Saturday, December 22, 2018
Well, I've finally gotten around to doing it -- ranking each Super Sentai series. I've done this a couple of times before when it came up at HJU, and felt like it was a bit of a fool's errand. There's just too many shows, I felt like you couldn't honestly rank some of those in-between entries that you might feel indifferent towards. But I actually feel really pretty certain about my list this time around, and happy where I've ranked things. Traditionally, lists like this go from worst to best, but if you're here at this blog, I suspect you'll know my top favorites, and that won't be a surprise. But what Sentai does Shougo like least? That might be a surprise! So, here goes...
1. Dengeki Sentai Changeman
It's kinda sad. After the Changeman 30th thing I did, it's been hard for me to write anything more about Changeman. I need to recharge after that. If you followed that endeavor at all, you'll know why I love Changeman. If you know me at all, you'll know why I love Changeman. And if you don't know -- welcome to the fandom, n00b! I'm Shougo B'Stard.
Here's what I wrote to wrap up the Changeman 30th endeavor. It's what I consider my near-ultimate love letter to the show. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1015545445185830&id=760785477328496
2. Chojuu Sentai Liveman
I've gotten some feedback regarding my posts on Liveman, with people wondering how I could like a show that I criticized so much. (Same with Kamen Rider Black, which I DO love.) Liveman is flawed, and it chickens out, but I still love the show, what it does, what it stands for. I think the premise and set-up is so strong and that the show is meaningful, it *says* something. Liveman used to be my top favorite Sentai show, but the last couple of times I made this list, it came in at 4. There's two things recently that made me have a bit of an epiphany in how much I like Liveman and can forgive some of its flaws, coming to realize that Liveman ranks higher for me...
One was my posts about Time Force. I wrote about its sappy, chicken-shit final episodes, and ended up saying something like "It sucks, it doesn't work, but I can see what they were going for and choose to look at it that way." So, if I'm willing to cut a g'damn Power Rangers show such slack, then why not one of my top favorite tokus? Sure, I hold Super Sentai to a higher standard than Power Rangers, and I hold Liveman to a higher standard than most tokus, but...Liveman does a lot right.
The second thing was, there was a topic on Twitter asking for your five favorite toku shows. I didn't Tweet my picks, but my answer was instantly Changeman, Agito, Liveman, Flashman, Black. (I was going to choose Spielban over Flashman, but at the end of the day, would probably prefer to watch Flashman over Spielban.) And I was like "I rank Maskman as my second favorite Super Sentai, but I immediately went for Liveman rather than it. Huh." I love Maskman, I'll get to that in a second, but, for all of its flaws and where it went wrong, I just love Liveman's grounded, dour, contemplative, tragic, dark and serious style, and it meshes with a lot of my sensibilities. Liveman's first three episodes alone just blow me away, and I think are unlike anything a Sentai has done before or since. (I actually like to lump episode 8 with those three, making a really great little Sentai mini movie.)
Amazing set-up to this show; I like how it wants to be more grounded, I like how it explores the themes of betrayal, the dark side of ambition, the egotistical intellectuals who use their knowledge for their own gain versus the good side who use their knowledge to save people, for the betterment of everyone. And, of course, the central theme, the almost spiritual concept of the value of life. (The show is the rare Japanese show that champions living and enjoying your life over constant working or studies.) Great heroes, great villains, heavy, emotional, with a message -- again, it *says* something. It wears its heart on its sleeve at times, but I think it swings for the fences and goes further with a similarly sorta philosophical style as Metalder did, and I'll argue that Liveman is stronger than fan-favorite, over-praised Metalder. Nobody will let Liveman off the hook for, say, the dinosaur episodes, but overly serious episodes about robots who want to play violin will get a pass. Metalder's ruminations for mostly all-robot characters can get a little dull and uninvolving, IMO; Liveman made cases for just about everything.
But then something happens to the show... While The Other Two joining the team certainly don't help matters -- even if the idea behind them held so much potential -- Liveman starts dipping in quality in the second half in ways that CAN'T just be blamed completely on The Other Two and the way they throw off the cast's chemistry. I don't know for certain if there was a demand by higher-ups, but the show seems to get softer for most of the later half. (Which happens to all of Toei's shows in the late '80s, if you look at them.) The story potential becomes limited. The heated relationship between the heroes and villains loses intensity. It gets a little too wrapped up in speechifying at the cost of what makes more narrative sense.
Most obvious of all, the show just flat out runs out of money. Liveman never looked like it had the biggest budget -- Japanese fans blame Kamen Rider Black for taking all of Toei's money and focus in '88, but I think it's probably the casting of top pop stars Daisuke Shima and Megumi Mori -- but it looks like it has zero budget in its second half. It's striking how little Liveman films in any actual locations -- nearly EVERYWHERE is a freakin' (cheaply constructed) set or just outdoors in the boonies.
Liveman has a great premise, a strong beginning, but wavers in its second half. Whenever I rewatch the series, it's always heartbreaking to see the show change and lose its narrative courage. There's still some damn good episodes later on. I think I'd probably find it easier to overlook the flawed second half if it had better final episodes. I'd go a *little* easier on other areas of the second half I dislike. The Other Two is a problem, the ever-lowering budget is a problem, but the punch-pulling softness that leads to the underwhelming way the villains are ultimately dealt with and in which the series wraps up eclipses most other shortcomings. If they had delivered a final arc as strong as the first three episodes, one that truly fit the tone of the show, it would be easier to overlook some of the other issues and flaws that popped up all too often in the second half.
As is, I...I've started to just kind of write my own version of the show's ending arc and go with that. Delusional? Hey, it worked for Nobuo Akagi.
3. Hikari Sentai Maskman
Maskman's a show I appreciated more and more over the years. I just like the grounded approach it takes and how it goes about building the world of Tube. It gives you enough information, while leaving something to the imagination.
The heroes are all fun and likable and believable as regular folks and close friends. The villains are all interesting, and you can sense their shared history. I like the Shakespearean, personal overall story with the star-crossed, separated lovers and how their romance impacts the surrounding characters. I like the light versus darkness theme, the almost Gothic feel the world of Tube has. The production did a good job of bringing that underground world to life. (I still love the way you get a peak at what looks like a red sky outside of Tube's windows. What is that? A magma atmosphere? Whatever it is, it looks cool!) I also like the '80sness of the show, its style and soundtrack.
