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Posts Tagged ‘Hyakkujuu Sentai Gaoranger’

After being introduced to Super Sentai through Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Gaoranger was the first finished series I started watching.  In all honesty it was because their “Zords” were animals and they themselves fought like animals at times.  Don’t judge me because I’m easily amused!  Eh…umm…anyways.  I was curious and it seemed like a decent starting point. 

 

The series has a decently strong start with GaoWhite, Blue, Black, and Yellow fighting off two Duke Orgs (Yabaiba and TsueTsue) and due to their lack of a fifth member (which can possibly be construed as a lack of strength between the four of them) the Duke Orgs escape.  And then you get introduced to Dr. Kakeru.  A veterinarian with a strong passion for protecting and helping animals.  If you really couldn’t tell by this point, this is the guy who’s going to end up being the leader of the Gaorangers.  And so with that little bit of an introduction to the series, let’s go through the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

The Great:

 

The characters, or most of them anyways.  I’ll get into that a little bit later.  For the most part the series created very likable and characters on both the heroes end and the villains end.  And you could relate to a few of them as well.  For example, Yabaiba and TsueTsue.  Just imagine a time in your life where you would do anything to help the people you revered.  And you tried your hardest to please them but they were never satisfied with your efforts.  But they realize they could use you for as much as they wanted to because you were always going to obey.  Okay, so scenario’s like that are a rarity in real life (and will mostly be found in “romantic” relationships), but we’ve all had moments where we felt a little like that.  That’s Yabaiba and TsueTsue in a nutshell.  While they’re a step above regular orgs and regular orgs revere them, they’re nothing compared to Highness Dukes or the Org Master.  But on the heroes end you have characters like GaoWhite who’s under parental pressure to prove that she can do what she says that she wishes to do.  Or GaoBlue who feels he has something to prove due to being the youngest member of the group.  He just wishes to not be treated like a child when he’s doing the same line of work the rest of them are.

 

Speaking of orgs…Karaoke Org and Animal Tamer Org.  These have to be my all time favorite moments from the series due to sheer stupidity and insanity.  Firstly, Karaoke Org.  It’s ability was to steal the ability of speech from humans so it was “cleverly” disguised as a karaoke machine.  When the signal rang for them to go fight all they find are terrified humans stripped of their ability to speak.  So instead of speaking…they meow.  That’s right.  They all sound like cats for some weird reason.  Because obviously if humans were stripped of our ability to speak, cat noises would be the only thing we can make.  This is clearly the point where the episode loses the last bit of logic it ever had.  Unable to understand what the people are saying, somehow GaoRed mystically knows because you know…he’s a veterinarian.  And they all go off to the karaoke parlor where this incident happened.  You’d think that they’d be smart enough not to actually play karaoke but because they wanted to for a few episodes now, they decide to party it up in the middle of needing to defeat an org and clearly they’re all robbed of their ability to speak to.  All except one because they weren’t nice enough to invite GaoSilver to their karaoke party which in this case is a good thing.  So now all the Gaorangers can do is meow and since they can only meow, they can’t transform.  It’s just amazing to hear them try to say “Gao Access” and “Nya Access” is what’s said instead…though if they lost the ability to speak, how could they even say “access”?  I’m not going to think about it too hard.  It’s not worth it.  As for Animal Tamer Org, it’s very clear what this org does.  All I could sit there and do was beg the computer screen to let him “tame” the Gaorangers (since they tend to behave and fight as their respective animals at times).  And that wish was granted.  GaoWhite attempts to fight this org but with the crack of a whip she’s sent jumping through a hoop like a circus tiger, lands at his feet while he pets her and she purrs.  He even gets the rest of them to sit on command.  That was much better than I thought it would be.

