Happy New Year! And just to open up New Year, I just finished Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger. Overall, my opinion is very positive about it, but I'll just detail over it anyway...
First off, I gotta question how the series is spelled. Is it Hurricaneger or Hurricanger? (no 'e' between the 'n' and 'g') Well I'm just gonna go with Wikipedia and call it the former. I'm not gonna go over the plot summary since I say everyone else did a good job in covering it.
At any rate, many call this a spiritual successor to Liveman. So yeah, not only we got Academy students, start out with three members, the blue one is a chick and appears to be the 'smartest' (Megumi was the top class student, Nanami got a grade up first than the rest even if she started out at the bottom like the rest), they're joined with two more members eventually, the villains has some evaluation system, etc. It managed to be different and not just a carbon copy with Liveman set on the new age. For instance, rather than focusing on brains and smarts, it's more on the ninja in Hurricaneger. Then, while in Volt, evaluation system is like a serious business, in Jakanja, only Furabijo did that and it wasn't taken seriously. And lastly, back then, Tetsuya and Jun'ichi were immediate allies and obviously good guys from the first time they met. Ikkou and Isshu were a lot more antagonistic at start, and weren't accepting at first, before they realize their destiny and be more friendly. So it's a lot different.
Plot-wise, there's quite a bit silly moments here and there, and many would say this could be lighter than the already dark Liveman. However, I do say that once the finale hit in, it took a dive in dark and edgy... seriously, allies dropping like flies and the reactions were really spot on. Especially when it comes to Shurikenger and his master (and later Ikkou and Isshu, even if it's rectified in the end), the reactions coming from the Hurricanegers were pretty spot on and conveys quite the emotion.
Now as of characters, Yosuke pretty much standardizes the 'idiot hero' we've seen quite a lot and the one thing he develops from is probably his skills. He is still the brash guy, just also heroic. Nothing much to say. Kouta has some familial stuffs which got him in trouble at times, sometimes with his grandma, sometimes with his sister, but I like it that he's pretty calm most of the time. But... well...
Then there's Nanami. My God, people hypes her like hell and my opinion says... she pretty much lives up to that hype. No I'm not talking about how hot her actress is (Nao Nagasawa, although I do admit she's pretty hot), but I do like that she really adds up the girly touch in the team, and her personality is kind of a cheery, bubbly girl done right, added with some badass moments AND funny ones (like that one time with her taking her cooking for Gozen-sama into serious business levels). I dunno, maybe it's her voice that got it good. Although this isn't touched on, I kinda liked on how she evolved from being a lowly enka singer into a full blown pop star idol. Unfortunately, we never get a filler to show her evolution into this, would be a delight to see. But well, too bad. Also I do say that when Hurricaneger takes levels in darkness in the end, I really got caught onto how Nanami got really sad and expressed her fears. But overall I could say that Nanami definitely has the right to be one of my favorite Blue senshi out there...
... Wait, there are more heroes? Oh! Right, we're getting into that.
Next we get into Ikkou and Isshu. They at first got their no-nonsense attitude, and I find their development really beautiful. Beginning Ikkou/Isshu were totally different with final Ikkou/Isshu, seriously. Their brotherly bond is great, and I can't help but pity them with their dad. My God, I think I get the feeling that Ikki (Their father) is a gigantic asshole... Though it bugs me that despite admitting that their dad is pathetic, Isshu still clinged onto his memory one more time (the Kirai Maru episode). Why cling to a man who is known to be pathetic? The Ikkou-Manmaruba rivalry also adds up to the seriousness factor, and I do say it's pretty good.
There's then Shurikenger, who seems to be hailed as a gigantic badass thanks to Engrish speaking, disguises, etc. However, I'm just normal with him. His Engrish can be hilarious and one way to detect him, but I do like his final moments when he really gets serious in facing Sundahl. Lots of emotions there, and not taken for hilarity.
Now villains. I do say that the villains may look typical, but most of them prove to be different under certain circumstances. Tauzant look normal type of 'overlord sitting on his throne too many times', but his cruelty does shine when he grafted that one gun to Satorakura. Chuuzubou is too short lived, but did his part well (and once again, RIP to his voice actor Daisuke Gouri who died at 2010). Sargain is a decent villain, and once again I hear a familiar voice of Yoshinori Okamoto (Buuba, Dr. Ashura) once again giving his recognizable "Onoreee!" or "Koshakunaaa!" yells. Manmaruba can be scary with his Space Scorpion skill, and that's all I'm gonna say. Satorakura is the hyena 'laugh-all-the-time' type which is decent, but Shimada Bin's trademark crazy laugh just sells it. Wendinu sounds alluring and her obsession with beauty can be hilarious. Sundahl presents himself as some sort of noble villain, but is also pretty quick to show that he is also a scumbag on his own level. Then there's Furabijo. Sorry to say, but I don't quite like her and find her rather annoying. If Linkara says Vypra of PR Lightspeed Rescue got emotionless actress, I really can say the same to Furabijo. She tried hard to be 'cute', but she ends up to be dry most of the time, the emotions in her voice sound kinda lacking emotion. While she sometimes get some effective moments, I think I feel that her voice just eclipsed it... ugh.
The battle is at times pretty okay, it was good, but I don't think there's something super spectacular to note. The music is something that grew on me. I recall that first time, I don't like the opening due to the "Shuushuu to Sanjou!" part, but overall it grew on me and I like it for real. The instrument helps too. The instrumental version when fighting were also pretty good, could be one of my favorite tracks after Flashman's battle themes. And lastly... the ending. Man, so kickass! Of course, it's by Hironobu Kageyama, and I like JAM Project.
Overall, it's not my top favorite or something, but Hurricaneger is a solid Sentai series and lived up the hype of many.