「白くなったり 赤くなったり」 (Shiroku Nattari Akaku Nattari)
“Turning White and Turning Red”
Ah, after 10,000 year’s I’m free! It’s time to conquer Earth!
Alpha! Rita’s escaped. Recruit a team with teenagers with attitude!
Shame on you if you didn’t get that reference by the way, cuz’ ya’ll gonna be missin’ out on a lot this post if you didn’t. Because this week on
Power Rangers TARI TARI, we got a new group of teenagers with attitude taking up the reigns and answering them 5-4-1 emergency calls. And as expected, Wien finally gets his time in the spotlight, not only for TARI TARI, but as the vaunted Red Ranger. Comin’ in the rear we got Taichi as the White Ranger (TIGER POWER“), Wakana as the Pink Ranger, Sawa as the Veggie Green Ranger, and Konatsu as the Yellow Curry Ranger. The new cast is a bit unorthodox, having three female rangers on the cast rather than the usual two, but I’ll take that anyday. Their humble abode? The Western Shopping District! Because like the store owners said: “nothing beats honest effort“. Well, I mean, I would stay there too if they were paying me 30000 yen for 5x 10 minute shifts a day for a weekend… Anyway, we sadly don’t get to see the rangers dialin’ in their 3-3-5 morphin’ sequences yet, but we’ll rectify that next episode.
Moving on, I reckon that’s enough references for now, so let’s get to it.
As mentioned before, Wien begins his gradual movement into the limelight this episode, and we find that not all’s what we expected it to be. For one, the person he sends his letters to is actually not related as previous expected, but rather a close friend. I guess it doesn’t make much of a difference, but what does is the fact that Wien finds out his letters haven’t been delivered due to Jan moving away at some point. As a result though, we see just exactly why he has the seeming obsession with the Ganba Rangers, as they symbolize the person he wants to be to Jan: the hero that inspires hopes and dreams. Because, remember that “tomorrow doesn’t come because the sun rises in the morning fools. It rises because people keep hope in their hearts”. (YEAH!)
In ways, it’s a kind of typical childhood fantasy for the most part, something that a lot of kids have thought about (well, at least the hero part) at some point. But as childish as it seems, I just can’t find it in my heart to brush it off as some delusional thing not worth buying into. And well, it’s because I love the idealistic nature of the concept. The fact is, Wien clearly knows at this point the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, but he still strives to be a hero nonetheless because he understands the abstract symbolic importance of having a hero to look up to. I could go into a whole thing about this alone, but for now, let’s just say that the bottom line is we learn a lot about Wien this episode. And they’re things that seemingly make him perhaps the most mature member of the group at the moment, which is something I hadn’t really expected. But hey, this series seems to love throwing those, and I ain’t complainin’.
And this goes into the other major aspect I wanted to mention today: the fact that this episode throws us a different way of focusing the limelight. See, the other episode involving a focus on a specific character, gave that character a bulk of the screen time. What this episode does instead, is manage to show the obvious focus on Wien with only slightly more airtime than the other characters. And it’s amazing, not only because the series shows it can easily shift in presentation style and still maintain the quality, but because of how it does it. It’s not just some bullocks way of modifying screen time and adding more dialogue or something. Rather, what they did, was take the theme of heroism, and subtly weave it into the episode. You can tell a lot of aspects relate to Wien without having him in the picture and others get their equivalent time in the spotlight too. Just great to watch.
See, there’s Wakana’s continued struggles with completing her mother’s song. We still get to see that, as well as the continued awesomeness of her dad too. And we also get a bit of a sample into the mindset behind writing music as well, as it’s revealed that Wakana’s mother usually does things on the spot, using that moment of inspiration, rather than forcing it. What’s even better is how the series subtly suggests that while her mother did it that way, it doesn’t mean that’s the only right way to do it. Some people may find that better, some people may find forcing themselves to do it better. There’s no right answer and it just reminds me so much of when I was struggling to write my novels back then. Also regarding Wakana, let’s not forget this priceless scene…
Continuing, we also get to see Sawa and her continued dilemma, as the others attempt to look for other horse related careers for her. In the end, we get the revelation that she could theoretically just raise horses, but she just “can’t be content with others riding the horses she raised”. And the thing that’s notable about this, is how I’ve felt exactly the same as her at one point, except regarding my love for fighter aircraft. I figured I’ve love making planes, but the big problem was that my airsickness/motion sickness, as well as regulations, just wouldn’t let me ride in that same plane I made. And the thought of not being able to do so with something I made myself, was something that made it impossible for me to chase that as a profession.