It's just a strong, consistent, nuanced and entertaining show that I think constantly delivers. There's not really an episode of this show I hate. And it's probably the Sentai team I'd want to be on, and the Sentai show I'd want to be in. (It's also the only toku show I can remember having any dreams about. At least twice I was Blue Mask. That kinda sucked. It's my dream, why wasn't I Red?!)
4. Choshinsei Flashman
For a while, Flashman was really close to Changeman for me. Flashman was my favorite as a kid. Flashman's a really solid show that I think hits a mark of quality and maintains it. The premise is amazing and original and tragic, the characters (especially the villains) are all so memorable. The show's a well-oiled machine, with chunks of multi-parters and a strong continuity. The fact that it was my favorite as a kid, that nearly all of my Flashman tapes had survived over the years, I just feel more of a familiarity with this show that kind of keeps me from being as enthusiastic about it as I once was, and as I should still be.
As strange as it sounds, I think Flashman might be TOO well-oiled of a machine. It's not like I like forgettable, standalone -- dare I say filler-y -- malarkey, but I find there's times when a show can be too serialized, and it can make it easier to become too familiar with it. Instead of, say, 50 episodes with a lot of variety, a serialized 50-episode show can feel half that length, and you'll be like "Ugh! Not the 5-parter with Ley Baraki!" It would be dismissed by modern viewers as "filler," but the one stand-alone episode with Miran is better than the Baraki episodes. Done-in-ones can be powerful and meaningful.
5. Gekisou Sentai Carranger
Carranger, for a LONG time, had a terrible reputation. Everybody thought it was stupid. Me and a few of the cool kids realized its value. A witty comedy, a sometimes take-down of the genre and pop-culture, perfectly cast, extremely creative. I love the characters and its unique world and voice. Being curious about bosozoku culture, I love the Bowzock and think they're hilarious, yet somehow retain some cruelty and therefore threat. (I think the Bowzock are actually my favorite part of the show.)
Anyway, I'm one of those assholes who likes a band before they're super popular, and thinks it sucks when the dorky masses get into them. That's Carranger. It was the cool thing to like, now everyone likes it, so it's less cool.
The worst part is when you get the feeling that people like it because they think it's dorky, not really getting the humor of the show, thinking it's unintentionally bad or has contempt for the franchise or something. Carranger's not coming from a place of hatred. Another sucky scenario is when there's someone who hates the genre and themself for liking it, so they feel like something like Carranger or Akibaranger is the only thing they can let themselves like since they see it as trashing the stuff they're embarrassed to like.
6. Kousoku Sentai Turboranger
Unfairly maligned. I've always loved this show, I took an instant liking to it, so it always confused me when I'd get on the internet and see people call it the worst or whatever.
It was main writer Hirohisa Soda's eighth consecutive show AND it had to fight its way up from the low budget grime Liveman left it in. Soda stumbles a bit in the way he handles the early set of villains, but I don't think it's one of his worst works, as people often label it. Soda's always favored scientific themes, but here he's trying to work in some fantasy and mystical components. I like Turboranger's minimal approach to bringing in those genres, rather than going insane with them the way, say, Zyuranger does, where the fantasy is just an excuse for the writers to be lazy and get away with whatever nuttiness they want to.
Turboranger has a lot of Soda's usual concepts and ingredients, but I feel like he accomplishes them in different enough ways to not feel stale. (Which can't be said about Fiveman.) The show really hits its stride once Yamimaru and Kirika join the cast, and it begins to focus on the topics of growing up, finding yourself, your place, and trying to be your own person.
7. Chojin Sentai Jetman
For the record, when I first saw Jetman, I LOVED it. It was only as I got older and saw more Sentai that I became...I'll say "disillusioned" with it. So, for a lot of the past several years, I've kind of gone back and forth about this show. I've had my issues with it, I've gone over those enough times. But there's so much of this show and Inoue's style that matches my own sensibilities. With a few tweaks, it could have been seriously amazing, and probably kept an even higher ranking for me.
I enjoyed the show more on my last rewatch, trying to let go of the hang-ups I have. I feel like I grew kind of numb to what made Jetman Jetman, so I tried to be more forgiving and more observant on my last rewatch. (The sad, sad state the franchise has been in for the past several years also helps make Jetman's minor-blunders-in-comparison seem ignorable.) While I still don't love it as much as I used to, there's still so much I like about the show, its set-up, its seriousness, its depiction of the first truly dysfunctional team. And it's the end of an era, since Sentai starts to get away from the military set-up and gets really wacky under Sugimura, before then becoming limited in what it can do because of Power Rangers needing to slice and dice it.
8. Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger
The early '00s were a dark time for me as a Sentai fan. Despite liking GoGoFive, I was kinda not into toku so much in 2000 or 2001. I didn't like Timeranger, it took time for me to give Gaoranger a shot, I hated Hurricaneger. I've never thought dinosaurs were cool, and I hated the other dinosaur Sentai, so I didn't expect much from Abaranger...
But I kept an open mind since, by '03, I had just played catch up and gotten through Kuuga, which at the time I thought was awesome. And I knew Kuuga's main writer was main writer of Abaranger, and while Abaranger initially seems likes it's far more lighthearted and comedic than Kuuga ever was, it didn't take long to realize Abaranger had more going for it than first appearance. And at first glance, it's not even that it's just comedic, but it features some *really* quirky, off-the-wall stuff. It's hard to believe now, in a post-Den-O world, but at the time Abaranger was seen as being really wacky and out of its mind.
So it wasn't as serious as Kuuga, but Abaranger thankfully had good, game performers who made it all work. But for comedic as it was, it still had a strong dramatic foundation, and a real genuine sense of heart that made it easier to put up with some of its weirder scenarios. (Teaming up with a fishing cartoon? Whaaaaaa?) There's quite a few things about Abaranger that shouldn't work or that I'd ordinarily find bothersome -- like talking dinosaurs or the Dino Guts concept for example -- but through the strength of the performers, writing and dedication at creating such a unique world, you just buy it, don't question it and it does work. I always thought Abaranger was more in the spirit of a mid-to-late '90s Sentai. I can easily picture this show as being a follow-up to Carranger or Megaranger.
