Minggu, 06 Juni 2010
Super Sentai (English)
The Super Sentai Series (スーパー戦隊シリーズ, Sūpā Sentai Shirīzu?) is the name given to the long running Japanese superhero team genre of shows produced by Toei Company Ltd., Toei Agency and Bandai, and aired by TV Asahi ("Super" refers to their use of mecha, and "sentai" is the Japanese word for "task force" or, literally, "fighting squadron" and was also a term used for Japanese squadrons in WWII). The shows are of the tokusatsu genre, featuring live action characters and colorful special effects, and are aimed mainly at children. This series is one of the most prominent tokusatsu productions in Japan, alongside the Ultra Series, the Kamen Rider Series, and the Metal Hero Series, and is adapted in the United States as Power Rangers.
In every Super Sentai series, 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 (in some cases fewer) people gain special powers (magical or technological), 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 the 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. While each Sentai series is set in its own reality, a number of TV and video specials feature a teaming up with previous 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 did not create any further Sentai series after his second, J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai, was not received well. These two series were not a part of the Super Sentai series until 1994 when Toei decided to include them with the series that followed.
Following J.A.K.Q., Toei chose to work with Marvel Comics to produce the live action adaptation of Spider-Man (1978), which included the first giant robot in a Toei Superhero show. This concept was used in Toei and Marvel's project Battle Fever J (1979) and was deemed the first Super Sentai Series. The following production of Denshi Sentai Denziman was the first production solely by Toei and written by "Saburo Yatsude".
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, as Naoko Takeuchi deliberately used Sentai ideas. In 2003, Sailor Moon was retold in a fashion somewhat similar to Sentai shows in the form of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. While not officially Sentai, some fans of the genre have accepted it as such.
Super sentai series:
Each of the series of Super Sentai has its own unique values and motifs.
* Himitsu Sentai Goranger (秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー, Himitsu Sentai Gorenjā?, translated as Secret Squadron Goranger), aired from 1975-1977, was the first Sentai Series. Developed by Shotaro Ishinomori, the Gorangers are a super-technology spy team that fight against a secret terrorist monster force: the Black Cross Army.
* J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai (ジャッカー電撃隊, Jakkā Dengekitai?, translated as J.A.K.Q. Blitzkrieg Squad) aired in 1977. It featured a team of cyborgs based on a playing card motif — Jack, Ace, King and Queen — later joined by another member who takes over the leadership roles. J.A.K.Q. also had a feature film that served as a crossover with Goranger. This use of a crossover would not happen again until 1995, when it began an annual tradition for a V-Cinema release.
* Battle Fever J (バトルフィーバー J, Batoru Fībā Jei?) aired in 1979 and featured an international group of characters. This series was the first to be produced by Marvel Comics after Toei and Marvel worked together on Spider-Man and featured characters resembling Captain America and Miss America. Battle Fever J also featured the first giant robot, an idea carried over from the Spider-Man production. From then on, the series' official name came to be Super Sentai.
* Denshi Sentai Denziman (電子戦隊デンジマン, Denshi Sentai Denjiman?, translated as Electronic Squadron Denziman) aired in 1980 and was the first series completely produced by Toei. It is the first series to have a transforming giant robot and utilize an actual lens visor in the suits' helmet (unlike previous series where the visor was made of the same fiber of the helmet)
* Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan (太陽戦隊サンバルカン, Taiyō Sentai San Barukan?, translated as Solar Squadron Sun Vulcan) aired in 1981 and served as an indirect sequel to Denziman, with Machiko Soga's Queen Hedrian character returning. It featured the first combining robot to be used, a trend that continues throughout the Super Sentai Series.
* Dai Sentai Goggle-V (大戦隊ゴーグルファイブ, Dai Sentai Gōguru Faibu?, translated as Great Squadron Goggle V) aired in 1982 and featured motifs based on gemstones, ancient civilizations, and rhythmic gymnastics.
* Kagaku Sentai Dynaman (科学戦隊ダイナマン, Kagaku Sentai Dainaman?, translated as Science Squadron Dynaman) aired in 1983 and was the first series to use "spandex" costumes for the heroes and was the first series to remove the scarves from the costume (a tradition carried over from Ishinomori's Kamen Rider Series). Several episodes of Dynaman were comically dubbed into English and aired during the USA Network's 1987 Night Flight programming block.
* Choudenshi Bioman (超電子バイオマン, Chōdenshi Baioman?, translated as Super Electronic Bioman) aired in 1984 and was the first series to feature two heroines on the team and the first to feature a helping robot to aid the heroes.
* Dengeki Sentai Changeman (電撃戦隊チェンジマン, Dengeki Sentai Chenjiman?, translated as Blitzkrieg Squadron Changeman) aired in 1985 and featured a motif based on legendary creatures in European traditions. Changeman was the first series to feature a team cannon formed from the five team members' individual weapons.
* Choushinsei Flashman (超新星フラッシュマン, Chōshinsei Furasshuman?, translated as Supernova Flashman) aired in 1986 and was the first series to add a second giant robot for the team to fight with. The team members' powers come from their upbringings on planets with different environmental conditions.
* Hikari Sentai Maskman (光戦隊マスクマン, Hikari Sentai Masukuman?, translated as Light Squadron Maskman) aired in 1987 and featured the first five-piece combining robot, with an individual mecha piloted by each member of the team. Maskman also featured the first sixth warrior, appearing for only one episode.
* Choujuu Sentai Liveman (超獣戦隊ライブマン, Chōjū Sentai Raibuman?, translated as Super-Beast Squadron Liveman) aired in 1988 and featured the first addition of two new team members to a three-person team as well as the first combination of two individual robots into a single powerful robot.
* Kousoku Sentai Turboranger (高速戦隊ターボレンジャー, Kōsoku Sentai Tāborenjā?, translated as High-Speed Squadron TurboRanger) aired in 1989 and featured an automobile motif. As the tenth anniversary of the Super Sentai Series (Goranger and J.A.K.Q. were not included at this time), Turboranger featured an anniversary crossover with the previous teams.
* Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman (地球戦隊ファイブマン, Chikyū Sentai Faibuman?, translated as Earth Squadron Fiveman) aired in 1990 and featured both an antagonistic team of villainous counterparts and a team power upgrade armor.
* Chōjin Sentai Jetman (鳥人戦隊ジェットマン, Chōjin Sentai Jettoman?, translated as Birdman Squadron Jetman) aired in 1991 and featured a bird motif, an homage to the anime and manga Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Jetman also featured the first tertiary robot that could operate on its own and a manga epilogue that introduced a new Jetman.
* Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (恐竜戦隊ジュウレンジャー, Kyōryū Sentai Jūrenjā?, translated as Dinosaur Squadron Zyuranger) aired in 1992 and used dinosaurs (and other extinct megafauna) as a motif. Zyuranger was later adapted into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for American audiences, beginning the Power Rangers franchise.
* Gosei Sentai Dairanger (五星戦隊ダイレンジャー, Gosei Sentai Dairenjā?, translated as Five-Star Squadron Dairanger) aired in 1993 using traditional Chinese mythological creatures as a motif.
* Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (忍者戦隊カクレンジャー, Ninja Sentai Kakurenjā?, translated as Ninja Squadron Kakuranger) aired in 1994 and had a ninja motif, and a motif loosely based on the classic Journey to the West. As another anniversary series, the crossover Super Sentai World was produced featuring characters from Fiveman, Jetman, Zyuranger, Dairanger and Kakuranger. Kakuranger also featured the first five-piece secondary robot.
* Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (超力戦隊オーレンジャー, Chōriki Sentai Ōrenjā?, translated as Super-Power Squadron Ohranger) aired in 1995 using a geometric shape motif. Ohranger began the annual VS Series V-Cinema releases with Chouriki Sentai Ohranger vs. Kakuranger.
* Gekisou Sentai Carranger (激走戦隊カーレンジャー, Gekisō Sentai Kārenjā?, translated as Racing Squadron Carranger) aired in 1996, and used automobiles as a motif, serving as a parody to Turboranger and the Super Sentai Series as a whole. After the inclusion of Goranger and J.A.K.Q. as Super Sentai Series, Carranger became the twentieth anniversary series.
* Denji Sentai Megaranger (電磁戦隊メガレンジャー, Denji Sentai Megarenjā?, translated as Electromagnetic Squadron Megaranger) aired in 1997 using electronics and space travel as a motif. Megaranger featured the first silver-colored hero and the evil Nejiranger team who serve as villains for an entire story arc.
* Seijuu Sentai Gingaman (星獣戦隊ギンガマン, Seijū Sentai Gingaman?, translated as Star-Beast Squadron Gingaman) aired in 1998 featured a classical elements motif as well as two additional combining robots in addition to the primary robot used by the Gingamen.
* Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoFive (救急戦隊ゴーゴーファイブ, Kyūkyū Sentai GōGō Faibu?, translated as Rescue Squadron GoGoFive) aired in 1999 using an emergency service motif. GoGoFive is the first series since Jetman to only feature five heroes. Additional heroes appear in one of its V-Cinema productions.
* Mirai Sentai Timeranger (未来戦隊タイムレンジャー, Mirai Sentai Taimurenjā?, translated as Future Squadron Timeranger) aired in 2000 and featured a time travel motif (four of the five main heroes are police officers from the year 3000). Timeranger features the first additional hero whose costume is the same color as one of the original heroes.
* Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger (百獣戦隊ガオレンジャー, Hyakujū Sentai Gaorenjā?, translated as Hundred Beast Squadron Gaoranger) aired in 2001 and was the first series to utilize multiple possible mecha combinations from a planned total of one-hundred mecha (only 22 were utilized in the series run). It also began the tradition of a film adaptation as a double bill with that year's Kamen Rider Series film. Gaoranger also served as the 25th Anniversary series, featuring the Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai crossover V-Cinema release.
* Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger (忍風戦隊ハリケンジャー, Ninpū Sentai Harikenjā?, translated as Stealthy Wind Squadron Hurricaneger) aired in 2002 and used a ninjutsu motif, taking elements from Kakuranger as well as Liveman. Hurricaneger features the rival Gouraiger team with insect-themed powers, the free agent Shurikenger, and a series of smaller mecha that serve as weapons for the teams' robots.
* Bakuryū Sentai Abaranger (爆竜戦隊アバレンジャー, Bakuryū Sentai Abarenjā?, translated as Burstosaur Squadron Abaranger) aired in 2003 and used a dinosaur motif (as with Zyuranger). It is the first series to present an alternate transformation for one of its members (AbaRed into AbareMax), a sole evil warrior (AbareKiller), and sentient mecha that speak in the Japanese language (Zyuranger, Gingaman and Gaoranger also featured sentient mecha, but they could not speak Japanese).
* Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (特捜戦隊デカレンジャー, Tokusō Sentai Dekarenjā?, translated as Special Investigation Squadron Dekaranger) aired in 2004 and uses a crime fighting motif with its heroes fighting extraterrestrial criminals. Dekaranger features the first semi-regular seventh hero (DekaMaster) and three additional heroines who appear once each throughout the series: DekaSwan (episode 36), DekaBright (ep. 40), and DekaGold (Dekaranger The Movie: Full Blast Action). This series started the tradition of a "passing the torch" segment after the ending credits of the series finale: the red warrior of the series that has just ended interacts with the red warrior of the upcoming series.
* Mahou Sentai Magiranger (魔法戦隊マジレンジャー, Mahō Sentai Majirenjā?, translated as Magic Squadron Magiranger) aired in 2005 uses a magic motif with mecha that are the heroes transformed. Magiranger features an entire family of heroes: the core team are all brothers and sisters, the sixth hero marries one of the core team members, and the rarely-used seventh and eighth heroes are the parents to the core team.
* GoGo Sentai Boukenger (轟轟戦隊ボウケンジャー, GōGō Sentai Bōkenjā?, translated as Rumbling Squadron Boukenger) aired in 2006 using an adventure and treasure hunting motif. It is the first series to be filmed in high-definition. As the 30th Anniversary series, it included the 30 Sentai Encyclopedia featurettes at the end of each episode and the GoGo Sentai Boukenger vs. Super Sentai V-Cinema release. Unlike previous series, Boukenger featured multiple groups of loosely allied antagonists instead of one overarching antagonist group.
* Juken Sentai Gekiranger (獣拳戦隊ゲキレンジャー, Jūken Sentai Gekirenjā?, translated as Beast-Fist Squadron Gekiranger) aired in 2007 and used a Chinese martial arts (eventually incorporating Muay Thai and karate in its additional warriors) theme with a wild animal motif. Instead of robots, the mecha of Gekiranger are manifestations of the heroes' qi (気, ki?). Gekiranger is also unique in that the story also focused on the series primary antagonists turned anti-heroes and it introduced the first new colored hero (violet) in ten years.
* Engine Sentai Go-onger (炎神戦隊ゴーオンジャー, Enjin Sentai Gōonjā?, translated as Engine Squadron Go-onger) aired in 2008, featuring an ecological theme: the antagonists are seeking to pollute the Earth. It also features the first female additional hero who joins with a male additional hero, bringing the team size to seven regular members, and the first twelve-piece combining robot. Go-onger was also the first Super Sentai series to have its theme song single reach the top-ten of the Oricon Weekly charts at #4, after selling 22,000 records in its first week of being released and the theatrical release of its VS Series entry Engine Sentai Go-onger vs. Gekiranger to commemorate the 15th entry of the VS Series.
* Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (侍戦隊シンケンジャー, Samurai Sentai Shinkenjā?, translated as Samurai Squadron Shinkenger) aired in 2009, using a samurai and other aspects of Japanese culture as its motif. Like Go-onger before it, its theme song single also ranked highly on the Oricon, reaching #4 on the Daily Ranking Charts on its day of release. Shinkenger featured the first crossover with the Kamen Rider Series it aired alongside: Kamen Rider Decade. It also features the first female red warrior, introduced towards the end of the series.
* Tensou Sentai Goseiger (天装戦隊ゴセイジャー, Tensō Sentai Goseijā?, translated as Celestial Clothing Squadron Goseiger) is the title of the current series for 2010. The series is tied in with the new Super Sentai Battle: Dice-O arcade game; the protagonists use variations on the cards featured in the game to perform actions such as transforming, summoning weapons and mecha, and enacting various elemental powers.