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Super Sentai

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Sentai-goranger-1975.jpg
Costumes from the 1975 series, Himitsu Sentai Goranger, on display at the Bandai Museum in Tokyo, Japan
Sentai (Japanese: 戦隊), the Japanese word for task force (literally fighting team or squadron - Sentai was also a term used for Japanese squadrons in WWII), is most commonly used for classifying the "superhero team" genre of shows produced by Toei Company Ltd. and Bandai, and aired by TV Asahi. The shows are of the tokusatsu genre, featuring live action characters and colorful special effects, and are aimed mainly for children. This series is one of the most prominent tokusatsu productions in Japan, along with Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Metal Heroes.

In every Sentai show, the fight between good and evil is illustrated, with the good side winning most of the time. The basic premise of the series is that a group of five people gain special powers, wear colored outfits, and use advanced weapons and martial arts skills to battle powerful beings from other planets and/or dimensions threatening to take over Earth. In most of the episodes, after the team has beaten an army of evil creatures ("grunts") and the "monster of the week", they call for huge robotic vehicles/animals ("mechas") that can combine to form one giant robot to fight an enlarged version of the monster. Sentai series with the giant robot element are specifically known as Super Sentai.

The first Sentai series, Himitsu Sentai Goranger, was created by the late Shotaro Ishinomori, creator of Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009 in 1975. He left the project after the second series: JAKQ Dengekitai.

The third Sentai series, Battle Fever J (1979), is the first Super Sentai show (on account of it being the first to have a giant robot that the heroes ride - The past two shows only had vehicles). Many others appeared afterwards, including 1992's Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger, which was later Americanized to become the first season of Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), followed by sequels based on new Sentai shows. However, Sentai shows are for a more mature audience than Power Rangers, as evidenced by deeper character development and slightly darker storylines, sometimes bordering on a soap-opera tone.

The term sentai is also occasionally used to describe shows with similar premises, such as Voltron, or even the magical girl team in Sailor Moon. However, this definition never was official for these shows.

The series

  • 1975 - Himitsu Sentai Goranger (Secret Task Force Go Ranger) - The first Sentai. Super-technology spy team against a secret terrorist monster force.
  • 1977 - JAKQ Dengekitai (JAKQ Lightning Strike Squad) - The first with four initial members, with the fifth member joining later. Team of cyborgs based on a playing card motif.
  • 1979 - Battle Fever J - The first Super Sentai (being that it was the first to have a giant robot). Based on a national country (Japan, Soviet Union, Kenya, France and USA) & dance style motif. The leader, Battle Japan, was originally slated to be called "Captain Japan", a Japanese version of Marvel's Captain America.
  • 1980 - Denshi Sentai Denjiman (Electronic Task Force Denjiman) - The first to have a transforming giant robot, and the first to have "ski-goggle" masks (as opposed to "bug-eye" visors with small holes drilled in them, as was the case in the previous four series).
  • 1981 - Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan (Solar Task Force Sun Vulcan) - The first to have only three members, representing land, sea, and air. Also the first all-male team, and the first to have a combining robot (two units forming into one).
  • 1982 - Dai Sentai Goggle Five (Great Task Force Goggle Five) - Sentai team based on jewels of ancient civilizations. The only sentai team where only three of five members pilot the robot, while the other two stay in Goggle Caesar (a carrier ship for the Goggle Robo components).
  • 1983 - Kagaku Sentai Dynaman (Science Task Force Dynaman) - The first to wear spandex and to forego wearing scarves. Several episodes of this series were later dubbed into English as the comedic parody series Dynaman, which was briefly seen on the USA Network's Night Flight programming block.
  • 1984 - Choudenshi Bioman (Super Electron Bioman) - The first to have two females, one of them perishing several episodes into the series and replaced by another female member. Well known in France and in the Philippines. Because of the level of special effects and storyline development, it is considered by many as one of the best sentai series ever produced for its time.
  • 1985 - Dengeki Sentai Changeman (Blitzkrieg Task Force Changeman) - Team motif based on mythological animals. The first to have a female in white. The show had a tremendous impact in Brazil.
  • 1986 - Choushinsei Flashman (Supernova Flashman) - Team motif based on colored crystals. The first to have a second robot. Like Changeman, had a tremendous impact in Brazil.
  • 1987 - Hikari Sentai Maskman (Light Task Force Maskman)- Team motif based on different martial arts techniques and mystical "aura power" energy. The first to have a sixth team member (one episode only), and the first to have a five component robot.
  • 1988 - Choujuu; Sentai Liveman (Super Beast Task Force Liveman) - Team motif based on animals (falcon, lion, dolphin, bison, and rhino). The first to have a female in blue, and the first to initially have three members, with two members joining later. It was also the first team to have animal-based mecha (widely-used since), and the first to have two giant robots form into a single powerful robot.
  • 1989 - Kousoku Sentai Turboranger (High Speed Task Force Turbo Ranger) - Team motif based on vehicles. The 10th anniversary series (by Toei's official count until Goranger & JAKQ were re-included). The first Super Sentai not to have the robot components brought into action through a "battleship" carrier vehicle.
  • 1990 - Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman (Earth Task Force Fiveman) - Team motif based on five subjects: science, athletics, language, music, mathematics. The first all-sibling team.
  • 1991 - Choujin Sentai Jetman (Birdman Task Force Jetman) - Team motif based on various birds. The second series to have a female blue ranger. This series brought intense drama to the Sentai franchise, making it one of the more popular super sentai series. Based on the '70s anime Gatchaman, Jetman was supposed to become the first Power Rangers, but the concept did not fully take off with test audiences.
  • 1992 - Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger (Dinosaur Task Force Beast Ranger) - Team motif based on dinosaurs. The first to have an American series, Power Rangers, based on it (if one does not count the parody-dub of Dynaman), and the first to have a regular sixth team member. Oddly enough, only three out of six rangers actually have dinosaurs as avatars.
  • 1993 - Gosei Sentai Dairanger (Five Star Task Force Great Ranger)- Team motif based on Chinese mythological animals and martial arts styles spanning generations of combatants fighting over the centuries. Regarded by many as one of the best series of the '90s.
  • 1994 - Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (Ninja Task Force Hidden Ranger) - Team motif based on the art of ninjutsu. The first to have a female leader and the first to have the sixth member not resemble the regular five. Also first to transform into there Mechas instade of piloting it.
  • 1995 - Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (Super Power Task Force Oh Ranger)- Team motif based on the five symbols of ESP recognition and ancient mystical technology.
  • 1996 - Gekisou Sentai Carranger (Extreme Racing Task Force Car Ranger) - Team motif based on cars.
  • 1997 - Denji Sentai Megaranger (Electromagnetic Task Force Mega Ranger)- Team motif based on various electronic equipment, with Toei capitalizing on the growing popularity of the internet, cell phones, and computers.
  • 1998 - Seijuu Sentai Gingaman (Star Beast Task Force Galaxy Man) - Team motif based on benevolent "galaxy beasts" that aided mankind through the centuries.
  • 1999 - Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoV (Emergency Rescue Task Force Go Go Five) - Team motif based on various rescue services (hazardous rescue, firefighter, helicopter pilot, police officer, and paramedic). The second sibling team in the Super Sentai series.
  • 2000 - Mirai Sentai Timeranger (Future Task Force Time Ranger) - Team motif based on time-travelling police officers from the 30th century. The first to have the sixth team member's costume color the same as a regular team member (red), and the second Sentai series to have a female leader.
  • 2001 - Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger (Hundred Beast Task Force Growl Ranger) - Team motif based on wild animals. The 25th anniversary Sentai team.
  • 2002 - Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger (Ninpuu Task Force Hurricane Ranger) - Team motif based on variations of the art of ninjutsu. Originally a team of three, it later added a rival ninja duo, as well as an independent green ninja warrior with no real identity, to make six full members. The third series to have a blue female ranger. Costume designs are closely related to Liveman in 1988 (Red hawk/falcon, Yellow lion, Blue dolphin).
  • 2003 - Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger (Blast Dinosaur Task Force Outburst Ranger) - Team motif based on dinosaurs, closely resembling 1992's Zyuranger.
  • 2004 - Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (Special Investigation Task Force Detective Ranger) - Team motif based on an intergalactic police force division stationed on Earth to handle extraterrestrial criminals who enter the earth illegally. The first to have a regular seventh team member, with 3 more rangers who appear once throughout the series (Deka Swan - Ep. 36, Deka Bright - Ep. 40, Deka Gold - Dekaranger the Movie: Full Blast Action).
  • 2005 - Mahou Sentai Magiranger (Magical Task Force Magic Ranger) - Team motif based on magic and elemental powers, with Toei capitlaizing on the popularity of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series. The second sentai series to have the heroes themselves transform into the mecha rather than piloting them. The third sibling team of Sentai, and the fourth series to have a blue heroine.

Facts

Here is the breakdown of the 157 heroes who have donned the various Sentai colours:

  • Red - 30 (19%)
  • Blue - 29 (18%)
  • Yellow - 26 (17%)
  • Pink - 21 (13%)
  • Green - 17 (11%)
  • Black - 16 (10%)
  • White - 9 (6%)
  • Misc. (orange, gold, crimson, navy, combination colors) - 7 (4%)
  • Silver - 2 (1%)

External links

de:Sentai fr:Sentai ja:スーパー戦隊シリーズ pt:Super Sentai zh:超級戰隊

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