I didn’t care what anyone said (or says, even today!). But I loved Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. It had everything I look for in a Sentai or Power Rangers season.
I’ve definitely been missing it lately, even though I like Kyoryuger just fine. So as soon as I found out the Go-Busters V-Cinema was subbed, you can bet I watched it immediately.
Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Returns vs. Dobutsu Sentai Go-Busters is fun, exciting and surprisingly full of heart. Certainly qualities the series had, but here, taken to outrageously hilarious heights.
It’s New Year’s Eve and the EMC is getting ready to celebrate when the alarm goes off. No Vaglass signature, but of course the Go-Busters head out to take care of the disturbance.
A powerful demon, Azazel, is laying waste to the city and damaging the Buster Machines so much, it forces the Go-Busters and Buddyroids to eject back onto the ground where they are killed.
Nick wakes up and finds himself in heaven where he meets God (who bears a striking resemblance to a familiar face). God tells him he’s the one millionth death of the year (with J, who is also in the room with them, being the 999,999,999th) and as a prize, can have one wish.
Nick decides to wish him, the Go-Busters and the Buddyroids be sent to a world where the events of Christmas 1999 never happened. Wish granted.
Nick wakes up to familiar surroundings, but quickly learns things are very different. He’s still Hiromu’s trusty bike, but his best bud is definitely not afraid of chickens anymore, nor is he the serious, anti-social warrior he’s come to know.
Instead, today is his first day as a teacher in training at an agriculture high school run by the Energy Management Center. This is where Nick watches Hiromu meet Yoko (a regular high school student), Ryuji (the P.E. teacher), Jin (the school handyman), Morishita and Nakamura (also teachers in training), Kuroki (the Vice Principal) and Usada and Gorisaki (regular ol’ laborroids) for the first time.
While J is his usual aloof, yet wise self, Nick decides to roll with the punches and tries adjusting to this Vaglass-free life. That is until the Machine Empire Mechalius, led by Machine Empress Transister, arrives to turn all animals to machines. Vice Principal Kuroki decides it is finally time to unleash his secret plan and recruits Hiromu, Yoko and Ryuji (with Jin and J) to become the Dōbutsu Sentai Go-Busters.
And so begins the wild ride as we speed through what is apparently 49 episodes of Dōbutsu Sentai Go-Busters where love blossoms, unfamiliar-colored Busters appear and the battle with Mechalius is taken to the victorious end.
But history seems to repeat itself and it is up to Nick and J to stop fate from ending their lives the same way they ended up here in the first place.
Go-Busters has been called many things and blamed for many things, but this V-Cinema is almost like an answer to any criticisms some might have had for the regular series while being a sweet treat for fans of the series and of the franchise as a whole.
Like Akibaranger is a love letter and grown-up parody of Super Sentai, Go-Busters is a love letter and more family friendly parody. It isn’t any less enjoyable though and in many ways may be more fun than the delusion-powered unofficial Sentai.
Everything about the Dōbutsu Go-Busters world plays up many Sentai tropes with familiar character archetypes, situations and overdramatic performances. And it’s all in good fun. Nick himself even points out much of craziness.
While the random hilarity of Kyoryuger has been nice and all, I think I’d much rather watch an entire, real, season of Dōbutsu Sentai Go-Busters.
But what may be the craziest part of the entire movie is that it surprisingly has a lot of heart. And especially for fans of Go-Busters, the ending and special little message after the credits should really hit close to home.
I definitely shed a tear when the Dōbutsu Go-Busters disappeared (and nobly accepted the fact that they’d cease to exist). But I was downright bawling at their little message at the end:
Thanks for watching till the end.
We did our best thanks to your support.
Don’t forget the Go-Busters.
Let’s meet again somewhere.
When a show like Super Sentai does things like this for movies or direct-to-DVD specials (go down the spoof/parody road), having an emotional connection to the regular series helps make the experience that much more enjoyable.
This movie, much more so than the last Sentai V-Cinemas (for Goseiger and Shinkenger, the only other ones I’ve seen), really makes one miss the original series. All the emotions from Go-Busters and its darker storyline come rushing back. But with the lighthearted take on the familiar characters, it really makes you reminisce fondly about the series, its cast, characters and story.
Overall, Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Returns vs. Dōbutsu Sentai Go-Busters is an excellent movie. Fun, hilarious, exciting and just emotional enough to maybe be one of the best Sentai movies in recent memory. (Mine, at least. =] )