Why is Sentai expected to take risks but Kamen Rider expected to keep convention?

Khaiden

Heroes are forever
Having not seen much Sentai, I mostly speak for the Rider side so apologies if something escapes me.

It seems to me that fans expect Sentai to be bold, experimental and challenge the traditional formula of the show, but they expect Kamen Rider to maintain certain elements every time and stick to the "karate bugman" image. They are harsher when they think Sentai is "playing it safe", and when they think Kamen Rider has strayed too far from what the franchise "should" be. For instance, look at the most common criticisms of Goseiger (that it's "bland", formulaic, predictable, too "safe", no creative risks taken) vs Fourze (it doesn't make much use of the iconic bikes or insect design, and people complain that it was too slapstick to be recognisable as a Kamen Rider series.) Conversely, the most commonly praised aspects of Gekiranger and Go-Busters (supposedly being fresh and different and shaking up the conventional image of Sentai) vs W (giving a modern touch to the classic Rider look and elements of Showa Rider.)
There are some things that should never be changed truth be told. Complaining about a lack of bikes in a Rider-series is valid IMO, since they are supposed to be RIDERS in the first place, it would be like having a Super Sentai Series that's well... like Kabuto, 6 people are in the show and only two ever team up... and that's only sometimes.

And Rider isn't really that expected to ''keep convention''. Look at Hibiki, they had to add bikes because there were many complains about the lack of them.
Notice they were complaining about that and not about the non-belt devices they used to transform... and the fact they didn't say Henshin either.

I really don't see any of these ''expectations'', because for one fan that wants to be traditional there is always another that wants innovation. And I'm basing this only on the discussions I've seen in this forum.

Now, why? My initial thought was that it's just what people think will make for a more "mature" and adult-appealing show: Sentai will push the envelope and look beyond its target audience of pre-schoolers, while Kamen Rider will maintain the "darker" image associated with Showa and early Heisei. But in retrospect, I'm not sure it's that clear-cut. Thoughts?
How true is this contrast? As I was trying to remember the latest ''dark'' Sentai series, my mind went to Timeranger, which was in 2000, the year Rider returned. And so every Sentai series afterwards went ''lighter'' to make up for Rider's more ''serious'' tones.

But, is it really this way? How was Maskman when BLACK was airing too? As far as I've heard, Liveman is one of the most intense and darkest Sentai series, and it aired alongside BLACK for most of it's run. (And then came the lighthearted RX to make up for it?).

I hate to think Sentai is supposed to be too juvenile. Yeah, I'm with the people that say I want it to be more risky... but not because it's history says they haven't.

I think the real issue here is that both Super Sentai and Kamen Rider are shows that stick to a formula, and what makes formulaic shows appealing (at least to me) is to see how they can play around or re-invent themselves with each iteration.

As for Kamen Rider, the problem is the polar opposite; since the beginning the franchise had a defined concept and most shows have sticked to the basic elements of what makes Kamen Rider, but in an effort to keep it relevant the franchise has reinvented itself so much that modern show do not resemble the original Kamen Rider enough, and even though they are all good shows, some of them even great, there comes a point where you can´t shake the feeling that you could remove the words "Kamen Rider" from the title and that wouldn´t change a thing.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. Rider has kept true to it's essence, even in such shows where there's lack of bike action, there IS a bike in the first place and only once have they dared to remove it... my Hibiki example above, it didn't take them long to add one after the many complains.

Then there's the themes and stories the main Riders go through... hell, even many of the secondary ones. Kamen Rider has always had a lonely hero. Always. There's always been a struggle about identity and what their place in the world is, since they are going through something nobody else is, and they have no one to relate to. I've said this before, but the differences between eras are only cosmetic.

What I'm trying to say here, is that Rider has always kept it's ''conventions'' and what has changed is only visual. They have taken a lot of risks yes, but never breaking the spirit of the show. Just like Sentai, when daring to go with a unique approach, is still about a group of people learning about the power of teamwork, partnership and trust between each other.

Keep in mind that Rider got kicked out to another channel after Amazon which certainly mixed up the formula quite a bit, and even was modified halfway through to be more traditional, although that didn't seem to help much.

In fact, one could argue that Rider has always been very experimental. Something like Amazon changed basically everything about the show aside from keeping Tachibana Tobei around and the "modified human" protagonist. Stronger, although having more traditional villains for the first half, had yet again an untraditional hero (and an super heroine ally) and actually dumped the monster of the week formula for its second half. It was only 1% behind Goranger in ratings, so, the fact that it was airing in a different station seems to have weighted quite a lot to end Rider there.
Elaborating more on this:
V3 did the 2-parter episode method mostly associated with Heisei series.
X-Rider, while still having MOTW, was also filled with arcs, not a single episode being filler.
Amazon was also remarkable for not having the appearance of any past Riders.

