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Toei

Annotated Tokusatsu: Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger episodes 4-10

Dec 03 // Salvador G Rodiles
With these set of episodes being the ones that get us better acquainted with the main gang, Zyuohger hit the right notes in making the zyuman characters a fun group to follow. Aside from the show continuing with its fish-out-of-water elements, there was something wonderful about seeing how the crew acts. From Sela’s desire to have Leo spar with her seriously to Tusk’s strict nature in making sure everyone follows their roles, the series did a fine job in using their traits to the fullest during the segments that follow each character. One of the neat surprises from these set of episodes was the truth behind Yamato’s being able to become a Zyuohger. This was due to the slightly tragic nature of how he’s able to utilize this power. Hell, it was this price that showed us the resolve that Larry and the eagle zyuman had when they chose to aid our main zoologist. All in all, this moment shows that Zyuohger can toss in some serious moments when it wants to take a break from its campy comedic segments between Yamato and his comrades. In regards to the new robot power-ups, Zyuoh Wild is a nice addition to the show’s roster, as he resembles an animal version of the Diesel-Oh from ToQger. Of course, its finisher being a series of rocket punches is a great way to give it a nice super robot feel. If Shinkenger’s early robots were able to do some cool things with the origami theme, then Zyuohger does the same with its cube motif. Sure, the look still doesn’t translate well into a toy, but that’s more of Bandai’s toy division’s fault than the folks behind the machines’ designs and suits. With these set of episodes introducing us to the gang and their new abilities, this worked well in making the show’s first big event hit the audience in the right spots. Sure, this is a thing with many Sentai titles, but it’s one of the signs that you’re in for a nice time when your investment pays off with these segments. In fact, the Dethgalien’s leader joining in the game is one of those things that made this arc intense. Compare to the previous hunting games, Genis’ debut as a player shows how one can spice up the weekly formula in these types of shows. The objective before the main fight made you wonder if the team could accomplish this task before any lives are lost, and the odds worked well in testing the gang’s trust in each other. This was thanks to the doubt between the time while they were rushing to complete the main villain's scavenger hunt of doom. Since it made way for a major two-part segment, this increases the possibility of Zyuohger being a wonderful anniversary series. If there was one odd thing about these set of episodes, it’s the segment that featured Kamen Rider Ghost since it felt a bit off. Sure, the franchise started crossing over with Kamen Rider to promote the previous Super Hero Wars films, but those were presented as a 40ish-minute segment that took up the Super Hero Time block. While its purpose was to get people hyped up for Kamen Rider No. 1, the whole thing is almost similar to the Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Kamen Rider Decade crossover; thus likely making this sequence canon. Since it didn’t distract too much from Zyuohger’s moments that were dedicated to Tusk’s true views on Amu, Takeru’s cameo appearance didn’t cause the show’s quality to vanish. As Zyuohger reaches its first major point, the series continues to be an interesting attraction so far. The main team is being put to the test and things are setting up for an unexpected reunion for the crew that could change the way how the series will flow. One thing for sure, the show is looking to be one that’s worth catching up to. 
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Never take a sacrifice for granted
I may be really late to the party with my thoughts on Zyuohger, but I felt that I should do my best to catch up with the series before it comes to a close next year. Seeing that I dug the idea of a zoologist fighting alongsid...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 5-7

