The One That Got Away

Hello everybody! The Manager here! Today we welcome Sunny our “Cabana” Boy to the STAFF that have published a post on Paradise! He had written a very cute and charming intro.. but then he spilled his little yellow bucket and all the words washed away! As Sunny got distracted by the flowing ink and followed as it flowed around the manager wrote a new intro! Today Sunny writes about…. Sunny! His tales as a fisherman! Check it out and don’t forget to leave a like! Likes are great bait you know?!

Sunny lay stretched out on his belly in the pale pink sand. The waves lapped gently at the beach to his right, and a rod with a gigantic reel was propped in the sand. A line stretched from the long, whippy willow pole far out into the sea where a bright yellow bobber floated, unwatched. 

A tiny yellow crab held Sunny’s attention as it scuttled hither and yon on the pink sand, making a lovely picture as it sifted through the grains seeking the small bits of food. The sun beat warmly down on Sunny’s back, making him a bit drowsy. His eyelids fluttered down and soon no one was awake on the beach but the crabs.

Further out in the calm sea, a seagull hovered over the bright yellow bobber, wondering if it was worth hanging around to see what Sunny caught. He often shared his catch with the gulls, or sometimes he had delicious human snacks he would tear into small pieces and toss into the air for the delight of watching the acrobatic gulls swoop and catch them on the wing. 

Suddenly the bobber wobbled. Then again. It shook and bounced up and down in the water a few times, and then vanished beneath the turquoise sea.

Sunny was alerted by the whining buzz of his reel as the line went screaming off of it at great speed. He jumped up out of the sand, startling the little crabs who ran in every direction. Grabbing his rod and reel he gave it a jerk, although it was clear the hook was firmly seated in something. Whatever it was, it gave an almighty jerk back that nearly yanked Sunny right off his bare feet into the ocean. 

With all his strength, Sunny caught his balance and tucked the rod into the wide thick belt he wore for this very purpose. He began to play the sea creature, reeling back line as it went slack and bracing himself when it ran again. It quickly became clear that this was no cute little baby perch he had on the line, but something enormous. 

Beautiful green and grey and brown lemon sharks often cruised in the shallows around the dock and the edges of the island, but this was much too large to be one of those fairly harmless and quite pretty fish. Sunny realized now that he must have had a little nap in the sand, and the line had drifted out far out into the sea, beyond the shallows and past the shelf that dropped down and down and down to unfathomable depths away from the feet of Pinkie’s Paradise Island. 

Deep, deep in the turquoise sea, what could it be? There were some giant groupers, and even some huge old moray eels that lived far below the island in caves and grottos among the coral. Fat and old from eating well on the bright fish who lived on the reef. That must be it, Sunny thought as he worked and worked and wrestled and strove with the great heavy and strong sea creature. Yes, it was probably one of those groupers. And what good eating it would make! Why, some of them got up to 600 pounds. He could make a lot of fish fillets out of that and have a big fish fry for all the island resort guests tonight! 

The sun sank towards the sea and still the battle raged on. Sunny ached in every inch of his body and more than once had thought of cutting the line and letting the vast creature go, but now his curiosity had gotten the better of him. The big fish was not jumping out of the water at all, but now and then he caught a swirl of a mighty tall sail like fin that was bigger than anything he had seen on the biggest grouper he had ever brought in. 

If he ever got this creature landed, how on earth would he bring it up the beach? 

Just as the sun touched the sea and sent one last golden beam streaking across the wet horizon, the water began to boil and roll and in every way signal that something big was coming up. Sunny was busy reeling in the slack, feeling this would be his one and only chance to conquer the sea creature that he was now dying of curiosity to see. What could it possibly be that was so big and so strong and so determined to fight for half a day or more!

With a final roar the water broke and the sea sephents head rose, and rose, and rose into the darkening sky! Sunny had hooked a true monster from the depths. Easily thirty feet of the beast was out of the water, and far more clearly trailed behind. Fins shaped almost like legs, like those of a coelacanth dangled and flailed wildly, throwing fish scented waters through the air that hit Sunny like the rain of a hurricane. The creature let out a bellow similar to the bark of a catfish but with the volume of a foghorn. The water foamed with his thrashing tail, as long again as his entire body.

