You probably know that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a recut of a Japanese show with new American actors. It wasn’t white-washing, but it was white-splicing, which… actually sounds way worse, like an extremely popular thread you’d find on 8kun. To nobody’s surprise except for apparently everyone in Hollywood, the original Chojin Sentai shows were often way better. But not every season got a Power Rangers reimagining — Chojin Sentai Jetman, for example, wasn’t deemed interesting enough to rob. Maybe it’s because the toys would have been boring — and they would have been — but the show sure as hell wasn’t.
The theme song alone is worth the price of admission, which is nothing. It’s worth twice that! I know you can’t hear it from these images:
So let me sing it for you:
♫JET-TO JET-TO JET-TO MAN
LET’S GO FLY AWAY!
CHOJIN SENTAI…JET-TO MAAAAN!♫
Dang I really nailed that. Try to get that sucker out of your head now.
The show was filmed in 1991, but takes place in a far distant future with impossibly advanced technology.
Because they were certain — absolutely certain — this would happen within the next ten years, but they just weren’t willing to commit to a specific year and risk looking like fools. The first episode opens with my favorite character from anything:
That robot is not “out of control,” it is so fucking pissed off. Trust me, I know what that looks like: I once corrected a British person trying to say “aluminum.” Anyway some narc calls the robot cops, but it’s actually a good thing since this lady hucks babies like Jackie Chan:
The robot cops stop this massacre in seconds. Here’s me when the Skip Ads button pops up on YouTube:
The high-jumpin’, baby-snaggin’, button-slappin’ badasses are Ryu and Rie, the cutest supercop couple this side of Tango and Cash. After that aerial display they’re promptly invited to space — the best place — where they receive an offer to become superhuman:
And this article is over.
I’ll never write anything funnier than “Birdonic Waves.” If I was scripting a parody of Jetman with pigs instead of birds, I could call them “Hamma Rays” and it would be like spitting in your mouth whenever you open it to laugh. Every other joke is like ashes now. Thanks, Jetman.
Here’s the rest of my stupid fucking article, I guess:
Ryu and Rie are of course game for a few dangerous blasts of clearly bullshit waves, but they’re worried about being split up. Luckily the commander tells them the worst lie she can come up with:
Here’s Rie two minutes later:
She barely gets a chance to nod politely at the commander’s ironic lie before a hole rips open in the side of the space station and she vanishes into the void.
We are roughly five minutes into this show and we’ve had a leaping baby catch, met the angriest robot, we’re now in space, we got Birdonic Waves, and one of the leads just exploded. If anybody is taking notes on how to do exposition, you can stop now. You have everything you need. This is called the Shotgun Method and if executed properly, you can actually blast audiences with literally everything they need to know in the first eighteen seconds of your show, leaving the rest free for supersonic pig fights.
As the space station explodes, the Birdonic Waves escape and — every time! It gets me every time! – and they blast random bystanders below on Earth.
This guy gets it in the chest.
This poor lady takes one right in the gut.
This unfortunate son of a bitch gets a bolt to the head.
And this lucky young woman takes a full Birdonic Bolt straight in the ass.
She minds it the least, by far. Eventually they will all pick bird-themed names. Please remember to act surprised when she chooses Blue Swallow.
Now Ryu has to find and assemble all the potential Jetman, so they can battle evil aliens to save the Earth! It shouldn’t be hard to convince these warriors: Each Jetman is granted amazing powers, plus a bitchin’ jet!
Holy shit, Ryu has already found the first cadet, White Swan! And she wants to join up! Like… immediately! With suspiciously little convincing!
She has no followup questions. She doesn’t even give a shit what they’re called. She is down to join this deadly elite fighting force within one and a third sentences of meeting Ryu. And he is stoked at his luck, until she says:
Their very first recruit and she enlists not because she cares about saving the world, but because she’s an adrenaline-junkie excited to risk death just to feel alive for a minute.
Then they find Yellow Owl. Here’s how that goes:
So far none of the heroes in this show actually want to be heroes. And that’s because Jetman is doing something very special: Every single character, save for Ryu, is on the Hero’s Journey.
You can’t do that!
It’s tough to do even one ‘Hero Resists The Call’ right, and Jetman is doing four at once. The end result is less like we’re being introduced to a reluctant cast of would-be heroes, and more like everybody in the world is already aware of, and fucking hates Jetman.
Here’s Blue Swallow, the Birdonic Backdoor Baby, who will only join Jetman if you pay her.
One by one, they all reluctantly sign up for the Jetman crew. Not a single one of them is happy about it except for Ryu, who wants to save the Earth, and White Swan, who wants to be choked until she flatlines so she can bring back a ghost to fight.
Finally, they come to Black Condor. Allow me to paraphrase his recruitment interview, and I promise I will barely touch it:
Black Condor starts off standoffish, and turns outright aggressive the second they mention Jetman. All four of the new Jetmen have only one thing in common: They do not give a single shit about Jetman.
To really drive that concept home, the very first villain they fight as a team is a literal jet man:
Here’s how Ryu responds to the attack:
Ryu fights like every move is a condom: Single use only. He’ll spend forty-five minutes bringing a jet to a fight to fire one volley at some henchman and then leap out as it crashes to earth so he can rabbit-punch a single confused dude. Guess what? The fight does not go well. They need a new weapon!
But don’t worry, of course they all come together at the end to triumph over their enemies, forging not only an unbreakable team, but a lifelong friendship. Here’s Black Condor, after their first big fight:
In summary, I would like to close by saying: Chojin Sentai Jetman is the best show I have ever seen. It’s Voltron but if every single member of Voltron hated every single other member of Voltron almost as much as they hate Voltron itself. These are only the first half-dozen episodes — there are fifty! At some point this whole thing must devolve into a fully-formed Jetman trying to tear off its own arm as it repeatedly punches itself in the crotch and both legs try to run it into a volcano.
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme, Daniel Kennedy: Who would never join Jetman! Fuck you for asking!