Tentai Senshi Sunred is the magnificent story of the conflict between good and evil that takes place in the city of Kawasaki. Sunred, ally of justice, is dedicated to stopping the evil organization Florsheim on their quest for world domination, while General Vamp and his minions are constantly thinking up new schemes to defeat Sunred. In what sounds like a typical story, the characters make all the difference.
Our hero Sunred is rude, violent, and lazy, playing pachinko all day and leeching off of his girlfriend Kayoko Uchida. Meanwhile General Vamp is polite, conscientious, and an ideal homemaker who cooks, mothers his minions, and discusses housekeeping with Kayoko, who bickers constantly with Sunred. Even the monsters of Florsheim tend to be adorable and harmless.
Each episode is comprised of several shorts weighing in at anywhere from a few minutes to a few seconds, and explores the daily lives of these sworn enemies. This is the story of the battle between good and evil that takes place in Kawasaki.
Do you want to watch a series that features heroic heroes, villainous villains and mind boggling fight scenes where every punch, kick or special move is lovingly crafted and animated? Are you looking for a show that has a gripping storyline where every twist and turn of the plot will leave you on the edge of your seat? Do you crave excitement, adventure, and a hero who can kick more arse than the combined might of Kenshiro, Goku, Ichigo, Naruto, and whoever else you'd care to name? If so, then Tentai Senshi Sunred is NOT the show for you.
On the other hand, if you want a lighthearted series that mocks many of the heroic stereotypes and has some of the best comedy sketches outside of Gintama, then this may be right up your street.
Tentai Senshi Sunred (or Astro Fighter Sunred if you prefer), started life as a manga by Kubota Makoto that began serialisation in Young Gangan in August 2005, and three years later the anime adaptation began broadcasting on TV. Set in the city of Kawasaki, the story is all about the epic clash between Sunred, a semi-retired hero who lives with his girlfriend Uchida Kayoko, and his arch nemesis General Vamp, the leader of the Kawasaki branch of the evil organisation known as Florsheim.
Okay, so I lied about the epic clash.
Aside from the basic premise there isn't really any overarching plot, and the series is presented in the episodic format that seems to be the norm for comedy shows. Now the lack of any real focus may not sit well with viewers who are expecting some sort of conclusion come the end of the series, but in all honesty that would have spoiled the entire story. Each "fight" (the term used instead of episode), is a completely individual tale from start to finish, but breaking up the narrative are sketches from characters who have no bearing on the plot, mini cooking shows, and a lot of focus on the characters during their downtime.
And that's all in the space of 15 minutes or less.
Unlike many other comedies out there, this anime isn't afraid to play around with the format, turn the basic idea of heroes and villains on its head, or even mess with the viewers preconceptions about good and evil, and therein lies the genius of the series. The humour is presented in a very straightforward manner, but with an element of mockery that belies the somewhat childish visuals. The show is quick to establish several running gags, but in a break from the norm these are generally character focused rather than situation based, which allows for a greater degree of innovation that stops the humour becoming stale.
As far as the visuals go, Tentai Senshi Sunred is fairly ... basic. The series has a distinct cartoon/pop art look that can initially appear to be nothing special, but as with many aspects to this show the trick is in the implementation. There's a versatility to the design that belies the simplistic imagery, and viewers find themselves surprised at how expressive a full face mask and visor or static features can be. In addition to this, there's a wide variety of creatures and characters on offer, from the everyday civilian population of Kawasaki to the imaginative (and sometimes cute), creatures that fight against Sunred.
The animation is surprisingly utilitarian, and the show can sometimes look more like a lesson in the basics. Once again though, the series manages to spring another surprise as while the actions are often mundane, there's an element of mockery in them that pokes fun at the overly convoluted antics of characters like Kamen Rider and the Power Rangers. That said, there are those who will believe that A.I.C. Asta simply didn't want to put the effort into the anime, but the truth is that everything about visuals is either purposeful or a happy accident, and the proof of this can be found at the beginning of the final episode.
One thing that may catch viewers off guard is the quality of the acting as there's a surprising level of consistency throughout the series. The rather strangely named Yamada Louis LIII delivers some truly wonderful performances as the nicest head of a branch office of an evil organisation that one might find in anime, while Takagi Shun brings out the comedy star in the freeloading, bad tempered pachinko junkie with a nicotine addiction. After watching a few episodes it may dawn on the viewer that the entire cast had just as much fun playing their roles as the audience has watching them, which is generally a good sign in comedy shows.
Things get a little strange when one considers the music as while the opening theme, Mizonokuchi Taiyou Zoku by Manzo, is a rather well made parody of the more traditional masked hero introductory song, it's the ending theme that really takes the funny boat for a spin. The ED, Tori Tango Nabe byKumahachi Morino, is nothing less than the recipe for chicken meatball stew sung in a very stylised, almost continental manner. As for the background music, there's a wide variety on offer from the absurdly dramatic to the mad little ditties that stick around in your head, and even though it may not seem that way at first, a great deal of care has been given to the timing and choreography of the audio tracks and effects.
