How I got into it:
It's really kinda neat to remember exactly how I was introduced to this series. It was the summer after 8th grade, 1995. I got up relatively early (for summer) in the morning to do something...I think maybe we were saying good bye to a foreign exchange student who had stayed with us for a while, and they left in the morning...?? Anyway, once that was taken care of, there was nothing left to do but sit around and watch TV. I then turned to our local FOX station and caught the end of Eps. 10-- the episode where Ryo shoots up into space to save Touma, but in the end needs Touma to save him from a highly volatile Shuten. It caught my attention first because Ryo seemed half-dead through all the scenes I had seen, two because of the unique and colorful armor and weapon designs, and three...I was even more excited when 3 other armor-bearing characters appeared at the very end of the episode. Let's just say it was the perfect part of the episode--of the series--to work up my interest. I then continued to wake up early to tape the rest of it and to catch the beginning of the series that I had missed in reruns.
Basic summary about the show:
General Premise: A band of young soldiers must work together to defeat an ancient evil threatening to take over their world.
The basic idea of the show is that there was an ancient, evil spirit, Arago, who wanted to take over the world. He nearly defeated the planet with his single suit of armor nearly 1,000 years previous. Fortunately, an almost god-like monk rose up and defeated Arago, separating his armor into 9 parts as to make it more difficult for the demon to come back from the dead. As each new piece of armor was being made, the monk attributes various virtues for each one to sort of keep its ferocious power in check.
In the present day, we discover a present day boy named Ryo is now in control of the red Rekka armor, whose virtue is simply that: "virtue" or "jin" in Japanese. While taking a stroll through downtown Shinjuku with his pet white tiger (heehee), a demonic soldier suddenly appears in the city and starts attacking people. Ryo quickly puts on an undergear form of his armor to combat the demon. Eventually, he begins to lose the battle when 4 others, each wielding a different piece of Arago's armor, appear to support him. With their support, Ryo has time enough to recover, put on his full suit of armor, and defeats the demonic soldier with his duel katana blades.
|Name: Sanada Ryo||Name: Shu Reifuan||Name: Date Seiji||Name: Hashiba Touma||Name: Mouri Shin|
|Armor: Rekka||Armor: Kongo||Armor: Kourin||Armor: Tenku||Armor: Suiko|
|Virtue: Jin (Righteousness)|| Virtue: Gi (Justice)|| Virtue: Rei (Courtesy)|| Virtue: Chi (Knowledge)|| Virtue: Shin (Trust)|
Symbolism: There are many "samurai" symbols and imagery throughout the show, many of them being cherry petals and rolls of colorful paper, like we see in the character's transformation sequences.
Confusionism: Humanism: All 9 suits of armor are ruled by the corresponding "virtues" of Humanism: Virtue, Justice, Etiquitte, Knowledge, Integrity, Loyalty, Piety,
The show has not aged well through the years in terms of story, but in terms of nostalgia, it's still alive and kicking, at least for me. I'm always drawn toward the main protagonist/leader character, especially when they typically have the FIRE elemental associated with them.
I often complain that Ryo doesn't get enough to do but then again the entire TV Series is pretty much dedicated to him and his development. My favorite moments are the scenes where Ryo is paired up fighting with Shuten, the last couple episodes of the first season, and the last episode in each season, #19 and #39. As for the OVAs, my favorite is Kikoutei Densetsu because the artwork is SO GORGEOUS. I never cared much for Gaiden (I was secretly jealous of Luna lol) and I *hated* Message for a very, very long time. It's only after I've learned more Japanese and have come to appreciate the overall story as more nostalgic that I've grown to like Message more. It has a very deep since of sadness throughout the whole thing that I really liked. I think it was a good farewell for the series, although hardly action-packed.
I have mulled about with ideas to write my own "adult" rendition of the TV series, not in hentai terms. When I say "adult" I simply mean aging the characters a bit and updating the tone of the story from a kids show to a more dire adult story. I can be very sadistically evil toward my favorite characters and I would just love to put Ryo through new trials and tribulations. lol I wonder if he'd be able to survive after I've had him for a while. lol