Nov 16 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 5 This seems like a tale of two kitties. The big thing about this episode is that despite the complete BLOODBATH that occurred in the last episode. It's completely ignored. Wakamatsu getting his skull crushed and then ran into the ring post? He's perfectly fine! Tiger Mask bleeding worse than the infamous Muta scale match with Hiroshi Hase (look it up on YouTube if you aren't squeamish)? Nope, he's all good. I know Japan is known for wrestlers not selling big moves but C'mon! Anyway, the big story point here is that Tiger Mask has joined New Japan Pro Wrestling officially. Before his first match, he runs into Fukuawara Mask. An odd trickster type character who bares a striking resemblance to real life wrestler Ebbasan from about ten years ago. We see Fukuwara mask wrestle Wakamatsu in a match and totally trick Wakamatsu in getting carted out. Tiger Mask ends up fighting Tomoaki Honma.. and of course, pins him after Honma misses the Kokeshi headbutt. Well, give the producers points for accuracy there! At a different arena, the GWM is having a show. Tiger the Dark crushes some guy and it turns out things are not united with the GWM wrestlers. Seems the vets don't like how a newcomer like Tiger the Dark is dominating his opponents, especially the main guy Bosman. It is now apparent that Tiger The Dark (Takuma), Kevin Andersen, and Mike are an island unto themselves in the GWM. This leads to both Tigers being in different battles royal (the proper way to plural battle royal according to Gordon Solie). Tiger the Dark draws number one in a royal rumble style where a new man enters the ring every few minutes (facing 18 nobodies and Bosman) and Tiger Mask is in a regular battle royal where we see Okada, Wakamatsu, Honma, Ishii, Fukuwara Mask, Makabe, and Nagata as an in-ring competitor. They are fighting it out for...rice. Seriously, the biggest wrestling names in Japan are fighting over rice. This episode is short on story. Other than having Tiger Mask join NJPW, there isn't a lot of exposition here. It is a much lighter episode than the last one, but they pretty much ignore everything that happened in that episode too. No healing, no revenge, no nothing. Really detracts from the flow of the series.  Hopefully, this branches into something bigger. Episode 6 Straight up, this episode makes little sense and is so not important to the story it seems to be spoofing itself. So now that he has joined NJPW Tiger Mask's next opponent is Gorilla Jeet Singh. A scimitar wielding psychopath that barely speaks any decipherable language and grunts a groans a lot. Of course, this is a spoof of Tiger Jeet Singh, a wrestler originally from the Punjab (later living in Canada) who was recruit by Antonio Inoki to play a foreign bad guy against him in the '70s, despite not having a whole lot of actual wrestling skill. He would run to the ring carrying a fencing saber and attack fans in the crowd. He wrestled (brawled would be more accurate) for over 30 years, most of it in Japan. Anyway in the lead up to the fight, NJPW is going to have "the next generation of Idol singers" sing a song before the fight. These two little brats are Nama Ham and Yaki Udon, you know their names because they say it constantly and speak in the third person. They hate wrestling and even send out a message on their website about how they were tricked into doing the show. They arrive in the ring for the show and the women wrestling fans damn near boo them out of the building and throw trash at them in the ring. What does any of this have to do with the plot of the series? Red Shoes, got any ideas? Yup. That sums up my feelings on this one. Tiger Mask fights the guy, and the only good thing out of this episode is Gorilla signs voice acting. It is hilarious. One the other hand, the idol singers look and sound awful. I still can't figure out if they just act that way to get attention, they are trying to "play heel", or if they really are as big of brats as they sound. They also both sound, and are animated to look like they are 30 years old. Short and sweet, you can skip this episode completely and you won't lose a thing. Episode 7 This episode was titled "Naoto and Naoto" and promised to be something more about the original Tiger Mask anime. Did it live up to its promise? This episode thankfully has way more purpose than the last episode did. It does have a lot going on with more than one storyline at work in this episode. There is a lot of mention of the past, but it isn't the sole story being told here. Tiger Mask and Haruna are in Okinawa for a New Japan wrestling show. The Main Event is Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata facing Okada and his CHAOS buddy Yoshi Hashi. But before any of that, we see the reporter  Hikari digging around in some archive and then asking a distracted Haruna for an interview with Tiger Mask. The interview is very brief. Hikari tells the story of the original Tiger Mask to him and asks if he is from the Tiger's Den, if he is related to Tiger Mask, and why use the name. He answers he is not from the Den, not related to Naoto Date, and he answers that she should be able to find out why he took the Tiger Mask name on his own. This episode also gave us some background on the bad guy side of things as well. In a follow-up from two episodes ago, Tiger the Dark gets his shot at the GWM US title, thanks to winning the battle royal. He is facing off against Bosman (in the "Kow Bell" arena in Texas) and beats him for the belt. His rookie buddies Kevin and Mike congratulate him backstage \and soon the other wrestlers do too. Bosman is demoted to indy shows and Miss X is called to Mr. X's office. He then explains the story of the original Tiger Mask from their side of things. Original Tiger Mask beat the then top executive of the company Tiger The Great, and nearly sank the organization, leading to the original Mr. X to die is despair. He doesn't say how he became Mr. X or how Miss X got to where she is, but between this and the earlier scene, it does get us up to speed a bit on what has happened since the original show. The other ongoing plot here follows an old street vendor and his granddaughter. The old guy is banged up after a drunken argument over wrestlers being stronger than karate guys. This leads to him seeing an ad about the new Tiger Mask wrestling and he thinks it's the original. His granddaughter follows him to the show, and it's her first wrestling event. She's enthralled but the old guy is skeptical of anyone using the Tiger Mask name. He watches the main event and starts having flashbacks when he sees Tiger Mask use the back suplex just like the original did. Like I said earlier, this episode had a clear purpose of linking the shows together, and it worked. However, it didn't take the clear path to do it, and that's good in this case. An episode like this in most other shows would literally be two characters talking with a mountain of flashbacks and not much else going on, but this show not only breaks things up with stuff going on like Tiger the Dark winning the title and The tag match, but we even got to see the events of the original from both perspectives of the story. And look who also shows up? Speaking of the flashbacks, I give credit because they did these scenes perfectly. The flashback scenes were animated to look as close to anime in the early '70s as possible. The animators here did an amazing job with the retro style in these scenes and I believe having that distinction really made the flashback scenes work. Big Kudos for doing that. So this was easily a much better and more productive to the story episodes than the last one. It had a purpose and fulfilled that, and didn't take the easiest road to do it either. Hopefully, this means we are back on track after going off the rails a bit. Overall These eps were a mixed back. Episode 5 was alright, but a let down after the bloodfest of the previous episode. Episode 6 is a totally skippable wash, but Episode 7 gets it right. Fight On Tiger Mask! [Catch Tiger Mask W on Crunchyroll.]
Tiger Mask W photo
The good, the bad, and the kitty
Heya Japanator readers! Welcome to our look at the Tiger Mask W anime with episodes 5-7. When we last saw our hero, Naoto, under the mask of Tiger Mask, he got the crap beaten out of him but was able to defeat Red Death Mask in the end. Meanwhile, Tiger the Dark is being overlooked. Ley's see what happens next!

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

Nov 09 // Salvador G Rodiles
In this case, Ex-Aid’s weakness isn’t its theme, but the way how the team implemented the show’s video game aspects. The staff’s decision to add video game effects in a Scott Pilgrim-esque manner takes away from the action scenes, due to the messages appearing at a speed before the viewer has the chance to register the show’s special touches. Even when the words are viewable, the whole thing feels a bit subpar in comparison to previous Rider shows where the special effects were flashier. For a show that’s doing its best to capture the magic of video games, the special effects in Ex-Aid’s action scenes made the whole thing look like a poorly-made live-action adaptation of an existing title. Thankfully, the series’ choreography is enjoyable when the fights are more focused on the heroes fighting their opponent. While many of Toei’s tokusatsu shows have never had a huge budget, previous Rider shows like Fourze showcased a great mix between its special effects and action to the point where it gives off a better gaming vibe than Ex-Aid. Sure, they got Hironobu Kageyama of JAM Project to voice the series’ transformation belts, but the program can’t keep up with the guy’s energetic lines and songs that cause people’s blood to boil. In fact, the show introducing folks to a dynamic super robot-themed rocket punch can’t make up for it either. Despite this issue, the series still has some promise. As for the show’s combination of medical and video game themes, Ex-Aid manages to make the whole thing work. The main villains were game-related glitches who turned into creatures called Bugsters, and their goal is to infect people with diseases so they can become complete beings. Of course, this adds a bit of intensity to the series since the main Rider has to prioritize in saving the victims before they fully succumb to the bad guy’s diseases. Depending on what the staff does with this idea, the show has the potential to turn this premise into a super serious matter. The other connection is that the show’s main Riders are all different types of doctors, with the program’s lead, Emu, being an Intern Pediatrician. From the looks of it, the series goal might be to use the guy’s status to have him view the medical field in a different way from the pros, as he tends to find a way to balance his patient’s feeling with their condition. Since the show already introduced a total of five Riders, the show’s rivalry angle might serve as a fun way for the audience to see how Emu deals with this outcome. Perhaps the factor that sparks this rivalry between the doctors is that you have an unlicensed doctor who’s a shout-out to Black Jack that wants everyone’s Rider Gashats, the cartridges that act as the source of each Rider’s power, and a guy with an unknown agenda as Riders, which makes you wonder if this will get in the way of the group's goal to stop the Bugsters. Design wise, Ex-Aid is all over the place. The show’s Riders have features that represent various gaming genres, which work well so far.  At first, most of the gang’s tacky choice of colors seem weird on the eyes, but they manage to grow on me as I got to see them in action. As a fan of RPG games, it was nice that Kamen Rider Brave’s knight look was a neat suit from the get-go. Unfortunately, the Bugster’s costumes aren’t as strong as the Rider ones since many of them feel a bunch of rejected Metaroid designs from the Spy-themed Sentai Series Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. Even though it’s a bit of a step up from Ghost’s early bad guys, there’s something about them that lacks that ferocity that previous Monsters-of-the-Week had. At the moment, Graphite, one of the show’s major villains, sports the best look so I’m hoping that Ex-Aid's later episodes will make way for some cooler looking beasts. Despite its shortcomings, Ex-Aid still isn’t out of the game yet. The chemistry between the show’s four main Riders could lead to some entertaining conflicts, and the series’ latest reveals could take this show to the next level. Since the series is building up to a possible betrayal moment, there’s a high chance that the show’s staff will increase the difficulty and deliver a more exciting product as its development continues further in the week. Who knows, this angle might cancel out the series odd choice of special attack effects and tacky elements.
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid photo
This game is far from Ex-Citing
When it comes to shows with hybrid motifs, I’m always down for titles filled various things that would normally not go together. Even though the latest Kamen Rider series, Ex-Aid, mixes video games with the medical fiel...