Abaranger was just a pleasant surprise to me, I was just so into the show, it had me hooked, it had built its own offbeat world and setting. It was a show that I found legitimately funny. It's kinda the last show where I felt like the heroes were adults. It was a show that I instantly missed when it was over and made me want more from it; like, I was REALLY depending on Dekaranger VS Abaranger to be something, since it was going to be our last visit with the Abaranger characters. (That movie is a massive letdown.) How much did I love Abaranger? Well, despite not being a fan of Power Rangers, I'll usually check out the latest show's first episode to see what they've done with the Sentai. I didn't check out Dino Thunder, I couldn't see what was done with Abaranger. All I've seen of Dino Thunder is a clip of Tommy's first morph and the Lost and Found in Translation episode. Still...I just didn't want to see what they did to Abaranger. It hurt too much. I had a similar reaction when I first saw an ad for VR Troopers. Like "No! Don't ruin Spielban!"
I'm just really fond of Abaranger and the time it was on.
9. Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive
GoGoFive is a grand disaster movie with superheroes. I love the heroes, I love how realistically they tried to convey the idea of the GoGoFive being an extension of their everyday jobs, and how the technology worked. Kuuga took the realistic approach even further, but I feel like it was something GoGoFive first approached and doesn't get the recognition or credit it deserves for doing so.
A great cast of heroes, some creepy and diabolical villains (who would have been even better if they were played by actors) -- I like how it's the rare toku family that actually seems like a family, and the contrast between the do-gooder hero family and the hellspawn villain family. There's great suit work, an amazing soundtrack; it's a packed, entertaining, ambitious ride.
That's another thing -- the show was pretty ambitious for being a show airing on the weekend at 7:30. It does a great job creating high-stakes disaster scenes with its small budget. Nowadays it would all either be off-screen or done completely CGI, which is shit. GoGoFive has some great miniature work. Damn underrated show. It's a show that I'll get in the mood to watch a couple of episodes, and then a couple turns into several and then several turns into a full rewatch...
Whenever I'm trying to make lists like this, I'll always feel like GoGoFive deserves a higher ranking, but what keeps it from moving, for me, is the lackluster-seeming final episodes. The constant villain revivals, it just takes away from the heroes' victories, it takes away from the ways those foes were initially defeated, and it's just lazy. It's dull, it takes away urgency.
10. Ninja Sentai Kakuranger
When I first saw Kakuranger in the '90s, I rolled my eyes. A ninja Sentai should have been cool, and it was so silly, on both the hero and villain side. Not even just silly, but cartoonishly silly, complete with the '60s Batman-style POW! BAM! BOOM! graphics. But once I saw more of the show, found out more about Japan's youkai, I started to see where I had misjudged it. It was making a statement on the then-current generation and the old. It was saying something about the place youkai stories have in the world.
It was saying that a lot of the ninja lore is so extreme in its over-the-topness that, hey, here are ninjas that can basically do anything, no matter how absurd. You want to believe Jiraiya rode frogs in real life? Why stop there, how about ninjas that can turn themselves into hamburgers? Yeah! Pop-culture has long presented ninjas who were basically magicians, so here's Kakuranger to take the piss out of them by having them do just about anything.
While I really enjoy Kakuranger, I always had a problem with the final dozen episodes. I think it kind of sputters and they throw in a few too many random, unessential episodes at the end. It didn't need to be 53 episodes. (And the budget agrees with me on that one.)
11. Kagaku Sentai Dynaman
It's a mostly episodic series, and it shows only traces of the heights Soda would take the franchise to, but I just have such a fun damn time when I watch this show. There's enough interesting characters, situations and action scenes to make the more episodic or routine episodes worthwhile. While I can look at something like Bioman or Dairanger and recognize it as a better constructed show, I just find Dynaman so entertaining and enjoyable that, for me, it beats 'em.
12. JAKQ Dengeki Tai
A show that's really climbed the list for me. I always liked the earlier episodes and was disheartened when they tinkered around with it to lighten up. Having seen the show a couple more times, I don't mind the changes so much. I've come to like Banba a lot, and while I feel they tried too hard in those later episodes to make the show more Goranger-y, I enjoy JAKQ's characters and setting more than I do Goranger.
13. Battle Fever J
A product of its time, but another show that I think is fun, full of life and color and lets your imagination fill in some of the details. I think the villains are interesting and creepy -- so, they don't always have the greatest plans -- and I think the heroes are all a fun, likable bunch. The show is sometimes weird in the way it will focus on one hero, with the others barely ever appearing, but I guess that was the show playing around with the format. Osamu Kaneda's reusing so many action scenes is a letdown, but for the most part, the show has cool, fast-paced, crazy action.
I always describe it as Goranger done right. Having just rewatched Goranger -- separated in half with a viewing of Battle Fever J -- I stick by that. It was a bit of a bummer getting back to Goranger after watching all of Battle Fever again.
14. Chodenshi Bioman
One that's hard to rank for me. I think it's a good show, with a lot of solid episodes, an interesting main villain and pretty much mostly serious villain plans. The heroes are mostly great, just likable and really heroic and all business. I really want to place it higher on my least, but here's my problem with the show...
Changeman was my first Sentai. Bioman went on to have morning reruns in '85, so I saw it after Changeman. Even as a kid I recognized Bioman as being older than Changeman, which I felt made it inferior. It seemed to me like a knock-off, like it wanted to be Changeman, but didn't get right what Changeman did. For as much as I like the show now, I think there's still some buried residue of my feelings as a kid that keeps me from being like "Bioman, fuck, yeah!"
15. Denshi Sentai Denjiman
Denjiman's a fun show, and I like it A LOT. I like the way the team functions, I think the bad guys have a good group of actors -- I don't usually like the underling-types of women spies that Uehara's so fond of putting in his shows, but the actresses here are good enough to make them memorable. When I watch Denjiman, it's interesting to see how it set a lot of standards; Denjiman's DNA is in a lot of subsequent Sentai shows. Goranger, JAKQ and Battle Fever J are all still finding their footing, and Denjiman feels more like THE FIRST Sentai series to me. It's crazy to me that it isn't held in higher regard, especially by the Japanese fans. It's a good show, setting the stage for so many others. And I think a lot of that is due to Denjiman being the first show where being the hero ISN'T their job; they're ordinary citizens thrown together, and the show highlights the different things each member brings to the table, and their differences. That's all something subsequent Sentai shows carry on.
