Mini reviews of Television seasons old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional bunnies.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Engine Sentai Go-Onger:
It's a Seminar! Everyone Go-On!! (2008)

Goseiger's DVD special doesn't seem to exist outside the confines of the series' English wiki page. Aaaaand, I wish the same were true for this one. I remember now why I forgot that Go-Onger's existed, in the first place. It's horrendously unnecessary. It exists as an amalgam of a Rider's Hyper Battle Video and a Power Rangers clip-show. Those are admittedly similar, as is, depending on the HBV in question. Consequently, feel free to (not) watch this anytime after Gran Prix 37.

A gender-bent version of a notable villain pops up to no consequence whatsoever. Sure, chuckles can be eked out of Sosuke and Gunpei's shenanigans but Sosuke's fight is pointless. It's not even a Red bias thing, because for me Sosuke can do anything he pleases; it's all justified. You can kind of recreate the finisher with the help of the Go-Onger Ressha from ToQger's toyline, now, if you're inclined in that direction, at least. *shrug*

This pre-dates the specials I'm used to, which focus on Reds and Sixths, as all of the primary and both of the back-up Go-Ongers are present. Given its summary nature, the M.O. of the later specials, and that the Wings and their Engines actually appear in the stock-footage used, it's strange that they go completely M.I.A. for the seminar and fight.

Though, I wouldn't blame you for deciding to do the same.

0½ of a Demon Strawberry out of 5

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Kamen Rider W Forever: A to Z Net Movies
— 26 Rapid-Fire Laughs (2010)

Net Movies are almost exclusively used for comedic ends and typically only have tangential links to the movies they’re usually used to promote. This is appropriate as not everyone is going to have access to them in a timely manner, or at all. This is true even for those living in Japan.

Like W’s dedicated movie, these are themed around the Roman alphabet. They’re divided as equally as possible between 5 different segments:

1.) Shroud’s Kamen Rider Academy (w/pupil Narumi Akiko): Shroud tests Akiko’s knowledge of Kamen Rider minutiae and frankly this rides ENTIRELY on one’s taste for Akiko. It was fun to realize loopholes in Shroud’s own knowledge. Could we get a Blade or Kyoryuger crossover with W to prove her wrong, please?

2.) Professor Jinno and Assistant Makura’s Gaia Memory Laboratory: Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s nice to see Memories not fully explored in the show get a moment to shine, even if it is always in a completely ludicrous manner. That includes a glimpse at most of the rest of W’s Edo Period Memories!

3.) Kirihiko’s Room: Revenge By Talk Show: Hands down, the shining star of this insanity. Kirihiko sets out to be as troll-y as he can muster to everyone who ever screwed him over and succeeds every time. In terms of comedic effect, that is, as nearly all of them handily out-troll him.

4.) Dopant M.D.: Isaka Shinkuro: The creepiness is cranked up to 11, but so too is the bizarre hilarity. Riku Sanjo previewed the connection that exists between the ice age and viruses in Kyoryuger, here! If only a meteor had crashed into his office during that sketch! The final one may seem a step too far, but it’s previously deliberately made known that that Dopant was portrayed by his real life wife, so it actually seems strangely adorable, to me. 

Rest In Peace, Dan Tomoyuki.

5.) Drawing Battle at the Narumi Detective Agency: Shoutarou, Philip, Terui and Akiko compete to eat episode appropriate food from the series. Kiriyama Ren is an amazing talent (in general) and Yamamoto Hikaru goes out of her way to basically draw herself into every picture. Terui (Kinomoto Minehiro) is the decided underdog but it’s intensely squee-worthy to see him try and then be completely embarrassed. They’re all kind of half in-character and half out from moment to moment, but that only makes it better.

Absolutely worth your time if you can dig them up.

4 Glorious Self-Realizations out of 5

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Knights of God (1987)

The fists and crossed swords symbol used by the Knights is a simple but striking and highly evocative design, wordlessly communicating to a viewer that the guiding credo of the order isn't concerned with benevolent protection, it's one of militaristic strength and aggression nestled within colours associated with fascism.

In post-civil war Britain (2020 AD) the Knights rule with force, guns and border patrols, killing any who dare resist their control. It's a children's TV show but the killing doesn't happen off-screen; there's more hard-hitting acts of violence shown than you'd expect to see in a production with such a classification. In today's culturally sensitive climate it would probably be labelled as YA.

The Welsh resistance, onetime fishermen who now hold automatic pistols and machine guns, refuse to accept the fascist regime. They're the biggest thorn in the Knights' broad side. The resistance group put their lives on the line in the fight for freedom. Prior Mordrin (John Woodvine), the Knights' leader, is obsessed with crushing their cause; he formulates a dangerous plan to make it happen.

Problematic civilians who aren't killed are sent to "Education Retraining Centres"; i.e. internment camps. It's there that the story begins to have a more direct focus, having had the foundation for such laid prior to the relocation. The young protagonist, Gervase Edwards (George Winter), is tested both emotionally and physically by his captors, ironically preparing him for what's to come.

It's abundantly clear that a lot is at stake, more than just personal freedoms, but it doesn't reveal the full extent of exactly what it is until later, deep into the final third. However, the episodic conflict may well lose a large part of a modern audience before that happens because of its slow progression, the conflict is often fought through a dialogue-heavy battle of wills, which is a dramatic change of pace from the armed war of attrition undertaken in the borderlands.

The complexity is extended to the inner-workings of the Knights. Brother Hugo (Julian Fellowes), the Prior's second in command, is a sadistic, power-hungry and ambitious individual with a comb-over, the sort of officer that's not to be trusted.

If you find that the series holds your attention even in the quieter moments then there's much to be gained from sticking it out to the end. There's a hasty wrap-up that really ought to have been given more time to breathe, but overall it's quality TV that puts emphasis on depth of character and conviction over all else.

13 episodes, approx 26 minutes each.

4 rising tides out of 5