Carranger: Truly Shifting Into Turbo!
It cannot be denied I have officially added Carranger into my official list of Super Sentai series I've watched from start to end. Okay I wanted to rant on Turboranger influence between the two shows. I have seen Turboranger which for me is one awesome show (and later, Carranger's Power Rangers' adaptation was called Power Rangers Turbo). So what's ironic is that Turboranger suffered from bad ratings and then, Carranger ended up saving the franchise so perhaps it's safe for me to say, "Carranger truly shifted into Turbo!"
Now I am a Turboranger fan, no questions asked and I dislike Power Rangers Turbo (I pretend that series never existed and I hate the movie for its bad quality). For Carranger, it's one awesome comedy season (but mind you, there are sad moments too and it's better called a lighter season) in contrast to Turboranger (which I still like more, no questions asked but hey, I can like both Carranger and Turboranger right) but the series truly shifted Sentai into Turbo and it carried itself more consistently than Turboranger did. Well I guess by now, a lot of people know Carranger had a midseason write off, a retooling and yet the ratings weren't so good back then.
Carranger itself is one amazing comedy which I admit, I don't think I can possibly imitate it but I can learn from it. After the events of the Sarin gas incident last year, Ohranger suffered from some inconsistencies and later, Carranger ended up becoming a lighter Sentai. So why the executives decided to retool Turboranger's cars x magic theme into Carranger was perhaps the best decision they made that time. Instead of teenagers with attitude, Carranger ends up getting more consistent with how it chose the employees of Pegasus Garage to become the wielders of Car Magic... in contrast to how Turboranger carried its scheme.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
In terms of mecha, Carranger is truly shifting into Turbo compared to Carranger back in 1989. One may consider how the vehicles here are more well-designed than those in Turboranger. RV Robo for me is a huge improvement than Turboranger. I thought Turboranger had lacked consistency when it introduced the Turbo Rugger from a fighter jet than from a land vehicle. Fortunately, Carranger didn't make that mistake whether it was RV Robo or their secondary combining robot, VRV Robo. They were all land vehicles whether it were automobiles and second, VRV Robo's components were based on rescue vehicles, which by 1999, GogoV was a rescue Super Sentai.
What made Carranger amazing was its daring way to write the villains. We all know that most of the time, Sentai villains usually lack common senseeven in the more serious seasons. Carranger takes villain plans to a whole new level of stupid. They want to blow up the Earth, why don't they just store enough uranium then BLOW IT UP?! I mean, launch it from space while the Carrangers are sleeping, you get the job done! Again, the Bowzock are mostly idiots who only succeed in destroying a planet IF there was no Sentai force in it. Unfortunately for them, it's a cliche in Super Sentai that Earth never gets conquered in the long run because a hero defends it right? One way or another, the Bowzock sends a monster of the week (taking in the form of a chosen gang member) to do a stupid plan like the fat spray, swap numbers, create an orchestra of noise to attract aliens, etc. and when your freaking objective is to BLOW THE EARTH UP... which worked its charm with Bowzock's lack of common sense, again most people in Carranger lack it like for example, do consider the people here hardly notice anything weird about Bowzock... especially Imocho doesn't notice anything weird about Grotch's habit of buying imo-yokan every week.
The Carrangers have the extra hero in Signalman. He has no transformation sequence whatsoever and he's similar to Gunmajin in Ohranger, that is he is an extra hero NOT a ranger. The concept would later be redone with Zubaan in Boukenger, Smokey in Magiranger and J-Stag in Gobusters. Here is a parody version of Robocop (note that he is NOT from Earth)... not to mention he has a wife and a son (Alex Murphy from Robocop IS a family man) who both are also robotic cops. Seriously, how many Robocop tributes can Toei make anyway? Jiban was in 1989, Janperson was in 1994 and then Signalman becomes another Robocop tribute but in a funny way.
Midseason, we do get Ritchhiker aka the villainy consultant who enters into the fray. So at first, all he does is just introduce more stupid plans to blow up the Earth, than just say, "Well why don't we get a nuke and just blow it up!" type of scheme. I thought he made things funnier. I mean this guy makes Chevalier from Fiveman a little smarter... I mean at least Chevalier was aggressive and at times, thought of getting rid of the Fivemen more than his just as stupid as Garoa schemes. Most midseason villains were supposedly a bigger threat, this guy was well mostly focused on just adding one comedic buffoon scheme for most of his short term.