My big gripe with Denjiman is that I would have liked for it to have a stronger overall arc of some kind. I know that's just not how TV was done at the time -- and you can't really expect that from the [s]second[/s] fourth Sentai series -- but I just feel like Bioman takes Denjiman concepts and goes further with them. Like, when I rewatched Denjiman, and they were talking about the people who were descendants of the Denji aliens who the Denji Princess left behind back in the day, I thought an easy arc would have been if a Vader member -- most likely Banriki -- had an Agito-esque motive of wanting to track down and eliminate people who had Denji DNA. And then I thought, well, that's basically Bio Hunter Silver. And Dr. Man's a more interesting character than any of the Denji villains. And even if it came late in the show, the story with Gou's dad is stronger than anything the Denjiman heroes are given. And there's losing Yellow Four and the new one joining, so...Bioman just edges out Denjiman for me.
But the show's so damn entertaining, and I think an important entry of the franchise, and even without an overall arc, I probably WOULD still rank Denjiman higher...if Red and Pink were stronger characters/actors. They're OK enough, but I like the remaining three more, but the lead hero and heroine need to be strong.
16. Denji Sentai Megaranger
I have a soft spot for this show, but I'm not as into it as I used to be. But it has such a cool, fun, lovable group of heroes, and that's what makes it special. I like that it wants to be a modernization of some of the more science-oriented and sci-fi related Sentai shows from the '80s. What keeps it from ranking higher for me is the way the show becomes just too mecha-obsessed in its later episodes. It gets scattered, breaks away a bit too much from how the show started. (They most likely had to change a lot of stuff going from an evening timeslot to a morning one, and I've always wondered how Megaranger would have turned out if it got to stay on in the evening.) Megaranger is at its height when it's the five of them, making their way through juggling school, growing up, having fun and being superheroes and unlikely friends.
Also, I think the villains end up being pretty lackluster. I never really remember until I'm actually watching the show again, but the Nejirejia seem so ineffectual and so disconnected from the rest of the show, that scenes with them feel like stuff from an unrelated show spliced in. But that still doesn't take away from how fun and cool the rest of the show usually is.
17. Gosei Sentai Dairanger
While I think Dairanger relies too much on weirdness and comedy than it should, and that it doesn't fully utilize the great history and backstory it's set up, it still manages to pull off being a cool, good show, that's also just really entertaining. I used to rank it a little higher -- it used to be the Sugimura show I ranked highest, but Kakuranger pretty much took its spot because I think it says a little more and is the show best suited for Sugimura's weird style and humor. It also slipped the more I got into the '70s and early '80s shows, but I still think it's a solid show.
The Gorma being the last villain group to be mainly actors helps save the show a lot, especially Shadam, Gara and the Gorma Emperor. (Akomaru's actually pretty good, too.)
18. Seijuu Sentai Gingaman
I think Gingaman does the whole fairy tale storybook thing better than nutty-ass Zyuranger, and I like that it wants to evoke a Showa kind of feel to it, but there's just always felt like the show's missing something to me. It plays it extremely safe. (Rubber villains don't help.) I feel like it doesn't quite accomplish what it tries to. I think the show really goes out with a whimper in its latter half -- producer Shigenori Takatera obviously checking out, having his eye on Kamen Rider. Takatera usually has such a strong vision, and writer Yasuko Kobayashi certainly needs the strong guidance of someone like Takatera. So, when he's half out the door, the show suffers for it. And it's a problem, because Gingaman's big thing was in trying to feel like a big, epic fantasy adventure. For the most part, it succeeds, but sadly peters out towards the end, when it needed to be delivering some of its biggest episodes.
I find that, for as much as I enjoy the show as I watch it, it kind of doesn't linger in the memory that long. But the show has a bit of an extra brightness for me because it was the first Sentai I got to see develop from its start when I got back into toku in the late '90s -- when I decided to look up all of these funky shows I saw when I was a kid on the internet. This was at some point in late '97, so Megaranger was near its end, so it was exciting to see news of the latest show as it developed. And even though I thought the show was shaping up to be weird as heck, and I was kinda like "What the hell are they thinking?!" I liked that it was a "____man" name!
19. Juuken Sentai Gekiranger
Gekiranger was a surprise for me; at the time, it was the first premiere episode in a while that I thought was good and the show continued to hold my interest. It would have been nice for the show to play it a little straighter -- producer Hideaki Tsukada seems to look down on the genre a bit, favoring lighthearted, more anime-infused shows -- but it's early JAKQ compared to the recent shows. Like Dairanger, it's a show that has a lot of good backstory that it sadly doesn't put to full use. The show could have had a little more depth, a big problem of which is that I don't think the villains are nuanced. The show was soooooooooo afraid of making Rio and Mele actually evil; they kept them on the fence and they felt non-threatening for most of the show. (I also think Rio needed to be played by someone older than Araki.)
20. Samurai Sentai Shinkenger
A show I liked more after rewatching it; Shinkenger's not without its problems, but I think it had a better grasp on how to do a Sentai than most of the modern shows. Well-rounded characters, a good serious setting. The show is more style over substance, but the style helps give the show a bolder, more epic feel than it might have. Like, the suit actors carry themselves well, even when the action might let you down. The villains are disappointing since they're suits, and only Dayuu really has any character or motivation, but the show does a good job in filming technique in terms of making Dokoku seem big and menacing. (Juzo might have been as cool as the show pretended he was if they had a better actor. They definitely needed someone like Takashi Hagino.)
Shinkenger's, like, the last sane show, isn't it? It was restrained, most of the characters seemed like humans and not cartoons, and it didn't have henshin items screeching and scatting shit at you. I still don't like Genta, though, and feel like he's a completely unnecessary addition to the show, and one that proves that Kobayashi DIDN'T have the Tono-is-a-kagemusha twist until she was nearly finished with the show. (You wouldn't need a commoner member to help "humanize" the Tono if she had intended for him to be a fake all along. Just sayin'.)
21. Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger
As much as I've come to like this show, there's a part of me that's still disappointed in that it could have been -- should have been -- soooooooooo much cooler. As I said for Gekiranger, producer Tsukada favors comedy and lightheartedness over anything else, so couple that with the show's goofy cast, and it started to take different turns from the way it was initially depicted.
