Superheroes are regarded as strong and mighty beings with superpowers that are more than willing to help anyone in need. A lot of people read about superheroes in comics and also watch them in movies and on TV. There is huge fandom that is just all about all kinds of superheroes. Probably the most famous superheroes in the west come from the Marvel and DC Comics. Superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, and Captain America are only some of the most popular ones in the west. There are also female counterparts for these male superheroes such as Superwoman, Catwoman, and Wonderwoman. These superheroes either have supernatural strength or have the means to create machines that would enable them to have “powers” that would help victims of crime.
The Power Rangers are a group of five young individuals who are trained to fight evil. While they are supposedly just normal human beings, they morph into people who have supernatural abilities when they go to battle against the bad guys. On the other hand, there is also a Japanese version of the Power Rangers, known as the Super Sentai. The Super Sentai series is one of the most popular and authentic superhero series on TV in Japan.
A Brief Background on the Super Sentai Series
Before delving into what the Super Sentai series is all about, one must get to know the people behind this popular TV series. Produced by Toei Company, Ltd. and Bandai Co., Ltd., the Super Sentai series is aired by TV Asahi. Also known as Toei Kabushiki-gaisha in Japanese, Toei Company, Ltd. is a corporation focused on film and TV production and distribution in Japan. The company is actually an owner and also an operator of thirty-four movie theaters across the country. It is well-known for producing anime, historical dramas or jidaigeki in Japanese, and live action dramas or tokusatsu in Japanese, where the Super Sentai series is a part of. For those who are wondering, the term Toei was taken from the former name of the corporation, known as Tokyo Eiga Haikyu.
On the other hand, Bandai Co., Ltd., also known as Kabushiki-gaisha Bandai in Japanese, is a company that specializes in Japanese toy making. Previously a video game company, Bandai Co., Ltd. also produces a huge amount of plastic model kits. Worldwide, the company is among the top 5 producers of toys, along with Mattel, the LEGO Group, and Hasbro. Just the same as Toei Company, Ltd., Bandai Co., Ltd. also has its headquarters located in Tokyo. As for TV Asahi, also called Kabushiki-gaisha Terebi Asahi in Japanese, it is a television network based in Japan where the Super Sentai Series has been airing since its first episode.
These companies all work together in order to produce the long-running show that is the Super Sentai series. Also known as Supa Sentai Shirizu in Japanese, the Super Sentai series is a superhero team franchise of TV series that is based in Japan. This show is actually the basis for the famous Power Rangers. The term “super” refers to the characters’ utilization of mecha while “sentai” translates to “task force” or “fighting squadron.” This series is one of the most popular tokusatsu programs in the Land of the Sun, along with the Metal Hero series, the Kamen Rider series, and the Ultra series. It has also teamed up with other shows such as the Super Hero Taisen film series.
Played by live action characters, the series is produced with colorful and vibrant special effects. The target audience of the series are families who watch together at home. This is why the show airs in the Super Hero Time programming block, which is shown every Sunday of the week. The main characters of the show are the people who form a team and fight battles against a group of evil creatures who want to rule over Earth. Coupled with costumes that are color-coded, signature weapons, and fighting skills, these individuals aim to defeat the monster of the week.
Usually, a normal episode consists of this team of heroes trying to fight evil by stopping their evil plans and destroying a plethora of enemy soldiers. A typical occurrence in the series is the monster would usually grow into an enlarged version to try and defeat the heroes. As the monster would be too big to be defeated by five small individuals, the heroes then fight the monster with large robotic machines that are able to attach to one another to form a bigger machine called the mecha.
The first Sentai series ever produced was the Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. Created by Shotaro Ishinomori, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger was made in the month of April in the year 1975. It was then not part of the Super Sentai series until the year 1994 when the Toei Company decided to incorporate this along with the second episode also created by Ishinomori. After the first two episodes, Ishinomori no longer created more episodes for the Super Sentai series.
The Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger of 1992
Also known as Kyoryu Sentai Jurenja in Japanese, the Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger is the 16th installment in the Super Sentai series. What makes this installment notable is that it was the first Super Sentai series that was adapted into the American Power Rangers series. The first season of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that was aired in the U.S. used a huge amount of footage from all 50 episodes of this series. Zyuranger was originally aired from the 21st of February in the year 1992 to the 19th of February in the year 1993. Its first episode was titled “The Birth” while the final episode was called “Viva Dinosaurs.” While it has 50 episodes in total, the series also produced one special episode.
Translating to Dinosaur Squadron Zyuranger in English, this series is considered a landmark series of the franchise. This is because it was the first series in the franchise that came with a prehistoric animal motif, hence the term “dinosaur” in the title. While the previous installments prior to this series utilized science fiction, the Zyuranger series used fantasy elements in the show. Furthermore, the show also featured a mecha that was composed completely of robotic animals. Lastly, the Zyuranger series was also the first installment that featured a sixth ranger character.
There were six main characters in this series, namely, Geki, Goushi, Dan, Boi, Mei, and Burai. Geki was the red power ranger known as TyrannoRanger and was played by Yuta Mochizuki. Goushi was the black power ranger known as MammothRanger and was played by Seiju Umon. Dan was the blue power ranger known as TriceraRanger and was played by Hideki Fujiwara. Boi was the yellow power ranger known as TigerRanger and was played by Takumi Hashimoto. Mei was the pink power ranger known as PteraRanger and was played by Reiko Chiba. Last but certainly not the least, Burai was the green power ranger known as DragonRanger and was played by Shiro Izumi.
The Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger of 2013
Also known as Juden Sentai Kyoryuja in Japanese. the Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger is the 37th installment in the Super Sentai series. Just two years after the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger aired, it served as a replacement of the Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters in the Super Hero Time block aired by TV Asahi. It had a total of 48 episodes, 5 movies, and 2 special episodes. Its first episode was titled “Brave 1: He’s Here! The Bright Red King” while the final episode was called “Brave Final: Great Explosion! Goodbye, Kyoryuger.” Kyoryuger was originally aired from the 17th of February in the year 2013 to the 9th of February in the year 2014. It was then replaced by Ressha Sentai ToQger still on the same time block.
Translating to Beast Power Squadron Dinosaur Ranger in English, the Kyoryuger series also aired in South Korea. Called the Power Rangers Dino Force or Pawoleinjeo Dainoposeu in Korean, the series was so popular in South Korea that a sequel season was produced there entitled Power Rangers Dino Force Brave. This series also had footages that were adapted to the American versions, the Power Rangers Dino Charge and the Power Rangers Dino Super Charge.
There were six main Kyoryugers in the series, namely, Daigo Kiyu or Dai-kun, Ian Yorkland or Icchan, Nobuharu Udo or Nobuta-san, Souji Rippukan or Soujiro, Amy Yuuzuki or Ami-neesan, and Utsusemimaru or Uppy. Dai-kun was the red power ranger known as Kyoryu Red and was played by Ryo Ryusei. Icchan was the black power ranger known as Kyoryu black and was played by Syuusuke Saito. Nobuta-san was the blue power ranger known as Kyoryu Blue and was played by Yamato Kinjo. Soujiro was the green power ranger known as Kyoryu Green and was played by Akihisa Shiono. Ami-neesan was the pink power ranger known as Kyoryu Pink and was played by Ayuri Konno. Uppy was the gold power ranger known as Kyoryu Gold and was played by Atsushi Maruyama.
There were also four other Kyoryugers shown in the series, namely, Ramirez or Yuko Fukui, Tessai or Shinya Tsukouchi, Doctor Ulshade or Yayoi Ulshade, and Wise God Torin or Dantetsu Kiryu. Yuko Fukui was the cyan power ranger known as Kyoryu Cyan and was played by either Robert Baldwin or Ayumi Kinoshita. Shinya Tsukouchi was the gray power ranger known as Kyoryu Gray and was played by Masayuki Deai. Yayoi Ulshade was the violet power ranger known as Kyoryu Violet and was played by either Shigeru Chiba or Marie Iitoyo. Dantetsu Kiryu was the silver power ranger known as Kyoryu Silver and was played by either Toshiyuki Morikawa or Shinji Yamashita.
In addition, this series also feature the future selves of the main Kyoryugers. The future Kyoryugers were still the same roles and were played by the same actors. However, their designations have changed to Kyoryu Navy, Kyoryu Silver, Kyoryu Blue, Kyoryu Gray, Kyoryu Cyan, and Kyoryu Violet, respectively.
The Shuriken Sentai Ninninger of 2015
Also known as Shuriken Sentai Ninninja in Japanese, the Shuriken Sentai Ninninger is the 39th installment of the Super Sentai series. It served as a replacement of the Ressha Sentai ToQger in the Super Hero Time block aired by TV Asahi. It had a total of 47 episodes, 5 movies, and 2 special episodes. Its first episode was titled “Shinobi 1: We’re Ninja!” while the final episode was called “Shinobi Final Chapter: To a Future Without Hiding, Wasshoi!” Ninninger was originally aired from the 22nd of February in the year 2015 to the 7th of February in the year 2016. It was then replaced by Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger still on the same time block.
Translating to Shuriken Squadron Ninninger in English, the Ninninger series also had American Power Rangers counterparts. These two counterparts are known as the Power Rangers Ninja Steel and Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel. As the names suggest, the theme or concept of this series was ninjas. Hence, the show portrayed a little bit of history with ninja characters within them.
There were seven main characters in the series, namely, Takaharu Igasaki, Yakumo Katou, Nagi Matsuo, Fuuka Igasaki, Kasumi Momochi, Kinji Takigawa, and Luna Kokonoe. Takaharu was the red power ranger known as AkaNinger and was played by Shunsuke Nishikawa. Yakumo was the blue power ranger known as AoNinger and was played by Gaku Matsumoto. Nagi was the yellow power ranger known as KiNinger and was played by Kaito Nakamura. Fuuka was the white power ranger known as ShiroNinger and was played by Yuuka Yano. Kasumi was the pink power ranger known as MomoNinger and was played by Kasumi Yamaya. Kinji was the gold power ranger known as StarNinger and was played by Hideya Tawada. Lastly, Luna was the green power ranger known as MidoNinger and was played by Megumi Han.
The Uchu Sentai Kyuranger of 2017
Currently, the latest installment of the Super Sentai series is the Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, also known as Uchu Sentai Kyurenja. It is the 41st installment of the series and has a space theme. Translating to Space Squadron Nine Ranger, it began airing on the 12th of February. It features 11 main characters, saviors chosen by the Kyutama, with one more to be announced. The first episode was titled “Space.1: The Super Stars of Space.”
This series is definitely something to watch out for. Fans of the show start getting excited in watching the next installment as early as December or January. Come February and March, fans begin getting engrossed with the show. Being able to run that long, through generations, says something about how the series adapts to the time and to its viewers. For those who are interesting in watching, it is recommended to start now as the show now has more than 40 installments so there are certainly a lot to catch up on.