About
Hi, I'm Sideshow.
And if it's tokusatsu and anime,
I know where to go!

Born of Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon.
Cultured by Monkey and Power Rangers.
Then corrupted by a shed load of anime.
And finally arose from the likes of Kamen Rider, Super Sentai and Garo.

I'm here to share my obsession of tokusatsu and just a pinch of anime.

Process to becoming obsessed with tokusatsu shows:

Power Ranger => uses stock footage of Sentai => Wiki search for Super Sentai => Gokaiger, Kamen Rider W, Garo

...or something like that. :/

Follow me on Twitter (because that's a thing you can do) @darkfire937

or Facebook with message saying "From Japanator" to amuse my ego *cue evil laugh*
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Late night? Early morning? Or a lazy afternoon?

Either way, it's time for another Rider Battle. And this, my friends, is one of the more interesting ones to date.

*DING* *DING* *DING*
FIGHT!!!

Kamen Rider Ryuki - Episode 24

Alright! Now we're getting into the "secondary forms" part of the show. You know that old trope! Well, Ren has his "survive" mode.. Which is kind of surprising. You'd think the main character would get this power first but in the eyes of Ryuki, that's just basic storywriting. Still, the new cards are good and the Survive look is incredibly classy. An awesome look.

After the death of Miyuki, Yui, Ren and Shinji cope in various ways. Shinji blames himself, Yui freaks out and blames her brother and Ren....does his Ren thing. The "I don't care" school of grief.

Oh and hey! That journalist sub-plot is going somewhere! It never really lost it's focus really. Which is a thing that Dragon Knight will never, ever understand. One of Shinji's co-workers is face to face with Mr Prisoner. And they engage in the theory of his violence. It's interesting to see such a character that isn't just a psychopath but one who doesn't need to justify his actions. He just does it.

And from there we get an idea of his backstory. Family died in a fire and has been alone ever since. Twist though, his little brother is alive and his only just found out. So I can only assume that this might turn out to be a two-parter pay off. Which ain't half bad.

But the biggest twist of the episode cam right at the end as Shinji, Ren and Mr Laywer lose their mirror monster. Their contract cards are blank and at the center of this is Yui's brother.

"It's over. The Rider's battle is over."

I'm pretty excited to see what's happpening next. I'm hooked Ryuki!


Kamen Rider Dragon Knight - Episode 21 (Strike's Ultimatum)

Ooooooooooooooook Dragon Knight. You may've won me over with your cold open. Xaviax wheeling around Kit's dad, teasing his. And the Cho brothers being caught lying about fighting Kit. But dammit, I really don't care about Lacey's stupid sub-plot. And I'll keep bitching about it till it's resolved.

Meanwhile JTC finally reviels himself to be James, also know as Kamen Rider Strike, to Maya and Kit. You can expect the reactions that follow. He offer's Kit an ultimatum (oooooooooh, now I get it....Strike's Ultimatum.....). Len's advent deck for Kit's father...which he refuses. Instead comes up with a plan to distract them for Maya to take his father to safety. Interesting, interesting. Strike makes another offer for Kit to join "the dark side", he refuses. Nothing I haven't seen before.

And then Kit vents one of the Cho brothers, Spear. Ok, now that is amazing.

This is a big deal. Kit has always been on the side of not venting a rider. So when he finally does, fueled by Chris's death, we see the toll it takes on him as he stares at the advent deck of a vented ride, hands it over to Len and walks out. Says nothing. The final scene he has is him next to his father, looking regretful about the whole thing. It's by far one of the greater moments in Dragon Knight.

Ooooooooh yes. And we're teased with a new Kamen Rider. What's this? This is a female rider?!?! Good! I welcome this with open arms.

This episode is going down as one of the best episodes in Kamen Rider Dragon Knight!


The Edge: Dragon Knight

For the record, Ryuki came really close to taking it this week. However Kit's first vent is a big deal and how they dealt with it is credited to good writing and directing. The pace was exellent and apart from one little problem, it's still my prefered episodes in Dragon Knight.

Now. I'm currently involved with a stage production at the moment and next Friday is looking waaay too busy. SO! I'm going to push the next Rider Battle for next Sunday.

But hey, in the meantime, if you like my work I'm currently building a site that houses not only my Japanese related blogs but also more....I'm hoping. I've got two more projects in the works and hopefully they'll be up in the next week weeks.

So until then, please check out my new site, sideshowalley.wordpress.com and look at...all the stuff you've seen here...

