Top Seven Problems With Kakuranger

Every year around this time I like to take a few days to marathon Kakuranger. I'm not sure if I've ever made the official declaration, but it is my favorite Sentai series of the 1990s. Yes, even though I know in my mind that Dairanger is the better show, my heart has always had a stronger affinity for Kakuranger.

Yeah, I don't know either.

Regardless, I always get a giant thrill watching the show even though it has a number of major issues. This is a list of some of the problems I've always had with the show.

NOTE: I am writing this list entirely from memory. Yes, I have watched the series several times...but I also tend to have spotty memory. Let's face it, memorizing IRL stuff is way more important than a 20-year old TV show...

07. I feel for you...

While each Yokai was a true menace and usually either killed or atleast incapacitated innocent people, I couldn't help but feel bad for some of them--particularly early on in the show.

One of my favorite episodes of the series is episode 17. Amikiri (played by Ami Kawai) one day decides that she is fed up hanging out in the Yokai bar (Seriously. She is seen in the background several times in the series up to this point and suddenly remembers her burning grudge with Saizo's ancestor???) and finally moves in to exact revenge on Saizo. Why? His ancestor cut her arm off.

She doesn't do much of anything wrong except make misery for Saizo by cutting up his used Honda City. Ummm...she also likes dancing...but doesn't really cause much havoc outside of harassing Saizo. I kinda felt bad for her. I mean, yeah, the alternative would be much worse--she kills Saizo and probably the rest of the team (since Gashadokuro is in town at this point), but I'd be pissed off too if my arm was chopped off! Then to be sealed away for hundreds of years to stew about it?

I felt similar about the Yokai from episode 9 and the strange moodiness in episode 10 made me feel bummed out about those guys too. Though, they were pretty menacing.

06. The weakest link

People seem to think that Saizo is the weakest of the group--I disagree.

I feel that largely Seikai and Saizo are pretty interchangeable in their uselessness, but atleast Saizo had some really cool and memorable moments. The Saizo-focused episodes were almost always good since his character was a consistent failure (losing his wallet/gold, getting his car diced up, being blackmailed over underpants photos, having his Daimoah disguise fail almost immediately, having his face stolen, etc.). It was fun to see Saizo constantly fail.

Seikai is the real deal.

He was...*ALWAYS* getting kidnapped. His focus episodes were just alright I guess. When he wasn't getting kidnapped, his insides were being taken over. There was one episode in the teens or so when, for once, he was the only one not captured and he had to save the day. The guy was barely a hero...which I guess can be said about puffy-chested Saizo...but he was fun. Seikai was just meh.

Oh, and that yell of his. WAAAAAAAH~!

05. Daimaoh

I kinda like Daimaoh, but I don't. The way he made his arrival was pretty creepy and I felt that he was dealt with appropriately in the finale.

I guess it's just the costume.

04. Pulling the plug on Koshakushi

I genuinely liked the narration in this series. It wasn't overbearing like Dekaranger but it was able to get across important points about the Yokai or just random stuff.

If I had to bet, I'd say that Enjo Sanyutei was let go because his narration required screentime that was no longer available. His stint ended at the midpoint when the shit hit the fan plotwise and the 18 minute runtime was just not enough. Having either the Yokai or one of the Kakuranger's explain the Yokai briefly was definitely less time consuming. Also, the series definitely took a sharp right turn with it's momentum...so who knows how well he would've fit with episodes like Jiraiya getting beaten to a bloody pulp.

It was sad to see him go, but he definitely looked well-rested when he made an appearance in episode 39.

Speaking of Enjo Sanyutei...

03. The kids aren't alright

Like the previous shows with Noboru Sugimura as head writer, this show is lousy with brats of the week. It just gets olds. Kid is either A) A burden B) A brat or C) Crucial in saving the day. If you've seen Zyuranger or Dairanger, you know the drill. It just feels like that dial was turned up a bit for this series.

.....minus Kou.

02. Jusho Fighters

I like the Jusho Fighters, but I don't. They debuted in episode 12 to be more nimble versions of the Kyodai Jusho. Instead of being alternate forms of the Jusho, they were their own entities for some reason. I guess there was a need for Kakuranger to suddenly have ten mecha at once instead of just a paltry five. On the flipside, the Jusho Fighters did have some pretty exciting fights and were definitely fun to watch.

My issue is how they were brought in and, more importantly, how they vanished without a trace.

For starters, episode 12 was just lousy. Enough said. After Episode 22 or so, they are basically abandoned. I think Battle Saruda appears once to do a triple-attack with Red Saruda and God Saruda...and that's all we ever saw of them.

They were pretty pointless in the long run.

