Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ranger Key Collection Ver. 2.0

Hoo boy. Here we go. Time to own up and admit just how many of these plastic trinkets I've blown paychecks on. I promise you good people I'll get back to writing episode reviews in due time, I've just needed something to post on here that I could write (mostly) if I wasn't at home. Thank you for giving me time, and I understand any frustration you good people have with me. If it makes you feel any better, I've picked up a hobby far more financially damaging than any gambler ever could.

Alright, come inside and see my shame.

What a difference a month makes, huh? Remember when I was bemused at the idea of owning one Key from each team? Well just you fucking wait to see what I have now. A little bit of birthday money and a supreme lack of shame went a long way into feeding my plastic addiction, so get ready to witness me showing off these silly little toys that struck a chord in my heart.

In a half-assed attempt at defending myself, I'd like to clarify that my original intention of picking up these godforsaken money sinks was much simpler beforehand. I was a big fan of the Sentai series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, and I wanted to pick up the Ranger Keys for them as a decoration piece. I searched high and low for a reasonably priced set of these things, but I couldn't find them any cheaper than 100 bucks. Even with my grotesquely poor understanding of finances, this seemed like a bad idea.

Enter my friend, Alec.

Alec has a penchant for finding things at a really cheap price and sending them to me. Not things that I want, but things he knows I will fucking detest. Items that make me want to strangle him. Off the top of my head, he has sent me the following items.

1) No fewer than 3 copies of the film Bee Movie on DVD.

2) At least One copy of Bee Movie on Blu-ray. When I asked him why he sent this to me, Alec simply said that I would enjoy the jokes better in higher quality.

3) A small jar of Bee Movie honey. A container from 2007 that still had honey in it. Out of respect, or possible Stockholm Syndrome, I kept this jar after using a knife to scrape the crusted-over honey out of it.

4) A framed picture of Henry Cavill

5) A life-size stand-up of Jared Leto in his Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker.

6) A copy of the Bee Movie Video Game for PC, which I have unfortunately not yet found the time to enjoy.

7)  A press packet for the film Bee Movie. This might be the most baffling thing he was able to obtain, as this should only have gone out to members of the press in order to promote Jerry Seinfeld's dumpster fire of a movie. Apparently, one of them was digging through their junk drawer and tossed it onto Ebay for any old schmuck to buy. Now it's sitting at the foot of my bed where it will someday be the cause of my death.

8) About a dozen action figures of the character Pepsiman, with one who resides in my car to protect me on the road. Because nobody represents traffic safety quite like Pepsiman.

So this, seemingly insane, list of items is meant to illustrate the baffling garbage Alec was able to find. I humbly requested that he weaponize that malice for good in an attempt to find the precious toy keys I wanted. While he wasn't able to find the Kakurangers, he did send me a Go-Onger set, and a Hurricane Red key as an apology. Eventually I was able to find the Kakurangers myself at a respectable price, and that's where this whole journey should have ended.

But Alec wasn't done with me.

One fateful day, I received a package from Japan that was addressed to a corruption of my name; Alec's calling card for one of his bizarre "gifts." When I opened the box, I found at least 20 Ranger Keys in various states of disrepair. This was long after I decided I wasn't going to buy any more, but Alec is like a malicious djinn. He'll give you what you wish for, and make you regret it.

I discarded the keys that were in too poor of shape to display, and added the remaining keys to my collection. As I looked at these keys, I wondered how many more keys I would have to collect if I wanted to have a key representing each team.

And now, here I am. With a table full of keys and an empty wallet.

What follows is the list of my collection of keys. I've got a picture of each team, because I'm a sociopath and needed each one photographed together. The ones in italics are still in shipping, or in a box that I haven't felt like going through yet. I may come back and update the pictures once I'm finished, or I may keep this nice and pure for the 0 people who give a shit about my key consistency.

Keep an eye out, everybody! Someday this post will be used in court while the police are prying open my floorboards to find the corpses of those who've wronged me.

For the sake of having something to say, I'd also like to clarify why I picked particular keys. In some instances, it's because I could give a hot cup of piss about the team and I wanted a quick and easy key to buy, but in some cases there's a bit more a story behind it. So if anyone wants to hear me gush about my Sentai nerd bullshit, get ready! 

Because Blogspot motherfucked me while I was trying to save the original version of this post, I lost all the words I wrote about Zyuranger to Timeranger. Instead of wasting your time with another update-less week, I'm just going to include the Pre-Zyu teams as one post. I'll rewrite the other team information for a follow-up post, but this has gotten pretty out of hand as it is.

I don't know nearly as much about the teams prior to Zyuranger, but I've watched a handful of them to completion. I'll have much more insight into those, but I'll be honest about the ones I haven't seen. I implore you good people to give me your experiences with these shows if you have them. I'll try to add something worth reading in spite of my lack of knowledge, but I really want to know which shows are worthy of checking out. Particularly if some kind soul has bothered subbing the whole series. In the meantime, here's why I bought some stupid toys and didn't buy other stupid toys.

GorangerAka Ranger

This was one of the keys that came in the Alec batch. The back sticker is all torn to shit on it, which annoys the everloving piss out of me. I'm so frustrated that coward Alec had the gall to send me a free toy that had a broken sticker. That goddamned ingrate.

The clips of Goranger make me less than enthused about watching it, but I feel like I should for the sake of calling myself a Sentai fan. Shame that it's 84 goddamn episodes long. Oof. As much as I want to watch people kick footballs at guys in cheap masks for a combined 33 hours, I might have to keep Goranger at arm's length. Or if anyone knows a damn fine episode of Goranger to check out, I could do that too!

I'm really glad I ended up getting Aka Ranger though. What better way to represent the very first Sentai series than the OG Sentai Red? The Goranger team are pretty easy to find at a decent price, so I'm sure I'll end up buying them at some point in time. Who knows.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: As of the writing of this blog, I bought the whole Goranger set. I'm glad to see that writing this post has done absolutely nothing to stop my childish spending habits.)

JAKQ: Spade AceDia Jack, Clover King

Another Alec key. If you asked me anything about Spade Ace I would turn into a stammering fool. Dia Jack came as an addition to a big Gashapon key set I bought from someone not too long ago. It's still in the packaging because if I put his sticker on wrong, I would fall into a depression spiral the likes the world has never seen. Clover King I bought to slowly put balm on my wounds after I lost a bidding war on a key set I seriously wanted. I mean, what kind of freakish weirdo would be able to feel happy if he didn't come home to Japanese plastic key-shaped men coming to him in the mail?

As much as I love the playing card aesthetic, JAKQ has always left me feeling cold. The show looks interesting enough, but I know it has some ridiculous tonal shift near the midpoint. JAKQ starts off as some gritty crime show, and then the final battle ends when the team launches a rat out of a cannon.

What's that? You don't believe me? Get fucked.


Initially I bought Battle Cossack because I'm a psychopathic communist and I wanted a key with a hammer and sickle on it. But then I started to get charmed over the insane look of Battle Fever J as a whole. I honestly want Miss America just because of the ridiculous wig on top of her helmet. What purpose could that possibly serve? We can tell she's a woman. She's in a goddamned leotard!

Battle Fever J is a series I really want to try out. The suits look pretty crazy, but that only entices me more. It's also the first Sentai series to feature a giant robot, so I'd be really interested to see the very first mecha fight in Sentai history. I did pull up an episode of Battle Fever J to see what the weapons were, and when Miss America busted out throwing knives I knew I would be in for a good time.

Denji Red came in a set of five Reds I picked up (Denji Red, Red One, Dyna Red, Five Red, Goggle Red,) and I wasn't too interested in him. Denji Blue, on the other hand, is the real motherfucker. He's played by Space Sheriff Gavan himself, Kenji Ohba. Ohba is one of the quintessential badasses of 70's tokusatsu. He had three main roles all around the same time period, and he kicked a multitude of ass in all of them. He's also the reason I went out of my way to get a Battle Kenya key, as Ohba also portrayed him. That's how goddamn amazing Kenji Ohba is. He played a Sentai hero, and they called him back the next year just to play another one. You don't fuck around with the Ohba.

Denjiman is a constant blur to me. Every time I try to learn something about it, I mix it up with other Sentai shows. I've mixed up Dynaman and Denjiman about once a week ever since I learned about Super Sentai. I know that the Denjimen's mentor is a dog, and the final villain of the series is some guy in a leotard. I'm sure there's a lot more to Denjiman than that, but there are a couple of these shows I know next to nothing about. Has anyone even subbed an episode of Denjiman? No wonder I only have a couple of these keys. I can't even confirm this show exists.

