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Zaido: Pulis pangkalawakan (2007)
Man, hasn't Shaider suffered enough...?
Okay, the last time they "adapted" Shaider was Saban and turned him into a VR Trooper. Several years later, we have this show. Not sure how describe it, it tried to be a tokusatsu, but crashed and burned. It's a bad habit with Filipino SciFi Fantasy, I don't if it's a bad habit or something, but remembering back in the 80s-90s there were definitely some cool stuff done, but now, it feels like every SciFi Fantasy has to be some Soap Opera. Not a good combination; its either or. It's okay if there's some drama, which actually helps the push the story forward; but don't make it 80-85% drama. When it comes to this genre, there has to be balance between categories this is where Zaido fails miserably. You're constantly waiting for the action to begin, but it ends up being more Soap Opera than SciFi Fantasy; and when action does occur, its few and far between. Heck, even Saban had somewhat of an honor code when it came to adaptations of the tokusatsu.
Anyway, the intro was funny, whether by accident or on purpose, I'll never know, but I liked it cause it felt funny especially when it came to the theme itself. As for characters, I'm probably one of the small percentage who likes Ulla the Chicken. I don't know, but I felt Jeb of VR Troopers and the Hillhurst Monsters from Beetleborgs, for some reason; though people tell me that he is the equivalent of Masked Rider's Ferbus.
Deadliest Warrior (2009)
If I hear another "Pirate Vs. Ninja" quip I'm gonna hurt someone.
When I first saw the preview to this show a while back, I thought to myself, "I blame the whole PIRATE VS NINJA Internet Meme" for creating this bizarre show.
So, I watched the pilot, which was "Apache vs. Gladiator" and overall, I am biting my cheek right now because I recall watching something similar to this on Discovery Channel a few years back called "Animal Face Off" where "battle data" is taken from the contenders and put in a computer simulation. I actually, have an episode of that show titled "Hippo vs. Bull Shark" and the result of that fight still annoys me, but still I can't stop laughing about it. Another show, that similar that show is currently airing is "Jurassic Fight Club."
Anyway, "Deadliest Warrior" has a similar to motif to "Animal Face Off" and "Jurassic Fight Club", but instead of wild animals or dinosaurs, this show uses types of warriors.
I'm not sure if I should classify this as something in the realm of shows like "Human Weapon", "Fight Quest", "Weapon Masters", "Deadliest Art", "XMA: Extreme Martial Arts" or "Fight Science."
Overall, this show is pretty decent for all the corniness the show offers. It will irritate you, but at the same time make you laugh; thus pulling you as the viewer to watch the show for what its worth despite knowing how stupid it will eventually become as time goes on. But you just can't help yourself.
Man, I can just see something like "Deadliest Monster Face Off" in the future and it will feature stuff like "Mummy vs. Zombie vs. Werewolf vs. Vampire" or something bizarre like that.
Lost Tapes (2008)
"Blair Witch with Cryptids" or "Poor Man's Cloverfield"
After all the paranormal reality shows/docudramas comes this bizarre show from Animal Planet. Despite being a mockumentary show, it is "supposedly" based off of real events. These "Lost Tapes" capture the final events of the victim and their encounter with a supposed cryptid (aka Nessie, Big Foot, Chupacabra, etc.); like we haven't seen this before. The show tries to pull ploys from Blair Witch and Cloverfield, where the victim or victims are just pretty much running with a hand held camera; running from something that's behind them. And in Blair Witch/Cloverfield fashion, the creature is barely seen; either seeing a silhouette or a body part, but not the entire creature. Since this is Animal Planet were talking about, the show mainly just deals with cryptozoological creatures rather than full paranormal phenomenons such as ghosts and UFOs. No aliens or spirits on this show. While this show is humorous in many ways (as an equivalent of a SciFi Original Movie); the show does ponder the question...
WHEN THE HECK WILL WE FINALLY CAPTURES/VIDEO TAPES THESE CREATURES IN REAL LIFE? I mean, it took a while to film a giant squid in a nature habitat. Unlike with extraterrestials or the after life, at least the public has some idea that these cryptids have the "potential" to exist on Earth. Will we ever know, who knows. Overall, the series is a decent watch if you're bored; however, paranormal magazine shows like Sightings or documentaries like Monster Quest are more decent things to watch, if you're into that sort of stuff. Then again, there's always going to the library and reading about it too.
Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight (2008)
"Dragon Knight" is and isn't "Ryuki"...so we'll call it "AmeRyuki" in the meantime...also...WILL EVERYONE PLEASE CUT IT OUT WITH THE "IT'S ALL POWER RANGERS&
To prepare for the preview...I watched the following things:
"A Friend in Need" (Masked Rider/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Team Up), "Escape from Edenoi" (Masked Rider Pilot), The Guvyer Movies (The Guyver/Mutronics & Guver II: Dark Hero), and the original adaptation, Kamen Rider Ryuki:
So...in a nutshell...