All in all, I really run myself out of words discussing this series. There’s so much to like despite the on-the-surface plain premise and for me, there’s just so much connection to my life in it as well. I’ve watched many slice-of-life genres in the past, but only TARI TARI has given me that sense of connection to it all… that sense where I can really relate to the characters.
Author’s Note: Apologies for the delay. Took a bit longer to piece together all those references, so the post wasn’t quite ready by the time the site came back up. Figured I’d delay it for a double post to get a better, more complete post for this episode than the half-arsed one I had at the time.
「萌えたり 燃えたり」 (Hou Etari Moe Tari)
“Crashing and Burning”
It’s another great episode to conclude the Ganba Ranger/Wien arc this week, with fun and games and a healthy dipping of serious development to add to the flavor.
Wien takes the lead as well as any Red Ranger would, coming out by himself to start things off in the Shopping District. The others are a tad bit reluctant, but of course there’s Konatsu there to just summon out that extra burst of energy to get everyone else to join in. And it’s pretty fun to watch to say the least. There’s the whole nostalgia factor going for it, especially for someone who was a big fan of Power Rangers back in the day, with a deeper message about heroes and justice to go along with it as well. Things don’t go all fine and dandy though, as there’s always someone who has to ruin the party. I knew the man on the bike looked out of place/suspicious, but I didn’t think he’d actually bother trying to steal our lovely Curry Ranger’s bag! WHAT A CREEP. Wien gives him a nice chase (understatement of the year) and takes a bit of a beating as a result, but keeps true to his words: “A true hero doesn’t have the choice to give up”. The rest of the group join up in time, and it’s justice served.
Moving to a more serious side though, it’s nice to see the rest of the group rally around Wien in terms of continuing the Shopping District gig even though they were told to stop, as well as embracing the roles with a similar enthusiasm to him as well. That sense of comradery, or like Wakana said few episodes back: feeling of “knowing someone cares”, really demonstrates the importance of being there for someone and how important a great friendship is. It sounds corny, it’s used a lot, but the fact remains that there’s a lot of truth to it. As much as you want to do something yourself, there are things you can only do with the help of another, and times where you just need someone to listen… and TARI TARI does one of the better depictions of this theme in recent history. The dynamics are just superb, and it’s a pleasure to watch, week in, week out. Wien doesn’t get as much of a dramatic story arc as Sawa and Wakana did, but the fact its so different, yet packs a nice punch, shows how well the creators have been able to create different scenarios and weave them together.
And what a masterful weaving it is, as not only does Wien get to have his moment in the spotlight, we get the somewhat more subtle build up involving Wakana’s quest to complete her mother’s composition as well. Wakana finally approaches the Vice-Principal for advice, and I’ll admit I was surprised at her response, as she gives us another great set of quotes in a series full of them:
“It’s because you’re not enjoying yourself. You can’t do it if you think you “have” to. That’s work. A song is something that flows naturally from the depths of your heart.”
And it just shows how much she loves music, to the point where she maintains a tough (even harsh) exterior to ensure people reach their highest potential. But more importantly, the developments highlight just how much she was impacted by the death of Wakana’s mother. There are just few things worse than hearing the words, “I was glad to see you one last time… because it seems I’m not going to make it” from your best friend, and I’m just really surprised that she managed to hold in the tears at that point. It’s something I know I wouldn’t have been able to do if I were in her position, that’s for sure. Heck, I found myself getting somewhat emotional just watching this scene!
Looking forward, it seems like there are bigger issues start coming into play as we approach the White Festival and the final episodes of what has been the best new series of the season. But before I let ya guys and gals off for the week, let’s have a chuckle at some of the more comedic/awesome scenes of this episode: