1993 Sure Was a Thing... (Dairanger Fan Theory Special)

Can you believe that it's 2018 already? Yeah, it may look like a random number, but when you take in to consideration that we're 25 years removed from one of the most ambitious years of the 1990s, it's kind of a special anniversary year. I mean, just look at this murderer's row of stuff that happened in 1993...

Kamen Rider ZO: The comfort food of Kamen Rider. Thin plot, but dazzling action and effects. Seriously, this movie is pure eye candy with a killer soundtrack. What's ZO's name? Who cares! Just enjoy... (Check out the manga for extra weirdness...)

Tokusou Robo Janperson: Taking the Metal Hero franchise to unfamiliar territory. The idea of a crime-fighting robot is far from new, but it was something that hadn't been attempted since the 70s and really hasn't been done on it's own since. 

Ultraman Powered: Largely considered the red-headed stepchild of the Ultra family, this series does have it's place in history. I mean, at the bare minimum there is a chance that it's responsible for getting Kane Kosugi cast as Jiraiya in Kakuranger. Then again, he is extremely talented...so maybe not.

Denko Chojin Gridman: Another Tsuburaya production that has gained momentum as a cult series in the years since it aired. It featured a unique take on computers that only fed into the longevity of it's legacy. It has been revisited over the years with a cancelled 90s sequel, an animated follow-up in 2015 and an animated re-imagining scheduled for release in 2018. 

Kamen Rider SD: A low-budget OVA that finally gave the SD Riders some life outside of toys, manga, and video games. Ultraman had been animated in many different styles (The Ultraman, Ultraman Kids, Ultraman USA, and more in the time since) so it was kinda cool to have Rider get the same brief treatment.

1993 was such a busy year! Well... I just wanted to recognize that 2018 is the 25th anniversary of a lot of great and memorable series. 

Take care and I'll talk to you all soon!



How could I forget?! Dairanger is one of those series that I love, but really haven't talked about all that much. When I was putting together my page of Super Sentai articles, I noticed that I had only talked about the series once. How is that even possible? Dairanger is second only to Kakuranger as my favorite Super Sentai series. I guess I am here today to bring new life into an old theory that I'd casually brought up in conversation with @RoryDropkick. His reaction kinda encouraged me to go on and try to flesh one of my crazy theories into a post...

Something that has vexed a lot of fans about Dairanger for years was it's original casting of Keisuke Tsuchiya as Ryo/Ryuranger and Keiichi Wada as Kazu/Kirinranger. The knee jerk reaction is one of relief--bullet dodged! I mean, I never had a problem with Tsuchiya but his casting as the lead seemed a little odd. Since he ended up in the unenviable position of yellow, he never really got much in the way of decent stories...so we never got to see what he was capable of in the series. The problem is that Keiichi Wada is sooooo gooood. He would have absolutely been wasted as fifth banana (let's face it, yellow is an afterthought pretty much every single time). The infamous test footage/trailer with the swapped cast really isn't a good gauge on what could have been, but obviously something must have forced the last minute change.

Consider, just for a second, what could have been...

One of my biggest gripes with Dairanger is how Ryo's family was quickly discarded. For what should have been a major arc considering the intrinsic nature of the relationship between Dai and Gorma tribes, Ryo's father, Choryo, was gone at the end of a two episode arc in episode eight. He also had a sister who vanished after the fifteenth episode. Why bother introducing family like that if there is no lasting effect? Sure, Ryo's father did play an important role in passing knowledge of Dairenoh on to Ryo, but surely he had more to offer.

It all seemed kinda sloppy...like it had perhaps been slapped together last minute.

What if...the Ko and Akomaru story was meant for Ryo and a twin brother?

The casting all kinda makes sense now. I mean, I wasn't in the room at the time, but it is fact that skills and interests of actors got written into shows all the time. Keisuke Tsuchiya being cast as Ryo certainly sets of signals that perhaps the wheels were in motion for his twin brother, Daisuke, to play a larger role in the series. Could he have been the original Kibaranger?

I'm not saying that Shadam would have still been their father, but what if Choryo was meant to be more of a presence within Gorma? He was the original Ryuranger, yes, but he also defected to Gorma when Ryo was a child. Given that his mother was a human woman, who is to say that she couldn't have also been from the Dai tribe as Ko's mother was? Ryo and his brother would be born, and Choryo splits for Gorma with one child leaving Ryo to carry on as he pretty much did. 

This does set up some problems, however. 

For one, we had just come out of Zyuranger, which featured basically the same scenario with the jilted brother as the sixth hero. This story is a little more pure, however, since Zyuranger's conflict between Geki and Burai really came off as more of a misunderstanding than anything else.

