Nikki's Corner (sennetari) wrote,
Nikki's Corner
sennetari

Thoughts on Engine Sentai Go-Onger whole series (some spoilers)

I didn't really plan to write about Go-Onger (feel like I don't know enough about sentai to talk about it), but I just got through the whole series like in five days, and found my feelings going up and down quite a lot throughout the course of the series. Yeah, there are spoilers, though I try to avoid mentioning them if I can.

Positives:

First of all, I like Go-Onger, the series itself. Not as much as some other series (Gekiranger), but I find it enjoyable for the most part. Yeah, something resembling the main plot only surfaces somewhere past mid-series and again at the end, but that doesn't matter much to me. Despite all its "flaws", it's such a fun series. And right now it really spoils me since I would rather avoid watching anything even remotely dark for a while.

As for the movie, I'm kind of two minds about it. On one hand, I really love it, even more than Geki movie, which is a little surprising since this movie seems like a standard fare: one dimensional villain shows up wanting to rule the world or something and the heroes have to save the day. Perhaps one of the guest actors partly helps since I always kind of like him even though I think his series has like worst ending ever (very vague/subjective comment on the ending of one kamen rider series). On the other hand, actually making the movie events canon and spoiling it in later episodes is not really a cool move (though I don't have room to complain since I did watch the movie before those episodes). Good thing out of that? I get to see the movie guest star again, this time in the series itself. :) And I was so very happy that I had absolutely no prior knowledge of him appearing in the TV series (hiding this for someone (like me?) who would prefer to be surprised, though I think I might be the last person to know about it anyway).

It is interesting (and I'm rather impressed) that the actors are in their suits a lot. I always thought 'actor being in costume' is usually reserved only for last episodes. But maybe I know nothing since I haven't really seen much sentai. (With that said, actors being in costumes also contributes to what I don't really care for: not keeping their secret identities.)

I'm impressed that most of series seems to be not related to the main plot, but yet most of the episodes are connected (at least from the previous one to the next, but they manage to be connected in other ways too). For some reason, I thought only Kamen Rider series could pull off the 'episodic yet not' well.

Go-On Red gets to (mostly) single-handedly finish off villains who are half-way competent ('do cool things in the name of justice' is as specific as I can get without spoiling). I usually don't care for his type of character (loud-mouthed, high-pitched voice), but somehow I've warmed up to him. And Miu's crush on him is totally cute even though it goes no where. I'm happy it's acknowledged as much and not just me seeing things (mark off just in case someone wants to guess about his love life (or lack thereof) on their own).

Hiroto is called "Aniki" by his partner. I just love the fact that it is a too obvious reference to Hiroto's actor's previous toku role. ^^

Old school villains. Now, as I said, I'm not familiar with sentai all that much, but their designs (especially Kegareshia's) remind me of 1980's toku series, possibly. And it's very very refreshing (well, for me at least, since I don't have many series to compare Go-On with) that the three ministers actually like each other and care for the other's well-being (and for the earth minister to care for/respect his vice-minister). (I particularly love Kega and the air minister's (whose name escapes me) clumsy attempts to cheer up the earth minister Yogostein.) It's clear that they are not really evil, just have different goals that run counters to the heroes' (but not being really evil also makes them rather ineffective as villains) and yet I'm glad that Yogo died more evil than he was started with, and the other two ministers, while might be set up for redemption, never came over to the good side completely (spoilers for their eventual fate).

The Go-Onger RV (Ginjiro?) is probably connected to another dimension since its inside is obviously much bigger than what can be inferred from the outside. ^^;; Not to mention I always like RV in general. (They even got a few US states license plates as decorations, I think.)

Cross-dressing galores! I like when the Go-Ongers (or one particular member) want someone to act as a girl, they first go for another (cute) male member (I'm not sure exactly how many times he has cross-dressed in this series) and not the lone female member. And all the male Go-Ongers (and Hiroto) get to cross-dress at one point and I don't think any of them even looks half-bad (I'm scared of my thinking sometimes ^^;).

Eye-catches (well, the scene-breaks during each episode before and after it goes to CM) are very cute. It is creative, making them the engine races among the main five engines. I've guessed the results correctly perhaps only a few times. And even if I re-watch, I probably still can't remember, except the episode Birca first won, probably.

Go-On Seminar! I always like this kind of extra segment, but it's especially funny and cute in Go-Onger. :)

Related to the above, actors seem enthusiastic about their roles. While their actings are probably not the best (for some characters, anyway), I'm satisfied enough. At least I don't recall seeing anyone who can't act (unlike with some other series...)

G5 Princes. It's a bit unusual for me since I'm not exactly into bands but somehow I'm (probably the only person ^^;) easily sold on this idea. Doesn't matter that the guys don't exactly seem to know how to sing either...

Never ending changing dancing ending sequences are fun. It's totally random, however, to find Wataru in one ending sequence. As far as I know, his appearance in the ED has nothing to do with Go-Onger and probably is just a cross-promotion.

This is more "not an annoyance" than "good" to me, but I think the suffixes the villains use are not bad and are even a little helpful in identifying the speakers when I'm clueless at recognizing voices. (And I can't help wondering if the (voice) actors get too used to the suffixes and slip them into their regular speeches sometimes, haha. Probably wishful thinking on my part, though.)