Vul Shark was part of the Alec collection, but Vul Panther was a special case. I told Alec that one of these keys was molded after a sex offender creep piece of shit, and I was sure I could find his key for a shiny pair of nickels. Literally as the word "pedophile" came out of my mouth, Alec was hitting the "Buy It Now" button for a pristine Vul Panther Key. The minute it arrived in my mailbox, I couldn't stop laughing at that majestic human being. Of course he sent me this dumbass creep's key. Why wouldn't he? Maybe I can keep his key next to all my copies of Bee Movie.

Oh yeah, and Sun Vulcan is a great series. I've watched a nice chunk of it and it's so insane. It rules. You also gotta love that Vul Eagle gets replaced halfway through the series and it's treated like an afterthought. Just "Oh, oops. Gotta send you into space now that the episode's over. Sorry!" You'd think the leader of the team being written out would be handled more gracefully, but I guess Toei's gonna Toei.

Goggle FiveGoggle Red

These fucking nerds with their scarves and their bibs? No thanks. I got Goggle Red in that set of five Red Rangers, and he's all I needed. What else is there to know about Goggle Five? I don't remember. I know two of the main villains dick around for the first 15 episodes, but they suck so fucking bad that the series kills them off. All I remember is that one of them was named Dr. Iguana. Which might be the best name ever written.

While Red's key came in a few different places, the rest of the Goggle Five team came in a big box housing 30 exclusive keys you couldn't get anywhere else. This particular set runs approximately 400 dollars on average, which is absolutely goddamned insane. 4 keys of Rangers I don't give a shit about? That I'm dumping 400 bucks into? Eat me.

I've seen that premium set sell for about 200 bucks, which almost made me buy it, but man. I can't buy that thing. 200 bucks? For 30 keys? I mean it shakes out to a reasonable amount...maybe it wouldn't be so bad to just snag it real qu-

Okay, this is going down a dark path. Let's talk about Dynaman.

DynamanDyna RedDyna Blue, Dyna Pink

Red came in that set of five Reds I wasn't initially interested in, but Dynaman has really grown on me. I'm only about 10 or so episodes in, but the Rangers are seriously cool. Black and Pink are my favorites, so I'm still on the lookout for a decent Dyna Black Key. Junichi Harata is a Tokusatsu icon, so I'd love to have a key with one of his characters. Unfortunately that means I'm stuck between biting the bullet on the Dyna Black Key for 30 bucks, or wasting my hard-earned shekels on a goddamned Goggle Black Key. Get the fuck out of here with that nonsense.

I bought Blue and Pink in a small set of really cheap keys I was able to find recently. Dyna Blue's Key fits for me when I think about it, because he was voiced by Kids in the Hall's Mark McKinney in that goofy ass Dynaman parody that aired in the late 80's. Kids in the Hall was a huge influence on me as I was growing up, so it's fitting that I can represent that with my dumbass key collection.

I've only watched about 20 of the English-dubbed episodes of Bioman, which is a really silly idea in itself. Every time Mason tries to sound threatening, it just makes me laugh. Some poor Philippino with the world's squeakiest voice has to try and bark out commands for the Big 3? He sounds like "I AM AMAZON" from Masked Rider.

But I digress. There's something seriously slick about the Bioman team. The action is really sharp, Dynaman's love of explosions is put to good use here, and Red One's primary weapon is a sword prop that's literally set on fire. It's like the Shogun Megazord saber, but used on actual stuntmen. That level of "we don't care about our crew's safety" deserves kudos.

It's been a long time, but Bioman is a series I've been constantly wanting to get back into. It was one of the first Pre-Zyuranger Sentai shows I gave a shot, and it managed to hook me into giving these old-timers a shot.

The Bioman keys are probably some of the rarer I own. Green, Blue, Yellow, and Pink all seem to fetch a hefty price on Ebay, but I got them in a big bundle collection. I should put these keys on my mantle while I take the time to finally get around to watching all of Bioman.