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid photo
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

2016's Kamen Rider series gets Lupin the 3rd Part 4's Writer


Press start to transform
Aug 01
// Salvador G Rodiles
If there's one thing that most of my favorite Rider shows have in common is that they're written by folks who were involved with anime, such as Kamen Rider Fourze and Gaim. Speaking of which, it turns out that Yuuya Takahashi...

Gosei Sentai Dairanger photo
Gosei Sentai Dairanger

Streaming GET: Dairanger is now on Shout! Factory TV


The Gorma Tribe is now in trouble
May 25
// Salvador G Rodiles
If Shout! Factory's Dairanger stream from Saturday made you want to watch more of the series, the company has uploaded the entire series on Shout! Factory TV on May 23, which means that you can now restore...
Choriki Sentai Ohranger photo
Choriki Sentai Ohranger

Ole: Shout! Factory grabs Ohranger


The Machine Empire is going down
May 21
// Salvador G Rodiles
Don't you love it when your prediction comes true? In this case, I had a hunch that Shout! Factory was going to give us a special surprise during their Dairanger stream. Lo and behold, it turns out that their next Sentai ...

First Impressions: Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger episodes 1-3

Mar 02 // Salvador G Rodiles
Luckily, the time to tap into our inner beasts worked out perfectly, as Zyuohger’s introduction to the Zoologist Yamato left us with a good impression. One thing that went well in his favor is that the staff didn’t exhibit the medical condition where they’re trying too hard to replicate the aspects of a successful Sentai series. On top of that, the guy’s passion for studying animals and their wildlife made him feel right at home with the show’s theme about two different races working together to protect the planet. Due to Yamato's dedication to his job, he reminded me of Ryoga/Aba Red from Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger, who was a wildlife investigator, along with being a committed father to his adopted daughter. The idea of him taking care of his animal comrades, the Zyuman, while they protect the Earth from the Dethgaliens places him in this parental role since he has to make sure that his new buddies blend with society. Like with any concerned parent in a series, the zoologist's reactions to his allies' antics are priceless. When you look at everything the show has to offer, Zyuohger manages to make its elements complement each other. The Dethgalien’s invasion is similar to how hunters partake in events where they take down a specific target, and the main heroes are the prey that's fighting back. Thanks to this great flow, the series left me intrigued with what it had to offer. Also, the villains use coins to revive their subordinates as giants; thus adding a video game twist to the evil group's pastime. In regards to the other team members, the Zyuman showcase a lively attitude so far. From their shocked reaction to Yamato entering their land to their childish nature on Earth, the whole angle takes me back to Shougeki Gouraigan and Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger since their reaction to humanity’s way of life leaves us with a good laugh. Perhaps the silliest thing about the guy's new friends is that they'll cost him financially as they're all broke. While I wasn’t a fan of the main robot’s toy, the actual Zyuoh King suit doesn’t look too bad since it’s almost like a cube-shaped version of the Shinken-Oh from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. For the most part, the issue with the machine is that it doesn’t translate well into a combining toy, as the bulky look present in Sentai mecha figures made it look like a rectangular cube with arms and legs. Despite the robot’s issues, Zyuoh King still has the potential to be a fun machine when more of its gimmicks are revealed throughout the series. The mecha’s recent combinations show that it’ll have various finishers and special attacks based on its fighting modes, which might result in some combining sequence similar to the Getter Robo series. Since the team will obviously get more robots in the future, I'm hoping that the designs could evolve into something that works better in merchandise form. Aside from the machines, the Zyuohger’s chest section of their suits continues to be one of the weaker parts of their design. I guess it’s the staff’s weird choice to place a detailed animal illustration on the costume, which throws the whole look off balance. Hell, I still think that they feel like something you would see on a cheaply-made sports team shirt. At least, the helmets are fun to look at, as they live up to the franchise's reputation of having cool masks that resemble a creature biting a head. Thankfully, the team’s fighting style made up for the costume’s flaws, as the gang utilizes their signature animal traits in battle, which resembled the Abaranger’s Abare Mode. As a big fan of the latter, it was nice to see another group use a similar ability since it lets the staff experiment with other types of action scenes outside of the hand-to-hand and weapon-based fighting styles. Even though Zyuohger sported a few average designs for the heroes, the overall presentation left us with a potentially fun title that’s filled with themes that complement each other. The main Zyuman group's fish-out-of-water story opened up to some funny segments with Yamato, and the cube motif’s purpose connects nicely with the animal people’s dilemma. As Yamato starts to develop his own animal abilities, the 40th Sentai series might place him in a strange situation down the road. Just like an actual cube, this show has every face, corner and side distributed evenly. Luckily, the time to tap into our inner beast worked out perfectly, as Zyuohger’s introduction to the Zoologist Yamato left us with a better impression on his character. One thing that went well in his favor is that the staff didn’t exhibit the medical condition where they’re trying too hard to replicate the aspects of a successful Sentai series. Complimenting the animal theme, the guy’s passion for studying animals and their wildlife made him feel like right at home with the show’s theme about two different races working together. To some extent, his personality was a callback to Ryoga/Aba Red from Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger, who was a Wildlife Investigator, along with being a dedicated father to his adopted daughter. Even though the first episode didn’t cover much of this similarity, the idea of him taking care of his animal comrades, the Zyuman, while they protect the Earth from the Dethgaliens that are invading the place as part of their little game. Also, the villains use coins to revive their subordinates as giants. When you look at everything the show has to offer, Zyuohger manages to make its elements complement each other. The Dethgalien’s invasion is similar to how a group of hunters hold an event to take down a specific target and the main heroes are practically the prey fighting back. Thanks to this great flow, the series left me intrigued with what it had to offer. In regards to the other team members, the Zyuman showcase a lively attitude in both episodes. From their shocked reaction to Yamato entering their land to their childish nature on Earth, the whole angle takes me back to Shougeki Gouraigan since their reaction to humanity’s way of life gives off a good laugh. While I wasn’t a fan of the main robot’s toy, the actual suit doesn’t look too bad since it’s almost like a cube-shaped version of the Shinken-Oh from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. For the most part, the issue with the machine is that it doesn’t translate well into a combining toy, as the bulky look present in Sentai mecha figures made it look blockier than usual. Despite the robot’s issues, Zyuoh King still has the potential to be a fun machine when more of its gimmicks are revealed throughout the series. The mecha’s recent combinations show that it’ll have various finishers and special attacks based on its modes, which might result in a formation sequence similar to the Getter Robo series. Depending on the types of robots the team gets later on, there’s a chance that the designs could evolve into something that works better in merchandise form. Aside from the machines, the Zyuohger’s chest section of their suits continues to be one of the weaker parts of their design. I guess it’s the staff’s weird choice to place a detailed animal illustration on the costume, which throws the whole look off balance. At least the helmet and the rest of the body look fine; thus leaving us with an above average look. Thankfully, the team’s fighting style made up for the costume’s flaws, as the gang utilizes their signature animal traits in battle, which resembled the Abaranger’s Abare Mode. As a big fan of the latter, it was nice to see another group use a similar ability since it lets the staff experiment with other types of action scenes outside of the hand-to-hand and weapon-based fighting styles. Even though Zyuohger sported a few weird design choices, the overall presentation left us with a title that’s filled with themes that complement each other. The fish-out-of-water story with the Zyuman opened up to some funny segments with Yamato, and the cube motif’s purpose connects nicely with the animal people’s way of life. With the sixth Ranger being foreshadowed early in the game, the 40th Sentai series is looking to be a beastly good time. Just like an actual cube, this show has every face covered nicely.
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Please insert coin to continue
It’s hard to believe that the Sentai franchise is now airing its 40th installment. Honestly, this feeling comes from the fact that the previous series, Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, was celebrating the franchise&rsquo...

Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Zyuohger's full trailer shows off its blocky gimmicks


How to use a Rubik's Cube as a weapon
Feb 01
// Salvador G Rodiles
Whenever I get to see Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger in action, my interest in the show starts to rise slowly. With Toei uploading a three-minute trailer of the program on their YouTube channel, they manage to hit us...
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger photo
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger

Evil gets slashed: Kakuranger heads to North America


Kakuranger, Ninja Ninja!
Jan 24
// Salvador G Rodiles
You know that Shout! Factory's Super Sentai releases are doing fine when they throw a big surprise announcement at our faces. During their special Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger streaming event on Saturday, Jan. 23, t...
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Strike: Animals go bowling in the new Zyuohger trailer


Who invited the zoo?
Jan 03
// Salvador G Rodiles
With one month left until the 40th Sentai series' premiere, another wild Zyuohger trailer has appeared. Right now, I'm still on a neutral position on how I feel about the show; however, the series' idea of having four of the...
Dobutsu Sentai Juohger photo
Dobutsu Sentai Juohger

Check out the 40th Sentai series' animal-themed suits and robot


Can we expect a farm setting?
Dec 09
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since I watched the Go-Busters V-Cinema, a part of me wished to see an actual series was similar to the alternate Go-Busters featured in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters v.s. Dobutsu Sentai Go-Busters. My wish may not have...
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Raise your hoodies: Kamen Rider Ghost's new preview has entered the building


Just in time for Halloween
Sep 28
// Salvador G Rodiles
As Kamen Rider Ghost gets ready to materialize in our world this Sunday, a new preview has arrived from the spirit world to give us a better look at our new spooky hero. So far, it's doing a fine job in giving us the main th...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Full Throttle: Garage Hero takes a look at Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future


Shift Car sound effects included
Sep 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
Bueno of Garage Hero/Garage Pro TV has returned to share his thoughts on another tokusatsu movie. This time around, he's taking Kamen Rider Drive the Movie: Surprise Future for a joyride with his comrades Michael (Gun Calibe...
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Kamen Rider Ghost's special video takes us back to outer space


It's Spooky Space Time!
Sep 01
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: Toei region locked the Kamen Rider Ghost special video.] Now that September has started, the folks at Toei have spooked up a new video for Kamen Rider Ghost on their tokusatsu YouTube channel. Apparen...
Kamen Rider Ghost photo
Kamen Rider Ghost

Kamen Rider Ghost's latest details are to die for


Who you gonna call?
Jul 29
// Salvador G Rodiles
For a good while, it's been known that the latest bug-eyed hero in the Kamen Rider franchise was going to sport a supernatural motif. While we've seen glimpses of the show's titular character as a toy and a few ...

