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Super Sentai Review: Denji Sentai Megaranger

After writing my Gingaman review, it's time to write my Megaranger review. Just for starters that Megaranger is not a space themed Super Sentai. Instead, it's another Super Sentai season that tries to explore the risks of science without conscience for an entire season.

The heroes

Megaranger returns back to the "teenagers with attitude" trope but instead of "recruit teenagers with attitude" like Turboranger and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers before it, it had the vibes of a lot of series before it. The whole selection process involves the Megaranger arcade game which selected the main hero Kenta Date. However four of his schoolmates Kouichirou Endo (the de-facto leader even if he's the black ranger), Shun Namiki (Kenta's best friend), Chisato Jougasaki and Miku Imamuri get dragged into it. These teenagers with attitude have their whole lives changed all in one day. The Nezire had just begun its attack (shades of Bioman) and they suddenly get absorbed in the process. Dr. Kubota had no choice but to use the selected roster of teenagers to fight the invaders. Was he going senile when he used the Megaranger arcade game as the selection process? Did he also intend to get teenagers with attitude all along? 

Some characteristics of the heroes might bring you back to a bit of its predecessors. I felt like Kenta was named after Kenta Sato, not Kenta/Black Mask. Kouichirou like Turboranger's Daichi was more or less the running brain. Shun did have a bit of Mika Koizumi and Gai Yuki vibe when he tried to leave the group to fulfill his dream. Chisato seems to have a Mika shout-out since it's also her dream to be a photographer except it wasn't her who left the group and returned, it was Shun. If you want a full-season Mika, Carranger has it with Natsumi Shinohara. Midseason, a sixth ranger arrives with Yuusaku Hayakawa whose actor Shigeru Kanai was in B-Fighter as Daisaku Katagiri/G-Stag. He could only use his form in 2.5 minutes which he overcame that flaw at the cost of his incredible powers. Like the Biomen, they also have individual electronic abilities which they use in battle to do stuff like spot the enemy, find hostages, see through disguises and the like.

The villains

The Nezire is an invasion party from another dimension. The visible ruler is Javious whose origins aren't really explored to how he even came to be. Instead, we had Dr. Hinelar the second-in-command who ran most of the show together with his creations Yugande and Shibolena. I always felt like that there were some similarities with evil science during Hirohisa Soda's era. Dr. Hinelar is an expert in robotics and genetic manipulation as evidenced by his creations. Seeking to become the world's greatest genius he also battles the show's mentor Dr. Kubota whose science was for the betterment of mankind. Dr. Hinelar feels like he's the center of Nezire considering he really embodies the wrong direction that science could take.

The organization later had two different eras that entered into the scene. When the Nezire kept losing against the Megarangers, its ruler would later send Gurail to assist them. I felt like Gurail was similar to Saint Sword Bilgenia in Kamen Rider Black, that is a badass villain who doesn't last long. After Gurail gets written off we get the Nezirangers. The Nezirangers are a picture of the perversion of the Megarangers, twisted in every way and also unlike the Megarangers, they were so divided they trolled each other to death. This was also part of Dr. Hinelar's manipulative plot to take over Nezire which he does. Most of his actions were the anti-thesis of Dr. Kubota. Much of the struggle was on robotics. vs life (Bioman), 

Final thoughts

While watching Megaranger, I thought of the fact that it's really one of the best series I've ever seen. It might even be seen as a huge tribute to Hirohisa Soda because of how the show went. Even if Soda had no part whatsoever as a secondary writer in contrast to Carranger, his influence still shows up in the writers and producers. Producer Shigenori Takatera was also involved with Carranger somewhat basing it on Turboranger ended up taking more of Takeyuki Suzuki's ideas when he produced Megaranger. 

The writing also shows some episodes that might remind you Soda's styles. The episode where Shun befriends an android girl feels like the episode in Bioman where Shuichi befriends an android girl named Miki. The episode where Kenta befriends a monster was almost similar to the episode where Hikaru befriended Brain in Bioman. Some of Kenta's focus episodes felt like they were partly based on Riki in Turboranger in some way. A lot of Nezire's typical Super Sentai villains' coming up with convoluted and/or unbelievable plots felt liek they were taken from Soda's era and maybe in extension, from Toshiki Inoue's episodes.

With all that mentioned, I feel like recommending Megaranger as a tribute series. It's a fun ride that really reminds us of the negative consequences of science without conscience. While the idea was not fully explored in Ohranger due to real life events, fortunately Megaranger was able to explore it without being super serious unlike Flashman and Liveman. But in case you were looking for a space-themed season because you're a Power Rangers in Space fan then you might want to check out Changeman instead.

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