Welcome to my final post covering the 1995 Super Sentai series Choriki Sentai Ohranger. When the series was airing I didn't think very highly of it. Time has softened me on the show considerably, however. When you focus less on it's obvious flaws and more on the general production it becomes a pretty likable show. You know those horrible PLEX concept design sheets that get leaked every year? I don't remember what the circumstances were, but I did see the early drawings of the Ohranger suits. Let's just say that the designs aren't nearly as nightmarish in spandex reality as they were as concepts.
Before I get into my Top 7 lists, I need to talk about a specific episode. There is one episode of this series that is way more serious than the premiere episode. The episode in question is downright unsettling--it comes out of nowhere. Not only does this episode serve as the final episode before we go into mecha overload, but it is the very last time we're reminded that Noboru Sugimura can be a friggen creep. That's right, I'm talking about Episode 32--Gakko no kowai akumu.
I guess Momo is a fan of Luc Besson films...?
I typically hate when heroes have to deal with extreme coincidence and/or non-antagonists in a series, but this one kinda made sense. Momo begins having strange dreams involving her childhood friend, Mayumi, who went missing and was presumed dead. As it turns out, several girls have gone missing from the school since which causes Momo to take leave and investigate. After meeting with Mayumi's mother, she visits the school and is promptly attacked by the same disguised figure that interrupted her earlier dreams. Momo is trapped in a dream world by the creature who then continues to torment her. The creature is revealed to be Bara Nightmare, who was exhiled from Baranoia by Bacchushund.
Tired of not being able to assist Momo, the rest of the team manages to join Momo's dream but cannot locate her. Momo discovers a room with several bones in it that Bara Nightmare explains is the remains of all of the girls he has kidnapped over the years. This turns out to be a bluff as the girls are behind a hidden door playing basketball in their state of suspended animation. The rest of the team catches up with Momo and Ohred attacks Bara Nightmare, shattering his dream world. As the team wakes up they realize that the kidnapped girls are being held in the school's basement.
Upon arriving at the school, the Ohrangers find the girls in the actual basement. Bara Nightmare, desperate to keep the girls (he is hugging a frame with all of their photos) launches into a final attack only to be obliterated by the Choriki Dynamite Attack. With Bara Nightmare gone, the girls awaken and, in one of the creepiest moments I've ever seen, introduce themselves one after another upon exiting the school. None of the girls have aged since the day they were kidnapped. Miura reunites Mayumi with her mother and congratulates the Ohrangers for solving their first case a mere thirty two episodes into the series.
On paper...I'm sure that sounds kinda creepy, but watching this episode is downright unnerving. There is just so much wrong with it. Those girls just go back to their normal lives? The parents have aged, but they haven't. It's just messed up the more you think about it. I mean, telling Momo he killed all those children? WTF. The choices of music used throughout the episode just adds to sheer creepiness. What kind of absurd coincidence is it that a Machinejuu kidnapped a friend of an Ohranger long before she was an Ohranger. It could be argued that Miura knew and based his selection of Momo around that...but he seemed as surprised as everyone else when Momo mentioned that girls were disappearing from her former school. Bara Nightmare is beyond messed-up...he doesn't have a reason for doing what he did and his being booted from Baranoia speaks volumes about the guy.
Am I over-reacting about this episode?
OK, here is another CCLemon99 fan theory. I really don't want to see this quoted as fact anywhere else since who knows what the actual truth is. Noboru Sugimura...he was a Toei company-man since Seiun Kamen Machineman in 1984. He did write 38-41 and 45-48 of Ohranger, but episode 32 was the final filler story that he wrote for Ohranger and (outside of one episode of the cop drama Keiji ou! in 1996) for Toei in general. Was this episode too much? The show backed off in a big way for the remaining episodes. I mean, even Baranoia's takeover of Earth was pretty cartoonish. THIS is the dark episode of Ohranger. If anyone ever goes on with the usual "The tone of the series lightened after the first few episodes" BS and doesn't follow with ".....except episode 32" then you can tell they never watched the show. I feel like this episode could be the reason why we never saw Sugimura again. Sugimura went on to write stories for several Capcom games until his untimely death in 2005.
...how about some Top Seven Lists?
Top Seven Ohranger Wins
07. The Disdain For Bandai
Ever notice how out-of-nowhere almost every new weapon/mecha is in this series? I feel like there was active annoyance at Bandai. Of the six mecha in this series, only one has any kind of story behind it--Red Puncher was a failed experiment that predated Ohrangerrobo. In a complete reversal from the previous three Sugimura-helmed series, new weapons and mecha just occurred whenever it was convenient rather than a quest or trial.
Personally I find it pretty hilarious...
06. Gekisou Sentai Carranger vs Ohranger
I used to maintain that Megaranger vs Carranger was my favorite Sentai VS film. As I get older, though, I think I've come to appreciate Carranger vs Ohranger a lot more. It's definitely my favorite VS film for it's sheer absurdity. While it's definitely a Carranger movie, the straight-laced UAOH gang is what gives this movie the charm that Megaranger vs Carranger isn't able to match.
05. The Song Collection
Ohranger has one of the best song collections of the 1990s. There are ten songs, and all of them are really good outside of the Acha Kocha song...which is just OK. The Red Puncher song is amazing and then there is the matter of Niji Iro Crystal Sky, which has almost surpassed the actual theme song in popularity. Hell, I even like songs like Ohranger Spirit and Action! Ohranger--two songs you never hear much of. It's a shame none of the later mecha got theme songs...
In my character analysis in my second post, I mentioned that he had juuust the right amount of presence over the course of the series. On one hand, I think they were trying to write a character with cool restraint who was purely a man of science. That all went out the window by the end of the series when he starts beating down various Baranoia with his bare hands.
