Choujin Sentai Jetman is one of the most beloved seasons of the wildly popular Super Sentai series over in Japan. It was so popular back in 1991 that it was even considered to become the first adaptation for what we now know as Power Rangers.
Jetman was highly regarded for its long-running storylines as well as its beloved characters and the relationships they had with each other throughout the season. The character of Gai Yuki was especially popular, especially with mothers. Gai’s character in the show showed character development unlike anything ever seen before in the history of Super Sentai and has yet to be replicated since.
Before we go on I would like to give a quick spoiler warning for those who have not watched Choujin Sentai Jetman as we are about to give an in-depth analysis of the season up to and including its ending. You have been warned.
An Overview Of Gai Yuki’s Character Development in Jetman
When we first meet Gai in Jetman is a playboy who wants nothing to do with saving the world, even to the point of getting into multiple physical altercations with the Red Ranger, Ryu Tendo. He reluctantly joins the team after they are almost killed in battle; however, this does not change his ways as he continues to do whatever he wants, sometimes to the detriment of the team.
Throughout the show, the White Ranger, Kaori Rokumeikan, is in love with Ryu. However, Ryu does not reciprocate as he is still getting over his former girlfriend, Rie, who was seemingly killed in the premiere episode of Jetman and is later revealed to be one of the villains, Maria. Gai, however, has had feelings for Kaori from the start and continues to pursue her throughout the show.
Gai continues to profess his feelings for Kaori despite her being in love with Ryu, even to the point of kissing her without her consent. This causes massive conflict within the team especially with the Yellow Ranger, Raita Ooishi, who also has feelings for Kaori apparently. However, that’s not really important in this context as that is never really explored again throughout the show.
Kaori later lets go of her feelings for Ryu and starts to date Gai at around the halfway point of the season. Gai and Kaori later leave the team and Ryu is also dealing with the realization that his former girlfriend, Rie, is Maria one of the villains they’ve been fighting this whole time. Ryu knows that not all hope is lost for Rie as she has just been brainwashed by the Vyram and could theoretically be brought back.
Ryu later goes crazy over this realization and is seeing hallucinations of Rie and is unable to help the team. Gai later comes back to talk some sense into Ryu and the two finally settle their differences and form an amazing friendship that continues to develop throughout Jetman.
In the penultimate episode of the Jetman, Rie redeems herself by stabbing the Vyram’s leader, Radiget, in the back (literally) and is killed shortly after. Ryu is unable to handle this and once again starts having hallucinations of Rie. Kaori is able to get him out of it and they join the others to fight Radiguet one last time. This is the first moment they’ve had since Kaori and Guy started dating so I didn’t think much of it.
We now go to the Jetmen taking on Radiget. It’s down to the wire and Ryu decides he is going to sacrifice himself to take down Radiguet once and for all. Ryu holds him in place while Gai and the others in Jet Icarus stab through Radiguet and Ryu (in Jet Garuda) in the process. Ryu is somehow perfectly fine after this; however, and Radiguet is destroyed once and for all.
I say all of this because of what happens next that has Super Sentai fans talking to this very day. This next sequence of events was even mentioned in the 45th and current season of Super Sentai, Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger.
The Major Problems With Choujin Sentai Jetman’s Finale
We now cut to three years later. Gai is buying flowers for his friends’ wedding. It is currently unknown who the flowers are for until shortly after it is revealed that Ryu and Kaori are the ones getting married. There is already a glaring issue right there but let’s get through the sequence of events and dissect this whole thing all at once.
We later see Gai leave the flower shop and a lady has her purse stolen from a mugger. Gai chases down the thief and gets the purse back; however, when Gai has his guard down the mugger runs up to him and stabs him in the stomach. The viewer may be thinking “Oh man, that must really hurt! I hope he can get to the hospital in time!” Nope. This man goes to the wedding, just sits there on a bench, and dies. He didn’t go to a payphone, he didn’t go to the hospital, he didn’t ask his friends for help. He just chose to die for no apparent reason.
Okay, so there’s a lot to unpack here so let’s start with the Ryu and Kaori stuff and move on down the line:
Ryu and Kaori getting married make absolutely no sense with what we have seen from these characters in the past 51 episodes. Throughout the entire season, the character of Ryu has been struggling with the fact of him seemingly losing Rie and then getting her back just for her to be taken by the Vyram again. Ryu very rarely showed any affection towards Kaori until maybe the penultimate episode where she is able to get him to come to his senses and rejoin the Jetmen.
