Thursday 21 March 2013

Movie REVIEW: Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger Toei Super Sentai

Ever since 1995's Chōriki Sentai Ohranger, the Vs. movie series has been a staple of Super Sentai shows. While for last year's anniversary series things took a different turn with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Gavan (the Goseigers having appeared in the early 199 Heroes film) things are back on course with this year's Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger. This hour long film fits in somewhere toward the end of the Go-Busters series (after the original Escape's death) and acts as an epilogue to Gokaiger.

Across the galaxy are five Phantom ranger keys, which are able to grant unlimited power to those who possess them. Unfortunately, four of the five keys have come into the possession of Enter, who has allied himself with Bacchus Gil, nephew to Ackdos Gil and new leader of the Zangyack Empire. They return to Earth in search of the final key with an additional surprise, the Gokaigers are now working under the Zangyack! As the Go-Busters do battle with the previous Sentai team, a portal in time is created when the five keys are gathered and they are sucked through, along with Yoko and Beet J Stag.

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger Evil Gokaigers
You wanted pirates? Here's your pirates!

As the Go-Busters team up with a confused Gai Ikari in a race through time to find the Phantom Ranger keys, they discover the real reason for the Gokaigers' turn and Enter's plans. Can the combined force of the 35th and 36th Super Sentai teams put a stop to this deadly alliance?

As soon as you see the main five Gokaigers in their "badass" pirate costumes, its pretty easy to see where the story is going. Yup, evil Gokaigers. One team going rogue isn't a new thing for the vs. films, but having just see it (partially) happen in Super Hero Taisen to same outcome makes the whole shock value of it all fall a little flat. Not that it lasts very long anyway, because the film's plot moves at lightning speed and it isn't long before the Gokaigers are back to their heroic cocky selves. What really drives Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger is the relationship between the Go-Busters and their Buddyroids, and how it affects the team when that is taken away. It makes for some really powerful emotional scenes, and shows that the Buddyroids are much more than glorfied accessories to the 36th Sentai team.

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger Kaoru Shiba Shinkenger
Oh hi there Kaoru.

Of course, with a Gokaiger film comes the obligatory Gokai changes. Having given all the ranger keys back to their owners at the end of their own series, seeing them back in their possession is a little bit of a head scratcher. Since the film dabbles with time travel (mainly so Toei can pull out their infamous Edo period set), it's not too much of a stretch to believe Marvelous had Gai retrieve them from the past, but it isn't something that's ever fully explained. Thankfully they are still kept to a (mostly Showa era themed) minimum, giving a rare opportunity for the Gokaiger suits themselves to feature in long action sequences. There's also a former Ranger cameo in the form of Kaoru Shiba (the "true" Shinken Red), which while tacked on is none the less appreciated.

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger Bacchus Gil Zangyack
Can Bacchus Gil hold his liquor?

Though Enter plays a big role in the film, he does take somewhat of a backseat to the newest Gil on the block. Bacchus Gil is the nephew of the former Zangyack emperor, but has no interest in conquest and simply would like to see the Earth destroyed. Other than that, there isn't much to his character other than being an alcoholic. The Gil's weren't the best of characters to begin with, but Bacchus does little to elevate himself above the levels of monster of the week. His subordinate Wardonaier is even less memorable. Past Super Sentai fans will also be pleased to see a couple of older faces appear too, particularly Gokaiger's Basco, Damaras and Jerashid, as well as Abaranger's Yatsudenwani.

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

And of course, over the last few years a staple of these Vs. movies has been the introduction of the next Super Sentai team, in this case the Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, who take you the completely forgettable Waredonaier. It's a fairly humorous introduction with King (Kyoryu Red) appearing before Gokai Red and Red Buster without his team mates, causing the two to be more than a little confused. The rest appear later, setting up the fact the five team mates live different lives well, before engaging in some great fight sequences like the show itself has displayed so far. The weapon noises are also kept to a very effective minimum.

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger Mecha Gokai Change Daizyujin GaoKing GekiTouja DaiBouken MagiKing
Bring on the giant robots!

But of course, if you've paid attention to any of the trailers for this film it's true appeal is that it includes a number of MECHA Gokai changes. Gozyujin to Daizyujin! GokaiOh to Daibouken! Buster Hercules to MagiKing (I see what you did there Toei)! Go-Buster Li-Oh to GaoKing and GaoCentarus! Go-Buster Ace to Gekitouja, Flashking and RyuuseiOh! It may only be a short spectacle, but its a fantastic one nonetheless and redeems the problems many people had with the Gokaiger mecha fight sequences. Plus it's amazing to see suits like Flashking and Daizyujin back in action, who haven't been seen properly in years.

Overall Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger is a very good film. The plot is rather on the thin side and speeds along particularly fast in its one hour run time, but the excellent fight footage and emotional scenes featuring the Buddyroids do a lot to balance it out. This film isn't Goseiger vs. Shinkenger or Hurricanger vs. Gaoranger levels of great, but a treat to the eyes that's far more memorable than the standard Vs. movie fare.


Dinobolt1 said...

Will you please post reviews someday for Goseiger VS Shinkenger & Hurricaneger VS Gaoranger? I would really like to know why you think they are so great. I'm looking forward to Hurricaneger in general, but Goseiger VS Shinkenger is my least favorite VS movie ever. I'm glad you loved it, I'm just saying that I didn't enjoy it but I would be interested in hearing what you saw in it.

Alex said...

I can't quite say when I'll get around to it, but its definitely something I'd like to do at some point. Hurricaneger vs Gaoranger was a great movie but Goseiger vs Shinkenger is one of my favourites because everything in it works so well. I'm not the biggest fan of the Goseigers but they fare extremely well in both of their team up movies, and I found their dynamic with the Shinkengers particularly engaging. I liked having Brajira walk around in Dokoku's skin, since it fit the character perfectly and was a far more unique idea than either resurrecting him or introducing some forgettable new villain. I will have to rewatch it and write a proper review sometime, but hopefully that gives you a sense of why I like it so much.