 

I don’t only like moments for its insanity.  But there’s a great heartwarming episode with Charcoal Grill Org, an org who found no pleasure through destruction and instead found this happiness through cooking for humans.  He ends up disguising himself and living out his life as a human who runs a food cart.  He’s happy just knowing that others are happy eating his food.  GaoBlack and Yellow end up being the ones to stand up for him when the rest of the Gaorangers want him dead.  But he’s being hunted out by the Duke Orgs as well so he can serve Rasetsu (one of the Highness Dukes).  Eventually Rasetsu just finds Charcoal Grill Org to be a traitor and kills him.  But TsueTsue, revives him, changing him into a giant.  The Gaorangers have no choice but to kill him.  Though for some reason he’s still alive at the end of the episode.  This is never explained and really it doesn’t matter too much.  It was just cute and refreshing to see that not all orgs are evil.  While it’s a part of their nature to want to be violent, they can find other ways to achieve happiness as well.

 

The Good:

 

GaoSilver.  I’m prone to liking the sixth ranger.  They usually have the better abilities, the better outfit, the better weapons, and the better looking mechs.  GaoSilver is no exception.  His outfit looks great, especially compared to the rest of the Gaorangers.  He’s got his partner, GaoWolf, who can turn into a motorcycle for quick transportation.  Sure beats flying or running around on all fours (or in the case of GaoBlue…swimming through the air?) to get where you need to go.  And his partners are pretty awesome (GaoWolf, GaoHammerhead, and GaoLigator).  And they’re more awesome when they form GaoHunter Justice.  Not to mention his introduction is pretty wicked.  While trying to defeat a powerful org in the past, he donned the mask of a great evil named Loki.  He was able to win but at the price of being transformed into a wolf-like org.  So he was sealed away until the orgs of the present revived him.  However I can’t consider him “great” for one reason.  His character just barely grew since he was introduced.  He’s just another “emo” character.  He plays into the stereotype of the “lone wolf” which I guess is supposed to be cute considering his spirit animal is a wolf.  It really isn’t.  He constantly rejects the company of others while also being angry or envious that they can have fun without him (check episode 25 with Karaoke Org).  Considering he’s over 1000 years old at this point, you’d think he’d want to hang around people who are familiar with the present time so he isn’t overwhelmed by everything.  But for some reason he seems to take everything rather well.  All in all I can forgive his emo-ness because he feels he has to pay a debt to the Gaorangers for putting them through so much trouble while he was possessed by Loki.  I just wish he’d listen to them more because they already forgave him.

 

The theme song.  Okay, someone’s probably going to disagree with me on this.  Because even I have to say that it’s…really not that great of a song.  Really by just knowing the words “Gao” “Rao” “Ugua” and “Hyakkujuu Sentai Gaoranger” you know about half the song.  But it’s one of those songs that if you listen to it long enough you’re just going to end up loving it.  That or hating it even more.  But I ended up getting the song stuck in my head enough times that I started to like it.  Definitely not one of the best or one of my favorite sentai openings.  But it’s not one you’re going to easily forget.  It’s just…catchy.  And it works for the series.  That’s a difficult one to explain but the feel of the song just works for the series.

 

The Bad:

 

The clear environmental agenda.  This isn’t the only sentai series guilty of this (here’s looking at you Engine Sentai Go-Onger).  But this one was just blatantly obvious.  The Gaorangers, whose duty it is to protect the earth, use the powers of the GaoAnimals (which can be construed as spirit animals) to protect the world from beings who want to dirty it and make it a place that’s only inhabitable for them.  Not just destroy the world for the sake of destruction like most villians, but destroying it so it becomes a paradise for orgs.  There’s even a few times where that’s blatantly spelled out for you.  Not to mention that orgs are created from discarded items (AKA trash).  I don’t mind an agenda in shows.  It’s rare when shows (specifically reality or live action series) don’t have one.  But the environmental agenda is one that’s overplayed.  Everyone believes they have to keep reminding people that we can’t keep polluting the earth.  We get it.  Pollution is bad.   Destroying the environment is bad.  We know.  We all know.  We don’t need to be told this over and over and over again.  Conservation is a great message but don’t people know how to be subtle anymore?  The only time I really found humor in this situation was when there was a copycat GaoWhite and they had to try to figure out which one was the real GaoWhite.  GaoRed makes his decision based on the fact that the fake was standing on a flower and the real GaoWhite would try to protect nature, not destroy it.  It turns out even the real GaoWhite was standing on a flower.  Stuff like that happens in reality.  We walk on grass, accidentally drop papers without realizing it, spill something, drive cars, run factories…we’re only human.  We don’t try to destroy the world.  We just do what we do because it’s our method of survival.  If you all who agree with such drastic and overblown conservation messages have a solution that doesn’t involve the eventual destruction of humans, please let the world know.  I’m sure we’re dying to know.