01. Who's The Boss?

Tsuruhime is largely considered to be the leader of the group, but is she really? Sure, she is clearly in charge until about episode seven. From there, it's very murky. Her leadership issues rise once again when she is tested in episode 26 when she has to protect the robo-Kakurangers from harm FAIL. Her family history is also revealed in that episode, which becomes a recurring plot thread for the remainder of the series. There is also a definite push at the end to hammer the point home that she is the leader.

The real issue is that Sasuke is awesome. He seems to be the leader of the group when it matters. Episode 16 comes to mind as one of the best examples of his true skills as a leader. When the others are violently captured, an injured Sasuke has to free them from the grasp of the Shuten Doji Kyodai. He stealthily breaks into the warehouse where everyone is being held and is able to sneak his friends a small blade undetected.

That is just one example. It felt like Sasuke was not only the master of skill, but also a master of strategy. For being *not* the leader, they certainly gave him the bulk of the glory.

My theory is that, while she did a great job, Satomi Hirose was too young to play Tsuruhime. Her acting is much better than it was in Shushutorian the year before, but this is going from a shared starring role on a Fushigi Comedy Series show to leader of  it's flagship Tokusatsu series. On top of this, I think the novelty of having a girl as the leader didn't translate into easy writing. Maybe it would have been an easier task if the role was given to a more capable actress.

She plays a tough girl, but outside of the few times she gives instructions or has a plot thread thrown her way...Tsuruhime just feels like she's co-pilot to Sasuke.


Sheesh. After reading that it probably looks like I hate the series. Not so! It's definitely my favorite of the 90s even with all of the flaws listed.

If you haven't watched the show yet, give it a go. It's being subbed as of this writing. I tried out the first few episodes of it and can attest to it's quality. Seriously, go watch it!


That conclude another Top 7 list. Please be sure to check out my previous Top 7 lists with this handy link.

See ya next time!



  1. Since today marks the end of 20 years of Kakuranger, where the last episode was aired, I decided to post comments on this topic.

    Let me start with your reply of Top 7:

    07. Not much to say, but I feel the same way you thought about. I can understand their motivation as well.

    06. Funny thing though, when I first watched Kakuranger back then, I always thought Seikai and Saizo were relative (cousin, brothers) because of the way they behave. Back then, I didn't watched the show in chronological order for the most part, since I didn't care too much about continuity (stupid me). Regardless, I always saw them as comedic relief for the most part. At least, Saizo had its moment (he even gets to disguise as "human" form of Daimaoh, how awesome was that? lol). Seikai on the other hand... I realized how annoying he was after the re-watch recently. I really can't stand his yelling. ugh.

    05. Daimaoh was an OK villain. Something about his voice just doesn't click on me. He's pretty generic, when compared to Junior/Gashadokuro. That guy was AWESOME! I wished he was the main boss instead. Imagine how different the series would have been. Still, Daimaoh was pretty formidable as leader of Yokai and he was pretty menacing for most part. I really like that he wears glasses though; not a lot of villain had one of those. I do wished he had a human form, even briefly (...well Saizo kind of did that in 34 (even if it was fake), but I would have lol'd if that what Daimaoh's human form would have been).

    04. I REALLY loved the narration of the series. Probably one of the greatest narrator in sentai series. I can understand why they would have to let him go, because of the different tone in atmosphere, but I wonder how series would have been like if he's stayed around til the end? At least it was nice to see him back in 39.

    03. After the re-watch, I realized how problematic and annoying the kids were. Some of the kids just literally disappear after their initial appearance and doesn't serve much purpose (42 and 51). The kid at episode 37 (return of Muteki Daishogun) was the absolute worst IMO. I really, REALLY, hated them.
    At least, most of the kids in Zyuranger were relevant to the overall plots and had nice moments (whether they get to ride on Daizyujin or turning giant!).

    02. I really liked the concept of alternate forms 5 piece individual mecha. They had a very good action sequence, where big robot couldn't performs. I think their design were somewhat inspired by RyuseiOh, who were also sleek and flexible, and had nice action. Such a shame they were abandoned though. I wanted to see more of them, especially during Shinobi no Maki arc.

    01. This seems to have been debate among the fans though. When I watched this show, I always assumed Sasuke was the leader, since Red = Leader was pretty strong in my mind at the time. However, as I grew older and rewatched the show for few times, I realized how Tsuruhime (an only female in the team) had a lot of focus and importance. For the record, I did like Tsuruhime, and I personally thought Hirose did a decent job, but I wished she was the main leader for rest of the run. I guess Toei thought having a female (and kid) leader would have been very innovative at the time, but then realized that it might alienate the audience (mostly boys) and decided to make Sasuke as leader. If I had to choose another actress to give the role, I would have picked Kei Ishibashi (Tsukiko) though.
    While Tsuruhime has its problem, she is still one of my Top 5 favorite sentai heroine list. After all, her character is an inspiration behind Yuri, the first official female leader (TimePink) in Timeranger, which was very nice.