Glowing golden eyes the size of semi-truck hubcaps swiveled and fixed on Sunny. The great fish drew back on himself in an S like a striking snake and for one stunned, horrified moment all Sunny could see was a great cave-like mouth lined with dagger teeth. A pointed tongue curled and Sunny glimpsed the twinkle of his tiny little hook embedded in it’s center.

He threw the rod and reel down, turned, and ran. 

Knowing, like I’m sure you do, that Sunny has beautiful dragonfly wings, you are wondering why he didn’t fly. Well, the truth is, he runs much faster than he can fly. 

Sunny ran as far and as fast as his feet would carry him. All thoughts of how tired and how sore and how terribly lazy he normally is completely left his body on a wave of adrenaline and pure terror. He blazed up the beach, into the jungle, past the resort where he could see the guests lined up agog at the beast in the water. The people on the third floor balcony could look eye to eye with the thing! 

Maybe Sunny was running so fast you couldn’t see him. Maybe everyone was a bit more busy wondering if the creature could make landfall. Whatever, no one seemed to be aware as he flashed past tables and through the doors and then up and up and up the mountains behind the resort until he reached a secret little trail he thought only he knew that led to a cave in a clearing. 

When he reached the cave he finally managed to stop his flying feet. He fell bonelessly to the earth and concentrated on getting oxygen into his struggling lungs. And then the beast roared again. 

Quickly, he jumped to his feet and staggered a moment before he made it to a tall tree. Now he flew. He flew and flew up to the very top of the tallest tree and then he could look down and see the creature, still in the shallows, weaving side to side like a cobra and clearly using those glowing eyes to look for his tormentor. That wide mouth opened again and suddenly a rainbow of round rubber balls shot out and across the waters and the beach.

There were yellow balls. And red balls. And blue balls. And green balls. And purple balls. And of course, pink balls. Some balls were even clear, like bubbles, and they floated up into the air as if they were weightless. Balls from the size of softballs to soccer balls to beach balls bounced and rolled across the beach and floated on the surface of the sea, carooming off the top of the waves caused by the monsters flipping tail. 

The monster reared back as if to spit more bouncy balls but instead he shook his head, and opened and closed that great maw of a mouth over and over, making quite horrible sounds until with a very distinct “PTOOEY” Sunny saw the twinkle of his fish hook as it caught the light of the moon and flew out of the monster’s tongue and down to the pink sands. 

Grumbling in its throat, the monster took one last gasp, one last long evil eye cast towards the beach, before it turned and swam away.

Sunny heard the laughter of relief and chatter coming from the guests still standing on the balconies and around the pool in the resort. There was a bit of a rush towards the bar, so Kuro had to stop standing stock still in shock and get busy mixing cocktails in pitchers. Then guests began to tiptoe down to the beach, first in ones and twos, and then in small groups and picking up those bright rubber balls that were shining in the moonlight. 

As if by magic and mutual agreement, suddenly everyone was playing on the beach with the sea monster’s balls. There were people playing catch, or dodgeball or something like volleyball without a net. 

The manager of the resort, Pinkie, walked down the beach to where Sunny’s  rod and reel lay abandoned in the sand. She picked them up and looked around. Sunny gulped. He had a feeling she was not going to be very happy with him. 

He pulled some young limber tree branches towards himself and wove a little sleeping platform high in the top of the tree. Relaxing, he watched the guests playing in the moonlight with all the pretty balls. Maybe in the morning he would fly back down to the resort and set about his chores as if nothing had ever happened. Everyone seemed to be having fun. Pinkie couldn’t really stay mad at him, right? 

Pinkie’s Guilty Pleasures: Hikonin Sentai Aikbaranger

“A tiny paradise amongst a sea of skyscrapers: Akihabara. There we find three warriors who believe pain is power and who fight battles that exist entirely in their heads. They are…Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger!” With these words we open this amazing Sentai Show that I just finished the first season off entirely and I adore it. It’s basically Power Rangers..but instead of do gooder teenagers we get low life Otaku with Deadpool powers.

