So, final thoughts on Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. I promised it was coming so here it is. Quite simple, no? Actually, you’d be surprised at how difficult it can sometimes be to specify words to go with your thoughts. ‘Cause let me tell you, it’s a mess in here, some many thoughts at once.
But enough excuse making, my immediate opinion of Gokaiger is… well, that it was quite good. And not just for a Super Sentai, there are series that are okay for Super Sentai and then there are downright good ones and this is a case of the latter. It’s not perfect but it’s probably one of the most enjoyable Super Sentai I have seen in a very long time. It doesn’t quite nudge out Dairanger from first spot (and to be fair, my nostalgia and fanboyism for that series makes sure it will never be dethroned) but it’s definitely in my top three and I’m having a bit of a problem deciding between it and Gekiranger for second and third.
If you haven’t already read my previous posts, I highly recommend reading them first if you want a more in depth look at the series before coming back. Here’s the first post. Second post. And third post. (Plug it harder!)
What was it that I liked about Gokaiger? Well, first off, I love the fact that it’s an anniversary series. So was Boukenger but it did a much poorer job at it than Gokaiger did. While it was relegated to minor things and a little bit at the end of every episode of Boukenger, in Gokaiger they went the whole extra mile and even made it part of the story. That deserves crazy cred if you ask me.
But if you read my previous posts, you also know I wasn’t entirely happy with that aspect either. While it did fairly well, at times it felt rushed in this department and they didn’t do as much with it as they could. The plot is that they have to go around meeting all the old teams and get their powers but some are given to them in very lazy fashions and some team never get a chance to chance in the slightest. And it’s a double edged sword. Because there were 34 teams before Gokaiger and assuming there’s an actor left from all series still in any shape to act, with only 51 episodes, there’s no way they could’ve given all teams a fair shake, even with the movies, and in the same time build each of the Gokaiger into an actual character so some sacrifices were inevitable.
But the opportunities are wasted. Why is Carranger featured whereas Gorenger, the very first Super Sentai of all times, gets mostly a glorified cameo? I was really looking forward to that and though I understand that maybe the actors from the original series weren’t up for it, since it’s almost forty years old at this point, something Gorenger-centric would’ve been nice in a friggin’ anniversary series. I get that you can skip things like Maskman or Dynaman but Gorenger? The original? Good lord!
Of course, when they do focus on a team, they tend to do very well. The Hurricaneger episodes were great, fantastic fun, and the thing they did with Kenji Ohba was also pretty damn neat. Though the big joke happened in one of the movies, the build up and subsequent payoff did not disappoint. The Go-Onger double episode was also a real treat and seeing the Dekarangers back in action was fantastic fun, especially for me since that was the first Super Sentai I saw from beginning to end.
Not gonna lie, it was quite emotional.
And that’s another thing that greatly surprised me about this series. The weight and seriousness it brought to its stories. There’s something serious about all five original members of Gokaigers, whether it’s something in their past or about them as a person, that greatly afflict the series as a whole. Joe must avenge his mentor and friend, Luka lost her little sister, Ahim saw her family murdered before her, Marvelous was betrayed by his close friend and Doc is a coward and hates himself for it. And all this development actually went somewhere for once, their flaws and darkness was not just for show or for the sake of being gritty, they were integral parts of who the characters were and why they did what they did.
But there are episodes not tied specifically to any ranger that also managed to twang effectively on the heart strings, such as the Jetman episode or the Timeranger episode. And this is riding on the coattail of Goseiger which feared darkness and serious themes like they were the plague. Not saying all Super Sentai need to be ultra serious but it’s an interesting 180 that quite frankly took me by surprise.
My only other real complaint was the ending. It felt entirely too stock for this series and it was very formulaic, to the point where I could’ve sworn it was just lifted straight from another Super Sentai. And it gave me serious flashbacks of Power Rangers in Space, believe it or not. But I guess there’s only so many ways you can end a series on a yearly basis and not reuse stuff. It isn’t terrible but I couldn’t help but to feel that the series really ended a few episodes earlier with the demise of Basco and that this was just a matter of formalities.
You also know my opinion of the bad guys and I stick by it still. Outside of Basco, no other villain gets too much development and when they do get around to it, it just shows how much better it could’ve been. Only Barizorg gets any kind of development, really, and they start scraping on the surface of Warz Gill. But in hindsight that was really the final signal that the end was coming. Displaying more of Warz Gill’s insecurities and ambition to impress his dad could’ve made for something way more interesting but it’s simply too late. You barely have time to utter “Oh, that’s interesting.” before he’s dead.
Despite all of that, I still heartily recommend this series though I’m not entirely sure who to. If you don’t watch tokusatsu then you’re probably not gonna change your mind and if you do watch tokusatsu then chances are you’ve already seen it. So maybe this is to others like me, people who are still catching up and were thinking “I’ll get into you another day…” Well, hear me, Gokaiger is worth it!It has a big, big heart and it’s in the right place. There’s laughs to be had, tears to be shed and for the most part the action is really good, they’ve really upped the budget for their wire stunts. You get to know the crew like they’re your friends and you can’t help but to feel that it would be an awesome adventure to go with these guys. So, despite the flaws, it’s a really good series.
And though I’m actually somewhat hyped to watch Go-Busters, I’m already almost half-way into Kamen Rider Fourze so expect to see my thoughts on that very soon. Seriously, I don’t know how I could’ve gotten this far already, the episodes are just flying by. Not sure if that’s good or bad yet.