Let's Get Into Toei's Happy Toku Holidays Specials

Since it's Christmas Eve, I thought I'd do some holiday rambling on Toei's holiday Christmas specials based on what I've observed. I'd be open to some comments on what I've missed. Note that I didn't include Metal Hero considering I've not seen any of their holiday specials except from Shaider. Also, I wished that Janperson had a holiday special instead of Jiban.

Super Sentai Christmas specials

The Super Sentai Christmas specials started in Gosei Sentai Dairanger which featured Kou's birthday on Christmas Eve from episodes 42-44. This would start the trend of having a two-three parter "Fight Before Christmas" which went on with Carranger, Megaranger, GogoFive, Timeranger, Magiranger, Go-onger, Shinkenger, Gobusters, Kyoryuger, ToQGer and as of recent Ninninger. The three parter specials usually focused on trying to save the world before Christmas. The enemy schemes were usually not related to just simply ruining Christmas but trying to get rid of the enemies. One may observe how the two-three parter Christmas specials usually involve an intense battle, enemies trying to finish off their jobs before the new year or just another scheme. Timeranger had a more family-oriented three-part Christmas special considering Tatsuya faces his destiny, his father Wataru might die any time and he also faces his descendant Ryuya. The others were focused on trying to save the world from an explosive battle like saving Kou from becoming a Gorma, stopping Exhaus' plan from finally getting rid of the Carrangers, GogoFive must save the world from Salamandes' dreadful scheme (yet to see it) while learning of their mother's whereabouts, Go-onger had a two part battle to stop the Gaiarcs and help Santa Claus get his deliveries done on time, Shinkenger was more on saving the world from drowning into Hell, Gobusters was to seek to end Messiah, I haven't seen Kyoryuger's yet, ToQGer was trying to find their hometown only to run into Emperor Zed and Ninninger had a grand battle against Kibaoni Mangetsu after a fake Santa's con scheme fails.

Super Sentai Christmas specials also had one episode only Christmas episodes. It started with Kakuranger in saving the world from the Centipede Youkai which was easily concluded in one episode. Other special one-part Christmas episodes also happened with Gaoranger, Abaranger, Dekaranger, Boukenger, Gekiranger and Gokaiger. Instead of having a huge battle before Christmas, they end up having just another episode which happens to be in the holidays. Gaoranger, Abaranger and Gokaiger had a Christmas-related villainous schemes like creating dream juice out of children, turning humans into Barma Hei or Gokaiger's Christmas scheme by the Zangyacks. Boukenger's just had them with a Christmas-related Precious. Dekaranger had a Christmas campaign but it didn't have a celebration and two episodes before that, they were trying to save the world from a falling meteorite. Gekiranger's was more family oriented when Ken Hisatsu tries to help a young boy get over his mother's death last Christmas instead of a Christmas-related hijinks.

PRDC Christmas
Power Rangers Christmas specials

While Christmas is a western tradition, I find it weird that it's not all that focused in Power Rangers like I mean, Time Force could have actually used the three-parter Christmas special for the episode when Alex Collins arrives into the present. I could remember "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger" which happened in MMPR Season 3 and the presumably non-canon "A Season to Remember" from Power Rangers Zeo. In "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger", Lord Zedd plans to turn everyone naughty by taking over the North Pole and "A Season to Remember", well Tommy and Kat are featured as old people and having married each other (but this canonicity is debatable due to a lot of later events seem to contradict this episode). After that, there was a huge void and I'm surprised Disney didn't do any Christmas specials or that Saban's era could have had the opportunity to give Lost Galaxy a Christmas special since Gingaman didn't have one. I haven't seen Alpha Five's special though.

During the Neo-Saban era, Power Rangers Samurai had two Christmas specials which the first one was a clip show and the other featured the Samurai Rangers stranded so they couldn't celebrate Christmas with Jii. Power Rangers Megaforce had one involving Robo Knight getting accidentally shipped into Africa where he ends up giving a narration to children in Africa (which I think was decent) and Goseiger had no Christmas special. As of late, Dino Charge has made a fight before Christmas episode where Poisandra steals Santa Claus' computer so she can modify it. It just made me think Judd Lynn may have tried to do Christmas specials during his era but may have been denied the chance to do so. Doesn't this fact that Power Rangers didn't have that many Christmas specials seem to be weird and Super Sentai does? I do find it weird and I really wish Power Rangers had more of them than that of Japanese Tokusatsu.

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Kamen Rider Christmas specials

So I was shocked to learn that the first Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider V3, Skyrider and Super-1 had Christmas specials. For some people who are more familiar with Heisei Kamen Rider, they might have gotten used to seeing a lot of Christmas specials with Ryuki, Kabuto, Den-O, W, OOO, Fourze, Wizard (one episode only), Gaim and Drive (one episode only) usually takes place as a two parter. Most of the time, the Christmas season is simply inserted and there isn't really much of a direct plan to ruin Christmas for the sake of ruining it (like Super Sentai and Power Rangers). Instead, it's a reminder that even when it's Christmas, the heroes can't neglect your duties which is a real life lesson. There is no plot stalling though, the Christmas episodes still progress the plot nonetheless. 

Based on what I've read, the Kamen Rider Showa Christmas specials do feature a fight before Christmas type of plan. The first Kamen Rider had Colonel Zol attempting to ruin Christmas, V3 had Rhino Tank disguised as Santa Claus in an attempt to turn children into Shocker troops, Skyrider had a transformation problem and Super-1 had a dangerous Christmas present. I'll admit, I haven't seen any of them so I'd be happy if anybody can comment about them. 

Sideline, Saban's Masked Rider also had a Christmas special with Dex trying to save Santa Claus which I fortunately didn't see. You see how much I really can't enjoy Saban's Masked Rider while I can still enjoy Power Rangers to a lesser extent. On the other hand, I still believe with the right writers and producers, Saban and Toei can have a good Kamen Rider adaptation for the American audiences.

Final thoughts

The themes of the Christmas specials isn't only focused on saving the world before Christmas Eve. They also focus on the values of family, friends, teamwork, making sacrifices (such as not spending Christmas with your families due to a more important mission) and reaching others in need as a central unifying theme in Tokusatsu. At the end of the day, they have won the fight before Christmas.


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