Welcome to the third and final post this month on Gekisou Sentai Carranger! Not up to date on the Carranger love on CCLemon99.com? It might be worth checking out the previous posts before heading into the conclusion. In Part 1 I took a look at the in's and out's of what made this series so unique and fresh. In Part 2 I give a rundown of basically all of the characters in the series with impressions on, well, most of them.
So what else is there left to say? Three words: Top. Seven. Lists. What series overview on this site would be without them? Well, except Jetman since I basically rage quit that series after those posts (it's bad when you're rooting for the villains without really liking them either). I dreamed up a few "Top 7" topics for this post, so let's do it, shall we?
Top Seven IN/IM Carranger Songs
Most series up to this point have had anywhere from three to ten insertion or image songs. Carranger had about forty. This is one of the very few series you can make a Top Seven list of IN/IM songs and still have plenty of change left over. If you're curious about a lot of the songs on this list, I have you covered on this handy review of all of the 8cm CD Singles from the show.
07. Kuru! Kurumagic Power / Kentaro Hayami
I love great action songs like this. Since Giga Formula is rad, this song is too by default.
06. Catch The Wind / Tatsuya Maeda
Just a well made song. They even got Tatsuya Maeda to give singing a Sentai song a swing. I wish they would have given him a Sentai theme song sometimes, but when songs like Catch The Wind exist, it suddenly becomes alright.
05. Carranger Ondo / Hiroko Asakawa
The single for this won the coveted 'Recommended Pick' in my 8cm CD Single post. Not only is the packaging for the Single great, but the song itself is a lot of fun and unique when compared to a lot of other similar songs.
04. Zettai shori da! VRV / Norio Sakai
I believe this was Norio Sakai's Super Sentai debut. He'd previously done songs for Kamen Rider BLACK (including the ending song) and the theme songs for Denko Chojin Gridman. Memorable tunes are his forte, and this song is no exception.
03. Seishun Circuit / Hiroko Asakawa
This one held the same position on my Top 7 list of Sentai Heroine songs back in 2014. The only thing that could've made this song better is if it got used a little more in the series.
02. Kumori sora no yoru dakara / Yuji Kishi
Far from being the first character song, this might be one of the few that are actually worth a damn. Yuji Kishi isn't half bad at singing as it turns out. The popularity this tune has is very well deserved.
01. Kokoro no mama ni / Yoshihito Fuchigama
It's very hard to describe why this is my favorite Carranger song. The music is excellent, but the same can be said of other Carranger songs. The same goes for the singing. Even as a whole package, other songs are just as good. To me this one manages to defy everything and just exist as a great song to relax to. It's been my favorite for twenty years and will likely remain there for many to come...
Top Seven Wins & Opportunities In Carranger
I didn't have seven wins and seven opportunities, so this list is combined in order of importance...
07. Episode Length WIN
Carranger is the last series to stick to the short episode format. More than anything else, I think that adding five minutes to the runtime of each episode doesn't work for Super Sentai. At twenty minutes (with credits, more like seventeen without credits in Carranger's case) the episodes were precision tight.
I did a post on this topic (exactly six years ago as it turns out). I really don't think they've ever figured out what to do with those extra five minutes since moving to Sunday mornings during Megaranger's run.
06. Video Quality OPP
Carranger kicked off a slew of technical problems that seemed to plague Toei for years. While the shows leading up to it used some pretty outdated equipment, at least the look was consistent and had a charm of it's own. Referring back to my first post on Carranger, the poor quality is jarring at times. Some would probably have this higher on their list, but it's largely passable as a whole.
At least they were finally beginning to concede to the technological marvel known as stereo sound...
05. Music WIN
As I mentioned in part one, Toshihiko Sahashi's Super Sentai debut definitely made me a fan of his for life. I have read that he kinda felt like he was very ill-prepared for Carranger (maybe that is why there was no music playing during their roll call in the first episode), but the fact that there are three music collections for the series kinda says otherwise. Besides, they invited him back for Gingaman, both Kyoryuger series, and a handful of Rider series.
04. Writing WIN
This show is both well written and hilarious, what else can I say?
03. Designs/Props/Visual Gags WIN
Hats off to the prop department for their work on this series. Everything looked excellent in this series...start to finish. In most series you can tell when they've lost steam based on how lazy the weekly monster design is. Not in Carranger. On top of that, you have a lot of great equipment like the Speeder Machines (and the wild vehicle that eventually replaced them). All of the mecha is terrific.
When the weakest looking thing in the entire series is the still-cool Giga Booster, you're doing alright.
02. Action OPP
Something that you don't realize until the show is over is that this show puts action in the back seat. I love this series dearly, but have never been able to put it at the top of my list for this very reason. I feel like this series may have broken a lot of rules (written and unwritten) on what you can do with the heroes in a Sentai series. Think of all of Zonette's dreams about Red Racer where he's in a tuxedo or dressed as a high schooler. It's hilarious, but in the back of my mind...I can't help but think if it's really an alright thing to do? (Don't worry, it is)
I guess the most generous thing to say about the action in this series is that it's average. There are a few stand-out moments sprinkled in, but the series is mostly driven by it's comedic story over the genre-defining action.
While a great gag, limiting the characters to just suit fighting stifled a lot of the action potential this series had. Though it did make a moment very late in the series that much more special... I'll be getting to that...
