Adult-Oriented Tokusatsu Series You Should Watch
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The Modern Era (2006-2015)
We ended off the last week with how Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the family of magicians, faced off with Infershia, and carried on the Super Sentai legacy. This week, we will see where the baton is at right now, with Shuriken Sentai Ninninger.
Despite going into decline several periods in the past, Super Sentai managed picked itself up again and again with innovative ideas and concepts, introducing new elements yet keeping the basic element of the genre intact. We also saw how toy sales impacted the show off-screen but, but it was not until recent years when toys and merchandising seemed to take precedence over the storyline.
However, modern Super Sentai has still managed to come across nicely despite the gimmicky gadgets and mecha they now have. Another element that has joined the fray are annual Super Sentai Taisen crossovers between Kamen Rider and Super Sentai (most recently, the new generation Metal Heroes), starting when the Samurai Sentai Shinkenger popped up on an episode of Kamen Rider Decade.
Since then, there have been many episode specials and movies featuring both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, even to the extent of having Sentai or Rider special crossover toys.
31. Gougou Sentai Boukenger (2006)
Original broadcast run: Feb 19, 2006 – Feb 11, 2007 (49 episodes)
“BOUKENGER, START UP!”
Boukengers’ transformation call
Search Guard Successor Foundation, or SGS in short, is an organisation dedicated to the retrieval and protection of dangerous relics, known as Precious, from the various Negative Syndicates who seek them for evil purposes. To carry out their mission, the SGS establishes a team of highly-trained operatives, known as the Gougou Sentai Boukenger!
The 30th anniversary Super Sentai series with an adventure theme. One of the major aspects of the series are the homages paid in some of their characters, mainly having the each of the characters having some form of personality resemblance to past Sentai characters, along with the designs of its villains based off different elements of Sentai history. The series also featured villains of various factions as opposed to a single united organisation, something that was partially done in Seijuu Sentai Gingaman.
Written by Kim Hong
First Sentai series to have a nine-piece (Super Dai Bouken) and ten-piece fusion robot (Ultimate Dai Bouken).
As the 30th anniversary series, at the end of each episode, the characters will describe a past Super Sentai.
Aka Red, the spiritual anniversary-themed Red warrior, first appears during the Boukenger VS Super Sentai special. He returns again in Gokaiger with a much more prominent role.
Most villains are loosely based on past Sentai elements: Gajah (Black Cross Fuhrer/Gorenger), Ryuuwon (Daizyujin/Zyuranger), Dark Shadow (Sanshinsou/Kakuranger).
Hurricane Blue, MagiShine, MagiYellow, AbareBlack and DekaBreak appeared as their respective characters in Boukenger vs Super Sentai
32. Juuken Sentai Gekiranger (2007)
Original broadcast run: Feb 18, 2006 – Feb 10, 2007 (49 episodes)
“TAGIRE! KEMONO NO CHIKARA, BEAST ON!”
Gekirangers’ transformation call
4,000 years ago, Brusa Ee built a hidden village and taught ten humans the way of the Juuken as a way to attain spiritual peace. But dissent grew within the group causing them to split into two factions – The evil Rin Juuken Akugata and the Geki Juuken. In modern times, a fallen Geki Juuken student Rio turns to evil and starts to rebuild the Rin Juuken Akugata, prompting his master Xia Fu to form the Juuken Sentai Gekiranger to stop his former student. However, unknown to all of them, a bigger, darker force is out to manipulate them for its own agenda.
Gekiranger is the first animal kungfu-inspired series and carries the “animal traits” aspect through the suit concepts and the rangers characters (Geki Violet is a lone wolf, Rio is a proud lion, etc.) The series played heavily on the relationship between the two initial antagonists with a story that develops from a one-sided crush to a full blow romantic twist. While fun-going at the start, Gekiranger took a darker twist towards the end of the series with characters sacrificing their lives and dying on screen.
Written by Victoria Ng
Gekiranger is currently the last series to have the -ranger suffix in its name.
First series to not feature a sixth ranger on the team since Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoV.
First series to introduce a violet-coloured warrior.
First series to have a fight commentator.
First Sentai team to not have belts on their suits
First series where the villains’ mecha can combine with the heroes’ mecha.
Ooba Kenji (Gavan, DenjiBlue, Battle Kenya) played Jan’s father.
32. Enjin Sentai Go-Onger (2008)
Original broadcast run: Feb 17, 2008 – Feb 8, 2009 (50 episodes)
“CHANGE SOUL SET, LET’S GO-ON!”
Go-ongers’ transformation call
Machine World is one of the 11 Brane Worlds other than our own, which is referred as the Human World, and it is home to giant vehicular beings called Engines who wage a war against the Gaiark who desire to pollute their world. Losing, Gaiark’s three Pollution Ministers’ escape leaves them on Earth, seeing the Human World as an easier location to create their ideal paradise. The six Engines manage to pursue them, selecting five humans to become their partners, as Engine Sentai Go-Onger!
Go-Onger started the era when Toei and Bandai finally decided to embrace the utilisation of gimmicks, taking it to a whole new level by having the heroes using gimmick dependant arsenals and mecha. The series also attempted to replicate the slapstick comedy premise of Carranger, but failed terribly as it was obvious that the cast members’ silliness felt forced and left a bad aftertaste.
Written by Jaclyn Ngan
The first syllable of each Go-Ongers and Go-On Wings’ surnames spell out ‘ecologists’ in this order: E-KO-RO-J-I-SU
First series to have both gold and silver warriors on the same team. Go-On Silver was also the first female silver warrior in Super Sentai history.
First series to have more than two ending theme songs.
First series to introduce a 12-piece mecha in Engine-Oh G12, surpassing the ten-piece mecha, Ultimate Dai Bouken, in Gougou Sentai Boukenger.
Second series after Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger to have sentient mecha that are able to communicate in Japanese.
Second series to have the same colour scheme as Choujuu Sentai Liveman.
Aizawa Rina, Usui Masahiro (both 1991) and Sugimoto Yumi (1989) were three of the first Heisei-born actors to be casted in a Super Sentai series.
Tokuyama Hidenori, who previously portrayed Kamen Rider TheBee and later Kamen Rider Kick Hopper in Kamen Rider Kabuto, plays the role of Sutou Hiroto/Go-On Gold.
33. Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (2009)
Original broadcast run: Feb 15, 2009 – Feb 7, 2010 (49 episodes)
Shinkengers’ transformation call
For 17 generations, the Shiba Clan and its retainer families have utilised the mystical Mojikara abilities to fight against the Gedoushuu. The sacrifice of a former leader led to a truce between both sides. Many years later, the Gedoushuu began attacking humans again, rising again to flood the world with the water of the underworld Sanzu River. Shiba Takeru, the 18th Shiba clan leader, along with the representatives of the retainer families of the Shiba Clan, must take up the mantle of the Samurai Sentai Shinkenger to defend the surface world against the Gedoushuu!
Shinkenger proved to have a more serious tone to the show, from the plot to character development and overall outlook. Characters were beautifully developed, giving each character a sufficient backstory, which applies to some of the villains as well. Although the plot might have been simpler, it certainly did not make the series any less interesting. Although the gimmicks, especially in the Origami and Mecha, were a-plenty, the merits of the storytelling exceed them.
Written by Muhd Nur Hidayat
First Sentai to have a samurai motif.
First female red ranger (although only for a number of episodes)
First Sentai team to appear in a Kamen Rider series, sowing the seeds for a crossover trend that would continue to this day.
First Sentai to have black pants for their suits.
34. Tensou Sentai Goseiger (2010)
Original broadcast run: Feb 14, 2010 – Feb 21, 2011 (50 episodes)
“CHANGE CARD, TENSOU!”
Goseigers’ transformation call
Unknown to mankind, there is another branch of humanity known as the Gosei Angels, humans who were born with extraordinary powers. To prevent causing harm to the other humans, they built another world of their own called Gosei World and bridging their world with ours was the Gosei Tower. The tower was destroyed when the Earth was targeted by the alien invasion force known as War Star, in order to prevent the angels from interfering. However, five apprentice angels who happened to be on Earth undergoing their training at that time and while finding a way to get home, they joined forces to stop the War Star as Tensou Sentai Goseiger!
After Gougou Sentai Boukenger, the Goseigers were the first team to face three different enemy groups, though they are presented as three separate story arcs rather than three groups acting together. One of the producers of the show, Hikasa Jun, left the production team halfway through the series due to burnout of ideas and it almost killed the show. Wakamatsu Gou, who has only been working as an assistant, stepped in and completely turned the tables around by retooling the existing ideas in his own vision which could arguably be considered as great as stories from the 90’s.
Written by Jaclyn Ngan
First team to introduce non-human heroes in the form of angels.
First series to utilise the use of cards in similar fashion to Kamen Rider Decade.
First series to have a sixth member who does not have a human host.
First series to have interchangeable heads for the mecha, called Headders.
Ogawa Teruaki and Hirose Satomi, better known as Sasuke/Ninja Red and Tsuruhime/Ninja White, both made guest appearances in Episode 19 as a couple.
Itou Yousuke, better known as Deka Green/Sen-chan, portrayed Gosei Blue’s deceased partner, Magis. Many fans dubbed him Gosei Green due to a blink-and-miss onscreen henshin sequence.
Goseiger was later adapted into two Power Rangers seasons titled Power Rangers Megaforce and Power Rangers Super Megaforce.
35. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger (2011)
Original broadcast run: Feb 13, 2011 – Feb 19, 2012 (51 episodes)
Gokaigers’ transformation call
The Space Empire Zangyack invade Earth, forcing the 34 Super Sentai teams to sacrifice their powers in a bid to wipe out the invading forces. Their powers spread out across the universe as Ranger Keys, now in the possession by a group of young pirates in search of the Greatest Treasure in the Universe. Arriving on Earth, they discover that the Zangyack have resumed their invasion, and that the treasure can only be obtained after acquiring the Greater Power of each Super Sentai. The young pirates must now prove themselves worthy of the treasure by fighting off the Zangyack invasion as the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger!
Commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Super Sentai franchise, Gokaiger was the third series headed by Arakawa Naruhisa. The show was primarily made to pay tribute to series in the past ten years from Gaoranger onwards at first. However, thanks to word of voice from the fans (as well as the tragic 2011 Tohoku Earthquake), Toei decided to bring back veteran Sentai warriors from every series and it eventually became an actual anniversary series doubled as a love letter to Super Sentai fans backed by Arakawa’s writing.
Written by Jaclyn Ngan. Additional writing by Basil Yeo
First series to introduce the pirate motif, which was inspired by the popularity of anime series One Piece at that time.
Second series following Tensou Sentai Goseiger to have a team of human heroes who are not of Earthen origin.
Third anniversary series after Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger and Gougou Sentai Boukenger to have a silver warrior as the sixth member.
Second team in a row to use the Go- prefix.
The Gokaigers’ colour scheme of red-blue-green-yellow-pink and high collars was a homage to Himitsu Sentai Gorenger.
Every tribute episodes were titled the way it was originally titled in the series they were based on. For example, the Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger tribute episode title was written completely in Katakana letters, as in the original series.
Ozawa Ryota (1988) is to date the last Showa-born actor to portray a Sentai Red.
Koike Yui made a guest appearance in the finale of Kamen Rider W prior to being casted as Gokai Pink.
Stock footage from Gokaiger was used in the filming of Power Rangers Super Megaforce. The main suits and arsenals were also used as power-ups, in oppose to as a new team with a whole new cast.
36. Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (2012)
Original broadcast run: Feb 26, 2012 – Feb 10, 2013 (50 episodes)
Go-busters’ transformation call
Thirteen years ago in the New Common Era calendar, the computer controlling Enetron, a newly discovered energy source, was infected by a virus that caused it to create Messiah, an evil energy being who wishes to take over mankind and create a world made for machines. Messiah was suppressed, however, in 2012 NCE, a mysterious group called the Vaglass attempt to gather enough Enetron to bring Messiah back. Three young agents and their Buddyloids are then deployed to combat Vaglass’s Metaloids and Megazords to protect the city’s Enetron from them as Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters!
Appointed the head writer for the fourth time, Kobayashi Yasuko took on the challenge to make a Super Sentai series with a different approach. This was also Kamen Rider producer, Takebe Naomi’s first time producing a Super Sentai series. While the show started with a premise with so much potential, it unfortunately crumbled to the ground hard when producer Wakamatsu Gou left the production team during the first few episodes due to an reason that remains unknown up until today, causing the show to revert back to cliches and taking an aimless direction mid-series. Nevertheless, Go-Busters still deserves credit for introducing new elements into the franchise.
Written by Jaclyn Ngan
First series in 13 years since Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoV to not use the -ranger/-ger naming.
Third team in a row to use the Go- prefix.
First series to have a second opening theme song.
First series to break the tradition of spandex suits, as the Go-Busters’ suits were completely made out of PVC leather.
First series to use recurring terms originating from Power Rangers, such as “It’s Morphin’ Time!” and Megazords.
First series to introduce realistic mecha launching scenes.
Brace changers used by the main team make a return for the first time in 9 years since Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger.
First series to introduce gun changers, before it makes a return again in Zyuden Sentai Kyouryuuger.
Second series after Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger to have an unofficial pink warrior, Kaitou Pink Buster.
Matsumoto Hiroya returns to Super Sentai for the role of Jin Masato/Beet Buster. He was previously Ozu Tsubasa/Magi Yellow on Mahou Sentai Magiranger.
37. Zyuden Sentai Kyouryuuger (2013)
Original broadcast run: Feb 17, 2013 – Feb 9, 2014 (48 episodes)
Kyouryuugers’ henshin call
A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, evil Deboth army tried to invade our planet. To protect the world some brave dinos become Zyudenryu (aka robo dinos) and sealed the baddies in ice. Many, many, many moons later, the baddies have started to thaw out and are working to free their boss. To prevent this and save the world, Wise God Torin has gathered the earth’s bravest heroes, the Zyuden Sentai Kyouryuuger, to take them down.
Upbeat and dino-charged, Zyuden Sentai Kyouryuuger is the third dinosaur themed team following in the footsteps of Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger (whose name is the inspiration of the series own) and Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. As the previous dinosaur motif series, Kyouryuuger is extremely lighthearted and noisy too – due to the samba influence in its henshin sequence and special forms. The series saw the consistent use of a large cast of rangers – the largest since Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, with more four rangers switching roles in the middle and towards the end. A fun series, Kyouryuuger was the first series to interact with audiences by getting them to send their dancing videos and featuring them at the end of each episode.
Written by Victoria Ng
First series in 28 years without a yellow ranger (since Dengeki Sentai Changeman)
First series to have a gold ranger without a yellow ranger.
First series since Magiranger to use subtitles when introducing a new character and first since Goseiger to use an eyecatch.
First series since Gaoranger to start with four males and one female.
First Sentai series to have members based off auxiliary mecha, possibly inspired by Saban’s Jungle Fury.
First character in the rangers’ last names form the word “Kyouryuu”.
Fastest reveal of 6th ranger, Kyouryuu Gold.
First series to reveal the gold ranger before the silver.
First series to reveal the silver ranger as the last ranger.
First series to introduce new colours – Grey and Cyan.
Largest ranger team since Dekaranger.
Ex-rangers that appeared in the series include Haruta Junichi (Goggle Black and Dyna Black), Hagiwara Sayoko (Dyna Pink), Ebisawa Kenji (Go-On Black), Kinoshita Ayumi (Deka Yellow) and Deai Masayuki (Bouken Silver)
38. Ressha Sentai ToQger (2014)
Original broadcast run: Feb 16, 2014 – Feb 15, 2015 (47 episodes)
Toqgers’ transformation call
Only those with imagination can see the mystical railway known as Rainbow Line, which massive trains known as Ressha run on. The trains are operated by five warriors known as the Ressha Sentai ToQger, who are on a mission to save towns from the forces of the Shadow Line, an evil group gathering and using the residents’ fears and sadness to establish their line for the arrival of Emperor Z.
