Sentai series where the writers didn't care about the villains

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In the history of Super Sentai, there are some series which strike me in the way the writers didn't really care about the villains, and where they seem almost being sidelined during most of the show.
A classic example is Gokaiger, where the villains (with the obvious exceptions of Basco) seem to do pretty nothing during much of the series, even while the heroes were getting more and more powerful: the main Zangyack seem to almost only have focus in their final arc episodes.
Another example that comes to mind is Shinkenger : the main Gedoushu feel like they're mostly letting the Ayakashi do their stuff without really caring of the result : Dokouku spends most of the series drinking sake, Dayu, while her backstory is developed, seems mostly to care about playing her shamisen (which contains the soul of the man she loved), only sometimes going into the battlefield, and while Juuzo has a rivalry with Shinkenred, the story pretty ended up being repetitive. Kobayashi seemed definitely more interested in the inner turmoils of her heroes than their antagonism towards the villains.
Even Timeranger (also written by Kobayashi) doesn't avoid it: Dolnero quickly stops really caring about the Timerangers, doing his mafia business, and Gien's backstory was only developed late in the show. it's telling that Kobayashi chose the Ryuuya plot as the final arc of Timeranger, since the Londarz weren't enough "sentai villain" material, because of their prosaic lust for money (while Gien was a psychopath, he was only able to do what he wanted in the final plot thanks to Ryuuya's interference).

Classic examples of sentai shows caring a lot for their villains are the Soda series, notably Changeman, Flashman, Maskman, Liveman, Turboranger, where the villains feel like they're at least as important as the heroes. It's telling how they're played by live actors instead of the combo suit actor+ voice actor, and as such, villain casting was likely as important as hero casting. More recent examples are Hurricanger, Magiranger, Gekiranger.

Your thoughts? Which series do you think sidelines the villains ?
 
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As we all know with Gokaiger, the show was supposed to have had far fewer "tribute" episodes, but was then rewritten to accommodate guest appearances from all the people who wanted to return to the show after the earthquake/tsunami. It's a safe bet that the storyline would have been different if things had gone as planned, and the villains would most likely have had more to do. I like Gokaiger as it is, and in my opinion a Sentai anniversary SHOULD be about the heroes - they are what's important to the franchise, not the villains.

In the case of Shinkenger and Timeranger, it's one of Kobayashi's problems as a head writer that the shows she works on tend to lag in the middle and there's not much action from anyone, including the villains. Even Go-Busters did this up until the "destroy Messiah" episodes - Escape's character was getting repetitive and Enter wasn't doing as much (partly because Sho Jinnai had taken some time out to do stuff with D2.) I agree with the popular consensus that the Akumaro plot let down Shinkenger's middle arc.

Given that Japanese fans complained about Rio and Mele, and even Burajira in Goseiger, being too important to the show and being more like main characters than the heroes were, there's some evidence of villain-heavy shows not going across well. I personally think villains should NOT be as important as the heroes. Sentai is a battle of good vs evil; it's not a debate where each side brings something equal to the table and then the audience decides who's right. Children don't need to be taught to admire the bad guys.
 
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As we all know with Gokaiger, the show was supposed to have had far fewer "tribute" episodes, but was then rewritten to accommodate guest appearances from all the people who wanted to return to the show after the earthquake/tsunami. It's a safe bet that the storyline would have been different if things had gone as planned, and the villains would most likely have had more to do. I like Gokaiger as it is, and in my opinion a Sentai anniversary SHOULD be about the heroes - they are what's important to the franchise, not the villains.

In the case of Shinkenger and Timeranger, it's one of Kobayashi's problems as a head writer that the shows she works on tend to lag in the middle and there's not much action from anyone, including the villains. Even Go-Busters did this up until the "destroy Messiah" episodes - Escape's character was getting repetitive and Enter wasn't doing as much (partly because Sho Jinnai had taken some time out to do stuff with D2.) I agree with the popular consensus that the Akumaro plot let down Shinkenger's middle arc.

Given that Japanese fans complained about Rio and Mele, and even Burajira in Goseiger, being too important to the show and being more like main characters than the heroes were, there's some evidence of villain-heavy shows not going across well. I personally think villains should NOT be as important as the heroes. Sentai is a battle of good vs evil; it's not a debate where each side brings something equal to the table and then the audience decides who's right. Children don't need to be taught to admire the bad guys.

I disagree, but not because of the '00s Sentai. I think Hirohisa Soda, Toshiki Inoue and Noboru Sugimura balanced the villains and heroes so well (particularly in Liveman, Jetman and Dairanger) that, by fleshing out the villains with their own personalities and directly tying them with the heroes with rivalries, makes the heroes look better. If the villains are boring and one-dimensional, then the odds are that the conflict won't have that much tension and it's harder to get invested in the team's battle. But when the heroes have personal grudges with the villains, then things tend to get more interesting.

Now, when things like Go-Busters and Gekiranger happen and the villains are MORE interesting than the heroes, then that's usually the fault of the writer for making boring, one-dimensional heroes. I have noticed writers like Junki Takegami and Yasuko Kobayashi can't seem to pull this off no matter how many Sentai they write. It's a tricky act that's hard to pull off, but those three Sentai I listed earlier prove it can be done right.
 
