Episode 01: Makka na taiyou! Muteki na Gorenjya! / Bright red sun! Invincible Goranger!
Original air date: Saturday 5 April 1975
I have started watching Himitsu Sentai Goranger – finally! A big part of the decision came from the fact that I am reading the Goranger manga collection recently published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. Makes sense that I’d finally watch the show along with it.
And I love it already.
Goranger or Gorenger?
This is a difficult one for some people. The Seven Seas Entertainment manga collection refers to the show as Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. So does Rangerwiki. I don’t understand this, though. Fans and localisers seem very inconsistent about whether they translate, transcribe or romanise words.
The katakana in the title is GO + RE + N + JYAA. It is clearly a combination of the Japanese word which can be written in romaji as “go” and the English word “ranger”. If people are going for accuracy, why change the JYAA to “ger” but not change the RE to “ra”? I’m not overly fussed about how people do it, but do it consistently.
I am going with Goranger because that’s what it is. GO + RANGER. They are rangers. Where it can be tricky is for series like Boukenger, but that is a very different case – it is combining “bouken” with the N + JYAA from “ranger”. The show is Himitsu Sentai Goranger, and the heroes are Akaranger, Aoranger, and so on.
I like the introductions of each of the heroes as the Black Cross Army destroy each of EAGLE’s bases across Japan. I could immediately see what each character was like. Akaranger is passionate and skilled; Aoranger is skilled, but focused on the skill rather than compassion; Kiranger is focused on compassion and his skill comes to support that; Momoranger… um… is a girl, so she rides horses?; and Midoranger is nice and caring and that gets him through.
Each also has a clear challenge. Akaranger will need to learn how to lead and focus on skill, not just passion. Aoranger will need to learn compassion. Kiranger will need to stop relying on stubbornness and strength. Momoranger… is a girl…? Midoranger will need to learn that sometimes you need to make tough choices.
I didn’t think I’d like Kiranger, because while Yellows are always my favourite, they tend to be quite disciplined ones. MagiYellow, GoukaiYellow, Yellow Four II, KajikiYellow and probably even Yellow Four I all have the core Yellow traits but are also very dedicated to what they do – and usually because of love or commitment of someone or something else.
I thought Kiranger would just be a “I’m fat and stubborn and funny so things will work out!” character but I was wrong. He certainly has elements of that, as many Yellows do, but like the Yellows I really like it is established as being underpinned by hard work. An easy guy to underestimate, as we see from his fight training early on and his curry eating later on…
I like the bad guys in general. Black Cross Fuhrer is pretty intimidating. The Zolders are actually quite scary, too, as they use guns. They aren’t generic ninjas with random energy blasts or anything like that – they are clearly people, in uniform, firing guns and planting bombs. It is confronting – much moreso than monsters-of-the-week or alien cannon fodder.
Warrior Mask scares me a little bit, but that is mainly because of the manga (at least the Weekly Shonen Sunday version) where he kinda owned the Gorangers in their first outing. If the TV version is anywhere near as capable, he’ll be fun to watch.
TV vs manga
Having started reading the manga before starting the show, it was interesting to compare things. I like Snack Gon, and the guy who runs it. I also liked the elaborate way of getting into their base, and Aoranger being several steps ahead of the team. They are very similar in the manga, and I hope Shinmei gets the same comeuppance he got there.
I also like that Midoranger and Kiranger have their riddles. The riddle in the manga was a basic one: “Imagine a square with corners A, B, C and D. It takes 90 minutes to run from A to B, 90 minutes to run from B to C, 90 minutes to run from C to D, but an hour and a half to go from D to A. Why?” The one in the first episode is much trickier: “What kind of lamp can’t be lit?” Poor Kiranger asks everyone for the answer, even a Zolder as he defeats him – the Zolder finally tells him it is a trump, which makes no sense to me whatsoever.