There is also the whole what-do-we-do-with-two-Ryos thing. Maybe this theory should be treated less like Ko being Ryo's brother and more like Blue Beet and Black Beet. In B-Fighter, Jamahl created a clone of Takuya/Blue Beet (played by Daisuke Tsuchiya) called Black Beet (played by Keisuke Tsuchiya). This is a stretch, but when you consider the fate of the members of Gorma at the end of the series, it could work. What if Ryo's twin is, in fact, a clay copy? (Oh yeah, spoilers...). It's entirely plausible, no?

My point is...the possibilities are endless and that the trailer featuring the original casting along with the sloppiness of how important relative characters were treated leaves a lot to the imagination. If you really didn't want to see Tsuchiya as Ryo, maybe consider that if had been cast as Ryo we wouldn't have had Ko/Akomaru. Is that a fair trade off?

What do you think? Were there bigger plans for a Ryo played by Keisuke Tsuchiya? What kind of stories do you think it could have given us? I'm always curious about the "what could have been" and little nuggets like the swapped cast trailer always send my imagination spinning...

Happy New Year!



  1. I saw a theory about Zyuranger now it's Dairanger's turn

    1. What Zyuranger theory would that be?

    2. Shougo's theory about Geki sister

    3. Sugimura was obsessed with family and legacy and yet somehow never wrote a series where the team was all siblings. Plus most of the family stories ultimately went nowhere. Bizarre...

    4. My thing about Geki's sister wasn't a theory, but a fan-fic kinda concept I went crazy with. It's weird that Geki's sister was never mentioned again, especially once Burai came into the picture, but I doubt the production ever even thought about her beyond Geki's one line in episode 2. It was like Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.

  2. Aw, no love for Shushutorian? :P

    This is a very interesting theory. It would be nice if more toku writers would just fess up and say what some of their original plans were. (What would Uehara have done with Kamen Rider Black, dammit!?!)

    Whenever I watch Dairanger, the brief scenes with Yoko's about the only time I can picture Tsuchiya in the role. So, he would fit with family drama. Yeah...now that you mention it, it *is* odd that all of the stuff with Ryou's family is just rushed or dropped. An adult Kiba Ranger, with the rivalry of Kou and Akomaru between him and Red would have played better dramatically than what we got, but is it worth the cost of losing Wada as Red? So...damn, does that mean I'm Pro-Kou now? Thanks a lot!

    Ryou's sibling raised as a Gorma, though...that's such a cool idea.

    I don't think similarities to Dragon Ranger would have stopped them. Toei's repeated themselves plenty. I imagine a conversation like this:

    Takeyuki Suzuki: Hey! I know! Everybody loved Dragon Ranger, let's do that again. A new hero who's antagonistic. Dragon Ranger was meant to be a limited guest star, but we kept him around out of popularity. Imagine the possibilities if we have a storyline that's really mapped out!

    Noboru Sugimura: Eh...I'd rather do something a little different. Hey! How about a kid hero?!

    Suzuki: Oh, Noboru and your kid obsession. Heh-heh. I got one foot out the door, do what you want.

    1. Shushutorian: Ultraman showed up for an episode...that's fun right? It had a fun song collection.

      Seriously, the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series had to have been Toei's version of when game companies send engineers to repair pachinko machines after they screw up. What's that? You think Fiveman should have a hoverboat? And you rented it already?? Enjoy your time on the Poitrine set starting next week.

      Sugimura could have written Kibaranger as a child in more of a "I'll show them!" type of thing. If all this did play out, he would have had to rewrite quite a lot of story. Hahaa

      So now that you're pro-Ko, I have to figure out a way to open your heart to Zyuranger...just a little bit... :p

  3. What, the original Power Rangers didn't make the list? Even if you didn't like it, it's still important as the first real translation of Super Sentai to make it to American shores; Haim Saban had previously tried in 1986 with an adaptation of Bioman that wasn't picked up.

    But even before him, kids-TV genius Margaret Loesch worked with Stan Lee in trying to adapt Sun Vulcan (which is why it had a Marvel copyright); there were even rumors of them trying to sell it (adapted with American footage much like how PR worked) to a young HBO, then desperate for programming. It took Loesch getting in the top spot at the fledgling Fox Kids for her and Haim to put the (coincidentally-shared) idea to work.

    And there was that parody dub of Dynaman that aired on the USA Network back when they didn't suck so badly, but that doesn't really count.

    1. Mentioning Power Rangers would have put a crimp into the narrative I was going how. How could I mention Power Rangers and forget Dairanger? Heh.

      Well that and, yeah, I don't really care about Power Rangers. Hahaa