Black Ranger Battle: Final Round! Black Condor vs Ninja Black!

Who is the best Black Ranger?

  • Gai Yuuki, Black Condor (Chojin Sentai Jetman)

    Votes: 10 66.7%
  • Jiraiya, Ninja Black (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)

    Votes: 5 33.3%

  • Total voters
    15
  • Poll closed .

Lynxara

Nice post!!
In this corner, hailing from Parts Unknown!



Black Condor
Name: Gai Yuuki
Played By: Toshihide Wakamatsu
Suit Actor: Naoki Oufuji

[HIDE]






[/HIDE]

And in this corner, hailing from Los Angeles, California!



Ninja Black
Name: Jiraiya
Played By: Kane Kosugi
Suit Actor: Tsutomu Kitagawa

[HIDE]






[/HIDE]

This is the final round of the Black Ranger Battle, with the title of HJU's Favorite Black Ranger on the line. This poll will be open for one week, and the victor will not be declared until the poll has closed. So that is one full week to vote, beg your friends to vote, and make your case to the undecided.

Despite coming from shows that aired within the same five-year time period, Gai and Jiraiya couldn't be more different as characters. Gai is Jetman's second-in-command, indomitably strong but irrepressibly rebellious. Jiraiya is the youngest of the male Kakurangers, an American trying to reconnect with the heritage of his ancient ninja ancestors. Gai was given his powers by accident, the result of an experimental process gone awry. Jiraiya's powers are the result of the ninja techniques he's inherited from the Kakurangers of centuries past. One character grounded in sci-fi, the other urban fantasy, yet both completely unique and memorable.

Comparing Gai and Jiraiya at all might seem intrinsically unfair, a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Still, the tournament demands that one must win and the other must lose. Now it's time to pause, think it over, and decide whether you prefer hard-drinking apples or English-speaking oranges.
 

KouAidou

二番目の翻訳者
Signing in once again to vote for Jiraiya. Gai is a great Black Ranger and I'd vote for him over quite a few others, but Jiraiya is always amazing, in one sense or the other, any time he is on screen.
 

Shougo B'Stard

Would like to change his avatar
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGlIvqAJi-4"]Chojin Sentai Jetman-Honoo no Condor - YouTube[/ame]
 
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And here is the likely conclusion of the most predictable showdown ever; Black Condor wins; was there any doubt that Gai Yuuki would be the winner of any "best sentai Black ranger" poll? And frankly, despite being a Gai fan, I still think he's pretty overrated; as an anti-hero ranger, I feel Naoto/Timefire was more interesting (btw, he dies too); and I could even make a case proving that Ranru/Abareyellow (one of the least discussed female rangers ever, who would never even win a "female yellow ranger" poll) is more badass than Gai Yuuki/Black Condor.
 
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lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
I think the majority of Gai's appeal is down to a superficial "coolness" and people basically thinking that smoking, drinking and womanizing makes him awesome. That's why I didn't vote for him (although I like the character) however TimeFire and AbareYellow cannot win this poll as they are not Black Rangers ...
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
And here is the likely conclusion of the most predictable showdown ever;
I dunno. I would say, right now, maybe half of the vote is in. There's usually a surge of activity right before the poll closes. If that surge favored Jiraiya, it would still be very possible for him to win or tie. Gai's lead is large right now, but not mathematically insurmountable given the probable number of outstanding votes.

I don't think it's necessarily predictable for Gai to win something like this. Yes, Jetman fans love him, but I'd say that the majority of HJU users probably still haven't seen Jetman. It's an older show, and most fans stick to newer material, a pattern that clearly informs the voting turnout in the qualifying rounds.

I think that makes the final round brackets pretty interesting. While Gai in the finals is fairly predictable, I never would've expected the semifinals to be so close, nor Ninja Black to be the guy Gai was up against. I really, really wouldn't have expected a character from a largely untranslated and older series like Kakuranger to do so well.

I don't know if this is the result of Kakuranger fans being very passionate, or HJU having a fondness for the English-speaking ranger from LA, or simply people casting votes for Jiraiya as votes against Gai (since, as the thread proves, a lot of people vocally dislike him). I think just what's happened in the tournament thus far is going to cast the outcome, whatever it is, in an interesting light.
 

LaZerwolfX

Henshin a Go-Go!!
gai's reputation precedes him, there are plenty of fans on here who haven't actually seen jetman or kakuranger and only know yuuki because of people talking about gai all the time and from gokaiger. hes the most talked about black ranger and got this far for mostly that reason. i would say its similar to how mammoth ranger got as far as he did due to mmpr and less on his own merit. but thats just based on my personal observation.
also thank god Hyuuga finally got kicked out, homeboy wasn't even a ranger, at least not technically.
 

Shougo B'Stard

Would like to change his avatar
I think the majority of Gai's appeal is down to a superficial "coolness" and people basically thinking that smoking, drinking and womanizing makes him awesome.
Sure, that's stuff that gives the character a shock appeal considering the type of show he's in, but there's a lot more to Gai than that that I find appealing. Even without that stuff, he's still an edgy, different kind of character for Super Sentai. Sentai had already had a couple of characters who were reluctant heroes, but Gai takes it to a whole other level and...well, he's an interesting contrast to the stock type of heroes who are always presented as flawless.

Gai screws up. He can be selfish, he can be an asshole, he can be bullheaded. But deep down, he's a good guy, he has a sense of justice, a code of honor. He shows that every hero doesn't need to be a hero who emptily spouts "Guts! Seigi! Heiwa o mamoru!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He's a real '90s character in how he's supposed to be a hip character who comments on that tired, traditional type of hero -- by going against and hating everything Ryu, who is that type of hero, stands for. He's initially cynical and isolated, but there's a growth to the character where he's made a better person by the series' end. There's a sense of redemption for Gai. He's just a really interesting character, played by a great actor who really brings him to life and keeps him from falling into areas of unlikability. There are layers to his character, and I think he has a heck of a lot more going on for him than a character like Jiraiya.
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
Gai screws up.
This. A thousand times this. All of the Jetman shots in the OP I pulled from my own encodes. I had no problems finding shots of Gai looking pretty cool in his civilian identity, but I ran through something like 20 episodes of footage looking for cool shots of Black Condor. In episodes that weren't about him, he tended to hang out in the background. In episodes that were about him, he gets the living **** kicked out of him once he transforms. In particular, it seems like all but the last time he fights Grey, he just gets beaten mercilessly in solo fights.

That's actually pretty interesting, and I think it may speak to what makes the character timeless. There's a contrast between the "cool guy" exterior and how Gai struggles to be effective as a superhero that I think is compelling, and has continued to be compelling long after the show's original heyday. It's just very rare that you see anybody on a Super Sentai team who's not automatically good at doing his or her job. I think letting a character like Gai struggle to improve makes what Jetman accomplishes feel more significant, and their victories more earned. It's certainly hugely gratifying when Gai has to take a turn as Jetman's interim leader toward the end of the series, and actually manages to be pretty good at it.

With Jiraiya, I found a lot more good shots online, and only had to pull about half of his OP shots myself. I think there it's telling that I pulled mostly out-of-costume shots. There's simply no shortage of imagery in Kakuranger where Ninja Black is doing cool-looking stuff, and I think that speaks to how he's a fundamentally different type of character.
 

Shougo B'Stard

Would like to change his avatar
Hey, now -- Condor is played in-suit by Naoki friggin' Oofuji, who's pretty much always good and cool in-suit. I can think of a lot of cool screencaps you could get of Condor from the show. Condor does get into a few bad scrapes in the series, though, but I always thought that it was the way Jetman was taking to the extreme the Sentai trope of "five average people uniting" -- Jetman tried to highlight that by showing all of the non-Hawk team members messing up, but Gai always seemed more noticeable since he was not just the go-in-guns-blazing guy, but because he was only a street-fightin' man. He didn't have kendo or a high school sports background and he wasn't freakishly strong...

He was also a heavy smoker and drinker, and that takes a toll, man! :p He's just a flawed guy, and I think that appeals to people even more than just "Hey, he smokes and drinks, that's baller, man!" Because how many heroes in toku shows can you say are flawed and/or gray characters? There's been misguided heroes, there have been stubborn or misunderstood characters, but Gai was and is still pretty unique among toku heroes.

I also think Gai was supposed to be a more "realistic" tokusatsu hero. As selfless as we think a superhero should be, here's Gai who says no, a hero needs to take care of themselves or else they can't take care of anyone. Here's Gai, who wanted to hang on to what was seen as just selfish behavior because he was afraid of losing himself to the demands of being a Jetman. Here's Gai, who knows it takes more than just repeating "We're soldiers, we protect the world" to actually protect the world. That's why I think he was a character very much of the time, because that's when a lot of entertainment was starting to be self-aware and deconstruct itself. You had a real '90s character like Gai versus a very traditional '70s/'80s archetype like Ryu, and I think that's something that's interesting about what Inoue was doing with the show, and that examination is one of the parts of Jetman that makes it really seem to me like the door closing on that era of Super Sentai.
 
Sure, that's stuff that gives the character a shock appeal considering the type of show he's in, but there's a lot more to Gai than that that I find appealing. Even without that stuff, he's still an edgy, different kind of character for Super Sentai. Sentai had already had a couple of characters who were reluctant heroes, but Gai takes it to a whole other level and...well, he's an interesting contrast to the stock type of heroes who are always presented as flawless.

