Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Mission 1: Tokumei Sentai, Assemble! - Summary/Review

Hey, fans of Power Rangers Beast Morphers, fun fact, those suits and footage are from 2012. Yup, time to cover the secret agent/eco friendly energy themed season, Tokumei Sentai G-Busters which roughly translates to Special Operations Squadron Go-Busters. This is the famous season to have major references to Power Rangers and the first to have leather suits instead of spandex. (And only season to do that I think.) I have a lot of memories with this season so, let's take a trip back to it, click "read more" and find out how this season did.


The episode begins with a bunch of giant robots teleporting in and attacking a city.

They cause a lot of destruction and people scream. Eventually, they all begin moving in on a giant pointy building in the middle of the city that serves as the Go-Buster's Head Quarters.

They all blast and destroy this building that causes the whole city to be destroyed. Except not! This is all a fake out, a dream sequence as the episode cuts to Hiromu in his room. Hiromu is frozen in place after seeing a picture of a chicken in the news paper.

Our mighty red ranger, weakness of chickens.

Hiromu's motorcycle rolls in and comments on him being frozen and that he has somewhere to be. Cutting away, we get our first look at the other 2 Go-Busters as they appear to be on a special mission.

No matter the setting, character, or costume type, the female rangers must show off their legs. It is a golden, non-negotiable rule of Toei. 

These two are taking pictures spy style before they get a message on their wrist changers about an Enetron leakage and are sent to investigate. 

(Enetron is the name of this season's power supply that powers all the electricity of the city as well as the Go-Busters mecha. A plot line about a clean energy source inspired by protestors of nuclear energy. The bad guys are constantly trying to steal Enetron any way they can.)

We now get our first look at the people inside the Go-Busters HQ. The commander and the System Operator are shown in shadows at work stations, but we do get a clear image of the Blue and Yellow Buddyroids.

Gorisaki and Usada

That's most of the supporting cast.

The blue and yellow Go-Busters confirm the Enetron theft and go crashing through the building's window to intercept. Meanwhile, Hiromu snaps out of his freeze and his motorcycle turns into his Buddyroid, Nick, and gives him a suitcase with the Go-Busters logo on it.

This is a lot going on at once without explanation.

Back to the blue and yellow rangers, the fight has escalated to the use of guns so, the two of them morph.

Did you catch the Power Rangers reference? Amazingly, so far, this is the only season that doesn't use stock footage or a quick cutaway for the henshin sequences. They are all done live in the action. Bold move.

Blue and Yellow Buster make quick work of the robbers before exposing them as members of the Vaglass, the name of the villains.

This season's grunts/footsoldiers, the Buglars.

Cutting away, Hiromu opens the briefcase before a cut to the intro. 

Morphin Brace. Yes, this season is known for doing heavy Power Rangers references.

The theme song plays, but the intro does not. Instead, the episode continues on over the theme with Hiromu riding Nick in motorcycle form and the Blue and Yellow Buster fighting off the Vagless. But, there is still an opening and ending bumper. How productive.

One theme song montage later, Blue and Yellow Buster have cornered the final robber, but are caught off guard when he is shown to be quite strong.

This is one of the main villains. Enter. He often speaks in French and talks calm and polite with evil in his eyes.

The blue and yellow Go-Busters, who have finally been identified as Ryuji and Youko (also translated as Yoko) are warned by Enter of an upcoming "real show" by the Vaglass before he disappears. 

Cutting back to the Go-Busters HQ, it is estimated that enough Enetrons to power the city for a year have been stolen. A lady in the same uniform as the commander and System Operator enters the base but is not introduced yet.

Going back to Hiromu, he has pulled over and is prepare to talk to his big sister about him joining the Go-Busters. Nick warns him about speaking to her more properly but Hiromu insists how he speaks is fine. Then, they head towards the hospital to visit said big sister with Hiromu going the opposite directions Nick says. (This scene is just done to show Hiromu's character quirk about talking too straightforward and blunt and Nick having no sense of directions.)

Elsewhere, Enter uses a laptop to go contact the enemy leader, Messiah. 

There is a rumor that this main villain was inspired by the main villain from Power Rangers RPM because of their similar natures of basically being a computer virus. I have no way of confirming that though.

There conversation tells us that the Vaglass have been in preparation for 13 years and the basic world domination plot. After their talk ends, we get to see how Enter makes the Monsters of the week. He connects his laptop to any object and installs a program using what sound like metal cards.

The first Metaroid, Shovelroid. Expect a lot of roids in this season.

That is not all that is revealed. This is a season that does not make the monster of the week grow but instead has a separate threat for the giant battles. In this case, they are called Megazords. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with Power Rangers will get that reference. 

The Vaglass dimension.

Transitioning back to the Go-Busters HQ, our 3rd and final member of the supporting characters is introduced.

Nakamura barely gets to begin her story before the alarm goes off and Youko and Ryuji rush in. The two Go-Busters rush into battle with a little exposition given to them. Basically, whatever happened 13 years prior gave them powers and also allows them to become Go-Busters. While the fighting happens, Nakamura picks up the transfer of the enemy Megazord and that it will arrive in 3 and a half minutes. Now, the episode does a live countdown.

I really do prefer when the giant battles are a separate threat instead of making the Monster of the Week grow. Moments like this are just one of the benefits.

Nobody feels confident that Ryuji and Youko can defeat Shovelroid in time, so the question about the 3rd Go-Buster comes up. A very quick flashback sums up the issue Hiromu foreshadowed with his big sister.