Think of it this way. It's 2004. I hear the next Sentai show is going to be a cop show done by the Kuuga writer. And they're going to be space cops on top of it! The Uchuu Keiji were always disappointing in that area, weren't they? A 2004 Super Sentai could be so much bolder than any of those limited shows were. So this all sounds promising, even intriguing, right? So, you can imagine there's some mild disappointment when Dekaranger starts and is so cartoony. (And they're making the same Uchuu Keiji mistakes, like having aliens just be people with animal heads!) And then you have Ban shrieking everything like a kid actor and everyone's going "EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?!?!?" all over the place. And it doesn't help that this show has barely gone away. These guys keep popping up in toku, whether they're returning as Dekaranger or in different roles. That kinda puts a cloud over the show for me. (What's disappointing is, something like 10YA is geared to an older group than the show originally was, but it STILL plays it cartoonishly safe.)
Does this show have the worst sound effects or what? It's like someone's making the noises with their mouth. Not somebody good, either, like Michael Winslow -- someone shitty. Maybe even a kid playing with his Dekaranger soft vinyls in his backyard.
22. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
Gokaiger was a really fun show, and I really liked the return of a space-y, sci-fi tinged show. I thought the heroes were all enjoyable and likable and distinct, even if they were just pretty broad. (I think the show knew to keep things a little simple for viewers who might be tuning in to see a particular past hero -- not have them turned away or bogged down by not knowing what the hell might have happened in the past X amount of episodes. You could jump in the show at any point and pretty much know right away who are heroes are by their traits.) The show might have been too afraid to stick to its guns of having them be truly heartless, but learn to be heroic, but...we didn't need total jackasses in what was the big Sentai celebration. Leave that shit to Kamen Rider.
And that's what was great about Gokaiger -- it was an actual celebration, a full on birthday cake for Super Sentai. It wasn't perfect, but it's been closest to the anniversary show I always wanted for Sentai. Bring back past people, pay homage and respect to past shows, haul out old themes and stuff. Past villains would have been cool, but I get why that might not have been a priority for the production -- they were already ambitious and taking chances by weaving past shows into everything, as more than just a gimmick. As it aired, the show was pretty exciting. You didn't know what it was going to do next and just who might show up.
I will say, though, at the same time, for this Showa fan, the show could kinda be frustrating. I sweated the entire show if they were ever going to honor the Showa shows, and they handled a lot of my favorites in a disappointing last-minute/half-hearted kind of way. Again, I think the show was just kind of afraid because of the big task they were taking on, but I certainly think it's awesome that you can say that at least one person from every single Sentai show appeared at one point, which is especially impressive when some of the performers had long left showbiz. And the Sentai love wasn't only reflected within the show, but around the production. A lot of past cast and staff members were made aware of it and would talk about it or visit the set. It was just nice to have a good, entertaining Sentai show for its anniversary that you could appreciate, and that felt like it had a lot of love going into it.
The villains blow, though. Of course, because that's a problem with so many of the modern toku shows. I strongly dislike the Zangyaku designs, and I didn't like the voice actors. Basco was a disappointment, just far too cutesy to ever convey what a traitorous bastard he was supposed to be. The thing that helped the Zangyaku, though, is that they at least had numbers. They might not have been the best villains, but they at least tried to convey why it took every Sentai to push them back. And since the center of the show was that the Gokaiger were meant to be outlaws and possibly villainous themselves, it chose to use the Zangyaku often as just kind of background noise, and that kind of helped ease how lame they were. Like...sure, the Gokaiger hated them for what they did to their homeworlds, but they were also on the run from them, so...yes, they wanted to fight them off, they felt a duty to that that put them on the path of being heroes, but a lot of the time, the Zangyaku are just kind of nuisances who are in the way of the Gokaiger. The more important part of the show was the rough and standoffish Gokaiger learning how to be better heroes from the past guys. So the Zangyaku being so TV-Y7 wasn't as much of a detriment to my enjoyment of the show and it worked out for the show.
The show's just big and ambitious, and has a lot of untapped potential. It provided just enough material of the heroes' pasts and the show's universe to let your mind wonder. Between the untapped potential of the Gokaiger's pre-hero past and the Legendary War, I always felt like Gokaiger was a goldmine for tie-in novels and comic adventures.
Also, remember this: Gokaiger gave us Akibaranger. Think of that next time you want to smack talk it.
23. Choriki Sentai Ohranger
Good cast of heroes + amazing Yamaoka action = higher on this list than it probably deserves. Real life tragedies or no, the show was doomed anyway, especially since it has those cutesy looking villains. There's just no making those guys as threatening as the early episodes wanted them to be. (Which is why I think Ohranger would have been better off never showing the high-ranking Baranoia; just show the monsters of the week, leave it a mystery who's behind them, revealing only in the final episodes something like the Genius Kuroda character, someone who sold himself to advanced machines who were going to invade.)
I admire that it was the first anniversary series to try to do big things to mark it, like having two of the franchise's past producers teaming up and bringing in every main writer of the past Sentai shows to contribute. (Although I think all of those producers and writers having such differing styles is another possible contribution to the show's extreme personality shifts.)
I can kind of take this show in its early half -- especially with what good action it has -- but it becomes spotty once they let Uehara get away with his goofy standalones (with Costanza and that robot professor guy from Gransazer) and the show becomes a dumping ground for whatever toy Bandai wants to shill that week. If not for that aimless second half, I MIGHT have ranked it higher than Gokaiger, because I think I might have had more fun with Ohranger last time I watched it than it. (Thanks to CCLemon and the magic of Shout Factory. Or maybe because my previous copies of Ohranger were HORRENDOUS seventh-generation-cloned-VHS-transferred-to-VCD-crammed-onto-four-DVDs quality copies. That's not even an exaggeration, that's totally what the seller sold me, and I hadn't enjoyed the show enough to ever buy higher quality.)
And the only real reason I rank this higher than a couple of the next entries is thanks to the 20-minute running time giving it a quicker pace. Like, that's the only reason it outranks Goranger to me -- 84 episodes at 25 minutes, you did it to yourself, Goranger.
24. Himitsu Sentai Goranger
I'd like to like Goranger more than I do, but I think it's too damn long for a show that settles in a comfort zone so early on. I think the show has a strong cast, and I like the spy aspect -- but here's two huge problems for me...