...Seeya next week.

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Earlier today, the fan film "Power/Rangers" has started showing up again on YouTube and Vimeo. The dark and gritty viral sensation brought forth the wraith of Saban, the current owners of the Power Rangers franchise, and was removed earlier due to copyright infringement. 

Truth is, producer Ari Shankar and director Joseph Kahn argued that this was a dark satirical film and therefore protected under the Fair Use laws. Which Saban finally agreed to drop the case. The confirmation came in the form of Kahn's Twitter page.

"Hey internet, YOU WON. Saban has kindly and generously agreed to let us show POWER/RANGERS!" - Joseph Kahn, Twitter.

However the catch is the film has to have a disclaimer at the start to make viewers aware that a) It's an independant bootleg, b) The film is not endorsed by Saban. and c) That the film is a hard R-Rated film and that viewer discretion is advised. 

Now that's not a bad compromise. However, that still doesn't change my stance on Saban's attitude to fan made media. And it's been something that's been bugging me for some time. 

The film can be viewed on YouTube and Vimeo right now. Watch it. Like it, don't like it. Either way, let's just sit back and drink in this victory of the fans. 

Source: Crave Online

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Sideshow
5:48 AM on 02.27.2015

Ok, couple things.

1. I'm not going to promise that this is going to be a weekly thing. I think we both know that's silly.
2. To make sure I don't experiance burn out, I'm running this every two weeks.
3. I'm sllllllllllllowly setting up my own site to display more of my work. Showcasing not just Rider Battle but other topics like gaming and films.

...But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll explain everything after this week's Rider battle. Sound good? Let's get to it!

After a heartbreaking episode of Dragon Knight, does Ryuki have what it takes to take the edge this week? Or are they just pulling an unconving poker face?

....Well I guess you'll have to read it then...

 

*DING* *DING* *DING*
FIGHT!!!

 

Kamen Rider Dragon Knight - Episode 20 (Letter From The Front Line)

Little over nine months since I saw the previous episode, have any of my thoughts changed?

No.

The sub story about Lacey's doubt is still regarded as one of the more stupider things in the show thus far. Chris is one of the few characters I give a damn about. And oh yeah! Xaviax is still one of my favourite Kamen Rider villians I've seen.

So. What happens now? Well still letting Chris's death sink in, Len blames himself...but also doesn't. Confused?

Ok, well a while back I mentioned that Len was shown talking to a reflection of himself. A kind of polar opposite to him. It's never explained why. However in this scene...........it's not explained either. In fact, it's one of the more confusing aspects of the show. But I'm sure it'll work out in the end. After all, I did say that one of Dragon Knight's biggest flaws is that it reveiled it's cards way too early in the show. But now? Well now I think the show has finally calmed down and is giving some amount of build up.

The one major issue I still have is this stupid Lacey/journalist subplot. At this point I'm not even apologising now. Lacey, acknowledging that kamen riders exist, is comforted by this journalist that's being hanging around. The one who has it out for Maya. She then convinces Lacey to steal Maya's journal, with the information about the kamen riders, to then give to the journalist in the hopes of helping Maya- and oh god! Are you still reading this?

Look. This Lacey/journalist thing is going to go exactly where I know it's going to go. My problem is that it's poorly written to be entertaining for me...or anyone for that matter. It's a major problem that the show keeps shoe horning in and it feels they're not even trying at this point.

"Oh I must give this journalist all this information about kamen riders that she'll use to help my friend and TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTALLY not use it for personal gain."

...I'm really hoping it gets better...Otherwise they might as well call it Kamen Rider Pantomime Knight

Kamen Rider Ryuki - Episode 23

So it turns out Miyuki's friend (a.k.a. the one who was suppose to be the rightful owner of the advent deck Miyuki owns) was killed by the same monster he was fighting. Ok Miyuki, now I know why you acted so out of character...Would've been nice to know that before hand. Not in a "ZOMG!!! I MUST KILL YOU!!!" way but atleast have a few quick flashbacks of his demise. Not heavily detailed but atleast in a way that it gives the audience some sense of what he's doing. However, this is all masking another question about this subplot...

Why should I care?

In this episode we see a flashback of him and his friend and how he died...But...it's just...too...artificial...

