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

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