Monday, January 8, 2018

Jetman 36-39


The Jetman seem to think they've done a good enough job of protecting the world that they take a vacation, thus beginning a '90s Sentai trend of vacation episodes at a farm. There's some funny moments of the team enjoying their break, but most of the episode is devoted to Toran's stupid plan of crashing their fun and turning people -- including Kaori -- into human ants.

It's intended to be a stupid plan, one that tickles only Toran, and causes the other Vyram members to ridicule him and single out this plan as being stupid and childish. This leads him to go off and force himself to grow into Yutaka Hirose, but this scenario could have been handled better, and in a less silly way. (They should have written in that Toran had just finished some B-monster movie from the '50s, because that's what this plot is.)

Also, Maria has no right to make fun of anyone's plans after her "make a cockroach monster that gets revenge for all of the cockroaches humans have killed" plan. Grey has no right to make fun of a plan after his whole evil vending machine plan. So who are they to say the human ant plan is shit?

But it IS shit, Austin. EVILE ants controlled by Toran bite people and turn them into hungry, hungry ant-os. (A prototype to Megaranger's Diet Crepe episode, only without the entertainment.) This leads to nutty scenes of people eyeing all manner of edibles -- including live dogs and cattle -- and eating them whole. Kaori falls victim to this and does her fair share of eating questionable things, but once the dilemma of the day is solved and she's healed, it's something just laughed off and joked about. Meanwhile, there really should have been a follow-up episode dealing with the primo dumps the once-Antpeople had as a result of eating everything in sight and EATING COWS WHOLE.

I just feel like it's a writing cheat to come up with a crummy bad guy plan and be like "it's supposed to be crummy." Put a little more effort in it than that; have it be something...not depicted so stupidly?


After the Vyram arbitrarily deciding they hate Toran for being a kid, he forces himself to grow up into Yutaka Hirose -- er, Toranza. I remember reading that, when he was offered a spot in Jetman, Hirose said he'd do it if he got to play the head villain. I don't know how true that is, but I guess it makes sense to bring him on in this way -- becoming the self-appointed main villain -- rather than repeat the Juuza situation and have a new character you don't know that comes from nowhere. But, still, it's very weird when I think of Hirose's last big Sentai character being the grown up version of the kid villain who's mocked. That's not in keeping with Hirose's bad-ass image.

But he does make Toranza awesome, and the full-throttle, all-in villain and figure of authority Vyram's been missing. (He brings out the best in the Vyram side of things.) He shows up and one-ups every one of the heroes (save for Kaori and Ako, which is strange) and challenges all heroes and villains. And because Hirose's an action guy, we finally get some cool, swift villain fight scenes, culminating in a death-ring match between Ryu and Toranza. Ryu gets beaten so badly, he's not even able to join the others in the final fight with Radeige's contractually-obligated-to-deliver-a-monster attack.

Toranza finally brings a little more kick to the villain side; Radeige, Maria and Grey finally align a bit in their dislike of Toranza, and Toranza has all of the built-up resentment and hatred for them. (And you know it bugs them deep down to know they're being put in their place by their kid ally.) Hirose brings such a strong, confident, threatening presence to the villain side. (And is finally a Vyram villain with a completely good actor!)

Toranza can't resist rubbing his former cohorts' face in his uprising, attacking Radeige when he doesn't address him properly, until he finally does. (Something that we know will come back to haunt him later on.)


A pretty pointless episode that feels like it was made up on the spot, or a script from another show. (It's the first and only episode written by Takahiko Masuda. A little late in the game to bring in a new writer,'s totally just a seat filler.)

I could never tell if this was a genuinely mediocre, half-assed episode or if I'm biased because it guest stars Changeman's Haruki Hamada, who I feel is TOTALLY wasted in a forgettable clunker like this. (It's the only toku he's been in other than Changeman, so it really pisses me off that he's so wasted.) But, no, it's just a bland and forgettable episode. The Jetman decide to try to steal and study a Bio Jigen Bug, Ryu's friend (played by Hamada) betrays them, sees the error of his ways, and saves the day with rugby maneuvers to outdo the bad guys. Can't get more generic than that.