First of all, the Kurojuu Jigun designs are fucking horrendous. Ishinomori used up all of his good monster design ideas on the first Rider series. For the most part, the Kurojuu Jigun are depicted as serious and straightforward and evil in their means and methods. But they look so stupid. This isn't a case of a design just not aging well -- these designs had to have looked atrocious in 1975, too. "Yeah, this guy is in black tights and his head is a giant fist. Fist Mask. Yeah. How about a guy whose head is a telephone -- Telephone Mask. Ooh, and then a guy with an ear head. Big Ear Mask. Now, where's my check?" You could EASILY parody the Kurojuu Jigun, and they'd probably still look like something that could have been in the show. Hairy Testicle Mask. Dog Poop Pile Mask. Q-Tip Mask. Fork Mask. Toilet Paper Roll Mask. Nail Clipper Mask. Snotty Nose Mask. Hypodermic Needle Mask. Brassiere Mask. Deodorant Bar Mask. Yo-yo Mask. I could keep going, folks. (And a few of those are real!)
Especially early on, the villains are filmed and presented in this Shocker kind of way. They have it bad for Shocker, they're such wannabes -- Mocker. But it never works because of the designs, which are so bad that the show basically goes on to acknowledge how bad they are by beginning to put the monsters in humorous scenes, leading to a change in tone for the show. There's no thought put into these monster designs -- everything's just focused on the head, their "mask." They're gimmicks that don't even fit into the scenarios. Worst of all, I feel like these designs give freedom to later, shittier designers, far less talented than Ishinomori, who think they can do stupid shit at the bare minimum and claim it's an homage to Goranger. Screw that!
Second big problem is that the show settles into a groove by episode 20 and is just unchanging. Early episodes had villain plans that put the world in danger, but after a while the focus becomes solely on targeting EAGLE or the Goranger. There's only so many times you can see EAGLE soldiers gunned down or (cheaply made models of) EAGLE bases blown up. So, yeah, I'd like to like Goranger more than I do, but I think it gets just far too repetitive. And if you think all this makes me a bad Sentai fan, well...here's a Goranger monster just for you: it has a big hand for a head, and the hand-head's middle finger is extended. Eff You Mask.
25. Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger
Fun for what it is early on -- with a likable cast who all look like they get along and are having a blast -- but then it's all brought down by mopey Silver and the show forcing some unconvincing environmental message really, really hard, in the form of the obnoxious Fuutaro. (The original five are all so fun, likable and cool, though -- a reverse Timeranger. Zombie Tetsuji Tamayama would have fit in with the Timeranger cast, though.)
It's also held back by being the first show to try to turn toku into a DigiPokeRancher, anime-quest, "collect all 'em critters!" gimmick. Gaoranger created a monster of greed that's ripping Sentai apart to this day.
26. Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman
I'd like to like Fiveman. It's my hero Soda's last show as main writer. But the show's just a mess, and not an interesting one. Just...they try to make it be and do everything, and it just has no soul to it. To say it's by the numbers is to give it too much praise.
It's sad, because the cast is mostly cool, even though they're really not used well and don't look like they're having a great time. And I love the Zone as villains! They're pretty much all cool and menacing. (Even early Garoa.) The weak spot is Shubarie, who's just the worst villain of Uehara-Soda years of Sentai. Green Flash deserved better than to play that lame bastard. Show's just not very fun, but potential was there.
27. Dai Sentai Goggle V
I've said before, I don't hate Goggle V as much as most people. I think it's very formulaic and plays it safe, and is often just boring. The heroes are on the generic side. (Jun'ichi Haruta is the best, though -- why in the hell didn't he just play Akama? This show would be fairly rough without him.) The bad guys aren't terribly interesting, but I like the idea behind them. There's SOME fun ideas in the show, like the Comboy, assistants who shadow the Goggle V and could one day take over for them. It's a show that I could imagine sort of liking when I was a kid.
28. Taiyou Sentai Sunvulcan
A show as unremarkable as it is overrated by the Japanese fans. I still have no fucking clue what the Japanese fans see in this show. It's because it's a sausage fest, right? The show's just very slow-paced, and then it becomes very silly out of nowhere. It wants to be Goranger, but doesn't have the kick-ass cast to help it out. The show really suffers from not having a heroine. (No, Misa doesn't cut it.)
OK, to be honest, it's not like I think Sunvulcan's a bad show. It's watchable, it can be entertaining. (When I first saw it, I had just watched and enjoyed the Uchuu Keiji shows, and thought that Sunvulcan had a kinda Uchuu Keiji vibe that I appreciated.) It might be unfair, but a lot of my distaste for it comes from the worship it receives. To me, it's the weakest of the Showa Sentai shows, but it's called the best for reasons I don't really understand, when there's 11 shows that do everything better than it. And not just longtime Sentai fans in Japan, but Toei staff place this show on a pedestal -- it really IS the Uchuu Keiji of Super Sentai! Just...why do you love it so much, people?! Just as Denjiman and Bioman are better versions of Sunvulcan, Juspion and Spielban are better versions of the Uchuu Keiji, but they're the least popular of the '80s Metal Heroes and...bah!
29. Tokumei Sentai Go-busters
Still boring, still pretty miscast, but...cripes, this thing's Flashman compared to a lot of the shows that came after it.
The staff of this show's cockiness is hilarious. They thought they were "rebooting" the franchise and making it "cool" and "serious" again. They were so clueless that they thought having a character freeze whenever anything chicken-related hits the screen is "serious." This show was over ten years too late to be "cool," with its seriously outdated ideas that anything imitating The Matrix was still cool...
But it at least had a couple of things going for it. Jin/Beet Buster. The last human villains, even if they were a disappointment. Dark Buster was a kind of cool idea. The show could have been tweaked and made better, but...does Toei make anything better nowadays, or just worse?
30. Shuriken Sentai Ninninger
I had no clue I'd rank this as high as I am. 30's not great, obviously, but...
Ninninger's a stinky show. But I at least like a couple of the heroes, I can find some inadvertently entertaining aspects of it (Bakaharu), the hero suits look neat. The show actually tries to get its shit together in the last dozen episodes, which is far too late, but I was surprised it even made the effort. The mecha's atrocious, though. I seriously want to know what knucklehead designed them and had the gonads to submit them, and who was the bigger idiot who OK'd it all.
31. Ressha Sentai ToQger
I hate to say that it's probably a better show than Ninninger, so I should swap their rankings, but ToQger did a lot of things that annoyed me personally. (The stupid henshin item reciting entire textbooks and/or stating the obvious; the dumb swapping colors gimmick. Wagon Kardashian. Tokkachi's overacting and dumb pushing his glasses up thing. Gritta's horrible design and her dumb marriage woes.)