ToQger was Kobayashi’s fifth time as head writer and also her second time writing about train themed heroes. The series started off slow and silly, before maturing into a show heavily emphasizing on the themes of friendship, the battle between light and darkness, and the strong desire to return to a place the heroes called home upon the arrival of Emperor Z and ToQ-6. One could argue that it was one of the better series in the past decade.
Written by Jaclyn Ngan
First series to have an entire team of child heroes, as the ToQgers (sans ToQ-6) are actually elementary school kids turned into adults.
First series to have a full set of arsenals and mechas completely based on trains.
First series in seven years since Juuken Sentai Gekiranger to have an evil human leader.
Second series to have an orange warrior, ToQ-6, after Battle Cossack in Battle Fever J.
Second shortest series after JAKQ Dengekitai, at a count of 47 episodes.
Second series after Samurai Sentai Shinkenger to have a crossover episode with its sister series, Kamen Rider Gaim.
ToQ-6 was genuinely an evil Kaijin prior to joining the team, making him the first sixth member with a non-human form.
YasudaSotaro, who previously portrayed Hisatsu Ken/Geki Chopper, made a guest appearance on Episode 9.
39. Shuriken Sentai Ninninger (2015)
Original broadcast run: Feb 22, 2015 – present (as of writing)
Nininngers’ transformation call
The evil warlord Gengetsu Kibaoni was slain by the Igasaki Ninja Clan many centuries ago, before he discarded his humanity to become a Youkai. Rising again for the first time, he was defeated and sealed by Igasaki Yoshitaka, a man known as the “Last Ninja”. Three generations later, the Kibaoni Army Corps was unsealed by Kibaoni’s retainer, Kyuemon Izayoi. As only those with the Igasaki bloodline can take them on by mastering the Shuriken Ninja Arts, Yoshitaka’s son, Igasaki Tsumuji, gathered the grandchildren of the Last Ninja to form the Shuriken Sentai Ninninger!
As of writing, the show is on the 8th episode. Thus far, it has been interesting to see that even though the main villain have sort of revived, both sides are still at quite a standstill, and ever-growing. The series also ties in to the other Ninja series of the Sentai legacy, namely Ninja Sentai Kakuranger and Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger, having the respective two Reds, Sasuke and Yosuke, to appear and train the Ninninger in Episode 7. Ninninger still shows quite a huge potential, as the characters are still young and at a developmental stage. How will we look back at this series upon its finale in February 2016? Only time will tell.
Written by Muhd Nur Hidayat. Additional writing by Basil Yeo
40th anniversary series, but not the 40th Super Sentai team.
First series to use sword changers.
First time since Himitsu Sentai Gorenger to use the Japanese colors naming convention (Gorenger’s Akarenger and Ninninger’s AkaNinja)
First series to use the red-blue-yellow-white-pink colour scheme.
Since Dengeki Sentai Changeman 30 years ago, there have been no White and Pink female Rangers in the same team till Ninninger.
Third series to have a crossover episode with its sister series, Kamen Rider Drive.
Sasano Takashi, who portrays the Ninningers’ grandfather, was previously Professor Kenzo Mukai in Juukou B-Fighter.
And with that, our Super Sentai 40th Anniversary special feature comes to an end! In episode 7 of Ninninger, Akarenger said that the Super Sentai alumnus will continue looking over the current team as they have over all the other previous teams.
Hopefully, the legacy will be passed on, year after year. With trials and tribulations depicted in every series, it certainly did inspire us, as the takeaway from Sentai is certainly more than just the gimmicks they have to offer.
That said, hope you have enjoyed our Super Sentai 40th Anniversary special feature as much as we did enjoy writing them! Do continue to follow our website and social media accounts for more perspectives and opinions on the Tokusatsu world!