Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger (烈車戦隊トッキュウジャー): My Initial Thoughts So Far

Hello Tokusatsu fans one and all! I apologize for my absence on this blog for the past couple of weeks. I was not only studying and getting ready for my Midterms (which at the time of this post are only a few days from now), but I am also catching up on some Tokusatsu and watching many different shows all at once, but I have been meaning to update this blog and get things back up and running at full speed ahead! So, with all of that said, now that there are only 2 weeks left before Kyoryuger is finished, I would like to recap and talk about my thoughts on the news and stuff that has been released so far about the 38th Super Sentai Series set to premiere on February 16th, Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger (烈車戦隊トッキュウジャー)!

Also, before I go into any more on this show, I will NOT call Tokkyuger by its official romanization, "ToQger". In my opinion, I just think that the name just kind of  looks silly and stupid like that. And yes, I know that they have the "Q" in the title not only to match with their insignia on their buckle but because of the "kyu" in Tokkyuger, but I still think it doesn't fit very well. They could have made the romanization into "To9ger" and it would've made just as much sense as this (I hope people get why I said "To9ger")!...Anyways, time to depart for the real show!:
The Tokkyugers, who are said to be childhood friends, with a special force called Imagination Power, protect the Rainbow Line and Earth's peace from the evil forces of the Shadow Line. The Tokkyuger headquarters is on a train and they are accompanied by a man simply known as Conductor, who is the team's commander and who carries a puppet on his hand named Ticket, and an android waitress named Wagon. Personality wise, Raito (TokkyuIchigou) is the energetic and impulsive leader who has the most Imagination Power, Tokatsuchi (TokkyuNigou) is the analytical overthinker, Mio (TokkyuSangou) is the sporty woman and big sister, Hikari (TokkyuYongou) is the skilled soldier but also rebel, and Kagura (TokkyuGogou) is the oddball and overly hyper "kawaii" girl of the group.

The villains of the Tokkyugers are the underground empire, Shadow Line, who like the Tokkyugers, have their headquarters in a train called the Kuliner. The footsoldiers are called Kuros and the members of the group are General Schwartz, Baron Nero, Madame Noire, and Miss Greeta

The Tokkyugers themselves have the power to change their suit colors similar to changing rail cars and can utilize the Rail Slasher (Ichigou), Form Trigger (Nigou), Shingou Hammer (Sangou), Tunnel Axe (Yongou), and Tekkyo Claw (Gogou), which can combine into the Renketsu Bazooka, which when imagining the weak spots and disliked things of the enemy, fires a final attack at the enemy of said weak point.

They can also utilize the TokkyuResshas, which are not only used for their henshin device, but can grow to larger size into the RedRessha, BlueRessha, YellowRessha, GreenRessha, and PinkRessha, which can then combine into the Ressha Gattai Tokkyu-Oh, a giant mecha composed of all 5 trains and piloted by the Tokkyugers themselves.

The show will be produced by Takaaki Utsunomiya and Kei Ishikawa, it will be written by Yasuko Kobayashi, and the director will be Shojiro Nakazawa. The opening theme will be "Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger" by Daiki Ise, and the ending theme will be "ByunByun! Tokkyuger" by Project R.

So, what are my thoughts on all of the stuff for Tokkyuger so far?....I'm actually really really excited for this show. The most important reason is that the Shinkenger team is back to do another Sentai. Lately with Go-Busters and Kyoryuger, the shows have been nothing but lackluster, and since Shinkenger is my favorite Sentai of all time, I hope that these guys can breathe life back into the Sentai franchise as a whole! My only worry is that since Tokkyuger seems like a completely different beast from Shinkenger not only in style but in tone, it may still not work well as a whole, even with the Shinkenger team at the helm this time around. But beyond that, I am excited that the Shinkenger team is back for one more show.

Also, even though at first I HATED the designs of the Tokkyugers, they actually grew on me rather quickly and actually don't seem that bad to me anymore. If they had some more detail, I would probably like them more, but overall, the suit designs aren't half bad. I also think the weapons and Resshas are really cool too (though the weapons definitely resemble the Super Highway Buster weapons from Go-Onger) and that the Renketsu Bazooka creating whatever the Tokkyugers imagine in an attack hearkens all the way back to the original Super Sentai series, Himitsu Sentai Goranger and their final attack, the Goranger Storm, which eventually evolved into the Goranger Hurricane, in where they would kick a soccer ball/football at the monster and it would create whatever the Gorangers imagined out of it to defeat the monster.

I also absolutely adore how they're actually going to be using actual miniatures for the TokkyuResshas instead of using so much CGI, which in terms of Sentai would be a really nice change of pace. I also think the concept of the color changing is interesting and I'm wondering how that will play into the fight scenes and set them apart from all the other Sentai that came before. The design of  Wagon is....weird, but it not only references to Kamen Rider Den-O with the waitress, but also homages Colon from Liveman, which is pretty cool to me. The villain designs are also really cool too, specifically the Kuros, who look like monster versions of train bandits out of an old western movie.

Also, Tokkyu-Oh looks pretty cool as well (at least in the show, but not as much in toy form). I love that they are going back to having separate cockpits for each of the TokkyuResshas and then having them all be in one cockpit for the Tokkyu-Oh. By the way, that combined cockpit for Tokkyu-Oh is BAD-ASS!

The only real bad things I am seeing with Tokkyuger is really in it's tone and the way it is presented. What my biggest fear is is that it will end up going down the same path as Go-Busters and Kyoryuger did and end up making such a upbeat but bland tone that it will end up killing the series from the very beginning. I hope that doesn't happen, especially with the Shinkenger team on board, but it may happen. However, the show hasn't even started airing yet and it could honestly be really really good, even with the more upbeat and light tone. But for all of the Toku fans out there far and wide, only time will tell if that will be the case or not.

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