Monday, January 27, 2020

ChouSeiShin GranSazer Episode 1: Awaken! The Warrior of the Stars - Summary/Review

Wow! Tokusatsu that isn't by Toei? Nope. Back in 2003 the creators of Godzilla, Toho, attempted to get into the Super Hero Tokusatsu scene to compete with Toei's Super Sentai and Kamen Rider success. Thus, the Chouseishin franchise was born. This is the first incarnation, Gransazer. I have no idea what to expect so, let's click "read more" and find out what this series has in store.


The episode begins with a narrator giving the audience the setting. Several hundred million years ago, Earth and the civilization were far more advanced than now. In this advanced society, they have flying cars and ChouSeiShin areproduced. So, a futuristic setting that takes place in the distant past? 

ChouSeiShin are basically giant robots. I guess as advanced as they were, this Earth was still obsessed with militarization. Kind of reminds me of Gundam.

After a calm yet enjoyable intro, things take a turn for the worst. The announcer goes on to explain that Aliens attacked ancient Earth because they feared their advancements. This announcer speaks so calmly about this topic.

Every ChoSeiShin was deployed in order to fight back, but the attack was just too much. The Space Alliance believed the ChoSeiShin to be a threat to peace, so all of Earth was wiped out.

That's one heck of a backstory for the villains. They killed old Earth for the sake of universal peace. 

Now, we are finally back to present day, the 21st century, where the Alien threat is nearing Earth once again. 

How could they know about an Alien attack from millions of years ago that had no survivors? Also, why would these Aliens remember such a long time ago and why did they wait this long to strike again? 

The narrator has stopped and we now begin to follow a motorcycle delivery guy from Jet Delivery.

He looks like a main character.

After a series of comedic deliveries, this delivery man almost gets run over by a truck going the wrong way on a one way street. He somehow gets his motorcycle to jump clean over the truck and the two guys in the truck come out looking for a fight.

These thugs look corny and the fight is equally as corny complete with cartoony sound effects. The two thugs get beat up and one is pushed in front of another car that slams its breaks before hitting him. From this new vehicle, a women comes out and slaps the delivery guy for almost causing an accident. This women and the delivery guy get into an argument before another man from the new vehicle comes out and breaks them up before our delivery guy rushes off to finish his delivery. Old man also reveals the womans name as Mika. From here the episode follows these two.

Doesn't take a genius to guess that these two people our protagonist ran into randomly are going to play a role in the story later. Still, I wish they would have given the delivery guy a name already. He is obviously a main character.

The old man and women drive into a secured area where a bunch of news reporters and journalists are waiting to ambush there car. One of the reporters calls the old man Professor Horiguchi. He has apparently discovered a large object that is connected to the ancient Earth mentioned in the intro and it is now one big archaeologist dig. I guess if Dinosaur bones can be found then anything is possible.

This looks real. Did they actually dig up an area just for the shoot?

The dig goes on until they find something.

It's a ChouSeiShin buried

Professor Horiguchi appears excited to find whatever this is, but tells Mika to tell the journalists that the excavation was a failure. He is obviously trying to hide something. 

Cutting back to the delivery guy, some suspicious man in a suit named Misonogi give him a small metal case to deliver to the same excavation site with a small time frame. He makes it to the secured gate, but Mika takes the package from him and kicks him out cold when he tries to protest. Harsh.

Inside this package appears to be a cell phone and is getting a call from Misonogi. This is a special cell phone with a unique signal that cannot be intercepted. Misonogi warns Horiguchi that other people are interested in reviving the ChouSeiShin and he should be careful. After the call, the Professor tells Mika that Misonogi is their sponsor and his support is what made finding this ChouSeiShin possible and cracking the mystery of the GranSazers. A new plot point has appeared!

Later that night, the delivery guy wakes up in a bush where Mika's little brother Shidou Ken is waiting for him to get up. It's implied he was just staring at him while unconscious. Ken tells the delivery guy that is sister is an experienced martial artist and offers to help this guy meet the professor so he can sign for his package. The guy is really devoted to his delivery job. Also, I can't believe the guards just left him unconscious over the gate.

Just as they reach the professors' tent, Ken and the delivery guy spot an intruder.

That stare though.

Now, alarms are raised and everyone is on high alert looking for the intruder. This intruder is quickly caught by security, but the back of his hand starts to glow and he henshins into something.

This blue form is the first shown GranSazer. He uses a tornado attack that blows away all the security guards and destroys some of the digging equipment. Just as this happens, the delivery guys' hand starts to glow similarly.

This blue GranSazer's radar thing starts to go off indicating another GranSazer is nearby. Yeah, that twist wasn't obvious. The blue GranSazer instantly finds the delivery guy, knocks him out with a punch to the gut, and carries him off by jumping up the cliff. Poor guy. Knocked out twice in one delivery.

Ken tells Mika and Professor Horiguchi what happened who then calls Misonogi to confirm this delivery guy is another GranSazer and states that 3 have appeared. Guess who the third is. Misonogi looks at the postage to see the delivery guys' name.

Finally! Only 16 and a half minutes in.

The next morning, Mika offers to investigate if Tenma really is a GranSazer because she didn't react to him. Yup, she is also a GranSazer and apparently doesn't like Ken seeing her other form. Why? We get to see the first proper henshin sequence.

Kind of gives me Sailor Moon vibes but not bad. Wait, she is red?

Tenma wakes up in his captive's hideout. There are 3 people including the one who kidnapped him and one is a women they call Professor. They all talk about how Tenma hasn't fully awoken as a GranSazer but the blue one can scenes his aura. Tenma doesn't understand what they are talking about, but says he could never join a group of weirdos like them and storms off. One of the members, Ryouko is sent after him by their professor to investigate. By investigate, she apparently meant attack him.

Everyone in this group wears black leather.

Ryouko knocks Tenma back with some areal kicks and then has another surprise.

I guess this means there will be different groups of GranSazers. That's a cool concept.

Ryouko throws Tenma around the room with telekinesis. Tenma gets enraged to a breaking point that forces his awakening.

Tenma rushes over and punches Ryouko which sends her flying through the wall.

Seems like it would be a cool moment but they ruined it. This image was frozen on and the camra slowly rotated around with no sound. Talk about a cheesy effect.

Tenma is confused but chases after Ryouko in an angry rage. Based on this event, this gangs professor states that Tenma is a Flame Warrior that cannot be their ally and must be eliminated. Well, that is just discriminatory towards the flame people.

Mika arrives at the scene just in time to see Tenma racing off and confirms that he is a GranSazer. The End!

Final Thoughts

This episode wasn't bad and an interesting take on the Super Hero Tokusatsu franchise. It's actually a breath of fresh air to see a henshin hero series try to take itself more seriously and this feels much less like a kids show than Super Sentai or Kamen Rider. Although it would be hard to show those suits and not have them be called a Power Ranger clone. Acting was good and every character, while feeling anime, is likable and has plenty of room for good story telling. However, easily the biggest problem is the fight scenes. Not only was this some of the most basic choreographing that I've ever seen, (to the point where it felt like it was ripped from a cheesy B Kung Fu film), but the inclusion of wacky sounding sound effects and silent freeze frames really makes it hard to take seriously. Sadly, I can tell that is a problem that won't go away this season. Despite that, I'm intrigued enough to continue watching and I would recommend this show to any Super Sentai/Power Ranger fan that is looking for a change of pace. 3.5/5

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