But you know what? I've been looking lately at who the intended audience for things is. So let's see here... We know it isn't a Western audience since we'll have to download fansubs if we want to see it. So like it or not, Japanese KIDS and CHILDREN are the target audience for these shows. Now you could say that they're more like family shows than kids shows, I also like that kind of thinking, but let's face facts. Teens and Adults are more like a second-hand demographic. Most teens have moved on, so you'll be lucky if you can find a few who still like these kinds of shows.
Not true, and being aimed at kids is no excuse to take a juvenile Kabutack or Robotack approach. You explained well yourself why with your Jurassic Park example.
To find a few? I've found thousands in this board alone.

^ Yes, some people don't like it if they think a Sentai season is too different. It just seems to me that the reaction is worse if it's Sentai than Kamen Rider - in a lot of discussions on here and other sites I've seen, it's like one of the worst things you can say about a Sentai is that it's "safe" or "formulaic", while people long for Kamen Rider's past when the heroes were all cyborg "karate bugmen."
I keep saying it would be nice to have ONE new series where the main character is a cyborg again, not out of hate for the new directions they've taken, but because it would actually be something refreshing given what we've had lately, last time that happened (for a tv series) was more than 20 years ago. Same with a single-Rider series, last time that happened was 13 years ago. Many people craved for a multi-Rider show precisely for those reasons, (it hasn't happened in this scale since 2006).

A lot of people had requested a change in the formula (two Riders, with the second introduced in the 10s) that had haunted Rider recently.
 

Toku Prime

Well-Known Member
Keep in mind that Rider got kicked out to another channel after Amazon which certainly mixed up the formula quite a bit, and even was modified halfway through to be more traditional, although that didn't seem to help much.
<SNIP>
Don't forget though, with your metal hero comparison, that Kamen Rider, unlike Sentai and Metal Hero, isn't entirely owned by Toei. So, it's not that surprising that while both Super Sentai and Metal Hero thrived, Rider was sidelined.
I can't recall which thread it was now, but a while back I got schooled by another forum member when I mentioned the whole "Amazon got cancelled" rumour, that apparently the network had pretty much decided to drop Rider while X was on the air, so they ordered essentially a half season of Amazon to tie them over until their new show (GoRanger) started in the spring. I don't know how true that is, but if it's right then the decision was made based upon "trad" Rider.

I'm not sure how much the part ownership really comes into it. Yeah, they pay a license fee to Ishimori Productions (why isn't it called IshiNOmori Productions?) but I doubt the deal affects Toei's profits in a significant way. Heck, Toei probably lose a higher percentage to Bandai, given that Bandai have been putting up most of the money to make Rider ever since ZO. It wouldn't be because Ishinomori was messing with their creative control, or they wouldn't have worked with him on GoRanger and all the other henshin hero shows after that.
:O_O: Wow that was a brainfart there. My mistake.
Funnily enough there have been more beetle-based Heisei Riders (Blade, Garren, Kabuto and Gattack) than Showa (Stronger) :anime:
Really? I always heard he was based on some kind of moth.
Locust is all I've ever heard of for Skyrider. A locust is a species of grasshopper that migrates by flying. Skyrider was initially meant to be a reboot where he was the first ever Rider. His flight/anti-grav ability was the only real difference between his powers and Ichigo's. So locusts are a very apt theme.
 

SamuraiEchidna

Active Member
Not true, and being aimed at kids is no excuse to take a juvenile Kabutack or Robotack approach. You explained well yourself why with your Jurassic Park example.
To find a few? I've found thousands in this board alone.

Just because I can identify who the primary demographic is doesn't mean I am trying to dictate what tokusatsu *should be*. I love the darker, edgier, adult, and more realistic stuff just as much as the extremely light and family friendly stuff.

And I still think it's safe to assume most of the members on this board are probably part of the secondary audience I mentioned. Only a slim few of us have ever been to Japan, let alone were born and raised there. And I'm pretty sure most of us are teenagers and adults. Our idea of what makes things like tokusatsu good is just an opinion, not a universal law that should always be followed. Doesn't mean we aren't allowed to like these shows or have our own personal critiques, it means that Toei and other Tokusatsu companies aren't even thinking about us when they make their TV shows and movies.
 

Painted_Outlaw

The new Tendou Souji
Look at Hibiki, they had to add bikes because there were many complains about the lack of them.

Then, Hibiki goes and crashes it. :laugh:

As far as I've heard, Liveman is one of the most intense and darkest Sentai series,

I've heard it's fairly serious (only seen the first 4 so far myself) but I have also heard that it lightened up considerably near the end of its run so, I dunno.

Amazon was also remarkable for not having the appearance of any past Riders.

