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It’s No Longer Time For Buster: A Look Back At Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters

February 9, 2013

After today, there will be no more new episodes of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. Sure, there’s Super Hero Taisen Z, The V-Cinema Movie, and the eventual team-up movie with the Kyoryuger that will come as the Kyoryuger get ready to finish their series. Not to mention we still haven’t seen the Go-Busters vs Gokaiger movie (unless you live in Japan). But as for seeing the Go-Busters every week, that’s over. It is inevitable when it comes these kinds of shows. After all, there needs to be a toyline every year, and it’s always good to be introduced to new characters, storylines and ideas. Not to mention following Power Rangers Megaforce/Super Megaforce, we need to move on to the 2015 Power Rangers Team, which we’re all but certain will adapt Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. (No, I’m not here to speculate how it will be adapted.)

But if anyone of you are followed to me on twitter, you know that I love Go-Busters. I loved the beginning of the series, thought it got a little weaker in the second quarter, and then the second half of the show (starting from when Kamen Rider Wizard began) is where the show truly became awesome. Go-Busters is the second Super Sentai I followed on a weekly basis, and out of the Super Sentai shows I’ve watched so far, it is in my top 3 favorites. Did it have its flaws? Of course, what show doesn’t? Were some characters weaker than others? Yes. But Go-Busters had a certain charm to it, one that kept me interested in the show since its first episode. After Gokaiger, I was expecting a show that took some new risks, and felt like a new take on the Super Sentai formula. I feel that Go-Busters didn’t just succeed in doing this, it blew my expectations away.

So in honor of the end of Go-Busters, I’d like to pay tribute to this wonderful show and its characters by saying my thoughts on them. This post is being written without watching the final episode, so no finale spoilers here. Let’s take a look at what made this show awesome to me.

It’s time for final buster.

For the most part, I’ll be putting my thoughts on the characters here. That being said, there are quite a few other elements that make this show awesome. I personally loved the costumes for Go-Busters (although Yoko’s helmet had to grow on me. Wasn’t a big fan of her helmet at first.) They were very original and showed a willingness to take risks with the costume like Hurricanger and Gekiranger did, but even more so by eliminating spandex from the costumes. The action scenes had a very interesting style to them, and incorporated a number of interesting ideas. Instead of having monsters grow, Megazords were summoned and had an attribute from the MotW, and in the beginning of the series the Megazord battles had a new interesting consequence: If they were to capture Enetron (the energy running the city) they could potentially summon more Megazords or give their leader enough power to come back to Earth and take it over. New ideas and situations were added constantly. And the threat always seemed to be rising. Go-Busters, in a way, always felt like a spiritual successor to Gokaiger, in the sense that the Gokaiger were always trying to do their own thing and not fight in the way their predecessors did. In a spiritual sense, I always felt the Go-Busters took that concept up a notch. It felt like a new era of Super Sentai to me, and that’s what hooked me onto the show.

But it couldn’t succeed without an interesting cast. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

Hiromu (Red Buster)


Hiromu is one of my favorite characters in Go-Busters, and has been since the first episode. He’s a character who’s smart and is a firm leader, but at the same time can be understanding. In a sense, he’s like the best of both worlds when it comes to red rangers. His character development comes in different ways, such as learning not to be so blunt about things. He also had to confront his fears when it came to chickens, as well as whether or not he could keep his promise to protect others and be the person his parents hoped he would be. His determination and spirit give him some of the best moments on the show. He will do anything and everything to get the job done, which also leads to one other character development that lasts through the second half of the series, that the other characters don’t want him to just sacrifice himself and disappear. They want him to have a future as well. Hiromu was one of the best characters on the show, with the exception of one other character. And in my opinion, is a shining example of a true Red Ranger.

