I grew up watching Power Rangers. From Mighty Morphin to Time Force, with a bit of Wild Force there at the end, if I recall correctly. It has been a very long time since I paid the franchise much attention, but even if one cannot enjoy the same show as an adult that one did as a child, still, it will hold a place in my heart for all the childhood memories.
One of many things which I recall: it was almost always a staple of the franchise for there to be a sexy, female villain somewhere in the mix. And the franchise has, once or twice, toyed with the idea of redeeming her via a romantic entanglement with one of the heroes of the show.
Love After World Domination takes that idea, of a forbidden love between a power ranger and a princess of darkness, and turns it into one of the cuter and more hilarious romantic comedies I have ever seen.
The story follows Fudo, the “red ranger” member of Gelato Five which fights for world peace, and Desumi, the Reaper Princess of the evil organization called Gekko which seeks world domination. Desumi and Fudo have fought each other numerous times, each being a formidable warrior in their own right, and somewhere along the way… well, Fudo developed a huge crush on the sexy and scantily-clad warrior woman (one must appreciate his taste, at least!). After his mentor inadvertently encourages him to go for it, not knowing who Fudo was crushing on, Fudo confessed his feelings to her. It took her completely off guard, but he convinced her to give it a chance, and they began dating in secret.
Now, I’m going to get my criticism of this out of the way, first. Their lives are dominated by their jobs, and Fudo is a well-known public figure, so they can’t date openly. Thus, they “date” while on the job, while their respective teams and comrades are fighting each other in battle. Gekko attacks a place, Gelato Five defends, and the two lovebirds vanish somewhere no one is looking to “fight one on one.” Call me crazy, but it turns me off when I consider that the two of them are 1) not actually doing the jobs they’re getting paid to do, and, more importantly, 2) they’re being all lovey-dovey while their comrades are risking and enduring bodily harm for their respective causes. That, right there, is a huge betrayal of both of their teams. It doesn’t really sit right with me.
(not that I can exactly blame Fudo for getting distracted!)
When I can avoid thinking about that, mostly because nobody on either side gets hurt very badly, then I can enjoy how cutesy and loving they are to each other, and the hilarity of them getting almost caught so many times. The instantaneous switch from a couple on a date, to their convincing impersonation of mortal combat, and then back to their bashful dating, was impossible to not smile at. The dumb luck they had in maintaining their reputations despite obvious indicators of illicit activities was hilarious as well. And when one or two people did find out, their choice to help them keep their secret was rather endearing.
That emotional connection allowed the show to develop the world and its characters to varying degrees. It was actually quite amusing to see the people behind both the rainbow-themed Gelato Five and the six “princesses” of Gekko with their monster bosses. Mind you, with only a dozen episodes to work with thus far and not much in the way of tension, most of the characters basically came and went through the spotlight that remained almost entirely on Fudo and Desumi. Still, I could probably tell you at least one interesting thing about each member of the cast, because they made it enjoyable to behold their love-centric adventures.
Ultimately, I would say that the point of the show is that people are people. Fudo is a hero, but he’s also a person, with strengths and flaws, and his devotion to Desumi is commendable even if it is treacherous. And Desumi, for all her freakish strength and the pressures of a family that is committed to Gekko, which is why she works for them in the first place, she is ultimately just a normal girl. They’re both remarkable in their own way, but they don’t really need to be in order to be true to themselves. Indeed, that normalcy of human connection is probably their single greatest strength.
And, it must be said, this show is loaded full of satire. It makes total fun of the entire setup of evil Gekko vs righteous Gelato Five. And yet, it does so in a most pleasing, enjoyable way. It actually made me recall something I wrote a few years ago, when I reviewed The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness.
“I have no objection to making fun of the tropes or turning them on their heads and whatnot, but doing it right means doing so tastefully, with a certain humor that balances self-deprecation with witty commentary, and often in a way that influences the plot into something unexpected and emotional. It’s the art of comedy, telling stories that point out the joyful paradoxes of life, and making people feel happy about it.”
Ness’s book did not do very well with that, but Love After World Domination did it exactly right, and it was great!
So, we have lovable characters who each get to shine a bit, a hilarious adventure of forbidden love, and a pleasing satire of an entire genre with all of its tropes, all wrapped into one.
Yeah, it’s not perfect, but I really liked this one!
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.