I’ve tried to keep up on new tokusatsu shows, really I have. I’ve watched the first handful of shows out of each, both Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, I’ve done my reviews here, I’ve tried to be positive and optimistic but I really haven’t been able to as much as I’d like. The truth is, while I’ve promised to get to the rest of the series for what is now a year or more of shows, in reality, I probably never will. My wife and I decided to put away the last parts of Kamen Rider Gaim that we just aren’t going to watch right now. We put ToQGer away as well, we’re just not interested. We have a pile of episodes of Kamen Rider Drive laying around that we may or may not ever get to and now, I have the first bunch of Ninninger available, I am at least going to get through that batch, but if it doesn’t grab me immediately, chances are I’ll never go farther.
Why? Because I recognized, quite recently in fact, that the golden age of tokusatsu greatness is now far behind us and getting more distant by the day. It isn’t that I’m getting older, it’s that shows are geared, more and more, for only a young audience, unlike shows in the past that had elements for both children and adults alike.
The fact is, I haven’t really gotten into a Super Sentai series since 2005’s Magiranger. The last Kamen Rider show that I really loved was 2007’s Kamen Rider Den-O, although I will admit to having a soft spot for 2011’s Kamen Rider Fourze as well. I try to greet each new show with optimism and that optimism is driven straight into the ground in the first couple of episodes where it becomes clear that it’s just another formulaic, kid-centric series whose only purpose is to sell toys.
I came to this conclusion while I was playing around on YouTube and came across the openings for shows like Sazer-X, Gransazer, Ryukendo and Justirisers. These were all independent shows that aired between 2003-2005, at the same time that shows like Magiranger and Kamen Rider Kabuto were on. I know that I’ve talked about the majority of these series before, but even looking back on them today, they’re still fun. It isn’t nostalgia, they were just better series than what we have today. They were still for kids but they all had elements that made them enjoyable for adults as well. They were things the whole family could sit down and watch together. In fact, back around 2005, we did sit down as a family and watch these shows. You just can’t do that today.
Today, I can barely make it through a dozen episodes of most shows before getting bored and walking away. There just isn’t any meat on the bone, it’s all toy sales and shows that look absurdly plastic. I’ve been watching some older shows, including the one that started it all, 1975’s GoRanger and that’s a lot more fun than the stuff currently on the air.
Unfortunately, we will probably never see this kind of conglomeration of great tokusatsu shows again and that’s really too bad. I’d be happy to watch them if they’d make them, but as has become painfully clear, their goals are only toy sales, not quality programming.