[Spoiler-Free] Review: BRAVE STORM (2017)

Looking less like a soda pop and more like a wrestler @ BLAST INC.

While on a business trip last week, I had the pleasure of catching an exclusive market screening of BRAVE STORM, a 2017 Tokusatsu film produced by Japan-based BLAST Inc. A familiar-looking robot on the film’s poster caught my eye, and I soon found out that it was a loose remake of the 1973 Senkosha-produced series Super Robot Red Baron.

The film features contemporary versions of the characters from the Red Baron series, and probably due to the Senkosha connection, adds another forgotten hero from their library, Silver Kamen, into the film, as the futuristic hero Silver. BRAVE STORM is the first feature effort from writer/director Junya Okabe, whose Tokusatsu credentials include visual effects supervision on the 2009 Ultraman epic Ultra Galaxy Legends.

With no narrative connection to any of the shows that inspired it, BRAVE STORM opens in the Year 2050, a dystopian future where the Kyrgyz race of aliens have brought humanity to near extinction with an army of Black Baron robots, each fitted with an atmosphere transformation device that emits smog that is poisonous to humans.

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Exclusive: Ultraman Live in Genting 2016 Official Launch

RW Genting VP Promo & Entertainment Kevin Tann and Tsuburaya Productions' Yoshihide Tanaka, flanked by the three Ultra heroes. PHOTO BY: Basil Yeo

Resorts World Genting’s Kevin Tann and Tsuburaya Productions’ Yoshihide Tanaka, flanked by the three Ultra heroes. © TOKUASIA

Authentic ULTRAMAN entertainment returns to Genting Highlands this year end, and Resorts World Genting promises that it will be even bigger & better than last year’s show, which drew full crowds for each show (all 52 of them!).

This, according to Kevin Tann, VP Promotions & Entertainment at RW Genting, who excited audiences with surprise after surprise at the official media launch for ULTRAMAN LIVE IN GENTING 2016: REVENGE OF BALTAN at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur on Friday 9 September 2016.

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Starninger: Homages & References to Past Sentai


Rock never dies

Takigawa Kinji is Starninger, the sixth hero in the latest instalment of the Super Sentai series, Shuriken Sentai Ninninger.

Born in America to a family of Youkai hunters, Kinji saw his entire family murdered by an unknown Youkai when he was a child. The murder sparked his desire to avenge his family by becoming a better Youkai hunter, which led to him meeting Igasaki Yoshitaka. He was impressed by Igasaki’s ninja technique, which led him on the path to becoming Starninger. Takigawa Kinji/Starninger is portrayed by Tawada Hideya.

On first look, Starninger is an obvious homage to Tenpuu Ninja Shurikenger of Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger, but upon closer inspection, we have discovered more references to past Sentai in Starninger’s design as well as Kinji’s personality.

Here’s what we found:

1) Jiraiya/Ninja Black


Kinji wears a very old Western cowboy-inspired outfit which is similar to Ninja Black/Jiraiya as seen when he first appeared in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (1994), but that’s not the only similarity. Both Kinji and Jiraiya speak English and also had their families killed and swore to take revenge on the Youkai who did it.

Both of them are also known as American Ninja in their respective series.

2) Shurikenger


Starninger’s main weapon is the Star Sword-Gun as opposed the the main Ninninger’s Ichiban-tou. The Star Sword-Gun is a guitar shaped sword that also doubles as a gun, this weapon is very similar to the Ninjamisen Mammoth Guitar used by Shurikenger in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger (2002).

The Star Sword-Gun utilizes a dual element Furai Nin Shuirken as it’s main elemental attacks, one of Wind and one of Thunder, which we feels like another tribute to the Hayate-do and Ikazuchi-do ninja academies representing the Hurricanger and Goraijer. The wind elemental attack is known as Hurricane-ja and the thunder elemental attack is known as  Thunder-ja.

Aside from sharing a similar weapon, Starninger also tends to speak in English much like Shurikenger. Starninger’s constant exclaiming of ” YEEEHAWWW!” is reminiscent of Shurikenger’s “HI DEE HO!!!”.

3) Shinken Gold


Starninger shares the most similarities to Shinken Gold from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (2009).

  • Both are the sixth member of their respective teams.
  • Both are Gold rangers with blue highlights on their suits.
  • Both built their own mecha, weapons and henshin item.
  • Both transformation items are based on stereotypical cultural foods, with Starninger’s being a Burger (American) while Shinken Gold’s being a Sushi (Japanese).
  • Both became heroes due to influence from their respective clans.
  • Both their motifs are elements that give light. Starninger is “Star” while Shinken Gold is “Light”

It’s almost as if they recycled Shinken Gold’s base design.

4) Oh Red & Red Puncher


Starninger’s star-shaped motif is heavily reminiscent of another hero, Oh Red from Chouriki Sentai Ohranger. Their helmets both have a star-shaped visor and their weapons are star-themed swords, the Star Sword-Gun and Star Riser.

The similarities even extend to their personal mecha, with Starninger’s Rodeomaru having a star-shaped head and a boxing stance while in combat, paying tribute to Red Puncher. Both mecha can also combine with their respective teams’ main robot.

A fitting tribute due to 2015 being Ohranger’s 20th Anniversary.

5) Takizawa Naoto/Time Fire


This is a rather vague similarity. However, when Kinji transforms into Starninger, he will pull out this changer and tosses his hat away in a manner similar to how Takizawa Naoto/Time Fire from Mirai Sentai Timeranger (2000) tosses his cap just before he transforms.


That concludes our list of Starninger similarities with other past Sentai!

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments if you spot anything!