Changeman exists solely to mock my attempts at getting invested in a series. I've had episode 3 of Changeman on my hard drive for longer than I've been writing this blog, but I just never take the time to sit down and watch it. I've tried so many goddamned times to start the series up, and I can just about guarantee I've seen the first two episodes of Changeman over a dozen times. I want a new show to enjoy, but I don't know why it proves so difficult for me.

I love the look of the show, and the theme song is absolutely stellar, but I got annoyed when I realized no group has consistently subbed the series. I don't want to go dig up a bunch of Dead Fish Subs after I run out of Grown Ups in Spandex-subbed episodes. What kind of pecker do I look like?

Oh right, keys. I got Dragon, Mermaid, and Phoenix because someone was selling them. I only have the vaguest knowledge of the Changeman team, so that didn't skin my nuts too badly. The only thing I noticed was that Change Phoenix looks like she's 55 years old in the clips she was in for Gaoranger VS. Super Sentai. It wasn't until I watched the series that I realized she wasn't somebodies mom filling in for the role.

For some reason I really want a Change Griffin, but his key usually goes for about 30 smackers. What is it with single keys I want costing an unreasonable amount of money? I just want a key of the guy in the training bra who hits on ladies. Is that so much to ask?

Flashman is yet another series I want to watch so badly, but nobody has subbed all of it! Why would I watch a show that I know I can only see 20% of? That I'll have to wait years to watch in its entirety? It sucks too, because Flashman's got some superb suit design. From what I've heard, it's a really enjoyable show as well. So why can't some of you beautiful internet nerds sub 50 episodes of a show for me, so I can talk about how it relates to a couple plastic keys I bought for like 900 dollars.

I'm so damn close to having the whole Flashman team, but I can never find Blue or Yellow for a sane price. I actually planned on buying a Yellow Flash at some point, but I saw it was 15 bucks and I thought that was a silly price to pay for a children's toy I'd display on my table. Now I haven't been able to find one that looks halfway decent for less than like 35.

Protip: Just buy whatever you want. We're all gonna die anyway. Who cares?

Maskman: Red Mask, Yellow Mask, Blue Mask

Oh my god, we're finally at a series I've watched all the way through. My notoriously shoddy memory keeps me from remembering a lot of Maskman, other than the fight scenes being really goddamned good. If I ever get around to a big Sentai rewatch, Maskman will have to go first.

Red Mask was the key I bought when I assumed I would never find another one of those keys, since Black/Yellow/Pink were all in that aforementioned 400 dollar set. But then, one fateful day, I saw some glorious person auctioning off each of those 30 keys individually. I swooped in and bought Yellow Mask, who was unquestionably my favorite character in the show. She's a fucking ninja who fought with little spinning tops. That's goddamn rad. Some Sentai shows struggle with making the female heroes appear cool, but Yellow Mask easily overshadowed the other members of Maskman during my watch.

LivemanRed Falcon

Another show I've actually spent time with. I'd love to have the original Liveman trio, but Blue Dolphin and Yellow Lion go for 20 bucks even when their keys look like total dogshit. Not to mention the near impossibility of finding a decent looking Green Sai or Black Bison. Someone is currently trying to sell a Green Sai with a completely ripped sticker for 30 dollars. How dare you.

Liveman starts off incredibly strong, but I fell off of it around the early 20's. I've heard that the show really shits the bed when Black and Green show up, so I might have made the right call. Nothing against the show or anything, I just moved onto other stuff. I have all of Liveman downloaded, so maybe I just need to give it another chance. Though I will say that I vividly remember it having some horrendously boring mecha fights. I might have been spoiled by the 90's throwing a barrage of toys at my face, but I seem to remember Live Robo being about as interesting to watch as the Thunder Megazord.

Basically, this entire post is me begging people to tell me which 70's and 80's Sentai series to watch. I always try to, and then being an adult steps on my feet and tells me to get back to work. What a load of shit! I want to watch my superheroes fighting rubber bad boys like a real grown-up. Not to mention, I clearly should be watching those shows instead of the one I ostensibly be reviewing for you wonderful people.