Review: Ressha Sentai ToQger

Jul 03 // Salvador G Rodiles
Ressha Sentai ToQgerStudio: ToeiRelease Date: February 16, 2014 Focusing on the ongoing battle between light and darkness, ToQger is about Right/ToQ 1, Tokatti/ToQ 2, Mio/ToQ 3, Hikari/ToQ 4, and Kagura/ToQ 5's quest to find their hometown known as Pleiades Shore. During their travels, the group joins forces with the Rainbow Line, a railway that protects people's imagination, to battle the Shadow Line, an opposing railroad that spreads their darkness across the land. As the team works hard to protect the various stations scattered across the region, they hope that they'll encounter their home as one of their stops. While the series' premise showed potential, its execution turned the program's early episodes into a trainwreck. Instead of introducing the viewers to the cast, ToQger hurled the main characters at the audience's face. Because of the lack of a proper introduction, it felt that we were missing an important segment that would make the gang more interesting. Sure, GoGo Sentai Boukenger followed this format, but the main difference is that the group's actions and conversations contributed to the audience wanting to learn more about them. Sadly, ToQger failed to accomplish this aspect-- even if the five heroes are childhood friends who lost their memories. Even though the show's cast gave off a fun vibe, their childish personality made them a bit annoying. Right was too scatterbrained and the other heroes felt like they were trying too hard to be silly. Not that I have anything against immature characters, but it takes a special touch to make these type of archetypes work well in a title. Despite ToQger's issues making its viewers care about the stars, Tokatti's shy characteristics and Mio's willingness to look out for everyone were both two examples of elements that could improve the series' quality. While we’re on the topic of childishness, I didn’t expect ToQger to justify their decision to have the team act immature (in a slightly annoying way). Even though the team’s personality got better as the show neared its second half, it felt strange to witness a group of young adult act more childish than the usual folks who exhibit child-like habits. In fact, this twist and their true backstory improved the show’s emotional moments that took form during the show’s second half. To an extent, it even manages to act as a decent way to convey the importance of needing to become more mature in grave situations. Separated from their home and family, the ToQger had to go through great extremes to find their town. It was this sense of maturity that helped the series up the ante after its quality was going up. Sadly, this change didn’t result in Right becoming a more likable character. Nonetheless, his role in the team was important since he’s basically that one slightly annoying guy who somehow prevents the group from falling apart. I guess his inner conflict during the final arc was a decent way to have him grow since he was willing to sacrifice his childhood to help preserve the happiness of his friends. As an adult who has an active inner child, I found the team’s struggle to be relatable because it covered the foundations of learning to be more responsible in certain situations. Even though life can be tough at times, that doesn’t mean that we can’t spice things up while we’re at it. That’s where ToQger’s imagination theme comes to play since it acts as a tool to help the gang stay positive during any difficult task. In the end, I commend the show’s staff for doing a decent job in conveying this message during the program’s stronger segments. ToQger's major twist may have been a great way to push the series forward, but the program's viewers had to reach episode 31 to witness this element first hand. Even though it was foreshadowed earlier in the series, it was hard for many folks to notice this element since there have been a few Sentai heroes who have childish personalities (in an enthusiastic way). Based on the shift in quality between the title's two parts, there’s a good chance the show changed in direction style. In the third part of my interview with Bueno (Gun Caliber’s Producer, Director, and Star) of the indie toku studio Garage Hero, the guy said that the folks in the tokusatsu industry go about making tokusatsu in the two following styles: Either they think that slapping a well-known brand's name on a product is enough to have it sell toys, or they take advantage of the toy’s designs and create an awesome show that uses these products in a cool way where it makes people want to buy them. Since the show’s plot, robots, and action scenes felt a bit lackluster, it was obvious that the staff was following the former. Even though ToQger had Yasuko Kobayashi (Kamen Rider OOO and Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames’ Writer), a writer known for adding creepy elements to her toku shows, on the writing staff, her contribution to the series didn’t bloom until the second half. Because of the sudden increase in quality, one can assume that the production staff’s attempt to ride on the easy merchandising express didn’t help them much since the later episodes felt like they were putting more effort into the show. From there, the staff used the imagination angle to focus on fleshing out the ToQger, along with introducing new machines with improved designs. On top of that, Kobayashi’s dark elements complimented the show’s more enjoyable second course. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent throughout the whole series, it’s the show’s main villains. The main group consisted of General Schwarz, the guy in charge of the Shadow Line's train division; Madame Noire, the classy lady that wishes the best for her daughter; and Grita, Noire's daughter who has a crush on Schwarz. Each elite villains had their own special moments, which placed the program's viewers on their toes as they're left guessing about their final fate. Whether it was Schwarz’s hints of ulterior motives or Noire's special plans for Grita, the series’ adversaries rarely stuck to the basic role of conquering humanity. Honestly, it was the evil cast’s personality and motives that kept me interesting in seeing how the show developed early on. In a way, they were the only thing that felt like Kobayashi’s signature aspects when the show was off track. Perhaps the best villain of them all was the Emperor of Darkness himself. One thing that made the Shadow Line's ruler great was that he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill evil villain who wants to bring destruction to the world. Throughout the series, the guy only wanted to exhibit his own ‘shine.’ In a way, the Emperor of Darkness’ situation symbolizes the concept of people expectations on certain individuals. Because of his status, the Shadow Line’s top rulers expect him to be a ruthless lord who’s intent on bringing despair to the entire planet. At the same time, his methods exhibit the characteristics of a deprived child who would go through great lengths to get what he wants. Thanks to the way how he was depicted in the show, the staff did a good job in placing the villain in a position where he could switch sides at any given point in time. Speaking of great villains, the Shadow Line’s top member featured some solid designs. The main generals were demonic Victorian/High-Class Wild West creatures that had slight bits of Steampunk and Zed looked like he would be a Devil Trigger Form in the Devil May Cry series. Hell, the great craftsmanship placed into each costume was another great factor that gave me hope that ToQger would improve. Again, this was one of the few things that the show had going for it when it seemed that the show was trying to sell toys based on the Super Sentai name alone. As the program started to improve, we started to see a jump in the robot designs as well. ToQ 6's machine and the other combining mechas were all cool-looking robots since the train features were distributed better across their bodies-- unlike the ToQ-Oh’s Total Recall train chest. For a franchise that’s known for showcasing some fun fight scenes, ToQger fell flat in its early half. While the imagination-based powers sounded like a nifty gimmick, the show’s heroes exhibited clumsy movements that lacked the exhilarating feeling that comes from most Sentai shows. Normally, this sort of style would work great for a good laugh (such as the Go-Onger losing some of their early fights in their show) but the program’s failure to establish its characters properly prevented it from succeeding in this matter. Luckily, the action sequences improved as the series’ quality went up. Part of it likely had to do with the team gaining more experience in battle, along with ToQ 6 changing up the program’s format. Even when ToQger was its worse, the series had a great array of voice actors at its side. Jun Fukuyama (Code Geass' Lelouch, Assassination Classroom's Koro-sensei), Noriko Hidaka (Gunbuster's Noriko and Ranma 1/2's Akane), and Aya Hisakawa (Sailor Moon's Ami/Sailor Mercury, Cardcaptor Sakura's Kero) all did a wonderful job with voicing Nero, Noire, and Grita. Of course, their great performance contributed to the Shadow Line being a great group to follow. For the good side, Kappei Yamaguchi (One Piece's Ussop and Persona 4's Teddie) and Yui Horie (Persona 4's Chie and Golden Time's Koko) both hit the park with their roles as Ticket the puppet and Wagon. With the Conductor by their side, they were the Rainbow Line's best characters during the show's first half.  