Episode 32 & Top 7 Lists! ~Ohranger Part 3 of 3~

Hey! You! If you haven't read my other two posts on Choriki Sentai Ohranger, I suggest you do so before reading this post. In part one I break down the series and make the case for everyone to give it a chance. Part two is where I give my thoughts on all of the characters from both Ohranger and Baranoia. Get to it! Go read those before continuing on to the Top 7 lists in this posts. I'll wait......


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...

04. Miura

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.

03. Weapons

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.....!

02. Goro

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!! [24]

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! [33]

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 [25]

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 [04]

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!! [19]

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 [02]

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.

01. Gakko no kuwai akumu [32] Shurai!! 1999 [01]

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.


Top Seven Individual Ohranger Mecha

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


U.A.O.H. & Machine Teikoku Baranoia ~Ohranger Part 2 of 3~

I'm back for the second part of my three part series on Choriki Sentai Ohranger. As promised, I will be bringing you all three posts on Ohranger during November as opposed to my usual two. In the first part I did a general post on the series and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff and my take on the subtitle controversy with the US DVD set. Part three will be coming on the 21st with several Top 7 lists. Stay tuned!

As I will be talking about all of the characters and in some cases--their fates, you have been warned. This is your spoiler warning for a 21 year old television series. I can't believe I need to write that, but hey...the series finally made it's way to the US, so it's new to some of you out there. I repeat...this is your *Spoiler Warning*.



...or WOW as Kyosuke called it in Carranger vs Ohranger.

The Ohranger team is made up of five selected members of U.A.O.H. When the invasion begins in the first episode only Ohred was ready to fight. The others had only just been given the assignment to become Ohrangers. The team is pitted against Machine Teikoku Baranoia who is now a massive entity created by Bacchushund after he was exiled 600 million years ago. They are powered by the mysterious Choriki, which has been harnessed for use in the defense of Earth by Naoyuki Miura.

There are a few things I like about the cast in general. Unlike a few shows in the past where you can see the enthusiasm dip in one or two members as the series progresses, I feel that everyone involved was enjoying their time or at least taking it very seriously. Sometimes that's all it takes for a show to be enjoyable.

That said, it is best to think of Ohranger as a unit rather than a group of individuals. It makes sense I suppose, since they are military. If you're looking for deep character stories and heroes you can related to on some level, this show might leave you a little hungry. Kakuranger and Dairanger are two great shows for characters while having a similar flavor.



The man! I would say that Goro is easily my favorite Ohranger even if he never quite lived up to his full potential. He had his ultimate glory in the very first episode, but didn't really go on to have many moments in the sun after. That isn't to say he's not a good Red, though. He is the shining opposite of Ryu from Jetman. Thank. God. He has that soft side that every tough guy has (his most prized possession is a letter from his mother...so what if it was used for comedic effect, I thought that was a nice touch).

Masaru Shishido really sold us on Goro. He has the military look and sold his "CHORIKI HENSHIN!" more than anyone every single time. I kinda wish the character was fleshed out a little more, since Shishido had untapped potential. The finale would have been a thousand times stronger if he were the only one who made it to King Pyramider and returned to the planet to overthrow Baranoia single-handedly. I would have absolutely bought it...it would have brought everything full-circle.



I like Shohei enough even if we never learned much about the guy outside of his affinity for boxing and ramen. He seemed like a pretty stand up dude I guess. I'm trying to think of some of his stand-out moments, though I'm drawing a complete blank. Again, the character development was never fleshed out to it's potential in favor of giving Baranoia an absurd amount of screen time. More on that later.



Yuji kinda fell into the trap that most Blues fell into--he was the whiny guy. I mean, he was alright most of the time, but he was always at the center of the rare moments of defiance in the Ohranger team. He was whining that Goro got Red Puncher, which lead to the idiotic Kendama Robot of Nightmares incident, etc. He wasn't all bad, though. Certainly better than Dan was in Zyuranger to say the least.



I really, really want to like Juri...

The same way Seikai and Saizo were interchangeable in Kakuranger, the Ohranger girls feel the same. Whenever they see Baranoia attacking via the monitors at the base, they give the exact same distressed reaction to Miura. Juri definitely had the better moments of the two ladies, even if there were far fewer of them. Even her absolutely absurd fake defection to Baranoia was kinda funny.

Come to think of it, she was always somehow involved in the stranger moments of the series. The Bara Clothes episode (23)? Yep. Bara Tarantula (29) and her involvement with Bara Pinokiller (14) were weird too.

