It may not have been some dark, ominous explanation, but the truth behind the world of the Akibarangers was just as interesting, if not more satisfying.
Toei’s “love letter” to older fans of Sentai was just that. Hikounin Sentai Akibaranger was a wild, crazy, and fun series that played with familiar Sentai tropes, served up some ultimate fan service, and most importantly, a fully worthwhile ride to jump on.
On its own, it was a fun comedy. But being even remotely familiar with Super Sentai or even Power Rangers helps make the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
It started off as a fan’s fantasy come true; you become the superhero you’ve always idolized. Then it became a sort of mystery; is there something sinister going on here? And finally, it ended like it was always meant to; a completely meta and hilarious present to adult fans of Sentai.
The final episode (not the clip show, which itself was another wink to the fans) ended on a poignant note, even when using those familiar Sentai “flags” any fan could see a mile away. The three Akibarangers grew to embrace their delusions until they became true. And because of that, they developed the determination to fight their true enemy, the evil Sentai creator Saburo Hatte who aimed to end their show and essentially, their world.
It was unnecessarily convoluted and that’s how it should be. The crazy and fun 12 episode ride plus the clip show should have been a delight (and a wild trip) for any Sentai fan to sit back and enjoy. The cast was a winner and the characters hilarious and fun.
The Akibarangers became endearing characters, three otakus who grew to embrace who they were and in turn maybe encouraging other Sentai (and Power Ranger!) otakus around the world to embrace the show they’ve loved since childhood. (And to buy those cool figures too, of course.)
Though Sunday mornings will still have the family-safe Super Sentai series, Akibaranger will serve as that little reminder that you can never be too old to be a fan.