Plot Power

The word Hikonin stands for unofficial. When this show came out in 2012, it originally aired at a different time slot than any other Ranger show. It was not a morning show for kids.. no this was a tribute show to all Sentai Geeks who have loved the genre for all their life. This was a show designed for Otaku.. but since it veered away to much from the base formula, it was set in another world…our world… but not really. Where Super Sentai is just a show, where the main characters in this show could recognise former power rangers as both the ranger or the actor. So the tag unofficial as added.. and it became  a plot point.

This show is about as fourth wall breaking as it gets. Let me try to set up the basic plot. Three Otaku get recruited by a mysterious woman named Hiroyo Hakasa, who gives them devices called  Moe Moe Z-Cune’s which allows to transform them into the Unofficial Sentai, Akibarangers. With these new powers they have to stop the Blatantly Evil Marketing Firm (rough translation) from turning Akihabara into a dull commercial wasteland. Fighting the good fight, the rangers hope the be one day be acknowledged as actual rangers and be official and marketable. There is one problem however, they aren’t actually fighting evil.. they are just Otaku imagining they are fighting through the power of delusion/imagination. 

The Moe Moe Z-Cune allows people to share imaginations with each other and thus can create powerful delusions that Hakase studies. Also seemingly using the sense of the Otaku people to sense evil.. to let the police do the actual work. So while our heroes are fighting in their suits, the real world only sees them punching in the air as if they are pretending to  rangers. This pain apparently has some sort of power… yet  a mysterious chain of events bring these two worlds of Akihabara closer together..with serious consequences.

This is their Morphing Device

Fourth debries pile

That was the most sober description of Akibaranger I could muster because this show is completely and utterly INSANE and I love it! These rangers powered by the power of delusions for example do not fight with their strength and determination, no their main way of combating evil is to trigger “victory flags”.  They are so Otaku they know how these shows go, stats do not matter. If the main bad guy teleports away and tells the other villain “take care of this” the victory flag has been raised and the rangers become unbeatable. On the other hand if such flags are not triggered or they miss to acknowledge it they can’t really win either.  A fighting style that is quite different from the usual shows and that works as hilarious tool to understand what makes this genre so lovable.  If you loved Power Rangers, you see these guys as your peers. These guys look at the show through the eyes of the audience which can create a surreal experience.

The early episodes are focussed on the three heroes trying to figure out “which episode/which story structure” will apply so they can trigger their story flags. For example in an episode that focus on the training of one Ranger they have to get the spotlight. In an episode where a ranger leaves the team for a bit, the victory flag can only be triggered by having them rejoin this fight. The problem of such an episode is not the monster fight but making a phone call ..with flippy phones, to call up the last ranger to come and share a delusion with her friends. There is a beauty in how low-key this all can be and how simple the solutions actually are. As they grow the rangers learn  more and more to break the fourth wall until they accidently shatter it…. literally.

Oddly enough this show has an amazing progressive curve but since episode 1 starts out weird, episode 10 and mostly episode 12 are completely out there. While I will not completely spoil this show to you all because I really recommend watching this the final fight the rangers have to conquer is quite literally “the end” . The thirteenth episode is a clipshow with commentary episode.. set IN UNIVERSE. The characters realise the series creator Saburo Hatte has set them up to make a lame last season episode in the end. Other examples include that the rangers have the power to hit their opponent who is far away with melee punches as long as it on camera looks like you are punishing them  or by imagining older rangers they can make them show up and take their weapons, and even combine cross series weapons into a new super weapon. Oh and don’t forget.. once they break the confines of their fictional fourth wall.. they also break that new set ups fourth wall into ours. .. so that the 5th wall or the 8th  wall they break?

Red Yellow and Blue

Let’s step back a bit and let me introduce you to the three Sentai making up the team and take a bit of a closer look at their powers and their abilities. To maybe make some sense of this.