Ryuji

While not the strongest character on the show, Ryuji did have his own charm and character developments. He started off as a father figure/mediator to Hiromu and Yoko, feeling it was his responsibility to solve disputes and take care of the others. He was the only character who wasn’t a child when the incident at Christmas 13/14 years ago occurred, and had to give up on some of his dreams in order to help fight the enemy. As Jin starts appearing on his show (Jin was Ryuji’s former teacher) , he started challenging Ryuji to think about his future. This is the point where Ryuji truly starts doing self-reflection and starts to grow as a character. I think that’s one of the big themes of the show, one of which (at least from the Super Sentai series I’ve watched) hasn’t been addressed that much in Super Sentai shows. What future do each of these characters have? This crisis caused two of the characters to lose their childhoods and become radically different people than they could have been if this story didn’t happen. Ryuji was forced to give up everything he wanted to be. So now, as we approach the end of the show, it will be interesting to see the resolution to this character. What is Ryuji’s future? Will he be the next Jin? That, along with the emotional support he brings to show, makes him a rather interesting character in my book.

Yoko

Yoko was a hit or miss character to some people. And I get the reason why this was the case. In the beginning she acted too rash and hostile towards Hiromou. She was sometimes conveyed as not exactly the brightest character of the bunch. Some people thought she was annoying. Valid criticisms and I won’t argue with them. That being said, I liked her character. She was the little sister of the group, and honestly, she was the one most affected by the incident 13 years ago at Christmas. Yoko didn’t have a sister like Hiromu (to my knowledge) who lead her away following the crisis. Her mother, the only family she had, disappeared in the incident. Unlike Ryuji, she didn’t grow up and have a life outside of fighting and training. Ryuji had to act as her older brother/parent, as did some of the other characters on the show. That’s a lot to put on a young child, and who knows what kind of person Yoko could have turned out to be if none of this happened. Maybe she could have been raised to take more of an interest in her studies. I think that’s what makes Yoko a fascinating character. Just how much she was affected by the events of the story, and how much she has to evolve to become her own person. Similar to Hiromu and Ryuji, she too has to come to terms with what kind of future she’ll have when this is all over. She’s never been given that chance to think about a future outside of conflict, something that both Hiromu and Ryuji were at least given the chance to do. Yes, she has her flaws, but she can be a very interesting character when you look past them.

Masato Jin and J

Let me state this right now, I was very afraid that Go-Busters was going to pull a “The 6th Ranger is a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, and we have to go through a whole period of showing how he stops being a jerk.” It’s not that I hate those kind of 6th rangers, but I feel like there’s other ways to portray conflict/separation between the main hero and the new guys who come half way through the show (Hi Kamen Rider Beast!). I usually prefer 6th rangers who find a way to integrate themselves into the group right away, and both grow and develop the main stars through their actions (and through these events, slowly grow their own character). Masato and J were the perfect “6th” rangers for the Go-Busters in this sense. They acted both as mentors, as well as show-offs with an ego. And I loved every second these guys were on the screen. Jin was the perfect “Mentor” character who both understood that he needed to push these characters to be stronger physically, while also helping them to address things the characters didn’t want to. Like the person Ryuji wanted to be. Getting Hiromu to lighten up at times. He also at times was a connection to the past for Yoko that helped her know more about her mother, something that helped develop her character. He also believed flaws and quirks truly make something special, hence why J acted the way he did (although J seemed to take Jin’s cockiness to the next level, and in some ways was very similar to him.) J, besides being an awesome comic relief character, also had some developments. He got to discover what made this world truly special through nature, and wanted Jin to survive that way he could be there with him as he discovered more about the earth. Once again, the theme of the future comes in. And personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the finale with Masato and J.

Side Characters: Energy Management Team

We had a good team of side characters in this show as well. The Commander had some interesting development, going from his willingness to have the team do whatever is necessary to defeat the enemy, to showing guilt about what happened to their parents and being worried about the Go-buster’s future. He was also a nice comic relief at times as well (and when he was, he got quite a few laughs out of me.) Nakamura started off as a new member of the command assistance team, acting as the character who asked some of the questions we were wondering about the team when the show began. She was shy and quiet, but eventually grew to be a strong and important character on the show. Morishita was the other member of the command assistance team, who did get an episode or two to shine, but I felt was probably the side character with the weakest development. But still, he did feel like an important part of the show.

Side Characters: Buddyroids

The buddyroids in the beginning were not my favorite part of the show. Nick was ok, and felt like he had character, but Gorisaki and Usada weren’t exactly my favorite characters. However, they did become essential in developing the main cast, as well as had character development of their own. Nick was one of the few that helped raised Hiromou and understood him very well. He has always wanted to feel useful and belong in both Hiromu’s family and the group, and was developed very well over time. He is my favorite buddyroid of the three. Gorisaki had to have development by trying to form a connection with Ryuji, since he was the only buddyroid who didn’t play a part in raising a Go-buster since childhood. He eventually got Ryuji to open up about his fears and concerns, while learning to be braver. He was a very kind soul, and a nice side character. Usada was the weakest buddyroid character in my opinion. He could be annoying and cocky at times (and not in the good way like Jin and J were). He helped raise Yoko and played a part this season in helping her character develop, which was good. Still, I didn’t feel like there was much character development on his end, at least at the scale Gorisaki and Nick had. Still, he was ok.

Enter

I would be a fool to not talk about Enter in this post. Enter is the best character in Go-Busters. He is an awesome villain, received fantastic character development, and is a perfect foil to Hiromu. He was just 20 different levels of awesome. Starting as the loyal servent of Messiah (who was the only villain on the show who wasn’t interesting…), from day 1 he was awesome. He showed that he was smart, cunning and resourceful. He came up with new strategies and plans to counter the go-busters that were quite brilliant. Towards the second half of the show, many of his plans succeeded. After the way his master treated him, following the first time Messiah was destroyed, he successfully took power as the main villain of the Vargas and had a plan to become the ultimate human using data collected from people and Hiromu himself. Enter was awesome, and one of the best Super Sentai villains I’ve ever seen.

Escape


Escape is a villain who was awesome, but there was much, much more that could have been done with her. In the beginning, she lacked some of the personality Enter had, with the only key thing that made her stand out from Enter her rivalry with Ryuji. But as the second half of Go-Busters came around, she started getting an interesting character development plot. She started showing signs of humanity in just how loyal she was to her “father”. She showed her kindness towards some of the Messiahroids. She was still evil, but you could find some ways to sympathize with her when Enter showed signs of trying to take the reigns away from Messiah. And then there were the episodes after Christmas. Escape truly died in the christmas special, but the copies Enter was bringing back were lacking the memories of the entire show, and slowly became messed up. Instead of wanting to see her defeated, you felt sorry for these lifeless copies, and just wanted her pain to end. I feel like so much more could have been done with Escape, and it is a shame it wasn’t done. Still, she was a cool villain, and a good addition to the show.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to miss Go-Busters. While it will probably be a little easier to move on from a toku show I watched week after week after going through the end of OOO, Fourze, and Gokaiger, it’s still going to be a shame to not have Go-busters on every week. I loved this show. I loved the characters, the plot and everything that made it special. Go-busters was a fantastic series, and while not everyone cared for it, (and it’s true it had its weak points), I for one will consider it to be one of my favorite Super Sentai series for a long time to come. It was the perfect follow-up series to an anniversary series, and quite frankly, I couldn’t ask for anything better. Go-busters, you will be dearly missed, and I can’t wait to see you guys return in upcoming specials. Like the Gokaigers, you did your own thing, and I hope all future super sentai shows continue to do so (I’m looking at you Kyoryuger!)

Starting next week, I’ll be doing a weekly Toku recap segment on the blog where I talk about what happened this week some of the big Toku Shows currently airing, as well as give my brief thoughts. For now though, thanks for reading, and please feel free to critique this post. Remember, I can only stop doing stupid things if you point it out. Thanks again, and keep checking back here regularly for more posts on Toku Shows.

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2 Comments
  1. I don’t know if what I would called what happen to Enter Character Development. It was more changing his character due to Toei tampering. In the beginning, he was a menacing figure with a playful side, come second quarter he morphs (pun not intended) into a comic relief character, then come third quarter they try to make him a serious villain again, with his comic parts tone down.

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked Enter and all, but I feel he was a victim of Toei meddling along with the show.

    • Fair point. Like I said previously, the second quarter was the weakest part of Go-Busters. Still, I feel the evolution of him taking the reins of head villain wasn’t entirely out of character. He was shown to be frustrated with Messiah, and for good reason. To take his position, and his plans, while trying to show that he is better than both Messiah and Humans felt to me like a natural continuation of what could be done with his character, even if that wasn’t the original intent. But, you do bring up an excellent point.

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