December 19th, 2003
Ninjatron is going to talk about heroes of justice fighting for Earth, or something like that.
Super Sentai, for those that don't know, is essentially the original Japanese version of what we call "Power Rangers" in North America. You know, the colour-coded spandex clad super heroes. Now, I'm not really a fan of Power Rangers. In fact, in my younger days I had an unquenchable hatred for the entire property, which has now more or less de-evolved into a general sort of apathy. But I respect it for its longevity and, being the worldly individual that I am, have taken it upon myself to at least be somewhat knowledgeable of the Japanese original.
So I found this video clip on the net one day called Super Sentai World. Having never actually seen any original Sentai footage at all, I thought I'd give it a try. It's, uh, well, interesting, to say the least.
So we are at first introduced to the cast. This is a very important event in the world of Super Sentai because we are dealing with, not one, but five Super Sentai teams. And so, before we start, we get to see them all do what they do best: POSE!
There's Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, who I suppose are the "main" characters of this little show.
Then there's Gosei Sentai Dairanger.
And Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, who you may remember as the first version of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
Here's Chojin Sentai Jetman.
And lastly, Chikyu Sentai Fiveman. I guess they are called Fiveman because there's five of them, but I can only assume at this point. It seems slightly redundant to me, however, since all of the other teams also have five members, but what do I know?
We are then told that Super Robo's "special" sword will crush evil's plans. Well then, that solves that! Dig the paper origami crane helmet. Nice touch. Very fashionable.
So the actual story begins with a regular girl having this guy take her picture in some sort of park or forest or convenient empty battle-ready area. The young lady says that she will now take a picture but the man has some doubts over her picture taking ability. And indeed, she doesn't know how the camera works.
These problems seem insignificant now that this giant monster has shown up, pledging to this otherwise empty battle ready area that the Earth Invasion Plan will now commence. Using his magical third eye, he calls forth his 3 alien soldiers, who spot the two people. Because they have seen the secret of the third eye, they can not be allowed to live.
Before they can act, the Kakurangers appear. They don't appear to be holding any sort of guns, mind you, but we'll let that slide for now. They explain how they "hide from people and cut evil", and then, of course, they pose.
The title screen appears, accompanied by... Spanish music! Because when you think about a Super Sentai team with a ninja gimmick, you think about Spanish bullfighting music! Uh, yeah. What the hell?
So they fight for while until the Kakurangers are mysteriously shot. Two other aliens show up, holding the two innocent bystanders hostage. One of the aliens explains that he's here to help. The others obviously don't know who the hell these two are, but they're pretty happy to see them all the same. And so the Kakurangers are forced to surrender, which causes them to be shot again. Nice move.
But before the aliens can move in for the kill, a butt-load of other Sentai teams show up! Hooray! And so the tide seems to have turned, but before we can start with the fighting and the rescuing, what do we all have to do?
That's right! POSE!
Then, when they're all done posing, what do they do? That's right, they pose again! And this time, coloured explosions go off behind them somehow! Wow!
The aliens call forth the lackeys, who appear out of thin air and start making really annoying noises. This Sentai team mightily runs into the battle, and huge explosions go off behind them for some reason! Wow!
Then there is a huge fight, with 25 of these Sentai guys against all of these aliens. You can pretty much pick any area of the screen and you'll be looking at some fighting. There's weapon swinging and cartwheels and random explosions, the whole works.
Most of this fighting is really just an excuse for the Sentai teams to show off their moves and weapons and abilities. These guys, for example, use their "Explosive Shower" technique, which seems to consist of throwing Silly String at their opponents. Looks like it does the trick, too.
This yellow dude's technique looks pretty effective. I think I speak for all of the guys in the audience when I say "Ouch"!
Here we have the "Red Slider", some sort of oversized throwing star made out of Nerf. Contact with it causes visual sound effects to appear. This is the only time in the whole show that something like this happens. Weird.
And this one spins her gymnastics ribbon around. Melody cut! Ok! I'm sure it's very painful.
Finally, this fight seems to be coming to a close as the we start to see attacks involving all members of the Sentai teams.
The Kakurangers have the final honors. They finish off the aliens by kicking a football, causing them all to explode.
... uh, yeah. A football. Because when you think about a Super Sentai team with a ninja gimmick, you think about football!
Everyone is pretty impressed except for that big monster, who doesn't think very highly of their Super Sentai antics. So the five Red Rangers call upon their giant robots to appear.
At this point, one would think "What? Five robots against that one monster? That's just not fair!", and you'd be right. However, this guy proves that he's no push over, and thoroughly kicks all their asses. I especially approve of this "sword to the crotch" technique.
The man and woman from earlier (Yeah, remember them?), deduce that if the heroes lose this fight, the Earth will be destroyed by the aliens. Well that's just jumping to conclusions! They never said anything about destroying the Earth! Just invading, which is not nearly as bad. Come on now, let's be fair here! Then the guy remembers about the secret of the third eye, and yells to the heroes hit there. I personally would have assumed that punching someone in the eye would be a good strategy anyway.
So the robots take turns whompping on our weakened monster friend here, kicking up lots of smoke in the process. The Kakuranger robot uses a flaming sword to finish the job. Cue the catchy ninja Sentai theme song, which, for the record, is not Spanish this time.
Everyone is happy! Hooray! And what do we do when we're happy? You know it!
Wait a minute, haven't I seen this footage already? Ah, whatever.
We end with the Kakuranger team on their motor cycles, telling us all to please cheer for them. Ok!
Ok, so it took 25 Sentai members to rescue two people. Not exactly an efficient system they've got going there. Yes, I know there was the whole "saving the Earth for justice" thing in there too, but really now, if that were so important, why not have like a hundred Super Sentai teams running around protecting all the time?
All right, yes, I admit that I am being hard on it. But honestly, after years of hearing how the Japanese version is "so much better" than the American Power Rangers, I think I have every right to be hard on it. Super Sentai World was just under 10 minutes long, and probably could have stood to have 2 minutes edited out. In my book, Sentai is pretty lame any way you slice it. I didn't say it was bad. I think that's kind of what makes it fun. I get a kick out of it.
Now before all of you Sentai fanboys start with the hate mails, let me finish. I see the big picture here, and that is that I don't freakin' matter. I'm not the target audience, but even I see the value in this. While it's pretty obvious that this is a ploy of sorts to legitimize Ninja Sentai Kakuranger in the eyes of the fans by teaming them up with previous Sentai Teams, I am sure that any kid living in Japan at the time would go absolutely bananas seeing this. And if older fans want to keep on loving it, than that's cool too.
But beyond all of that, I know this. Kids need heroes. Not just role models to look up to, but heroes who fight for what's right and defeat what is wrong. Kids need to know that Super Sentai is invincible. Kids need to know that Super Robo's "special" sword will crush evil's plans. And kids need to cheer for that. Because if you can't believe in that, then what can you believe in?
Of course, none of that really matters when we all know that no Super Sentai can withstand the destructive power of Ninjatron.
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TV Nihon Download Japanese TV programs here. They Subtitled Super Sentai World.
Sentai Sanctorum The history of Sentai and Power Rangers.
SuperSentai.com More than you'd ever want to know about Sentai.