I feel like I’ve been here before. Turning to Super Sentai to fill the huge void Power Rangers has left in my life. Actually… I have been here before. I’ve written how Samurai Sentai Shinkenger filled the hole left after RPM when the future of the Power Rangers was in doubt. I’ve also written about how Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger helped fill the black hole that Power Rangers Samurai has created. (Yawn. Samurai bashing feels so old now.)
But seriously, Samurai has left me wanting a lot more and looking for a lot more, so I decided to finally go on a marathon of the Sentai season I, at first, kept putting off on watching.
Tensou Sentai Goseiger is the series that follows Shinkenger and precedes Gokaiger in the Super Sentai franchise. I had watched the premiere episode of Goseiger almost immediately after I had finished and was wowed by Shinkenger. And as many comments online might agree, the first episode didn’t leave the best impression.
Goseiger‘s first episode left much to be desired and being the season that follows Shinkenger certainly didn’t help matters much. So I held off on watching any more until I just couldn’t take any more OO-AH-OOs from Power Rangers Samurai. I watched the first episode again, then immediately popped in the next four and thought Hey, maybe it isn’t so bad.
After finally finishing the series, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed Tensou Sentai Goseiger. It is definitely a very different series from Shinkenger as well as Gokaiger, but that distinction has actually helped me appreciate the series more.
Tensou Sentai Goseiger follows five young apprentices of the Gosei angels, protectors of Earth who live in the Gosei World. They end up trapped on Earth when the Tower of Heaven, the bridge between Earth and the Gosei World, is destroyed.
With the connection gone, the five Goseigers are left to protect the Earth and find a way to rebuild the Tower in the hopes of reconnecting the worlds.
It is a great premise and is interestingly presented though the use of distinct arcs highlighted by three different villain factions, plus a surprise twist to close out the series.
The arcs work well to keep up a brisk pacing to the story, but that’s also at a risk of the downtime episodes where we learn more about the Goseigers themselves instead of having to mainly deal with the villains and/or monster of the week.
The first dozen episodes came off very repetitive, however. Each week, in what would seem to be an effort to set-up the toy sales and in-story arsenal, the series would use a deus ex machina to get the Goseigers out of certain defeat. Using Gosei cards to henshin and call on their mechas or other special powers, the Goseigers would just conveniently receive a brand new card any time they needed it.
But one good thing about that I did like was, though risking getting overused, was the sense that the Goseigers were in a dire situation. The Goseigers needed to step it up each week, otherwise everyone’s dead. It was that serious.
As the series went on though, the story began to flow better and move forward and become more exciting, especially as the series started delving into the real meat of the story and action.
The final arc of the series was excellent and really put everything into perspective. The series ended on a high note and had many genuinely moving and thrilling moments.
The Goseigers themselves were a likeable bunch. What Tensou Sentai Goseiger set out to do, but not always hitting the mark, was to be light and fluffy, yet ominous and impending. That’s quite a contrast and quite a job and at times it was a sight to see. The Goseigers had dynamic personalities; goofy, childish and innocent, but also ready and willing to fight and risk their lives to protect the Earth. It’s almost like having two very distinct, polar opposites of a personality in one person. But it actually works out as a whole.
The five Goseigers are supposed to be young. They are apprentices, not yet full Gosei angels and were still in a sort of training mode when the Tower of Heaven was destroyed and they were thrust into the “saviors of the world” position.
The Gosei angels are divided into three tribes. Agri (Gosei Black) and Moune (Gosei Yellow) are of the Landick tribe with powers of the earth, Hyde (Gosei Blue) is of the Seaick tribe with powers of water and Eri (Gosei Pink) and Alata (Gosei Red) are of the Skick tribe with powers of air.
Usually, in Sentai (as well as Power Rangers), the Red is always the de facto leader and star of the show. But Goseiger does an interesting thing when it doesn’t emphasize Alata as the leader of the team and instead promotes a great deal of teamwork, even more than usual, throughout. Though it is obvious that Alata does take the leader role, the Goseigers each have their own traits that when together, allow them to work with the utmost efficiency. (This is amusingly touched on in Epic 35 where the Goseigers, at various points of the episode, each become and then relinquish the leader role.)
Probably the most interesting character point of the series is Alata and the on the surface disconnect between his (and actor Yudai Chiba’s) perhaps dainty and young look and personality and the badass-ness that he’ll usually exhibit in fights and especially morphed/henshined, in-suit. I can’t help but point out how amazing Yudai Chiba’s voice acting is; one moment laughing like a little innocent 1st grader, the next screaming his head off before charging and killing the monster of the week.)
On the downside, the Goseigers could have definitely had more depth. A deeper look at their backstories could have forged that connection with them a little earlier than the series eventually did. But through their friendship with 4th grader Nozomu, we get a look at their personalities and humanity despite being angels and celestial beings.
One of the biggest accomplishments of Tensou Sentai Goseiger is how it handled the balance of its outright slapstick goofiness and the heavier, legitimately more dramatic story turns.
The Saban II era of Power Rangers could probably take a couple of notes.
But while it isn’t a favorite amongst Sentai fans and it lacks some of what made and makes Shinkenger and Gokaiger such amazing series, Tensou Sentai Goseiger is a completely satisfying and fun experience. A great story, a likeable cast, fun characters, and epic villains; Goseiger has just about everything you look for in a Sentai or a Power Rangers series (and everything Power Rangers Samurai does not). There goes that Samurai bashing again. Yawn.
After being cold to the series after just one episode, I can now fully recommend the series to any disenchanted Power Rangers fan or anyone looking for good, clean fun.