Thursday, 21 July 2011

Series REVIEW: Tensou Sentai Goseiger


Unknown to the people of Earth, there is a branch of humanity called the "Gosei Angels" whose mission is to protect the Earth. When the Earth is targeted by an evil alien invasion force called Warstar, they destroy the Heaven's Tower, the bridge between the Earth and the Gosei World, home of the Gosei Angels, to keep them from interfering. However, five apprentice Gosei Angels are on Earth at the time and, while finding a way to return back home, they become the Goseigers to battle the advances of the Warstar. Tensou Sentai Goseiger is the 34th Super Sentai series, airing in 2010-2011.

Out of everything a Sentai series needs to be successful, a good, strong main team is probably the most important. Unfortunately, Goseiger does not have this. All 5 of the Gosei angels are simply awful. I get that they were trying to enforce the 'in-training' aspect of the angels with their ages, but the team are all far too young and fail to impose any sort of authority. Sure they've grown by the end of the series, but I can't help feel that for the majority of the series their victories were simply down to dumb luck (which is quite fitting to Alata's annoying "It'll all work out" catchphrase). Alata and Eri's overall cheeriness is grating, and Moune and Agri's feelings of superiority aren't much better (these do die down as their team bonds become stronger). Hyde is definitely the most interesting of the five due to his backstory, which could have benefited from much more depth. The sixth Goseiger, GoseiKnight is a more interesting character due to his origins, and even more so when you take into consideration that he doesn't actually become a proper team player until around two thirds into the show. However, he can't carry the show on his own, and often his struggle to understand humanity falls into the realms of cliché. The supporting cast are very weak - Nozomu proves to be a further example into why child main characters don't work in these sorts of series, taking far too much time away from the angels. His bumbling father is an injection of slapstick comedy that the series really didn't need.

Next we come to the villains, who are arranged a little differently in Goseiger. There are three main groups of villains in the series - the alien Warstars, the monster Yuuma Beasts, and the robotic Mantrintis Empire. When one group is defeated, the next takes over from them. As these groups differ greatly in both tactics and aesthetics, it does help add a little diversity to the series. What also differs greatly though is the quality - the Warstar are by far the strongest of the 3, feeling the most fleshed out and threatening (since they are ones who destroy the Tower of Heaven in the first place). The Yuuma Beasts are far less interesting - their leaders are among the weakest costume designs in Goseiger and their plans recycled straight from Engine Sentai Go-Onger two years previously. The Mantrintis had the potential to be a very good addition, but their overall story arc despite several interesting moments (such as Metal Alice's development) seemed very much like an afterthought. The only constant, and in fact the series greatest triumph overall, is Buredoran. Despite being the main antagonist of the series, Buredoran simply sulks around in the background for the first half of the show, eventually making a bid for power in the tail end of the Yuuma arc. He then goes on to have some interesting developments as a Mantrintis, and then the reveal of his true identity and goals proves to be the best moment for the series in terms of plot. Buredoran lies to anyone and everyone, friend or foe, changing forms several times in the series to fit in with whoever he allies himself with. Not only is he by far the standout character in the series, but also probably my favourite Super Sentai villain I've seen thus far.

The actual show aesthetic is particularly pleasing - the Goseiger suits look very grand and the helmets inclusion of the moulded mouthplate invoke memories of older series such as Carranger, Gingaman and (especially) Zyuranger to name a few. The weapons are also very nostalgic, complete with a combined cannon form. The inital mecha are excellent - Gosei Great and its headder combos being among the most visually pleasing aspects of the series. Gosei Ground and Gosei Ultimate aren't quite as good as Gosei Great, but their designs still retain the elegant qualities of the show and it is nice to see a single ship mecha again. The show's main gimmick, the Tensou cards (which also tied into the Super Sentai Dice-O game Bandai were promoting at the time) is particularly obtrusive though. As the Goseiger's main powers come from these cards, almost everything in the show revolves around them. The super mode upgrades also leave a lot to be desired - the Goseigers just wear giant golden animal heads on their chests and their weapons look like gumball machines.

With three different groups of villains to include, one could imagine that there's quite a lot of plot to cram into a 50 episode series. Well, this is true, but it doesn't stop pretty much every episode of Goseiger feeling like filler. The endless amounts of one shot episodes are completely forgettable, failing to serve any sort of character development or growth. The only memorable episodes are the ones where villains are either introduced or defeated. The series' climax, despite having excellent set-up, is particularly disappointing, with the final fight being over and done with half way through the episode.

So, Tensou Sentai Goseiger isn't completely devoid of positive features - it has an excellent lead villain and the overall aesthetic for the series is very pretty. Other than that though, it falls completely flat on its face. An unlikeable main cast and a terrible balance of mountains of filler and seemingly rushed main plot makes Goseiger an incredibly disappointing series. Sandwiched between the excellent Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, if there's any Sentai series of recent years that's probably worth a skip, it's this one.

No comments: