March Tokusatsu of the Month - Chousei Kantai Sazer X -Talk Up!

Aoi Kurenai

Mad Skillz
Alright, hopefully this one is more active!

In the year 2500, the earth has been taken over and covered in darkness by a race known as the Neo-Descal. The remaining members of the human resistance send their trump card weapons, the three Meteor God warships to the past to try and change the future by stopping Neo-Descal in 2005, when their attacks began. Along with the Meteor God warships comes Ad, captain of the Adle-Eagle squad and his right hand man, Gordo, Kane, captain of the Beet-Vizor squad, and the twin Sazers Ein and Zwein, and Remy, who pilots Great Lio. Ad and Kane are joined by Takuto Andou, whose grandfather met Captain Shark, leader of the resistance, as a young man and was left with a Knuckle Cross to allow his grandson in 2005 to become the third member of the team known as Sazer X.

Chosei Kantai Sazer X, the third and final entry into the Super Star God franchise, is our tokusatsu of the month for March. (and the first fully subbed!) It's a rather maligned series because it's said to be too comedic, but we'll let the members who take part in this judge as they (hopefully) watch it and enjoy the series.

Since this is a short series, we'll be watching the movie as well. It is a team up with the previous three series, but you don't really need to know too much about them other than they were the heroes before Sazer X.

Downloads - http://tvnihon.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=171&t=33

Viewing schedule
March 1st
1. Takuto's on Fire!
2. Burn! Great Lio!
March 2nd
3. White Whirlwind! Wind Eagle
4. Blue Lightning! Magna Beet!
March 3rd
5. Explore! Search for Shark 4
March 4th
6. Our Heroes
March 5th
7. Recollection 1960
8. Significant Cloth Holiday
March 6th
9. The Three Worst Days in History
10. The Captain's True Form
March 7th
11. Father, Return
March 8th
12. Battle in the Sky
March 9th
13. Holy Night
March 10th
14. Enemies from the Future, Neo Descal
March 11th
15. Close Call! Shark Sazer Appears
March 12th
Sazer X the Movie: Fight! Soldiers of the Stars
March 13th
16. Super Flow! Shark Leaguer
17. A Pursuer, the Name is Jackal
March 14th
18. Severe Earthquake! Drill Angler
March 15th
19. Equipt Ad! Face the Future
March 16th
20. Kane, A Traitor's Scar
March 17th
21. A Free Kick Towards Freedom
March 18th
22. The Threatening Transformation! Drill Angler
March 19th
23. Mission X! Save the Captain
24. The Fourth Shougon
March 20th
25. History Recreated
26. Remy's Tears, G2's Heart
March 21st
27. The Battle's End, X-Day Arrives
March 22nd
28. Invasion! A New Force?!
March 23rd
29. Escape from the Strange Dimension
March 24th
30. Inheriting Thoughts
March 25th
31. Showdown! Blaird VS Cyclead
March 26th
32. Fierce Fight! Triple Core Breaver!
March 27th
33. Friends Who Believe Together
March 28th
34. Gathering of the 12 Pieces? Cosmo Casuples
March 29th
35. Remy's Past Revealed
March 30th
36. The Dark Corrosion, Dark Armor
March 31st
37. Takuto, into the Darkness
38. A Friendship that Surpassed Time and Space

Past Tokusatsu of the Month
1. Akumaizer 3 - December 2010
2. Juukou B-Fighter - January 2011
3. Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya - February 2011
 

KingRanger

Banned
Yeah I would have watched this one with everyone because I love this show, but you were only able to get T-N releases so I am gonna pass.
 

nerefir

私の占いは当たる
vlcsnap2011021214h52m47.png
 
So, it's about Space Pirates O_0...sort of. :p

Now, i'm no expert in Temporal Mechanics, but everyone on the future should have Vanished the second the Wormhole closed, since the past was Changed.

The only ways that would NOT happen are if History wasn't changed (ie sending people back to fight the pirates and failing is part of a stable time loop) or if this Universe follows the DBZ time travel therioum that going back in time creates another, divergent timeline. Your actions would effect the future of that timeline, but not the one you came from.

Of course, there is always the chance of their being a ripple effect, and the change's to the future where not immediate.

:science:
*Brainasplodes*
 
Ok, that Kaiju in Episode 2 was SO a modified Heisei Godzilla suit.
I was gonna say it was the Space Godzilla suit, because of the Giant Spikes on the shoulders, but the "G-spines" on it's upper back where the Normal ones, not SG's Crystal ones.

And if that wasn't a modded Godzilla suit, they stole the neck spines then.
 

Aoi Kurenai

Mad Skillz
Well they are made from the same company, so I'm sure they probably had a suit or three dozen sitting around they wanted to use. :p
 

Algo Fonix

Actually back this time
Watched episode 1 so far... and I like it. :O Getting ready to watch more of it right now, but I'm really hoping the white dude is as awesome as I think he's going to be.
 

nerefir

私の占いは当たる
What the hell is wrong with you, Toei? You can't do this one simple thing?
vlcsnap2011030119h14m03.png

Toho can do it! It doesn't break any illusion!
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
So I recalled being irritated by Sazer-X when I watched it years ago and hell if I can remember why. Nothing in the first couple of episodes particularly got on my nerves this time.

I, uh, accidentally wrote a 600-odd word essay about my feelings about the first two episodes of Sazer-X. It is basically impossible that everyone who clicks this thread wants to read all this crap. I'm gonna put it behind a cut.

[HIDE]My feelings about this show are incredibly mixed. It has some interesting ideas, like giving each Sazer support characters designed around the character's personalities. The episodes are really fast-paced, not too formulaic, and don't skimp on action. The show has some bitchin' villain designs, really good CG integration, some nice robot designs, and an occasionally brilliant sense of humor.

It has some problems, too. I find Takuto an unappealing lead. It looks like the emotional meat of the show will be about his relationship with his grandfather, which I don't care about in the slightest. So much of the premise is derivative that I find it a bit hard to take the show itself seriously, and this is not usually an issue for me.

Seriously, you've got "ordinary dude becomes a hero with awesome guys from the future" right out of Timeranger, complete with a Yuri stand-in. You've got a time loop plotline right out of... well, a bunch of 80s mecha anime, although I'd be genuinely surprised if Sazer-X ever devotes much of its storyline to dealing with time paradox.

What really gets me are the Cosmo Capsules, though. You have all this massive complicated plot set-up and what you want to build your episode plots around a hunt for the Dragonballs? Seriously? The space pirates didn't conquer Earth with all that asskicking we see in the opening, they collected friggin' Dragonballs and made a wish? Blarrgghh.

I suspect a lot of the fandom's indifference to Sazer-X may come down to the script's completely weird pacing and dialog. Something about the show just feels off. Lots of things happen in Sazer-X, really quickly, but in ways that can feel arbitrary and unmotivated. The show doesn't seem to have an internal logic for how characters behave.

Couple the strange scripts with some ragged-looking effects-- particularly the hero suits and miniatures-- and you've got something that I feel could quickly lose the attention span of a less-than-forgiving audience. Sazer-X does some quirky, formula-breaking things I quite like, but a story still needs an organizing principle to anchor the audience and help them make sense of what they're seeing.

Sazer-X is instead just a nonstop barrage of stuff happening. It's awesome stuff, sure, but it's still a barrage instead of a properly-told story. Honestly, I think I would like this show better if Ryosuke Miura's character-- Kane, I think?-- was the lead instead of Takuto. "Quirky guy from future explores 21st century Earth and fights evil sometimes" has potential.

As I suspected, Miura can be quite charming when he's working with a director who gives a damn about the product and cast in a role that he seems a lot more comfortable in. Kane's personality would also generate some very clear, simple ways to organize the huge mass of ideas in Sazer-X into something more digestible.

I commented on how Jiraiya was a cheap-looking show last month (before RL circumstances made me drop it :disappoin), but that I liked it anyway because it clearly had a ton of really big ideas it wanted to share with people. Sazer-X tickles a little bit of that same vibe for me. I get a feeling of genuine ambition and effort from this show.

Sazer-X's reach may end up exceeding its grasp, but it's still trying hard to entertain people and present its ideas in original ways. I think it wants to be one of those shows that welds a bunch of disparate influences into a cohesive whole executed in a unique style. I think if the writing tightens up, Sazer-X could realize that ambition. I'll stick around and see, for now.[/HIDE]
 

Aoi Kurenai

Mad Skillz
I think that barrage of stuff happening eventually moves down to an easier pace, and when you do get thrown back into a lot of stuff going on at the same time, it's handled rather well. Though you are seeing the basic roles of the characters at this point, you do kinda get to see them evolve as the series progresses and if you're not too interested in Takuto's story, Ad, Kane, and Remy eventually get their own stories of equal importance. (though Ad's comes rather late in the game)

What I really loved about Sazer X was that this was the sort of series that could work well with CGI that wasn't exactly the best. It had this tongue-in-cheek manner of approaching various aspects and there were times I felt the humor could even get a little meta. For a series people seemed to dislike so much, I always thought it did a lot better with what it was given than most tokusatsu since its airing. (but man, so did everything else at the time, 2005 was like the golden year for recent tokusatsu)

And I suppose this might be a bit of a spoiler, but:

[hide]Yeah, they do eventually deal with the issue of time paradoxes and junk. It's actually what sets off the second arc around episode 13, probably the first real "story's in gear now!" arc after the character building of the first cours. It eventually leads to the biggest story point when X-Day finally arrives.[/hide]

So I recalled being irritated by Sazer-X when I watched it years ago and hell if I can remember why. Nothing in the first couple of episodes particularly got on my nerves this time.
Man, y'know, I went through exactly the same thing. When it first aired, I saw like two episodes and dropped it for a while. All I kept hearing was how it tossed everything aside in favor of bad comedy, that's just not true. It's tone is no more comedic than any Sentai and its comedy tends to be a lot more successful.

Also. Am I the only one who really enjoys the suits? They're seriously some of my favorite tokusatsu suits in general, I always feel like I'm fighting a losing war in getting people to like them. :p There's just something about their look that I love so much, they seem almost like a modern take on retro aesthetics and that works amazingly well for me.

Also! I'd like to know what people think of my evaluation that Blaird is basically Momotaros before Momotaros and done better at that.
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
I think that barrage of stuff happening eventually moves down to an easier pace, and when you do get thrown back into a lot of stuff going on at the same time, it's handled rather well.

It's not so much a question of "too much stuff going on," it's more "a lot of stuff happening is being used as a substitute for structured writing." The two Sazer-X episodes I've seen are thus far pretty reliant on characters doing things with no apparent motivation to move the plot forward.

Classically, you want to avoid this because it works against suspension of disbelief. The argument is that it will make your characters and story feel artificial, especially in early chapters. People won't make an emotional connection to the story and lose interest.

Which clearly happened a lot with Sazer-X! If more tokusatsu was produced per year, I doubt this show would've gotten half so many second chances as it has. It seems to me that if the pace of the first two episodes wasn't so frantic, the show would be able to decompress a bit and help build more convincing characters, which in turn would make the plot more convincing.

Like, I suspect I like Kane at this point because he's one of the few characters who hasn't done anything purely to move the plot forward. So far he's only done things that demonstrated what his personality is like and what his motivations are, so even though he's a weird person he feels like a person.

It's tone is no more comedic than any Sentai and its comedy tends to be a lot more successful.

We'll see about that. I wouldn't consider the episodes I've seen really comedic but I bet I'm in for a long run of character-building done-in-ones that'll probably use a lot more comedy.

Thus far I'd say Sazer-X has been a melodrama with an occasional tongue-in-cheek gag thrown in for comic relief. I wonder if showing people all the big fleet battles early on made them upset it's not what they'd see all the time.

My gold standard for tokusatsu comedy is Carranger and Sazer-X so far isn't near that level. I wouldn't even say it was as funny as Kakuranger yet-- Kakuranger is inconsistent, but its jokes still have bite and verve to them.

Sazer-X's humor thus far is mostly innocuous physical comedy and sight gags that do make very clever use of CGI, but don't really further anything else about the story.

Again, the exception is Kane-- he's funny in a character-driven way that says a lot about what 2500 AD is probably like. More comedy like that could only make the show stronger as it progresses.

Am I the only one who really enjoys the suits?

Well, that depends. Do you enjoy the suits, or the designs? Sazer-X's design sense is very strong and I can understand why anyone would like the designs.

The actual, physical suits just strike me as poor realizations of good design work. The armor portions are crudely-made and the way they're attached to the body stocking is massively unconvincing.

I think you mentioned in another thread that you've seen so much really old tokusatsu that you no longer think much about things like suit construction. If so then it seems sensible to me that you'd enjoy the Sazer-X suits.

Also! I'd like to know what people think of my evaluation that Blaird is basically Momotaros before Momotaros and done better at that.

I really don't see it right now, so I'm curious what becomes of this guy in future episodes. All Momotaros and Blaird really have in common right now is that they're red and use a lot of catchphrases.

Blaird constantly pukes up his catchphrase instead of having a lot of proper dialog, but otherwise he feels like a very disposable iteration on the "fighty general" type.

If I compare Momotaros at his second appearance to Blaird at his second appearance, Momotaros is already a much more complex and appealing character.
 
Here i go again!, Ep. 3's MOTW (I think) was a heavily modified Orga suit, and it had a roar than reminds me of Megaguirus. *Toho Geek HO!*

Looks like Lio's gonna get stuck in the middle when the others make their Giant Robo's.
 
Oh GOD!
Now that IS a Effing a Godzilla suit!
They just slapped some Armor bit's on and changed the Back spines.

(Also, Magna-Beet is awesome!)

I love this show now.......:anime:
 

Aoi Kurenai

Mad Skillz
Heh, it does seem to be a modified Orga suit, that's pretty neat. It becomes a little more evident later on that they were in a pinch for time.(I don't think it's a spoiler to say this, but the final monster they face seems to be a modified version of the suit from the movie's main monster)

I love this show now......
Hot damn! Got another one!
Lynxara said:

You know what? I was going to post this side by side with your quotes, but I'm too lazy now. :sweat:

I've always figured this seems to be the case with a lot of tokusatsu earlier on. There are a few franchises that seem to move away from this template, but it's something that has seemed present to me in a lot of recent Sentai. The story does eventually get moving, things do seem to stop happening just because, but like I said, it generally feels like the first 13 or so episodes are there to flesh out characters and build their relationships. For instance, episode three allows us to see Takuto getting a glimpse at Ad's true sense of duty coming from the loss of his comrades as well as Takuto wanting to be taken a bit more seriously, which I think is great for a fireball type to want so early on.

Sazer X did come about during the most recent tokusatsu boom and I can imagine that's probably why it didn't last too long. Compared to say...the Tomica Hero shows, they likely only lasted that long because there was really nothing else out there but Sentai and Kamen Rider. Sazer X was airing in a year when five other series ran a majority of their episodes. (with about eight series in total running in 2005)

A good portion of the comedy does seem like it adds to the characters, especially with Ad at times. I generally feel like it's done in a fashion that isn't so overtly inane. But! I still don't see its tone to be any less serious than most Sentai, to me that was always a head-scratcher on my rewatch of it last year since it was the biggest complaint. (though, there is one character introduced later on who I cannot stand) A lot of its biggest moments do come from it being a much more serious show. Episode 20 is a huge episode for Kane and the overall severity of the mission and it's played as serious and more dramatic. (I also think this is the episode that makes Kane feel most human and generally why I think his actor was great in this show and...not so much in OOO)

The comedy I see in Sazer X, at least what I consider to be the best of it, doesn't come from Sentai-like antics. It comes in the way some of the actors say their lines (I love that “See? I transformed” line in episode three) and the suit actors carry them, as well as the general feel of the show during those moments. I've always felt it to be something that tries to play itself as more quirky that outright funny. Episode nine is my favorite in terms of comedy, mostly because it uses a lot of hard cuts right that do a lot to amp up the hilarity in the scenes to me.

About the suits...man, I guess you probably have a more critical eye than me. Like, I generally notice when the armor feels less like armor and more like big...thing...they're wearing because it flops around, but I think it's not as big of a problem here as it is in things like early Metal Heroes and some of the more heavily armored Kamen Riders. In B-Fighter and in other shows, yeah, it really got in the way of my enjoyment of the fights, that just doesn't seem to happen too often here in this show. This is the one show where I generally loved just about every fight scene.

But, yeah, I often don't think about suit construction too much. If a suit looks nice in terms of design and isn't wildly flopping all over the place when it's supposed to be a cohesive piece, then I won't really mind any flubs too much. (though that comment was more along the lines of how people think the Goranger suits just look weird and I've watched these older shows for so long that they fall right in line with modern designs)

About Blaird, yeah, probably a bit too early to have asked that question, and perhaps it's something that really only becomes evident after you've finished the series and think about it as a whole. Blaird (later on) to me just feels like he's everything the Momotaros character was written to be, but executed much better.
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
It becomes a little more evident later on that they were in a pinch for time.

There's signs of a rushed production early on, too. I wonder if for awhile they weren't sure if Justiriser would have a sequel at all? It would explain why the early episodes are relatively unrefined.

This is the one show where I generally loved just about every fight scene.

There's a good sense of narrative storytelling in the Sazer-X fights I've seen. If a fight is all STUNTZ then it becomes less interesting on a rewatch. When a fight is conveying a narrative, then it can hold up better to repeated viewing.

I think being really into the fights is going to rely on viewers being really into the characters, but... that's honestly the smartest way to go about crafting your action scenes in a show like this.

Blaird (later on) to me just feels like he's everything the Momotaros character was written to be, but executed much better.

I will keep an eye on him, then. I certainly wouldn't have expected anything special from the character based on these episodes, so clearly the show does something interesting with him at some point.
 

Lynxara

Nice post!!
Yeah this pretty much sums up my reaction to episode 3.

[HIDE]
durrs.jpg
[/HIDE]

Man, episode 4. A Kane episode! With a space battle! Where we find out he's the space battle guy! A subplot pointing out Takuto's absurd sense of personal entitlement! With an ending where Takuto starts acting like a redeemable human being!

It's all so beautiful I just don't know what to say.

Well, I had some of my usual rambling, but I'll put it behind a cut again.

[HIDE]I see the show starts trying to explain its rules of time travel in these episodes and... well, they're pretty contrived. Granted, most time-travel stories end up with pretty contrived, dramatically convenient rules for how things work.

(Like, I think Timeranger's plot is only understandable through application of the theory of quantum entanglement and hell if I know whether or not that even existed back then.)

So, part of me really likes the idea that if you go from the future to the past, you can't go back. Well... of course you can't! You've changed the timeline, it's not logically impossible for the future you came from to still exist unless you're dealing with a time loop story (which doesn't really fit Sazer X's premise).

I don't like that they establish this rule in an episode where they're still receiving messages from the future, which seems to rather fly in the face of the sort of time-travel logic which stipulates that you can't go forward. Does the future exist anymore or doesn't it? If they can still talk to you, then going back should simply be a matter of having a way to get there.

I am really unnerved by Kane's "I think I'll go back someday anyhow!" at the end of episode 4, because to me that seems to set up a huge cop-out on down the line. A miracle wormhole or some thing will happen and everybody gets to go back home and hooray, there's no price paid for heroism blarrghh. Man, I hope things don't go down like that.

These episodes also drove home for me how much this show reminds me of OOOs. The show seems to be treating the widget-hunt aspect of the plot in an extremely similar fashion and the Shoguns really put me in mind of the Greed. Sazer-X's dialog isn't at all on par with OOO's but I think it turns the widget hunt into a much more compelling story.

Sazer-X also isn't burdened with quite so many widgets to hunt. It uses a variety of different "types" of awesome things (the main Sazers, Sazer Gordo, how Remy pilots but doesn't fight on foot, the Twinsazers) to keep the show lively rather than just giving one main guy a gazillion powers and having one other guy with slightly different but related powers.

Probably the biggest difference between OOO and Sazer-X is when you consider the protagonists. Eiji is a rather likable fellow in OOO but in kind of bland way that drags the show down a bit. He just doesn't have interesting reactions to things. As much as I disliked Takuto, I think he may be a stronger protagonist for being so initially dislikable?

You couldn't do anything like episode 3 or 4 about Eiji because Eiji is so incredibly inoffensive as a character. He's not enough of a jerk to really need to learn how to get along with other people. He's so incredibly powerful that even if OOO had a bigger cast there really wouldn't be much for supporting heroes (as opposed to a rival like Birth) to do. [/HIDE]
 

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