Kamen Rider Dragon Knight is NOT Kamen Rider Ryuki. Also, it is NOT Power Rangers. Finally, it's definitely NOT...I REPEAT NOT...Saban's Masked Rider; what it is overall, is something the Wang Brothers thought out meticulously and methodically the past few years. To describe Dragon Knight that it feels like Ryuki...sounds like Ryuki...looks like Ryuki...but its NOT Ryuki. In fact, it felt a touch of Mighty Morphin, VR Troopers, Beetleborgs...and even...*cringe*...Masked Rider. It was like Wang brothers were paying homage/poking fun at its predecessors, mainly through the characters and short scenes in the show. Furthermore, if you've seen the live-action Guyver movies (clunky as they are) some of those elements are also seen in Dragon Knight.
Keep in mind folks, "Dragon Knight" was originally intended to be a Disney show. Don't remember?
Fall 2003: "Power Rangers Reloaded and Future Dragon Rider"
Thank goodness that deal with Toei fell though. However, as for Power Ranger Reloaded, it became Power Ranger Dino Thunder and Jason David Frank came back as Tommy. However, it was that story alone that lead to the events of today...the most "COMMON" jokes, rants, fanfic ideas...etc etc etc that came from the PR/Toku/Anime Fandoms were the following things:
* Shotaro Ishinomori being acknowledge for his work...happened...IN THE OPENING CREDITS TOO...that's rare these days.
* 4Kids getting "Ryuki"...happened...THANKS A LOT FOR WHINING ABOUT FOLKS!!! (Karma, folks...karma...)
* Steve Wang taking the helm of the series...happened...and he took his brother along for the "ride" (no pun intended) as well.
* An instrumental version or English dub of "Alive A Life" (Ryuki's opening)...err...didn't happen...*cries*...instead we got a rock mix which is as repetitive as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Overall, the preview was above average and a start of things to come. Now now now...before anyone goes...Kamen Rider this...Masked Rider that...considering Kamen Rider Decade is the next series in Japan; Steve made it pretty clear that there will not be any Kamen Rider anything until overseeing the success/failure of Dragon Knight. Then again...we have fanfic ideas for Kamen Rider Hibiki being "LOST"-esque (...um...NO).
How should I end it this review...
*puts on trench coat and room blackens and points to all the readers and speaks in a Shiro Kanzaki voice*
"ONLY YOU CAN DETERMINE THE OUTCOME!!!"
*turns around and tosses an Advent Card over shoulder*
Air Master (2003)
Some may not realize that the series is both a homage and parody of the Martial Arts/Fighting Genre...
Martial Arts/Fighting Genre is a cross between both the Fantasy and Sporting Genre in anime. Included in this genre are shows like Grappler Baki, Fist of the North Star, Tenjho Tenge, Real Bout High School, Ranma 1/2, Dragonball and a host of others. Air Master seems to parody these different anime but they do in an artistic way that Air Master can be a stand alone series in its own right. In addition, doesn't need to be go overboard with the violence, fan service, and comedy. In many cases, the series thinks outside of the box and tries to be over-the-top in its own unique way.
Anyway, Air Master is a rather interesting series, but it takes a while for one to get used to; usually some don't even bother after 3 episodes, but it's extremely good if given the chance.
The series is about ex-gymnast turned street fighter, Maki Aikawa, but rival fighters refer her as "Air Master" because of her control fighting in the air. In the Fukimichi Tournament, anything goes. It doesn't matter what fighting style, height, age, or gender. The city is a battleground for all who enter the Fukimich Tournament. In this tournament, Maki loses herself in never ending bliss, taking on all challengers; from luchadores, pro wrestlers, gang members, cosplayers, otaku, costumed superheroes, military, dancers, ninjas, and other assortment of bizarre fighters which eventually leads her to the Fukimichi's No. 1 warrior, The Eternal.
While the tournament is one the main things going on in the series, there exist several sub-plots that involve several rival suitors, which consist of rival fighters and one of her classmates; which overwhelms her in comedic fashion unsure how to respond to it. Other sub-plots include Maki being dragged into weird situations that usually results in a big brawl in the end. Probably one of the more interesting points in the subplots is Maki's past which appear randomly throughout the series, presented as flash backs and dreams; they're significant because it leads to an understanding of Maki's personality because in reality she usually keeps things to herself.
While Maki herself is a colorful character, there are others in the series that some feel are more lively (and stranger) than her. There's the grotesquely busty, Mina; the shrimpy little, Renge, Michiru and Yu (both being the most sane and voice of reason within the group). Then, there is Maki's estranged father, Shiro, and her younger half-sister, Miori, who looks up to Maki.
Then, there are rival fighters such as loud and obnoxious Kaori Sakiyama, Lucha Master and his young sister, Kai. The gang leader, Kinjirou and his tall bodyguard, Nagato; and the creepy, but strong, Sakamoto, who is obsessed with Maki.
