The Various Writers of Toku

It's more than just Kamen Rider and Sentai
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The Various Writers of Toku

Post by lennyhouston16 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:37 pm

[Quick Warning: This thread may be spoiler-ish.]

After the previous thread about Toei viewtopic.php?f=58&t=21443, I've been thinking about the writers of toku and each of their styles (especially since I'm a writer as well). I haven't seen all toku known to man so I'll just cover the first ten that come to mind to avoid an essay long post on this. They're not in any particular order and feel free to mention others.

First: Inoue Toshiku- This guy had his hand in a lot of early toku especially Heisei Kamen Rider. I like his writing but it seemed to go downhill somewhere after Kiva. While I know many did not like his dark tones and plot devices, I saw that as a part of his signature style. Likewise, I'll say he probably could've avoided these if he had an assistant writer(s) for the seasons he served as a head writer to possibly see another perspective on progressing the plots. When I see his more current stuff, it just feels like he's burnt out and just going through the motions. (Dare I mention Shougeki Gouraigan?)

Second: Kobayashi Yasuko- This woman is amazing writer when it comes to world-building and characters. She has been in the game for quite some time and she's stayed strong especially for a female writer. While her writing hasn't been flawless, it engages the audience and that's what I love. She also has her own signature style especially in Super Sentai like usually the beginning of her seasons are slow but excellent set-up for events later and the trope of more than one version of the red ranger at some point. I'm glad to see her back in Kamen Rider with Amazons and can't wait to see what she has in store for season 2.

Third: Arakawa Naruhisa- The long-running veteran writer himself. His writing is classic but not daring. He always has assistants with his writing or he's assisting other writers and I think that's what keeps his writing relevant. He keeps his mind open to others and that's what allows him to capture the classic yet original feel in episodes.

Fourth: Amemiya Keita- While he is mostly a director, his writing has been pretty good. Since he doesn't write much, I can't say much else about it.

Fifth:Sanjou Riku- To me, he appears to have the most fun with his writing. He knows how to make memorable characters and the plots are not overly complex. He's a good writer for showing how characters interact with one another and while I wasn't a big fan of Kyouruuger, I loved watching it just for the characters. To this day, Chase from Kamen Rider Drive is still one of my favorite characters. I want to see him try his hand at Super Sentai again.

Sixth: Mouri Nobuhiro- I know many may not agree with this but I see him as an upcoming Arakawa. He's still a fish out of water so his writing maybe rough at times but he's proven to have potential (Notably Kamen Rider Yongou). The guy has assisted great (and not so great) writers so he's obviously been learning and Kyuuranger his opportunity to show what he has learned.

Seventh: Umeda Sumiko- While this writer hasn't been around very long, apparently assisting Amemiya has helped her (or him- sorry I don't know the gender) convert those creative directing abilities into creative writing abilities. Zero -Dragon Blood- has been soul food for me through its brilliant writing so I'm hoping Umeda can keep it up for other possible shows in the future.

Eighth: Urobuchi Gen- This guy knows to plan out suspense and thrills. I think it's amazing that he made such an impact on most of us with Kamen Rider Gaim. I want him to come back for something. It can be Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, or maybe even Garo (Can we just imagine that for a moment?).

Ninth:Takahashi Yuya- While this guy's writing hasn't been the best in Ex-Aid, you have to admit he's quite daring for a rookie. He's not playing it safe and to take on the responsibility of writing every episode (as of this post at episode 22), it shows that he has something in mind. He's like the lovechild of Inoue and Urobuchi so far.

Tenth: Yonemura Shouji- Has he written anything decent since Kabuto? This guy is seriously burnt out with these superhero orgy movies.

Added url to the wiki so people can easily see what they've written for. -take

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by takenoko » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:18 pm

Sumiko is a lady. Most names that end in -ko are female names, unless it's -hiko which are male. You can see Sumiko's past episode contributions here. I've looked through them before, and they seem decent enough.
http://wiki.tvnihon.com/wiki/Umeda_Sumiko

I don't know if I agree with your assessment of Takahashi Yuya. There's a difference between being daring and not knowing how to create the sinew to bring various characters and plot points together. As it is now, Ex-Aid is extremely disjointed because things just happen. Characters rarely learn or change from their experiences. They just suddenly do. The one small exception to this would be Emu mourning Kiriya's death. Hiiro and Taiga used to be asses, now they're not, but I wouldn't say that there was anything that acted as a catalyst for these changes. People call Nico Taiga's conscience, but I don't really see that. And Hiiro is certainly a better character now, but what sparked that change? Why is Hiiro such a dick in the Brave special and early on, but now he's not?