I liked Akira and Zet, at least, even if Zet became too one note. Truthfully, I think ToQger could have worked as a show -- the ingredients were there -- it's just that it was content with riding in cruise control. Young heroes powered by imagination -- the sky should have been the limit with that premise. The heroes riding to towns to rid them of the bad guys -- it's formulaic, but that's cool and Western-like. The show could have been far better than what it gave us.
32. Engine Sentai Go-onger
I'm kind of embarrassed how, at the time it started airing, I tried really hard to like this show. Hey, I liked the other car Sentais... (I had Go-onger avatars at Japan Hero. Yeah...) But it was just hard to like, because it's so stupid. In its head, it really thinks it's Carranger, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Go-onger is the show people who don't understand Carranger accuse Carranger of being, which is mindless, dumb-for-dumb's-sake goofballery.
I do like a couple of the heroes -- Sousuke and Gunpei -- and a couple of episodes, at least. I rewatched this show around the time Sousuke appeared on Gokaiger, and actually had some fun with it, but I don't know what that was about. I guess it was just the Gokai high, the celebration of Sentai.
33. Mahou Sentai Magiranger
A show that irritated the hell out of me when it aired, and I don't make it far whenever I try to rewatch it. On one hand, I like the show's attempt at having a lore and history. But they focus on so much uninteresting, Disney magoo shit that is really just squanders its premise. Like Gekiranger, the more interesting show is in the backstory. Unlike Gekiranger, the actual show isn't interesting enough to stand on its own.
34. Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger
This show just gives me the creeps. Sorry I can't articulate it better than that. It's just...the try-hard weirdness, the strange mishmash of dinosaur stuff and caveman stuff and witchcraft and to top it off, the show just has this really cheap, really grimy look to it that is just so off-putting. It really just gives me the willies. And if all that's not bad enough, you have a likable cast of heroes who are rarely given anything to do other than babysit the kid guest star of the day. Yeah, Burai's cool and all, and the sole reason I rank the show this high, but there's far more that I don't like about the show. I actually think I like MMPR more, even if that's mostly nostalgia talking. (Despite what people say, nostalgia's a valid reason to like something.) And I really, really, really hate to say that. But, hey, I watched all 753 MMPR episodes when I bought it from Shout, and didn't get past episode 30 of Zyu when I bought that set!
35. Mirai Sentai Timeranger
I dislike this show more than this ranking implies. While I think a lot of the plot is nonsensical horseshit (the problem with too many time travel stories), there WERE interesting ideas there that just go to waste. I don't really like the characters, their casting is weak, I think the villains are lacking, and the show is just soooooooo incredibly boring to me. One episode feels like three. The visuals of the show, the music, I also find unappealing.
You gotta laugh at how cool and serious Timeranger thinks it is. It really thinks it's out-Jetmanning Jetman. I ranked it a couple of numbers higher just for how cute that is. (Honestly, I feel awkward ranking it this low when it gave us Time Force, and Time Force copies so much from it.)
36. Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger
Three annoying leads, a dumbed-down Kakuranger, visually dull and cheap looking. There's just not a lot about Hurricaneger I like. I didn't enjoy much of it, I thought a lot of it was dull, and I never really felt compelled to rewatch it or reevaluate it. It's sad that I gave something as dreadful as Go-onger a second shot and Hurricaneger, despite being more "serious" and having a writer like Jun'ichi Miyashita, is really just unappealing to me. A huge, huge problem is also just how mecha happy this show is. I remember a couple of episodes that seem to take place entirely in mecha, with characters talking to one another from their cockpits. That's rough.
37. Tensou Sentai Goseiger
A completely generic, by-the-numbers, fill-a-year, forgettable show. It's like...it really feels like entry number two in a franchise. I *try* to cut it some slack because it obviously had production problems. I find it a little difficult to rank this show, actually. I'd probably pop in a Goseiger before an episode of Hurricaneger or Zyuranger or Timeranger, so you'd think that would mean it ranks higher than those for me. It's not like the show's outright offensive or anything, it's just incredibly bland, never finding its own identity, making you end every episode with a "that's it?" sigh.
There's a couple of good things there -- Yasuhiro Takeuchi as Gosei Red's suit actor, the Matrintis arc -- but I don't find it's able to be ranked all that high since it's not a memorable show. Unfocus your eyes and jiggle the wire when you watch an episode and you'll uncode an image of a Toei exec shrugging and saying "We kinda give up." Toei was better off rerunning the first episode of every Sentai for the year to lead into the anniversary.
38. Gougou Sentai Boukenger
It's a pathetic anniversary entry. There's not much I like about the show, but I can at least come up with a COUPLE of tiny things or episodes that I liked while watching it, if I really, really had to. (Even if it's something as unimportant as "Well, it was cool that Hiroshi Watari was in it.") Mostly, when I recast the show and watch those early episodes, I can see the show Boukenger could have, should have and probably wanted to be. So, I can kinda put up with those early episodes, but by the time Silver shows up, and the show settles in and starts writing to fit the cast they have and diverts from the show I think it wanted to be, THAT'S when it becomes the Boukenger I loathe. A boring show, filled with unlikable characters, and a premise that doesn't lend itself well to the henshin hero format -- especially when your production's going to be pinching yennies as much as Boukenger obviously does.
39. Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger
I had a real hard time getting through Zyuohger. It's like Goseiger 2, but I don't think it has any production problems to excuse its lazy-ass, generic-as-heck boringness. I watch the show and feel like I watch nothing, and it's a lonnnnnnng-feeling nothing; the heroes are empty; the villains are a non-presence, slapped-on afterthought; the mecha's ugly; Cho screeching shit at you in that wannabe-Akira Kushida voice is annoying...ugh. Sad, sad, sad anniversary entry. I guess producer Utsunomiya was like "Gokaiger was hard work! Let's not bother this time 'round, guys!" I just didn't have much fun watching this show. It was unambitious and tedious, to put it lightly. And an even worse anniversary entry than Boukenger! I never thought Toei could manage that.
40. Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger
Spoiler alert: Kyoryuger is dead last. But it was pretty hard for me to decide which was worse -- Kyoryuger or Kyuranger. I feel like they're practically the same show; Kyuranger is basically Kyoryuger if it had the sense to acknowledge their pathetic villains were basically just mischievous heroes and made official team members. (Don't believe me? Balance and Raptor would have been right at home with the Deboss. Man, Deboss is such a joke.)
