Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger (Part 2)

Gokaiger 2Captain Marvelous is one of my all time favourite characters. I even considered buying a Captain Marvelous cosplay costume at one point. I’ll take this pirate captain over Johnny Depp any day. Here you have a reckless and brash young man who never backs down. Someone who will literally take a beating and respond with a cheeky smirk. There’s a scene in the first episode of Gokaiger where the team are standing in the middle of the street when the evil Zangyack attack. The other four Gokaigers duck for cover while explosions surround them. Not Captain Marvelous. He doesn’t even flinch. He stands there with his arms crossed and a look on his face that says “Is that the best you’ve got?” I love this man.

Captain Marvelous is the captain of the Gokai Galleon, a space faring pirate ship. He is joined by Joe, a former Zangyack soldier; Luka, a master thief; Doc, the ship’s engineer/chef; and Ahim, a princess in exile. Each of them have reasons for being aboard the Gokai Galleon. And as we learn more about these characters, we find out their reasons are more noble than their pirate facade would lead us to believe.

The story of the Gokaigers begins not with the crews arrival on Earth, but a year earlier with the Legend War. The Zangyack Empire began its attack on our planet, prompting an unprecedented response. 34 Sentai teams joined forces to repel the invasion. As a last ditch attempt to snatch victory from defeat, the combined heroes summoned all their power and used it to destroy the fleet. The cost: the powers scattered across the universe. A year later, the Zangyack Empire return to Earth, following the Gokaigers. But they are unprepared for the Gokaiger’s secret weapon – they have collected the scattered powers and can use them to transform into the older heroes and fight back.

What do the older heroes think of these reckless pirates using their powers? It doesn’t take long for the Gokaigers to find out. Before they can get their hands on the greatest treasure in the universe, the Gokaigers have to track down the previous teams and obtain from them their Great Power. This usually involves learning a lesson from their Sempai and growing as heroes (Sempai is this great Japanese word/concept that means someone who is like you, but has come before you and therefore worthy of more honour and respect). Not only do they have the Zangyack on their back, but also rival pirate Basco who intends to take the Great Powers by force and claim the treasure as his own.

Over the course of 51 episodes and 3 movies (the Gokaigers have appeared in an extra 3 movies since their show finished) these pirates grow as people. They learn life lessons from the heroes who have come before. They come to Earth cocky and brash, thinking they know all the answers already. But each encounter with the older heroes grows them as people. They confront their problems and realise that their might be another way forward. Gai, a Sentai fan boy who joins e crew, encourages the team to respect the wisdom of their elders. By the time the crew leave Earth at the end of the series, they are like children who have grown into adults, given the approval and encouragement of the original Red Ranger.

As much as we hate to admit it growing up, there is much we can learn from our Sempai. Wisdom that is passed on from generation to generation. The Gokaigers begin their search not really caring about wisdom. They only want the treasure and nothing else. But they come to learn that they can learn from their Sempai, grow as people. For Christians, this is a lesson we should pay attention to. At church, we are surrounded by Sempai – men and women who have been living the Christian life for longer than us. Men and women who have a wealth of experience to draw upon. Chances are, they’ve struggled with the same problems you have and have advice on how to stay strong. Young Christians – get to know your Sempai. Older Christians – make yourself available to younger Christians who need your wisdom, whether they know it or not. That is why Paul has this to say to Titus:

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no-one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:1-8)

Younger Christians have much to learn from older Christians. Not just head knowledge, but godly character. Not just what to believe but how to live it. Captain Marvelous begins the Gokaiger series already in a state of awesomeness. But even he has a lot to learn from his Sempai.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.
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