ToQger may have had a weak start, but the show easily gained the title of the Little Engine that could when it ended its run. ToQ 6's silly backstory and Emperor’s story were two key ingredients that threw the series back on track. Combined with the various power uprisings happening among the main adversaries, the program started to become more entertaining than before. Of course, the program’s theme about children learning to be responsible while retaining their imaginative creativity was another factor that improved the title. Unfortunately, one would have to sit through 12 or 13 mediocre episodes before the train-themed Sentai title picks up; therefore making it a difficult series to recommend to people. However, if a person can endure the darkness that plagues the series early on, then he/she might come out with a smile that’s powered by imagination and rainbows. Once you reach your final destination, there’s a small chance that you’ll reconnect with your inner child. Depending on your experience, you might have a better appreciation of the term ‘IMAGINAAAATION!’ [This review is based on a broadcast of the program obtained by Japanator] If there’s one thing that ToQger shares with Goseiger, it’s that both shows have a weird-looking Super Form for their Rangers. While the team’s Hyper Express Mode looks better than the Goseiger’s Miracle Mode, I feel that it’s lacking since the armor doesn’t complement the suit much. Nonetheless, the new transformation worked well in pushing the story forward as the Marquise Mork entered the scene. In this case, it shows us that an average power-up can improve a program’s plot when used right. It also helps that Zed remains as one of the series’ best villains. One thing that made Zed great was that he wasn’t your run-of-the-mill evil villain who wants to bring destruction to the world. Throughout the series, the guy just wants to exhibit his own ‘shine.’ In a way, the Emperor of Darkness’ situation symbolizes the concept of people expectations on certain individuals. Because of his status, the Shadow Line’s top rulers expect him to be a ruthless lord who’s intent on brining despair to the entire planet. At the same time, his methods exhibit the characteristics of a deprived child who would go through great lengths to get what he wants. Thanks to the way how Zed was depicted in the show, the staff did a good job in placing the villain in a position where he could switch sides at any given point in time. While we’re on the topic of children, I didn’t expect ToQger to justify their decision to have the team act childish (in a slightly annoying way). Even though the team’s personality got better as the show neared its second half, it felt strange to witness a group of young adult act more immature than usual folks who exhibit child-like habits. The idea behind Right and his friends being children who were turned to adults to fight the Shadow Line added to the show’s emotional moments that took form during the show’s second half. To an extent, it manages to act as a decent way to show the importance of kids needing to become more mature in grave situations. Separated from their home and family, the ToQger had to go through great extremes to find their town while fighting the Shadow Line’s forces. It was this sense of maturity that helped the series up the ante after its quality was going up. Sadly, this change didn’t result in Right becoming a more likable character. Nonetheless, his role in the team was important since he’s basically that one slightly annoying guy who somehow prevents the group from falling part. I guess his inner conflict during the final arc was a decent way to have him grow since he was willing to sacrifice his childhood to help preserve the happiness of his friends. As an adult who has an active inner child, I found the team’s struggle to be relatable because it covered the foundations of learning to be more responsible in certain situations. Even though life can be tough at times, that doesn’t mean that we can’t spice things up while we’re at it. That’s where ToQger’s imagination theme comes to play since it acts as a tool to help the gang stay positive during any difficult task. In the end, I commend the show’s staff for doing a decent job in conveying this message during the program’s stronger segments. While the show’s major twist was a great way to push the series forward, the show’s viewers had to reach episode 31 to witness this element first hand. Even though it was foreshadowed earlier in the series, the franchise’s status as a children’s program made it hard for most folks to notice this element since there have been a few Sentai heroes who have childish personalities (in an enthusiastic way). Based on the shift in quality between the ToQger’s early and later episodes, there’s a good chance the show changed in direction style. In the third part of my interview with Bueno (Gun Caliber’s Producer, Director, and Star) of the indie toku studio Garage Hero, the guy said that the folks in the tokusatsu industry go about making tokusatsu in the two following styles: Either they think that slapping a well-known brand name on a product is enough to have it sell toys, or they take advantage of the toy’s designs and create an awesome show that uses these products in a cool way where it makes people want to buy them. Since the show’s plot, robots, and action scenes felt a bit lackluster, it was obvious that the staff was following the former. Even though ToQger had Yasuko Kobayashi (Kamen Rider OOO and Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames’ Writer), a writer known for adding creepy elements to toku shows, on the writing staff, her contribution to the series didn’t bloom until the second half. Because of the sudden increase in quality, one can assume that the production staff’s attempt to ride on the easy merchandising express didn’t help them much since the later episodes felt like they were putting more effort into the show. From there, the staff used the imagination angle to focus more on fleshing out the ToQger and the newer machines featured improved designs. On top of that, Kobayashi’s dark elements complimented the show’s more enjoyable second course. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent throughout the whole series, it’s the show’s main villains. Aside from Zed’s situation, the other big villains had their own special moments. Whether it was Schwarz’s transition from conquering the Shadow Line to avenging Grita or Noire’s attempt to make Grita the head of the group, the series’ adversaries rarely stuck to the basic role of conquering humanity. Honestly, it was the evil cast’s personality and motives that kept me interesting in seeing how the show developed early on. In a way, they were the only thing that felt like Kobayashi’s signature aspects when the show was off track. Speaking of great villains, the Shadow Line’s top member featured some solid designs. The main generals were demonic Victorian/High-Class Wild West creatures that had slight bits of Steampunk and Zed looked like he would be a Devil Trigger Form in the Devil May Cry series. Hell, the great craftsmanship placed into each costume was another great factor that gave me hope that ToQger would improve. Again, this was one of the few things that the show had going for it when it seemed that the show was trying to sell toys based on the Super Sentai name alone. As the program started to improve, we started to see a jump in the robot designs as well. The Build Dai-Oh, Super Duper ToQ-Oh, Hyper Express Emperor, and ToQ Rainbow were all cool-looking robots since the train features were distributed better across their bodies-- unlike the ToQ-Oh’s Total Recall train chest. For a franchise that’s known for showcasing some fun fight scenes, ToQger fell flat in its early half. While the imagination-based powers sounded like a nifty gimmick, the show’s heroes exhibited clumsy movements that lacked the exhilarating feeling that comes from most Sentai shows. Normally, this sort of style would work great for a good laugh (such as the Go-Onger losing some of their early fights in their show) but the program’s failure to establish its characters properly prevented it from succeeding in this matter. Luckily, the action sequences improved as the series’ quality went up. Part of it likely had to do with the team gaining more experience in battle, along with ToQ 6 changing up the program’s format. ToQger maybe had a rough start, but the show easily gained the title of the Little Engine that could when it ended its run. ToQ 6 being a former Shadow Line member and Zed’s story were two key ingredients that threw the series back on track. Combined with the various power uprisings happening among the main adversaries, the program started to become more entertaining than before. Of course, the program’s theme about children learning to be responsible while retaining their imaginative creativity was another factor that improved the title. Unfortunately, one would have to sit through 12 or 13 mediocre episodes before the train-themed Sentai title picks up; therefore making it a difficult series to recommend to people. However, if one can endure the darkness that plagues the series early on, then they might come out with a smile that’s powered by imagination and rainbows. Once you reach your final destination, there’s a good chance that you’ll reconnect with your inner child. Depending on your experience, you might have a better appreciation of the term ‘IMAGINAAAATION!’
Ressha Sentai ToQger photo
Imagining Victory!
When it comes to TV shows that run for a year, it’s hard to imagine that a long series could improve when its early segments failed to impress most viewers. In many cases, if you can’t grab the audience during the...

Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger photo
Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger

It's Judgement Time: Dekaranger to return as a V-Cinema


Chu Chu Chu Deka Deka!
May 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
Oh my. Right when it felt that Hurricanger was going to be the only Sentai show to get the 10 Years After treatment, a new beacon of hope has surfaced for toku fans. Seeing that it's been ten years since Tokusou Sentai Dekar...
Digimon photo
Digimon

Digimon Adventure tri.'s latest trailer will please your nostalgic heart


The Crest of Hope shines strong
May 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
This might sound strange, but I have yet to watch Digimon Adventure in its original language. Nonetheless, the series is still one of those titles that I still adore to this day. Anyway, Toei's uploaded a new trail...
Garage Hero photo
Garage Hero

Watch Garage Hero tear Super Hero Wars GP to shreds


In which Bueno tells a kid to shut the hell up
Apr 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
Aw snap, Bueno of Garage Hero and his friends are about to get real, as they share their thoughts on Super Hero Wars GP: Kamen Rider 3, which might as well be called Super Mario Kart: Let's Go Kamen Rider Edition. ...
Saint Seiya photo
Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya returns next month


All that glitters is gold
Mar 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
Get your polish ready! Toei's Saint Seiya is set to return to the airwaves next month, and you're going to want your armor looking spiffy. The show will be available via a stream on Bandai's channel globally, so many fans of...
Spider-Man photo
Spider-Man

Toei's Spider-Man series web-slings its way back to Marvel.com


Just in time for his debut in The Amazing Spider-Man #12
Jan 11
// Salvador G Rodiles
Now that's what you call a perfect timing, people! Right when the Emissary from Hell, "Supaidaman," made his comic book debut in The Amazing Spider-Man issue 12, Marvel has decided to re-upload Toei's 1978 Spider-Ma...
Ninninger photo
Ninninger

Go Ninja: Get psyched up for Ninninger's first promos


The Year of the Ninja is off to a good start
Dec 28
// Salvador G Rodiles
I may be late to the festivities once again, but it's time to look at Shuriken Sentai Ninninger's heroes in motion. Silly enough, these videos caught me by surprise, as I wasn't expecting to see a promotional video...
Ninninger photo
Ninninger

Rejoice no Jutsu: Ninninger reveals its premise, cast, and staff


More ninja-related goodies are heading your way
Dec 26
// Salvador G Rodiles
The new year is around the corner, and TV Asahi's Ninninger page is ready for its next mission. This time around, the show's cast, production team, and premise leap out from the shadows to surprise its upcoming viewers. Howev...
Ninninger photo
Ninninger

Update no Jutsu: Ninninger gets a premiere date and more


It's time for the Year of the Ninja!
Dec 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Hey guys! Do you know what time is it? It's time for us to look at Ninninger's latest updates. This time around, the team has been featured in a higher quality poster along side their giant robot, the Shurikenjin. Overall, I'...
Ninninger photo
Ninninger

YES: Ninninger's suits and logo jump out of the shadows


2015's Sentai series is off to a good start
Dec 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
Good news, everyone. The Shuriken Sentai Ninninger have revealed themselves, and their suits look like a glorious fusion between Hurricanger and Shinkenger's designs. Due to this great combination, I've already fallen in...
Super Sentai photo
Super Sentai

Trademark no Jutsu: 2015's Sentai series gets a title


Ninjas are back in style!
Oct 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
We have a few weeks until October returns to the shadows, and it's time to learn about the 39th Sentai show's title. Going by the name of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, the next installment in the franchise'll likely fe...
Kamen Rider Gaim photo
Kamen Rider Gaim

Zawame City's map gets redesigned in Gaim's home release


R.I.P., Gotham City-like map
Oct 16
// Salvador G Rodiles
Do you remember the time when Kamen Rider Gaim featured a map of Zawame City that resembled Gotham City? Well, that moment is now gone, since the Blu-ray/DVD version of the show's 33rd episode contained a different map from t...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Start your Engine! Kamen Rider Drive's full trailer shifts into overdrive


And Drive the Kamen Rider!
Sep 17
// Salvador G Rodiles
With two more episodes left until Gaim ends, a new trailer for Kamen Rider Drive has entered the fast lane. Surprisingly, I've come to terms with the show's title, since it occurred to me that Knight Rider's main charac...
Super Sentai photo
Super Sentai

Change Leopardon! It's Henshin Time! covers Marvel's connection to Super Sentai


Yeah Yeah Yeah, Wow!
Sep 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
I may be late to the party again, but I felt that ToyBountyHunters' latest video in their It's Henshin Time series was worth sharing on here, since it's about Marvel's history with Toei. Aside from the Spiderman toku sh...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Let's get fired up for Kamen Rider Drive's first promo


Start your engine!
Sep 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
Move along, folks. There's nothing to see here. In all seriousness, since I'm not a professional police officer, you can ignore my previous statement when you check out Kamen Rider Drive's latest preview. While the video onl...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Pull Over! Kamen Rider Drive gets a preview and more


Count up your license and registration!
Aug 30
// Salvador G Rodiles
First, I'd like to apologize for my constant ramblings about Kamen Rider Drive. Either way, my apology isn't stopping me from posting the show's preview that was featured in TV Asahi's morning news program, Good! Morning. On...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Buckle up for some new details on Kamen Rider Drive


Make sure that you check your side mirrors
Aug 28
// Salvador G Rodiles
As we're experiencing the final week of August, Televi-kun's recent issue has revealed some new information on Kamen Rider Drive, and it looks like the next show will have a police theme to go with the car motif. That being s...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Vroom! Kamen Rider Drive's design has entered the parking lot


This new Rider is ready to show us his wheels!
Aug 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's finally time for us to take a look at the new car-themed Driv...er, I mean Rider's design. Overall, the new Rider's appearance looks great, since Drive's Type Speed Form is basically a fusion between Kamen Rider Accel Tr...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Check out Kamen Rider Drive's gadgets and four-wheeled vehicle