Gai screws up. He can be selfish, he can be an asshole, he can be bullheaded. But deep down, he's a good guy, he has a sense of justice, a code of honor. He shows that every hero doesn't need to be a hero who emptily spouts "Guts! Seigi! Heiwa o mamoru!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He's a real '90s character in how he's supposed to be a hip character who comments on that tired, traditional type of hero -- by going against and hating everything Ryu, who is that type of hero, stands for. He's initially cynical and isolated, but there's a growth to the character where he's made a better person by the series' end. There's a sense of redemption for Gai. He's just a really interesting character, played by a great actor who really brings him to life and keeps him from falling into areas of unlikability. There are layers to his character, and I think he has a heck of a lot more going on for him than a character like Jiraiya.
And that's exactly why I'm still a Gai fan :)
That said, Ryu is more than "exactly that type of hero"; even if he always says that "we're warriors of justice", deep down, he's a broken man who's lost his fiancee, and who is at least as much driven by a sense of revenge (even if he would never admit it) and a faint hope to save his lover; that's why episodes 31 and 32 of Jetman are so compelling, because when Ryu finds out that Rie is Maria, he completely loses it, the "selfless hero" guise he always shows disappears, and he falls into madness; in a weird (but awesome) paradox, it's Gai himself who has to remind him of the fact he's a hero. After all, when Gai asks him "do you think everyone wants to fight? we have a life, we have dreams", Ryu could have answered him "I've lost all my dreams; fighting is all I've left".
 
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lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
I voted for Jiraiya because I genuinely like him. I'm very fond of Kakuranger overall, and I hope it will eventually be subbed (although oddly, I've encountered a few Shinkenger fans who watched it raw after Tori Matsuzaka said he enjoyed Kakuranger when he was a child)

I have never enjoyed "flawed" heroes of the type described above. I think a character can be written as flawed without selfishness or arrogance. I don't find Ryu-type heroes empty or hollow; and "edgy" characters being presented as heroes are almost offensive to my personal morality. That's why, although I like Gai and find him a well done character, I can't in all conscience vote for him as the best Black Ranger. Sorry, Gai. I might however have voted for him over a character like Black Mask, who I like but had little background or personality.
 
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Guardian07

Disappear into light!!
With my favourite Black out, I don't know if I want to vote.

It's a real shame I haven't watched Kakuranger yet. Though I liked Gai, I want to know Jiraiya first before I decide which I think is the better Black.
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
Just a note: we're in the last 24 hours of the poll. If you want to cast a vote in the finals and influence the outcome, this is your last chance to do it.

Hey, now -- Condor is played in-suit by Naoki friggin' Oofuji, who's pretty much always good and cool in-suit.
Oofuji does great suit acting as Gai, but a lot of that suit acting is emoting a guy who gets his ass kicked. I mean, I think that's part of what's good about the character, and Oofuji does a really good job of that. Still,with the way Jetman directed its fights, it was very difficult to get clear "glamour shot" caps of Black Condor (at least in the run of eps I had handy).

If this was a blue ranger battle, would you deny Ninjaman? :loltongue:
That's an interesting question. My gut feeling is that Ninjaman probably shouldn't count as a blue, since Kakuranger has a traditional Blue on the team already. There's no Ginga Black, though, and Hyuga's name includes a color reference, so it seemed reasonable to count him as the team's Black. I admit, I didn't expect him to make it so far through the brackets, though.

It was actually pretty hard figuring out what to do with characters like Ninjaman, Signalman, and Dekamaster that aren't defined primarily by a color in any way. I wonder if you'd have enough characters of that sort to do a Heroes of No Particular Color battle? Who qualified and who wouldn't would be pretty debatable, but it could still be fun.
 

MattComix

Super Moderator
He shows that every hero doesn't need to be a hero who emptily spouts "Guts! Seigi! Heiwa o mamoru!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He's a real '90s character in how he's supposed to be a hip character who comments on that tired, traditional type of hero.
Viewing heroism as something to be mocked is tired and empty. The idea of being an asshole is kewl is tired and empty. Matter of fact at this point it's the biggest goddamn cliche in modern entertainment and something that I find tokusatsu to be a refreshing alternative to.

I agree that not every hero needs to be Superman or Captain America or RedHawk. I like Gai as a character and I even enjoy his butting heads with Ryu and the rest of the team. ..but I also see nothing so terrible about "Seigi! Heiwa o mamoru!" What I enjoy about Gai is not as some pisstake on the idea of a traditional hero bur rather that he's a loser and a selfish ass who learns to think beyond himself. He eventually comes to value his fellow Jetman as people and as friends. Ryu included.
 
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Shougo B'Stard

Would like to change his avatar
Viewing heroism as something to be mocked is tired and empty. The idea of being an asshole is kewl is tired and empty. Matter of fact at this point it's the biggest goddamn cliche in modern entertainment and something that I find tokusatsu to be a refreshing alternative to.
But was it "tired" and "empty" in 1991? I think what Inoue was doing with Gai was pretty in-the-moment for a Japanese show considering it was just in the late '80s that that sort of thing became the trend with American superheroes -- look how way behind tokusatsu can be in following trends at times.

And, hey, I'm not saying I'd want every superhero to be written like Gai, but I think it's something that really worked with Jetman's set-up in how Inoue tried hard to highlight just how different these people were supposed to be from not only each other but from the usual kind of superhero seen in these shows.
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
The tournament has come to an end and Gai Yuuki emerges as HJU's Favorite Black Ranger. While hardly an unpredictable result, it's still a bittersweet victory. Voter turnout was fairly low compared to the semifinals, where Gai and Jiraiya's match-up was more competitive. That probably says something, but it's beyond me to guess at exactly what.

For now, I'll just thank everyone who participated. I had fun with this, and I hope everyone else did, too.
 
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