Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chojin Sentai Jetman: How Can an Epilogue be so Awful?

Recently, I finished the 1991 Super Sentai installment, Chōjin Sentai Jetman (translated as "Winged Squadron Jetman" by the fansub group Grown Ups in Spandex). While I really can't say whether I agree with the "best Sentai ever" label that I've heard regarding Jetman, (due to lack of familiarity with Super Sentai) I can honestly say that the epilogue was far from good.

The epilogue does start off pretty well, and it makes up for a problem I had with some of the early-to-middle episodes, specifically that it felt like the writers forgot about Raita's childhood friend/girlfriend Satsuki, instead making him act like he had a crush on Kaori. Which just needlessly complicated the romance subplot with Gai, Kaori and Ryu. Seeing Satsuki again felt like they actually remembered Raita already had a perfectly serviceable love interest.

But, that brings us to the bad. Raita and Satsuki join Ako to attend Kaori's wedding. Kaori and Ryu's wedding, even though there was nothing to suggest she ever broke up with Gai. Yes, at first she was in love with Ryu, and suddenly started feeling that way towards Gai instead after he endangers himself trying to save her in episode 30. But it was never established that her feelings had changed yet again. It just suddenly happens, and we had to just accept that with no reason given.

(subtitles by GUIS)
"This man" being Ryu instead of Gai, despite the direction this subplot was taking

And what about Gai himself? He gets stabbed by a snatch thief on the way to the wedding. While he does make it there, he eventually dies on a bench when everybody else were having photos taken. It's a really, really terrible way to go out. But he does look genuinely happy about everything he's went through with the team, and saving the world together. A nice step up from somebody who was reluctant to even care. So why did he have to die like this? Couldn't the scene at least have played the death as something more tragic?

There might have been some intention to make his death somewhat ambiguous, as he looks almost like he just fell asleep, and it's not very clear how badly he was wounded, as there's no blood visible. But that almost feels like making light of it.

As for the wedding, the intention might have been to show how Ryu has finally gotten over losing Rie, after she spends most of the series as the Vyram commander Maria. But the fact that we never see Kaori and Gai's relationship actually ending, or Ryu ever having romantic interest in Kaori whatsoever prior to this just makes the already poorly-handled romantic plotline even worse.

All in all, I thought Jetman wasn't really that bad, with the romace subplot being one major exception (although I'm probably not a good judge of romance). Which makes this epilogue all the more jarring.

Chōjin Sentai Jetman (and Super Sentai in general) is © Toei.

(And in case anyone's wondering, no, I have not seen the Jetman tribute episode of Gokaiger. Or any episode of Gokaiger.)

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