New Haikus! Choujin Sentai Jetman

jm01My Geek Haiku series has become one of my favorite projects. What started off as a way to stay creative over the summer while binge watching the original Star Trek has developed into something greater. In addition to Star Trek: TOS, I’ve “haikued” animated Trek, several Transformers shows (with one more to come soon), and even the cartoon based on the 1998 Godzilla movie.

I’m continuing the haiku geekiness in a form that combines themes from previous choices: hi-tech teams in colorful costumes (Star Trek), robots that can change their forms (Transformers), and giant monsters (Godzilla). Yup, that’s right: I’m watching Power Rangers!

Except not really.

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The original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was an adaptation of a Japanese show called Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Zyuranger was the 1992 edition of the long-running Super Sentai series. Every Power Rangers season has been an adaptation of a Super Sentai show. I’ve always wanted to watch some of the earlier Sentai shows, but they were hard to find at best. (I do have a DVD copy of the “so bad it’s good” Dynaman dub from USA Network in the 80s, though.)

Recently, Shout Factory brought out a nice set of DVDs for Choujin Sentai Jetman, the Sentai show from 1991. I picked it up, thinking it would be perfect for a new series of Geek Haikus. Turns out I was right; Jetman is perfect fodder for colorful screenshots and syllabic poetry.

I wasn’t really expecting much from the show; early Power Rangers is a bit difficult to watch for me these days, and I figured Jetman would be similarly goofy and cheesy. While the effects are dated, and it is clearly made for a young audience, Jetman is very watchable even more than two and a half decades later.

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The characters seem very realistic, with definite arcs of development. Rather than “teenagers with attitude” we have an almost random mix of people: a devoted soldier, a spoiled rich girl, a down-to-earth farmer, and a charming “bad boy”. (Also a teenage girl, with an attitude, I guess, but even Ako is a well-developed character.) The evil Vyram antagonists are also interesting, not caricatures like you might expect. An element of romance, a love triangle, is very “soap opera”, but this is counterbalanced by a darker tone throughout.

As of this writing, I am about halfway through the 51 episodes of Jetman. I’ve really enjoyed it! Please check out the gallery of Jetman haikus here. I’m also doing commentary on some episodes when I share the haikus daily on Twitter. If you’re not following me there… well, why not?

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