Overall, a wonderful, yet bizarre series. Last check, the manga ended in 2006, which makes one wonder if another series is just around the corner because it felt like the series could've gone further, yet it didn't, and left several things up in the air.
Masked Rider (1995)
Ishinomori's Masterpiece...ruined...Masked Rider is Japanese...not an Alien...no pun intended...*points at 4Kids for their crimes*
I've seen both seasons of Saban's Masked Rider. It was like watching an action packed version of "Full House." Anyway, the cut editing was so bad that could could see that Masked Rider was really Japanese...no pun intended. A couple of years later I would be introduced to Kamen Rider, even reading some of Ishinomori's manga works, specifically, the Kamen Rider Spirits manga.
All I have to say is that compared to this series, it was a full 180. Aside from the team up with the Power Rangers, there was nothing redeeming about the show. All the characters were annoying, the villains were stupid, the cut editing was so bad that you can actually see the face Dex's Japanese counterpart, Kotaro Minami, not to mention they were using other Kamen Rider variations, Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J; and the atmosphere itself is like a TGIF sitcom (Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, etc). It's with this that I show a lot of animosity towards Saban. I would understand him adapting Super Sentai for Power Rangers because Sentai is usually comedy with a touch of melodrama. But for Kamen Rider, the tone of the story is dark...like in a Batman/Spiderman sort of way, pretty much turning a dark drama into slapstick comedy. If the crew from MST3K watched an episode of this, they would have a field day. It's stuff like this that tarnishes the reputation of tokusatsu; which isn't actually all Power Rangers, that's just one aspect of it. For you Tokusatsu Adapt/American Toku Fans, you're better off watching "Mystic Knights of Tir Ra Nog", "Los Luchadores," "Van-Pires", "Big Wolf on Campus", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-The Next Mutation", "Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad," "VR Troopers," or "Beetleborgs" because this show is right down there with "Tatooed Teenage Alien Fighter from Beverly Hills." This atrocity rivals the crimes 4Kids committed towards Ultraman Tiga.
If Disney finds it in their hearts to actually consider their interpretation of Kamen Rider (especially with the new generation riders), they should actually study in great detail of what Kamen Rider is all about instead of just editing Japanese footage onto American TV without any knowledge of its source. Maybe then, there will finally be a live action show that can rival Power Rangers since Beetleborgs, if not more.
Kamen Raidâ Hibiki (2005)
One of the most oddball motifs in the franchise...oh yeah...I prefer musical notes!!!
If Kamen Rider Ryuki is the "black sheep" of the franchise, I can honestly say that Kamen Rider Hibiki is the "screwball" of all riders (not including Saban's "hackjob" of Black RX). Pretty much the story is about a group of "Oni" (although they have Rider in its title) hunt monsters throughout Japan called Makamou which consist of a male and female duo and their parent, which is a usually a giant monster, most of the time anyway. Story is a bit simplistic, not to mention flat. However, the character interaction is pretty good, balancing the humor and seriousness in some of them. However, because of the pattern the past few Rider series motif (such as Faiz using Greek Letters and Blade using Card Suits, the next expected thing would be musical notes). The instrument motif came as a big surprise. More so is that when you see the monsters being vanquished by musical instruments, you kind of feel sorry for them. I mean Death by Musical Instrument is a bit wrong.
V.R. Troopers (1994)
I hand it to Saban...he tried...
VR Troopers was okay...suprisingly, it's counterpart is actually 3 unrelated Metal Hero Shows. Not to mention, they were all 80s shows. So trying to tie in together 3 unrelated shows that were all out-dated 80s footages was some effot there. However, if Saban was trying to pull something like this. I'd prefer he adapt something like Blue SWAT or the Rescue Mission Series, like Winspector or Solbrain. On second thought...nevermind...one, look how Beetleborgs turned out and it's too little too late for using early 90s Japanese footage for this Millenium. That and Saban is no longer in the toku-adapt business any more, that's Disney's department now.
Not bad...not bad at all...
I been a daikaiju fan all my life. So, it was interesting for me the Heisei Mothra trilogy. I think when Godzilla was retired in 95, Mothra took over as main monster. I have to admit the Heisei trilogy delievers, especially Mothra 3, which finally aired in the US, courtesy of SciFi Channel. In my opinion, Ghidorah didn't look so bad...a$$. You had this feel Ghidorah was a true Asian Dragon in this movie, he was my favorite overall...and Mothra wasn't bad herself. Makes me wonder if other Toho monsters will be given a shot at the own movie...*Rodan! Rodan! Rodan!*
The Dynamic Twosome...Burt and El Blanco???
I watched the movies, the first one was good, but the others were "so-so." This takes place after the movies, I can assume. Anyway, Burt returns, but more friendier, but still as psychotic as ever. His companion, besides the town of Perfection, is the Great White Worm himself, "El Blanco" from the third movie. Besides giant worms, Burt must fend off hordes of other megamonsters who threaten his beloved town. This is a fun show to watch and hope for the best on the SciFi Channel.