TurborangerBlack Turbo

I've been told that this show is awful for a real long time, and I'm only starting to now challenge that notion. I have the least experience with Turboranger out of any Sentai series, and I want to change that. Unfortunately, this is yet another series that's only had like four episodes subbed. I know there are three villains who die about halfway through the series so we can replace them with two attractive and less-expensive more interesting characters. I know I'm not crazy about the Ranger's designs, but the monsters usually look really cool. Except this fucking guy. What is this shit?

So why did I buy Black Turbo? I got him because I saw someone selling his key for like 20 bucks. I got scared I would miss out, so I freaked out and bought him. Then the week after that, I saw his key go for like $10. Christ almighty I am an impatient bitch.

Oh yeah, and I asked the guy who was selling Black Turbo if he could send me Blue Turbo instead. I didn't realize he was selling Blue when I bought it, so I figured it wouldn't be a big deal considering they were the same price. But he just ignored me and sent me shitty old Black Turbo. Thanks for nothing, guy who probably doesn't even speak English!

FivemanFive RedFive Black, Five Yellow

I feel really lousy, because I really enjoyed the first few episodes of Fiveman. But the general consensus is that Fiveman is an immeasurable pile of garbage. Thankfully, nobody has taken the time to sub the latter 40 episodes and show me what's so bad about it. From what I've gathered, Fiveman was so goddamned terrible it almost got Super Sentai cancelled forever. The main writer of Fiveman, Hirohisa Soda, was really burnt out after acting as main writer for the previous 7 series. 

But don't that let you think he totally stunk up the joint after this. He wrote one of my all time favorite episodes of Sentai, Kakuranger 21. Not to mention he basically defined the 80's period of Sentai. Show the motherfucker some respect!

Five Red was part of my Quintuple Red Ensemble, and I got two of the Fiveman keys because they came in that "broken key" set. Honestly, I wouldn't care too much which of the Fiveman I ended up having. I didn't watch far enough in to get a grasp for any of the characters, so they're basically interchangeable to me. Though Five Yellow was definitely a choice buy. Chick got hammered to karate fight an elephant. That's some sublime Sentai shit.

JetmanRed HawkBlue Swallow

Finally, a show I can at least vaguely remember.

Jetman was a massive success for the Super Sentai franchise. It was penned by noted river enthusiast, Toshiki Inoue, who wrote this show with more emphasis on the heroes' internal conflict. It was a roaring success for Super Sentai, and that allowed Inoue to go on to pen other Tokusatsu series. Notably, Inoue wrote every episode of Kamen Rider 555. A show that includes the greatest scene in the franchise's history.

Sorry, I'm being really pithy because Inoue has a penchant for writing some of the craziest and most confounding shit you've ever seen. It's not fair to Jetman, which is a genuinely good show. The action is slick, it's got great mecha scenes, the music is pretty killer, and you'll never find a more loathsome piece of shit villain than Radiguet. 

I remember actually tearing up at the end of one of the episodes. Jetman episode 24 actually hit me like a ton of bricks when I first watched it. Go ahead and try watching Jetman 23 and 24 and get back to me. Then we'll see who's a big baby! I mean it'll still be me, but I ended up making you waste 40 minutes on a show. Now I'm the winner, dickhead!

Shit, now that I think about it, I remember episode 42 being really sad too. Why did everything in Jetman have to be such a fucking downer? Inoue, you son of a bitch! 

Anyways, the Jetman keys were always super difficult to locate at a respectable price, so I resigned myself to Red Hawk ownership. That was unfortunate, because Red Hawk totally sucks. He should be a really badass leader who whips the rest of his team into shape, but he's such a dweeb. He spends half the series pining over his long-lost girlfriend, then she gets killed because her boyfriend sucks. The only thing I think about when I remember Red Hawk is his big fucking Bruce Campbell chin. Shame that he doesn't have a tenth of the charisma of Mr. Ash Williams.

Sorry, I got a bit off track. Blue Swallow was my favorite member of the team, and I lucked out when I found her key in the "junk" set. Oh boo-hoo, are her sticker shoulders going to stick up a little bit? Spare me. I could either buy her and 7 other keys for 30 bucks, or I could go the other route and buy a brand new Blue Swallow at an extremely affordable price!


  1. I keep wanting to get into Jetman because the suits look awesome, but I keep losing momentum around four episodes in and my usual thing is "If it doesn't capture you by episode four, you shouldn't waste more time on it."

