Times When I Felt Super Sentai Had A Series Reboot
Super Sentai is Toei's longest-running Toku series. With that in mind, there are other franchises that had a reboot. Kamen Rider had a reboot during the Showa era (which had gaps in between) then Kamen Rider Kuuga rebooted the whole franchise -- maybe we can say Kamen Rider Decade did too or was it Kamen Rider W? Metal Hero had a reboot treatment when the Space Sheriff Trilogy ended. Maybe, we can also think that a reboot happened when Winspector came after Jiban. I think Super Sentai has had reboots in its very long run to fit in with the times.
The first possible reboot was done with Battle Fever J. This era would probably be known as the pre-Hirohisa Soda era. Sentai was just Sentai with Goranger and JAKQ. However, Battle Fever J was the first Sentai series to have the word Super before it. The retcon in the late 1990s would include Goranger and JAKQ as part of the Super Sentai series. Battle Fever J would be that important series that revived and rebooted Super Sentai.
The Hirohisa Soda era may be known as the era of daring with new stuff. I could remember how Soda himself was very fond of doing what most Super Sentai writers didn't -- adding that valuable lesson of the week in almost every episode he writes! His career spanned straight nine seasons of Super Sentai namely Goggle V, Dynaman, Bioman, Changeman, Flashman, Maskman, Liveman, Turboranger, and Fiveman which nearly ended Super Sentai.
The Fiveman fiasco (though said series would eventually get vindicated by history) resulted in the writing of Jetman. Jetman felt like it was meant to end the Super Sentai series but it did the opposite. Instead, Jetman saved Super Sentai after Fiveman nearly caused its cancellation. The series felt like it would be a finale and a new beginning. After all, Fiveman is the first 20th century Super Sentai series. It would also be the last Super Sentai season that didn't get a Power Rangers counterpart.
Jetman or Zyuranger? Which series would be best called the 90s Super Sentai series that reinvented the franchise with better innovation? I think Zyuranger was trying newer mecha styles with fully sentient mecha and more fantasy elements than before. For storytelling, I'd still go with Jetman. It later started Shout! Factory's release of the Super Sentai DVD series which feels it's temporarily under a halt. I think Zyuranger did reinvent Super Sentai with better toys while Jetman did feature fresh air. Both series should be treated with the utmost importance in the reinvention of Super Sentai after Fiveman.
I'd always Timeranger to be a finale season for the 20th Century Super Sentai. The series started in the Year 2000 which had two major events -- the end of 20th Century Super Sentai and a new beginning for Kamen Rider. Kamen Rider Kuuga would be that important Kamen Rider series that made Kamen Rider a yearly thing, unlike the Showa era. Timeranger would be a finale-type season IMHO with how it discussed entering into a new era. To further "confirm" that -- the end series did a review of all the Super Sentai series before it before introducing the next one.
Gaoranger would probably have that feeling of an entirely new start for the franchise. Newer concepts for toys were created. CGI was now becoming better than it was back then. Remember how CGI replaced the stop motion mecha scene? I even wonder would mecha suit actors soon use motion capture instead of the traditional suits? Gaoranger as a series started to reinvent Super Sentai with the lighter and softer era. One can also think about how this show started the multi-gattai craze while simultaneously celebrating the 25th anniversary.
Should we even consider Gekiranger as an attempt to reboot the series into a newer era? Perhaps, perhaps not. Boukenger was the big 30th anniversary yet it doesn't feel like a finale. I wonder what was Toei thinking in releasing Gekiranger as a more serious season after Boukenger's loads of fun and adventure? Was Super Sentai really trying to restore back to the more serious roots than the lighthearted series it became? While I do want Super Sentai to be super serious again but if it doesn't sell then don't.
Gokaiger itself celebrated the 35th anniversary while making it look like a finale. The whole finale felt like that there was the possibility of rebooting 35 years of Super Sentai history. The Gokaigers chose not to do so by getting rid of the Greatest Treasure in the Universe. Gokaiger felt like a proper send-off to Super Sentai when the franchise was going to go on and on until today. However, it felt like the challenge of, "How are we going to stay afloat after Gokaiger?" was there.
Go-Busters felt like trying to return to simpler times. I admit that I like Go-Busters for the reason of being more serious than most of its predecessors, trying to return to simpler times with better graphics, and the more "mature" storytelling. Maybe my only complaint was that it didn't fully perfect the lost potential of Power Rangers RPM which was rushed into only 32 episodes. I thought of this as a possible reboot for Super Sentai.
However, the next few seasons namely Kyoryuger, ToQGer, Ninninger, and Zyuohger had some trials. Kyoryuger felt like trying to get more sales via dinosaurs and playful energy. ToQGer did get an award on Railroad Day though so I'd give it that except Yasuko Kobayashi was burnt out. How do I think of Ninninger until now? It's only "better" than the super awful Ninja Steel because of the no season split AND Takaharu is definitely smarter than Victor and Monty. Maybe, I can add Zyuohger had a crash in ratings -- maybe it was more of the digital age taking over television ratings. But Super Sentai still survived after that!
Kyuranger is what I'd call a daring new direction for the series. The series itself picked up a long-abandoned concept namely a space-themed Super Sentai. What really made me think this was a reboot was it's again trying something new. The series may have some issues like it's hard to spread character development because new characters kept coming. However, I still think that Kyuranger in spite of its flaws is still an enjoyable season. Toy sales were pretty high which may have overshadowed the sales of Lupinranger vs. Patranger. The reboot was successful enough to keep Super Sentai running again.
It seemed a new era was in though I wonder why we're back to dinosaurs. Did Toei get a knee jerk from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that they decided to go with dinosaurs? I can't really tell. It's just my speculation because Ryusoulger just didn't look like it was meant to be dinosaurs. It must have been real-life writes the plot, right? It's still uncertain how the Kyuranger up to whatever season of Super Sentai (assuming Toei doesn't decide to pull the plug) will be.