Dairanger: A Very Chinese Style Super Sentai!

Since it's near Chinese New Year, I felt like writing this. Gosei Sentai Dairanger is a tribute to Chinese mythology. Now let's tackle on each area on how they were a tribute to Chinese mythology.


Gosei Sentai Darianger is the first Chinese-themed Sentai. While Hikari Sentai Maskman had some Chinese martial arts, it was a combination of Chinese and Japanese martial arts. Gosei Sentai Dairanger's mythology is very much Chinese in this way. Dairanger's martial arts are all based on Chinese martial arts. Ryou uses dragon fist, Daigo uses Chinese karate, Shouji uses long fist, Kazu uses drunken fist and Lin uses eagle fist.


The Chi Beasts are representative to Chinese mythology. Ryuseioh is based on a Chinese dragon, the Shishi is a Chinese mythical lion, Tenma or pegasus well as both Greek and Chinese versions, Kirin is a mythical Chinese beast and the Houou or phoenix has a place in both Greek and Chinese myths. The Ryuseioh would be Seiryu and Houou would be Suzaku in the Universe of the Four Gods.


Ryuseioh (Dragon Star Warrior) when it goes humanoid is a referene to Sun Wukong. It can ride on the Heavenly Chi Palace, a reference to Sun Wukong riding a cloud.


Dairenou (Great Union King) would look like an armored Chinese armor. These feel like the Chinese armored warrior in both history and kung fu movies. Its weapons are a Chinese spear and it also involves a very Chinese-like samurai sword.


TheGorma Empireof Dairanger was influenced also by Chinese mythology. The enemies are usually based on Chinese mysticism. The tribal wars in Dairanger are similar to the concept of Yin and Yang. The Dairangers use Chi Energy (positive) and the Gorma uses You energy (negative).


Some the Gorma's monsters appear to have a very Chinese design, if not most of them. One can observe some very Chinese inspired monsters as the series goes by. Notice that the attire of High Priest saw is almost like a Taoist priest save the cap looked more like a Druid cap. Some of the monsters even wore Chinese bead necklaces.


During the arrival of Tenpou and Shadam's estranged son Akomaru, one can also see Akomaru's three ladies are dressed up like Chinese courtesans in their civilian form. It was also the arrival of Lord Zedd ahem Gorma XV who was dressed up like a Chinese Emperor.


When Won Tiger arrives, the sword used to summon it is called Byakkoshinken. Byakko is the tiger god of the Universe of the four gods. But it didn't end with Byakkoshinken.


Daimugen (Great Infinity) the self-operating mecha is based on Genbu the turtle god of the Four Gods. When Genbu came we have the dragon, the phoenix, the white tiger and the turtle completing the Universe of the Four Gods.


The Gorma Emperor also had the four heavenly kings, all dressed up as Buddhist monks. It also shows the four directions. Strangely enough, they were defeated when all the symbols of the four gods - dragon, phoenix, white tiger and turtle all group together with the others. Intentional?


Kujaku is a devotee of the Peacock Buddha and she is a mystical being. The love story of Daigo and Kujaku is almost similar to the story of the Qixi Festival. Daigo's the mortal, Kujaku is that heavenly being whose mortal body is about to perish. They had romantic interaction and due to the world's pollutants, Kujaku is dying. One may also consider it the love story of Sheng Mu and the scholar Liu Yanchang. Although predictably sad due to being star-crossed from start to end, it's one of the best stories written for Sentai courtesy of Kunio Fuji.


The Daijinryu (Great Dragon God) is the concept of Taoism and Buddhism, Yin Yang. It's his job to maintain balance between the realms. In Taoism there is the concept of balance between Yin and Yang. Daijinryu is neutrally aligned and he is in charge of keeping the balance of the Universe. In the continuity of Dairanger, the war between the Dairangers and Gorma have gone too far. Every episode with Daijinryu focused on the concept of Yin Yang.


Later events in Dairanger also showed the belief of using clay bodies. In actual history, Shih Huang Ti ordered the creation of a Terracotta Army for his tomb. Some historians claimed that Shih Huang Ti also made a clay copy of himself, hoping that his soul would return to it so he can rise again. The idea of the deceased returning in clay body was apparently why Dairanger had the mystery of the clay Gorma. Later on, we discover that Zaidos and the Gorma Emperor were both made from clay, all part of Shadam's grand conspiracy. The Terracotta Army had the emperor believing somehow that the spirits of his dead officers will return through them.


There are some superstitions in Chinese mythology that a person's grudge can become a person's other half. Some old Chinese beliefs have it that a grudge can be so great it can actually become the person's evil version. Perhaps that's what happened to Gara and why the fake Gara had the real Gara's memories. The real Gara could not rest until her personified grudge (the fake Gara) was destroyed. It's as if Gara was split into two and that while the real Gara did join the Gorma before, it was possible that the process split Gara into two characters. One inhabited a clay body, the other soon ascended into Heaven during the course of Dairanger. Balance was restored between Gara and Kujaku when Gara's personified hatred was destroyed. I guess Gara was really split into two persons after all, seeing that the clay Gara was destroyed by the real Gara.


Shadam in building the Terracotta images of Gorma made one himself. In fact, I feel like the finale implied that Shadam transferred his own soul into a Terracotta body but it's not officially said either. What went on was that after Shadam was revealed to be a clay dummy, nothing else happened which hints that the real Shadam was either long dead OR lived in a clay body. I'd prefer to believe that Shadam died, returned into a clay body only to forget he had become a mud puppet.

Dairanger's finale also had the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang revisited when Master Kaku's ghost appeared to tell them that both sides are a necessary force for balance in the world. Restoring of balance happened when the Lailai Jewels and Earthshaking Jewel were taken away by Daijinryu. Fifty years later, Gorma reemerges and a new team of Dairanger is created.

Comments

  1. Don't forget Gekiranger and Maskman too. Dairangers has a lot of Gung fun in the choreography but it still has major Japanese theme.

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