Episode Writers' Analysis Part 8: Gosei Sentai Dairanger
Dairanger for me is one of those rare masterpieces in Super Sentai which will be pretty hard to replicate. Although Gekiranger does have a great story, but Dairanger for me had most of its charm.
Noboru Sugimura (main writer) : 1-4, 7-8, 13-14, 17-18, 21-22, 28-32, 37-38, 42-46, 49-50 (26 eps)
Episodes 1-2 is the focus of introducing the Dairangers and the Gorma. The Gorma are introduced as a triumvirate of evil. Ryou is hesitant to become a Dairanger at the first episode but realizes he's needed. The Gorma are introduced as a trio that will menace the Dairangers throughout the series. Also we know that the Gorma have their sick human sacrifice rituals as well.
Episodes 3-4 is one nightmare fuel plot. Souls of children are stolen by the Key Jester. I really felt sorry for the kid whose younger brother's stole got stolen. Fortunately the Dairangers were able to save the day.
Episodes 7-8 is somewhat a Star Wars tribute. Archbishop Saw here is a Gorma monster ranking higher than the Gorma Triumvirate, seeing that religious people in Gorma rank higher than the military. We are introduced to Ryou's past and his father Zhang Liao. The second episode features the first time the five Chi Beasts combine together with Dairenou, effectively destroying an enlarged Archbishop Saw. Kind of reminds me of how Sugimura handled Daizyujin's introduction in Zyuranger.
Episodes 13-14 has the Kabuki Novice, Lin's granduncle Yufang who has a young fiance (now I'm crept out). The arc also reveals the Byakkoshinken which will not show up until episode 17. I just thought Yufang may be creeping me out with his having a girl so young, yet at the same time he will show he's more than just an old man.
Episodes 17-18 introduces us to the first two episodes of the "White Light" arc. Kou is the true owner of Byakkoshinken and he is a perverted kid with a crush on Lin. Now that's creepy but at the same time, hey boys tend to fall for older girls at their younger years! Unlike Justin in PR Turbo, Kou as a child ranger gets more interesting with how he develops in Dairanger! It also featured Kou's flashback with his mother, who was played by Mikiko Miki from Chojin Sentaj Jetman.
Episodes 21-22 focuses on the Chi-Beasts' birth called the Won Tiger. I love how this arc managed to intensify the sibling rivalry as well as Shadam's Radiguet-like cruelty which he shows to his sons. Akomaru and Kou are siblings who are enemies to each other. Also, Shadam shows his manipulative side. I kinda thought Shadam does have issues with Ryou in a way. The episodes wrap up "White Light" in a more satisfying manner than MMPR could. Won Tiger forms the new combination called Kibadaioh. Instead of combining with Dairenou, Won Tiger gets the armor pieces of Dairenou just like how Dragon Caesar forms Gouryujin with Triceratops, Mammoth and Sabertooth Tiger. Somehow, these episodes made me wish Daisuke Tachi and the kid playing Tran were Shadam and Akomaru.
Episode 28 features the entrace of the Four Deva Kings. This episode features the Four Deva Kings a threat that will not be easily defeated.
Episodes 29-30 features the Fast Talking Vagabond. What was important about these episodes was that finally, Kou's secret as Kibaranger got revealed to the Dairangers. I find this monster to be one that could get rid of me knowing I'm poor with tongue twisters. Children were made into slaves so the Gorma Triumvirate can harness Hell's powers to increase their powers. It felt like an anti-child slavery arc especially with Kou involved.
Episode 31 features Kameo's true power where he is actually Daimugen, the seventh mecha for Dairangers. The Four Deva Kings show their ability to become one monster which is extremely powerful that the Kibadaioh can't defeat it. What I find funny here is that when the Heavy Armor Chi Palace is formed, instead of a blast attack, the combination DROPS on its enemies which makes me think how many times did the Dairangers puke whenever they did that attack? Hehe.
Episode 32 has Birg Cage Vagabond and his golden leg. Speaking of the term golden leg it felt like a soccer game. Shouji had development in this episode. The dilemma Sentai-style had to do with a little girl or his leg. The cage itself was a dimension and he had a vulture familiar with him, which harming him may harm his captives. Well he did get his leg back but the Dairangers beat him. At the same time, Gorma XV shows his concern for Akomaru when he fished the latter out of Hell.
Episodes 37-38 introduces us to Serpentera ahem Daijinryu. The Pachinko Player appears and tries to turn Kou against the Dairangers hoping to turn him into a full Gorma. What was interesting was that, while the Dairangers weren't able to destroy Pachinko Player, a greater threat known as Daijinryu appears. Daijinryu is one towering menace that fired a dangerous beam, which again Sentai always fails to explain how the city just comes back to normal after every battle! Daijinryu demanded the Gorma and Dairangers to stop fighting or else. Overall, a really heartpounding episode!
Episodes 42-44 is Kou's major focus since his Gorma heritage was about to surface. I love how this three parter arc of Kou focused on his relationships with his mother and twin brother. Well Kou never got to know Shadam was his father, even until the end. I just thought about Akomaru's cruelty here was similar to Tran, playful yet petty. Kou could have become a Gorma if his mother didn't baptize him on Christmas Eve. The sad part was Kou saw both his mother and brother Kou both die A very sad Christmas special indeed!
Episodes 45-46 focuses on the Dairangers disbanding for real. These two episodes focus on the Dairangers' disbanding and giving up their powers. Kaku has his plans to get rid of the Gorma once and for all, but refuses to tell the Dairangers why. The audience learns that Master Kaku is really a Gorma and in the second half, Kaku reveals he was really of the Gorma. The Dairangers lose their powers in this episode. The conclusion of episodes 47-48 are written by Arakawa to wrap it up.
Episodes 49-50 is the finale. We learn that Shadam had planned the usurpation all along. We also learn that the Gara that the Dairangers fought was just a clay replica, apparently containing half of the real Gara's soul. So Shadam had a grand conspiracy himself which actually backfired at him in a way. The finale itself had Shadam become the Gorma Emperor, he was now utterly insane and the Dairangers face him for the final time. I love how Daijinryu gets involved again, all the jewels are stolen and the Gorma is defeated. Ryou wraps up his rivalry with Shadam out of suit. Ryou knifes Shadam which then reveals Shadam was just a mud puppet... or not. Shadam has a gruesome death scene, Ryou escapes. The Dairangers believed that the real Shadam would show up, but apparently Shadam may have mastered spirit transfer, using a clay body to replace his body in the process or the gods punished him by turning him into clay at the end. We have a 50 years later epilogue where the Dairangers meet their grandchildren fight the new Gorma. Overall, an ending that encourages audience imagination.
Naruhisa Arakawa : 5-6, 11, 15, 19-20, 24, 33, 40, 47-48 (11 eps)
Episodes 5-6 starts to introduce a duel between Lin and the Lipstick Songstress. Rather than just a monster for monster's sake, the Lipstick Songstress really can hypnotize its victims and release a dangerous song. Lin feels guilt about her schoolmate and engages this monster in a two episode feud. A very interesting introduction for Lin that I'd love to meet and fear to meet her at the same time!
Episode 11 features Father Magnet who magnetizes everyone with north and south poles. I love how the dilemma also hits the Dairangers. The episode kind of had the moral story of overcoming obstacles whenever they come. The Dairangers took advantage of the magnetic poles and used them to defeat Father Magnet.
Episode 15 features the Gorma Three Stooges. They have a weird relationship with Shouji which they are incompetent villains. They may have a few moments of brilliance but... you can't deny the comedy here is on soccer. Arakawa's comedic timing here was well-timed rather than just for the sake of inserting it.
Episodes 19-20 is part of the "White Light" arc. Arakawa wrote the episodes that started to feature Kou's sibling rivalry with Akomaru. We have mysteries building up in just two episodes. Episode 20 features the Gorma Emperor's arrival, which has some pretty weird humor. At the same time, we see the stormy relationship between Shadam and his son Akomaru.
Episode 24 features the Three Stooges again. Quite consistent really especially with their relationship with Shoui. This time it's a crazy game of baseball. Okay, I wonder why Lin had to look so hot in that episode, hehe. Again, another crazy Three Stooges episode of half-brained villainy.
Episode 33 is sort of a Maskman tribute. Kazunori Inaba (the actor playing Red Mask) appears yet again as a lover of a pink ranger. Last time, it was in Fiveman where he played as Five Pink's potential suitor. Here he becomes a monster, sort of like Gorin Dobler falling for Momoko. Kazunori's character is Takamura, the Media Magician. At first, he intends to murder Lin but he falls for her instead. Gara's deception plot was so devious in this episode, Lin got so furious. I felt sorry for Takamura here! The Maskman version was written by Toshiki Inoue.
Episode 40 is the wrap up of the Three Stooges. Well this episode did also feature the moronic Zydos enter Monster-like style in Bioman. I thought this was a good episode to wrap up the Three Stooges. Zydos in spite of being somewhat idiotic still came up with a deadly race plan that could kill both sides... the stooges and Dairangers. Well the Three Idiots did get blown up but survived. They give Shouji a flag as a sign of acknowledgement of their peace.
Episodes 47-48 were Arakawa's episodes that really managed to show why it was a good thing he became a head writer in the future. It also presents one of the most disturbing revelations. Shadam had actually recreated the Gorma Emperor from clay either by spirit transfer or the Emperor was just an imposter (you decide). The Dairangers fight without their power so Kaku can defeat Shadam. Shadam kills Kaku. I really would say Shadam's actions merited his karma at the end of the series. I really love all the battles in this episode. Shadam is shown to be a manipulative bastard aside from recreating the Emperor from clay, he also kills Tenpou out of cold blood. Clearly, Shadam was showing he was another complete monster.
Kunio Fujii: 9-10, 16, 23, 36, 41 (6 eps)
Kunio Fuji was responsible for the whole Kujaku arc.
Episodes 9-10 features the start of the conflict of Kujaku and Gara. We learn that Kujaku was trapped inside the Mirror Magician. This also begins the relationship of Daigo with Kujaku, which is a sad love story. The whole arc also has Gara in vengeful focus. Kujaku disappears and will appear again in episode 16. Kujaku is still blinded by revenge in this arc. I also love the actress playing Kirika plays Kujaku, both characters were vengeful.
Episode 16 has Kujaku return. Gara releases the plot to turn children into stone with the help of Haniwa Ventriloquist. Kujaku hypnotizes a girl so she doesn't turn into stone. At the same time, we are getting a hint that Kujaku is dying. It does worry Daigo.
Episode 23 is yet another tragic romance. Yes Kujaku is dying because of the world's pollution. Gara traps both Daigo and Kujaku into Heatwave Hood. I love how Gara shows her deceptive tactics against the Dairangers. Daigo does fight his way out which is cool. But the sad part is, it's predictable that Daigo's story with Kujaku won't be a happy one.
Episode 36 features on the 6,000 year old grudge between Kujaku and Gara. This features the fact that Gara was a Daos and became Gorma. Kujaku learns to forgive, even aiding Gara's eyes. The Peacock's Tears could save Kujaku. At the same time, she confesses THAT she is dying because of the pollution. Typical love story scene where the dying heroine confesses her condition at last. =(
Episode 41 concluses the Ah My Goddess story of Dairanger. It's predictable that mortal and god/goddess stories don't have happy endings most of the time except Cupid and Psyche for a few. What I practically liked about this sad ending is this, Daigo gives up on the personal for the greater good of mankind. This episode has Gara create a clone of herself for this episode. I thought that losing the one you love for the sake of others was a very selfless thing to do. Kujaku then ascends. Only if Ah My Goddess were this touching!
Just my thoughts, if Gara was revealed to be a fake, then she must actually be at least half of the real Gara who later appeared. However this is left to imagination.
Susumu Takaku: 12, 25, 34 (3 eps)
Episode 12 has a repeat of Fiveman's episode except tofu, not water is being turned into alcohol. Kazu also does some drunken master style. For one, I am impressed at how Remi's drunken kung fu in Fiveman was reused for this episode in a different way. Both episodes were funny in their own way, except Kazu's situation was more life threatening considering how much alcohol he drank!
Episode 25 has the Copy Empress and Gara. Gara reveals her deception tactic in copying people with her monster, unlike Lord Zedd's version that trapped people into pictures. Again this is a Kazu episode about knowing himself. It also may have presented the moral lesson of uniqueness can't be replicated. Another frame-up scheme done so well.
Episode 34 has General Cactus a pedophile that kidnaps girls below 13, turning them into dolls. It also has Daigo in focus though honestly, I wish Lin were the one in focus to avenge the girls. Oh well but sometimes in real life, a man ends up avenging battered women and vice versa. General Cactus should have died a more painful death though.
Toshiki Inoue : 26-27, 35, 39 (4 eps)
Toshiki Inoue wrote the whole Ryou vs. Jin Matoba arc. Now only if he were involved in Shinkenger with the Takeru vs. Juzo episodes... or not. You decide.
Episodes 26-27 feature the arrival of Jin Matoba, who is played by Takumi Hirose. He is presented almost in the same way as Tranza first got introduced in Jetman though unlike Tranza, he doesn't become an emperor. Jin Matoba shows his hatred for martial arts' masters because he lost his arm to one. Like Tranza, he too has a prosthetic arm and rivals the red ranger. I just love how Jin Matoba is becoming a game-changing villain even in just four episodes, giving us a reason to fear him. He goes crazy as he kills his lover. Hmmm I kinda liked to joke Tranza looked for Ryu and only found Ryou here!
Episode 35 has Jin Matoba release the Spider's Tattoo which the Dance of Spider. Ryou gets hit by hit which creates real nightmare fuel as the spider tattoo is alive, it will kill Ryou. Zydos launches Sergeant Cannon to fight the Dairangers. I just love how Jin Matoba has his, "I'm the only one allowed to defeat you." motif with Ryou.
Episode 39 has the conclusion of Ryou vs. Jin in a way. Zydos turns Jin into a brute monster to attack the Dairangers. We also see Ryou respecting Jin, in spite of the fact that Jin is a killer. Jin is not responsible for his actions in human form. I just love how the episode had Ryou and Jin fight together. In the final episode, Jin fight and we are left with a mystery whether or not he died. But it was later seen that he did actually survive the ordeal in future episodes.