When I say artificial, I mean we given a "picture" of these two guys. "They're friends. This scene shows it." seems to be how it feels like. But we as a viewer can't really engage with it or even believe it because there isn't enough info to go on. It might as well have been a random passerby. They walk, the friend gets attacked, he rejects the rider position and dies with the added bonus of Miyuki trying to save him. Which I guess is the only "friend" thing I've seen here but even then...it might as well have been anyone else. Now take Kit from Dragon Knight on the other hand. We know him and his dad are close because we see these snippets of dialogue with the two. How they react off one another. And that was the first episode. We knew, right off the bat that his dad was the most important person in the world. So When he reacts from other characters antagonising him about his dad's whereabouts, yeah, I can accept Kit's change in behaviour. I can accept his rage. Because we know how much his dad means to him.

Miyuki? Well...It's the Lacey factor...It feels forced.

But anyway, in a fight between him and Mr Prisoner, Miyuki dies saving Shinji thus changing the fate of the kamen riders. Now, I will say that his dying moment was amazing to watch. The slow fade of the music, the echoing of his thoughts, trying to warn Shinji about Yui. It was great.

...BUT!

I...didn't care. It felt way too forced. Yeah the death scene was amazing but I couldn't get the same feelings I had when Chris died in Dragon Knight. We knew a bit about him. His past, his personality, his weaknesses. So when he died, it meant something. When Miyuki died, it just felt like he might as well have not even showed up. My problem is that I had high hopes for him. To see his development as a character but I guess we never got it.

The Edge: Dragon Knight

I had high hopes for Miyuki. His send off meant nothing to me. So it's yet another step back for Ryuki. Which is a shame because there's certain aspects of the Ryuki story that I actually like. The mysterious brother of Yui, the enevetable showdown between Mr Lawyer and Mr Prisoner, and oh yeah! Ren achieved a new form this episode. But it got overshadowed with Miyuki's death...That I still don't care about.

But believe me this week's edge was given to Dragon Knight by default. The Lacey thing was just as bad if not worse. And the sad thing is there's more to it. I will say how everyone handled the aftermath of Chris's death was exellent...Still a win by default.

Join me next fortnight as I reshuffle the advent decks and deal out the hands for another round of Rider Battle!!!

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It seems that the fan film, "Power/Rangers" has had more than it's five minutes of fame and just like clockwork the film has been removed from YouTube and Vimeo due to a copyright infringment.

The film, a satirical dark and gritty dipiction of the Power Ranger's universe, set in a bleek future when the machine empire have taken over the world and in all the chaos we learn about how the original Mighty Morphin' gang have lead their lives. Add in some stunning special effects, amazing fight choreography and this is by far one of the best fan films you could've seen.

Director Joseph Kahn has made statements towards Saban, the current owners of the Power Rangers franchise, that after the film's removal was harassing him. He also claimed that there was no copyright issue and that all the footage in the film was created and by doing this Saban is hurting themselves.  

"Instead of supporting the good will of the fans, they’ve turned it into a legal issue. It doesn’t sound like they’re thinking of the fandom at all." He said.

However the sad fact is whether or not there's an actual violation of copyright law, in acordance with the law YouTube and Vemio have no choice but to remove the content whenever a claim is made.

At the moment producer Adi Shankar has been talking to an attorney with plans on fighting the decision. 

For those who still wish to see the short film can still see it on Adi's Facebook page.

I'll be keeping an eye on this story as it unfolds.

Source: Huffington Post

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So I was going to post another round of Rider Battle last week (and the week before...) when a certain show appeared on my radar. Now I can get annoyed with certain shows but for Power Rangers Super Megaforce, I was angry. Mostly because there are elements that I think are more of a problem rather than a plus. As a result I've written this critique to voice these.

Now let's back up a minute and give you a bit of history into my fandom. As a child, I grew up on Power Rangers. My mother even bought a megazord or two because I loved the series. (In Space being my favourite to date) And to make this depressing (I think) my mother bought me the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers boxset on my 21st...I kid you not.

It was only until a few years ago that I was told that Power Rangers uses stock footage from it's Japanese source material, Super Sentai. Which for die hard Power Rangers fans is common knowledge. (And for a Japanator crowd, this is obvious) I decided to sit down and watch Kaizoku(Pirate) Sentai Gokaiger. Think Pirate Power Rangers. Looks familiar? It's now the new look at Super Megaforce. The point is the Sentai I watched was brilliant. Guest appearances from past rangers. Fan service to the max. Even the silver ranger was great. Bottom line, it was probably the most nostalgic thing in Super Sentai and the TV ratings were icing on the cake.

