In celebration of the release of Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Complete Series by Shout! Factory, I have decided to dedicate a post to take a look at every Yokai that appeared in the series. I've talked about Kakuranger one or two times in the past, but after just finishing this DVD set I feel the urge to put out yet another post. Kakuranger is my favorite Super Sentai after all.
Quick shout out to...umm...Shout! Factory. So far they have put out three quality Super Sentai series on DVD in the US. I really hope that they continue on forever...but only time will tell. Thank you so much, Shout!
Oh yeah, you did read that right earlier. I have already finished watching my brand new Kakuranger DVD set despite the series not being officially released until just now. If you order from Shout! directly, you will get your copy more than two weeks early. I totally recommend pre-ordering new shows directly from them even if it costs a few dollars more. If it helps the cause for more Sentai getting a DVD release, then I'm all for it.
These lists will take all things into consideration (design, use, episode quality). I don't want to just limit myself to design here, though I feel like there may be a connection between some of the weaker stories and Yokai designs...if that makes sense.
So how about we go backwards and start with the worst?
Top Seven WORST Yokai From Kakuranger
07. Karakasa (37)
Hahahaha. OK, so Karakasa has two forms and both of them are equally as stupid looking. In her normal Yokai form, she captures Saizo and Seikai (are you surprised it's those two?..........me neither) using a pair of outlandish dancing shoes. She doesn't do much of anything outside of present her captures to Daimaoh for his birthday. Even enlarged, she barely puts up a fight...especially after Daimaoh hilariously leaves her to die.
06. Binbogami (49)
This is one of those weird situations where there is a terrible Yokai suit in an otherwise great episode. Maybe Binbogami wasn't the most original Yokai (Kyubi no Kitsune and Kanedama were both money-crazed Yokai who bilked people out of money), but did he have to look like a reject 80s horror movie clown to get his point across?? Blerg! Fun episode, but the costume design for Binbogami was awful.
05. Yuki-onna (48)
Again, this was a solid episode that happened to have a lousy Yokai design. An ice queen? Man, that's such a boring idea that even Disney wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot frozen pole.
04. Kamaitachi (35)
This episode mostly served as a Yugen Jikko Sisters Shushutorian reunion. It was fun enough, and served as some last minute Tsuruhime attention before Ninjaman's arrival in 36, but the Yokai was not at all necessary to the plot. So we got a melted-faced weasel in a bomber jacket. Who cares...it's Shushutorian!
03. Zashiki-warashi (18)
Zashiki-warashi is a child Yokai who Junior awakens to become a full-fledged terror. His innocent look was basically a child wearing a Halloween mask. His awakened form resembles a Yogurt California Raisin with a funky pair of shoes and an inexplicable video game motif (whatever they did in the Power Ranger version of this episode probably made more sense...). This episode really could have been done well if the Zashiki-warashi designs were better. It set the stage for a personal grudge between Jiraiya and Junior that never really went anywhere. This one had potential all around...but fell short.
02. Hitotsume-kozo Kyodai (Movie)
Good grief. Well, my recent marathon of Kakuranger mercifully didn't include these guys. The Kakuranger movie is a rather bland affair featuring three Yokai--Oonyuudo, and the Hitotsume-kozo Kyodai. Now, I didn't mind the tuba-playing Oonyuudo that much, but the Hitotsume-kozo Kyodai are probably the laziest Yokai costumes of the entire series.
The movie is a bit of a dud compared to the rest of the series...but it is worth seeing since it was shot with much better quality equipment and features stereo sound (yep, the series aired in MONO).
01. Tengu (12)
I really, really didn't like episode 12. It was kind of a clip show without being a clip show...and all so they could introduce the Jusho Fighters, which are 100% pointless to the Sanshisho mecha plotline. Not only is the Tengu suit just lousy to look at, he was given an absurdly stupid weakpoint just because the episode was so jam-packed that it just needed to end quickly.
Top Seven BEST Yokai From Kakuranger
07. Oboroguruma (3)
I would have to say that Kakuranger has some fairly conservative monster designs compared to the previous 90s series. Oboroguruma is about as out there as Kakuranger got. While having a vehicle monster isn't an entirely original idea (see Kamen Rider BLACK RX), this is probably my favorite. BUUUU BUUUUUU!
06. Amanojaku (33)
This episode was a little middle-of-the-road in terms of quality, but I love the Amanojaku suit and how he came to be. Amanojaku is one of the rare Yokai who wasn't dispatched by Daimaoh after his arrival, rather he tricked a boy into freeing him from captivity.
05. Oomukade (45)
There were a string of episodes toward the end of Kakuranger to show that the show was just as absurd as it was when it started. The Christmas episode is no exception. When we didn't get moments where Sasuke is legit trying to kill the real Santa Claus (who is invincible apparently...he takes quite a beating), we go Oomukade--the centipede themed American Football player. Football on Christmas? I swear that had to be intentional...and it isn't even a Jiraiya episode.
As crazy as it all is, I really enjoy the Oomukade design.
04. Kanedama (13)
As I mentioned previously, Kanedama is an extortionist Yokai who is obsessed with money. His coins cause problems for people, who in turn hire him to lift the curse. I think the overgrown slot machine is a pretty hilarious design. Dollar signs for eyes?? Yes! On top of that, he takes quite a pummeling in the episode...which is pretty funny in it's own right.
03. Nurikabe (4-5)
Like Oboroguruma, this is one of the original batch of Yokai that were so good that you see them several times in the series. I can't say much for his abilities, but he definitely has a great looking costume.
Once he gets into serious battle, he has a really cool battle mode that loses some of the bricks and shows off really cool little details like rebar sticking out,
02. Amikiri (17)
On top of being a great stand-alone episode, I actually dig Amikiri for a couple of reasons. The first, obviously, is the suit design. I mean, a lot of work definitely went into that one. It looks fantastic. The second is her mission...which is one I kinda wish Kakuranger explored more than just once. Amikiri was obsessed with exacting revenge on Saizo despite never having interacted with him up to that point. Why was she after him? His ancestor cut off her arm. It made for a great episode.
01. Daradara (42-44)
Daradara is the clone that Daimaoh created as part of his second to last push to kill off the Kakuranger. Call it the mini-finale. Daradara was able to steal the powers of and link itself to it's victim. First he drained Ninjaman, and finally Tsuruhime, Seikai, Saizo, and Jiraiya. Each time he linked himself, he gained these really gnarly bizarro physical features of his victims. It was a pretty genius plan to have a Yokai who would pass any damage on to the victims that he was linked to.
Like I said, though...the demented Ninjaman and Kakuranger versions of Daradara is really cool looking. It was also a pretty spectacular set of episodes.
So there are my lists of best and worst Yokai from Kakuranger. Did you love or hate any Yokai? Let me know! I'm on Twitter, or you can leave me a comment below if you have a Google account. Also, be sure to check out my other Top 7 lists.
I will be back next time with a delayed entry in my CD Collection series. I really wanted to get this Kakuranger post up now while the DVD set is newly released. Be sure to get yours today!
Thanks for stopping by...see you soon!
Older Kakuranger Posts:
Top Seven Problems With Kakuranger
Ninja de Gozaru! 20 Years Of Kakuranger!
...and now the thrilling conclusion!
A month ago I posted my list of the Top 7 Best Kamen Rider Henshin Belts. Some of my choices may have been surprising. I'm not entirely sure why, though. I don't think everything Heisei is terrible...just the majority of it. A few good designs for suits and belts do manage to slip past the goalie. Believe it or not, I like to like things...
There are some outright terrible designs, though. Not even the Showa-era Riders got it right all of the time. I've taken a look at all of the primary Riders from 1 to Ghost to come up with both of these lists. As with the previous list, I am only looking at the designs and not taking the toy version into consideration.
So sit back...and prepare to disagree!
Honorable Mention: Drive Drive Driver/Shift Brace
Kamen Motorist strikes again. The show features some of the worst goddamn designs in Toei history. A 20-year old Honda with all kinds of crap tacked on to it? How about an old Mazda, too? The least offensive of the designs is the still-terrible Drive Driver. God, even the name sucks. I would like to say any momentum the Kamen Rider franchise had basically fizzled out with this show...but the effects remain to be seen since it's only been off the air for six months now.
Whenever I look at this belt...only two words come to mind. Futuristic Urinal.
07. Super 1 Cycloder
I think the cardinal sin of this belt is that it is bland...but it had promise. It is similar to Skyrider's Tornado, but a step backwards.
The biggest saving grace of this belt is that Demon Kogure of Seikima-II wore one on occasion in the 80s. He eventually moved up to Kamen Rider BLACK's King Stone, though.
06. Wizard Wizardriver
If Al Bundy had a Henshin Belt, for god knows what reason, this is what it would look like.
I get the idea behind it, but I can't look at this thing without it screaming "Here's my gimmick! Right here! Look at this out-of-place hand!". It's distracting. Not that the Wizard suit is all that brilliant to look at.
05. Kabuto Kabuto Zecter
I really don't like any of the designs of Kabuto. The helmet is always worse than I remember whenever I go back and take a look at it. My Figuart collection only goes up to Hibiki for a reason...
When it comes to the Henshin Belt from Kabuto, it isn't bad on it's own. Once the Kabuto Zecter with it's comically oversized handle/antenna is added, it becomes a mess. Nah...this one sucks.
04. ZX ZX Belt
This thing is so devoid of design that they didn't even bother to give it a name. It's the only Showa Henshin Belt to not have a name. I understand that Kamen Rider ZX never really had a chance, but this was the 10th anniversary Rider. Surely it could have been better!
Though it isn't as lacking as...
03. J J Spirit
Bad movie, bad Henshin Belt. I reviewed this one a couple of years ago and gave it praise for one thing...having a Henshin Belt. Was it really worth pointing out, though? The only Rider Belt of the 90s and it was a lousy belt buckle. What is this trying to be? My guess is a giant red horse pill being shoved up someone's ass. I don't know.
02. Faiz SB-555B Faiz Driver
I HATE THIS BELT. I'm genuinely confused at it's popularity. It's an overly technical disaster of a thing. Mobile Phone=Lazy. It also features the absolute worst voice I've ever heard from a Tokusatsu gadget. The "Stand By..." sounds like it was lazily shat out by someone wearing a sleep apnea mask. "Staan Beh..."
The thing as a whole has aged like a nice pruno... People like it, though. *shrug*
01. Fourze Fourze Driver
This belt...this fucking belt, excuse me, DRIVER encapsulates everything else prior to this on the list. Bland? Yes. In your face gimmick? The worst offender. Overly technical? Oh my god, yes. Futuristic Urinal? *zip*
This thing absolutely belongs in fucking space......hurtling toward the sun. I mean...slots for four other pieces of shit you have to buy. Don't forget the random joystick! What the hell was going on here? Otherwise I think the Fourze suit would have been kinda cool. This damn thing absolutely ruins it, though.
There are few things that I can only pray are the worst in my lifetime. I pray that this Henshin Belt is the worst we'll ever see the same way I pray that Beyonce's Single Ladies is the worst song recorded in my lifetime. It's that bad.....
The last time I posted a straight Top 7 worst list I got a lot of hate for my choices. Before you mash your keyboard in disapproval, keep in mind that this is my list. Your list is probably different. If you have no standards...you probably don't even have a list. Either way...I really don't like this group of Henshin Belts. Given the choice of being given one or fighting off enemies with my bare hands, I'd choose the latter.
Be sure to check out my list of Top 7 Best Henshin Belts along with the rest of my Top 7 lists.
I'll be back in the middle of the month with a brand new CD Collection post. I'm not entirely sure what the topic will be...but it'll be several 8cm CD Singles for sure.