Tag Archives: Power Rangers

Podcast #17 – Ghost in the Shell (2017)

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Download Link – Episode 17: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

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Show Notes

By sheer happenstance today’s episode is all about American remakes of popular and well regarded Japanese franchises from the 1990s.  Grant starts things off with his thoughts on the new American Power Rangers film.  Then its off to the Cineplex and back again for our review (at 38:22) of the new live action Ghost in the Shell film starring Scarlett Johansson.  Sorry about the crap audio quality during the pre-review part; we didn’t notice my mic problems until after the fact.

Other Stuff:

Here’s the chart tweeted out by anime designer / director Thomas Romain showing the number of anime series and films being released today compared to years gone by.

Finally, forgot to mention it on the show, but there’s currently a Kickstarter to fund the international Blu-ray release of Masaaki Yuasa’s incredible debut film Mind Game — don’t miss your chance to join the cool kids club!

Podcast #14 – Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’

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Download Link – Episode 14: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of ‘F’

Subscribe on iTunes.  Drop us an Email.  Find Grant on Twitter.

Show Notes

Intro and News (00:00):

Voltron Season 2 has Heat excited.  Grant catches us up on the latest Power Rangers shenanigans.  And Zen remarks on Moyocco Anno’s comedy manga, Insufficient Direction about her strange marriage to director Hideaki Anno.

Review (1:04:15):

After his minions gather the titular wishing stones, everyone’s favorite baddie that won’t stay down is resurrected to enact his revenge upon Goku and friends; surely, this time, he will prevail!  As fan fiction as that sounds, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of ‘F’ also marks the return of series creator Akira Toriyama to the franchise (following 2013’s Battle of the Gods) making this 2015 entry only the 2nd film to earn its place in official Dragon Ball canon. As might be imagined, the story penned by Toriyama, blends equal parts comedy and action, making for a solid outing that neither breaks new ground or seriously offends but is sure to please long time fans.

 

Power Rangers Part 1 – Background

In preparation for the impending Power Rangers film, I will be writing this series on the long running series. Monday I laid out a basic primer in tokusatsu terminology, and for part one of our series I will be discussing the basic background of Power Rangers as a franchise.

No discussion of tokusatsu and worldwide fandom would be complete without Power Rangers. Based on and using footage from Toei’s long-running Super Sentai series – specifically the Zyuranger ­team – it effectively brought the Japanese style of superheroes into mainstream US consciousness, and later the world. Because the Super Sentai suits use full face-covering helmets, the American producers dubbed English dialogue over those scenes. Any plot points or situations involving Japanese actors was cut, and new footage was put in its place with the American cast.

To say Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was a success would be an understatement. It was the property of 1993, and continued to grow until it even landed a Hollywood movie in 1995… though by that point its star had already begun to wane. After stretching Zyuranger to its absolute limits, having Toei shoot brand new footage, cannibalizing elements from Kakuranger, and various other methods, by the end of the third season MMPR finally began to follow its source material and introduce new suits and themes with seasonal regularity. Power Rangers may not be the all-encompassing cultural force that it was twenty three years ago, but it has continued to run almost without stopping in the intervening years.

Having watched a fair amount of Super Sentai and Power Rangers, it is not hard to see that the former is generally of a much higher quality. If you were to pick a random episode of either and compare them, there is a good chance Super Sentai is just a better put together show than Power Rangers. On the basic tenants of how we usually judge the media that we consume, Power Rangers comes out looking the worse for wear. Whether it’s plot, set design, character development, you name it, Super Sentai is usually a more solid program.

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In MMPR this was a neat two part episode. In Zyuranger this was one of the most incredibly tragic and awesome plot points.

However, Power Rangers is not without its merits. To completely disregard Power Rangers because it is typically inferior to its older sibling is not entirely fair. Power Rangers has immense personal and cultural significance. Next time in part two I’ll go into why this show made me into the fan I am today.

Talkin’ Toku

Tokusatsu is an enormous component of worldwide media fandom, and its visibility has increased drastically in recent years. Before I get into some more US-centric news in upcoming posts, I want to lay down a few key terms that run through tokusatsu so that everyone is on the same page.

Tokusatsu – A term that essentially means “special filming,” and roughly refers to anything that involves special effects and would be categorized in the west as science fiction/fantasy. For most people, tokusatsu is “live action things which are exciting and cool.” If you watch an eastern program that has live actors and some things that you want to own a toy or figure of, then it is probably tokusatsu.

Daikaiju – This basically translates to “great monster” or a rough equivalent. This is explicitly referring to film series like Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, and other giant monster movies. In the west we often simply say kaiju, though in Japanese that term is broad enough to encompass any monster from a werewolf to King Ghidorah.