It's really weird to me to see Ryu and his buddy try to relive their rugby past by working moves into attacks, or ending the episode with a happy pretend game. This is the type of junk you write for the teenage heroes, not people Ryu and his pal's age. There's no effort in this episode, and it looks like they were trying to save money this week, too. (Most of the monster attacks are invisible, for cryin' out loud.)


Random note: Hamada's character is a guy who's always been envious of Ryu, especially when Ryu's admitted into the Sky Force's "Earth Defense Force" and he's not. Hamada's been there, done that, anyway.


This is Arakawa's last script for the series, and only the second one of his episodes I like. (Reminder: the other is 19.) It's a pretty goofy concept, but just fun. Gai's been built up as such a cool, James Bond kinda character, and here he is tux'd out and gambling against Grey at a Casino Royale.

Gai's grown and all, but it's a return to his roguish, gamblin' roots. Some people mock how this episode is telling kids that cheating is good, but...Jetman don't give a shit about schooling the kids, c'mon. It's meant to be sort of amusing and surprising that we see our heroes cheat. Grey was cheating! Gai was skeptical of the villains and right to be.

In a way, it shows how far he's come. He was willing to trust Maria to return Kaori in exchange for Ryu's life in the Camera Jigen two-parter, when Ryu tried to tell him she couldn't be trusted. (I have to say, though, that I'm used to and partial to the Hirohisa Soda kinds of villains who almost act on a kind of warrior or samurai code. A lot of his villains TRY to have honor and be true to their word, or let their pride get in the way, and I think that can make a villain more interesting than one who you know is just always full of shit.)


  1. It's another good write-up, Shougo!

    Hirose does some of his best work in this ten-episode stretch of the show. While I sometimes think that Toranza (I've called him "Tranza" for years, due to fansubs) could have appeared in the aftermath of the Semimaru arc, limiting him to these ten episodes means that he doesn't lose his menace. We don't have to see him get defeated in stupid ways.

    The ant-people episode could have been handled better. Maybe Inoue should have done a rewrite of Liveman 43, and have Toran create a monster using his own life energy. Have it backfire, weaken Toran, and force him to use his remaining energy to become Hirose. It'd make sense within the character's arc.

    If Hamada had to come back in a 1990's Sentai series, he would have made a good one-off mentor character. Use his age and fan recognition from Changeman to his advantage.

    Speaking of Changeman, Kazuoki/Hitoshi Kawaii would have also made a good Red Hawk. Emotionally troubled protagonists were well within his wheelhouse, and he can do the "goody two-shoes" stuff without coming off like a doofus.

    1. Thanks!

      I'm always surprised when I rewatch Jetman and realize Hirose's in only 10 episodes. Toranza (and/or Hirose) really has an impact on the show and he's well used.

      (BTW, most people tend to refer to him as Tran/Tranza. I'm stuck on the old way of Toranza. Both are right, pretty much.)

      I feel like Kazuoki is really unappreciated by Toei or something. He should have had many more notable roles. I always pictured him as Gai, but the idea of him as Ryu is a very interesting pick, I haven't thought of that before. (I also think he would have been the better Changeman actor to play Burai.)

  2. Di-Di-Di-Diet Ants! Di-Di-Di-Di-Diet Ants! Very Very Very Delicio-- yeah, it's not the same.

    "A pretty pointless episode that feels like it was made up on the spot, or a script from another show. (It's the first and only episode written by Takahiko Masuda. A little late in the game to bring in a new writer,'s totally just a seat filler.)"

    Y'know, I was watching an episode of this show a few months ago and this same thing happened but I was never able to exact my thoughts on it. This is a pretty great summation right here.

    I remember liking 39 last I saw it. Sure, Gai's playing for Jetman figures but pitting Gai versus Grey tends to result in cool moments. And yeah, setting Gai at a roulette table.. I can't think of many other places that'd fit as perfectly. I can't say I've ever seen anyone gripe about Gai cheating, though; maybe they have and I just never saw it. I more personally just remember seeing a comment or two wondering how the heck TETRA BOY!!! was able to stand still at the end, heh.

    1. Diet Ants! *laughs* Maybe the episode would have been creepier if it was, like, Tapeworm Jigen? That's nice and gross...and probably out of Jetman's noticeably shrinking budget. (Those half ant masks are probably left over from something.)

      Now that you mention DID Tetra Boy stay so still? And why's he so damn antsy anyway?