Given the wide variety of characters and the type of show this is, there's very little in the way of development, but balancing that is some very strong characterisation and situation comedy. Aside from the lead roles, the series has a number of recurring figures, usually the Florsheim monsters, all of whom have their own personalities and foibles. A large portion of the humour comes from knowing that these characters are all rather pleasant individuals who are upstanding members of the community, pay their taxes, respect their elders, get along with their neighbours, and generally make themselves useful to society in small ways. Add to that the über housewife known as General Vamp and what you have is quite possibly the most polite attempt to take over the world in anime.
Which makes one wonder how Sunred turned out the way he did. Did he hang out with the wrong crowd? Is it the fault of his parents? Frankly, you won't care as the interactions between the characters is what makes the comedy tick.
On a side note, possibly the most memorable roles after Sunred, Vamp and Kayoko are the Animal Soldiers, all of whom are extremely cute (Usacotts drives women of all ages wild, and the plushies sell like hotcakes), have very little in the way of attack power (except for P-chan Custom ... maybe), and can often be found plotting Sunred's demise in some oddly childish ways.
Now given that I have a soft spot for unusual, and sometimes very odd shows, I'll admit that Tentai Senshi Sunred caught me completely off guard. Like many others, my initial expectations were that this would be nothing more than a straightforward parody of the masked hero genre. In truth the comedy is very clever, and far more subversive than one might expect, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed this anime so much. The episodic format allows the viewer to pick up the series from any point, and because of this the show is ideal for anyone who just wants to have a good laugh without having to plow through lots of storyline. The simple fact is that this is possibly the closest anime has come to a true comedy sketch show, which is a bit odd when one considers just how old and diverse the industry is.
Tentai Senshi Sunred may not look like a good series, but as everyone knows looks can be deceiving, and that sentiment is what sets this show apart from almost every other comedy anime out there. If you're searching for an alternative to 200+ episodes of Gintama, then this may be just the thing for you.read more
"Tentai Senshi Sunred. This is the magnificent story of the conflict between good and evil that takes place in the city of Kawasaki."
Have you ever seen an anime where the villain comes over to the good guy's house for dinner? Where the villain asks the good guy to build a killer robot for him? Where the villain actually likes cooking more than world domination? No? Well, this is one.
This anime focusses on the villains as much as the hero(es). Monsters from the evil organisation Florsheim lead everyday lives with jobs at grocery stores or restaurants while The Hero, Red, is just slacking off at home. Occasionally, they challenge Red only to get beaten immediately. It's an episodic anime with some random sidestories that make even less sense than the main plot. That's fine. This isn't supposed to be a layered story full of unexpected situations. What you see is what you get. This is a parody on the "hero"-theme, don't expect references to other anime (I wouldn't call this a parody of power rangers, it surpasses that).
There isn't much movement and the art isn't that great. Most of the villains have just one expression and don't move their mouths at all when talking. On the other hand, this simplistic artstyle is kind of fitting.
The soundtracks are good - easygoing, relaxed BGMs. Furthermore, the sound effects are brilliant. The OP is hilarious because of the lyrics (For example: "He does pushups and stretches in his small six-tatami-mat room") and incredibly misleading. The ED as well - the lyrics are instructions for preparing chicken dumplings.
Brilliant. Just brilliant. The hero is a complete asshole (his catchphrase is: I'll bury you!) who never takes off his helmet. His girlfriend - who apparently doesn't mind that - is friends with his archenemy. This is the villainous general Vamp, one of the kindest persons around. Even the sidecharacters are memorable. They each have their own traits and unique personality and the voice acting only adds to that.
This is an easygoing parody. Don't expect any action, there are no real fights. It's episodic so don't expect too much character development. Although the art isn't very good, it kinda fits and the comedy makes up for it. All characters are just great. Not only are the (in my opinion underrated) voice actors perfect for their roles, the character's personalities are unique and their parts in this story unexpected.
Watch this for a quick laugh (13 minutes an episode)! read more
In a typical story, the unwritten rule is that the main character exemplifies every ideal trait known to man. The main character usually has superhuman aspects like abnormal strength or an ability to read minds but, to me, what stand out about this poster-boy/poster-girl protagonist are their morals. The main character is the classic blue-collar worker, always diligent and persistent at what they want to do (Rocky Balboa). The main character is pureness personified, always kind to others and willing to lend a helping hand (Snow White). The main character, above all else, is the awe-inspiring role model for how people should live, a shining symbol of virtue (Superman).