Now, not so positive things:
(To be fair, some of these seem to be more about specific point in the series than not, so, for most, my feelings kind of undergo a change later, and these not so positive things end up not so annoying for the most part.)


The Wings siblings' snobbery (they did later tone that down somewhat, but, I think, at some expense of their fighting abilities). It's disappointing (after I was looking forward to their debut) to see them putting down the Go-Ongers when the Wings themselves disappeared (to train, yeah, but they were not around to protect the world) and the Go-Ongers have been protecting the world. And no, they were actually more competent before the Wings showed up. I actually cringed at the episode where the writers seems to exaggerate the main five's stupidities (oh, they were not that bright to begin with, but no need to embarrass them further) just to make the Wings look good.

Competent villain reincarnated as a ghost and being a subject of mockery (not by their fellow villains, but by the show itself) in the process. Not that he's my favorite villain or anything, but just let him die with dignity and be done with it. (Spoilers for episode 24, and little bit before that.)

Fake deaths. Not that I really want anyone to die, but I don't like that people could be brought back to life so easily. There are probably better ways to do angst... Though I'm kind of amused that the writers don't even pretend anymore at the end and actually admit of using a deus ex machina (that physical device/machine is named 'deus something something') to bring all the "dead" people back (spoiler for the last episode). And I especially don't like that I knew all along about the fake deaths but still cried anyway.

G12. Er, too much, too bulky. I (sort of) understand G9 since it's to get all seven rangers in the same cockpit, but it should just stop there. At least I can be thankful that they don't bust out G12 for every little thing.

Having the tone of episodes shifted a lot. I'm honestly lost as to what I'm supposed to feel for some of the episodes: funny, sad, serious, or all possible combination? Though I really shouldn't be fooled with episode 47. Anyway, I guess I just want a comedy episode to be completely comedy, a filler episode to be completely filler and so on.

Evil sister never gets any kind of punishment. Not that I want it exactly (she's too one dimensional for me to be emotionally-invested in either way), but letting her off without having anything negative coming to her would just reenforce the fact that it's okay to pick on/be cruel to younger siblings. Still, perhaps I can hope there is some lesson here I'm not seeing.

No keeping secret identities! Man, they even got a mobile popularity site. And their jackets totally proclaim who they are (in English, yeah, but I think every Japanese can read English, if not speak). Have to admit that I can't see the Go-Ongers being heroes in secret, but I just don't like everyone else knowing who they are. I prefer my heroes to be more mysterious about their secret identities (and, preferably, get into some difficulties because of that need to maintain their secret)--and maybe I shouldn't really look for that in sentai.

The main bad(?) guys could use some shaking up. Sure, I hadn't forgotten while I watched that this series is not to be taken seriously, and I actually see (and like) them as non-evil villains for the most part, but for a while, I really thought they were boring. They seemed rather half-hearted in their pollution effort and even abandoned that early on to focus on getting rid of the Go-Ongers, but they didn't even manage to do a decent job of that either...not until a more competent villain shows up anyway. In any case, I don't need them dark, complex or have tragic past or anything of that sort (sometimes that type of villains are too emotional for their own good), but for them just to do something different so that their actions don't seem too monotonous.

As for the heroes, I don't need their characters shaken up like the villain factor. In a series like this, where you--or at least me--derive enjoyment out of character antics/interactions and not really from character growth, it's best that their characters stay static since it would be easier for me to identify them. So it kind of bothers me that some of their characterizations are not consistent. The hot-headed Sousuke is probably the only one who does not seem to stray far from his established character since I don't have a hard time anticipating his reactions. Everyone else has a moment (or more) that surprises me. It takes me out of the story a bit when I thought a particular character will do one thing but they do something else instead.

(To be fair, Go-Onger is not the only series I find with this inconsistent characterization problem. I understand (even though I don't really agree with)changing characters to fit the plot, but Go-Onger doesn't even have much (important) plot to fall back on as an excuse. Or maybe I'm just over-thinking this.)

Might be related to the above, but personality quirks get dropped fast. Specifically, I'm thinking of Ren's notebook. Yeah, it's probably not practical to have him carry notebook around all the time, but if it's not going to be important/necessary (since he basically abandons it with no visible consequence), I would prefer they don't introduce it to begin with. (And somehow Ren's notebook reminds me of Wataru's little phrase book that he carries around when he put a mask over his face and not wanting to speak (KR Kiva episode 1).)














And this is not about Go-Onger specifically, and it's probably more coincidental than not, but I think it's neat that the civilian names of the latest three blue rangers all start with 'R' (Retsu, Ren, Ryuunosuke).


I haven't seen the net movies (ETA: seen, and nothing really to say) or the Go-On seminar (not sure if it's new or just compilation of those segments--but I think I will watch it in any case), but yeah, did catch just about everything else. (Incidentally, was 2008 the first year to have net movies for sentai and rider? I don't remember any before that, but I might have overlooked them.)
Tags: engine sentai go-onger, tokusatsu
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