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Super Sentai Review: Chojin Sentai Jetman

Wait... is that Gatchaman? No it's Jetman!

Well it's my first time to give a series review for this blog. After I was inspired by a blogger buddy who calls himself Sentai Bandicoot (formerly known as the Fantasy Leader) who wrote his Gingaman review on Herotaku, I felt like "responding" to him by writing on my favorite Super Sentai, Chojin Sentai Jetman in this blog. But remember, I am just a guest writer here and a passing through Super Sentai fan.

As a show, Chojin Sentai Jetman was under the production of Takeyuki Suzuki who served as the chief producer all the way from Goggle V up to Dairanger. Toshiki Inoue who had given Super Sentai fans a sample of his work (and I only knew his name three years after I saw Jetman's finale) got his first headwriting job. The other writers were Naruhisa Arakawa, Kenichi Araki, Hiroyuki Kawasaki, Kunio Fuji, Asami Watanabe and Takahiko Masuda.

When I thought of the show, it was entirely what I'd call pretty much of of a live action Gatchaman, but back then I only saw G-Force on ABC-5 (the same station I would also watch Jetman from start to end) and I would only see the Gatchaman Trilogy years later either on Youtube or some other social media site. It would be years later I would learn that their mentor Aya Odagiri was not based on Dr. Nambu but on Gatchaman II's character Sylvie Pandora, a female commander who came to assist the Gatchaman team in their continued struggle against Gallactor. Even the mecha itself is somewhat Gatchaman-inspired like the Ikarus Haken resembles the God Phoenix II of Gatchaman II but the fact it's assembled from five vehicles like the Gatchaspartan from Gatchaman Fighter.

I would still remember how catchy Jetman's music was especially with Hironobu Kageyama singing the opening and ending songs. I remembered the time I would be singing "Jetto-jetto-Jettoman" to inspire me to get over my difficulties. The closing song, "Kokoro Wa Tamago" which means "The Heart is an Egg" was also a pretty nice song for me which fits the love story of Ryu and Rie. I always found some degree of comfort in the songs of Jetman. The background music composed by Kazz Toyama was also pretty nice though I haven't been too familiar with him. Sideline, I also like the song "Honoo no Condor" by Toshihide Wakamatsu who played as Gai Yuki in the series.

The way Jetman was written felt like some kind of "let's try something new" especially with how the heroes were gathered. The whole cast involved Ryu Tendo and Rie Aoi who were supposed to be the first two members of Chojin Sentai Jetman. However the whole attack led by Count Radiguet on the Skybase stopped the team from forming. But not really as destiny would choose four other warriors namely a lone wolf known as Gai Yuki (the closest thing we have to a live version of Joe the Condor from Gatchaman), Raita Ooshi (strangely his Gatchaman counterpart was named... RYU), a rich girl looking for meaning in life named Kaori Rokumeikan and the feisty high school student Ako Hayasaka. It's not your typical way of gathering the team is it but it's got shades of Bioman in it.

The Jetmen team were focused on what I'd call the flaws of humanity and their character development from each and every member. Ryu himself appears as the professional soldier, he was very preachy about it and yet in the later part of the show, we see him trying to escape reality. Gai originally wanted to leave the Jetman team but his fateful encounter with Ryu developed him as a character - he would even bring a deluded Ryu back to reality. Raita was shown to be a farmer who was shocked at what fate had in store for him and accept it. Kaori was that rich girl who almost knew nothing about life, she was pre-arranged to marry such an arrogant wealthy man, she was so sheltered but her experience with the Jetmen helped her see what life was really about. Ako was that just that money hungry high school student who during her first battle learned there's more to life than just getting rich.

When it came to the mess of Ryu, Gai and Kaori I felt like it explored some internal conflict at another level. Some criticize it for being unnecessary but as a sucker for romance stories or unrequited love scenarios, I thought it was a nice addition to the series. For Gai, he fell for Kaori at first slap which is he felt challenged but later, it's revealed that he really had have genuine feelings for her and truly liked her for who she was. Not soon enough, I thought that Gai and Kaori would have been a better couple considering that aside from his rivalry with Ryu, Kaori brought the better man out of him. It was just that they were vastly too different that had Gai break up with Kaori but still remaining friends after that. As for Ryu, I also thought that he was always hiding about his supposedly dead girlfriend from everyone which also led to some problems. Meanwhile, the show just kept showing foreshadows that Ryu and Kaori would eventually come a couple for more than one occasion.