01. The Cast/Characters WIN
Everyone in the cast, at bare minimum, is likable. If you watch this series and don't want to be friends with everyone at Pegasus, the problem is you. As noted in this excellent Tokusatsu Network interview with Yuji Kishi, the casting of Carranger and B-Fighter Kabuto was done together and then divided up. They made all the right decisions on the division and took their sweet time putting a great cast together.
I'll put it this way...the only Sentai 'vs.' movies worth seeing are the two featuring Carranger. Sure, it's a lot of fun bringing the Carranger flavor back to V Cinema, but it's also a lot of fun catching up with our old friends... Even if it means coming to the realization that they make the Megarangers seem like elder statesmen in comparison.
Top Seven Carranger Episodes
07. Shutsudo!! Jiman no kinkyuu sharyo (13)
Signalman made his debut in the previous episode, but was still a bit of a mystery. This episode did a great job in setting up not only how narrow-minded Signalman could be, but also the beginning of Zonette's crush on Red Racer. A very plot heavy episode that is deceptively named for the debut of Signalman's mecha. That's probably one of the less important things happening in this one...
06. Henshin Brace fuke itai (08)
There are so many great Minoru moments to choose from, but this is hands down the best. Minoru manages to take out an enemy on his own and completely ruins it by losing his Accel Brace while practicing victory poses. It wasn't until the twin brother of the defeated Gorotsuki showed up did he realize he only had his Accel Key. Only Minoru could go from badass to dumbass so quickly.
05. Nazonazo warikomi musume! (25)
This episode had so much going on. When the Carrangers were in trouble against the Zokurangers, the mysterious White Racer shows up. We're treated to a lot of revisited Super Sentai poses and attacks along with a new hero of questionable origin. SS Pamaan's sword was pretty sweet too.
I know a lot of people would have this one higher on their list, but I kinda wish Zokuranger and White Racer's debut happened in separate episodes. There is just a little bit too much going on.
I haven't seen concern like this since the first few episodes of Ohranger
04. Yoki senu daikaiju jiko (29)
With Dappu in hibernation and Signalman heading back to his home planet, the Carrangers find themselves in a very serious pinch for the first time. Ritchiritchihiker has his own mecha, Braking, and immediately gave Carranger a run for their money. With RV Robo stolen, there really is nothing the Carrangers can do...until a mysterious figure confronts them in the night.
03. Honto no koi no Shuppatsuten (45)
Kyosuke has finally decided that it is time to reveal to Zonette that he is, in fact, Red Racer. As it turns out, she is running from an arranged wedding with Gynamo that is being thrown by Exhaus. Kyosuke sees this as his opportunity and vows to protect Zonette as himself without transforming into Red Racer.
When I mentioned that this show kinda falls short on action thanks to it being largely limited to suit fighting, this episode is kinda where it pays off. Kyosuke fighting to protect Zonette is easily one of the best and most memorable scenes from the series.
02. Futatsu no chikichiki Gekisou Chase (44)
Bowzock is after a magic wrench that is owned by Natsumi. Some pretty crazy chases ensue and the wrench is stolen from Natsumi and turned evil. In the hooplah, Dragon Cruiser is damaged and Natsumi eventually overcomes her loss to mend it and retrieves her wrench.
Totally not the Batmobile, guys.
There is a lot to like about this one. First, it was another episode to let Natsumi shine a bit more. Maybe it was a bit late in the series to introduce something like a magic wrench, but this is something that I think hampers a lot of otherwise level-headed people--superstitions. Natsumi was able to rely on her abilities to overcome her fear of not being able to repair an injured Dragon Cruiser once her wrench was stolen. Maybe that is a little bit silly, but how often do you or someone you know get stopped by superstition?
01. RV Robo Daigyakuso! (32)
ZZ Gyuuri appears in search of cucumber kimchi for Zonette. When told by a shopkeeper that he should probably go to Korea if he wants the good stuff, he prepares to take off in the stolen RV Robo to Korea. Kyosuke has been on a bit of a tear thanks to a cassette left behind from VRV Master. He ultimately takes matters into his own hands and single-handedly takes back RV Robo. The Carrangers are relieved to have their dream cars back as the sun rises...
For being a randomish fillerish episode (outside of regaining RV Robo, it's basically filler), this one is packed and incredibly well-done. The meshing of Kyosuke's freakout, the attempted trip to Korea in RV Robo, and the ultimate return of RV Robo are just so well executed. On top of all of that, the fight between Red Racer and ZZ Gyuuri on RV Robo is something to behold. Really, I criticized the series for not really being all that great with the action...but this episode absolutely nails it.
That does it for Gekisou Sentai Carranger! Next up is Denji Sentai Megaranger...maybe? Here's the thing--I've only ever seen Megaranger once. We're kinda getting into unfamiliar territory. Since Shout! Factory is releasing it, you bet I'll be picking it up. I'm sure I'll have something to say.
Keep your head and arms inside the vehicle at all times!
Gekisou! Accel Changer! ~Carranger Part 1 of 3~
Pegasus & Uchuu Bosozoku Bowzock ~Carranger Part 2 of 3~
Gekisou Sentai Carranger 8cm CD Singles
More Top Seven Lists