Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sentai Retrospective: Denjiman

In August 2009, RangerCrew started a 17 month campaign to discuss every season of Power Rangers with monthly discussions of the selected season. Each month, the Mods posted questions to the fans to get their input on various topics regarding the particular season.  This campaign allowed fans to share their thoughts on their favorite episodes and moments, as well as provide personal opinions about each season.  The campaign ended on January 2011 with the final season: Power Rangers RPM. You can read the Power Rangers Discussion threads here.

After the success of the Power Rangers Season Discussion threads, it was suggested that we would do one for Super Sentai, since Gokaiger was premiering soon. We followed the same format with the PR threads, but differently. With each PR season, there was a month devoted to it: August was MMPRS1 month. September was MMPRS2 month. October, MMPRS3 month. etc. etc. Since there were more Sentai shows than PR seasons, it was decided that we would do discussion on two Sentai shows at once, based on common themes. So, from January 2011 to July 2012, we did discussion threads on each Sentai that shared a common theme with each other. Goranger was the exception since we decided it was the first. Currently, it's Timeranger/Dekaranger month.

May was Denjiman/Bioman month, with the common theme between them being that both series had robot mentors who were survivors of a destroyed planet and then recruited a team who had connections with said destroyed planet. You can read the Sentai Discussion threads here.

So, my thoughts on one of the most overlooked Sentai series out there: Denjiman!

Credit to O.92 for the pictures

 What do you think of the Denjiman suits?
Considering these were the suits that use the look we're accustomed to, it a good first try. Liked Denji Yellow ad Denji Pink, but Denjiman is a series where I feel the entire team could have been female; something about those suits always seemed feminine to me.

How much do you know about this season?
 I liked how much this show used Stock Footage. And by Stock Footage, I don't mean generic stuff like re-using footage of the base or Mecha transformation, I mean they would actually reuse entire battle sequence. Heck, they even used the fight scene from the movie in later episodes. Also, I think Denjiman is the first sentai to have a Villain Episode.

What did you think of the theme song?
One of my favorites. Really like the synths and beefy male chorus. Plus, when you have the time, look up the translation of the lyrics: THIS IS A HEROES ANTHEM!

What did you think of the ending theme?
Really enjoyable, them singing about about the Denjiman will take care of things. Kinda feels sad at points.

What did you think of the Vader Clan?
Eh, give them props for having their goal being polluting and tortuning planets for their Queen's amusement as oppose the usual world domination thing. Hedrian, I prefer her here in Denjiman then in Sun Vulcan. Also, liked how they had her actually care about her henchman as oppose to the usual "You're all expendable" types. Hedrer was your usual Dragon, though I wish they gave him more fight scenes. Keller was a babe and Mirror? Well, both Keller and Mirror were kinda dull.

 What did you think of Denji Tiger, Denji Fighter, and Daidenjin?
I prefer Battle Shark as a Carrier. Denji Fighter, it was so obvious which part made what. Daidenjin looked like an anime robo.

 What did you think of the cast?
Jun was my favorite; dude was a total Mad Scientist in the making. Tatsuya was Sentai first Badass ranger. Oume a one-of-a-kind blue. Ippei... well, I wasn't all that fond of him at first since he was the usual Serious Leader character, but then he started shedding manly tears because Battle France wouldn't believe him, then I grew to like him. And Akira? Didn't like at first how a lot of the early episodes had her getting into trouble/strife and needing the boys to bail her out, but she got stronger as the series progess.

What did you think of the Denji Shooter?
Who wouldn't want their own private subway. XD

What did you think of IC, Officer Tieko, Hazime, Sanda, Hiroshi, Katsuo, and Yumiko?
IC should have been around more since there a large chunk of episodes where he was absent. Also, did the dog die or something because near the end, it look like they got another dog, then they just used archive footage of IC with occasional shots of a stuff dog for when they needed shots of IC with the team in the last 4 episode.

Tieko was full of fail, but she was cute. The kids provided some variety in the plots since, in Battle Fever, there were a few plots that were solely focus on Masaru.

Would you feel angry if the denjiman suits were cut from the footage in the eventual/possible PR adapation of Go(u)kaiger down the road? 
Seeing as how we're getting a Legend War without the Pre-Zyu teams, I wouldn't mind since everytime they turned into Denjiman, they ALWAYS used the Denji Punch. Like, seriously writers, the Denjiman had other attacks.

What did you think of the Denjiman movie?
Well, it was suppose to be important since it introduced Princess Denji and the concept of Planet Denji decendents, but it's kinda boring. Especially when they put a random CLIPSHOW in the middle of the movie.

What did you think of Demon King Banriki?
He's one of the few traitor villains who succeeded into overthrowing the Big Bad and taking control of their empire. That's pretty neat.

What did you think of the OST?
I love OST, it's my favorite of the Michiaki Watanabe's work for Sentai. I love the variety in the music, from the disco beats to the western-ish beats to the orchestral sound.

What did you think of Demon King Banriki's attempt at causing a mutiny, the plan being foiled, and then being turned into a candle?
Our first Villain Episode! Felt kinda rough in places, but still pretty good. Wonder how the Denjiman failed to notice that Hedrer and Demon King AND three monsters were fighting in the middle of town?

What did you think of Banriki Demon King overthrowning Queen Hedrian & taking over the Vader Clan, the death of General Hedrer, and the finale?
Man, I actually felt a little sorry for the Vader Clan. You could really see the loyalty everybody had for each other. Fun fact, the Denjiman are the first Sentai team to never physically fight the main villain at any point in the series.

Final thoughts on the series? Would you recommend this season to anyone? Why or why not?
Denjiman my second favorite 80s Sentai. Yeah, compared to others, it's pretty standard flaire. The plot was standard, the characters were close to standard, you had the usual villain set-up, etc. etc. But, the series had heart to it and a vibe of Feel Good-ness to it that help me enjoy this. Plus, it's fun watching how this series introduced a lot of the plot tropes we see in later installments (space opera, sympathetic villains, reluctant team member, in-fighting among the villains, etc.) But, since it's an early Sentai, I wouldn't hold this show to the same standards at the modern one, or else you'll be disappointed.

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