Monday, July 6, 2015

Sentai Time! Mahou Sentai Magiranger Review

The proof of courage!

Translation: Magic Squadron Magic Ranger
Number of Episodes: 49
Original Run: 2005-2006
Theme: Magic
Adaptation: Power Rangers Mystic Force

Well this was a long time coming. But with school and life, I had to put this on hold for longer than I wanted. However, I coming back with a review for Magiranger. As per usual, this is a review of the first chunk of the show. Let’s get going!

The Concept
They've never been to Vegas, but they're still the best magicians out there.
The war between Magitopia, the land of magic, and Infershia, the land of demons, has been raging for centuries, unbeknownst by humans. 15 years after being sealed away, the forces of Infershia have risen again to conquer the Earth and Magitopia. Standing in their way is the Ozu family, a household given the power of magic by Magitopia’s Heavenly Saints. With the powers of the Heavenly Saints, the Ozu children transform into the Magirangers. Only they can protect the world from Infershia’s onslaught.

The Sentai
From top left going clockwise: Urara, Houka, Makito, and Tsubasa. Kai is in the center.
The Mahou Sentai is entirely composed of the Ozu siblings; three brothers and two sisters. There’s Kai (MagiRed), the fiery youngest son, Tsubasa (MagiYellow), the cynical second son, Makito (MagiGreen), the plucky eldest son, Urara (MagiBlue), the caring youngest daughter, and Houka (MagiPink), the cheerful eldest daughter. Each sibling has their own magical talent, such as alchemy or potion brewing, and in battle, each draw their power from a different Heavenly Saint.

Check it out! Comic relief that's actually funny! What will they think of next?
This sentai was a huge step up from the Go-Ongers. Each member has a well defined and endearing personality, and the actors play off each other like actual siblings would. Each supplies legitimate laughs, and even if a couple of them get manic at times, it nevers goes overboard or drags for too long. The members of the Mahou Sentai are quite the cast, and their interactions with each other and the outside world is perhaps the best part of the show.

The Villains
Wolzard, the only villain worth mentioning thus far.
The Underground Hades Empire Infershia is ruled by demons and employ black magic in order to conquer both the earth and heavens. They are ruled by the mysterious and malevolent entity N Ma. Infershia’s generals include Vancuria, a vampiress that can split into two gothic lolitas (wait, what?), Branken, an ill-tempered demon-machine hybrid, and Wolzard, an enigmatic dark knight with a strange sense of honor.

This show has great monster design, but I'm bummed that they don't speak.
As much as I love the heroes of this show, I’m not a big fan of the villains. I don’t hate them, but I find them to be very uninteresting and generic. They may look monstrous, but they don’t really catch my attention. The monsters are a mixed bag; on one hand, they are well designed and threatening, but on the other hand, they don’t talk, and thus lack any personality. Really, the only remotely interesting one is Wolzard, but it’s pretty obvious he’s just a brainwashed Magiranger.

The Mecha
This is Magiking. He fights evil with a massive sword and a cool hat.
Magiranger gives a very interesting twist on the whole mecha mechanic of the series. Instead of summoning mechs, the Magirangers casts a spell that turns them into mechs. From there, they can combine into Magiking, the main mecha, or Magidragon, a mechanical dragon. The mecha are neat looking and simple without being plain. Magiking may not be my favorite giant robot of the Super Sentai universe, but it is serviceable enough for me to enjoy his fights. Also, he has a cool hat. Can’t go wrong with cool hats.

The Fights
The Magisticks, the main weapon of the Magirangers.
The fights in Magiranger make heavy use of the magic motif. The Magirangers use battle spells for flashy effects, and use magic to summon objects for some pretty creative (and pretty out there) moves. However, the core fights themselves didn’t really impress me. They actually felt like a step down from Kyoryuger and Shinkenger in terms of choreography, and it seemed that they were relying on the magic gimmick to carry the fights. I wouldn’t say it was the weakest part of the show, but they aren’t the strongest fights I’ve seen.

The Music

Magiranger’s music is a real treat. The opening theme’s is one of my favorites, and the regular music fits perfectly with the show. Its fun to listen to, and it's even memorable. While it doesn’t have the best music of all the Sentai shows I’ve seen (Kyoryuger holds that title), but it's still outstanding.

The Verdict
Magiranger is a good experience. It has a great sense of humor, the characters are endearing, and the show gets really creative with is use of the magic gimmick. It may have weak villains and subpar fight scenes, but those don’t ruin the show. Magiranger is definitely worth watching.

7/10 - Good

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