What is an Anniversary Year? [Super Sentai Edition]

Welcome to my post on the weird world of Tokusatsu Anniversary years. Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Super Sentai all have their anniversaries in the same year for different reasons. I talked about Ultraman and Rider in the previous post, so check that out. Super Sentai is a different story. Let's get into it...

Super Sentai Series

Ohhhh boy. This one legit makes my head hurt...until it finally doesn't.

Himitsu Sentai Goranger debuted in 1975 and was followed by JAKQ Dengekitai in 1977. I feel like the magician who says "I am holding a green ball" as they show the audience their green ball, but bear with me...

Battle Fever J debuted as the first Super Sentai in 1979.

Through much of the 80s and 90s Ishinomori's creations were not Super Sentai series according to Toei....but there is one official sliver of dissent.

In 1982 Columbia released an awful, awful disco single called Super Sentai Banparaban / Stars on Kamen Rider. Both songs are medleys of theme songs from their respective franchises. The weird thing is that Super Sentai Banparaban, as the name suggests, is framed around the theme songs from Goranger and features a bit of the JAKQ theme song. 

An argument could be made that Sentai was still new by 1982 and needed some padding from Goranger and JAKQ (and Gavan...and Kikaider.........and Daitetsujin 17). That logic kinda falls apart when you get back to the "Banparaban" framing of the song. 

There is also the Ninja Captor debacle. I never quite pinpointed how Ninja Captor started making it's way into Super Sentai lists, but I can guess. The series aired in 1976 and somewhat mimicked the Sentai formula entirely in-house (i.e. Saburo Yatsude...no Ishinomori this time). The similarities were pretty blatant. You had a theme song duet with one half of Goranger theme (Mitsuko Horie) in addition to a group of asymmetric, color-coded characters of varying stature. The toys were pretty similar as well...with the Chogokin figures sometimes ending up in lists of Sentai figures.


The reality is that Super Sentai didn't have it's first anniversary until Chojuu Sentai Liveman in 1988...as the 10th Super Sentai when you count back to Battle Fever J.


This kinda gets torpedoed a year later when Kosoku Sentai Turboranger kicked off with a 10th Anniversary Special ahead of the series premiere.

Super Sentai Logo from 1992


Dairanger is given the distinction of being the fifteenth Super Sentai series. This wasn't heavily promoted, but I did spot some Toei crew jackets marking the occasion. It did have a bespoke "15" logo, but it really wan't heavily promoted.


Here we go again...Kakuranger is the fifteenth anniversary of Super Sentai. Again, there isn't much fanfare outside of Toei.


Choriki Sentai Ohranger, the seventeenth Sentai Series becomes the ninteenth Super Sentai series AND twentieth anniversary. 

Almost overnight both Goranger and JAKQ become the debut series' of the franchise after years of being cast-off to Ishinomori world. This didn't really mean much for the series itself other than *perhaps* the casting of Hiroshi Miyauchi (BIG *perhaps*) and the whacked out Toei Hero Fair '95 movie...which seemed to be more of a bespoke project rather than an over-glorified filler episode.

Being around in 1995, this was a big deal. Seeing that massive "20" logo and the Ohranger trailer that rattled off the names and accomplishments of the franchise was definitely a cool thing. Beyond the movie, though, there was nothing. Though we did come incredibly close to Super Sentai having it's first JPOP ending song for the series...


So you think Timeranger would be the big twenty-five, huh? NOPE. This was the debut year of the Super Sentai "V" logo, though.


So here is kinda where we are today. Gaoranger, being the twenty-fifth Super Sentai gave the definitive middle finger to Ninja Captor and defined what a Super Sentai Anniverary year is. We were given a really cool movie and the rest is history... Anniversary years going forward would have special numbered Sentai "V" logos that were themed on the series.


OK...there was a minor debate with Lupinranger vs Patranger. How are these being counted? I've seen some materials that count the teams separately, while the series overall seems to have the distinction of being the forty-second Super Sentai. 2021 having the forty-fifth anniversary festivities absolutely confirms that.

That brings us up to date...

I'm somewhat confused at why Toei wouldn't want to stick with xxx0 and 0005 as their anniversary years after the big splash in 1995. What we're left with is the situation we're currently in. Every five years Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman have a big anniversary. It's a big year for Bandai, but why wouldn't Toei want to spread the glory over different years with Rider and Sentai? Especially when both franchises have a different set of rules on how they count anniversaries. If Kamen Rider did it like Super Sentai...imagine the mess that would be considering how many one-offs there are. How do you count movie Riders? 

This is something that's bugged me for years. It's a bit strange to think that the 50th Anniversary will be whatever series is airing in 2026 rather than 2025, but that's Toei's call...

Ultraman and Kamen Rider did it right, so we're having a big celebration this year.

Anyways...I have some more anniversary stuff in the pipeline. See ya there!


