vrijdag 26 augustus 2011

Almost Sentai: Thai Squadron Sport Ranger

Hello Let me introduce an blog series that I recently made called Almost Sentai. This first blog is actually meant to be the third. The first two where about France Five and Bettaranger. While initially I thought I made the first okay in hinesight its a bit rushed and now that I actually got subs to watch I think I can do better. And the other.... Well safe to say I posted the blog about Bettaranger on the same damn day I found out about it. And guess what? I learned NOTHING more about since it then! So of course this is the best blog to start with:

The first season of this Thai Sentai aired in Thailand for 16 episodes between  6-8-2006 and 29-11-2006. As this was supposed to be a Thai independent Super Sentai series it had to have a theme to the show that non of the official series had. So they went with sports. This works... Kinda...

Before Episode 1:
Once there was a alien tribe called Star Hunter that traveled through space conquering many planets by stealing life-force from the beings that lived on them with a very powerful item called the King Medal. But the medal wasn't strong enough to absorb all the energy and seeing how they wanted to rule all the dimensions, they made another medal called the Knight Medal. They conquered allot of planets by taking the life-force with the medals. They set their eyes on Earth. But they believed themselves to be so powerful that they weren't prepared when a war on the planet caused bullets and anti-aircraft missiles to hit their ship on its way through the atmosphere. The ship exploded over Alaska and the medals where lost. The tribe decided to retreat for now and make new medals. Some time later the medals where found and taken by two Earth scientists. Doctor Earth took the medal that was broken in to 5 pieces and Doctor Heart took the medal that was still whole. One day their lab exploded and the medal under Heart's protection disappeared. After this even Doctor Earth noticed that the medal made monsters. So he researched his broken medal and made a ''Sport''detector machine that that can control the 5 pieces of his medal and use 5 henshin devices to apply that energy to 5 special suits that where designed to bring out the special attributes of each of the 5 pieces. He then created the SSS organization and an A.I called Darling that helps the future team. As Zordon and Alpha searched for 5 teenagers with attitude so did Doctor Earth. He needed each member of the team to be very talented at a sport that would bring out the best out of the 5 suits and their respective pieces of the medal. These where: Boxing, Tennis, Soccer, Swimming, and Gymnastics. Luckily he found 4 willing youngsters to fight the monsters but couldn't find a boxer for the final suit.

Episode 1:
Rocket Punch!!
The episode starts out with a shady guy with sunglasses making fun of a Muay Thai boxer in his locker room about losing a match. The boxer is about to punch him but the shady dude promises him power just when he promises the boxer power. He then proceeds to shove a ball of light in to the head of said boxer. Who then curls up screaming in pain and changes in to a volcano-type Kaijin. The newly born kaijin feels the raw power given to him and then proceeds to beat-up and scare the other sportsmen who just happen to walk in after he changed. We then switch to our protagonist of this episode who is asked by an tourist to make a photo of him. And then the Kaijin turns up who of course scares everybody around just by being there. He is quickly met by a guy in a weird yellow uniform who begins to fight him. The yellow stranger says he is going to stop the monster to his wrist watch and proceeds to transform in to Soccer Yellow. Soccer Yellow puts up a valiant fight but alone he can't exactly keep up with the volcano Kaijin. The guy who was mentioned earlier catches yellow and challenges the walking volcano only to have and Mr Satan vs Perfect Cell effect and promptly getting his ass handed to him. The monster mentions that the protagonist was the one who knocked him out in the Muay Thai match and says this is payback for earlier. Suddenly a pink ribbon wraps around the Kaijin's arm to stop him from punching his rival.Turns out the 3 other Sport Rangers have arrived and the 4 combine their powers to temporarily scare away the kaijin. they decide to take the boxer with him to their base and we turn to the evil organization of this season. Who consist of the shady dealer, two glowing KKK-like henchmen and a Great Leader-type eye on the wall. The eye asks the dealer if all goes to plan. The dealer tells him he made a kajin and the red KKK guy congrats him on the plan in process. We turn to the SSS Building which shows the SSS to stand for Sport Searching School. As the unmorphed Sport Rangers watch over the knocked out boxer. Who gets a red morpher apparently to save his live (or something like that) . He wakes up and show to still have some pain. Swimming Blue tells him not to stand up so fast. He asks where he is and Yellow tells him that they saved him and that he is in the SSS building. The Sport Rangers do the wrong thing and rush him in the plot of the series. Telling him that they fight those monsters as Sport Rangers and that they gave him a morpher making him Boxing Red. He apparently takes it in stride and they turn their attention to a screen where the A.I called Darling shows up.
Blah Blah Blah I'm annoying Blah Blah Blah Mister Voice is better Blah Blah Blah

Darling tells ALL of the story and bores them to death. Doctor Earth (who is in a black and silver uniform) says that that he should stay inside and heal his wound for now. Somewhere outside the Volcano guy starts attacking people no doubt searching for Boxing Red. The team gets an alert and movie out. The four change first meet up with the monster who does what I think is a Muay Thai ceremonial pray... That or a lullaby... I dunno... The 4 battle the Puddy troopers of this season and the kaijin but get owned at each turn. At the base Boxing Red can't stand by any more and tells Earth that he's joining the fight. Outside Volcano guy says the lost and Soccer Yellow says that he shouldn't be so sure of that. Turns out red is behind the building and challenges the monster.  He transforms an jumps off the building. He easily fights off the putty's and attacks the Kaijin with his special attack: Flying Fists! Red joins the team and they retreat for now. In the villains lair the leader finds out that its now a 5 membered team. He tells the shady guy to work harder and one of the glowing henchmen goes to the now humanized monster and tells him that to keep his power he needs to kill the Sport Rangers.

The Rest Of The Series:
The other 15 episodes are mostly regular monster of the week episodes. They get a mecha around 7 or 9 called the Spirit Robo who is awesome and super detailed. The shady guy turns in to a White Sport Ranger-like villain towards the end of the series but sadly it didn't turn in to a Green/Dragon Ranger-like plot. And in the last episode the series takes a dark turn as 3 of the 5 Sport Rangers sacrifice their lives to stop Doctor Heart who turned out to be the leader of said organization.
Spirit Robo in HQ. Photo taken by someone who worked on the set

Season Two:
Season two has mostly a new cast with only Swimming Blue and Gymnastic Pink returning. And the villains of this season is the Hunter Tribe who have returned to conquer the planet and retake the medals. Apparently there was also a movie made but I couldn't find much more info. In season 2 The Shady Guy comes back and acts as the 6th Sport Ranger. something something White. Also it turns out that Thai law is keeping the series in the homeland So there's little to no chance of seeing this subbed any time soon. The only episode I found that was downloadable was just a 254x345 season 1 episode. Really small and not worth the trouble.

The Sentai:
Team 1

The first team
Team 2

Ace Boxing Red 1: The most talented SR. A typical Red Ranger who can deliver a strong knockout punch 

Ice Boxing Red 2: Replaced Ace after he died

Yu Swimming Blue: The big sister of the group. She returned for season 2Up Soccer Yellow: A sincere guy but a hothead when it comes to small tasks

Ball Soccer Yellow 2: Replaced Up when he died

New Tennis Green 1: He is the Urataros of the group. No seriously.

Tech Tennis Green 2: Replaced New when he died.

May Gymnastic Pink: The goody good girl of the group, loves shopping as much as Blue does (a new actress replaced the original but the character was kept)  

The Shady Guy: He was first a villain but later turned in to Basketball White.

Earth:  The mentor of the group who made all the Sport Ranger equipment.

My Opinion And That Of Others Too:  

I watched the raws on Youtube. There are NO dvd encodes floating the net sadly. So I don't see this subbed any time soon. From what I saw (Not heard since I don't know Thai) its pretty good. It was keeping it more to the dark plots of Sentai rather then the lighter side of some Power Ranger episodes. And it didn't have that big of a budget, but what they did with it looked really great. Love the morphers, the suits, and especially the mecha. I am really sad that no one uploaded the encodes from outside of Thailand. I would really like to see it subbed. Though then again I can do without the ear raping Darling who is totally a Mister Voice rip-off btw! Anyway I did see some toys photo's on-line by chance but I found nothing really marketed. This makes me sad because I would really like one of those morphers xD. The opinions of others are mixed from what I saw on Youtube and several English speaking forums these past few years. Some Thai fans argue that the designs are cool but the actors are sub-par. I don't think that's the case. But then again I don't know that since I don't know Thai. The other common complaint is some scene transitions are really badly done. And I think I don't like those either.

Earlier I posted a blog about a series introduced to Thailand via a press conference a year ago. I think its supposed to be a sequel. But I don't know for sure. For the longest time this series was along with Jushi Sentai France Five the only true foreign Sentai production around. (Power rangers doesn't count as they are adaptations!) and I'm glad that's changing. :D
Editor's Note: I think that I did pretty well even though I don't know Thai. This just shows how far one can come to when doing a little research :)