Ninja de gozaru! 20 Years of Kakuranger! +Top Seven Episodes

On the 18th of February, 1994--twenty years ago today, Ninja Sentai Kakuranger hit the air! Following Dairanger was certainly not an enviable spot to take in Sentai history, but I think Kakuranger pulls it off! In fact, Kakuranger is my favorite Sentai of the 1990s.

I may have done a Top 7 list about my problems with the series, but I have been able to look past these minor issues enough to marathon the show once, and sometimes twice, a year!

In short, I feel that this is the most well-rounded Sentai series ever. It tackles heavy comedy, heavy drama, heavy action and does it perfectly. The part of me that argues that Dairanger is the better show relies on the action and drama that the series has. Sure, Dairanger had some of the best damn fights in Sentai. I would agree that Dairanger is even better production-wise. Outside of the ending and the constant family drama that Kou suffers through, Dairanger had a hard time getting into my heart.

Kakuranger, to me, is emotion set perfectly to Sentai. Every emotion is pulled off perfectly. Let me sum up some of Kakuranger's emotions in photos if I may...


...so cool..

totsuzen!! binbo!

There...uh...sure is a lot of man in that tub. O_o

Glorious mecha fights!
So there was tons of genuinely funny comedy, a lot of fantastic imagery, interesting and bizarre situations that the Yokai put them in, bonding within the team...and mecha fights that don't suck! I could go on posting pictures from one of the many great fight scenes or some of the more dramatic stuff...but you really need to watch the show if you haven't already.
I could go on and on about how much I like Kakuranger, but it seems to be well documented at this point (or atleast people no longer tell me that Carranger is my favorite Sentai). Also, since the series is still being subbed, I don't want to drop any heavy spoilers in this part of the blog.

tl;dr Kakuranger is excellent in that it isn't only well-rounded, but excels in all categories.


Alright. Usually I tell *spoiler warnings* to go to hell, but I really respect Kakuranger. Hahaa. No, really...I am only putting this out there since I know a lot of people are watching and might not want to be spoiled. As of this writing the subs have only gone up to the 'New Years Hell' episode.

So yeah, turn back now if you don't want anything spoiled.


Top Seven Kakuranger Episodes!

Honorable Mention: Fuin!! (Episode 53)

I can never bring myself to put finale episodes into my Top Seven proper, but this one does deserve good mention.

The Kakuranger are finally ready to take on Daimaoh as he is the only remaining Yokai, but something steps in at the last moment... Sanshinshou? That's right, the Kakuranger mecha step in and force the Kakuranger to stand down against fighting Daimaoh as his defeat would do nothing but spread his influence of despair and misery among all of humanity. Eventually they are forced to take Daimaoh to task after he goes too far. The only course of defeat is to return him to the very seal that started this series.

Daimaoh is sealed in by the Doron Changers and is trapped with the previously defeated Yokai. The Kakuranger celebrate but hopping into Nekomaru and driving to Fujisan.

As with the previous Sugimura-helmed shows, Kakuranger ends with the villains not exactly being defeated...merely dealt with. I always preferred the Dairanger ending because that shot of them parting ways is beautiful. However, the Kakuranger ending is very solid. In Zyuranger, Bandora was cast off once she lost her powers. Who is to say she won't regain her powers and return? Dairanger pretty much said "See ya in 2043!". Kakuranger had played the whole game and made it to the final boss. Maybe they didn't quite beat the Kunoichi Gumi on their own, but they made their way to the top and did what they had to do to rid the world of his menace.

Yeah, I liked this ending. I'm not sure why they left Hakomenro and Bun in the middle of nowhere, but hey... It was their victory lap!

07. Shinshun Manga Jigoku (46)

This episode came back full-force to show that the series still could be as weird this late in as it was in the beginning.

The Kakuranger are captured in a manga after a boy discovers a manga detailing the Kakuranger's defeat. Seeing as this is a Saizo episode, he seems to get the worst of it.

The sheer weirdness in this episode was great as well as the fights. It's also pretty funny how despite being a Saizo episode it's Sasuke that saves the day. By this point in the series, Sasuke saves the days pretty much every episode, so it's expected.

06. Maken to Pants!! (17)

This is a Saizo episode. It perfectly sums up why I kinda like Saizo (he seems to be pretty unpopular). The dude is a walking disaster. Infact *checks again* YEP! Saizo is actually the one who opened the seal in the first episode. Hahaha. The dude fails every single time, but does so spectacularly.

In this episode, Saizo buys a car. It is almost immediately destroyed by Yokai Amikiri who has a very serious grudge against his ancestor. He is forced to enlist the help of a young boy who happens to be blackmailing him over some unflattering photos.

The fights in this episode are great. As I was saying, I like this episode because it is Saizo in a nutshell. Guy just can't get a break.