Young CCLemon99 definitely thought she was way cuter than Momo. Full disclosure...



Like I said earlier, there is very little difference between Juri and Momo outside of screen time. While Juri had a lot of the weirder moments, Momo ended up with episodes that were either touching or absolutely cartoonish. You had things like her episode with Johnny (13) and later on the straight-up wackiness of Bara Kakka (24). There was also one other major focus episode of hers...I think I'll talk more about that next time, though.

The most background we got out of any of the Ohrangers was definitely Momo. I guess she was a favorite? I don't know why. Momo never really appealed to me. She was just kinda...meh...and had crazy stories written around her.



Yes. Hell yes. I'm so glad they brought Hiroshi Miyauchi back for this role...

While he spent maybe too much time in the background, Miura was the authoritative voice that the series deserved. I think I give the Ohrangers a little bit too much credit solely because I trust Miura. He had to have a reason to select those five over the scores of faceless people at U.A.O.H., right?

Maybe there was a little too much of him secretly working on new Mecha/Weapons that appear virtually out of nowhere, but when it finally came down to the wire, he joined the fight. He even got a good hit in on Multiwa!

He scored points for being authoritative early on and bonus points for his ass-kicking at the end. Some will say that Miyauchi was kinda wasted on this role, but I think he was perfect. There was just enough of him that he didn't take away from the rest of the cast and was an invaluable member.



Riki is pretty cool. I like that his arrival was the beginning of the reveal of what Choriki really is. Up until that point it was just the mysterious power that kept the U.A.O.H. lights on (Yadda yadda Pangaea yadda yadda yadda here are your Henshin Braces). Riki is kinda like dropping a Zyuranger right in the middle of the series. An armor-clad legendary warrior who is awoken from suspended animation mid-series. Sound familiar?

Demon Koguriki

Anyway, he was a nice addition to the team but was the beginning of the cast becoming a little bit too crowded.



Of course, Riki did come with a little bit of baggage. Riki may have been a legendary warrior from the past, but his main objective was to be the bodyguard of Dorin. Dorin, as revealed in the final episodes, is the key to Choriki and ultimately giving the planet life. Prior to the reveal of that information, she was just this girl that hung around Riki (though he did say that he only took orders from her).

Oh yeah, and she's part of a clone alien race that created Choriki. The Dorin we know is Earth's Dorin. Kinda takes the piss out of a character dying when shortly after you see a whole planet of them. Like how I snuck that in there at the very last second? The series did just the same.




What an inept tool...

I alluded to my thoughts on Gunmajin in the previous post, but I guess it's finally time to go whole hog. Gunmajin is a largely neutral character that shows up solely to bring any momentum the show has grinding to a halt. Wait, that's not it. He brings nothing but frustration to an already troubled group of heroes. Nope, ummm... Oh yeah! He grants the wish to the holder of his key. That's it! He doesn't seem to have any magical abilities but rather uses muscle to grant wishes. Need him to beat someone up? He can probably do it. Just be as specific as possible as he will not accept any additional conditions once a wish is granted. More often than not he complicates things for Ohranger...even when it's one of them who made the wish.

Probably the most frustrating thing about Gunmajin is that there is virtually no back story to him other than Riki saying he knew of him. What's his deal, anyway? He's obviously linked to Choriki since the big end of his key is the Choriki logo. It's one of the dozens of major plot holes in this series.

If there is anything I like about Gunmajin it's that he's voice by Ryo Saeba himself...Akira Kamiya!


Machine Teikoku Baranoia

Baranoia is the race of machines created by Bacchushund after he was forcefully removed from Earth 600 million years ago. His mission is the same as it was when he left--for the machines to rise and take over the planet. In the time he was away he had created himself a wife, son, servant, and empire. Little is known about the destruction during his time in space other than Hysteria having family elsewhere and Bomber The Great attempting to take the throne before being exhiled himself.

If there is one thing that can be said about Baranoia it's that we see them way too much in this series. I don't really mind them too much, but they monopolize a little bit too much time. Maybe we could have done without a lot of the banter. There is a little bit too much comedic relief from all characters when having just Acha & Kocha handle it would have been just fine thanks.

For the most part I really dig the voice acting for the main players in Baranoia. Bacchushund in particular has the voice of legendary Tokusatsu narrator Toru Ohira. He does anger very well. They're definitely a much better sounding bunch than they are to look at.



