Monday, July 15, 2013

Sentai producers: putting a face to the names

By request...

As was the case with the writers post, I'm covering only the chief producers, who are the real brains, anyway, when compared to the sub-producers and assistant producers. (I know there are people out there who like to credit, say, Shirakura for Dairanger, when he was just a sub-producer on that show, or credit Takebe for Megaranger when she was just an assistant producer.)

I didn't realize how awesome this guy was until putting this thing together.

All I'm trying to do is help you understand that Akibaranger is merely a blip on an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.

Here's Mister "Girls are weak, which is why there's only one in my terrible, terrible show."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sentai writers: putting a face to the names

There's all kinds of behind-the-scenes and making of featurettes on the Sentai DVDs, where they'll talk to various staff members like directors and producers and SFX people and stunt people and the people who choreograph the terrible credits dances and caterers and people who turn off the lights at the end of the day and so on. But they don't usually talk to the writers, which is odd when you're used to the featurettes on American DVDs -- where writers won't just be interviewed, but probably have a commentary track, too. Toku writers do give interviews in magazines and the special books devoted to their show, but since they're ignored in the video featurettes, I feel that makes them somewhat overlooked. Now, fans know which writer is who and will talk about them, but are they just names? Who are these people? What do they look like? Here's a breakdown of each Sentai main writer with a picture, so you can imagine who it was hunched over a typewriter/computer, creating your favorite show. (Or see the person behind your least favorite show and flip them the bird or print it out and place it on a dart board or something.)

If Takaku wasn't important to Battle Fever, they wouldn't have included him in Ohranger, in which the producers enlisted every series main writer to contribute to the series since it was the first big anniversary celebration.

I like a lot of his Metal Hero shows, so why did Hurricane turn out the way it did?

Kamen Rider needs your help again, Arakawa.

Don't be too happy with yourself, Sanjou -- W went limp in its second half and Kyoryuger is horrid.

Now, there's two people missing, you might be saying. Well, I haven't seen a picture of Junki Takegami (main writer of Megaranger, GoGoFive, Gaoranger and Go-onger) and couldn't find one doing a Google search, and there's not a picture of Michiko Yokote (main writer of Gekiranger and Goseiger) because Yokote isn't even a person -- it's a collective pseudonym for three people. That's right, Yokote consists of one person who's just the manager, one person who handles dialogue and one who handles the plots -- which is funny considering that Gekiranger and Goseiger are often harshly criticized for lacking characters and/or plot.

Soda and Inoue are my favorites, but I also really like Takaku. Who are your favorites?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jiraiya: The Face of Dokusai

I recently finished rewatching Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya and hauled out some of my TV Magazines/TV Lands, looking for cool pics from it. (Turns out I don't have as many issues from '88 as I thought.) But in one of the issues there's a plain shot of the main villain, Dokusai, unmasked -- a scene that lasted only a split-second in the series, mostly keeping the actor in shadows.

Oni Ninja Dokusai is one of my favorite Metal Hero villains -- he's got the whole creepy oni design, and AFAIC, this is voice-actor Shozo Iizuka's best toku work; Iizuka just makes him nasty and vicious, and really displays the glee Dokusai can take when tormenting a character. It's unlike most of his other performances, he seems more restrained as Dokusai, more trying to sell that there's a man behind the mask. Dokusai's a character who was a fellow student of the Togakure Ninja style along with Touha/Jiraiya's (adoptive) dad, Tetsuzan. Like many of villains in a ninja/samurai/martial-arts show or movie, Dokusai rebelled and went to the dark side; not only is it hinted that he was jealous of Tetsuzan courting and marrying a woman he liked, Sanae, but his greed got the best of him, wanting to steal the Board leading to the hidden Pako treasure and the secrets it withheld. For most of the series, you're just wondering what's beneath that mask, and the show messes with the viewer, having Jiraiya crack Dokusai's mask a couple of times, where Dokusai disguises himself as Tetsuzan to mess with Jiraiya's head. It ends up revealed in the finale that there's really nothing behind the mask -- whoever Dokusai was became so corrupt, so evil, that he lost his human form. (Which doesn't really explain why you can see his fingers in those finger-less gloves, but...) When Jiraiya breaks his mask in the finale, what's revealed is something that just looks like a blackhole. I always thought it was kind of disappointing that Tetsuzan didn't get to kill Dokusai -- he was the one who knew him, plus Dokusai killed Sanae (Kei and Manabu's mother), so he had more investment. But the show wasn't called Sekai Ninja Sen Tetsuzan, so Jiraiya gets to do it...

Anyway, there's one flashback early on in the series that shows Tetsuzan fighting with Dokusai, where for a split second they show his face. And here in TV Magazine, they have a still...

Any JAC fan can tell you that that dude above is Satoshi Kurihara, probably best known as General Gaira in Sharivan. (He's also made appearances in some of Keita Amemiya's earlier movies.) Kurihara is mostly a face actor with the JAC and not a suit guy (Dokusai's suit-actor was Metal Hero regular Noriaki Kaneda), so it makes me wonder if by casting Kurihara that the show had bigger plans to get into Dokusai's background, but just decided to let it be more of a mystery. The text with the pic above just says "The Past Dokusai," but Kurihara's not even credited as that much in the episode, instead just being listed amongst the JAC names.

I just thought this was sort of neat. (Sorry the scan's not better; not only is it from the crappy, colorless back pages of a TV Magazine, but the picture is placed near the center of the magazine!)