05. Ge!! sugoi yatsu! + Akazaru no oni taiji (15+16)

Sasuke, man. Short synopsis since this happens again later. Everyone except Sasuke is brutally captured. He skillfully saves the day.

I could have left this episode off of my list, but it deserves to be here. Sasuke had some moments prior to this, but this is where he really began shine. The same guy who a few months earlier defeated someone by throwing his shoe at them was now sneaking past several very powerful Yokai, while badly injured, to rescue his friends.

04. Dokkiri namachukei (09)

Jiraiya's first real focus episode. Jiraiya has become TV obsessed and faces off against a Yokai who is equally as obsessed. A great episode to showcase Kane Kosugi's great fighting skills. There are also some great cameos by Shiro Izumi (Burai/Dragonranger, Yuma/Change Pegasus) and Rika Ishida (White Swan/Jetman)

03. Cho omono・Rainichi! + Shijo hatsu no Super Battle (28+29)

These two episodes were easily my favorite of the Shinobi no Maki arc that spanned from 23-31. After Sasuke, Tsuruhime, Seikai and Saizo had all gotten their Shinobi no Maki, it was now up to Jiraiya to retrieve his so that he could summon God Gamma. He easily had the biggest trial to overcome.

Waiting for Jiraiya was Gali, the very man who trained Jiraiya to one day become a Kakuranger--but also the same man who killed his father. Gali sold his soul to Yokai Nue to save the life of his daughter after a car accident.

Not only were the fights between Jiraiya (Kane Kosugi) and Gali (Sho Kosugi) great, but I loved getting that glimpse into Jiraiya's life before Kakuranger. It was a little strange having him show up in episode 3 spouting off in English, yet knowing why he was there and what he was looking for the scrolls, you fool. They belong to us. It certainly shed some light on that mystery, plus it was some nice story telling.

Also...Sho Kosugi vs Kane Kosugi....... IRL father vs son. Awesome.

02. Godatsu Ninja Power + Sanshinsho Saigo no hi + Kizu Darake Daigyakuten (42+43+44)

Three-parter. Daimaoh has turned 1200 years old which gives him the ability to create a clone. His clone, Daradara is able to absorb the powers of whatever he comes into contact with and redirect all damage to whoever he absorbed powers from. His first victim is Ninjaman and he eventually captures everyone except Sasuke. Sasuke and Sanshinsho are forced to fight Daradara back or risk him destorying the city despite every blow being directed to his friends.

Hakumenro secretly informs Sasuke of Daradara's weakpoint, which is attacking Daimaoh directly. Sasuke breaks into Daimaoh's hide-out to attack Daimaoh and free his friends, effectively breaking Daradara's link.

This is similar to the 15+16 arc, but it is done in such a more grand way. You are really left wondering what they're going to do to get out of this situation. Sasuke, ofcourse, shines bright here and the wheels for the finale are set into motion. Great arc.

01. Ninja de Gozaru + Abunai Obasan + American Ninja (01+02+03)

This series started off in three episodes. We were given plenty of time to assemble the team and differentiate each member. So Tsuruhime and Jiraiya were the only two that were aware of their destiny going into this thing? Interesting. I mean, this isn't the first time we've had most of a Sentai team going into battle completely unprepared but it was fun to see again.

Oh, and how could you not like their ancestors? Hahaa. None of them had kind words.

Overall, this is one of my favorite Sentai debuts ever. It may be spread over three episodes, but there is so much going on that it hardly feels slow or incomplete.


There you have it! Here's to 20 years of Kakuranger!

P.S. More Top 7 Lists are on this page...


  1. Kakuranger is definitely one of my favourite 90's Sentai! Great list! Though my favourite episode has to episode 39, Kōshakushi is the man.

    1. I love that episode also. I was taking inventory of what episodes I didn't like and episode 40 comes to mind. Episode 12 would've sucked if it wasn't for the bananas mecha fight. That's about it.

      Getting back to 39... I always wondered if he had some ninjutsu skill seeing as he was able to summon a beer bottle. Then again, he was standing in a trash can. Namely Azukiarai's trash can. Hahaa.

  2. Haa, I never realized that about the trash can! That's a pretty awesome detail!

    Though it's been a while, I don't really remember having an issue with episode 40 but I completely agree with you on episode 12. I always felt that the Jushos were a bit excessive.

    1. The Beast General Fighters are basically Bandai saying "Let's create versions of the mecha that don't have to combine so that we can easily give the toys articulation!"

