I am happy I was able to really discover Super Sentai after the Disney-induced coma of the Power Rangers franchise. I enjoyed watching the 2010 Sentai series Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, my first full Sentai season and what will become the basis for the upcoming Power Rangers series on Nickelodeon.
So count me among the fans who were very excited to hear about the direct-to-DVD, V-Cinema release of Come Back! Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Special Act.
The Special Act has the Shinkengers fighting an Ayakashi who is trapping them in different dimensions, all resembling various popular film and television genres.
The special is basically a double-length episode (and therefore is longer than the Shinkenger “movie” which clocked in at just 20 minutes) and amounts to one hilarious, fun and special treat for fans of the series.
The regular elements of the series and franchise are there including the mecha battles, but what makes the Special Act unique is the Shinkengers being brainwashed into playing roles in the various genres including period drama, western, crime procedural, idol drama, romantic comedy (based on a manga, of course), and even sci-fi outer space.
It is fun seeing the Shinkengers in completely different environments, as characters the complete opposite of who they are normally.
From having them in more serious cop drama or a hilarious spoof on manga-based romantic comedies (here, a reference to the manga Hana Kimi), the cast seems to have had as much fun filming the different scenes as it is to watch.
I have to say Shinkenger is my favorite Sentai series of all. Then again, it is the only full season of Sentai I’ve ever watched. But now that it holds a special place in my heart as my first, I wouldn’t mind seeing them have more special acts in the future. Super Sentai series don’t usually get numerous V-Cinema releases, but its Tokusatsu sibling Kamen Rider has a series, Den-O that has had multiple theatrical releases since it finished its run in 2008. I’d love for Shinkenger to be Sentai’s Den-O.
It is also interesting watching Shinkenger now after the incredible developments regarding Saban Brands and the Power Rangers franchise. Now that I’ve watched an entire Sentai season before it has been adapted to Power Rangers, for the first time ever, I feel overprotective of the series, hoping Power Rangers doesn’t screw it up or mess with its awesome source material. It’s a different feeling, but still has gotten me very excited.
But back to Come Back! Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Special Act, it is worth watching over and over for the sheer enjoyment of a fun time. It may be more fun for fans of the series, but for the unacquainted, it is only just a small taste to what Super Sentai can be. Enjoy!