A new Super Sentai show entitled Lupin Ranger vs. Patoranger will debute on February 11, 2018. It will focus on two teams of Sentai heroes facing off. It is the 42nd work of the Super Sentai series.
The Showa Era introduced the concept that “Super Sentai teams contain five people and there is only one Kamen Rider”. In recent tokusatsu shows, the amount of characters has slowly increased with no ending number in sight. Seeing the heroes continue to become more diverse in the future.
Himitsu Sentai Gorenger contained five heroes, but Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan cut the squad size back to three. There was also a single hero, Space Sheriff Gavan, who was the first hero in the Metal Hero series.
Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger had a team of five people at the start, but then for the first time, expanded into a team of six. Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger would end up with ten heroes. The most recent story, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, it was announced from the start that the show would feature nine team members.
This expansion of heroes isn’t unique to the Super Sentai series. Recently, Kamen Rider has also contained an expanding cast. Kamen Rider originally only contained one hero, but as the Heisei Era rolled in, the casts increased. In Kamen Rider Agito, three main heroes were introduced. Kamen Rider Ryuki had a cast of thirteen Riders who had to fight until there was one winner.
In the movies, it’s common that several heroes appear from the past and even in the future. Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Ultra Super Hero Taisen featured more than 100 heroes.
It’s not just cast sizes changes. Characters are changing as well.
In Super Sentai shoes, each character is represented by a color. Since Gorenger began, it has often followed a basic format:
- Red – The leader and a hot-blooded man
- Blue – The fasted warrior with the coolest skill set
- Yellow – Goofy mood maker
- Pink – The female heroine
- Green – A calm and mysterious figure
Choudenshi Bioman changed the tradition that only pink could be the female fighter by making her represent yellow instead. If pink was missing, a woman could represent blue or white. In Kyuranger, pink is a female android but green is a female. Now, when older men watch the series, they’re surprised to see the gender and color roles change through the years.
During early years, there were actors who had to be replaced due to adult circumstances. Naoya Makoto, who portrayed Tsuyoshi Kaijou/AkaRanger in Gorenger, had to take a brief hiatus from the show due to other stage show appearances. He later appeared at the end of the show. Some actors were also forced to change out due to poor viewer ratings and again, the schedule of the actors.
Kamen Rider faced a similar fate when Hiroshi Fujioka, who portrayed the hero Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider, was seriously injured on set. Takeshi Sasaki had to temporarily take over as Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2. Sasaki turned out to be very successful and the two continued the show together. It was a rare event where the change of actors was a positive for the overall show.
What do these changes mean for the future of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider?
Now tokusatsu is known as a gateway for young and upcoming ikemen actors. Kamen Rider Drive’s hero Ryoma Takeuchi exploded in popularity. Fumika Baba, who portrayed the villain Medic, made her acting debut in the show and got her big break there. Increasing the size of tokusatsu casts has been positive for both men and women trying to step into the entertainment world as a young newcomer. After they’ve become a star, the brand value of tokusatsu will also increase. Not to mention that adult fans, such as fathers and mothers will also increase.
Speaking of parents, with an increase of heroes means the number of character toys will also expand. Sponsors and toy manufacturers will be thrilled, but it’s expected that it will become a burden for the parents of young children. Children will request the toys of their favorite heroes, which may mean an economic burden for children. There’s a high possibility that there might be a “crisis of the wallet” will occur if cast sizes for tokusatsu heroes increase.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that bigger casts will make children happy. We can only wait to see how Lupinranger vs. Patoranger will change the future for Super Sentai and what’s in store for Kamen Rider later this year.
Article Sources: Jomo Shinbun