I'll admit, that threw me at first if only 'cause of Tachibana being there going "*sigh* he's not like the other ones!" and I was like "I thought this show was stand-alone! :shakefist"
 

Khaiden

Heroes are forever
Just because I can identify who the primary demographic is doesn't mean I am trying to dictate what tokusatsu *should be*. I love the darker, edgier, adult, and more realistic stuff just as much as the extremely light and family friendly stuff.

And I still think it's safe to assume most of the members on this board are probably part of the secondary audience I mentioned. Only a slim few of us have ever been to Japan, let alone were born and raised there. And I'm pretty sure most of us are teenagers and adults. Our idea of what makes things like tokusatsu good is just an opinion, not a universal law that should always be followed. Doesn't mean we aren't allowed to like these shows or have our own personal critiques, it means that Toei and other Tokusatsu companies aren't even thinking about us when they make their TV shows and movies.
And I'm 100% sure Japan is filled with lots of older fans, even more numerous than the thousands here. I've never said they're the primary audience too, but they're certainly not ignored.

Then, Hibiki goes and crashes it. :laugh:
:sweat::laugh:

You see, those smilies are the exact same reaction I had when I first saw it.

I'll admit, that threw me at first if only 'cause of Tachibana being there going "*sigh* he's not like the other ones!" and I was like "I thought this show was stand-alone! :shakefist"
As stand-alone as the awesome shared universe of the 70's would allow.

I agree with a lot of what you had to say, but this stood out. Sentai is MADE for little kids. I mean really little kids. It is made to be juvenile.
We might have different defintions of ''really little kids''. I mentioned Kabutack and Robotack, that's something that would be aimed at ''really little kids'' to me.

Also, let me rephrase:
I hate it when people think Sentai is too juvenile.

I reiterate I haven't seen that much of it, but it doesn't seem to be too lighthearted as too be unenjoyable to an older audience.
 
I asked this question over at the Ask.fm page for Low Visibility (Lynxara & MattComix's podcast) and they said they would address it in the future. I'm looking forward to that, but wanted to throw the subject out there because with Gaim starting it's been in my head for a while:

It seems to me that fans expect Sentai to be bold, experimental and challenge the traditional formula of the show, but they expect Kamen Rider to maintain certain elements every time and stick to the "karate bugman" image. They are harsher when they think Sentai is "playing it safe", and when they think Kamen Rider has strayed too far from what the franchise "should" be. For instance, look at the most common criticisms of Goseiger (that it's "bland", formulaic, predictable, too "safe", no creative risks taken) vs Fourze (it doesn't make much use of the iconic bikes or insect design, and people complain that it was too slapstick to be recognisable as a Kamen Rider series.) Conversely, the most commonly praised aspects of Gekiranger and Go-Busters (supposedly being fresh and different and shaking up the conventional image of Sentai) vs W (giving a modern touch to the classic Rider look and elements of Showa Rider.)

Now, why? My initial thought was that it's just what people think will make for a more "mature" and adult-appealing show: Sentai will push the envelope and look beyond its target audience of pre-schoolers, while Kamen Rider will maintain the "darker" image associated with Showa and early Heisei. But in retrospect, I'm not sure it's that clear-cut. Thoughts?

I don't know the technical term for what's wrong with your argument, so someone smarter than me will have to make that point, but...

When people want the "same" for Kamen Rider, they're talking about purely cosmetics. They want the guy to be designed like an insect. They'd like a scarf. He should, y'know, ride a bike. These are really just the basic design elements to Kamen Rider that, in most cases, wouldn't affect something like the plot or the characters all that much.

On the other hand, when people ask for Sentai to be "different", they are talking about on a deeper level. Like maybe try to be plot-focused instead of just throwing filler at us. Maybe do the sixth ranger in a way that hasn't been seen before. Stop giving us clusterfuck mecha combinations. Stop letting the main villain sit on his ass until episode 45, things like that.

The two things aren't analogous. A more analogous comparison would be if people were complaining because Sentai ditched the poses and roll call. Or if there was a Sentai team without a mecha (again). Things that are unquestionably tied to Super Sentai, but not necessarily things that would change the overall plot of a show that much.
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
I don't know the technical term for what's wrong with your argument, so someone smarter than me will have to make that point, but...

When people want the "same" for Kamen Rider, they're talking about purely cosmetics. They want the guy to be designed like an insect. They'd like a scarf. He should, y'know, ride a bike. These are really just the basic design elements to Kamen Rider that, in most cases, wouldn't affect something like the plot or the characters all that much.

On the other hand, when people ask for Sentai to be "different", they are talking about on a deeper level. Like maybe try to be plot-focused instead of just throwing filler at us. Maybe do the sixth ranger in a way that hasn't been seen before. Stop giving us clusterfuck mecha combinations. Stop letting the main villain sit on his ass until episode 45, things like that.

