I like her a lot, and she gets stuck with Kou. (I just cringed and balled up my hand like a bad silent movie villain just typing that little shit's name. You know, maybe Kou would be more tolerable with a different actor. Hisashi Sakai makes even Kid Burai suck.)
But I always liked Rin. Natsuki Takahashi is likable and is a light to the show. Rin just seems like a good person, she could hold her own in a fight -- Ei Hamura poked fun at Takahashi's voiceovers in an interview, saying she just always goes "Hai! Hai! Hai!" when fighting, so I really notice that now and it's distracting. Thanks, Shouji!
Momo Maruo/Oh Pink
Like the rest of the Ohranger cast (except for maybe Riki), a perfectly likable performer is pretty wasted. I think main writer Noboru Sugimura kinda had his eye on the door with this show, and that makes the writing suffer. Pile onto that the behind-the-scenes issues. Pile onto that that the show wanting to keep it about the job and the weird powers and not the characters' personal lives and you get...some bland and inconsistent characters.
Momo's the girly-girl who's cheery and positive about people. The ending credits show her doing Chinese boxing, but I don't think she EVER uses that in the show. Tamao Satou's likable and, yes, I admit that I used to have a thing for her, and that plays a part in why I like Momo. Momo -- maybe even Ohranger itself -- is pretty much only remembered for being played by Tamao Satou. You have to keep in mind how popular Tamao Satou was, she was basically the Japanese equivalent of Teri Hatcher at the time, who was the '90s equivalent of Megan Fox? for you Millennials.
Yoko Yagami/Pink Racer
What I like about Yoko is that she appears pretty normal on the surface, but she's supposed to be kind of vain and attitude-y behind the facade. Still, the rest of the team is so nutty that she still comes across as being more adjusted than any of the guys.
Miku Imamura/Mega Pink
Miku was a breath of fresh air when the show was new, and is still pretty much a rarity among heroines. She's like a mirror Kenta -- easygoing, lazy, gluttonous, not a great student -- but they're loyal to their friends and possess a strong sense of right. They have qualities that are seen as negative, but are still good people and heroes. Like Kenta actor Kunihiko Ohshiba, Mami Higashiyama is just perfect in the role, and a performer who I think should have been bigger.
I don't know why, but the show seems to go out of its way to ignore Saya. I don't feel like we get to know her well. She's just gentle and trusting and a hippie and actress Juri Miyazawa is at least likable, but...I don't have much to say about her, OK?! Gingaman wasn't named Gingaman just because it was a throwback, but because you weren't important if you didn't have a dong. (Maybe this is why Yasuko Kobayashi overcompensates with Yuuri/Time Pink.) Moving on...
I really like Matsuri. She has a lot of the attributes and qualities of my favorite Pinks, rolled into one really nice, compassionate, heartfelt character. And she doesn't feel like a retread, either, she still manages to be her own character, and I love actress Kayoko Shibata for not only making the character sail, but bringing elements to the character that further layers her.
Matsuri falls into the trap of being the "mother" of her siblings -- even though she's the youngest -- but it doesn't seem as eyerolling or cliched as that trope can often be, because to me it not only fits in with what a big-hearted person she is, but goes back to her profession of medical worker. She believes in people, wants to help them, wants to save them. She has an amazing empathy. She's full of love, but is strong -- not action-hero strong, but she can hold her own, and she's strong in spirit, and I see her as an embodiment of the entire show's theme. Without her, without Kayoko Shibata, there would be a huge gaping hole in the series. Without Matsuri, the Tatsumi boys wouldn't get shit done.
Try-hard. They wanted her to be so tough, serious and cool, but thought the only way to accomplish that was just by having her be a stiff bit of asshole. And actress Mika Katsumura just couldn't pull it off, either. (For all my dumping on the Timeranger cast, I've actually liked Katsumura in other roles, but she's just too young and green in Timeranger to make the character work.)
Emiri "Emi-pon" Imanaka/Abare Pink
Before you say "She doesn't count!" I know. I'm including her for fun, and because it's my blog, and I want to do what I want to do.
Emi-pon was the super fan before Akibaranger were super fans. From the moment she saw dinosaurs and monsters rampaging through Tokyo, she knew she wanted in on that stuff, likening it to a monster movie. She's moral support, she's a cheering section, and before The Flash's obnoxious Cisco Ramon, she was the savvy nerd who gave everything a superhero name.
Abare Pink was a funny idea, a nice way of making Emi-pon's dream come true, I just think it could have been done in a slightly better way. I think of the Senshi Dan stepping in to become what I call "Black Swat" when the Changeman lose their power -- they were background players who felt screwed over, but wanted to do right and earn their stripes. Emi-pon whips up the Abare Pink outfit as a way to prove to her VERY obnoxious parents that she's valuable to the Abaranger team, by making it appear to them she's NOT valuable, since she has no abilities as Abare Pink. A good idea, a funny idea, but not a great demonstration for the character to make, and not a great depiction for the show. I still like it, though. C'mon, it's funny.
Koume "Umeko" Koudou/Deka Pink
I've said before how it took me a while to come around to Dekaranger, and it really took me a while to take a liking to Umeko. I used to think she was just so high-pitched, I couldn't stand it. She had some funny moments here and there, like pretending to be Jasmine and fighting with drunken fist, or negotiating with that backwards alien. But I just thought the show tried to emphasize her and Jasmine's cutesiness too much, the show tried a little too hard to get you to like those two.
