We’ve finally gotten our first look at Kyoryuger through a promo aired at the end of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters episode 45 and it was pretty cool. Although I never had this great disdain for the suits, there were certain qualities about them that bugged me, but that’s all gone away right now after watching the trailer. I can safely say that, with Koichi Sakamoto as director and Hirofumi Fukuzawa as action director, we’re in for a visual feast with Kyoryuger. The suits are so striking and visually appealing, thanks in large part to Sentai’s tendency to stray away from asymmetrical suit designs, I can’t wait to see them in action during a full episode.
Information on the cast has trickled out slowly over the last week or so and it’s interesting how everything works like clockwork. You can almost always expect the first look at the suits to come during the first Thursday in December, a promo during the 45th episode of the current Sentai, and the cast sheet around New Years. While there are changes to this schedule every now and then, they’re very few and far between.
With as much routine that goes into this, it never does get old. We’re always excited to see a new Sentai suit design, as well as weapons and toys. We’re always excited to see what the staff is going to be like. Ranging from producers to suit actors, a lot of people work on Sentai and there’s a strong history to the work they’ve done. Even though you might have seen something they’ve worked on a couple of times in the past, a new Sentai always carries that feeling of stepping into the unknown, and it’s pretty adventurous.
Every year I look forward to the trickle of information regarding the new Sentai, it’d almost a tradition at this point. It’s what I love so much about being a Sentai and Kamen Rider fan. Perhaps I don’t particularly enjoy one series, but I enjoy everything that leads up to it. I enjoy the fanfare that goes with finding out who the writer or director is going to be. More than anything, I enjoy the fanfare of finding out who the cast is going to be. It’s not because they’re actors I might have seen before, that’s very rare with Sentai. This franchise is the stepping stone for a lot of the new actors, but it’s what that represents that I find most appealing.
Sentai’s formula has allowed it to stay relevant almost throughout the entirety of its long life. The formula of regeneration lets Sentai swap out ideas and try new things out. We’re able to see stories that resonate with the current generation of Japanese kids, we’re able to see what the writers and producers and directors think is relevant to the modern generation. Even with a massive failure like Go-Busters, we can’t help but be curious about what the future holds.
With Sentai, we’re taking time out of the year, every year, to get exciting about something new. We’ll eventually grow complacent with the new show, but in the few months leading up to its premiere, and even its first handful of episodes, there’s this awesome sense of unknown adventure. Who are these guys? Why do they deserve to replace the guys we’ve followed for the last year? It’s one of those things that makes or breaks a Sentai for a lot of people and, whether or not you’re always satisfied with the answer you get, the journey leading up to it is fun, and it’s one you can expect to go on every year.
It’s even more interesting being a Sentai fan in the modern era. I’ve been part of this online fandom since 2004 and never has Sentai felt so willing to change than at this very moment. It’s no secret that the last few shows haven’t been great for Sentai in one way or another and we’ve entered this transitional period because of that. We’re very much seeing a second occurance of the Sentai reinvention that went on during the early 90s and late 80s. Traditional staff members are being sent to the wayside in order to allow new people with perhaps a fresh perspective into the captain’s seat. It can be said that the last few shows, especially Go-Busters, haven’t been relevant, and that’s one of the keys to a Sentai’s success. Toei’s looking for something that identifies with its core audiences yet again. So we’re not just looking forward to a new show, it’s really an entirely new era, filled with creative minds who have never had any large input into Sentai. It’s exciting stuff.
Basically, I love being a Sentai fan.