Part one covered character relationships and the drama of the Jetman series. To read that go here: Choujin Sentai Jetman Review pt. 1
This part mostly focuses on the story, it’s issues, and questions that the series leaves unanswered. I’ll get a bit into characters here however it’ll be about how the characters relate to the story and if they are necessary or not.
Firstly, the pacing of the story is a bit awkward. The first episode was extremely quick paced. There’s very little build up to the introduction of the Jetman. One moment Ryu and Rie are saving someone. The next they’re being recruited to become Jetman. And the next they’re attacked by the Vyram and Rie “dies”. The Vyram attack comes out of nowhere. It takes a while to even understand why the Vyram are there and why they’re trying to destroy humanity. Eventually you figure out that they view humans as an inferior and unintelligent species and they take it upon themselves to exact some form of “divine justice” on humanity.
Aside from that bit, there are many points where characters are introduced that have very little to do with the plot. The ones that come to mind are the 3 different groups of alternate or replacement rangers that come:
- First the Back Dimension Warriors, Ray, Kanna, and Dan. They’re rangers from an alternate dimension that the Vyram also attacked and destroyed. They come to the Earth to battle the Vyram with the technology they created (their own special suits and their mech called Jet Garuda). We only see one of them when they’re transformed and all of them die as quickly as they’re introduced. The only reason they were necessary was to introduce the Jet Garuda to the team. Unfortunately this could have been done without bringing in extra characters. Many of the inventions the Jetman use were created and/or by their chief and/or the Sky Force (for example, the Tetra Boy). Why couldn’t they work to create the Jet Garuda?
- Second are Lou and Duran. As useless as the Back Dimension Warriors were, Lou and Duran served absolutely no purpose. They were a couple from another alternate world conquered by the Vyram. Lou sought revenge on the Vyram for destroying her home, despite being warned not to seek revenge. Their relationship is supposed to mirror the one that Ryu and Rie had so their sole purpose was to ram into our heads yet again this relationship that Ryu had and was still seeking. Their introduction added nothing new to the series.
- Third are the replacement rangers, the Neo Jetman. Out of nowhere, we’re told that there was an alternate Jetman program going on using trained soldiers instead of civilians. When the Jetman lose their powers, the Neo Jetman take their place for an episode. Until it’s revealed to them that their chief’s sole goal was to take control of their base and keep it for revenge, the Neo Jetman keep fighting for him even though they know that he views them as dispensable objects. While they served a purpose (they were introduced to give the regular Jetman back their powers), this is another situation that could’ve been solved by them creating new technology. You’d think that there would’ve have been another birdonic wave machine would have been created in case of an emergency, but I guess not.
On top of this, the series presents us with a lot of information (both important and trivial) that has no answer:
- What was the purpose of Radiguet brainwashing Rie? We know that the Vyram hate humans. And Rie is human. While he finds out later on that Rie was Ryu/Red Hawk’s girlfriend, he did not have this information from the start. It makes sense that he would want to keep her away from Ryu when he knows what Rie means to him. That way Radiguet has some form of leverage over Ryu. But in the beginning it would’ve made more sense for him to have killed her or just left her to die.
- Why did a robot like Grey have human emotions? Out of all the Vyram, he had the most heart. He knew what it felt like to love. He was the most human of all of them, yet he was a robot.
- What happened to that girl Radiguet met when he became human? This is another story point that was extremely confusing. As punishment Radiguet was sent to live amongst humans. But once regaining the memory of who he really was, he changed back into himself. Was this plot point just more padding? It honestly could’ve made for a very good twist. Radiguet could’ve taken the memory of what it as like to be and feel human and this could’ve changed him for the better. But all it did was show the blatant hypocrisy of the Vyram. They call humans fools for not learning and advancing themselves, yet the Vyram do the exact same. There was no need for this scene. If Radiguet was going to remain a twisted individual until the end, this plot point added nothing to the story. Furthermore, what did he actually do to the woman? Did he kill her? Injure her? Use her as a tool for the Vyram? Why end the episode with such uncertainty? The sad thing is this episode had potential to be very interesting. This Vyram elite has become human and doesn’t remember his previous life as a Vyram. He’s behaving as a typical human would and he’s even having fun and getting along with other humans. This concept should have been pushed a little further than it was.
- What happened to Gai in the epilogue? Now the next episode of Gokaiger is the Jetman tribute episode and it features Gai/Black Condor. So Gai clearly didn’t die. But the finale of Jetman makes this very unclear. His apparent death mirrors the way that Grey dies an episode or two before. Hopefully this ending is cleared up in the Gokaiger’s tribute to Jetman. Still, it leaves the series on a confusing downer and makes the audience feel like they don’t have full closure.
All in all, the series may not be perfect. There are a few plot holes ant twists that can leave you confused or want ing more. And there are many story points that should be elaborated. Many of the episodes are good stories on their own, but as a connected cohesive story, it can be disjointed at points. What this series does well is mix together drama and humor. The story is very dramatic and very focused on individual relationships, but when it calls for it, the story knows how to be silly and that quirky (if not a bit campy) humor shows through quite a bit. For all the faults the story has, it is a well put together series and worth checking out.