There are a few reasons to like Bacchushund. For one, he seems to be the most hellbent on conquering the Earth out of any of the Baranoia clowns. His demanding perfectionism is kinda questionable seeing as he thwarted by Ohranger pretty easily for most of his presence in the series. This is addressed when he puts his money where his mouth is an declares that he is launching his final assault on Ohranger in episode 33. After failing, he takes on Ohranger himself in 34 and is the first to fight and be defeated by Ohblocker. His later appearance as just a head in space is...just one of those plotholes I can't wrap my brain around. How? What?? Why?!



She is largely useless until Bacchushund's demise. She didn't have that big of a reaction to her husband's death, but she slowly came into her own once Bomber The Great started to really get to her. After Buldont's death and rebirth, she was entirely defeated. She went from the cold queen to the tired grandmother who lived in the spare room. Her demise is pretty sad come to think of it. She was the unfortunate one to witness the rise and fall and rise again all while being left in the dust. It's rare to see someone so thoroughly defeated in a Tokusatsu series.



He pulled off the bratty prince well. Whenever you wanted to smack him in the head someone usually did it for you. His plans tended to be half-baked leading to any minor victories on his behalf being accidental almost.

I honestly didn't mind him as much as most people seemed to.


Acha & Kocha

The very first interaction we have with Baranoia in this series is through Acha's announcement that Baranoia was seizing the planet in the first episode. From the very beginning you can tell these two were the biggest pair of ass kissers in the known universe and beyond. As the series progresses their allegiance changes. Bacchushund, then Bomber The Great, then Kaiser Buldont, then they head off to adventure with Gunmajin.

That said, I think they're a pretty good pair for comedic relief. Like I was saying, it should have been limited to them. Too lovable to kill off, I suppose.


Bomber The Great

A very, very annoying character that, begrudgingly, made me laugh quite a few times. When he first arrived to take over the Baranoia throne he grabbed Buldont, strapped him to a rocket, and fired him at Earth. That.....was hilarious. When he did it a second time after murdering him, maybe it wasn't as fun (especially since a very much alive Hysteria was holding her severed son's head). Every time he arrived somewhere he exploded...even at the Baranoia base. Again, pretty funny.

Overall, he was pretty damn annoying but I admire the levity they tried to shoehorn onto his character. Hahaa.





Kaiser Buldont

This is where the series hits a wall with me. While the struggle with Baranoia was a refreshing change of pace, I really hate where it all ended up. Bacchushund and Hysteria's final act to ensure the survival of Baranoia was for him to use his remaining life force to revive and power-up Buldont and for her to summon her niece Multiwa to accompany Buldont. So yeah, Kaiser Buldont marries his cousin...who received a massive power-up from his own mother. Not weird at all.

Remember how I didn't mind the little brat version of Buldont? The poncy adult version is a hundred times more annoying in my opinion. After dealing with Ohranger for as long as he did, how can he still not understand the basics on how humans work? Remember I mentioned Goro's prized possession being a (very, very) long note from his mother? That all stemmed from his plan to use Multiwa to hypnotize the Ohranger guys into handing Ohblocker over to her. ......what?? This was *after* several plots in the series along the lines of forcing humans to worship their otherwise mundane machines. He knew that people take machines for granted (and were more interested in golden dogs), so why would Ohranger be any different?


Kaiser Buldont and Multiwa are such an irritating couple. Isn't it funny how Grifforzer and Lamy seem like a great match? Hahaa.


That's all for the characters of Ohranger. I didn't really feel the need to talk about regulars like Mikio since, well, who cares? I will be back soon to finish the series off with some Top 7 lists and maybe a few bonus bits.

See You Again!


Choriki Henshin! ~Ohranger Part 1 of 3~
Episode 32 and Triple Top Seven ~Ohranger Part 3 of 3~


Choriki Henshin! ~Ohranger Part 1 of 3~

This is the first in my series of posts covering Choriki Sentai Ohranger. I've been putting this one off for what feels like years at this point. I did actually have a write-up for the show prior to my most recent viewing, but decided to scrap it in favor of a new approach. Kinda fitting, no? This post is going to be a stream of consciousness. Next time, I'm going to be breaking the characters down similar to what I did in my Jetman posts (1, 2). The third and final part will be...Top 7 lists! All three posts will be in November. Consider the extra post this month my little bonus for being loyal readers in this year of growth of CCLemon99.com

I wasn't happy with what I had written in my previous attempt, so I decided to wait until Shout Factory released their DVD set of the series. Even though they claimed they weren't going to ship direct preorders early this time around, I ended up getting my set way early--almost three weeks to be exact. So much so, that I had a problem with a disc and still got a replacement before the series had it's general release. Shout Factory is the best... I *highly* recommend purchasing direct from them. Extraordinary customer service and getting the early release really helped motivate me into getting this post finished.

