I really wouldn’t want to be a japanese kid this past weekend. In an unusual coincidence, pretty much every show of Toei’s Super Hero Time block had a major character or characters die. I only watch three of them myself, and out of those, only one was a “heroic” sacrifice. Spoilers ahead, so turn back now if you watch Saint Seiya Omega, Kyoryuger, or Gaim.
Still with me?
OK. SSO is in its endgame, going through miniboss level opponents on their way to Pallas(and the opponent manipulating her and Athena). The group in the lead, consisting of 5 Gold Saints and Athena, run into one of the two major minibosses still left. They split up with one group holding Hyperion(the BBG) off while Saggitarius Seiya, Athena, and Taurus Harbinger run past. So that left Hyperion facing Libra Shiryu, Aires Kiki, and Virgo Fudo. Shiryu is not only the father of one of the main characters, but also one of the main 5 from the original Saint Seiya series. Kiki wasn’t a main, but he did also come from the original series. Fudo was just introduced last season.
Now they try, but he’s curbstomping them in traditional Saint Seiya style, since he’s supposed to have the power of 3 Gold Saints. They decide it’s time to use the forbidden technique, Athena Exclamation, to defeat him as they can’t handle him on their own. This technique was forbidden ebcause ti was supposed to be equivalent to a miniature Big Bang and has the abilty to destroy small nations. (lolPowerLevels). So they pull it off, but Hyperion’s Cosmo is pwoerful enough he holds it at a stalemate – but the collision causes a backlash which is supposed to kill them all.
A heroic sacrifice is a fitting(and traditional) way for Gold Saints to die, but I’m still sort of surprised they had the balls to kill Shiryu, one of the original Legendary Saints and a fan favorite.(To be fair, they did kill Phoenix Ikki in a previous episode, but he’s supposed to be able to revive from death. Shiryu isn’t.)
I can’t remember what shows come after SSO but from what I heard they lost major characters too. then comes Kyoryuger.
Kyoryuger is in its final home stretch too, which as with most sentai involves the heroes getting curbstomped so they can come back and win through courage/justice/what-have-you. In this case however, the father of the current KyoRyuRed, who had helped them several times and was firmly on the side of good, did a face-turn and betrayed them. Not only that, but in the process he killed their mentor(and his friend) Torin without even a twitch, then to add insult to injury took Torin’s equipment and used it like he was still on the side of good! Talk about a gut punch. But that was nothign compared to Kamen Rider Gaim.
Now Gaim is being written by Urobotchi, who was a big fan of early heisei Rider so he’s been writing in that direction. He also has a certain reputation thanks to an anime called Madoka Magica that earned him the name Urobutcher. On the other hand, he was writing about fruity samurai warlord Riders. (Literally! They transform using fruit-shaped locks that get “cut” open and drop giant fruits on their heads that becomes armor. And it uses dancing street gangs as stand-ins for the Warring States period in Japan.) So, there was a feeling it might be coming, but this past weekend’s episode took a very very dark turn.
In recent episodes, one of the Riders had gotten his belt damaged by a Rider working for the usual “Evil” organization. Because of this, he lost respect among his gang and was abandoned by them, which sent him into a spiral. This isn’t even the dark part, though.
You see, the locks come from these strange plants from another world, but the fruit only turns into a Lock Seed if it’s picked by a Rider wearing one of the Sengoku belts(their transformation devices). The breaks in reality that the monsters had been coming through that the Riders had been fighting usually also have some plants come through, but Yggdrasil(the organization mentioned earlier) had been burning them. Well, Hase, the aforementioned depressed Rider, comes across Gaim, Baron, and the Yggdrasil rider, and sees the plants. He snaps and eats one – and BECOMES one of the monsters they’ve been fighting!
This is immediately followed up by one of the other riders, Ryuga, finding out that the monster that Gaim killed in the first episode was the transformed form of Gaim’s missing best friend, and he ahd eaten one of those same fruits! Gaim doesn’t find this out, but he knows this monster is Hase so pleads with him to try and get him to turn back, and he half-does but he’s still acting like a monster. After an episode worth of running around, and people getting hurt, a new batch of Yggdrasil riders show up, and one of them kills the transformed Hase, while Gaim is all “but he’s human!” And that’s after 13 episodes of building up Hase as one of the major secondary characters.
Yeah, like I said, I don’t envy those Japanese children for getting hit with constant gut-punches for two and a half hours like that, especially when some like Hase and Torin were pointless, or even betrayals. Just, damn.