Thursday, July 26, 2012

Toku 101: Samurai × Shinkenger

Hello and welcome to a new segment here on the Broken Infinite! I'm your columnist Wheelchair21, the Kamen Roller coming at you with my very first Toku 101. Toku 101 will feature either episode summaries and reviews of popular Tokusatsu series or comparisons between the original series and its adaptations or character analysis. In this segment today we're going to cover Power Rangers Samurai episodes 1 - 4, along with compairing it to its origins as Shinkenger.

PRS Ep. 1: The Team Unites
The Samurai Rangers are seen training, but Mike can't seem to sense Jayden or Kevin's attacks. Mike soon leaves practice to hang out with his friends, telling them of his struggles. However, the city is attacked by the Nighlok Rofer, sent by Xandred to raise the Sanzu River's water levels with human fear. Even in his Ranger form, Mike is no match for Rofer as the others arrive as the monster falls back to rehydrate. Jayden explains to Mike that being a Samurai Ranger is the ultimate sacrifice and must stay away from his friends and family to protect them. After giving it thought, Mike gets an idea and starts to train himself as Jayden undergoes his own training. The next day, when Rofer resumes his attack, Mike once again takes on the Nighlok on his own, tricking him into tangling up his arms. Mike then executes the finishing move. When Nighlok is revived and enlarged, despite Mike's intent to finish him off himself, the Rangers form their Megazord and use Jayden's training to finish the monster off.

PRS Ep. 2: Deal with a Nighlok
After confronting the Nighlok Doubletone, the Rangers search for the young boy whom the monster was talking to, a little leaguer named Ryan. Kevin and Mia find the boy, only for the boy to refused to answer them as he runs off. Following him to his home to learn whatever secret he has, the two get into a discussion of Kevin's personal regret of his life-long dream that he has been keeping to himself before Mia assures him he'll live his dream once Xandred is defeated. After an all-night stake out, Kevin and Mia find Ryan on the move as he suddenly disposes of his baseball stuff and calls Doubletone as he performs his end of the promise, hurting himself so he cannot play baseball in order to get his father back. However, as the garbage truck arrives to take out the trash, Doubletone revealed it to be a lie as part of his plan to make the boy cry to overflow the Sanzu River. Vowing to make the Nighlok pay, Kevin and Mia fight him as the others arrive, defeating Doubletone as he revives into a giant before Samurai Megazord destroys him. Later, the Rangers attend Ryan's game after the boy learns the garbage man saved his stuff and gave it to his coach, with Jayden using his Symbol Power to ease Ryan.

PRS Ep. 3: Day Off
While the other spend their leisure time at the Rainbow's End amusement park, Jayden remains behind to master the use of the Beetle Disk as the rest of the team encounter the Nighlok Dreadhead. whose flexible body and marksmanship overpower them. Even with the Red Ranger's arrival, the team are no match for Dreadhead before he falls back when he begins to dry up. After revealing the Beetle Disc to the others, Jayden resumes training into the night, nearly destroying himself in the process. The next day, a rehydrated Dreadhead resumes his attack with the other Rangers arriving to fight him as Jayden arrives and succeeds to using the Beetle Disc to have his Fire Smasher assume Cannon Blast Mode in order to destroy Dreadhead. When Dreadhead resurrects into a giant, he overwhelms Samurai Megazord until Jayden uses the Beetle Disc to summon the Beetle Zord. To counter the summoned giant Moogers, the Beetle Blaster Megazord is formed to take them out before destroying Dreadhead. After the fight, Jayden joins the others at the amusement park.

PRS Ep 4. Sticks & Stones
During battle training, Emily accidentally injures Mike in the arm, Emily's attempts to care for his arm making a mess of everything. The Nighlok Negatron appears and subjects his victims to insults that hurt their feelings so deeply that the verbal abuse actually becomes a physical assault. Confronting him all the Rangers are struck down by Negatron's attacks save for Emily who is unaffected as the Nighlok is forced to retreat. When her teammates wonder about her immunity to Negatron's attacks, Emily tells them how her sister Serena taught her to ignore insults and how you need to keep thinking that the person never even said it. When Negatron resumes his attack, Emily succeeds in weakening him with Mike's help as Jayden destroys him with the five disc Beetle Cannon. Negatron revives as a Mega Monster and the Rangers destroy him with the Beetle Blaster Megazord. Later, the Rangers are then seen walking along the sidewalk while Mike carries Emily who lose consciousness at the end of the fight. Mia hears an ice cream truck and Emily, who has been faking unconsciousness for a few minutes at least, pretends to wake up so they can all get ice cream.

