Sunday, January 12, 2014

Initial Impressions: Choujin Sentai Jetman

Wow, it has been a really long time since I posted anything.  I mean, a REALLY long time.  To be fair, moving and getting used to a new job really took most of my attention.  I'm actually a teacher now, so you can imagine how little time I have for things like this.  Whenever I get free time, I pretty much default to napping.  That's not to say I haven't been watching toku.  Stuff like toku and anime is easy to squeeze in before work or while eating dinner.  

That being said, I've been watching Choujin Sentai Jetman in the mornings before work.  I'm around episode 33, and so far, it's really good for early 90's sentai. I don't mean that like early 90's Sentai is bad, but Jetman is more like a soap opera than other Sentai shows were at the time, and even are today, really. 

I like how Toshiki Inoue wasn't afraid to depart from typical Sentai formula with his writing. In several episodes, they went pretty much the entire time without transforming or fighting. It was all drama. Corny love drama, but I'm sure that glued housewives that were there with their kids. In one episode, they debuted a new robot, Jet Garuda, which actually got trashed its first time out. That stuff doesn't happen. The new robot always comes to save the day and wins triumphantly. My mind was blown.  (Here's where someone thinks of another Sentai example to trump this, but off the top of my head, I couldn't think of one.)

And they all seem to fit this stuff into a 20 minute timeslot. I'm impressed. With Liveman, the robot fights were always rushed at the end of an episode and seem to be done just because it's the Sentai thing to do. Inoue, even though later becoming a hated(?) name among Rider fans for his ridiculous dramatic style, really adds a nice touch to Sentai by taking his time and deviating from the formula. It could just be that in his earlier works, he was on a tighter leash.  After all, he penned Agito, and that was a great show.  Honestly, I dig Faiz quite a bit as well, even if it gets a lot of hate.  Anyway, back on track.

As with any drama, the characters are set up to be a flawed bunch.  This makes for all sorts of misunderstandings, which is something Inoue has become famous for when he writes for shows.  All these characters are normal people, and they frequently stray from their duties a bit. They're not military (except for Ryu, the leader) and so they have trouble reconciling their normal lives with the responsibility that has been thrust upon them.

I'd always heard mixed responses to the Jetman characters.  Gai is always the cool, tough guy with a chip on his shoulder that fans really seem to like.  Kaori seems to annoy many viewers with the absurd amount of drama that happens wherever she goes.  I'll admit that it's a bit forced, awkward, and almost creepy at first how this instant love triangle materializes between Kaori, Ryu, and Gai.  Raita has a thing for Kaori, too, but he doesn't stand a chance.  Poor guy.   I can see how people could get annoyed with the love drama, but I'd argue that once you get past a certain point, it becomes a little less constant and seems to make more sense as other factors are added in. 

When at his best, Inoue excels at hooking viewers.  He loves cliffhangers and upping the ante on the drama in sudden ways.  A good example in Jetman is when, unexpectedly during a fight, Vyram commander Maria is transformed back into Rie, her human form, which causes all sorts of emotional issues to come to the forefront since Ryu thought she was dead the whole time.  Inoue milks it for all it's worth, delving Ryu into a dazed, deranged state from the emotional shock. 
 I think that's about it for now.  I'll update probably when I finish the series.  Might add some of my favorite screen caps as well. 


  1. Chojin Sentai Jetman- My favorite Super Sentai of all time in the 90s. Too bad Inoue sucked bad after Kamen Rider Agito.

  2. I always wondered if he hit some sort of weird, Tomino-esque depression when making Faiz. I actually like many things about the show, but it does have some very glaring writing flaws and miscellaneous absurdities. Haven't watched Kiva yet. I would say that maybe Inoue should try his hand at Sentai again, but with the direction that Sentai has taken, it probably wouldn't work out so well :P