Feeling Old? It's Been Four Post-Timeranger Super Sentai Anniversary Seasons Already!
I was thinking of the anniversaries that happened. Turboranger celebrated 10 years of Super Sentai before it from Battle Fever J up to Liveman. Ohranger would later celebrate 20 years of Super Sentai when Goranger and JAKQ were later retroactively added into the list of Super Sentai seasons. Then Timeranger came in which I consider was a "finale" for a certain era of Super Sentai (which I don't know how to divide the eras yet) but it was the 24th Super Sentai season. Gaoranger became a new era opener. I'll also give some of my thoughts on the possible developments behind Zyuohger which is currently airing.
Super Sentai's 25th Anniversary: Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger
Gaoranger was the beginning of a whole new era where most Super Sentai had more mecha and less action. Timeranger closed the era where Super Sentai could get that serious and a whole lot more action scenes. Not even Gekiranger or Go-Busters felt that serious as Liveman, Dairanger or Timeranger to name a few. In Gaoranger, it presents a pretty much unusual case where the red ranger was recruited last. The other Gaorangers already had their powers granted to them and Kakeru's the last one to receive them. It was celebrated as the 25th entry and anniversary of the Super Sentai franchise.
The show started focusing on a series of new combination techniques for the show's mecha. While in the past, Super Sentai robots relied on several weapons (and the number of weapons a main robot has started to be slashed down starting with Zyuranger). Here, when a new mecha is introduced it only introduces a new weapon but a new combination technique. Some of them replaced an arm or two, the feet or you could also have them combining with the robot, a replacement main body creating a series of new finishers. The gimmick was continuously modified in most Super Sentai seasons after it. I guess this was already getting more and more focused on more toys.
In terms of the show's villains, the writers and producers try to explore how the wickedness of humanity caused the Orgs to rise again in the modern day. The battle was a repetition of 1,000 years ago. Unlike most Super Sentai series, the Orgs didn't have a permanent leader. The series had a main villain replacement which can be a good idea but not everyone can accept it. It's a nice deviation from the standard having a Big Bad in the show. A lot of plot twists did happen which weren't seen in any previous series like there was no real Big Bad in the midst of an epic conclusion.
The series was the first to feature a VS. Movie with Super Sentai. While Ohranger had a crossover with Kakuranger to create a yearly tradition of Sentai vs. Sentai VS. Movies per year, Gaoranger had a VS. Movie with selected Super Sentai series' representative to appear. In total, Gaoranger has one movie and two crossovers.
Five years after Gaoranger celebrated the 25th anniversary of Super Sentai, Boukenger became the 30th Super Sentai season. It became the series responsible to why I wanted to watch more of Super Sentai after that long break from Tokusatsu in general. I do still like the show but it hasn't aged that well for me compared to Gekiranger or Shinkenger. While I may currently prefer it over Gokaiger but I can still agree to some fans who point out the weaknesses.
I later had the impression the Boukengers might be a gang of drunks because of their behavior. The whole gang was pretty much reckless and some scenes are just WTF. My favorite instances are how reckless the gang gets, Sakura scolds them for being reckless but later she gives Natsuki a gun. That scene was like giving a gun to a toddler. More episodes feature the Boukengers to be in reckless scenes but it's still a fun season. I felt like though that it's toned down like every post-Gaoranger era but still, it was fun to see some nice action scenes. Gaoranger had better action scenes than this one. I feel like this show's downside is that it tends to be even more commercialized.
As for the villains in the show, I do like the idea of multiple factions competing for power considering I'm a fan of Janperson. The conflict between the villains aiming for power over the Precious was fun to watch like Gaja and Ryuon constantly bickering, the Questers being comedic and season long versions of the short-lived Ramu and Gogu (both natural enemies of mankind) in Jetman, Yaiba exists as a more sinister version of Gure in Jetman with little or no honor while Shizuka is a comedic catwoman. A lot of the monsters were designed after past Super Sentai mecha and villains. Gaja looks like a tribute to Black Cross Fuehrer and Ryuon looks like Daizyujin to name a few.
Super Sentai's 35th Anniversary: Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
The series that might be considered "another finale" after Timeranger and it's the 35th Anniversary. Compared to Boukenger, the whole series was a VS. Crossover for the entire season. It's also the first series where the rangers were not from Earth with the exception of Gai Ikari. The series may have also established the use of "ranger" over "warrior" which for me, the term "ranger" is more user-friendly though "warrior" is still acceptable.
