Super Sentai Seasons That Fans May Have Been Considered Part Of The Franchise' Decline Period
As a person who watched the Super Sentai seasons after Go-Busters, I really felt like Super Sentai had hit some time low when Kyoryuger, ToQGer and Ninninger came. It's very easy to say, "Well it's new, it's better, you're against innovation." but in truth Super Sentai doesn't get better or worse eveyr year as events like writer's inevitable burnout happens. You may also become a fan of an unpopular Super Sentai season.
While I'm enjoying Zyuohger's first two episodes and it's written by new headwriter Junko Komura (I hope she really does well), I feel like writing about Super Sentai seasons that may have been considered as weaker points in the Super Sentai franchise. There's stronger Super Sentai seasons then there are also weaker Super Sentai seasons. It's important to realize that in any franchise that weaker and stronger seasons exist. You may be a fan of the weaker seasons and you may not be a fan of the stronger seasons.
Let's get started shall we?
When Goranger started I was shocked to learn it had a whopping 84 episodes but when JAKQ came, it only lasted for 35 episodes. I haven't seen enough of this series to really judge it. My assumption was that unlike Goranger, JAKQ was not that popular so it only got shortened to just 35 episodes. It took two years after JAKQ for Battle Fever J to show up. After Battle Fever J, a new Super Sentai appeared every year.
Kosoku Sentai Turboranger
After writing his last memorable masterpiece Chojuu Sentai Liveman, Hirohisa Soda started to run out of ideas. Turboranger was a case of a show that really started to suffer from ratings drop. Liveman had an average rating of 10.5% but Turboranger had an average rating of 7.6%. I do love the opening, I love the fight scenes, I thought the villains were cool but I guess more people didn't share the same opinion.
There was the issue of midseason change which wrote off the three generals. From episodes 27 to 29, we witnessed Zimba, Jarmin and Rehda getting written off. Why they were written off was unclear but it was said due to ratings. Lower ratings may have prevented them from still staying while the game-changing Nagare Bouma came along. After episode 29, we started seeing Turboranger in a different direction of teenagers with attitude fighting teenagers with attitude. Then Ragorn was written off (temporarily) for episode 38 then he returns for the finale arc. I just wonder did the producers think the Nagare Bouma concept could've saved the show?
What was amazing was that it was also said Power Rangers Turbo (based on Carranger) also had ratings problems, ended up having midseason changes in its own way but still had some problem with ratings. Funny huh? I do like Turboranger as a series though Carranger's been a better ride for me.
Chikyu Sentai Fiveman
Fiveman happens to be one of those weaker Super Sentai seasons. Hirohisa Soda started out writing out newer ideas for Super Sentai with Takeyuki Suzuki as the producer. From Goggle V up to Liveman, it was easy to see he was getting better but Turboranger was when he started his decline. This season was where some say that he really ran out of ideas, burned out and to think of it, the show does suffer from some gimmick problems. The show's rating of 6.5% may have threatened to cancel the show if it wasn't for Jetman's popularity. I guess it's safe to say Jetman saved Super Sentai back then.
Proof of the writer burning out happened that aside from the lame Five Puppets. Other proof happens when they had no idea what to do with the characters. Garoa started out as a fierce captain but later, he was toned down to the level of comedy. Chevalier arrived first as a game-changing villain who is more aggressive than Garoa but I couldn't forget most of his plans were just as stupid as Garoa's. The show would later have a lot of problems like writing off Empress Meadow as an illusion may be because, "WTF! I have no idea what to do with her anymore. Write off time!" Then in the later part, Meadow was revealed to be nothing more than an illusion projected by the true Big Bad, Galactic Beast Vulgyre.
Fortunately, the sibling concept was redone in later shows with GoGoFive and Magiranger. Personally, I'm a fan of Fiveman and I'll watch it over Magiranger any day. The show still had some strengths like real good action scenes and likable characters. The only problem was that Soda himself really burned out at this point.
Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger
I don't know if Zyuranger should be in this list but the more I think of other Super Sentai seasons before and after it, it's not really all that good as some people try to put it to be. I do enjoy Zyuranger's action and fantasy setting, I do have that feeling for awhile when I saw this series but I still couldn't really consider it solid gold. While I'd definitely watch this show over Kyoryuger but I still think Abaranger is the best dinosaur Super Sentai.
So what's with Zyuranger? It does share the same problem with the short-lived Machineman series with the child of the week and villains who hate children. There's always the tendency to think that because it's Super Sentai that it's better. But the more I look at this series and much as I enjoy this series, I don't really give too much of a high regard. There's the problem of the "child of the week" which tends to get more focus on more than the Zyuranger themselves or too many gimmicks. Then we have Burai as the first official sixth ranger. I'll admit Burai's got a cooler evil laugh, he's got really cool moves and he beats Tommy by miles. After he becomes a sixth ranger, his biological brother Geki ends up getting too trapped with worrying about him. I felt like compared to Jetman, this show isn't really all that good for me.
