Monday, March 5, 2012

Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan 01 – The Machine Empire of the North Pole

Feel their rage. Rawr.

As promised, I will also watch another retro Sentai season to come alongside with Kamen Rider and here it is I decided to watch Sun Vulcan! So is it worth watching? Yes, yes it is worth watching. In this episode, Black Magma commences its plans in world domination and because of this, the United Nations decided not to form an army to fight Black Magma, but to form the Solar Sentai that is composed of a pilot, an oceanographer and some guy who likes to climb on buildings.

The series has an interesting premise; the Guardians of World Peace an organization in the series was investigating something in the Arctic about a moving ice floe. Turns out that said ice floe is just a cover of the Machine Empire Black Magma's base. It was later found out that Black Magma was also responsible for the abnormal weather the world is experiencing which led to U.E. meeting which later led to the creation of the Solar Sentai. The Sun Vulcan is introduced one by one thanks to some Black Magma soldier attacking them. I was impressed with Ryusuke aka VulEagle's reflexes as he dodged the soldier's attacks. Asao aka VulPanther was the carefree one while Kinya aka VulShark is the cool guy with the guitar.

We are later introduced to their commander who puts up a guise as the owner of a curry shop called, "Snack Safari" as the owner of the shop, he is carefree, plays with the kids and acts like the standard old man. But as Commander Arashiyama, he dons darker glasses and is serious about defending the world from its invaders... and a total badass. By total badass, when an enemy spy infiltrated their underground headquarters, he didn't let the Sun Vulcan chase the robot spy, but he was prepared for it by trapping the robot to its doom. Did I mention he was calm about it the whole time? He also has a daughter that assist him with his job named Misa and Asao was infatuated because she was swimming in an indoor pool with her bikini! I am starting to like Asao asides from his love for curry and his fear for dogs! Speaking of dogs, Misa has a dog named C.C. which she trained to speak Japanese. Is it me, or she was based from I.C. the Denzi Dog from Denji Sentai Denziman?

The transformation sequence of the Sun Vulcan is quite similar to the Denziman transformation sequence. Armor flies in their body and they need to tighten their helmet like the Denzimen. Instead of wearing a ring, the group uses a brace that also acts as a key that leads them to their underground base. For the mecha, I was expecting that the show will have at least three small mechas to form the Sun Vulcan Robo, I was wrong. It turns out that to form their giant robot, they need two namely the Cosmo Vulcan and the Bull Vulcan. Cosmo Vulcan is for VulEagle while Bull Vulcan is for Shark and Panther. The Cosmo Vulcan is a fighter plane while Bull Vulcan looks like two legs that were created to form a tank. To be honest, I hate Bull Vulcan's design. If that's the case, then they should make two small mechas for the legs then! As for their carrier mecha, the Jaguar Vulcan, I love it. As for the animatronics with the mecha, though some of the effects in this series aged badly, the animatronics still looks impressive. The formation of the Sun Vulcan Robo looks good in my opinion, my only disappointment was that the transition between the model and the actual suit looks bad.

The fighting style of the Sun Vulcan corresponds to what animal they represent which is interesting in my opinion since this is the first Sentai show that features animal themes and by animal themes, they really acted like animals in terms of fight style. VulEagle's fights like an eagle, VulShark uses his hands like shark jaws while VulPanther leaps like a panther. Though not the same level like that of Gaoranger in terms of animal fight styles, it still looks animalistic in my opinion. Asides from their animal fight styles, they also has moves such as Taiyo Punch and Taiyo Kick... which reminded me of Kamen Rider. Their team finisher, the Vulcan Ball looks cool in my opinion. The execution is similar to the Goranger's finishing move except it only involves three people. My only disappointment with it is that VulEagle hit it like volleyball and not kick it. Oh well.

The villains of this series, Machine Empire Black Magma are interesting in some aspects. The group has female soldiers who acts as spies (see Dark Q) or fights just like their regular robot foot soldiers. The foot soldiers are also interesting since this is one of the earlier attempts in Sentai to have robot foot soldiers. There is one scene where Kinya was fighting a couple of robot foot soldiers and cut one of its hands with his fist. The cut hand looks detailed and gave the viewers an impression that he fought a robot and not some monster sent by Black Magma. As for their spy, Dark Q it gave me an impression that the empire can disguise their robots as humans, something that I find amazing in my opinion since I barely suspected that the spy was actually a robot at first. For the Empire's first boss robot that they released Beetle Grub Monger, he was just a typical robot boss in the franchise. As for his enlargement agent, it reminded me on how the Gaiark from Go-Onger enlarges its robots.

Finally, the giant fights, it was fine in my opinion. Like I said, the effects for the series didn't age quite well but you get the idea on what moves they are trying to pull. The Sun Vulcan Robo has a good set of weapons to fight against Black Magma and can fight hand to hand combat. As for its finisher, the Aurora Plasma Reversal, it feels like your typical super robot anime sword finishing move, nothing special except on how they say the move. At the end, the Sun Vulcan defeated their first boss even if they barely knew each other, had their commander steal the episode at the end thanks to his badassery and that we discover that their base is also on top of a safari!

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