Welcome to Tokusatsu Gesundheit, where this week we’re looking at specific storyline from Gosei Sentai Dairanger’s seventh and eighth episodes.
The five core Dairanger have already been assembled, bonded with their mecha, and gained the power to destroy the monsters sent by the Gorma Tribe (more on them below). This calls for an escalation on the Gorma’s part, so they send their holy man High Priest Saw and his bodyguard Iron Face Chouryou to end the rangers before they can get even more threatening. Chouryou’s mysterious ties to the Dairanger’s leader RyuuRanger will prove a dangerous liability…but to who?
Airing in Japan 1993, concurrent with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ first season, Dairanger followed the modern flare-up in the ancient war between the mystical martial artist descendants of the Dai Tribe and the monsters of the wicked Gorma Tribe. It’s the 15th Super Sentai series and the 17th Sentai series overall (the first two series weren’t “Super” and weren’t officially counted until 1995).
Power Rangers would use the Dairanger’s mecha as the Thunderzords, the Gorma Monsters and Grow Bombs in Lord Zedd’s forces, and KibaRanger (the team’s sixth member) as the White Ranger.
- Iron Face Chouryou turns out to be the father of RyuuRanger and the original holder of that title. So the long missing father of a newly minted hero with mystical spirit powers in a sci-fi (ish) setting turns out to be an incredibly powerful, black-clad enforcer for an evil empire. Said father had been a hero like his son until a deceptively powerful elderly man turned him to the dark side. Why does that sound familiar?
- This series, particularly the earlier episodes like these, use suitmation better than most any I’ve watched to date. Since kung fu is one of the series’ themes, that’s very fitting.
- Chouryou has a change of heart and takes a fatal attack from his master meant for his son. Golly, all this seems really familiar…
- High Priest Saw gets the honor of being the first monster of the week killed by the newly formed Dairenoh (all the Dairangers’ mecha combined). Since it is Chouryou’s dying advice that allows Dairenoh’s formation, it serves him right.
- The Dairanger’s mentor, Master Kaku, didn’t tell RyuuRanger his father’s identity up front for fear it would compromise him. Gosh darn it, this all seems so familiar…
The early episodes of Dairanger have STRONG Star Wars overtones, from the Gorma Tribe living in spherical metal palaces to their theme song being a lawyer-friendly take on the Imperial March to the two sides having opposing telekinetic spirit magic (one inherently good, the other inherently evil), culminating in this arc. The series leans into Eastern Mysticism and mythology a bit more as things go on, but the early episodes are about as subtle a tribute as Steam Wars.