Actually, I do recall Taiga convincing Hiiro to let him use the Dual Gashat, so it's not like it's all bad. I certainly think that as a writer, he's probably growing and learning as he makes mistakes and receives feedback. But as a new writer, we can only evaluate him based on what he's done so far. Hopefully he continues improving and has a kickass ending waiting for the show, but with his flubs so recent and relevant to this series, it's hard to dismiss those aspects when evaluating him so far.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by Go-On Macaroni » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:58 pm

This list needs ones like Hirohisa Soda and Kunio Fujii.
takenoko wrote:Why is Hiiro such a dick in the Brave special and early on, but now he's not?
Fwiw, Takahashi didn't write that special. Seems he supervised but, someone named Minato Takano (Who?) was the actual writer.
lennyhouston16 wrote:Likewise, I'll say he probably could've avoided these if he had an assistant writer(s) for the seasons he served as a head writer to possibly see another perspective on progressing the plots.
Inoue did have sub-writers, though. Faiz and Gouraigan were the only toku shows he worked on by himself; everything else from Jetman to Changerion to Kiva had other people with him, even if for just two episodes.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by DaVinci030 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:53 pm

Don't forget Hasegawa Keiichi since he's an Ultraman/Kamen Rider writer. He's pretty good at writing the case plots on W, Accel and Drive (like Sanjou Riku does) instead of (drama) Tiga Final Odyssey. /me forgets Ghost
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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by lennyhouston16 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:30 pm

Oh yeah! I totally forgot him. I love the case with Shinnosuke and his father's killer in Drive. Everything about that arc was perfectly executed. Sanjou and Hasegawa are a great combo for cases and mysteries.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by Catastrophe » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:35 pm

The thing I love the most about Sanjo is that he writes most of the episodes for a series himself. Off the top of my head, I can't recall exactly (and too lazy to google) but it was either Drive or Kyouryuger I think he did them all?

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by takenoko » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:38 pm

He wrote all of Kyouryuuger and 29 out of 48 episodes for Drive.

Edit:
He's also the writer for Beet the Vandal Buster manga
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/20 ... us/.107608

And he wrote the Gaiking anime that we subbed a long time ago. Guy gets around.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by decade368990 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:38 am

Why not include Aikawa Shou (Decade), Nakashima Kazuki (Fourze), Kida Tsuyoshi (Hibiki and Wizard), and Komura Junko (Wizard and Jyuohger) on the list?

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by lennyhouston16 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:23 pm

It's interesting that you mentioned those four because I feel like a lot of their writing suffers from the same problem: execution. All of them have great premises to each of their shows but the executions are lacking. Each of them waited until the end to play they're best cards and by then the journey was so rough that it didn't pay off much.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by takenoko » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:51 pm

I'm not super familiar with Aikawa Shou's style, but he's written some good stuff. I know he's credited as the main writer for Decade, but he only really wrote a third of them, and I don't think the problems with Decade are the writing, so much as its premise as a nostalgia trip. The point of Decade, sadly, is that it has no story, which sounds like I'm making meta excuses for it disappointing ending. Also, he wrote Toqger Returns, which was fantastic, as well as part of Blade.

I honestly don't remember Fourze, but it looks like Nakashima Kazuki wrote 22 out of 48 episodes. Fourze was alright. It was entertaining and didn't annoy me and had a lot of heartful characters that I could latch on to. The ending felt appropriate for its series.

Kida Tsuyoshiand Komura Junko just aren't very good at storytelling. I can't think of what Kida's style is, but despite being credited as main writer for Hibiki, he only wrote 15 episodes before being pulled and replaced by Inoue Toshiki. The guy didn't even write a script after episode 22 for Hibiki. Then he wrote 27 episodes of Wizard with Komura Junko, which just ended up in a boring, forgettable Rider series.

Komura Junko I'm a lot more familiar with, considering her involvement with Wizard and the recent Jyuohger. If I praise Kobayashi Yasuko for finding the heart and humanity in stories, then Komura Junko is the opposite. Her stories are devoid of human emotion. They're as evocative as a story written by a robot. She understands human feelings as well as an alien does.

Their stories rely on caricatures rather than characters.

