Tuesday 19 February 2013

First Impressions: Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

How do you follow up a commercially unsuccessful series in a long-running franchise? By bringing back all the most popular elements of previous series of course! After a pretty unsuccessful year with Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (which sadly has the crown of least successful Super Sentai series thus far), Toei decided to play it safe this year with a third dinosaur themed series. Only this time Toei are making sure to rope in kids with a huge array of roleplay toys, flashy visuals and....samba transformation sequences? Welcome to the 37th Super Sentai team - Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. VAMOLA!

The Earth is threatened with extinction when the Deboss army resurrect from their frozen prison, with the aim to harvest human souls and resurrect their creator Deboss. Standing in their way are the Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, five warriors chosen by the Wise God Torin and aided by special dinosaurs called the Zyudenryu, whose souls are housed in special batteries. The final Kyoryuger to be chosen is a man named Daigo Kiryu (who also likes to be called "King"), who defeats to tyrannosaurus Gabutyra to take the position of the "Fanged Hero" Kyoryu Red.

Super Sentai first episodes have a tendency to be flashy, and even the Kyoryuger seems to take it up to a whole new level. Koichi Sakamoto certainly hasn't lost his directorial touch, featuring brilliant fight sequences from civilian rangers, transformed Kyoryugers and even a mecha team up with Gabutyra.

There isn't a whole lot to go on with characters just yet as Daigo was the main focus of this episode, who's certainly the most energetic and optimistic Red we've had since Goseiger. Very over the top, but a man with a good heart and a true hero - definitely one who's going to be great to watch in the future. The other Kyoryugers have their moments, but their identities haven't been properly revealed yet in terms of the story (a fact which works nicely in the episode's conclusion). Their mentor Torin also seems like he's going to be a great character. In way very similar to Doggie from Dekaranger, he has a real imposing sense of badassery about him even when he's barely done anything so far. The villain designs range from awesome to pure nightmare fuel, and with the number of them there are it looks like perhaps they'll each develop rivalries with individual Kyoryugers.

The dancing transformation sequence is probably going to take a little getting used to since it really came out of nowhere this episode, but other than that I like what I see. After a year of a somewhat gritty, realistic Super Sentai, it's refreshing to see its successor go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum for a flashy, loud and in your face début. Fingers crossed it can keep this up for the next year.

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