The first ranger I want to talk with you about is Nobuo Akagi, who is better known as Akiba Red.He is a 29 year old man who still lives at home and has a job as a part time delivery boy, which he uses to finance buying Sentai Toys and figurines of the popular anime Z-Cune Aoi. His trope is that of the super otaku. He knows all tropes of Sentai shows and can quote every line of it. He is desperately in love with this girl he often has to bring deliveries too, but because he usually just imagines kissing her ..nothing ever happens between them. (Pre show) His name Akagi has “Aka” in it which is Japanese for Red because he knows so much about the genre he is the leader but the other two rangers keep calling him Old Man.. because he is a 29 year old living with his parents. He also complains that his mother nearly threw away his Aoi Dakimakura.

When he transforms he becomes Akiba Red.. his suit is based on the anime protagonist haircut. A black lighting shaped visor goes across the helm that has the “anime protagonist” haircut modeled on top.  As he is the most delusional of the three rangers he is also the strongest, he can summon red rangers of the past to fight with them for a while usualing heading them a weapon. These include a pair of giant handcuffs a giant shovel and a flight suit that also can be shot forward as a launcher.  He is also the first ranger that is so delusional and otaku that he is able to transform in reality as well as he is first ranger that realises he is just a character in a tv show. His signature is shouting out Super Sentai trivia during their Ranger Roll Call.

The second ranger in the first season is called Mitsuki Aoyagi , with Aoi representing as a word.  She is takes on the role of the Closet Otaku.  She fell in love with the Z-Cune anime because of the strength she displays, Mitsuki is a martial artist and trough that passion she discovers the art of fight choreography and anime and steps into Otakuism showing a deep but hidden love for it. Because of the fact she keep her geekism hidden she has seen significantly less tropes  than her peers and is the worst at things like ranger roll call until she discovers martial artistry is her thing.
She also is the youngest character, stating she is underage to drink and can not drive.  Her age is never fully disclosed. In the second season (which I will review later) the creator  makes a retcon to get her to leave the show.  Yet her development in the first season was amazing we see her embracing her hobbies more and more as she makes friends accepting of that hobby. 

As Akiba Blue she starts of as the ranger with the most fighting potential, but is not very good at recognising tropes, costing them a few battles.  She is the first ranger to be able to use cameras  to make punches connect while not actually making an impact and she is very potent with the shovel weapon the group takes from BoukenRanger Red.  She can not drive .. so she is the one ranger who is not able to control their “zord/mecha’ Machine Itasha. Her suit is based on the classic ponytail anime trope. Her rollcall is usually a kata of fighting moves and she has the most consistent and professional one. 

Yumeria Moegi is the yellow ranger, which apparently has something of yellow it as well.  Her real name is Yuko Yamada though, as Yumeria is just her cosplay name. As such Yumeria is the cosplay Otaku and my favorite character. Her personality changes depending on what cosplay she is wearing. Usually this means her voice changes and she has an anime sentence ending. If she cosplays a catgirl she ends sentences with Nya and if she plays a Warlord she ends sentences with De Gozaru for example. Over all she seems to be bubbly but can be Tsundere as well if it its her cosplay. She creates Yaoi Doujin and seems to be romantically interested in monsters. However she mostly is drawn by Seme characters. Having a great weakness for anime smut and Seme characters she can even faint at the sight of them.

As Akiba Yellow she has less stand out features as the other two rangers. Though her delusional powers  do outclass that of the others at several times, allowing her to imagine Yaoi scenes that create a stunlock for everyone involved.  She is quite versed in Sentai lore and is idolised by many in the city, when the rangers appear in reality she becomes the most popular one. Her suit is based on the anime trope of twintail characters. Her roll call just as her ramble on conventions, cosplays or discussions until she is interrupted.   This character made me cry with sadness, in the fifth episode of the first season and her story .. as well as the other rangers is pretty fleshed out.  She needs to be together with the other rangers to be inspired as a Yaoi creator because if she is alone she tends to fall back in the same type of delusions. This is reflected in her delusion themes coming back numerous occasions showing she has some dominance in that.

