Grab your changers, belts, and changing weapons, because we are diving into a battle that will take us through my five favorite toku moments of 2012. Before you jump in, keep in mind that there will be some spoilers lurking below.
5. Go-Buster's fake ending
At the time that this arc aired, we were fully aware that Go-Busters was going to run for an entire year. However, there was something about this build up that made this episode seem like the show's finale, since it involved confronting Messiah in his home turf. In fact, episodes 29 through 30 wrapped up all of the loose ends that were set up during the previous episodes. Sure, Jin's situation was left unresolved, but that could have been saved for one last episode.
One major highlight was that we saw the team overcome hesitation and remorse, due to the fact that there wasn't a way for them to save their family from being a part of Messiah. And on top of that, Messiah's evolution was leading up to the end of all life as we know it.
Not only did this mean the end of the Vaglass, Hiromu, Ryuji, and Yoko came out with a new mindset by the end of this arc. The three of them had to cope with their loss, and learn to move on, as they fulfilled the day that they have been preparing for. If Toei would've ended Go-Busters after this arc, the series might have left a more memorable spot in the heart of viewers. Not only that, it would also bring back the era when a new Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series would premiere side by side. Actually, maybe not, but it would be closer than it is nowadays.
4. Garo: Makai Senki's fight scene in a floating mansion
There were other moments from Garo: Makai Senki that were eligible for this post, but I was not prepared for this final scene, because it seemed like everything was done and finished. Garo: Makai Senki has taken Kouga through many battles in different realms and locations, but never has the series put his own home in jeopardy.
Despite Sigma's fate when he was absorbed by Ganon, he somehow manages to make his way to Kouga's house, as he uses his abilities to make Kouga's mansion fly into the air. If it wasn't for the first Garo series following a similar formula with the finale, this battle would have scored higher on my list. The only difference from the last battle is that Kaoru was caught up in all of the mayhem, so our main hero had to handle two major crisis at once. While she did play a major role in the finale of the first series, she was nowhere near the final battle between Kouga and Kiba. Did I mention that they are miles above ground level?
Even though Sigma's return was unexpected (Just like Kiba's return in season one.), the entire fight was another GLORIO spectacle to behold. It may not have blown me away like the final battle in the first TV series, but the visuals in Makai Senki's last fight are sill a huge improvement. The ending of the battle was also a fitting way to wrap up Kouga's feelings for Kaoru, which acted as some closure to their fated bond. Garo: Makai Senki's moment may be ranked number four on here, but this scene still ranks as one of the best looking moment of 2012.
3. Akibaranger gets real
When Akibaranger aired during the spring, I was under the impression that Nobuo, Mitsuki, and Yumeria were going use their delusional abilities to save Akihabara from the clutches of evil corporations that are trying to ruin the place's otaku culture. From episode seven and onward, the series takes a different turn that reveals to us that the delusional fights were not some random pretend segment. Instead, they were taking place in a delusional world that feeds off the imagination of certain individuals. Add Malseena's appearance in the real world, and we have been given a new route for the series to explore.
Because of this major happening, the battles were taken into the real world, and the team had to utilize their delusional skills in real life. Thus adding some intensity to a show that was mostly meant to be a parody series. While the show's major twist was a bigger moment for the series, none of it would have been possible without the setup that changed our expectations of the series.
2. Gokaiger's super overkill
It would be a crime to not mention Gokaiger, because of its success in creating a series that truly commemorates the franchise's 35th anniversary. The show's finale had a good number of maneuvers, such as Gai and Marvelous wiping out the entire Zangyack fleet with one ship, or the fight where Akudos Gil remains on his throne. Together, these action gave us the ultimate nostalgia finisher, in which the Gokaigers wailed on Zangyack's emperor with every Sentai team in existence. And right when you think that he has had enough, Marvelous and his crew break into the Super Forms from five previous shows, with Gai using Gokai Silver Gold Mode.
Let's just say that if the franchise would have went into a hiatus after the 35th series, Gokaiger's finisher was the best way to go out with a bang. To be frank, it wasn't just the teams that made the attack, since the execution and order of the Sentai teams present was planned out rather nicely. That itself deserves some praise, because they could have just thrown the teams in some random unplanned order.
Normally, this one would take the gold medal in my top five toku moments of 2012, but it takes more than an amazing spectacle of fanservice to become number one.
1. Ryusei's turnaround in Kamen Rider Fourze
Ryusei was on interesting fellow in Kamen Rider Fourze, his main goal was to help his friend regain consciousness by finding the person that wields the Aries Zodiart Switch. Other than being Kamen Rider Metoer, the man wore different faces around different people. In the Kamen Rider Club, he pretended to be friends with the group. In fact, even Gentaro fell for his act, since he believed that he won Ryusei over. As Tachibana's subordinate, he was aiding him in his mission to find the Aries Zodiart. In between these two figures, Ryusei was also taking matters into his own hands -- think of him as Light Yagami from Death Note.
Here's where the number one moment comes into play. It turns out that the Aries Zodiart was the student that Ryusei exchanged places with -- irony. Once we discover the truth behind this situation, Fourze begins its arc that focuses on Aries himself. Within the first part of the arc, Ryusei literally betrays everyone and even manages to kill off the show's main character. Yup, you heard that right. His goal in saving his friend was so great that he would even switch sides to make this goal possible. He even put the lives of the Kamen Rider Club and his closest friend from his old school in danger.
Right when he accomplishes his goal, karma slaps Ryusei in the face, as his whole plans falls apart in front of him. Realizing the errors of his ways, Ryusei does his best to redeem himself, which setups for another revelation. Gentaro, who has been dead this whole time was brought back before he reaches into the light. This was thanks to Kengo's efforts, and the strong bond that Gentaro has made with the rest of the club. This power awakens the Cosmic Switch that allows Gentaro to achieve Cosmic State, along with finally winning over Ryusei as a friend.
Fourze may have been mostly a silly and over-the-top Rider series, but it had some strong moments that really made you feel for the cast. Episodes 31 and 32 were two of the major ones that had a great impact during my time with the series. May'n and Yoshiharu Shiina's song Cosmic Mind was another piece in the puzzle that made this whole thing worthwhile. Other than Gentaro's new power, this moment had Ryusei join the group as the person that he truly is.
As I mentioned early, it takes more than just flashy effects and action to make these moments stand out, because it's all based on the viewer's reaction and connection to these sequences. With 2013 around the corner, I hope that we get some new memorable moments from the tokusatsu shows that are going to wrap up, along with the newcomers and successors that will appear. With Kyoryuger being one of the new shows, I am already looking forward to some new memories for the new year.
So to all of you who that have kept up with most of 2012's toku offerings, what are some of your favorite tokusatsu moments of the year?
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