Posted by: Z.F. | February 17, 2009

Shinkenger Episode 1 Review

 Episode 1 of 2009’s Super Sentai Series: Samuari Sentai Shinkenger (now that’s an alliteration! I guess I will just called it S.S.S.S.S.S. from now on) finally aired last Sunday and boy was I pleased with what I saw. Just about one year ago, I was waiting for the download bar to reach 100% while I eagerly awaited for a show that can perhaps top or just be as good as Gekiranger, but sadly that was not the case. I was turned off by Go-onger within minutes and I gave up the series pretty much after closing and deleting Go-onger Grand Prix 1. From general consensus it seems that Go-onger did not even have a really strong fan following. With at in midn, I won’t even bother to finish the series. I did watch the movie of course, in Tokyo, it was okay, but that’s because I had to watch it if I wanted to watch Kiva’s.

For those who want to download a high quality version of Episode 1, go down to Japan Hero Access: http://www.japanhero.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7551 

Momotaros has generously devoted his time to download, encode and upload Raws of both Sentai and Rider every week, so if you are a member or planning to join the Japan Hero forum, please just post a “Thank you” for all his great work.

Okay back to the show. I won’t be doing a review every week, just like Decade, but if you want to go and read weekly Kamen Rider Decade reviews then go to Igadevil’s blog: http://igadevil.blogspot.com/ which is the best Kamen Rider blog on the web! No one provides the best reviews and the most knowledgeable  Rider insights like Igadevil.

Okay, now back to what I was going to talk about…right, the first episode of Shinkenger. I am not really sure if the first few minute can set the stage for a year worth of show but Go-onger managed to do so. There’s a lot of praise for Shinkenger’s opening, even though they didn’t have a traditional one. I await for it, since I love watching an Opening Sequence for the first time.

Shinkenger’s episode 1 wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t spectacular and I wasn’t even on the edge of my seat for the entire episode. I was just sitting there, and nodding my head because of all the “correct” things they did. Most great shows don’t have great first episodes, they have promising ones, and Shinkenger promises.

So here’s what I like about Shinkenger:

  • The Cast:I was a bit doubtful about the cast. They didn’t have that look, and for the most part they seemed more like Go-onger 2.0. A good looking cast would be somewhat like Boukenger, to draw from a recent Sentai, but Boukenger failed and now I can’t really judge a cast by it’s appearance anymore. Geki did not look oto great as well but it turned out great. But right now I am really liking the cast, every single one of them, it’s rare, so I am very happy.
  • Shinken Red: We’ve had a lot of mediocre Reds these 6-7 years. Akashi/BoukenRed was my favourite of the recent ones but too bad the show failed, but I still think he was what a Red should be. Shinken Red/Takeru, gave me that Go-on Red vibe before the show started but when he spoke for the first time in the introduction, man, I was wondering if this guy (who has Henshined already) was even that kid we saw in the promo. Since we haven’t seen much of everyone yet, I am merely praising Shinken Red for his voice. I know, it’s a bit superficial on my part but everyone’s loving it.  There’s a flashback scene where he is given his Henshin Device from a man who’s has been showered with arrows, I hope that a significant part of the series, because that scene was kinda cool.
  • Shinken Blue:I’ve been hearing a lot of  crap about the actor before the show started. I think it was perhaps due to the other stuff he has worked in before, such has cross dressing as a girl, etc. But he, in this short 22 minutes, made me like him the most out of the entire team. He’s seems naive yet very persistent and willing to be a good solider. And we sorta get the most characteriziation from Shinken Blue/Ryunosuke than anyone else except Red.
  • Shinken Pink: I have to say Rin Takanashi, the actress who plays Shinken Pink is very attractive. I like her look, similar to Sakura/BoukenPink just because both of which have that feminine quality to their appearance as well as a strong and even a tough presense. There’s not much to her character yet, but she seems to be rather serious, which I like, for the Pink ranger. And Shinken Pink has the best design of the team however she gets stuck with the stupid turtle Mecha.
  • Shinken Green and Yellow: Both Shinken Green and Yellow worried me in the beginning. They both looked like the typical teenager character that has been used predominantly in the recent Sentai. The male being the annoying brat and the girl being an exaggerated cartoon character who only cares to act “kawaii” (cute) and makes you wonder how they can even put up a fight. Thank god, well atleast in this episode, these two characters hasn’t become those caricatures. Me, liking Yellow was the biggest surprise in this episode. Maybe most male writers think that there’s two type of women, the strong one and the cutesy one, so seeing how this show is written by Kobayashi (who is female) she might be able togive us a different type sof constrasting female characters instead of just polar opposites like BoukenPink vs. BoukenYellow.
  •  The Villains: They are scary and not funny which is a plus! Sadly there are no human form villain as of yet. I have to say the girl with the instrument is definitely the freakiest looking of them all, more so than the typical male villains who tries to look frightening and have a deep voice but come off too cliched. I guess because the girl has a human face, it helps with the scariness of her character. But like most long-term villain character’s their intimidation level runs rather low when they constantly get defeated only to really die in the end of the show.
  • The Mentor: No robot animal mentor! We get a serious Samurai Sempai (again with the alliteration)! I like him.
  • The Weapons: Their special weapons are cool, especially Red’s giant sword. I am not so fond of those spinny animation discs. That’s just a really lame gimmick.
  • The Ending Song and Credits: This has to be my favourite Ending theme in recent years and the Ending sequence is creatively done without the overly used dancing, another reason why I am liking Shinkenger.

Things I am really not liking that much:

  • The Opening Song: I  really don’t like it. It sounds a bit like Go-onger’s song with a mix of Deka because, well Psychic Lover is singing it this year. They aren’t the first artists chosen to do a Sentai Opening twice, but remember when Hironobu Kageyama did Changeman, Maskman and Jetman, and how different all those three songs sounded like. Well after listening to Shinkenger’s theme a few more times, I feel like I am in 2004 all over again. It’s a weak song but its definitely not bad.
  • The Mechas: Even though they are using actual models instead of CGI, which is great, I am not liking the Mechas. They are too robotic for a Samurai themed show. I think they should’ve gone with a Geki-style mecha instead.
  • The Henshin Phone/Calligraphy Pen: Am I the only one who found that writing the Kanji for horse with a stupid calligraphy phone can spawn an actual horse to be lame. It’s an interesting idea and all but its kinda flawed. Sentais shouldn’t have godly powers such as creating things out of nothing with holographic ink! Why don’t they just write the kanji for Death on the villain, or Victory, so we can get this series over with.

All in all a great start. I am certain I can watch a full year of this show.

By: Adrienzo

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