But I got to liking Umeko more in the show's second half. Basically, in that episode when that dude from Sailor Moon is pretending to love her -- I felt bad for Umeko, and was kind of like "Holy shit. I feel bad for Umeko!" I also liked that episode where she threw herself into that nightmare world to solve a case. So, I came around to liking her. Guess the show's pushing her worked, maybe.
Houka Ozu/Magi Pink
I really like actress Ayumi Beppu -- I think she's funny, I think she's likable, I think she's a good performer and was capable of playing a more serious heroine. But I HATE Houka. She's everything I don't want in a Pink, and just in time for Sentai's 30th (year) anniversary!
She's a ditz, she's self-centered, she's rude, she meddles into everyone's business, she's loud, she has dozens of boyfriends who she seems to just string along. Houka's got issues, man.
Sakura Nishihori/Bouken Pink
The second coming of Yuuri, and yet somehow worse. It's like...Sakura's supposed to be the serious Pink I whined I want all during Magiranger, but Boukenger was so bad at what it does that Sakura was as sucky of a "serious" Pink as Houka was a "funny" Pink.
A lot of the problem is in the writing, because Shou Aikawa is terrible at his job, but the casting is off, too. Haruka Suenaga's take on "serious" is to just whisper all of her ridiculous lines about Preciouses and Hazard Levels. She's pretty lifeless to me, and the show actually tried to write that in as "No! It's that Sakura was raised as royalty and told to supress her emotions!" Nice try, jackasses.
Boukenger had a big problem with casting. If they weren't a terrible performer, they were too damn young. Suenaga's too damn young to be convincing as someone who rejected her family and joined the military and became pretty much a decorated soldier. Excuse me while I laugh for a bit...
OK. No, it's still funny. Hold on...
Now I'm ready. Another thing is, she's supposed to be so smart and on-the-ball, but she trusts and loves that psychopath Akashi! How smart can she be? What kind of judgment is that? Hold hands and jump into a volcano, you two.
I've always said -- and people have ripped this off -- that if you want a good look at a Sakura-type character done right, check out Sara in Blue Swat. Sara was a similarly stoic, professional officer who had a haunted background, but actress Yuka Shiratori was mature, good, and made it all work.
Mako Shiraishi/Shinken Pink
Mako's a much better take on a more serious Pink than Sakura, but she had her own problems. Sentai's fiction, I don't think it needs to be said. In the plethora of samurai stories that's told in Japan, there's not a lot of variety of roles for women in those stories. So, here's a rare chance at depicting a strong female samurai, and they make her dream and goal to be a housewife. That's just pretty lazy and predictable. And the joke is, ha-ha, she won't make a good housewife because she can't cook! Ha-ha, man! Ha. Ha. I think the show was trying to be "realistic" with her goals -- like she couldn't end the show being some weird ronin who wanders the country and kills for money -- but still disappointing.
Despite that, though, I like Mako. She's a toned down Ryuunosuke, a smarter Ryuunosuke. She's serious about what she does, she's loyal, she can be depended upon. Actress Rin Takanashi is great, you never doubt Mako's ability for a second.
Eri -- the reason why I stopped paying attention to those pre-show character breakdowns. The early magazine info said Eri was going to be like the big sister of the team, but they tailored the character more to actress Rika Sato and made her cutesily ditzy. She's not offensive, but not one of my favorites. The whole rumored scandals surrounding Sato's disappearance from the entertainment industry is more interesting than anything you'll find in Goseiger.
Ahim De Famille/Gokai Pink
I like Ahim, I like Gokaiger -- I'm one of the few people who hasn't turned on that show. Ahim's a bit of a more gentle and softer Pink than I'd like in an anniversary show, but she was likable and brought thoughtfulness and heart to the side of the heroes and kept them in check and prevented them from being bigger jerks than they could have been. Yui Koike really suited the role and brought more to it than you realize.
Amy Yuutzuki/Kyoryu Pink
Everybody in Kyoryuger is a real cartoon, so there's not much to say about them. I'd like to give Kyoryuger a rewatch, but when I tried, I stopped halfway through the first episode because I can't stand Kingoo. But Amy's probably the least offensive one to me.
She's disappointing in that she should have been such a fun, crazy, unpredictable character in that she was the one who was supposed to have the most imagination and sense of fantasy, but...they didn't really display any of that. They made her a weakling who would briefly imagine herself as, like, a ninja and wipe out some grunts. There was room for, well, a lot more imagination in this show, but it was content to just play it safe and go on cruise control.
I think the problem was basically that Kagura was undercut by the revelation that they were all kids. On a team of five grow'd up characters, a dreamer and someone with "the most" imagination WOULD stand out. But since the show liked to emphasize that only kids had imagination -- which I disagree with -- the ToQger were all treated similarly and were just there and all pretty interchangeable, if you ask me.
Kasumi Momochi/Momo Ninger
I know she was the fan favorite, but the actress just kind of bugs me. She always has the dopey expression and seems really impressed with herself. You're on the Ninninger team -- that ain't impressive.
OK, so now who I'd want for my team. This was a toughie. I really wanted to pick Change Phoenix. She's a good fighter, her reconnaissance skills would come in handy. But then I thought Haruka might have reconnaissance expertise with her training as a ninja, so that might be redundant on my team.
I really liked the idea of Pink Turbo, but I think she's too young. I considered Five Pink for her knowledge, but was like..."C'mon, Fiveman." I would have loved to pick Momoko, but can't since I already picked Yellow Mask.
But I kinda knew, even before I began typing this, that Matsuri would be my pick. She has a lot of the best qualities in a Pink, she's brave, and it would probably help to have a hero who's a medic on the battlefield.
[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.]