I couldn't stand Kyuranger. It was a loud, ugly mess from top to bottom, with zero stakes, too many heroes, the same lazy damn episode repeating again and again, terrible, terrible "characters," who were sub-dimensional cartoons spouting inane and nonsensical catchphrases in lieu of dialogue. It took me SO LONG to finish the entire series. I couldn't do more than two episodes at once, and even that would get whittled down to one episode whenever and even THAT I dreaded. The word I always come back to when I think of Kyuranger is "unpleasant." It's just an unpleasant viewing experience. There was no reason for the show to turn out the way it did. ZERO effort from the staff of this thing.
And it didn't need to be so bad and brainless. The premise is one that I've wanted to see in Sentai for ages -- the bad guys have won and already taken over and the Sentai is a scrappy resistance that rises against them. The parallel that's easiest to make is Star Wars, of course, but what first interested me in the idea of a Sentai doing that is the 1983 miniseries V, which is the better, more realistic, more mature version of Star Wars (even if it wouldn't exist without Star Wars, which it wouldn't). Kyuranger promised Star Wars, but...
We didn't get Star Wars. At least not the good Star Wars. We didn't even get the terrible prequels, which at least would have meant the show was taking itself too seriously and failing hardcore. We didn't even get Disney's terrible Greatest Hits Reheated version of Star Wars. No, no. Toei gave us the Star Wars Holiday Special FORTY-EIGHT-FUCKING-TIMES-OVER. I always thought the hate against the Star Wars Holiday Special was hyperbole. Until I watched it. And then I realized it's as bad as the legend says. Time froze while watching it. It was gruelling. It was stupider and smellier than a sack of petrified turds. It was a no-budget, cynically-made disgrace masquerading as a continuation of a beloved movie, a movie that was a juggernaut that changed movies and merchandising and entertainment forever. I honestly got pissed off by watching the holiday special, and was actually angry for the following few days. The thing's never going to get an official release, which means it's kind of rare. I tend to cling to rare movies and stuff just in case it gets hard to find. Not the Star Wars Holiday Special. I couldn't delete that sucker fast enough.
So, yeah. Kyuranger is the Star Wars Holiday Special. Unpleasant. Pissed me off. I think I had a harder time getting through Kyuranger than I did Kyoryuger, so you'd think I'd rank Kyoryuger above it, right? Wrong. Kyuranger at least had that potential to be more, to be big. The ingredients were there. I'm a sucker for the sci-fi shows; the hero designs were mostly awesome. Hell, I can tolerate most of the cast members, but the writing really screwed them over. (Not Naga, though. That guy is one of the worst actors working today. And they give HIM the character who's meant to learn emotions! Someone at Toei had a laugh.) But not only did the show squander this premise, but it never had the intention of giving it the budget to fully convey its worlds, which really hurts it. The show needed to be so much bigger, so much more adventurous seeming. (I had just finished watching Message From Space: Galactic War around the same time this show aired, and THAT show has a much more fun, adventurous feel to it, despite having more limitations than a modern-day production.)
The IDEA of the show, the space setting, the sci-fi flavor, that alone makes it beat Kyoryuger for me. I think dinosaurs are dorky, man. The Kyutama are neat gimmicks, just poorly executed. And there's at least a COUPLE of moments early on that I didn't mind, like the storyline with Stinger and Kamen Rider Melon. The villains needed to be better, though. They have no presence, despite how far-reaching (and successful!) they were supposed to be. The show's like...there's more heroes than villains, and they're all so happy and carefree that you don't buy they're scrappy underdogs fighting back a big regime, and they have so many toys and robots that they're so overpowered that the show just feels like there's no stakes and pointless; nothing is as dire as it should be. There's just never a question in the show that the Kyuranger are going to win, and they're able to win in the stupidest ways possible -- spouting dumbass barely "catchphrases."
And the fights in this show are shit. So boring and unimaginative, just them standing there juggling the Kyutama around while that obnoxious voice never shuts up and they just wave their toy at the monster. That's EVERY single fight scene, whether they're fighting grunts or a monster or Don Armage for the 88th time. (How many times did they have a "final" showdown with Don Armage?!) As someone who worships the old Japan Action Club, it really is such a disappointment how Bandai has ruined toku action scenes and suit actors' work.
41. Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger
So aggressive in its attempt to annoy the ever-loving bejesus out of you, mistaking its obnoxiousness for "fun." I hate it from top to bottom, and can't find ANY pleasant thing to say about it. It's loud, it's ugly, it's obnoxious -- to the eyes, to the ears, to the intellect. It really lowered the bar. A bad, bad show that's nowhere near as cool or fun as it thinks it is. Pretty much every idea it had was done better in another Sentai. It's the Sentai equivalent of The Goldbergs, with no original thought of its own -- it takes better people's work and the only contribution it makes is to make it all awful.
Kingoo is hands-down the worst Red the franchise has had so far. An obnoxiously written character who can do it all, played by an obnoxiously one-note and over-exaggerated performer. Shun Shioya's just a bad actor. Lucky just has an irritatingly sucky catchphrase. Kingoo is an attention hog, bad character, AND weak actor. If you don't like him, you're screwed, because he's the whole show. I don't care for the other cast members and the designs of the show are just eye-piercing. When I think of Kyoryuger, I just get this image of things made out of Play-doh.
And that's not even getting to the villains, who are brighter and cuter than even the heroes. Or obnoxious-as-hell Shigeru Chiba shrieking everything at you. Or the dumb dance henshin. Or the terrible music that accompanies it. Or any of the Sakamoto-isms.
Well, there you have it. And if you think I'm somehow a bad fan for being harsh on a lot of those later entries, well...I love Super Sentai, dammit. I'll give a lot of those shows I don't like more chances than I would a show from another franchise. (Meaning...I'd be more likely to pop in something like Go-onger than I would something like OOO. Yeesh.) And I'd probably fight for those shows over something from another franchise, too. (Meaning...I'd make an argument for why ToQger has more depth over something like Ex-Aid. Yeesh.) But you can't like everything, and anyone who says they do or seems like they do are just full of it. Especially with something as long-running as Super Sentai.
It's like I've said before...I look at Super Sentai the way I do any long-running franchise, or a longtime band or author or director -- not everything's going to be a winner. They're going to turn out something you won't like and don't recognize as being the same thing you loved in the first place. But does that mean you hate them? Of course not. You just hope they get their shit back together for the next one.