The mecha were kinda...eh...in this show, but I do love the weapons. Everything from the King Blaster to Giant Roller is great in my book. The only one I couldn't really get behind was the Ohre Bazooka. Again, it came out of nowhere and used these oversized Storage Crystals that never got an explanation. Plus it looked stupid. Big Bang Buster forever.....!
Without repeating myself all over again, I think Goro is a great leader who wasn't really given a good opportunity to live up to his full potential.
01. The First Episode
Required watching...I've said it a million times, I'll say it a million more.
Top Seven Ohranger Episodes
07. Warau natsukashi otoko!! 
The heavily distracted Bara Kakka, who is straight out of Kakuranger, falls in love with Momo during a visit to her home town. He ends up putting her in some very strange scenarios before getting a "Yo, WTF?" from Baranoia and begins to fight seriously. The illustrations are enough to like this one. Hahaa.
06. Go Dai Robo Oabare! 
Despite not being in episode 32 at all, Bacchushund vows that this will be his final attempt at defeating Ohranger. He reanimates several defeated Machinejuu to challenge the Ohrangers. Being overwhelmingly overpowered, the Ohrangers devise a plan to launch a trojan horse offensive and attack Baranoia from within using their brand new Blocker Robos disguised as jewelry. It works, and we're treated to a cool episode with some great mecha fights.
05. Omatsuri ippatsu Shobu 
A pretty chill Summer episode. The team is up against Bara Hungry, who loves food, is a hardcore drunk, and loves festival. The Ohrangers indulge him in every way and are able to defeat him. Nothin' on plot, but good on entertainment.
04. Kaiki! Tetsujin Papa 
Bara Crusher, which is a pretty cool design, takes on and is defeated by Ohranger--but not before implanting a clone into an unsuspecting policeman. When Officer Otani see flames, he transforms into the new Bara Crusher. The team is able to save the day once again.
This one is pretty memorable for having some really good fight scenes, but a taste of pretty much what we'll be seeing from Baranoia from now on. Instead of the full-scale invasion, Baranoia tends to go after just a handful of people at any given time from now on.
03. Shin Robo akai shogeki!! 
The one mecha that doesn't appear from thin air has a story...and a pretty decent one. Before Ohranger was even formed, a mecha was developed to ward of the impending invasion. It's test pilot, Kirino, took Red Puncher out for a spin against orders and ended up being killed by the uncontrollable failbot. Red Puncher was left abandoned and buried in rubble. Ohred struggles hard and is able to conquer the robot with the guidance of Kirino's spirit.
See? Doesn't a little backstory go a long way?
02. Shuketsu!! Choriki Sentai 
Normally I would lump episodes together, but Ohranger is pretty light on multi-part episodes. The first episode is it's own thing with the follow-up being the sobering reality of having a planet to defend. The remaining four Ohrangers are given their powers and then are able to take on the giant Machinejuu Barasaucer without a mecha. How awesome is that? We're also introduced to the entire Baranoia crew in this episode. By the end of this one, the full picture has been painted--a worthy follow-up to the stand alone debut.
Again, the first episode... It accomplishes the herculean task of making you interested for more. Whether or not the rest of the show delivers is up to you.
07. Tackle Boy
I didn't like Tetra Boy much, but Tackle Boy is pretty neat. I was always a little bit confused as to why it needed to transform from wheel to mecha during the Dynamite Tackle attack. Nevermind the nonsensical return to the sport's motif, I like Tackle Boy.
06. Dogu Lander/Moa Roader
Mostly because they're pretty damn interesting things to make mecha out of. Sure they were likely designed because they needed two feet for Ohrangerrobo...and they both kinda look like feet. Do a little reading up on Dogu and the Maoi.
05. Green Blocker
Even though it's the most cumbersome of the Blocker Robos, I like Green Blocker for it's underwater abilities. Any mecha can fly, but how many can survive salt water? This guy can.
04. Red Blocker
If I have to like another Blocker Robo, it's probably this one. When I took a look at the toy version I lamented the lack of individual weapons for the Blocker Robos. The one I was most sad about was Red Blocker since he uses the Star Riser. Boo!
03. Sky Phoenix
The thing I like the most about Sky Phoenix is that it stores the Giant Roller...and the Giant Roller is awesome. It actually is probably my favorite winged Mecha after Tsubasamaru. I never cared much for the Jetman stuff and Jet Falcon from Liveman was kind of a bore. Sky Phoenix is a pretty cool design and a nice splash of color to a mostly blue and black mecha with Ohrangerrobo
02. King Pyramider
How do you turn something as bland as a pyramid into a great mecha? Make it gigantic for one. Give it a bunch of modes that can incorporate the previous mecha. They could have just as easily made this a normal sized mecha that could fight alongside Ohrangerrobo and Red Puncher, but they didn't. This really should have been the end-all mecha of the series, but they felt the need to continue on.
01. Red Puncher
I mean,.. C'mon. A robot that was so difficult to handle that it killed the first person who tried to tame it? That's pretty bad ass. Not to mention, Red Puncher looks great. The only issue I have is...what's with the theme? Did Miura watch a Mike Tyson fight and say "Yes, this is what we need to defend the planet.". I'm kinda at a loss on this one... Anyway, this is a great mecha with a fantastic theme song.
That's it for Ohranger! I hope that you not only got something out of these posts, but that you'll check out the series if you haven't already. It's definitely an entertaining show to watch.
There are two more posts left for 2016 on the site. Be sure to stop back in December for some more CD reviews and a year end wrap-up.
Thank you once again for stopping by. See ya soon!
Choriki Henshin! ~Ohranger Part 1 of 3~
U.A.O.H. & Machine Teikoku Baranoia ~Ohranger Part 2 of 3~
More Top 7 Lists