Monday 27 June 2022

Special REVIEW: Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~

Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~

Given how Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger naturally coincided with the tenth anniversary of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, a crossover between the two was inevitable. But while Captain Marvelous does make an appearance in Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger vs Kiramager vs Senpaiger that clearly wasn't enough, and thus its up to the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub to provide a second meeting between the pirate Sentai and the Goldtsuiker family. Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~ is a one-off special from Zenkaiger head writer Junko Komura that brings back Marvelous, Gai and Ahim once again, and in typical Gokaiger fashion has plenty to offer when it comes to transformations and the kind of ranger categorisation that'll surely cause debate amongst Super Sentai fans.

Flint announces her marriageAhim's wedding news

The Goldtsuiker family is shocked when Flint announces her engagement to Doetamu from Tanukitopia! Suspicious of Flint's abnormal behaviour, Zox is approached by Captain Marvelous of the Gokaigers. He reveals that Ahim has also announced that she wishes to marry Doetamu, so the pair prepare a plan to uncover just what the troublesome tanuki is up to.

With help from Gai, Zox and Marvelous storm Doetamu's hideaway to save their friends. But Ahim and Flint aren't helpless, and once they're free from the spell they were put under they also want a piece of the action.

Marvelous & ZoxFlint transforms

As tends to be the case for a lot of Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub specials, Twokaizer x Gokaiger is pretty dumb. Not only does it feature some pretty conventional bride tropes for the Super Sentai franchise, but ultimately it's about a tanuki who has a fetish for being abused (both verbally and physically) by pirate girls. But this kind of bizarre premise isn't just perfect for a one-off special that doesn't really have much bearing on anything, but also for the two groups of characters it's bringing together. One of the most endearing traits about both Marvelous and Zox is that, despite them both thinking of themselves as utter badasses (Marvelous moreso), the pair at heart are utter goofballs. As such both characters excel when their aloof personalities are thrown into the most ridiculous of circumstances, not to mention the fact that they're so alike that they're bound to butt heads. But any rivalry they have is quickly put aside in favour of a united front against their common enemy, highlighting another trait they share – just how much they care. Zox wears his love for his sister on his sleeve, but Marvelous tends to put up more of a front about just how much his crew means to him. It's nice to see that come down so easily in this special, with Marvelous' entire motivation being about saving Ahim with no other end goal tacked on as extra.

Zox vs DoetamuA pirate harem

However while it might seem from the outset that this special mainly follows Zox and Marvelous, it's all the stronger when that turns out to only be half the story. The latter half of the special instead puts Flint and Ahim in centre stage, allowing them to get their own revenge on Doetamu rather than needing the boys to save them. Not only are they more interesting (and in this instance, fun) characters to follow, but there's a much more interesting dynamic between them too. Flint's boisterousness is quite the opposite to Ahim's more reserved demeanour, but both characters have shown a flare for stories like this in their respective series and come together well here. Zox and Marvelous get their moments of action too, but it's interesting to see these primarily take place out of costume while the girls get the fully transformed action sequence.

There are plenty of other characters also getting in on the action though, even if it sadly doesn't include all six Gokaigers (which isn't that surprising, MAO's got to be pretty busy these days). In addition to Marvelous and Ahim we also have Gai making an appearance, who has a lot of fun here despite his fanboy antics being toned down a lot. The absence of Luka is a lot easier to swallow when you have the absurdity of Gai dressing up as her to act as bait, which is only excelled by the fact that Doetamu completely falls for it. Cutanner and Ricky are also on top form here too, getting some similarly good comedy moments despite not actively being a big part of the story. Doetamu himself is a really fun one-off villain, and it's through him Komura can really deliver that wonderfully absurd brand of comedy she used to make Zenkaiger feel so special. Once again - it's dumb, but exactly the right kind of dumb.

Ricky & CutannerGai's new look

Gai's inclusion in the special is important for helping to bring about what is easily the most significant thing about the whole production – Flint finally getting a proper stint as Twokaizer. There's some body swap shenanigans in Zenkaiger (that in the grand scheme of things doesn't really count) as well as a stage show Flint ranger suit (which based on the end of this could easily be worked in as canon), but it's nice to see her properly recognised onscreen like this. As the brains behind Twokaizer and all of his gear, this was long overdue. How Twokaizer Flint is brought to life is cleverly tied into Gokaiger's transformation mechanics, also giving Bandai the perfect (but not too egregious) opportunity to create some new merchandising on top of it. A Twokaizer key felt like a given, but an add-on piece to the Gokai Cellular that recognises the post-Gokaiger "sixth" rangers was a very nice surprise. Its inclusion isn't a centrepiece of the special and it's all the stronger for it, but those brief seconds it's on screen are sure to rile some fans up about who should or shouldn't be on those buttons. But hey, what's Gokaiger without a bit of designation controversy?

The Twokaizer Ranger KeyTwokaizer Flint & Gokai Pink

Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~ is an absolute joy that will appease fans of Zenkaiger and Gokaiger alike. Despite being seemingly billed as a wacky adventure with Zox and Marvelous, that plot quickly moves on so that the real stars can take the spotlight. Ahim and Flint aren't just a brilliant pairing, but the emphasis on the latter as well as her (all too brief) stint as Twokaizer is something that was long overdue. You could perhaps argue that it's disappointing to only see half the Gokaigers back, but the three we did see here are more than enough to carry the story through. Toei has delivered its fair share of oddities through the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub, but when they have a hit on their hands it really is a home run.


Anonymous said...

Man, Toei really is gonna milk every drop of Gokaiger they can huh?

Anonymous said...