After the first three episodes, I decided to write this critique. Before anyone calls out "Sentai Fanboy!", I'm saying this as a Power Rangers fan and someone who wants to see it succeed long enough for my future kids to grow up with the same show I did. So with that out of the way, here's some of the things I found that didn't work in Super Megaforce. In my opinion.

1. The Pirate Motif



This is probably the first mistake that Super Megaforce makes. Now I totally understand the writer's intention of bringing this back to the old Mighty Morphin' days but the difference is the costume motif. Look at the costumes, the megazord, the ship and the weapons then describe the look they all have with one word.

If you said "Pirate" 20 points to you. Which I wouldn't have a problem with however the people who own the suits are my issue and the main reason why it doesn't work. The team is composed of teenagers who are kind hearted. In episode two, they're seen rebuilding an ice cream bar. The opposite behaviour. The writers could've made the team outlaws or deem Power Rangers a threat. Maybe the bad guys could've given them a choice of death or hatred for Power Rangers and the team have to spend the series proving their worth to Earth by defending it. There's a lot of possible stories the writers could've gone with to make the motif work but they choose to play it safe and as a result it gives the awkward feeling. "Pirates are...good?" or "Who are these pretenders?".

2. Super Megaforce NEVER explain the past 16.5 Power Ranger Teams



This is another massive issue I have with and another misstep by Super Megaforce. Now look, it's Power Rangers cannon that each planet has it's own team of Power Rangers to protect them. But the last time that was mentioned was years ago. The new fan are unaware of that convenient plot point. So imagine my surprise when a certain set of suits appeared which has never been seen or mentioned in cannon for the past 21 years of the franchise's existence. Well that's not technically true because die hard fans HAVE seen this team before. Well maybe just one member. A certain white ranger? Yes for reasons unknown instead of changing the outfits back then along with the white ranger, they just copy/pasted the one ranger along side the mighty morphin' team. Point is we've never seen these other rangers before.

Fast forward to episode two of Super Megaforce and this legendary mode début, the team can't help but say how awesome it is while never explaining why these suits exist or why the Earth rangers can use them. The western audience HAS NOT SEEN THESE RANGERS BEFORE!!! But Saban is expecting us to just sit here and look at the awesomeness of rangers we've never seen. When in reality all we see is, "Hey rangers, here's a new power...have at it."

Now, I'm all for introducing new rangers in this show but there has to be an explanation as to WHY they're available and WHO those particular rangers were. Writers could've made up ANY back-story to this legendary mode but they don't. 

Hell, I'll give you my top 3:

1. The Armada destroyed a planet and the spirit of those rangers journeyed to Earth to give the Power Ranger's a hand in doing what they couldn't by giving them their powers.
2. Gosei designed these rangers but they're a prototype and the rangers wanted to test them out.
3. The Armada was developing ranger keys to combat the Rangers and the rangers fought and acquired them. Now making them tools for good.

If you're going to put a team of legendary rangers that we've never seen before, give them a reason to be there. Don't just throw them in. And while they might not show the other 16 teams the thought occurs they if Saban keeps using stock footage then they'll have no choice but to show them.

3. They never explain how to "master legendary rangers"



To acquire more zord types, the rangers have to master the legendary rangers. This is something I could get behind. BUT what we see if the rangers using a legendary power for a few minutes then Gosei, their mentor, just give them the zord ability because the plot calls for it. And some of the other ways to master don't even make sense. For example in episode three where Noah uses five blue ranger keys and for some reason the rangers unlock the power of Mystic Force. Wait...How does that work? Although I will admit, the third episode is by far the biggest problem I have but I this post is getting too long as it is. So I'll save it for another time.

Say what you like about Gokaiger. At least in that series, those rangers had to prove they were worthy of those powers and sometimes even worthy to hold the ranger keys. 

Final thoughts.



Now it seems like I'm being harsh on Super Megaforce but please not that I'm not attacking it. I even find the actors to act very well in this with John Mark Loudermilk, a.k.a. Noah being one of my favourites. I'm mainly pointing out the things that don't work, in my opinion and suggest what Saban could've done. Which by the way, writers for the show, should you happen to be reading this wanting to use the ideas I've presented, go right ahead. You don't even have to pay me. 

My point is there were and still are various ways to approach this series with the source materials the writers have. But because I'm so fired up, next week I'll give an inside as to how Saban could improve future Power Rangers. 
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Sideshow
9:43 AM on 05.02.2014




Normally this is the part where I say something exciting and intriguing. But after watching this week's episodes of Ryuki and Dragon Knight, I can't really do that. Not that the episodes are bad, they're not. It's just some really, really good spoiler heavy writing that left me a bit sad. So let's get this week's Rider Battle started...

*DING* *DING* *DING*

FIGHT!!!


Kamen Rider Ryuki - Episode 22


One prisoner rider, two contracts. What can Ryuki give this week?

...Well a pretty brutal beat down. With him ignoring the fact that riders can only be in mirror world for a short time. He's unbelievable and hands down one of my favourite riders thus far. I've gone on about how demented he is so something like this will come as no shock. I mean would you be shocked if I told you he kidnaps the lawyer-man's assistant as bait to draw him out? Didn't think so.

Miyuki confronts Kanzaki, Yui's sister and giver of advent decks. Why do they fight? What's the purpose of riders fighting? But the only response was a folder and a card with Kanzaki's  word, "Fight".

Upon reviewing the contents of the folder they find a lead about Yui and Kanzaki's origin and decide to follow it. Ren is in the camp of not getting Yui involved.......with the disappearance of her brother.......Well I guess if you found out a loved one is orchestrating a battle royale to the death you would probably be incredibly heart broken. Turns out there was an explosion and the pair were victims of. Kanzaki was hurt while Yui wasn't. It's not a lot to go on but it's creating a nice sense of mystery which I always like about Ryuki. It keeps it's cards close and lays them out when they need to, card by card. something Dragon Knight is only now getting.



Speaking of heart broken, Miyuki believes he's going to die so this entire episode is him debating to either let it happen or change his fate. As much as I try, I can't really get involved with this. All of a sudden he goes berserk trying to kill a mirror monster to avenge his friend. Pushing Shunji out of the way to do it. And for someone whose been calm and collective this entire time feels very two-faced. Granted, he's been motivated to honour his friend, who was supposed to be a kamen rider but died letting Miyuki take his place, BUT! We only just discovered this ten minutes before the fight begins. It literally comes out of nowhere. I guess Ryuki tried to reviel it's hand to quickly. 

It would've been nice to see backstory a little earlier because I just feel a little confused. Let's hope next episode explains it a lot better.

Kamen Rider Dragon Knight - Episode 19 (Semper Fi)


Chris encounters JTC, who offers him a cure for his asthma and the only catch is to vent Wing Knight. Obviously Chris fights him instead. As lame as it is, I didn't mind. The only reason is because of how JTC treats the whole scene. "Ok, you're probably not going to agree but work for us and we'll cure your asthma......ok, you wanna fight instead....Sigh. Fine"

So the two fight with JTC taunting him with his failures and Chris running the hell away. Now this is the first time Chris has every seen JTC but not his name so I hope this'll be fun when the time comes.

And holy crap, someone made the exact same comment I made last week about Lacey's doubts about the kamen riders. Far out! One of Maya's friends says, "Maybe we can ask Kit to transform in front of her. I mean, I'd like to see that too." That is without doubt the best thing written in this god damn sideplot. And what was Maya's response? "They don't do it for fun." ....Then why not just bring her with you. I know I'm making a big deal out of this but this has to be addressed. (Spoiler alert, she sees them transform....then runs off....)

But before this gets too deep, the Cho brothers appear saying, "Who wants to play cards?" Classy line....until Chris replies, "I do"....sigh...But whatever we have a three VS two match and I gotta say, I kinda liked it. Well mainly the part at the end when Kit is given a choice to vent one of them but can't bring himself to do it. 

But all that is shoved aside for Chris's act of heroism as he sacrifices himself to save Len. Dragon Knight! How dare you make drama! But seriously, when that moment happened I was so upset. What made it work was that the writers gave Chris a personality and with a backstory I actually cared about. So when he finally did get vented, I couldn't help but feel depressed about that fact. They even show a flashback of the three of them making a pact of friendship.



What I'm trying to say is if you give your characters personality and try to not make them so cardboard cut out, then I'll care about what happens to them.


The Edge: Dragon Knight


Holy crap it's been ages since Dragon Knight has won the edge! But it's well deserved. Chris was one of my favourite characters and now that he's vented the trio has been demoted to a duo. While Ryuki tried to pluck at my heart strings, it just seemed a bit out of left field. So yes, Dragon Knight gets the edge. I just hope it can keep up.

How will Kit and Len cope? What does Miyuki's fate have in store for him? Why should I care about Kit's father that's still missing? 

All these questions will be answered next week on Rider Battle!
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