Igadevil was afraid the news would break my mind, and that the accompanying video link might make my computer explode. It was true. Toshihide Wakamatsu was reprising his CHOJIN SENTAI JETMAN role of "Gai Yuki" on KAIZOKU SENTAI GOKAIGER. What's more, the script was reportedly by Toshiki Inoue - the man who defined the characters of JETMAN.
It's a fair question to ask how this makes me feel. After all, I spent the better part of 15 years shepherding a fanfiction story that spun out of JETMAN. I still maintain Return of Jetman and sporadically add content (which is in progress, I promise). What do I think of this return that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago?
I think it's great!
I'm not sure when I will see the full episode, but I am thrilled that GOKAIGER has been allowed to explore one of the great endings in sentai series history. Because whether you love it or hate it, everyone has an opinion on the ending of JETMAN. I am sure the very nature of that conclusion was what led my good friend Lewis Smith to create ROJ, and take it in the direction he chose.
But...what about "Return of Jetman"? Doesn't a Toei-produced sequel invalidate it? Maybe; maybe not. It depends on the specifics, doesn't it? But even if the show contradicts what we created, who cares? The stories, the artwork, and the site itself were created to be fun and entertaining. They build off a specific premise, from a specific reference point. I tried to incorporate nods to other follow-ups featuring Jetman where appropriate (the manga, SUPER SENTAI WORLD, GAORANGER VS. SUPER SENTAI). But in the end, the sentai shared universe doesn't make a lick of sense when you scrutinize it. And that's fine. It's just meant to be an exercise in creativity, not something that changes the world.
Memo to some people in this world: Your fanfiction is not canon. Expecting fidelity to your vision is a fantasy worthy of its own fanfiction. Write what you want, but don't complain if it becomes obsolete later. Just because there's a chance Toei might do something that renders ROJ null and void as far as sentai "canon" goes doesn't mean I can't enjoy GOKAIGER's sequel to JETMAN. ROJ still exists somewhere, and it's not as if the fact that it might not "fit" anymore into some imaginary timeline diminishes that.
As I have said in the past, competing with Toei is hard work. I'm glad I finished ROJ when I did, because I would likely be tearing my hair out trying to figure out what to do. As it is, I can just sit back and be entertained. Oh, and marvel at the fact that Toshihide Wakamatsu still looks like he did when he was filming JETMAN. HOW DOES HE DO IT?!