 

The death and resurrection of 4 of the 6 Gaorangers.  My first thought behind this was “Oh, cool!  We’re not going to pretend like these guys don’t get drastically injured during battle!” because only being used to Power Rangers all I could remember were that characters could get kicked and swiped with swords and all you’d see were sparks flying off the costumes.  Not a hint of blood or scratches could be found.  But here, main characters died.  That was cool.  But I wanted to know how they were going to come back.  Because clearly the rest of them were going to be present in the series…And of course their revival was due to…wait a falcon?  Really…a falcon?  Yes, not only do they not actually use a phoenix (as this would make too much sense), but they use a GaoAnimal by the name of GaoFalcon as a catalyst for bringing the four rangers back to life.  And what’s sad is that GaoFalcon is clearly a phoenix.  It resides in a volcano for goodness sake!  But that’s not my really beef with this scenario.  No, that comes in with the duty they have to perform in order to help GaoRed from the afterlife.  Their task is they have to sacrifice themselves in order for GaoRed to obtain this new power.  They have to retrieve some…puzzle pieces…and put together a puzzle that would awaken GaoFalcon.  In doing so they technically threw themselves into a pit of lava but, hey…we can ignore logic right?  So apparently putting this puzzle together not only awakened GaoFalcon but it revived the rest of them.  So why didn’t we call it GaoPhoenix instead?

 

Okay…so my beef here is that they didn’t call it a phoenix.  But don’t you think that this revival scenario would make more sense if you actually used a creature that was known for it’s ability to revive from the dead rather than an actual animal that can’t do that at all?

 

The Ugly:

 

The ending.  The entire two episodes of the series ending.  You’d think that a show about a task force created to protect the world from evil would feature that task force protecting the world from evil.  But you’d be wrong.  The Gaorangers did absolutely nothing!  They didn’t transform, regain their abilities or anything.  First, the Animarium gets destroyed and all the GaoAnimals residing up there get killed.  So with their respective spirit animals dead, they’re left unable to transform.  But they escape back to Earth anyways because they have to try to do something I suppose.  By time they get there, the world is dark and being tormented by the reincarnated and combined form of the 3 Highness Duke orgs.  They can’t fight it.  But through the Yugioh like power of friendship, they’re mystically able to call upon the rest of the 100 GaoAnimals living on Earth as well as revive the dead GaoAnimals and GaoGod.  What!?  Now if the power of friendship/kindness/courage was shown to have this sort of ability in the beginning of the series, perhaps I might buy it.  Perhaps.  But the way this was done was a giant deus ex machina.  Not only do the Gaorangers do literally nothing to save the earth, but then we’re introduced to all these GaoAnimals that we never previously knew existed.  Sure you could say the title of the series hints at it (as the translation of it is “Hundred Beast Task Force GaoRanger”).  But still you should point out at the least that there are more GaoAnimals on Earth that haven’t been uncovered yet.  Not only do they not do this ever, but they just introduce all of them at once in this battle between all the GaoAnimals and this ultimate org.

 

Plus how do the dead GaoAnimals get revived anyways?  This question is never answered.  The ending of this series is just going to leave you wanting more and will probably leave you with more questions than answers.

 

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

 

The story and characters keep you interested long enough that you want to finish the series.  But points definitely fall after the character revival episode and most definitely after finishing the series.  But it gains points for making you really care for the characters, and especially making you care for some of the villains.  But I have to say if I’m going to take a series that is overblown with environmental messages, I’ll take Go-Onger over this any day.  At least it had a consistent story throughout.

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