  3. I know I'm late, but very nice post CCLemon99 :-D

    I'm gonna be genuinely honest here, Kakuranger is my #1 all-time favorite Sentai series ever!!!! I basically agree with everything you said about it. I love those episode choices you put up there, I loved those episodes! ^_^ Plus I should also bring up that they have some of the best designs in the Sentai franchise IMO. and this goes for suits, mecha, arsenal, etc. Heck, even the villain designs are amazing!!

    and the cast is just, amazing!!! the five of them do such a great job!! My Favorite is Sasuke because he's persistent, he's badass, and even better, his actor followed me back on Twitter!!!! ^_^

    So yea, if you ever wanna talk about Kakuranger, talk to me, cause, I say it's the greatest Sentai of all-time!!!!! (Y)

  4. That's a nice Top 7 list!
    Very solid line up.

    Let me gives a response to those:

    Honorable Mention (53)
    Kakuranger is one of those rare sentai shows where it has very satisfying and solid ending, where all the loose ends ties. No need to wait for future or any weird plothole.
    Kakuranger sacrificed their power to seal the Daimaoh, which pretty much came right where they started (not the same exact location), which perfectly fit for ending.
    Nekomaru driving to Mt. Fuji looks beautiful.

    07. (46)
    Bit of wacky episode, but very nice and funny way to start the year, and where else to start but Saizo. lol

    06. (17)
    Saizo's fight with Amikiri in sunset was awesome!

    05. (15+16)
    Introduction to hottest female villains in the franchise? Can't argue with that.
    I'm still not happy that they are cats though.
    Still a solid 2-parter though.

    04. (09)
    I was REALLY blown up how many 90's sentai cameo's appeared.
    Izumi also appeared in Super Sentai World, which is also bizarre.
    Jirairya was still awesome though.

    03. (28+29)
    Sho vs. Kane, father vs. son fight was just EPIC!
    Great story and action and it's the best among Shinobi no Maki arc.
    Still wonder why Nue was in LA.

    02. (42+43+44)
    Another great multi-parter.
    I almost wished Daradara was villain before the final episode, instead of Yamanba and Daidarabotchi (granted, I liked them too as well).

    01. (01+02+03)
    How fitting that premiere (3-parter) belongs in #1!
    Greatest premiere episodes of 90's sentai.
    Can't top this one.

    Here's my personal Top 7 (it was very hard to choose!):

    Honorable Mention: (39) - I was REALLY happy Kōshakushi was back for just this episode. Even when he was seriously injured, he still continued his work, which shows how dedicated he was as narrator. He's the MAN!

    7. (35) - Appearance of Tsuruhime's sisters was very nice. It was interesting to see a parody of Shushutorian, where Hirose (Tsuruhime) also starred. Shows how awesome Tsuruhime was with girl power!

    6. (17) - That's fight scene in sunset was just awesome! Saizo's shining moment.

    5. (49) - You might think I'm lunatic for putting it on higher in list, but I really enjoyed this one. It's hard to believe, episode that should have belonged in earlier arc of the series, just came out before the appearance of Daimaoh's brothers.
    It was a fun episode and marks the final appearance if Shark Cycle.

    4. (15+16) - Hana no Kunoichi was awesome (just wished they weren't cats though. lol)

    3. (14) - Introduction to one of the best, wackiest, and insane villain in the franchise, played by veteran actor, Kenichi Endo! WIN in my text book!

    2. (20) - Sasuke using one of the greatest sentai mecha sword, Kaen Shogun Ken, was just epic.

    1. (1+2+3) - I can't think of anywhere else to put one of the greatest premiere in any sentai series. lol It's that great.

  5. What's to say Bandora won't get her powers back? Well, for one thing, the team blew up the devil who gave the witch powers to her. For another thing, she seems to have had something of a change of heart by the end of it all given her happiness at the birth of Lami and Grifforzer's child. And, well, this time the urn she's sealed in is spinning forever through space so that it's a lot harder for some idjit to blunder into it and release the seal :P

    I love Kakuranger as well, it's probably my favorite, even if it does have some things I dislike and is to blame for the lack of US footage of Four-Head (counterpart of the Combined Deva Kings). Does great on all categories, including the mecha fights (something where Dairanger was a bit lackluster half the time).

    My least favorite episode is probably the one where Tsuruhime gets her God General scroll, particularly because of what Sandayu says (made me like him a lot less and say "That's what you get!" when he got crushed later in the series)

    The big showdown with Junior/Gashadokuro is pretty damn good, though it comes off a bit sillier to me than the Power Rangers version because of Hakumenroh interrupting it (in a very sudden, record-needle-scratch kind of way) to introduce Bandai's newest Kakuranger roleplay toy.. Er, I mean, the new powerful weapon that can summon Tsubasamaru.

    And yes, this show has one of the best intro serials ever. It's got plenty of good action and humor (Kappa's "Goddamn!" during the giant fight gets me every time, as does the "BA-DOOM!" screen), and it doesn't have the kinda wonky pacing of Dairanger's.