The Vyram itself is a war dimension party that has been conquering one dimension after the other and they have moved to our dimension. Unlike the previous enemy organizations from other Super Sentai series, the Vyram's members were competing for overall leadership with Back Dimension Count Radiguet as the de-facto leader, considering he's really got the highest rank. However with their leader Empress Juuza missing only to return for two episodes, then gone for good, they all bid for the throne. It's some kind of lethal game of life and death that they play. Radiguet only serves as a de-facto leader because he's the most powerful Vyram officer of the group. Meanwhile, Gure and Maria would end up competing against Radiguet and Tran as a team with an unusual relationship.

If anybody in the Vyram really had some shades of Gatchaman, it was Radiguet himself. At first, I thought he was based on that comedic Berg Katse but far from it, he's most likely based on Count Egobossler from Gatchaman Fighter. Both villains were sever backstabbers who would grab the opportunity to seize power. In Gatchaman Fighter, Count Egobossler was the epitome of humans are bastards. In Jetman, Radiguet's justification for his hatred against humanity is namely humans are bastards, but again he isn't any better with what he has been. Whenever somebody was above that that vile piece of scum, he wouldn't hesitate to plot something against them. He may fail at first but one way or another, he always finds a way to succeed with a deadly combination of insanity, cruelty, scheming and cunning behavior. I always felt that he's one of my favorite villains, if not my top favorite villain of all time in the Super Sentai franchise. I would also credit the actor himself Daisuke Tachi for making Radiguet so scary that too bad, he never acted as Lt. Col. Shadam in Dairanger.

The Vyram also got dragged into the messy love polygon because of Maria's role in the story. What does Maria have to do with the love polygon you may ask? Unknown to all, she's actually Ryu's supposedly dead girlfriend Rie. Hint after hint showed that Maria was really Rie and why Radiguet spared her or even had feelings of lust for her is unexplained. Ryu at first is unaware that his girlfriend has become Maria, he is loving a shadow and the plot gets more complicated because aside from the fact that Gai likes Kaori but Kaori likes Ryu but Ryu likes Rie, we have two Vyram officers involved as well. Gure the least evil of the Vyram has feelings for Maria but he is willing to let her go, something I find unusual in Super Sentai villains. Meanwhile, Radiguet is very possessive of Maria which I felt was weird considering he hates humans, I felt like he also shared that trait with Kiros namely liking the main hero's woman. Kiros lusted after Ial and apparently, Radiguet lusts after Maria though some might think he just thought of her as a weapon that should only belong to him. When Ryu learned that Maria and Rie were just one person, it placed him in a horrible predicament that Gai would snap him out of it.

Later, the conflict would also escalate when Tran the youngest of the group forces himself to grow up into an adult. Tran no longer a child, renames himself as the new de-facto leader Emperor Tranza where he practically got even with his bullies. I always felt that the character also had some symbolism related to the character like how Tranza started off glorious but fell down in total wreck. As Radiguet would call him, he was a shooting star destined to fall down.

Closing statement

Jetman itself felt like it was a pretty popular show during its run resulting in the "I really love Jetman!" trend. I later realized from other fans and critics alike that there are those who also hate it, saying it's just overrated and they don't see the good in it. In other words, critics tend not to have any more middle ground when it comes to this show. I've observed some critics who have also called Toshiki Inoue as the Frank Miller of Tokusatsu. The criticism goes that for the good he did, he got so bad that he undid himself. Apparently, Inoue really has some unfair hatred not knowing why he also had some lackluster works that is either he burnt out beyond belief or he simply gave up writing a good story. Sad to say but even the good he did tends to be muddled up with the bad he did which is what I'd call unfair criticism.

While I wouldn't consider Jetman as the best show ever, the reasons why I would like it as my top favorite Super Sentai are mostly very personal. The reason was because I could relate to the characters to a certain extent, some people in my life would remind me of so and so in the series. So even if I think Hikari Sentai Maskman and Gosei Sentai Dairanger are better masterpieces, Jetman will most likely and may always have that top one spot in my heart.

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3 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    This show was the biggest disappointment,it was so boring and lame. So overrated.

  2. First you dissing Toqger and Ninninger as crap and a disappointment.

    And then you dissing Dairanger and Kakuranger for being lame and boring. Now you're dissing Jetman for the same excuses.

    I need to ask you some questions, if all of the show you're mention doesn't satisfy you a lot, then what's your favorite Sentai? Or you just be a troll dissing everything in it?

    Don't understand with your logic, my friend. Really.

  3. Daggy Says:

    Sentai is clearly not for him I guess. - Buy Video Games for Consoles and PC - From Japan, Korea and other Regions
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