Choriki Sentai Ohranger... This is the series that people like to talk shit on without ever seeing it. You hear the same buzzy crap every single time "the mood changed due to terrorist attacks", "toy sales were down", "ratings were down", etc. Whether or not any of that is true (I'm not entirely sure any of it is, honestly) is useless drivel. If you liked any of the three previous Sentai series, there is something for you here. That may act as a detriment to the series as a whole since it probably wasn't what it set out to accomplish, but at the end of the day this series is extremely watchable to all Super Sentai fans. I've always felt this way and really get annoyed whenever someone is clearly regurgitating negativity on the show without ever seeing even the opening credits.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here...how about going back to the beginning? Better yet, let's go back before the series even started...

1995 was the year of Super Sentai. The most congratulatory Toei has ever gotten about Super Sentai was the trailer for the Ohranger movie. Not only was this the first celebration since Himitsu Sentai Goranger and JAKQ Dengekitai was brought into the Super Sentai franchise in 1994, but they felt the need to tout how the franchise had taken America by storm. That's right...America fuck you, France/Brazil/Philippines/Korea/any other country that aired it....America!!!. Seriously, I reviewed the Ohranger movie in the past, but I don't think I ever mentioned the trailer that's tacked on to the front of it. It's kinda awesome in a way. Not only were Goranger and JAKQ in the club now (so much so that they cast Hiroshi Miyauchi, an actual Goranger AND...ummm JAKQ, to play the Commander of the new team) but their show had become a massive hit in 'the States! 

None of this "Turboranger is the 10th anniversary" BS anymore...

I can't say for sure what was going on behind-the-scenes, but I kinda feel like there was a push to kinda make things different. I wrote about the theme song debacle in the past, but that wasn't the only big change they were trying to make with the music. Seiji Yokoyama, whose previous Tokusatsu work includes Megaloman, Koseidon, Metalder, and Winspector replaces Eiji Kawamura as series composer. This, I believe, is what causes the confusing tone for series. While Yokoyama's music is opulent and downright beautiful at times (Everything on the Symphonic Suite disc was recorded in France in late 1994), it does the series no favors as it progresses. I kinda feel like I'm getting ahead of myself since I haven't reviewed the three music collection CDs or the series proper yet, but the music just doesn't have as much variety as Eiji Kawamura's work. Kawamura had something for every situation in every episode of the five Tokusatsu series he composed (BLACK, BLACK RX, Dairanger, Kakuranger, and B-Fighter). Yokoyama's work is fantastic, but doesn't fit very well beyond the eighth episode or so.

The premise of the series is an ambitious one. We're introduced to an invasion already in progress. The year is 1999 and Machine Teikoku Baranoia has been targeting the largest cities in the world with the demand that the human race surrender and become it's slaves. Japan, however, has a card up it's sleeve. United Airforce Overtech Hardware, has managed to harness the mysterious Choriki in a project spearheaded by Commander Naoyuki Miura. In preparation for the invasion, Ohranger was formed. However, the team had only been given the assignment just before the invasion which lead to the leader, Captain Goro Hoshino to resist the first wave on his own...

The first episode of Ohranger is probably my favorite debut episode of any Super Sentai. Not only does it set up the story perfectly, but it does it in fantastic style. Coming off of Dairanger and Kakuranger, a series where the leadership is...debatable for the majority of the series, we get a first episode that puts it all on front street. Goro is in charge -fullstop-. This isn't up for debate. It's his job to be in charge. Not only is he in charge, but he's been waiting for this. Baranoia has been tormenting the planet for some time now and one man catches them with their pants down. It's incredible. I know I said earlier that this show can be enjoyed by anyone, but the first episode is a must-see for all. 

So what's the deal with the writing, anyway? The series had a murderer's row of well-established writers. This was head writer Noboru Sugimura's fourth consecutive Sentai series (he had been writing non-stop for Toei since Seiun Kamen Machineman in 1984). Of the four Sentai series he was head writer of, this one is probably his least represented work. Of the 48 episodes, he only wrote 23. In my opinion, he wrote some of the better, plot-driven episodes of the series. The first four episodes? All him. King Ranger's debut? Yep. The finale? Yes! There were a couple lame ones with his name on it like the one with the crying babies (did he really write a baby peeing in Juri's face into his script? C'mon, man!).