Well he was a reversal until the moment he was showered by the Evil Energy meant for the others. During that time, he temporarily got rid of Zonette and Gynamo, presenting more genius plans than he normally did after he was influenced by evil energy. Well, it was badass for him to finally capture the RV Robo, prepare to torture the Carrangers by any means necessary. First he faces the VRV Machines then later, the newly formed VRV Robo while piloting his badass mecha. I thought the way he was destroyed was badass awesome. I didn't think too much of this guy though compared to Gurail in Megaranger and Junior in Kakuranger.
What I thought was also cool was how the VRV Robo was introduced. This was during the time Dappu was hibernating, allowing Ritchhiker to capture the RV Robo. The mysterious VRV Master appears with the Victory Trailer and the VRV Machines, which were all based on rescue vehicles that can turn into individual humanoid robots the combine into the VRV Robo. The VRV Robo would use the cannons from the Victory Trailer to do the Victory Twister attack. I do love the design of VRV Robo and how it got rid of Ritchhiker. At the same time, it got the Carrangers overconfident but they all learned that they couldn't depend on their power alone in later episodes.
What made the villains also more interesting was with Zonette. We did have red rangers with ill-fated romanceslike how Jetman had its love story with Ryu discovering that Maria is his supposedly dead girlfriend Rie or in Maskman, Takeru trying to rescue his beloved Ial. However, Carranger parodies that notion with how at first, Zonette doesn't realize that Red Racer is that "monkey face guy"... slow as it gets, but it's another plot mover. That crush Zonette has on Red Racer played a role in her redemption from villainy. At first, she was that slutty bad girl de-facto leader of the Bowzock (Gynamo is the real president, she's just manipulating him) but later, she starts to see the error of her ways.
Actually it was just a shallow infatuation since you can't truly love a person without seeing how they look and accepting it. For example in fairy tales, Belle could only truly love Beast with knowing how ugly he looks and accepting him in spite of that. I also thought this was a bit of a Batman/Poison Ivy parody in the sense that Poison Ivy has a crush on Batman while being unaware of his human identity. Zonette like Poison Ivy uses her seductiveness to get what she wants, Kyousuke is the Batman because... at first Zonette only likes the Red Racer identity, not Kyousuke and she's not aware of them being one and the same. I thought the writers may have been reading DC Comics while they wrote the pairing... or it's just a coincidence.
So my favorite part of the romance? It's when Kyousuke finally admits he is Red Racer! Carranger didn't have the rangers' civilian identities known to the villains, a trope later carried into Megaranger. Kyousuke who realized he has feelings for Zonette, fought out of suit in a moment of serious and badass. Every last bit of that scene where he refused to become Red Racer and defeating the monster was really badass serious.
How Biker Lord Exhaus was inserted was not pretty "Hey let's just insert him for no reason." but like Long in Gekiranger, he has a very important plot as he masterminded everything from the start. So he's probably that ghost that menaced the Bowzock headquarters, now he's that awfully evil character who balances the show. Unlike the Bowzock, this guy is a real cunning big bad who starts introducing killer robots or everything, at the same time, he really is the real evil behind everything. He even duped the Bowzock into destroying Hazard. His real plan was to create a super reckless highway for some evil (and stupid) reason. Unlike the Bowzock, he had NO funny moment which again, was balancing the show's moments. He manipulated the Bowzock and later betrayed them just so he could get what he wants. I guess he fed them narcotics behind the scenes... the whole Bowzock gang look like they are a gang of drug addicts! XD
For the finale, I thought it was kind of sudden that the Bowzock weren't destroyed, considering that they did blow up Hazard... I mean that crime was truly worthy of the death penalty. Again, maybe it's just the level of mercy of the writers considering that the Bowzock are... well... unusually stupid or maybe, they were under the influence of drugs during that time hence they can be pardoned for it. Whatever, I thought that when the Carrangers lost their powers, they dared to ram the Bowzock headquarters into Exhaus to get their powers back, even if it meant it could practically KILL THEM leading to the final battle and reconciliation between the Bowzock and the Carrangers.
So we do get the epilogue which kind of was funny in its way. Gynamo lives to tell the tale as a yakiniku waiter, both Grotch and Zelmonda attend elementary school (they were illiterate) and the rest of Bowzock formed a theater group. For Zonette, I thought her fate was a parody of Ial's tearful goodbye to Takeru in Maskman... which was, she had suitors but... she realized she was still in love with Kyousuke and all.
So far, it was an entertaining show and I recommend watching it. For one, I'd also like to say even after seeing this show, I just can't hate Go-onger. Well both shows had their own value for me, it's just that Carranger is clearly the superior show over Go-onger.