2014's Rider gets a sweet new ride
Jul 25
// Salvador G Rodiles
Man. What's with all of these heroes getting cars all of the sudden? First it was Ghost Rider, and now 2015's new Rider, Kamen Rider Drive, is following this trend. Are motorcycles going out of style? Whatever the case may be...
FI: Sailor Moon Crystal photo
FI: Sailor Moon Crystal

First Impressions: Sailor Moon Crystal


We are not helpless girls who need men's protection
Jul 05
// Brittany Vincent
I never thought I'd be on the verge of tears after watching Usagi Tsukino's very first transformation into the pretty soldier of love and justice for the umpteenth time, but here I sit wiping tears away and swallowing back th...
Kamen Rider photo
Kamen Rider

Holy Snap! Kamen Rider Gaim's setting resembles Gotham City


Gee willikers, Batman
Jun 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
Have you ever watched a show where you came across an unexpected observation that blew your mind? Well, Kamen Rider Gaim 33rd episode featured a surprising discovery no one saw coming. Long story short, a map of Zawame C...
Dragon Ball Kai photo
Dragon Ball Kai

Dragon Ball Kai's Buu saga will last almost a year and a half


Even longer if you find yourself using a hyperbolic time chamber
Apr 19
// Chris Walden
Dragon Ball Kai has quite a noble goal in trying to cut out all of the added fluff from the original Dragon Ball Z series. Even though I'd seen the original series in its entirety, as well as plenty of times via Toonami as a ...
 photo

T.M. Revolution to perform themes for Disk Wars: The Avengers


Unfortunately, not with Abingdon Boys School
Mar 18
// Tim Sheehy
Those of who you who've been eagerly awaiting Marvel's latest foray into the world of animation with Toei's Disk Wars: The Avengers may be pleased to learn that Takanori Nishikawa, more commonly known by his stage name T.M. R...
Crunchyroll photo
Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll to stream Robot Girls Z


Japan discovers a way to get me into giant robots
Jan 28
// LB Bryant
I've never been one for giant robot/mecha anime. There are some notable exceptions to that but generally if a series has giant robots in it I tend to tune out and get bored very quickly. Finally though Japan has created a sup...

Final Impressions: Kyousougiga

Jan 11 // Karen Mead
Kyousougiga is an intentionally confusing show. If there's any doubt that the confusion is intentional, just look at the way we have two Myoues and two Kotos. Often it's hard to parse the meaning of what's going on-- we usually know what's happening in the most literal sense, but we don't know why, or what it has to do with anything else. There's a lot of symbolism thrown around, some very obvious and some less so, and sometimes, it's frustrating that the show won't just come out and tell you what it wants to say. The big fear with these artistic, "symbolic" shows is that you can bang your head against the wall trying to figure out what it all means, and it might mean nothing; the symbols could just be there to obfuscate the fact that it's all style over substance and has no depth. Alternately, even if the symbolism is used with precision, that doesn't necessarily make the story good. For example, I dropped Mawaru Penguindrum at the halfway point, not because I didn't think the symbolism was meaningful, but because I no longer cared what the symbolism meant-- I found the style of the show so obnoxious with the excessive use of symbolism that it killed my investment in the story. Actually, I think what I said at the time was more along the lines of "This show is like a first-year English major masturbating," but that's neither here nor there. The story of MyoueX2 and KotoX2 in the Looking Glass City however has a consistent playfulness to it that makes it's oblique nature much more tolerable, at least for me. Furthermore, while I couldn't tell you what every single thing in Kyousougiga means at any given time, the big question-- what it's all really about, at the end of the day-- does have a pretty clear, definitive answer, and one that's obvious for pretty much the entire run of the show. You can argue all you want to about the significance of Koto's hammer or the true nature of Mirror Kyoto, but there's never any doubt that the show is about the importance of family. At first it seemed like the story was a strange mix between tales of mythical Gods with unbelievable powers and illustrating the importance of family, but during the last few episodes it finally clicked for me; the show doesn't just mix Gods and families, it uses Godlike power to describe the nature of families. When a person creates a family, that's the closest they can ever become to being a God; they choose a person to create life with (or nurture life, as in the case of Yakushimaru), and the reality they create for themselves that way becomes their own little universe. The original Myoue may have created the planets and has been watching over the universe with his divine powers since before the time of the dinosaurs, but he still refers to his family--multiple times-- as "my whole world." Even though he's virtually omnipotent, the world that matters to him is composed of his wife and children. Notice also how, despite the fact that Myoue and his brother have basically created everything around them, it's Koto-- his biological child with his wife-- that Myoue clearly loves the most. This is dangerous territory (since you could see an implication here that he loves his biological child more than his adopted children), but I really don't think the show is trying to say that parents love their bio-children more; I think the point is that creating new life in the form of children is perhaps the most divine thing humans can as aspire to. It's so divine that even God himself, Myoue, is more impressed with this one little girl than all the planets in the solar system. If we look at the case of Yakushimaru (or the other Myoue-- thanks a lot, show), we see the use of Godlike powers to illustrate the importance of family from a different angle. Yakushimaru is given the ultimate power of creation in the form of his father's prayer beads, yet for most of his (rather long) existence, he has no interest in using that power. Why? Because he lost his family as a young boy, and without his family, he feels as though he has nothing to live for. The fact that he has literally been given the greatest power in the universe means nothing to him, because he misses his parents. It's only when he finally begins to accept Koto as his sister-- and thus acknowledges that he has a new family now-- that he's ready to wield the power he's been given. As someone who hopes to have children in the not-so-distant future, the message of the show resonated strongly with me. I don't want to have children just because they're cute and I want to dress them in adorable outfits (although that's awesome), I want to have children because I want to create my own little slice of the universe for just me and my family. That doesn't mean I actually see myself as some kind of birth goddess with great power over my potential kids; just as Myoue is powerless to stop Koto from blasting him in the face with her hammer, what my children (if I'm lucky enough to have them) eventually become is up to them, not me. It's a power of creation that comes with a massive amount of unpredictability, but that's what makes it so great; just as Myoue prefers Koto to the creatures that he designed exactly to his specifications, I greatly prefer the idea of a child who will struggle to become their own person rather than just follow in my footsteps and be Karen 2.0-- shudder, who needs that. All of this is a roundabout way of saying, if I suddenly have 14 kids and take over the world with an army of tiny minions, it's all Kyousougiga's fault.  
FI: Kyousougiga photo
God's in his heaven and all's right with Mom and Dad
I'm late, I'm late for a very important date. With the winter anime season in full swing, this is my last opportunity to do a Final Impressions for something from the fall season. I think I put off writing up Kyousougiga for ...


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