At long last, Gokaiger is here! Any of you who know me know just how excited I've been about this. Thanks to the speed demons at Over Time, I was able to watch the first episode on Sunday. Now that I've had a few days to let the awesome sink in, I'm ready to review and recap! There will be plenty of gifs too, of course.
Gokaiger starts with a bang. I haven't seen a huge amount of Super Sentai, but this scene is unbelievably exciting in spite of that. The fighting is so well choreographed, and it was kind of amazing flashing from one awesome thing to another. I'm very curious about how influenced the villains are by sentai of old, and about what sort of little details they've included for devoted sentai fans.
Who else imagined some giant, all-encompassing mech here? I'm not sure how the logistics of it would work, but I wonder if we'll see anything like that later on in the series.
After the conclusion of that scene, we get a chance to meet our heroes. The treasure hunting pirates have learned of an incredible treasure located on (dun dun dunnn) Earth, and are on their way to get it. However, they find themselves under attack by the Zangyack Space Empire, and must prepare to fight back. I like that they wait until the end to reveal Captain Marvelous. He has the sort of name that is befitting of a grand entrance.
The opening theme is pretty good. I don't like it quite as much as the opening to the Shinkenger, but it definitely suits a nostalgia heavy adventure show. As someone who grew up playing Final Fantasy games, I love the shots of the airship. Green running in place before everyone else moves is pretty cute.
After the theme song, it doesn't take long to get back to the action. There's some back and forth fire, but that isn't effective enough, and so our heroes have to bring out the big guns. My general opinion on CG in tokusatsu is that it should be used sparingly, but I thought this looked awesome. Especially like the kick. Most of my favorite mecha properties involve giant robots in space, so getting to see a fight like this is extremely cool to me, even if it's just a bit of first episode awesomeness.
Once the villains are defeated, the Gokaigers continue on to Earth in search of their treasure. They make a pretty impressive landing that involves giant anchors smashing into the sidewalk, and get directly to business.
There's a bit of back and forth as the various characters try to convince the people of Earth to give up their treasure, already. This scene confirmed my suspicions that Pink would be pretty frickin' annoying. Hopefully she'll grow on me later on, since I enjoy her more later in the episode. Anyways, no one on Earth knows where the treasure is, and they seem suitably confused by this whole ordeal.
It is decided that the Gokaigers will go get some food instead, using Yellow/Luka's ring to obtain currency. She isn't particularly happy about this, but goes along with it.
Meanwhile, some baddies are planning an invasion of Earth, including one who kind of reminds me of Sieg from Den-O. They learn that their advance force was taken out by pirates, and are pretty pissed about it. The boss demands that the existence of the advance force be stricken from the record, and refuses to come up with a strategy to deal with the Gokaigers. Sounds like you're going to be your own downfall, dude.
The crew sits down to enjoy some curry, when suddenly, explosions! Earth is under attack! The Gokaiger are ready to head back to their ship and write the planet off when they happen upon a group of women and children under attack.
Really like the monster design here. Anyways, the attack is surprisingly brutal, and watching it is obviously effecting the Gokaigers. It's revealed that their own planet was attacked in the same way and made into an imperial colony. Captain Marvelous seems particularly bothered, and he intervenes in the nick of time.
After a bit of banter between them and the baddies, it's henshin time! When they don't like something, they destroy it, and they are not going to stand for having their curry ruined! The civilians have a very meta bit of conversation that identifies them as the 35th Super Sentai.
Man Pink, I was all ready to hate you, but you're surprisingly fun to watch fight. All of the fighting here is pretty well choreographed. More gifs incoming!
Of course, this really makes me want to watch Goranger, so a little bit of fanfare isn't so bad.
Another thing that'll be make it or break it for me is how much they still feel like themselves when they're suited up as other sentai. I'm not that used to each character and how they move yet, so that'll be another thing that I'll have to wait and see on. I will say that seeing them fighting as the Shinkengers felt really weird, so at the very least, the suit actors pulled off making them feel different from the originals there.
After making it clear to the people they rescued that they were just in it for the curry, our not heroes head off and the love it or hate it ending theme song starts.
Given Gokaiger's premise, comparisons to Kamen Rider Decade are pretty inevitable. After seeing the first episode, I can see them even more. Captain Marvelous is even giving me Tsukasa vibes. I hope that Gokaiger is able to avoid Decade's failings but keep all of its strengths. I really am looking forward to becoming more familiar with Super Sentai in general, and with finding some new shows to get excited over.
I also can't help but compare this to the first episode of Shinkenger. Both were really good debut episodes that got me psyched about watching the rest of the show, but they have very different strengths. Shinkenger was very atmospheric and set up its great characterization right from the start. This episode wasn't a character piece in the slightest, but had so many different excellent action scenes that I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
In spite of the lack of characterization, I'm really looking forward to getting to know the Gokaigers, even the ever irritating Gokai Pink. I hope we get some good character-centric episodes after the premise has been fully set up. I'm most curious about Yellow and Green right now, although Blue seems pretty intriguing too. And Captain Marvelous is Captain Marvelous!
Tune in next week to see the Gokaigers go treasure hunting properly. Also, see if they ever get to eat that curry. Thanks for reading!