That child actor looks so dead inside.

The clock ticks and the fight rages on with the Metaroid putting up too much of a struggle for a quick victory. Ryuji believes Red Buster to be their best hope but Youko has no faith in a rookie. As the timer drops below 2 minutes, we cut to Hiromu visiting his sister in the hospital who is their due to fatigue. Hiromu cuts right to the chase and states that he had decided 13 years ago that he will fight and not run away to prevent another tragedy. (We learn here that these two lost their parents in this event 13 years ago.) 

Hirmou's sister is not happy but his mind is made up and he leaves the hospital to join the fight. Time has run out and the Megazord appears with Shovelroid still not defeated. 

While not the same being as the monster of the week, these Megazords are their offspring and will have similar weapons. A fair compromise.

This Megazord is headed for an Enetron tank. Messiah wants to enter the human world from his dimension and requires a massive amount of Enetrons to do so. Meaning, this season will feature a constant struggle for this energy source. Have at that environmentalists.

Just as the Enetron Tank takes great damage, Hiromu messages in and requests Buster Vehicle CB-01 in order to face off against the Megazord. His request is agreed, and now it is launching time.

Hiromu drives past the fight with Shovelroid and gives him a few mid-air blasts from his motorcycle before racing off to enter his Buster Vehicle. He enters the giant car that then grows a head and a couple guns on the sides. A few shots are fired at the Megazord before the Buster Vehicle transforms into its CB-01 Ace form.

Special note, this is the first time in 9 years that the Red Ranger got a solo Super Robo/Megazord.

Now, let's take a break from the episode. Since the whole team is here let us do the Ranger Roll Call.

Hiromu Sakurada - Red Buster. Special power is super speed that almost looks like teleporting and weakness is chickens; seeing one makes him freeze and hearing the word "chicken" makes him unstable. He is cocky and very blunt, often coming off as rude because he does not know how to filter his words. A loner most of the time with poor people skills and 20 years old. His buddyroid is Cheeda Nick.

Cheeda Nick, the red Buddyroid. An optimistic and a big brother figure for Hiromu who trained him when his sister would not let him join the Go-Busters training program. Can transform into a motorcycle and has no sense of directions.

Ryuji Iwasaki - Blue Buster. The calm and wise member of the group who acts the most professional and tries to be the peacekeeper. As well as the oldest at 28 years old. Special power is super strength and weakness is overheating. When overheating, he will lose his cool, act like a jerk and go into berserk mode where he is a better, yet more brutal fighter before passing out from the heat. Gets annoyed when referred to as the "father" of the group because he believes he is only old enough to be the "big brother". Buddyroid is Gorisaki Banana

Gorisaki Banana, the blue buddyroid. A mechanic and the one who always panics and apologizes. He is constantly stressed over his concerned for Ryuji due to his weakness. His face is a steering wheel and a running gag is that when worried, his face wheel will spin around as if he is going into a panic.

Youko Usami - Yellow Buster. The only female Go-Buster and the youngest of the group at 16 to 17 years old. Special power is a super jump and weakness is she will lose all her strength if she stops eating candy or similar sweets. (A Paul Blart.) A bit stubborn and childish who often speaks without thinking but has a good heart and is fearless in battle. Has a dislike for Hiromu and calls him a "siscon" because of his overprotective older sister but they gradually get along. Her Buddyroid is Usada Lettuce.

Usada Lettuce, the yellow buddyroid. Always has great faith and overestimates Yoko. Can be rude and often insults others. He works as a data manager while at the base. A running joke with Usada is that he will say "roger rabbit" when everyone else just says "roger". (Possibly a reference to the cartoon, or just a coincidence.) 

For now. Back to the episode.

The battle is now shifting back and forth between Hiromu's giant fight and the other two's battle on the ground with Shovelroid. Hiromu has a slow motion fight that relies too heavily on bad CG; he is winning and catches a building that is falling after taking one of the Megazord's shots. Feeling inspired, Ryuji and Youko put more spirit into their fight and the tide turns in their favor.  

Eventually, Nick is able to find the Megazord's weak point and Hiromu turns his mecha into a Cheetah in order to close the gap. Ultimately, both fights end at the same time with two finishing blows.

It's time for Busters

Both enemies go boom and the Go-Busters give their first "shutdown complete." Before the episode ends, we get one more reference to Power Rangers.

Yes, these helmetless scenes were something that Power Rangers did before Super Sentai.

Hiromu vows to win and the episode ends.

Final Thoughts

This episode was pretty good and takes a less traditional route. There is no recruitment, besides a couple brief flashbacks, and the whole setting has been established prior to the events of this first episode. What stands out the most are the obvious references to Power Rangers, not sure why they chose this season to do that. However, a couple other traditions were broken. Small ones, this is the only time I have seen leather suits instead of spandex and their is not morphing sequence, the henshin will have no cutaways this season. 

The episode as a whole, did not strictly do anything wrong, but felt underwhelming. Everything was introduced to be part of a bigger story down the line and I really don't have many major complaints, but nothing really grabbed me. Despite breaking some traditions, this episode still felt like is was going down a check-list and non of the characters had many stand-out moments. Hiromu's mid-air motorcycle blast was pretty cool, but everything else kind of blurred together. Regardless of this feeling, from a critical stand point it is a good episode. Acting was well done, action was kept up and enjoyable, and I do like the concept of the giant battles being against a separate threat. Overall, I would recommend checking it out if you are a fan of the designs at least.  4/5

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