Sentai – This term means “task force,” and the is part of the title of Toei’s long-running series. This basically refers to the familiar teams of primary colored spandex superheroes.

Henshin – This can mean “transformation” or “metamorphosis” and refers to any hero switching from their normal form into a their hero mode. The ultimate example of this trope is Kamen Rider, who shouts henshin before changing into his heroic self.

With our vocabulary lesson finished, here is a ridiculous video to whet your appetite for more spandex, explosions, and monsters – the glorious train-themed Ressha Sentai ToQger.

 

Upcoming Events

So today’s post is just a quick rundown of some things that are going on in Blade Licking Thieves-land.

First off, expect some extended Super Sentai/Power Rangers discussion over the coming days. I have a number of thoughts related to not only these shows but specifically my thoughts on the upcoming movie and what these franchises represent in both Eastern and Western pop culture. There is a lot of fertile ground for discussions related to tokusatsu and broader anime topics.

Secondly, the Blade Licking Thieves are continuing to produce new podcasts though this weekend’s recording will most likely not happen. Life! It tends to get in the way of fun. In any case we will return to our regularly scheduled programming soon enough.

Lastly, we are working on a number of collaborations at this time. We have a few projects that we are moving forward on that should produce some great crossover content with other podcasts and names in the community. This is really, really exciting, and I personally and stoked to see what comes of that. Hopefully this encourages more opportunities for us to work with the rest of this great community in talking about the things that we love.

Have a good weekend gang, and look forward to some tokusatsu talk come Monday.

Whatcha Watchin’ – 09/14/16

Hey guys, Grant here with another quick check in to see where we are at in terms of our regularly scheduled programming.

Exercises like this are a way to track progress across the various shows that we attempt to watch. It is helpful to not only measure progress, but also to see where we might go from here. If you are anything like me, then your list of “to-watch” grows a lot faster than the list of completed titles. Hopefully, this will encourage me to buckle down and finish more shows, rather than jump around too much.

So, what am I watching?

Thunderbolt Fantasy

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Service: Crunchyroll

Episode: 8

Feelings: Thunderbolt Fantasy is an absolutely fantastic show, and I am still continuing to enjoy it. I have lagged behind a bit, as life has gotten a bit in the way here lately. Nevertheless, I am ready to hop back into the fancy fighting puppets and see more absurd things happen to pretty dollies.

 

Ultraman Orb

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Service: Crunchryoll

Episode: 8

Feelings: This is actually my favorite show I am watching right now. The comedic elements, kaiju action, and genuine joy of watching this show never disappoints. Again, life has me behind, but this is the one I look forward to every week. I legitimately feel like this is a great way to start the Ultra series if you have never seen it before.

 

Macross

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Service: Amazon Prime

Episode: 2

Feelings: This is a back-burner project, so I am not really pushing myself too hard on this one. I have seen Robotech easily a dozen times, but the original Macross I have only ever watched once completely. Since it is streaming I have told myself I need to rewatch the entire show. It’s as great as I remember, but the print damage is really becoming obvious. This show needs some remastering, desperately.

 

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

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Service: Crunchyroll

Episode: 20, Season 2

Feelings: So I’m nearly halfway through the Stardust Crusaders arc, and I’m still a bit mixed. I really enjoyed the second arc, so my hype and energy levels were pretty high going in. The problem is that the “baddie of the week” format is only as good as the villain. I don’t feel like the narrative is building like it was in the prior season. Still, I will finish it, because it is a great show, I just need to muscle through more than one episode in a sitting.

 

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

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Service: Netflix

Episode: 30, Season 3

Feelings: This is another rewatch project I have going. As a kid I really only stuck around for about two seasons or so, but since every single season is on Netflix I challenged myself to see if I could make it all the way to the modern day. I don’t know if that is possible, but the nice thing is that Power Rangers isn’t a show that demands a ton of my attention. I basically passively watch it every morning as I have breakfast, and that theme song gets me jazzed every time. It’s goofy and dumb, but super vibrant and I enjoy every second of it. I’m also pretty intrigued to see what happens as I get further into the seasons I know nothing about.

 

Legend of Korra

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Service: Amazon Prime

Episode: 10, Season 3

Feelings: This show is phe-no-me-nal. I loved Avatar, but wow this show is completely blowing me away. I really could gush about it for hours. The advantage here is that my wife is watching this with me, so I don’t have to fight to find spare time to watch it. It is a shared activity we are doing together every night. Truthfully, I feel like this has done nothing but build each season and I look forward to it every night. Some of the best animated work to come out of the US.

 

So that’s the long, ridiculous list of the shows I am working through, from the every day routine watches to the “eh, when I get to it” shows. What do you guys think? What are you watching right now? Let me know your progress down below.