To do a quick postmortem on Wizard, all the characters are boring and don't do interesting things and don't feel like people. It seems like they just stumbled into a compelling character with Mayu's character.

Same with Jyuohger. The hints of characterization and personal stories almost all lead to nothing. Bado is wasted. Amu's relationship with her mom means nothing since the mom only has one line in the whole show in the final episode. Last episode twist that isn't fully explored. It's just bad bad bad.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by lennyhouston16 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:31 am

Now that you mention it, I should definitely reconsider Aikawa Shou. He's a mixed bag for me. Either his writing hits the nail on the head or it feels off to me. I sort of wonder is it the type of characters he's dealing with. I've learned from experience that some writers just cannot write certain characters to save their life but there are others that they can understand perfectly. Maybe that's the problem I'm having with him. He was great in Toqger but not so much in Decade for me and I watched it before watching the seasons before it so maybe that has something to do with it.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by Catastrophe » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:40 am

To do a quick postmortem on Wizard, all the characters are boring and don't do interesting things and don't feel like people. It seems like they just stumbled into a compelling character with Mayu's character.
Which is a shame. Wizard was the first series since Kabuto that had a serious rider and the secondary was a goofball, but they don't really do anything with it.

My personal favourite series since I started watching as they aired (so around 2009) have been W, Kyouryuger, Gaim, and to a lesser extend Drive. I wonder if this is because Sanjo and Urobuchi were Toku outsiders and if they should try doing more of this going forward?

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by takenoko » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:12 am

Hmmm. I didn't know Sanjou wasn't that active till the late 2000s. Maybe you like their work because they're experienced writers? Sanjou and Urobuchi both write for anime. And Kobayashi and Inoue also have experience in that field too. Their resumes aren't just limited to the toku field.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by Catastrophe » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:09 pm

Inoue was an experience writer as well. Jetman is widly regarded as an all time great Sentai series, yet you look at some of his late Heisei Rider shows and there is an abvious difference in quality.

What I'm getting at is that they should look at getting more writers that haven't done Toku but are well regarded in anime or manga to do some seasons. Like W was really good at taking the Heisei Rider theme and rejuvenating it for the post Decade, but most of the other series following that were weak reproductions and even Drive falls a bit short because it feels overly samey. Gaim, again was a nice break from the norm but Ex-Aid comes across at being a weak repetition.

I don't watch a lot of anime, but surely there are some acclaimed writers that haven't done any Toku that could have season to strut their stuff. Might help bring Toei out of this funk it's in.

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Re: The Various Writers of Toku

Post by Des_Shinta » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:22 pm

I think the Idea with Kida and Komura was they're better with Event than character...though you can say that a lot about recent Toei works, really. Unlike some of series by the more polarizing writers on the list I didn't see much structurally wrong with their tales most of the time, but they're not engaging from a perspective of the characters which made them far less effective. As they're not giving what the audience needs to connect to the characters they're writing so they're comparatively bland; and the progress with them is so slow that they don't seem to be much different than how they started. The shows they've done more feeling 'back to basics' brand of generic instead of hitting a more notable extreme, which leaves everything but their best moments Less memorable.
I pretty much only remember ALL Dragon and Infinty's debut's from Wizard.
So They seem to be more 'safe' show-writers by that same proxy, as the extremes others reach can end up losing a larger audience if that audience doesn't like what's going on or a castmember actively infuriates them.
But their ignoring of character progress can be pretty frustrating, such as with Jyuohger's crossover with Gokaiger where I felt they'd just reset the guest cast to how they were when their series Started again. And I very much dislike the final arc of Jyuohger simply due to Yamato's part in all that which ignored how broken his familial life was and how that's not easy to fix simply to push the show's ideological theme. And that I think is the problem with them. If it's a solely story-related thing they're better, but if what they're trying to do in the story hinges on Character it can be dead on arrival. And since much of what can make a given series appealing is defined by it's cast, that I feel is why their show's aren't high watermarks.

It Kind of contrasts against Sanjou in a way; He's not good with larger casts and giving everyone something to do despite how strong his storytelling tends to be, and he has admitted such in interviews he works better with smaller, focused groups of characters. But he's very good about writing a Unique Defined personality for a character from very little time with them, netting audience interest in his work with their interplay. So stuff too many characters in and the show suffers as he can't find something for everyone to do that matters to it's story, to the point they can end up being interchangeable or superfluous in what actions they perform.

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