Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Random Warriors and Other Weirdos

Those who weren't enough to cover, plus a couple of updated ones. Here's we go...

Kensaku Shiraishi/Battle Cossack

As I said before, I definitely like actor Yukio Itou here more than in Goranger; he's older, more mature and confident as a performer. It's always weird to me that Cossack is credited second, but Battle France is considered the second in command. While Shiraishi has a temper and is quick to fly off the handle, France is a bit too comical. Kensaku's a dedicated and loyal warrior who, in one of my favorite moments early on, isn't afraid to kick the shit out of Battle Japan when signs point towards Japan being a traitor.

The most we know about Shiraishi's background is that he was an orphan, taken care of by Tetsuzan. This makes Kensaku's murder tragic in hindsight; would he have never joined Battle Fever if it hadn't been for Tetsuzan? Would he have lived without meeting Tetsuzan?

I'm not sure I like Kensaku's death, though. On one hand, I like the idea that, after seeing the priest who ran the orphanage where he grew up murdered in front of him, Kensaku's sensitive about violence; when a girl who sees her dad shot to death in front of her shuts out Kensaku, it affects him. He meets with her to cheer her up, leaving behind his ability to become Cossack as proof that he's not the violent guy or fighter she accuses him of being. Unfortunately, Egos targets the girl, and Kensaku is shot to death before her...

To me, it's about as senseless as Gai's death in Jetman. Gai could have easily gotten himself to a hospital, and as I've always said, his survival would have been a better wedding day present to Ryu and Kaori than his showing up and dying on the spot. Kensaku wants to cheer up this girl, trying to get over seeing her dad gunned down by Egos...by putting himself in a situation in which he gets gunned down by Egos, right in front of her. I doubt Battle Fever's paying for that girl's therapist. A better way to write him out would have been for him to just retire as Cossack and adopt the girl, but...they chose to kill him for whatever reason. Makes no sense.

It's also kind of dumb that Kensaku is kinda lectured by Masao when he's leaving the base without his Battle Cossack uniform, the way Kensaku just jokingly dismisses all of the warnings. "I'll be careful!" Then he's cornered by Egos and is like "Shit! I don't have my suit!" Well, double-dumbass on you, Kensaku.

Makoto Jin/Battle Cossack

I'm glad toku legend Daisuke Ban finally got to play a Sentai character, even though the replacement Battle Cossack is a tad bit of a step down after headlining, what, four toku series already? I like Ban, and think he's a good actor, but he's always seemed like an unlikely choice for an action-oriented henshin hero to me -- he seems professorial or like a banker or something.

I always got the impression that Toei was maybe hoping for a guy like Hiroshi Miyauchi for Jin. The cool cowboy who's the thinker and precise and a strong, bad-ass ass kicker. An older, experienced loner who's just playing on a completely different level than the others. I still like Ban in the role, but I don't feel like he fits in with the rest of the cast. If I had to pick a former toku hero actor as Jin, I'd pick someone like Akira Yamaguchi -- I think he would have blended with the cast better.

Jin's a cool character, but I would have liked for his transition into becoming the new Cossack to go smoother. We're told he's a friendly rival of Kensaku, but it's kind of hard to buy because Jin is obviously so much older than Kensaku. I like that Jin shows most life and happiness when Kensaku's near, making their friendship seem believable, before we see him coldly shutting out everyone else on the team. And I like the way he silently picks up Cossack's suit to carry on the battle for his friend. But the show needed to let it breathe a little. Kensaku dies right there, the team doesn't bat an eye, and two seconds later Jin's the new Cossack, the team accepts it, and Kensaku's almost immediately forgotten. They make a bigger deal about Diane stepping down as Miss America, and all she was doing was moving to America after doing jack shit for 24 episodes!

And I know it's a nitpick and that the show was late in the game, but I kinda think they should have given Jin a different outfit or modified the Cossack suit. I know the Japanese see cowboy getup as simply foreign to them, but a cowboy being the hero who's meant to represent Eurasia...huh?

Shouta Yamamori/Magnet Senshi

The role that I think locked Seiki Kurosaki in for the following year's Juspion. Kurosaki's hilarious, and really ahead of his time in the way he can act like a live-action cartoon. (Only Kurosaki is skilled at this, unlike most of the modern day performers.) Shouta was a big hit with my family and me in the '80s -- we always did his "Peace, peace!" bit.

The two episodes with him just seem kind of bittersweet when I watch it now; it was where he met his future wife, the late Yuko Asuka (Farrah) and Magnet Senshi was played in-suit by Kurosaki's friend Masato Akada, who is now disabled as a result of a serious injury he received while doing stunts on Exceedraft.

Ryou Asuka/X1 Mask

A really interesting way to work in the idea of a new hero, while putting to use the actual rejected Maskman designs. The episode should have been a two-parter. It's interesting, of course, the way his episode is the prototype for Gai's beginning in the early Jetman episodes, but more importantly, I like the way that Ryou is a mirror of Takeru. He's a cautionary tale of what could have happened to Takeru if Takeru hadn't been surrounded by the right people and weren't so disciplined and centered, and unable to silence the rage he felt at losing his love.


I like Ninjaman, and he's a better version of Shurikenger (the only thing Shurikenger has over him is the 20 Faces of Past Sentai Actors gimmick), but...he's kinda unnecessary to the show, isn't he? He's fun, but you can take him out and have the exact same show. And maybe even shorter -- I always thought Kakuranger had five or so episodes too many.


He's hilarious. A myopic dunce who doesn't know when his job ends and sanity begins. Great voice actor and suit actor combo.

About the suit actor...once upon a time, it was a mystery who O-BITOH was. It wasn't until a 2003 interview with Toei Hero Max, where Yoshinori Okamoto revealed it was him. (He thought it would be funny to be credited as O-BITOH, which is an alternate reading of a few of the kanji in his name.)

Swan Shiratori/Deka Swan

I grew to like Swan, even though I initially thought actress Mako Ishino was kind of odd. (I always make fun of the way she calls Doggie "Doogie.") I don't like her as much as Gekiranger's Miki, the character more deserving of getting to transform, but whatever. I don't like her as much as Oboro, either. She's basically just the new Oboro, always there with the right Bandai gadget when the heroes need it. Her romance with Doogie is still some strange shit, though.

Isamu Ozu/Wolzard/Wolzard Fire

Wolzard always bothered me. I'm not a fan of villains who pretend to be honorable, but they're really just excusing shit writing for a shit writer not knowing how to get their characters out of a jam. For example: Wolzard would show up and kick the shit out of Magi Red. Instead of just finishing the job, or dare show the hero bail out of the fight (which toku *used* to show, which made the heroes seem sensible and human), there would be some arbitrary bullshit of Magi Red looking aside for a second and Wolzard would be like, "You're distracted! I'll come back to fight you when you're stronger and your head's in the fight!" Get outta with that shit.

Everyone knew from the start that Wolzard was going to be Papa Ozu, and I remember hoping for a cool actor, a Shirou Izumi type, to play the part. We just got the dude who voiced him, who looked too tired and old to be the guy he was supposed to be playing. By the time Wolzard turned good, Magiranger took some stupider turns (hard to believe, I know), becoming a repetitive Saint Seiya-kind of bore, and I just wanted the show to end, so I didn't care.

Gou Fukami/Geki Violet

A big savior of Gekiranger for me. I like the show and all, but he brought it up another level. Gou brought more of a traditional hero feel, and gave the show some serious and needed history and backstory. I'm a horror fan, the Wolf Man is my favorite Universal Monster, so I loved the part of his storyline about his being a werewolf. I thought it was interesting the way they tied that into what happened to the Kenseis. (Gou sacrificed his humanity in an attempt to defeat Rio the way the Kensei did to be rid of a past villain.) I like the episode where Gou and the Wolf are having an internal slug-fest, in which Gou finally conquers the wolf side.

It's kinda sad that he gets put on the back burner in the final episodes to make room for spotlight-hogging Jan to deal with Rio, when Gou and Rio's fight was much more personal, but that's the breaks when you're a Sentai member not in Red. Gou tried, at least.

And, again, the story of Gou, Miki and Rio as the original triangle training under Dan and Sha-fu was the Gekiranger show I wanted to watch.

Gou's character song is also one of the only character songs in the history of tokusatsu that's cool. There's worse actor-singers than Riki Miura, it's composed by Hideaki Takatori and Denjiman's Ken Narita is the one playing harmonica. Awesome.

Masato Jin/Beet Buster

The savior of Go-busters. Only, unlike Geki, I hadn't been enjoying Go-busters. He was the savior we needed and deserved, man. And I had zero hopes for him based on how bad I thought actor Hiroya Matsumoto was in Magiranger. But Jin was a lot of fun, a prankster goofball who brought actual comedy and life into a show that thought freezing at the mention of a chicken was comedy. It's amazing the way a single character and performer was able to make the show more tolerable and actually emotional at the end.

Beet J Stag/Stag Buster

Poor man's Deneb. I can't stand Beet J Stag. He's the avatar of Go-busters' mostly shitty sense of humor. I *never* found him funny. He's the one who should have died.

Ramires/Kyoryu Cyan

Fat. White. Kyoryu Cyan.

Yuko Fukui/Kyoryu Cyan

Deka Yellow. Becomes Kyoryu Cyan (for a split-second in the finale). Whoopee.

Tessai/Kyoryu Gray

Bouken Silver. Actually kind of entertaining here.

Shinya Tsugouchi (Yuu Aoyaki)/Kyoryu Gray

I have no idea who this is.

Doctor Ulshade/Kyoryu Violet

Never a fan of Shigeru Chiba's screeching everything. Didn't need him to be a hero.

Yayoi Ulshade/Kyoryu Violet

Instantly forgettable.

Torin/Kyoryu Silver

Torin's a tool, I've covered this.

Dantetsu Kiryu/Kyoryu Silver

Dantetsu's a bigger tool.

Akira Nijino/ToQ 6

Akira was a bright spot in the show. He and Zet made ToQ watchable, and both deserved a better show. Akira's actor was a little stiff, but I thought his character was a fun take-down of the sixth hero stereotype of being a death-obsessed loner.

Kinji Kitagawa/Star Ninger

He was so damned obnoxious when he joined the show, I have no idea why he was supposed to be so endearing to the teammates that they accepted him and argued for his place on the team. Oh, that's right, they were morons. Seriously though, Kinji deserved to be murdered. He eventually moves on from his stupid, stupid, stupid trying to kill the other Ninninger shtick, and then just slips into the background for most of the remaining episodes. The actor is so generic, that if he didn't have the stupid hat on, I didn't know who he was. Seriously!

And was he meant to be an homage to Jiraiya/Ninja Black? If so, Kane Kosugi should sue.

Kyuemon's voice-actress/Mido Ninger

I didn't watch the Ninninger Returns thing.

Yamato Kazakiri/Zyuoh Eagle

He doesn't have much going for him. I guess he's meant to be a Godai/Shouichi/Ryouga kind of empathetic and big-hearted hippie, but there's just not much there on the page for him. And the actor doesn't play it well, he just seems really phony and insincere to me, like a serial killer pretending to be a nice, ordinary guy.

Sela/Zyuoh Shark

She's supposed to be "serious" and yet kind, but bottles up her emotions, but the actress translates this as "look snobby while smelling a sour fart" and thinks that gets the job done. She just kind of looks like an a-hole.

Leo/Zyuoh Lion

Loud and boisterous lion dude should be funny, but he's always overdoing it to the point where it means nothin'. He's Shinkenger's Ryunosuke, if Ryunosuke hadn't toned down his obnoxious freak-outs.

Tusk/Zyuoh Elephant

Stiffest, most awkward actor in history. It's a ToQ 4 situation, where it's laughable that he's supposed to be the serious, cool, brains of the group. Ever notice how the guy can't move his neck? He's always doing this weird move with his shoulders thing.

Amu/Zyuoh Tiger

Eh? Really, I get no reading from her.

Misao Mondo/Zyuoh the World

Annoying character "gimmick." Pipsqueak actor who reminds me too much of the guy who played Kamen Rider Mayo. Actually, this guy might be the most awkward actor in the history of actors. He doesn't act like a person. I get some Vul Panther-y vibes from him, so...keep on eye on him, Japan!

What really sucks is, Misao could be interesting. A sixth hero who doesn't feel like he fits in, one who has guilt for being villainous and using some Zyumen for evil -- but the show doesn't take it seriously, and the actor is weak, so none of it is ever convincing. I had a similar problem with Akira, when he was conflicted about his past with the Shadow Line. Nothing's treated seriously anymore. I don't know why toku is so afraid to play it straight and be genuine and dramatic anymore. When they try to, it's just disingenuous. Everything's so winky and self-conscious and remote now. Toku doesn't try to ever do anything meaningful anymore.

And is it just me, or is The World the stupidest name for a hero? Kamen Rider Scissors, you're off the hook.

Bud/Zyuoh Bird

It's Kaixa! I don't care who he plays, how well he does it, or what amazing feats of charity the actor does in real life -- he ain't living down playing one of the biggest shitheads in toku history. You want to know why Bird Flu is back in the news? Kaixa as Zyuoh Bird.

Mario Mori

Sad, sad waste of the awesome, awesome Susumu Terajima. I'll like Mario in his few moments of sanity, when he's offering the team some actually good advice, or standing up to and slapping Naria, but that's such a small portion of what he does -- the remaining 99.5% of his screentime is that dumb bad animal cosplay stuff. I don't get why Toei thinks it's funny to hire a veteran actor and just have them do embarrassing stuff for a year.


Since this post was an afterthought and doesn't count, I ain't picking any of these assholes for my team. (Is that everybody? Do you really want me to cover Doubutsu Sentai Go-busters? I hated that freakin' movie!)


  1. Battle Cossack is credited second because Battle France surrendered second billing. Duh. :p

    It's kinda funny how we got the chain of Ninjaman > Gunmajin (no love for this asshat?) > Signalman. They're all kinda similarish. I think Gunmajin and Ninjaman even debuted the same episode (or maybe it was one apart) in their series. At least we had a lot more Signalman. He was great until his damn family got shoehorned in more than they had to. Perhaps I've said too much...