With Kaori, she had a crush on Ryu for the entire first half of the season, but eventually, lets that go we she realizes that Ryu is never going to get over Rie. She then starts dating Gai and things seem to be going moderately well besides an off comment near the end of the season where they tell the others that things aren’t going well. The two fought during most of the course of their relationship, that’s just what the two of them did, so it wasn’t that offputting.
That’s not to say that the relationship wasn’t toxic by any means. Just that it seems odd to have Ryu and Kaori dating just one episode later after no build-up for their own relationship besides one scene at the end of episode 50 of Jetman.
Now, moving on to Gai’s death. As I stated before this may be one of the most avoidable character deaths that I have seen in a television series. Gai had so many options to save himself to where he didn’t have to die but just said, “Oh well!” and died anyway. Some may argue that he just may have simply wanted to die but just before he was shown being super excited to go to his friends’ wedding and showed no resentment for Ryu and Kaori getting married.
If it were the case that Gai simply wanted to die I think the writers should have shown Gai being a little down that he couldn’t make things work between him and Kaori. Then I could see why after the thief stabbed him in the stomach he would be okay with dying and letting his friends live theirs lives in peace. By the way, I am not at all saying that this is the route Gai should have taken. That is never the answer, however, if that was what the writers were going for I think that would have made more sense within the context of the story.
Honestly, I don’t think it makes sense for Gai to die in any of these instances; however, it was pointed out to me that Gai’s actor, Toshihide Wakamatsu, wanted to character to die in the final episode. Okay fine, there is still a much better way to do that.
I mentioned before that Ryu chose to sacrifice himself so they could finally take down Radiguet by stabbing both Radiguet and Jet Garuda with Ryu inside. Ryu didn’t end up sacrificing himself, however, and was completely fine afterward.
The best way to handle off killing Gai would have been having Gai take Ryu’s place in Jet Garuda in the final battle. When they stab through the two it turns out Gai didn’t survive the impact and truly did sacrifice himself for the world, his team, and his love Kaori. This would have brought the character full circle from when we first met him in the beginning. Gai didn’t want to save the world and was perfectly fine with the Vyram destroying everyone.
Killing Gai off in this way would have really wrapped up his story in a nice tiny little bow. Truthfully, I don’t think the Jetman finale would be nearly as controversial as it is today. Especially since this would make Ryu and Kaori getting together make at least a little more sense as Ryu has lost Rie, and now Kaori has lost Gai so all they have is each other.
I think this could have bettered their character development/their relationship in the long run. While we may not have seen it on screen it would have made it a lot easier for the viewer to imagine what the two could have gone through together with Ryu losing his best friend and Kaori losing her boyfriend.
Future Appearances of Gai Yuki After Jetman
Gai and the other Jetmen later reappeared Super Sentai World, a crossover during Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. This was questioned amongst fans as we saw Gai die at the end of Jetman. However, it has been assumed that Super Sentai World must take place just before Ryu and Kaori’s wedding as Kakuranger takes place three years after Jetman, similar to the finale.
Gai later returns again in a Jetman tribute episode for Super Sentai’s 35th season, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. In the episode, Gai is returned to spend one last day on Earth and even helps out the Gokaigers for a bit before returning back to heaven.
Apparently, two writers on Gokaiger almost got into a physical altercation about Gai’s inclusion in the Great Legend War which saw almost every former Sentai Ranger return for one massive battle. A writer who had been on the show since Jetman felt that Gai shouldn’t be included due to his sacrifice. The two later compromised which is likely why we got to see Gai return in the Jetman tribute episode.
Overall, Jetman was a brilliant season of Super Sentai. It was one of if not the best of the entire series. I just think that the ending could have been done so much better and wished they had done just a few things different to make this great season even better!
Also, if you want to see my full thoughts along with other members of The Illumienerdi be sure to check out the episode of the Retro Sentai Wrap-Up we did on the Jetman finale! We really get into it so if you liked this article be sure to check that out!
What are your thoughts on Choujin Sentai Jetman‘s controversial ending? What things would have done differently? Let us know in the comments below! Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more Power Rangers/Super Sentai content like this in the near future!