Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Is It A Huge Tribute to Some Previous Super Sentai Seasons?
Yasuko Kobayashi and producer Takaaki Utsunomiya were the tandem involved in Shinkenger. The way things look like is that Shinkenger as a samurai season... was a tribute to Hirohisa Soda's era (partly), some of Yasuko Kobayashi's previous works and you might actually think a lot more. Here's what I can observe in part and why I think it's a huge tribute to some Super Sentai seasons:
The Shinkengers and their allies:
The Shinkengers were element-power users and were samurai by lineage (except for Takeru Shiba and the sixth member Genta who is a sushi seller). Others that were rangers by lineage and elemental users were the Kakurangers (got to finish that series) and the Gingamen (now watching it raw...). What can be noteworthy is that the reds in both series uses the element of fire and the blue rangers in both series uses the element of water. Both Gingaman and Shinkenger have the same color coding though both teams are very different from each other.
Takeru Shiba/Shinken Red. Aside from the name Takeru from Hikari Sentai Maskman (the first one was more aggressive), this one felt like the loner, he felt like he had other elements from other red rangers. Like Geki, he is a clan leader by adoption (first he was a shadow warrior then he was in in Kobayashi's possible attempt to shock us, adopted by the real head who is younger than he is). Like most Sentai reds, he does things very professionally as a samurai. Also like Ryu in Jetman, he also has the tendency to keep falling into bodies of water.
Ryunosuke is well, your hapless blue ranger full of hammy overreacting. Like Dan in Zyuranger, he tends to annoy his teammates but the difference is he is very dedicated to his job. Like Shoji in Dairanger, he can become your comedic butt monkey (ex. the Mr. Brown episode, being swapped with a peeing boy), misunderstanding Mako's intentions, etc. while being serious and dedicated to his job no matter what.
Mako may seem to be a mixture of one pink ranger after the other. Like Saya in Gingaman, she is the team mom. Like Yuuri in Timeranger, she is both a bad cook and the smarter one of the team, though Kotoha is another smart one. Unlike Yuuri, she is nowhere near as badass nor is she a vengeance-crazed chick.
Chiaki typically plays the roles of the team kid (though Kotoha also plays that role) as he is still a high school student (though the actor Shogo Suzuki is only a year younger than Tori Matsuzaka), he doesn't know much about life yet. Like Akira in Maskman, he tends to slack off and gets berated by an older member of their team (Kenta berates Akira earlier on, Ryunosuke berates him) and like Gai Yuki and Masumi Inou, he tends not to follow orders though he is more of the kid of the group.
Kotoha may seem to be another Ako Hayasaka tribute. Natsuki is just an utter disaster, Kotoha is for me closer to Ako that is, becoming tough despite her age. Traits she shares with Ako is being bright, cheery, bubbly and smarter than she looks. While she's not all that badass (other female yellows were better, take Ran for instance) but she is still a bushido girl nonetheless.
Jii may be a throwback to the old mentors of the past (aside from Morio Makino in Boukenger). Like Director Sugata in Maskman, the actor Goro Ibuki (he is just as gold as Hayato Tani) happens to be a legend in Japanese action cinema, in his case the samurai genre. Like Tetsuzan in Battle Fever J (only saw that clip, not the whole episode) he is among a few to appear in combat aside from Doggie Kruger in Dekaranger. Other throwbacks to old style male mentors like Jii were Shafu in Gekiranger, Doggie in Dekaranger, Makino in Boukenger and for post-Shinkenger, we have Commander Kuroki in Go-Busters.
The show having two reds. Gingaman had two reds... not really but Hyuga was supposedly Ginga Red but he was supposedly dead, later returned to become the new Bullblack in place of the old one. Timeranger had the anti-Red in the person of Naoto Takizawa as Time Fire. Kaoru in Shinkenger is the other red ranger, in fact she is the real red ranger as the true head of Shiba. She also throws back to how certain villains fall because of a woman. She was predicted to be the one to supposedly get rid of Doukoku but though she failed, her failure was not complete as it gave the Shinkengers a way to exploit Doukoku's open wound. Like Igam and Ial, her intervention allowed victory even if it didn't kill the Big Bad.
Shinken-Oh is the second samurai-looking samurai main robot. Battle Fever J's Battle Fever Robo also wields a samurai. Even the finishing moves with the sword look kind of similar.
The way that Shinken-oh merges with Kabuto Origami, Kajiki Origami, Tora Origami and Ika Origami may remind us of the way Gekitouja combines with some of the mecha in Gekiranger.
Daigoyou may be a combination of Ninjaman (personality-wise) as well as Tetraboy from Jetman and to a lesser extent Time Shadow from Timeranger.
The Ushi Origami/Mougyudaioh is a remodification of the Galaxy Robo arc in Maskman and the Red Puncher. Mougyudaioh ran out of control and killed its original pilot generations back and nobody has been able to control it. Like Red Puncher, only Shinken Red controls it.
The Samurai Haoh is a tribute (terrible one) to Boukenger's Ultimate Daibouken and Go-onger's Engine G-12. I find this one really terrible looking. =P
The Gedoushu felt like they were a mixed tribute. Like the Balban in Gingamen who reside in a pirate ship called Daitanix (which they seek to revive to help them turn theEarth into a jewel), they resided inside the Rokumon Junk. Both sides use whatever plans they can to allow themselves to carry their plan. The Balban use any monster of the week plots trying to revive Daitanix, the Gedoshu use human despair plans to raise the Sanzu River up to the surface world.
Chimatsuri Doukoku was voiced by Rintaro Nishi. The fact that while Shinkenger is more or less a 50/50 balanced season, I still can't deny whether Doukoku is played for laughs or nightmare fuel, Rintaro Nishi does a good job at it! Like Captain Zahab in Gingaman, he always seeks for a way for his vessel the Rokumon Junk to have its way to invade the mortal realm and both of them reside in their respective ships... although Daitanix IS a living creature like Vulgyre is in Fiveman but its subservient to its captain, not the big bad. Like Radiguet in Jetman, his downfall happens because he had a huge wound left by Kaoru's failed attempt to seal him away that the Shinkengers exploited to his downfall.
Shitari is somewhat a throwback to the creature-feature of Hirohisa Soda and Pucrates in Gingaman. Like Pucrates in Gingaman and Anagbas in Maskman, both of them have an entire library to do research on matters. They also both serve as advisers to the big bads of their shows.
Juzo is another of your villains who have no real alignment. Like Kiros in Maskman and Demon Boxer Jin in Dairanger, his rivalry heavily draws with the red ranger. Unlike Kiros and more similar to Demon Boxer Jin, he prefers to finish the fight one-on-one and was manipulated by the enemy at one point (Jin was manipulated by Zaidos, he was manipulated by Akumaro).
Akumaro is the backstabbing traitor. Like Shadam in Dairanger, he desires the general's position. Like Gien in Timeranger, carries on a creepy laugh and relishes in destruction, though unlike Gien, he was already crazy from the beginning.