When the show practically becomes Kakuranger II, some of the stranger scripts (including the movie) can be traced back to Shozo Uehara. The boring scripts were from Toshiki Inoue (no lie, his best work is on the 1982 Dr, Slump "Hoyoyo! Space Adventure" film). The rest of the scripts were by Hirohisa Soda and Susumu Takaku. I would say that Soda was the only other writer to come close to writing any other plot-driven stories in addition to the blahfest known as Ohranger vs Kakuranger. Takaku wrote only two scripts (both Momo-themed episodes) that otherwise would've basically left Momo as "the other girl" (her popularity baffles me).

"Wasshoi!" -Uehara (when he was writing this episode)

The tone of the show takes a noticeable turn with the ninth episode. The steampunk invasion was basically replaced with both sides slipping into the status quo. Who knows exactly why the show changed so quickly. It could be in response to national incidents, but I don't think it was that simple. After this particular viewing of the series, it kinda hit me. They didn't have a full year of episodes like the debut. Episodes 2-4 end basically exactly the same way. The team looking up at the sky angrily at Baranoia. Imagine 48 episodes of that... I want to say that someone was like "Lighten up, man." more than any changes being a knee-jerk reaction to current events. Realistically, do you think the show could have sustained it's bleak tone for an entire year? I don't. Should it have gone as light as it did at times? Not at all. There was a perfect middle ground that they zoomed right passed on their way to ending up at making Kakuranger-esque episodes again.

Final Frame of 4th Episode

Final Frame of 9th Episode...yeah...

In closing (I'm actually writing this post in one sitting, which is pretty rare...I really wanted this to be as honest as possible) I feel that this is a series that unfairly gets dismissed by people who have no intentions in seeing it in the first place. It does have a sizable fanbase for a reason. This is a good show. Above all else, it is very watchable and extremely entertaining. The action is great, the mecha scenes (as unique as they are) aren't dull and the characters are worth rooting for even if we don't learn a whole lot about them. Definitely check Ohranger out if you haven't already. Given that it is making it's way to DVD in 'the States as this goes live on my site, I have a feeling that it will gain some new fans. The series is finally living up to the hype of the movie's trailer...taking over America......

Thank you for reading. I hope you'll come back November 11th for Part 2 in my Ohranger series. In the meantime, check out my previous two Ohranger-inspired posts...

U.A.O.H. & Machine Teikoku Baranoia ~Ohranger Part 2 of 3~

See ya soon!


UPDATE: OK, so I wrote the above post some time ago, but I feel that I have to include a little update regarding the breaking controversy regarding Shout Factory's subtitles. As I write this update on October 31st, news has broken that the subtitles were lifted from Million Fold Curiosity (who mentioned See You Again in their Ohranger-removal post.......nice!) Here is what I think happened...

Shout Factory came across a strange key after they licensed Ohranger for release. After inserting the key into an equally strange statue they found near by, a strange man named Kazaam Gunmajin appeared and offered to grant them any wish as his new master. Given the magnitude of the job of translating a year's worth of a television series, they wished for Gunmajin to translate Ohranger for them. Little did they know, this Gunmajin fellow doesn't quite rely on magic to grant wishes, but rather uses muscle. He flexed his Google-Muscle hard and was able to translate the series...or at least provide Shout with translations to the series. Since this Gunmajin is such a frustrating halfwit, he got the job done...but at the cost of a legitimately good company's reputation...

Jokes aside, I don't think the truth is too far off from that. If you read this interview on The Tokusatsu Network with Shout's Brian Ward, he details the process of how the shows are licensed and subtitled. Shout does not do translations in house--they outsource them. 

I genuinely hope this doesn't diminish the chances of further series being licensed. I subscribe to the school of thought that people who are boycotting (and really have no reason to be i.e., not associated with MFC) were probably never going to buy the sets to begin with. So...who knows... A "why bother?" on future series is the worst thing that can happen.

As someone who gets ripped off on the internet all the friggin time, I understand exactly how frustrating it is to see your passion projects get monitized by someone else. Maybe I haven't had it happen with a legit company, but the malice is all the same. The only problem here is...Shout really isn't at fault. They hired a company to complete a task and got absolutely hosed in the process. You could say that they should have checked the translations they got back versus the fansubs. Even there, I can't really fault them. They're not in the business of looking over fansubber's shoulders. I know that may sound cold, but I can almost say for certain based on the interviews on The Tokusatsu Network that the shows aren't even watched until the translations start rolling in.

As of right now, Shout Factory is aware of the situation. They have proven themselves to be an outstanding company thus far, so I feel confident that this will all be worked out in the end. 

...and I hope they get a refund from the dirtbags that caused this mess...