    I think the thing that held up Kakuranger the most was Daimaoh. It's like "Sweet Jesus, now he has a family???". We already knew everything we needed to before the relatives came in.

    1. I forgot about Gunmajin. I don't count him, man! That's like doing a post about Kamen Riders and including Gangan G or somethin'. Gunmajin's completely useless, and I still hate him for wasting Akira Kamiya's talents. (Dude still hasn't had a good toku role, which is unbelievable to me.)

      I also purposely left out Zuban, because he's also useless. I was waiting for someone to be like "What about Zuban?!"

      To me, when Kakuranger is spending episodes in the late 40s on stuff like...basically any of the inessential episodes Hirohisa Soda wrote, it was a sign that it ran too long. The 40s!

  2. I got a good laugh out of the Zyuohger bits, thank you for that!

    MidoNinger? Man, if she was played by anyone other than Megumi Han, I probably would've had to look her up. That's the only thing I remember. Speaking of though, it's still disappointing Ninninger didn't (couldn't?) go through with having Kenji Matsuda and Megumi Han get more face time in the show. I dunno, kick out Shurikenger instead or something.

    I still need to get to seeing Seiki Kurosaki in Juspion; he was already hilarious in Bioman. Then again, I might be cursed with Metal Heroes.. I start one then be like "Ooh, that sounds good too" then neither get finished. Ah well, someday. xP

    1. The sixth rangers before Misao weren't as much of a hindrance as he was the guy didn't even have a tatic

    2. His tactic was claiming he'll change then clearly never following up on it ala him still moping in the New Year clip ep. of all times...

    3. A character like him only works if his developed period

    4. @Painted Outlaw
      Man, that Shurikenger episode of Ninninger was the biggest waste of time. I was kind of surprised Matsuda never made a face cameo at some point. Remember when that was a thing? Like Dokoku and Shitari's voice actors getting a cameo in Shinkenger Returns? I remember hoping for a Jouji Nakata appearance in Zyuohger, to try to make up for wasting him as Lego Wolzard. Toei just really doesn't care anymore.

      Here's a warning about Juspion, though. For almost the first half of the series, Kurosaki doesn't disappoint, and Juspion is everything you expect him to be. But then they try to make him more "serious," and he's stripped of ALL comedic traits. I remember reading Kurosaki got kind of tired of being JAC's funny guy. Kurosaki CAN pull off being a serious and more straightforward hero, but what made Juspion great was Kurosaki's comedic talents. He really stood out compared to his predecessors and most Metal Heroes, but then gets his personality stripped to where he's as bland as a Shaider.

  3. Really glad you did a post like this, since I wanted to hear some of your thoughts on some of the oddly colored heroes. xD The Cossacks for example!

    I like Makoto Jin. But I do feel he lacks chemistry with the rest of the cast (a classic sixth ranger problem). He just comes in way too late too.

    I always noticed "O-BITOH" in the credits, and never really quite understood what that was all about, lol

    I'm thinking back to where Magiranger ended up in the latter portions of the show.... once again I'm thinking: "What the heck happened??"

    lol at how every Kyoryuger character doesn't even reach more than 1 line from you. xD
    Man, Dantetsu... I remember being curious about the character and how he'd be incorporated into the show. I feel at the very least it was set up well enough so that Dantetsu's arrival would've been pretty darn cool. But when he does show up... I dunno. I guess his story could've been okay, but he weirdly just ends up feeling like some Doushi Kaku ripoff to me... and we already had that with Torin!

    I remember when StarNinger showed up. He is basically nothing more than just "goofy gimmicks the character." Cause the randomness of that sort of concept always seems to be more than enough to win fans over (and kids of course). Probably why so many gimmicky Heisei Rider characters ever get loved at all (Kougami from OOO?). I feel StarNinger just continues a tired uninspiring tradition for sixth rangers which Shurikenger started (more proof that Hurricaneger blew the franchise up xP ).

    I feel kinda sorry for the Zyuohger cast. They seem like a group who look like they could bring forth a decent cast of characters. But they seemed to always be at the mercy of the scripts and directing, getting nothing remotely decent material to work with. Seriously, what the heck happened with Zyuohger's production?? What could've been a decent show at the very least, couldn't find any sort of grounding at all.

    Misao was pretty much what caused me to drop Zyuohger. I couldn't take it anymore once I finished the 20s. And you're right. Nothing is taken seriously anymore. It's all just for cheap unfunny laughs now. Like, Blue Buster overheating? What was introduced as serious conflict, is just played up for parody and laughs for the rest of the show.

    Great work on all these posts Shougo! They were all a really fun read!~ =D