Last year, when the future of the Power Rangers franchise was still up in the air, I decided to finally give its source material, the Super Sentai franchise, a go. I jumped head first into Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, the Sentai series which would have been adapted for Power Rangers after RPM.
And thank goodness I did. Not only did I get a great formal introduction into the world of Super Sentai, Shinkenger helped successfully fill the void left by Disney’s cancellation of Power Rangers .
However, a few months later and the man behind the creation of the Power Rangers brand, Haim Saban, announced he’s bought back the franchise and production will continue with Nickelodeon its new home. Thus, Power Rangers Samurai came into existence.
And yet, even with new episodes of Power Rangers debuting every week on Nickelodeon, I still feel that void. Or a black hole really. (And that discussion is worthy of an entire post.)
But thankfully, Super Sentai still exists as well and thank goodness a series like Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger (海賊戦隊ゴーカイジャ) exists.
The 35th anniversary season of the Super Sentai franchise has everything you could ever want. A great cast,
likeable loveable characters, a fun script and story, exciting action and for longtime fans of Sentai, all the fanwanking nostalgia you can handle.
For me, whose exposure to Sentai is limited to Japanese footage on Power Rangers, the “Lost and Found in Translation” episode of Power Rangers DinoThunder and Shinkenger (the series and the movies), the nostalgia for the previous 34 Sentai teams may not be as meaningful to me as it may be for others. But Gokaiger has so far seamlessly paid tribute and given nods to its predecessors while still weaving together its own story and identity.
And all of this is more than can be said for Power Rangers Samurai. Watching the original Shinkenger episodes from which the Samurai episodes are
copied “adapted” after the PR episode airs may make you more disappointed in the American series rather than get what might be a bad taste in your mouth.
Gokaiger, then, can do the trick. The series reminds you how Super Sentai and in turn Power Rangers can be fun for all ages. How you don’t have to take yourself seriously, but you don’t have to trip all over yourself and your sea of puns either.
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger follows a group of five space pirates led by Captain Marvelous (yes, that’s his name) as their search for the universe’s greatest treasure brings them to Earth. And like the pirates we are all familiar with, they swashbuckle their way to riches and treasures with the help of keys that hold the powers of the 34 Super Sentai teams that have come and gone to help supplement their own Sentai powers.
Wanted for their pirating, the Gokaigers face the Space Empire Zangyack, who had earlier been defeated by the 199 heroes of the 34 past Sentai teams in the Great War by using their powers to banish them to the ethers of the galaxy.
On the surface, the five space pirates may care about little other than getting as much loot as they can, but as the series continues and the deeper we get to dig into their histories, we see that these pirates may have something beating under their dashing wardrobe.
Their mysterious backstories coupled with their swashbuckling personalities and fighting techniques all make for an incredibly likeable group of characters.
Gokaiger is pure fun, but with just enough substance and more than a touch of sentimentality to appeal to anyone from longtime fans to the uninitiated new viewer. Whether it’s the action, the characters, or the nostalgia, you’ll find at least one thing, if not all of ’em, to keep you entertained for 25 minutes every week.
And again, that is a helluva lot more than can be said for a certain other children’s action adventure series out there.
All I can say is, Thank goodness for Super Sentai and Thank Sentai for Gokaiger.