As an entire VS. Universe anniversary, a lot of old cast of Super Sentai in the past returned depending on who they were able to contact to make a cameo or be the main event guy. The Dekaranger episode had no main event guy (honestly, I felt like trying to put Ban and Jasmine in two different situations wasn't so good so I'd want to put just one and not two) while others really returned as the main event guy. Those who did return as the main event guys were Ryou, Kyousuke, Sosuke, Kenta Date, Satoru, Joh Ohara, the Hurricanger trio, Hayate and his brother Ryoma, Jan Kandou and Kaoru Shiba. The others simply had a cameo in the series. I felt like this series succeeded where Kamen Rider Decade failed in being a massive crossover.
While I do like the series but I can't stop criticizing the villains. I always felt like they were laughable or not really all that threatening as previous villains. Granted, it's already post-Timeranger era then one can only expect less threatening villains. But for me, I felt like the villains here were not that interesting. Prince Warz Gill and his father Ackdos Gill weren't all that interesting either. Right now I'm watching subbed episodes of Flashman and Changeman, both Mess and Gozma were better intergalatic conquerors! Fortunately Basco arrived to wage war against the Gokaigers giving the badly needed threatening guy with no sense of honor. The Basco vs. Marvelous rivalry was really good to the point I was upset they didn't make him the final villain! For a season with a lot of nostalgic value, I feel people just give it TOO MUCH credit.
For the anniversary there was the big blast Hero 199 Movie which was more like Gokaiger vs. Goseiger plus some guest characters. They also had a crossover movie with Gavan where Kenji Ohba appeared, the Go-Busters mad their cameo as the next series. They also had a crossover with Go-Busters. Unlike Gaoranger, I felt like Gokaiger was a "series finale" of one era opening yet another era of Super Sentai. After Gokaiger ended, I felt like most of Super Sentai fell apart starting with Kyoryuger down to Ninninger. Go-Busters was a good series for me but not so many people like it. I can agree that it's not so great either considering that other serious Super Sentai seasons like Timeranger, Liveman, Maskman and Jetman are still better choices.
Super Sentai's ongoing 40th Anniversary: Doubotsu Sentai Zyuohger
I felt like the series was trying to revive Gaoranger's concept in another way but this time with the use of cubes as part of its theme. Granted that the producer is Takaaki Utsunomiya who was responsible for one of my favorites Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. During Shinkenger, he combined animals with origami to create the mecha in the show. He's done it again by combining animals with what you might call as rubix cubes. The idea of combining animals plus something was also done during Go-onger. Go-onger's producer was Jun Hikasa who was also responsible for a couple of my favorite Super Sentai shows. I guess Utsunomiya wanted to take Go-onger's of combining animals plus something to a whole new level.
Watching the show provides a combination of nostalgia with some new stuff from the producer. We've got Kakeru as a veterinarian and we have Yamato as a zoologist and he's the last to be recruited. I also find it funny that Yamato does look like Kakeru in some way. Did Kakeru get cloned or what?! Having the other four rangers who weren't from Earth or at least Earthling goes to a whole new level as the rest of the Zyuohgers are anthropomorphic animals instead of human-looking aliens. The wild theme was taken way back in Gaoranger.
As for the villains, I feel like the Deathgaliens are more threatening than the Zangyacks. While they're not really all that scary or what but at least they provide some badly needed mwahahaha with their sadistic game. The bounty hunter organization playing games with human lives isn't a joke and I felt like it balances the show. The Zyuohgers have their funny moments while the Deathgaliens aren't a joke. I felt like that returning back to galactic bounty hunters did they producers have Sledge in Dino Charge in mind? I'd hate to imagine seeing Sledge and Genis team up. If that's the case, we're all doomed. But then the Dino Charge team and Zyuohgers can go ahead and thrash the bad guys out, right?
Zyuohger had a you'll be a guest in my show type of crossover. Yamato helps Takeru Tenkuji in Kamen Rider Ghost. Takeru Tenkuji appears to help defeat a Shocker mutant. Both episodes were previews of the Kamen Rider 1 Movie where Hiroshi Fujioka resumes his iconic role yet again. So will there be a Zyuohger vs. Super Sentai movie? Maybe or maybe not. But one thing's for sure I'm feeling positive about this show.