I am 41 today. But am I feeling lucky? Ah, but what a tease.
We continue our yearly look at Super Sentai franchises with the 41st Super Sentai, Space Sentai Kyuranger. Starting with nine members and eventually expanding to 12, it’s the largest squad in Super Sentai history as I post this.
Is that necessarily a good thing? Kyuranger, in many ways, is a show of excess even before you consider the number of characters. There was apparent word that Bandai’s western branch, who didn’t necessarily like how recent Super Sentai (likely staring at trains, rainbows and IMAGINATION-themed ToQger) wasn’t marketable for Power Rangers adaptations, had influence on Kyuranger’s development. I wish I could verify that with a source, so for all I know it’s conjecture. But it does make a lot of sense when considering the design of the suits and the mecha.
The suits are bulkier, more like space armor. The designs are generally clean, with the robots basically giant orbs that dock into a combined robot. It does feel western-designed in that sense. And more is always better out west, right?
One of the show’s ways of providing character development is to pair up specific members with one another. You have the enjoyable/popular Balance and Naga, a thief duo. Balance is a wise-cracking robot, while Naga is from a galaxy in which emotions are heavily suppressed. (Being forced to be stoic allows Naga’s actor to do some pretty solid deadpan humor throughout the show as well.)
There’s also the robot pro wrestling champion Champ and his relationship with Stinger, the scorpion-based member from a desert galaxy – their rivalry/friendship leads through multiple story arcs. The roster also includes the universe’s greatest chef, a small child from Earth, a lupine alien, a bumbling dragon-like commander and the SPACE BU-STAR, the Phoenix Soldier. A man who thinks everything he does will be considered legendary one day.
…there’s also the leader/main red of the series, his name being Lucky. And folks, we have to talk about Lucky.
It’s no mystery that Super Sentai gives significant focus to their leaders, and Lucky is one of the more extreme examples. He is supposedly the luckiest man in the universe. He gets several upgrades throughout the series, including a super mode that changes his suit from red to white. Everything good happens around him. His catchphrase is YOSSHA LUCKY! or “Talk about lucky!” and he uses it CONSTANTLY. The other members of the team flock around him, notably Garu – who at the very end of the series travels with Lucky across the universe.
(On a side note, Garu’s voice actor is Kazuya Nakai, especially known as Roronoa Zoro in One Piece. So listening to Zoro whine and moan about Lucky BEING LUCKY and devoting his being to him is kind of hilarious to me personally. Just saying.)
But is Lucky really as awful as say, Ninninger’s Takaharu? I honestly don’t think so. He, unlike Takaharu, can at least say his catchphrase with proper vigor. And Lucky doesn’t actively bury the entire rest of the team. He’s the clear leader of the team, but the rest of the team also counts in his eyes. It’s a much lesser version of Daigo from Kyoryuger, a guy so powerful that his weakness, per one episode. was that he didn’t have any weaknesses. But that show also featured a cast of characters that were all close to/equal when it came to importance and being a badass. Daigo was the leader, but everyone else was game and ready to run wild.
Ultimately, Kyuranger was adapted for Power Rangers, but only sorta. The mecha and villains will be used for Cosmic Fury, which is actually the THIRD “season” of Power Rangers Dino Fury, an adaptation of the 43rd Super Sentai, Dinoknight Sentai Ryusoulger. (And I’ll eventually get to that in….two years?)
As a Super Sentai, Kyuranger is kind of a mess. Too many characters, plot just sort of meanders, Lucky is or isn’t the most annoying person ever, etc. But I do like most of the characters, and a solid few are assisted by some fun performances.
And I kind of enjoy how shiny Kyuranger is in general. The transformation jingles are addictive/extremely loud, every single attack has a stupid phrase, and…honestly, the final battle featuring 12 suited people fighting an ultimate evil is amazing. But I would be surprised if a team gets this large again, at least in the near future.
It’s an easy enough watch but absolutely not essential. You can tell with this and next year’s show that Toei producers were starting to just throw stuff against the wall. I guess if you like very flashy things and giant teams and YOSSHA LUCKY, give it a shot?
Next year: It’s thieves versus police as Super Sentai tries a show with two opposing teams needing to fight against a common foe. Alas, this is a show where somehow the cops come off better – entirely by accident!
As per normal with these threads, take care of yourself, treat yourself well and YOSSHA LUCKY!