Plus, I felt like that not everyone in the cast was all that good. No, it's not all that awesome. Sometimes, I think that most of the cast here and Mighty Morphin' are more or less alike. Yuuta Mochizuki acts better than the newcomer Austin St. John. Some did stand out for acting like Amy Jo Johnson's experience at Strassberg gave her an edge over Reiko Chiba. Everybody did their best though so both shows deserve their points.
Choriki Sentai Ohranger
This was the final Super Sentai that the late Noboru Sugimura wrote and basically the summary of Takeyuki Suzuki's era. The show was most likely intent to explore a full season Bio vs. Anti-Bio Conflict taken from the pages of Chodenshi Bioman. But there were a lot of events that really caused the show to have a lot of retool and perhaps, try to save it through a massive toy sales. The show itself was the mecha overload of the 90s. This was also the final time Suzuki was involved as a head producer before Junki Takegami came in for Carranger and Megaranger during the late 1990s.
Ohranger had some potential to explore what I'd call its own version of Bio vs. Anti Bio war but real life events that year caused a retool. There was a major earthquake and the sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway. The show really went from going to some comedy to getting super serious and back again. While I'd say this show was more impressive than Zeo (which was popular to Power Rangers fans) at least to my view but I can't deny this show didn't do so well. There were retools done like getting rid of Bacchushund with Oh Blocker then introducing Bomber the Great (a lamer silver of Bio Hunter Silver) and then Kaiser Buldont. The show's overload of gadgets and mecha tends to derail the story.
So I guess by unleashing every merchandise they could, they still had enough money for next year's Super Sentai. As much as I felt like the mecha overload wasn't good for the story but they were pretty cool. I guess the toy sales must've saved the show anyway. Plus, I guess Toei got a lot of royalties when Power Rangers Zeo toys got sold a year after. I do like the show though for some of its cool stuff but still, I do agree with the weaknesses that critics point out like the mecha overload.
Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger
I personally think Gekiranger is a masterpiece but there's been that issue of it's popular with older audience but not the children. What could have caused this scenario was because Super Sentai after Timeranger started toning down. I guess from Gaoranger up to Boukenger, the children during the time of the broadcast were too used to seeing lighter and softer Super Sentai seasons. Those shows prior to Gekiranger were all pretty much lighter and softer. I guess Gekiranger hitting big time with being way more serious may have shocked the target audience while pleasing older fans at the same time. While I'm a fan of the series but I felt like this may also be in the weaker season list.
Gekiranger was most likely an attempt to use both old school and new school of that time. Returning back to the old school serious atmosphere of the 80s might be considered a huge leap backward. It was 2007 and trying to get the seriousness of late 1980s or early 1990s into the show might not be the best idea ever. The show introduced many ways to introduce mecha and weapons but I think the show's mood was a major problem. A lot of Gekiranger's episodes have that seriousness I enjoy in older Super Sentai while it has the trademarks of post-Timeranger Super Sentai of not-so-intense action and more mecha. So I guess those factors that I just mentioned earlier didn't do so well with the main audience.
What might be blamed is also the Boukenger hype. Gekiranger came in and maybe not so many people who had a hangover with Boukenger were ready for another show that had a very different tone to it. So maybe after expecting a fun and adventure season they ended up seeing a serious show. As a result, you might end up having the main audience expecting too much from the next season.
Engine Sentai Go-onger
This series may have a lot of Super Sentai fans split which may put it in the weaker season or for some, it deserves to be called a bad season. I've seen both Go-onger and Carranger as comedy series and both make me drop off my seat. Unlike Gekiranger, it was back to comic fun but I felt like this series took it too far for most of its run. After one really serious show last season, we end up having a a wacky Super Sentai season.
While I do like Go-onger but I can't deny the problem of mecha overload together with inconsistency of tones. Carranger felt more consistent for me with comedy than Go-onger's tendency to go back and forth with serious and less serious themes. It was most likely the attempt to combine a lot of previous Super Sentai into this comedy series. Talking mecha was taken all the way from Abaranger and the car theme was taken from both Turboranger and Carranger. I also felt that the arrival of the final villain Yogoschrimaten ended up making the finale just too serious. Carranger's finale for me was more consistent to the show's tone than Go-onger.
But like Ohranger, I guess children loved the toys. And I think that maybe like Zyuranger we havethe scenario where children loved it but not so much on the older audience. Maybe the toy sales still worked during this time. I guess the cute designs of the Go-onger toys had caused a high toy sales to make more money for Samurai Sentai Shinkenger.
Tensou Sentai Goseiger
Goseiger is considered to be a really weak season and I'm not a fan of this show. I have my guesses on why this show might be considered a weaker point. You may consider the Shinkenger hype that time or that the cast can be considered "really weak". Now there are some interesting concepts like changing factions and Buredoran as a recurring villain becoming the final villain is not a bad idea. I just thought unlike Gekiranger, the Michiko Yokote trio didn't have enough ideas to really make this show as good or exciting.