Unexpectedly Good

While this show is really low-brow comedy, it succeeds way too well in making a great show. The first season is SOOOOO well paced it is insane. The rangers actually grow at a pace that makes sense, even in this weird setting. The moment where the rangers are able to break the fourth wall and fall into reality makes so much sense! There is actual build up to it, foreshadowing as well. While the twelfth and final real episode bulrushes you with insanity and weird twists, it is actually a plot point. This show is so incredibly meta that the final villain basically is the plot itself, again that is not completely true but you can watch this for yourself  to discover the full details.

Every single character, except for the one that is made to be bland gets story, character development and interesting opportunities. This includes the main villain, but even the secondary villain , and no that is not a spoiler because everything that happens in any other sentai show will happen here it is designed like that. It is easy for fourth wall breaking shows to go stale.. but this one doesn’t .. because it knows when to change it’s pacing. I had a Megu-Nee cry moment in episode 5.  I really felt inspired by episode 7. I felt nostalgia , I laughed and I felt confused. This is a show is set in reality but realises that it still would be fiction thus not would be set in reality and the characters realise this in time as well?! It almost feels like inception.. but campy and with deadpool.  There should be no way this should work this well, it’s to campy for this to work so well yet it does.

The rangers gets startled by their posing explosions!

The show is meta enough to suddenly shift tones and you can be taken aback by it, things suddenly becoming really cool and epic in terms of fighting, keeping you engaged. When you are fed up with the main character, he suddenly becomes someone much more respectable.. when we grow to like him he has to leave, it plays with all these set ups and throws it in your face that it does yet it succeeds so well in them that this show to me surprised me all the way throughout In one episode for example (major spoilers for episode 8)  they encounter a super weak alpaca monster  named Tsukishimaalpaca (All Monsters have very long or tricky names the rangers instantly remember). Because they want to show themselves in the real word to the real Sentai producing head honcho, they need to move through the fourth wall again which they are only able to do with a strong monster.

We see them  try to train up the Apaca in which they learn he just wants to sell street food, they take him to a theme park to conquer his fear, cook with him to hone his craft and also make him stronger. We see them bond and they suspect it might become the monster turns extra ranger trope or a switching side pattern! Yet in the end they decide it should be a reward him for his effort and make a tragic decision pattern as they murder their new friend by blowing him up with a new super weapon.  While it flies of to explode it congratulates his friends for using him as a stepping stone… I did not expect that. The way this is paced is just so well done.. I felt really heartwarmed when the heroes hugged the Alpaca and just when I think.. well this is going to be hard to write yourself out off, they misinterpret a trope  to end the deadlock.. surprising me. 

In the first episode we see a monster called Shibuyaseitakaawadachisohidenagaaburamushi face of against the Akibarangers, a standard corporate monster villian that is defeated by the power of the Moe Moe Magnum, in the second they fight Shibuyakouzorinahigenagaaburamushi a monster that looks exactly the same.. but deems this racist and he tells the rangers there is a big difference between them. He has the power to induce nudeness in people.. but not like regular.. in real life he sells these sort of bubble screens  that are skin coloured that you can lay over a the Aoi Tan anime character movie so it covers up her clothes so it seems nude.. he can create these screens for everyone! Trying to turn official dvd’s into bootleg versions of themselves and kill Akihabara’s degeneracy like that. However it is never revealed what the difference is. Until the Clip Show episode where the characters finally realise! The slow burn joke really made me cough up some soda. It would be kinda funny to reveal they actually have a difference but making the character realise after the season was so much better.

The mecha being a giant weeb car, the morpher being a anime figurine all seem like jokes but this all actually is somewhat believable interwoven in a story between father and child… because obviously the main villain is someone’s’s a trope. Despite how weird the show is except for the twelfth episode it never really makes weird story stretches.  Reveals in episode 9 make sense since there were hints since episode 1. Despite how utterly random the show feels all episodes have a part in the story and a place where the need to be and I was really amazed by it all. I felt like this was made for me and I very much look forward to delve further into season 2. I only know one spoiler for it! In this season they can harness the power of their Waifu.