    But I hear its amazing and I really want to watch it. It's just... so slow/awkward in those first few eps. I think I just keep expecting Gatchaman or something.

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  2. IIRC, Jetman starts picking up a bit more by episode 10 or so? I know there's an episode with a bus monster that I recall finding really interesting. Should be episode 12. The only episode I outright remember detesting was Episode 7 with the Mirror Jigen. It felt so fucking corny and bad. Like it didn't fit Jetman at all.

    So I'd say try again, because it's absolutely worth it. But if it can't grip you by 10, maybe try something else.

    1. The Ramen episode? I agree, at least watch up until then.

  3. You say, "I have all of Liveman downloaded, so maybe I just need to give it another chance."

    I say, I dare you to watch Episode 31.

    The only episodes you really need to watch is where Aska is introduced as the World's Dumbest Brute, dressed like a Sly/Arnold wannabe, and beats up a monster by himself and hogties it to his motorcycle. And then he is kidnapped by aliens and becomes a supergenius via Jeopardy. That's the GOOD episode. The bad episodes...
    Well, 31. I dare you to just watch it solo. Actually, the funny thing is it very closely mirrors an episode of Power Rangers In Space ("Andros and the Stowaway"), but it's handled in the most horrendous fashion possible.

    That's basically the only "before Power Rangers" season I have any familiarity with, since in the 80s certain seasons had niche fandoms in some countries.

    1. Oh my god is that the one where Green Sai contemplates an abortion? That episode might be worth reviewing just for the hilarious 80's Aesop of "If an alien gets you pregnant, perhaps that baby is just as alive as you are???"

      Granted I only know the broad strokes of the episode. Maybe it's an incredibly poignant take on pregnancy.

    2. Yeap. "Guy is pregnant" stories aren't new, and might even have been trendy since Arnold Schwarzenegger played a pregnant man in Twins during the same year Liveman aired. But if you're American (or, I guess, any country with a considerable Catholic representation) the way it's presented is super wild. At one point the rangers basically rush to an abortion clinic, with Red sacrificing himself to an army of mooks to help. But the van is halted and the monster actually says, "you thought I'd let you get an abortion?" And then the baby alien begins communicating to Green from inside him, begging to not be aborted and have a chance at life. And, uh, this is fucked.

      The subsequent scene where Green resolves to "show everyone that a man can give birth" while a bunch of women gawk and giggle at his situation is more appropriately Twins-like.

      Anyway, episodes 41-49 are worth watching even if you don't watch the rest of the show. 48 cements Red Falcon as a contender in the Best Sentai Red competition.

  4. Jetman is absolutely essential Sentai. Have to respectfully disagree with the poster above; the first few episodes actually take time to build the team and show them failing at their roles (Pink and Yellow are inept at hand to hand combat for instance) and they also don't get their giant robot straight away. One of my pet peeves of modern Sentai is getting the big robot too soon into the series.

    I like that it builds plus it has some of the best villains ever who are in a constant power struggle with each other.

    The love triangle between Red, White and Black genuinely feels like new ground for the franchise and the team are a real bunch of misfits.

    As for the last few episodes; well I won't spoil them but WOW!

  5. Oops typo in my last post; I meant White and yellow; there was no Pink Ranger in the Jetman team.

  6. You're not off the hook Samurai. I'm still checking in everyday waiting for a new post.

    1. Yes, we should never let Saban off the hook for Power Rangers Samurai!


  8. So... any new posts coming?

  9. I hope the writer hasn't lost interest, love the humour when reading these blogs. There's still the Alien Ranger episodes to review. Master Vile and the Metallic Armour part 3 , was the last MMPR episode I watched on TV before it was taken off air. It felt like a end of a era for Saturday morning cartoons. VR troopers didn't seem to catch on afterwards.

  10. Hey Samurai Karasu, have you ever seen Misery? No reason, just asking.

  11. I miss you and your posts, Samurai. :(

  12. I can't believe he left us hanging so close to the end of MMPR. I have a bad feeling.

  13. He probably just burnt out a little. This is a pretty awful season, after all.

    He might be waiting for the 25th anniversary.

  14. Come on samurai you can do it so close to the end of mmpr now.

  15. Pulling into the fifth month without a review.

    I guess it's well and truly dead now.