What weakness do I see in the show? I could start with the cast who I think are pretty boring and have a greater distance gap than the Shinkenger cast. The cast was trying to do what they can to surpass the Shinkenger hype but failed. How certain mecha were introduced into the series ended up as another attempt to sell more toys. Action scenes weren't as good as Shinkenger's so I guess that contributed to not being able to catch up with the hype. But I guess like other weaker seasons we had some good amount of toys,
Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters
I always felt that this show may have a soft spot for fans of Power Rangers RPM and I'm a fan of this show. But I can't deny that this show couldn't cope up with the Gokaiger hype last year. Gokaiger was really, really a massive anniversary Super Sentai season that had a lot of former cast members coming back to make an appearance. I really don't blame fans who like Gokaiger because it's a really nice tribute even if I prefer Boukenger and Gaoranger more in the anniversary season category. Gokaiger itself really gets too much of a hype. Just because you've seen it doesn't mean you've known Super Sentai as a whole.
So what's with this show that may have made it a weak point? The show tried to go super backwards with much less mecha and getting more serious at the same time. The show had a few things I like about older Super Sentai like more seriousness but there are better seasons though. Even if it's not as good as shows like Liveman, Jetman and Dairanger to name a few but there was effort to really do it. But I felt like there's some executive meddling like I guess Yasuko Kobayashi's original draft was going to mimic Power Rangers RPM's beginning but executives meddled. Kobayashi was still trying her best in this series, there was potential but it ended up getting fans divided.
Do I even think it deserves to be in my list of Super Sentai masterpieces? No. I do like the season but I can't really give it that much praise either.
Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger
Just as I love to agree with Shogo B'Stard with his statement that this show makes dinosaurs glad they're gone. I really dropped the show then decided to finish it. But guess what? I really thought that the show wasn't really my cup of tea. While I thought Abaranger got the dinosaur theme done better than Zyuranger but this show suffered from ratings issues. So what caused the rating issues? There's some theories and/or speculations like time slot, brand fatigue or people are getting tired of seeing dinosaurs.
What's my bigger problem with the show? It's DAIGO KIRYU. Now I do admit some Super Sentai series tend to get the plot riding on the red rangers like Maskman (Takeru with Ial), Jetman (Ryu with Rie) and Shinkenger (To the point Takeru well tends to really overshadow Kaoru which good thing the latter got to be the guest in Gokaiger's Shinkenger episode) but I felt like Daigo really takes everything to a really bad direction.
Other reasons I really don't like the show are like sixth ranger shows up too early which I hope doesn't happen in Zyuohger, all that annoying samba jingle and I even think the villains are oh so not funny. It's weird how I think the Kyoryuger villains aren't funny even if I personally tend to like blatant silliness like Go-onger does. Some people like the show but I really am not one of them.
Ressha Sentai ToQGer
Unlike Go-Busters, this show felt like it had Yasuko Kobayashi writing, "That's it, I quit." in almost every Super Sentai episode. I can't deny how I really can't stop calling this show as my expressway to sleepy, sleepy lane. So what's the real problem I had with this show? The executives thought getting Kobayashi and Takaaki Utsunomiya together would work the same way as Shinkenger. The two got together but it didn't give the same charm as Shinkenger did. I couldn't even like its crossover with Kamen Rider Gaim better than Shinkenger meeting Kamen Rider Decade.
As mentioned earlier, either Kobayashi was really in a bad case of burnout or I just quit writing a better story. She was responsible for several popular seasons but she's also one who gets hit by executive meddling. What may have happened is that maybe a combination of past problems really made her lose creative ideas. The whole show started the whole problem of decline in the main cast doing their own stunts. Instead, we have too much stuntman dependency which may have forced in the plot that they are really children in the bodies of adults.
My other beef is how the plot ended up. I could still tolerate Emperor Zed as a wacky villain but he's either inconsistent or just goofs around. He's not even really threatening at all. The villains of Carranger and Go-onger were goofballs but they still meant business. Later plots ended up really getting boring to several levels. As I love to say it they should have gotten a different writer and maybe this show would've turned out much better than it did.
Shuriken Sentai Ninninger
This show has me mixed. It's a pretty entertaining show but like ToQGer, it badly needed those main cast doing their own stunts. Instead, you're seeing more of the stuntmen doing the ninja fight scenes than the main cast. Oh boy, I guess I can always insert Red Mask's quote which I believe that he really was hitting Ninninger. Unlike Kyoryuger which still had a lot of action scenes from the main cast, Ninninger didn't.
There's also the problem of real inconsistency with the characterization and writing. The show ended up trying to link itself to the VS. Universe rather than stay as its own continuity. I felt like that when they started presenting more and more guest characters, having older actors return to resume their roles... was it a desperate attempt for ratings? I felt like the show tried every gimmick they could but ended up falling flat. But I guess there were some good toy sales to have money for Zyuohger.
I feel like the executives should still be credited for actually letting Kento Shimoyama try out as a head writer. A lot of head writers really need a break. The show does get entertaining but I wonder, how did other people react to this show? After this series, I really got pessimistic with Super Sentai as of late. I hope Zyuohger with the Takaaki/Komura tandem will be able to do wonders. Otherwise, is Super Sentai really past its prime?