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Even Timeranger (also written by Kobayashi) doesn't avoid it: Dolnero quickly stops really caring about the Timerangers, doing his mafia business, and Gien's backstory was only developed late in the show.

I don't agree with this. There's a lot of foreshadowing and building up of Gien's vicious nature early on in Timeranger. It's just done in little, subtle ways that are a bit easy to miss. Almost any conversation Dornheiro and Lira have early on about Gien amounts to, "That guy is a lot more dangerous than he looks and it might just be a matter of time before he gets impossible to control."

I also disagree with the idea that Dornheiro stops caring about the Timerangers, because he never really cared about them. He went back in time purely to build up his mafia business, so in that regard his behavior is consistent. Defeating the Timerangers might remove an annoyance from the playing field, but it wouldn't actually achieve any of his goals.

it's telling that Kobayashi chose the Ryuuya plot as the final arc of Timeranger, since the Londarz weren't enough "sentai villain" material, because of their prosaic lust for money (while Gien was a psychopath, he was only able to do what he wanted in the final plot thanks to Ryuuya's interference).

I don't think the Londarz were ever meant to be the "final villain." Ryuuya was always meant to escalate things beyond a simple game of time-traveling cops and robbers, and the seed of the plot being more than that was there from the very beginning. Timeranger is what it is, and that's a show that discards a lot of Sentai's typical story roles to do something a little different.

It's a safe bet that the storyline would have been different if things had gone as planned, and the villains would most likely have had more to do.

I 100% do not agree. No matter what happened with tributes or the tsunami, Gokaiger always would've been a show produced by Takaaki Utsunomiya. His other shows to date? Shinkenger and Kamen Rider Wizard, which both featured miserably ineffective villain factions that spent most of the show's run not doing anything that mattered. I think Utsunomiya simply is not interested in spending a lot of time promoting the villains, and seems to think that a hero who effortlessly defeats his foes is more imposing (and marketable). Sometimes that philosophy flies, but I think in Wizard the whole thing very obviously fell flat on its face.
 
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Gien was vicious very early indeed; but he felt like he was the only really "earth destroying" villain of Timeranger for most of the show, but in that point of view, in most of the show, he's as much antagonized by the Timeranger than by Dolnero himself: Gien felt more like a lone wolf rather than a Londarz general. There is a lot of foreshadowing in Timeranger, but, like most Kobayashi show, Timeranger was slow paced.
 
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I 100% do not agree. No matter what happened with tributes or the tsunami, Gokaiger always would've been a show produced by Takaaki Utsunomiya. His other shows to date? Shinkenger and Kamen Rider Wizard, which both featured miserably ineffective villain factions that spent most of the show's run not doing anything that mattered. I think Utsunomiya simply is not interested in spending a lot of time promoting the villains, and seems to think that a hero who effortlessly defeats his foes is more imposing (and marketable). Sometimes that philosophy flies, but I think in Wizard the whole thing very obviously fell flat on its face.

Utsunomiya really is just into the flash and the cool factor. More than anything else. It manifests in everything, not just the characters but the fights, the direction, even by how the show looks. Being a pirate in Gokaiger is simply being whatever the cool thing to be in any particular episode, because you know, 'pirates are cool!' and all that. One of his trademarks is that one villain who is really powerful and really cool, and not in the villain group(Juuzo, Basco,...and Gremlin, I guess?).

What would've different with Gokaiger if they weren't doing all the tributes, is 1) the Gokaiger characters would've had better character development and more episodes focused on them(Ahim's whole story wouldn't have wrapped up like, one episode). They would grow to trust and, I guess be more respectful to the Sentai that came before them. And 2) more time could've been spent on the runners, like the Joe-Barizorg story.

Talking about Kobayashi, I don't know if she just doesn't care about the villains, but I honestly feel she cares about her characters, and cares about making good, interesting character, be it heroes or villains. The villains in Shinkenger ended up not doing much, but all of them have fleshed out personality and motivations.

After the retool hammer came down on Go-Busters, things change little for the characters. The most noticeable Hiromu being more heroic and front and center than before(which is all in all, good for him imo). But after having her original main plot thrown under the bus, Kobayashi still came up with another story that works just as well with the character that she established, including Enter and Escape. In that, I feel a lot of work has been put in so the characters have a good story and a good ending.
 
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I don't think it helps that Kobayashi plays blatant favourites with her characters. In Shinkenger, her obvious favourite was Takeru but she also had a huge bias for Mako - I really think there'd be little difference to the plot if the show just had Takeru, Mako and Genta as a team of three. Correspondingly the villains that get the most focus are Juzou and Dayu, who have parallels to and are the rivals of Takeru and Mako respectively. In OOO her favourite was Ankh, and you can see how the Greeed seemed more threatening at the beginning of the show when she planned for Ankh to be a villain, than later when it was decided he'd emerge a hero. In Go-Busters, she had an early Ryuuji bias (which is why people had started to complain that he felt more like the Red than Hiromu) but on this occasion she at least had a story she wanted to tell with Hiromu and Enter
 
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Gekiranger didn't have "enough" villain focus. It had too much, at the expense of the heroes.
 
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