    That's all I have to respond.

  2. Here's my personal Top 7 problems with the series (no particular order BTW).

    1. Death/Return of Muteki Shogun
    I LOVE Muteki Shogun. He's one of my favorite mecha in sentai franchise. However, his death and return always bugged me though. Of all the episodes they have to choose for his death in Shinobi no Maki arc, they have to pick an episode of Saizo and Seikai's quest.
    Personally, I think Muteki Shogun should have "died" at the beginning of the arc, where he should have been defeated by Junior; that's way, it would have given rangers more motivation for searching Shinobi no Maki and Jusho Fighter could have had more screen time; then again, that would mean no screen time for Tsubsamaru and no Super Muteki Shogun (maybe appear much later). What's worse about it is that no one seems to bothered or cared about his death, and doesn't have time to mourn about it. I understand they were focused on finding Choninju, but at least it would have been nice if his "death" was acknowledge on screen. At least in Zyuranger, rangers mourned with Daizyuzin's death though. When I watched it for first time, I was really confused and frustrated, whether he would come back or not. It wasn't til episode 37, where he just came back randomly (literally), which featured 3 of the worst kid actors EVER in the series IMO. Aside from having all 3 Sanshino to be assembled, there weren't much importance in that episode, and makes Shogun's death more pointless. UGH. Don't kill your character pointlessly, just to have a lame comeback later.

    2. Sandayu
    He was some what of a mentor-like character in the series, even though Sanshinsho held that position the most. While I did like his character, I wished he stayed til the end of the run IMO. Makes me wonder how he would have interacted with Ninjaman. His existence was pretty much forgotten afterward; it would have been nice if Kakuranger and Hakumenro payed visits to his grave, after sealing Daimaoh before their long-endless journey.

    3. Nue in Los Angeles
    I always wonder how Nue got to Los Angeles in first place and what the heck he was doing there. Was he one of the Yokai that got away from the sealing 400 years ago? Is there more Yokai living in America or other part of the world? If there is a sequel to the series, I'm sure Kakuranger would travel the world with Nekomaru to find them all!! lol

    4. Hana no Kunoichi
    I REALLY love the concept of having villain set of rangers, and this time they are all females! They reminds me of Girl's Army from Shaider. I like that they transforms into Hanaranger (awesome outfit), even though I find it pointless, since their strength doesn't seems to change that much compared to normal outfit. I wished they had more personality and more appearance though. I didn't like that they were cats. I wished they were either human (decedents of ninja who betrayed human and joined yokai's side) or yokai themselves.

  3. 5. Junior/Gashadokuro and Professor Yugami
    I love these 2 characters. They did great job as villains. Junior gave me such an impact as a villain, thanks to Kenichi Endo's awesome performance. It makes me wonder what would happen if he was the main boss instead of Daimaoh. Professor Yugami was also great. He reminds me of evil professor from 80's sentai series. He had such a great and innovative invention to power up the Yokai.
    I wished he didn't die in same episode as Junior. Personally, I think he should have lived 3~5 episodes focusing revenge against Kakuranger. Maybe he might make super powered up suit or something. lol

    6. Bun
    There just something that doesn't click very well this character. I wished he had more importance in the series though. He's the only Yokai who allied with Kakuranger, but I wished there was more to than that.
    I thought he was going to serve more importance, especially the last arc.
    I was kind of expecting for him to become vital character to seal Daimaou or something; whether he turns into Yokai form (which was never seen) to aid Kakuranger or sacrifice his life to seal Daimaoh or something.
    Sadly, he was more of a messenger boy than anything for most time, which was a bit lackluster.
    The actor who played Bun was pretty bland and wooden, which was also a let down.

    7. Ninjaman's transformation
    I LOVE Ninjaman. He's awesome and one of my favorite additional character of the sentai series. Kazuki Yao did a great job with voice acting. Only problem I have with this character is his transformation to Samuraiman. As much as I love Samuraiman, the method of transformation was bit repetitive and forced IMO. I kind of gets annoyed that only time he transforms is when someone insults him, which is fine, but bit redundant. Doesn't Yokai know not to insult Ninjaman?
    At least he transformed without insult in 50 though, which was nice.
    It was also nice for him to appear as guest in episode 45+46 of Gokaiger; even though I don't like that series.

    There you go. That was my Top 7 problems.
    Take care.