P.S. I'm kinda surprised that this year's Sentai isn't called Key Ranger. You know why... .  .   .


What is an Anniversary Year? [Ultraman and Kamen Rider Edition]
Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black RX
Song Collection: Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya

What is an Anniversary Year? [Ultraman & Kamen Rider Edition]

This is quite the busy year for anniversaries! Kamen Rider turns fifty! Ultraman turns fifty-five! Super Sentai...continues! I wanted to make these posts to kinda catalog how anniversaries were handled in the past and to also kinda tackle Super Sentai's lazy history in a separate post.

I guess the first place we can start is the most consistent of the lot...

Ultra Series

By all accounts the Ultra series have followed a pretty linear history. Outside of a 25th Anniversary Charity CD Single in 1991, there was never a huge Anniversary push until 1996 when we given *all* of the Ultraman.

The floodgates seemed to open following Noboru Tsuburaya's untimely death (this family is cursed... I kinda love the baffling world of Tsuburaya pre-1996...more on that in a future post I'm guessing). Think of everything that happened with Ultraman... Ultraman Tiga was the first full-blown live-action Ultraman series since Ultraman 80 left the air in 1981, the Tunnels-helmed Ultraman Zearth made it's debut after being shunned from Toei in their attempts to bring legitimacy to their Rider parody, and we even got that Super Fighter Legend OVA that year. To top it off, we got the ultimate stamp of approval...an official theme song from Hironobu Kageyama called It Was 30 Years Ago.

The anniversaries since have been pretty standard. There have been some minor deviations like Ultraseven getting it's own anniversary (sure!), but they've mostly stuck to xxx6 and xxx1. Now that Tsuburaya has *finally* rid itself of the menace known as Chaiyo, we're being hit with the good stuff outside of Japan. Did I mention that the Chaiyo deal went down in 1976...? Yeah, that's how Ultraman spent his tenth anniversary. It's insane how it's taken this long to finally get things back on track.

This being the the year of the fifty-fifth anniversary we will be getting Shin Ultraman. I can't say I'm all too interested in it, but there is no denying that it's a massive celebration!

Yeah, the trailer for Shin Ultraman didn't really rub me the right way. That, ummm, POV shot from the remote control is utterly ridiculous... I know the plot will be different, but I feel like I've already seen this movie in Shin Godzilla.


As for the Ultraman design... I agree with it. It's definitely more in line with what Ultraman was designed to be...a lanky alien. I was always a little confused why Ultraman made the switch from Ultra Act to SHFiguarts. The thing that Ultra Act got right is the scaling. If Ultraman were scaled down to "human size" he would be like seven feet tall. Of course...he's an alien... The lack of a timer is also a smidge cleaner, but otherwise it's the look that we're all used to. No overbearing armor or overly alien features. It's basically Ultraman.

The new figure kinda looks goofy, though.

Kamen Rider Series

Much like Ultraman, there are large swaths of time where the franchise was devoid of new content, but anniversaries were kinda followed throughout.

The franchise had it's first relaunch in 1979 with Kamen Rider. It featured Skyrider as the hero followed by Kamen Rider Super 1 as the ninth Kamen Rider in late 1980.

The tenth Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider ZX made his radio (and theme song) debut in August of 1982. The TV movie didn't have it's debut until January of 1984, which kinda puts it nearer to the fifteen anniversary, but that doesn't seem to be an issue. It was the Tenth Rider Special, not the ten-year anniversary. You've probably noticed that Rider was more about team-ups than anniversaries. Unless you're talking Kamen Rider Black...

Kamen Rider Shin was the new Rider in the official twentieth anniversary project Shin Kamen Rider Prologue. Granted, the new V-Cinema was released direct to stores in 1992, it hit the mark better than ZX did before it. With the revival of Kamen Rider in 2000 we were finally given a timely anniversary with Kamen Rider Agito: Project G4. It was nice of Hiroshi Fujioka to drop in this time around.

No expense spared on this title screen from Shin Kamen Rider

From there...it's kinda been a free-for-all. Toei just seems to throw a Kamen Rider party whenever they damn please. We have Kamen Rider Decade, the tenth of the Heisei-revival era Riders in 2009, but we can't forget the random Kamen Rider: The First franchise re-imagine of 2005.

Once you get to the 2010s, the Rider crossovers are so numerous and redundant that if you can keep track of them...please seek help. If there is a difference between Kamen Rider Decisive Heisei Battle! Burning Hearts +α and Kamen Rider Heisei Battle MAX Heisei VS Neo Heisei, you're just wonderful.

As we're just entering the definitive fiftieth anniversary of the franchise, I'm sure we'll be seeing loads more.

Check out my post on Super Sentai. That's where things *really* get wacky...



What is an Anniversary Year? [Super Sentai Edition]
Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black RX
Song Collection: Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya