Thursday 15 October 2015

First Impressions: Shin Kanpai Senshi After V

Shin Kanpai Senshi After V

Last year the world was introduced to a brand new unendorsed Super Sentai (and tokusatsu in general) parody by the name of Kanpai Senshi After V (Cheers Squadron After V). While the show hardly broke new ground and proved somewhat divisive among Western toku fans (some of whom were probably expecting a faster-paced Akibaranger style comedy), it was a fun little show that lovingly poked fun at the franchise we all know and love. So it’s great to see that it’s now returned for a second season, this time going under the slightly altered title of Shin Kanpai Senshi After V (New Cheers Squadron After V). Time to pour a beer and raise a glass to our heroes’ victories once more!

It’s been a year since the events of the previous season. As the evil organisation have slowly begun to build their funds up once more, Treasure V have temporarily relocated to Fukuoka as they fight off monster attacks that have been happening across the world. As Red, Blue, Yellow, Green and Pink all long to return home to Tokyo, the villainous Commander reveals his ongoing evil scheme before attempting to humiliate the team by returning their jewels (which were donated to the Evil Organisation at the end of the last series). But just as Treasure V are in the middle of enjoying the night’s karaoke, Red announces some pretty shocking news.

The first thing to note is that this series has shaken things up with some location changes! Well, the show is still confined to a bar/restaurant and a karaoke house – but using two different businesses provides a nice (if relatively small) shake up. This episode features quite a lot of continuity from the last season, dealing with both the Evil Organisation’s struggle to get back into the black financially and the fallout from Treasure V “losing” their gems. Jokes at the expense of tokusatsu in general are pretty minimal (despite some comments about fighting the same monsters over and over), but very little has really changed overall. Newcomers may be a little confused (but the “previously on…” segment should fill in the important blanks), but existing fans will be able to slip comfortably back in as if the show never went away.

Similarly the cast go together just as well as ever, playing off each other so well that you can’t help but wish you were right there with them. As far as Treasure V goes the show isn’t really covering new grounds with Red quitting at the end (and a replacement turning up next week), but as the circumstances are quite different to Yellow’s departure it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. The villain side of things is the real highlight in this first episode, as we see the henchman has been promoted up to manager and Leader reveals the real reason why he’s been putting so much effort into a worldwide pub chain. Their moments together were some of the main highlights of the first season, and if this episode is anything to go by very little has changed here.

Kanpai Senshi After V was very much an acquired taste and Shin Kanpai Senshi After V looks to be very much of the same. So if you were a fan of the first series you’re likely to have just as much fun the second time around, but if you couldn’t get into it before these new episodes are unlikely to change your mind. It isn’t the kind of show you’ll bust a gut laughing at, but one you can take at a relaxed pace and enjoy a good few laughs with. But however you feel about the show, if you only check out this episode odds are you’ll leave it craving beer, Japanese food and some good old fashioned karaoke times.

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