Now it's time for Samurai × Shinkenger, where they'll clash for supremacy... Nah, not really just an average comparison between the two and its differences. Anyways let's get this show on the road!

Power Rangers Samurai starts off weird, since it was airred out of chronological order. It's first two episodes called Origins airred later so we get this rushed and off beat introduction to the cast in 'The Team Unites', unlike in Shinkenger. Eventually thou as these episodes progress we get to know our characters a little bit better. Mike the Green Ranger, is the Wild Child who plays video games and questions alot of thing similar to Chiaki; Mia the Pink Ranger is really caring for the team while being a horrible cook much like Mako and Emily is the last minute replacement for her sick sister who doubts herself much like Kotoha. While Kevin the Blue Ranger, is much more serious, less used for comedic scenes at this point in the series and was a former competitive swimmer unlike Ryunosuke. Along with that Jayden is just an 'Arian' Takeru Shiba, getting barely any character for the first few episodes.

As for the plot of the episodes, very little is changed or adapted. Alot of the Japanese story and footage is left intact while adjusted for American audiances and children. Stuff that was alter is names of the Gedoushu, Doukoku addiction to saké is referenced as Xandred's medicine, scenes where Nanashi/Mooger are killing civilains and the Rangers' Arsenal. Since in America, things can't be overly violent and such it's understandable to remove the monsters killing people along with adjust Doukoku/Xandred's addiction to saké to medicine. As for the Nanashi/Mooger, attack scenes they're somewhat noticible as due to the horrible American edits most noticible in episode 1 and 3. Luckily the reasons thou why the Nighlok attack the World of Living remains along with their realm, the 'Sanzu River'.

The Rangers' Arsenal they really hashed the names to mostly the translations. Using the term Kanji felt too Japanese so they use 'Symbol Power', Origami Mode for the Zords are called 'Emblem Mode' and the Rekka DaiZanto is literally called what it means 'Fire Smasher'. For the other Rangers their weapons went under small name changes like Heaven Fan to Sky Fan, Water Arrow to Hydro Bow, Wood Spear to Forest Spear, and Earth Slicer to Land Slicer. As for the Megazord all the zords are the same, they even use the final combination phrase "We are United!" upon the end of the formation.

Just while in the Megazord the Samurai Rangers have a new form called Mega Mode, which is a cool cross between anime and battlizer-like design. Along with that the cockpit is completely different too, while still sort of using the same mechanic to pilot the zords as the Spin Sword evolve into the Mega Blade for the use of piloting. The only difference is the sword becomes collaspable, and used very joystick-like as if they were piloting fighter jets. Where in Shinkenger the cockpit was very colorful, the suits stayed the same and was honestly nothing was altered for them to just pilot their mechas.

Upon watching these first four episodes, Samurai seems very rushed and corny for the fact it's made for kids, rather than being serious and plot driven like Shinkenger. The mannerisms of the monster are very corny too much to like the original Saban monsters, back in MMPR to PRiS. These monster don't take the job seriously or pretty much seem intelligent as there were depicted in Shinkenger. Along with that since this is/was Saban's first PR series since Wild Force it explains why he went back to basics for the villains, along with keeping to most of the original Sentai Storyline. Overall these first four aren't amazingly special, or glamourious as people seen them as in Shinkenger. Heck some people actually tend to had forgotten some of the early monsters by the time Samurai even began to air. So to have had many people automatically hating the series upon these first couple of episodes was uncalled for since its understandable Saban wouldn't be 100% at the start. I for one was just happy, to have a real Power Ranger series back on that had Saban branded all over it, the return of Paul Schrier as 'Bulk', the re-use/remix of the MMPR Theme and to just see Shinkenger footage air on my television on actual American networks. Because having Shinkenger footage air on our television helps brings more people to the Toku-community and opens the doors to several other amazing series like Kamen Rider, Metal Heroes, Ultraman and several others. By having more embrace these types of shows and series, brings more understanding of why people like me or you enjoy them. So until then, keep an eye out for the next, TOKU 101!!

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