HJU is starting a forum-wide viewing of 1991 Super Sentai series, Jetman. We’ll be watching an episode a week so hit up the discussion thread to share your thoughts. This is an episode review so there will be some spoilers. Let’s dive into Episode 1: Find the Warriors!
Jetman definitely opens up on a high note, following a rescue mission in progress. Skyforcers Ryu Tendo and Rei Aoi save a group of civilians and stop a rampaging robot who has gone out of control. Seeing their heroics, Aya Odagiri seeks them out to participate in the “J-Project”. She explains that they have been chosen to be a part of a super-human team that will protect peace on Earth. In the Earthship, located just outside of Earth’s orbit, Ryo is first up to undergo the treatment that will change his body into that of a warrior known as Red Hawk, part of the Jetman team. As luck would have it, an evil force known as Vyram threatens to invade Earth and attacks the Earthship, prompting everyone to abandon ship. During the evacuation, Ryu’s girlfriend, Rei, is propelled out of an exposed wall and sent to her death in the lonely depths of space. Enraged from the loss of his girlfriend, Ryu helps Aya to find the remaining members of Jetman, who have likely been hit by the Birdonic Wave that transformed Ryu’s body.
The first member they find is Kaori Rokumeikan, who seems to come from a family of wealth and stature. She agree straight away to join the team, as she is bored with her current lifestyle. Next up is Raita Oishi, who they find taking care of his vegetable garden. He refuses to join at first since he feels that it has nothing to do with him and just wants to be left alone. Kaori tries to convince him to join while Ryu and Aya look for the remaining two members but are attacked almost immediately. Ryu flies in on Jet Hawk and engages the fight transformed as Red Hawk. He tells the other two how to transform and the become White Swan and Yellow Owl. Sadly, only Ryu knows how to fight so the other two are left cowering on the battlefield. Ryu fends off a monster known as Dimension Bug before it escapes back to base. The partially formed team are left with the task of finding the remaining two Jetman members.
As far as first episodes go, this is right up there with some of the best. The energy starts off on a high and keeps it right where it should be. Some shows start off with a lot of explanation and world setting, which is sometimes necessary. Jetman sort of throws you right in the mix and you find out what’s going on with the rest of the characters. We find out who we’re following, who they are fighting against and a bit about the main characters and that’s really all that we need for a first episode. Lots of action takes place that gives you a taste of what these new suits can do. And we’re left on a note that makes us interested to see how the rest of the team will turn out.
Ryo seems like the typical heroic character, though he’s not in it initially for the most noble reasons. Sure, he wants to protect the Earth just as much as anybody. But, he’s mostly out for revenge since the attack by Vyram caused him to lose the love of his life. Even when trying to convince Kaori to join the team, he first goes on about finding Rei before backtracking and mentioning that the world needs saving. That, to me, gives him a great dynamic that will make him more interesting to watch than just another red Sentai hero. Kaori just seems like the typical princess-type character, at least at first glance. The fact that she is so willing to join the fight shows that she has some guts and probably a sense of justice in her. Raita is kind of the coward of the team. He wants to be left alone and when the fighting commences, he cowers behind Kaori half of the time. I’m sure he’ll grow a pair as the show goes on and we always need someone to chicken out at the beginnig.
The costumes of Jetman seem to have become rather iconic as time went on. When you see a group shot of various Sentai teams, their suits are definitely one of the few that pop out right away. The bird motif somehow makes their colors more vibrant in my eyes. They have the fold-out wings behind their arms which allows them to fly as well. My only gripe is that they look as though they are wearing Superman briefs and that takes a bit of getting used to. But, when the team is in action, well at least Red Hawk at this point, they look amazing.
Not much is known about the enemy as of yet. We basically know that they want to invade Earth and that’s about it. But, seeing as how this is a show directed by Keita Amemiya, you know that these foes will have some heft to them. I’m interested to see what kind of designs Amemiya comes up with in the show. One thing that always stood out in his other projects, like Garo or Kamen Rider ZO, is that his costume designs are rather unique and a bit creepy when he wants them to be. So, seeing his work in a supposedly more light-hearted franchise like Super Sentai will be a part of the fun ride that is Jetman.
So, let us know what you think of the first episode of this series by checking out the discussion thread in the forums. And, check back next Friday for episode 2 of Jetman: The Third Warrior.
Inui Takumi, Rising Sun Tokusatsu