Meet Sunred. The central character of the anime series Astro Fighter Sunred, he is the exact opposite of the aforementioned poster-boy protagonist. A famous crimefighter long ago, Sunred now spends his days lounging around his girlfriend’s house, drinking his life away, and playing pachinko at the local club. Sunred’s life isn’t as entertaining as that of his equally-powerful counterparts in more renowned anime, and his personality wouldn’t attract the adoration of fans either. The always-angry Sunred (accompanied by a mask which he never, ever takes off) involves himself in the series with vicious insults galore and an arsenal of snide remarks. Among our protagonist’s favorite hobbies are fighting a group of villains called “Florsheim”, not actually defeating his opponents as much as verbally crushing their self-esteem. Sunred is the Jake LaMotta of anime, making Eren Yeager of Attack on Titan fame look like Santa Claus in comparison. Despite the overwhelming unlikability of the main character, this anime persistently digs deeper into the protagonist’s psyche, uncovering his intimacy with those he cares about and, in the end, discovering a complexity to the personality of the seemingly simple Sunred.
Just like how Sunred separates himself from the rules of the classic hero, the villains of Astro Fighter Sunred also break away form acting like the Ivan Dragos and the Darth Vaders that viewers are accustomed to. General Vamp, leader of Florsheim and the main antagonist of this anime, is the biggest example. A ridiculously more likable character than Sunred, Vamp is a mentor to the others in the group, always handing out lessons and tips; he is also a fantastic cook with a ton of recipes (which I will mention later), but what stands out about Vamp is his kindness. Kayoko is Sunred’s girlfriend who works at an insurance firm and loves chatting with her friend Vamp (When she talks to Sunred, Kayoko usually has much less enthusiasm than when she converses with Vamp). Accompanying Vamp in his many, many battles with Sunred are a variety of monsters and animal-like creatures, ranging from a giant tiger-man to a lip-stick-wearing bird-like thing and even a mummy.
If you’re someone who watches anime because of the fight scenes, then you’ll be really disappointed with Astro Fighter Sunred, as there are either one-punch-knockouts from Sunred or multiple Sunred barrages (which are hidden form the camera). This anime more than compensates for its lack of action with its comedy. Every episode is 13 to 14 minutes long (short and sweet) and none of them are without a fair dosage of laughs, the episode filled with shorts like Gaima’s Ambition (this guy spends 7-plus episodes thinking about buying a dog!). There’s the short called Animal Soldiers (a subdivision of Florsheim consisting of little bunny Usacots , diabetic cat Devil Neko, bird-like robot P-Chan, and blue wolf Hellwolf), who desire to be viewed as real villains but are instead adored because of their cuteness. There’s also a short titled Host club, where Mr. Reiji (my favorite character), a floppy-eared dog with a fancy business suit and a James Bond – like suaveness, decides whether or not he desires the woman of the episode and, if he does, he gives her tons of champagne. The last short is General Vamp’s Quick Recipes (which usually appears near the episode’s end), where Vamp gets to showcase his cooking talents via really simple recipes to delicious foods (I have to try one sometime). Astro Fighter Sunred, a hilarious anime that references shows like Mythbusters and Bamboo Blade, is not only different form the stereotypical superhero shows, it even pokes fun at them. It’s mostly Sunred, who looks like a Power Ranger, that mocks the stereotypes.
The opening for Astro Fighter Sunred is one of my all-time favorites, where a particularly passionate singer (accompanied by a smooth guitar) injects the song with an overdose of emotion and, by the song’s end, is practically screaming the lyrics. Throughout the show, the main theme is altered, in one episode a live-action version is inserted, in another a minor character sings a very silly edition of the song. At the series’ conclusion, the theme song was there and it was a perfect way to close this anime, a great song for an anime with touching moments, believable characters, and a lot of hilarious scenes. If you want a revisionist look at the traditional hero vs. villain story or just a simple slice-of-life comedy, look no further than Astro Fighter Sunred. read more
Tentai Senshi Sunred. Superhero of the ages. This is the story of the battle between good and evil that takes place within Kawasaki.
Let me just explain to you where I'm coming from before I start. I hate Japanese humor. I don't think it is funny, at all. But what surprised me is that I liked Sunred. The episodes are filled with good, clever writing, and humorous ideas, that while it rarely made me laugh out loud, gave me a nice smirk and a chuckle now and then. And that really surpassed all my expectations for the series.
This is more a slice of life about a the bum superhero Sunred, and his competently sweet, yet naive archnemesis General Vamp. While the story is basically nonexistant, with very little continuity, this is more a slice of life of the characters, who are all brilliantly written.
The art is low budget, but it lends itself to the atmosphere of the show beautifully. The music is not terribly memorable, except for the ending theme, but supports the show well.
Overall, I enjoyed Sunred much more than I expected to, in no small part due to the writing and the characters. This is a clever show, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys superheroes, clever writing, and has the patience to get through the Japanese attempts at humor.read more