The two things aren't analogous. A more analogous comparison would be if people were complaining because Sentai ditched the poses and roll call. Or if there was a Sentai team without a mecha (again). Things that are unquestionably tied to Super Sentai, but not necessarily things that would change the overall plot of a show that much.

I'm not just talking about aesthetics, but stuff like "why aren't the heroes cyborgs", "why can't we have another series with just one Rider" (maybe that's aesthetic, but after so many years of having at least two, it would require story changes at some level), "why isn't it closer to the storytelling style of Showa/early Heisei", "The Rider should have to deal with the loss of his own humanity" etc. Look at how people are OK with the idea of Gaim copying elements of Ryuki, yet throw a tantrum at Kyoryuger re-using GaoSilver's entrance storyline
 
I'm not just talking about aesthetics, but stuff like "why aren't the heroes cyborgs", "why can't we have another series with just one Rider" (maybe that's aesthetic, but after so many years of having at least two, it would require story changes at some level), "why isn't it closer to the storytelling style of Showa/early Heisei", "The Rider should have to deal with the loss of his own humanity" etc. Look at how people are OK with the idea of Gaim copying elements of Ryuki, yet throw a tantrum at Kyoryuger re-using GaoSilver's entrance storyline

The one Rider thing is silly since Riders would show up in each other's series anyway. But as far as the other stuff? Those are just themes that Kamen Rider is known for (and arguably at one point were synonymous with Rider), and doesn't really inhibit the creativity all that much--it's kinda like how Sentai is always about how teamwork overcomes all odds.

The only legit comparison here is the one with Gaim vs. Kyoryuger, and even then..."Rider War" (technically a concept that goes FAR against classic Rider) has a lot of potential to it that wasn't necessarily covered by Ryuki. Plus look at Gaim and look at Ryuki and tell me that, based on what we know so far, those shows are going to be similar outside of the basic idea.

Kyoryuger on the other hand, didn't just copy the central idea, but quite literally lifted story beats from Gaoranger. It's not "hey let's add a sixth ranger who starts out evil", it's "hey let's reveal that this major villain the team has been fighting for several episodes is actually an ally from the ancient past who's being controlled by an evil force, and the good guys have to free him".

Of course, there are some differences: GaoSilver is nothing like KyoryuGold, the plot speeded things up this time so we didn't have several episodes of Dogold being the primary adversary for the team, and in general the Kyoryuger had little problem defeating him, whereas GaoSilver nearly killed the Gaoranger.
 

lazycoconut

I liked him when he wasn't a god
The only legit comparison here is the one with Gaim vs. Kyoryuger, and even then..."Rider War" (technically a concept that goes FAR against classic Rider) has a lot of potential to it that wasn't necessarily covered by Ryuki. Plus look at Gaim and look at Ryuki and tell me that, based on what we know so far, those shows are going to be similar outside of the basic idea.

People expect it to be more like Ryuki than revealed so far. Reportedly, Ryuki is Urobuchi's favourite series and he is supposed to have based Madoka off of it (I have no idea whether that's true)

Of course, there are some differences: GaoSilver is nothing like KyoryuGold, the plot speeded things up this time so we didn't have several episodes of Dogold being the primary adversary for the team, and in general the Kyoryuger had little problem defeating him, whereas GaoSilver nearly killed the Gaoranger.

I agree, which is why the complaining about it annoys me so much (that and Toei can reasonably expect that most of its audience will never have seen or heard of Gaoranger)
 

Glamador

Member
People expect it to be more like Ryuki than revealed so far. Reportedly, Ryuki is Urobuchi's favourite series and he is supposed to have based Madoka off of it (I have no idea whether that's true)

As most of my complaints about Ryuki are on the execution side of things, rather than the concept side, I'm actually really looking forward to seeing it get a redux. I hope it's quite a lot like Ryuki but...ya know...better. Ryuki did, after all, have the best main antagonist in the franchise. If they can improve the acting and the suit designs and the action direction and some of the more idiotic instances of doing-it-for-the-plot then me and Gaim are gonna get on just fine.

I don't care if one Rider series is terribly similar to another Rider series. But if you're going to go that route you invite comparisons, good and bad. Though basing your show off of Ryuki is a good way to look good by comparison in my eyes.

All I really ask is that you explore the concepts and themes that your series presents, instead of leaving them to stagnate and be ignored like Wizard has done. Shows like Fourze and Ryuki and OOO and Double all had consistent, progressive themes that, good or bad, had something to say. Shows like Kiva and Kabuto and Wizard on the other hand, felt like they were just going through the motions.

I don't know if that has much to do with KR 'keeping convention' as the OP says, but it's what I'm looking for in a show of any sort.
 

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