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Anime: Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger
In this (arguably) Spiritual Successor
to Kyatto Ninden Teyandee
, life is peaceful for the citizens
of the utopian country of Mugen. The country and its citizens are connected to Heaven by the Novel Pole, a gigantic totem pole composed of the "worlds" of the beloved stories, fairy tales, and other assorted classics of the human world; these stories are thus called "Novel Worlds." Suddenly, a threat appears — a mysterious and evil catwoman known as Nyanma scatters her minions, the Jyarei Monsters, to the Novel Worlds to corrupt them, which will eventually result in their destruction and thus the destruction of the Novel Pole, which (being the only thing holding the country of Mugen up above the ocean) would result in drowning all of Mugen beneath the sea. So Princess Aura, the de facto ruler of Mugen, enlists the aid of the Bakuretsu ETO Rangers, a team of 12 animal heroes corresponding to the 12 signs of the eastern zodiac. Using the flying machine Kirinda, our heroes must travel to the Novel Worlds, reveal the Jyarei Monsters and stop their corruption, and put an end to the threat of Nyanma.
This anime series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Tart
- Always Save the Girl: In episode 16, the Novel World of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse has been corrupted into a martial arts contest. Bakumaru ends up competing in the contest, which has marrying an attractive female mouse as the prize but actually it's because the Jyarei Monster is likely to be competing in the contest. Bakumaru makes it to the final round against a lizard warrior using a whip, but the lizard is, of course, the Jyarei Monster, and he has his buddies kidnap Cream with the threat to do away with her unless Bakumaru throws the fight. To ensure Cream's safety, Bakumaru intentionally lets the monster beat the tar out of him until Cream escapes, shows up, and cheers Bakumaru on.
- Badass: Most of the Etorangers count, obviously. A side-character example is the corrupted version of Little Red Riding Hood.
- Bait and Switch: Twice, and both by the same villain, too! The first time, in episodes 12 and 13, the Etorangers go into the Novel World of the Three Little Pigs, and fight against a giant mechanical wolf. They eventually beat the wolf, so the Three Little Pigs should go back to normal...except they don't. What's going on?! Actually, it turns out this is actually the Novel World of the Wolf and Seven Lambs; Genen, one of Nyanma's four subordinates, didn't just corrupt the Novel World into bizarro-ville like the Jyarei Monsters did, she corrupted the Novel World until it looked like the normal version of a completely different Novel World! The second time, in episodes 20 and 21, the Etorangers visit the corrupted version of Puss in Boots. The king in the story is much nastier than usual, so obviously he's the evil one! That turns out to be true; the king is actually Gousen, one of Nyanma's four subordinates, in disguise. The Etorangers do really well against Gousen at first, but the battle turns against them when it turns out Puss in Boots is also an evil subordinate: Genen!
- Berserker Tears: Urii has a variant. He doesn't technically "go berserk" when he cries...but whenever he cries (which he does when scared, he's a little boy after all), the crystal on his chest fires a huge laser beam; this has actually defeated one or two Jyarei Monsters by itself.
- Big Bad: Nyanma. However, as it turns out near the end of the series, the real Big Bad is Bagi, the evil cat spirit/demon/goddess/whatever.
- Bull Seeing Red: Hols' main contribution to the Etorangers. Whenever he sees red, he transforms into an actual bull instead of an anthropomorphic one.
- But Now I Must Go: Two tragic examples. Souffle falls in love with a clothing store worker named George in the corrupted world of Cinderella, and Urii becomes best friends and playmates with the corrupted version of Little Red Riding Hood (mostly because Red thought Urii was cute). Neither the love nor the friendship ends well, because the Etorangers have to fix the worlds so the Novel Pole won't be destroyed and the worlds along with them, but the process erases the memories of the inhabitants of the worlds so their stories can continue properly. Souffle has to leave George behind since George will forget her once Cinderella is fixed, and Urii has to leave Little Red Riding Hood behind since she'll forget him when her world is fixed.
- Character Development: Intentionally averted with Urii! He breaks down in tears whenever he's scared or upset, so that would be prime fuel for a lesson against being a crybaby, right? Nope; Urii needs to be a crybaby or his main weapon, his chest crystal that fires laser beams but only when Urii cries, won't work and he'd be useless to the team. So the show intentionally devotes no effort to helping Urii get past his flaws, since for him they're necessary.
- There's a real example with Bakumaru, though, when he has to get past his crippling fear of cats so he can help the team.
- ChildhoodFriends: In one episode, in the corrupted world of Pinocchio, the titular Pinocchio is childhood friends with a sweet and innocent girl named Meru. Unfortunately this friendship is broken when one of Nyanma's Jyarei Monsters corrupts Pinocchio into a golden-bodied Jerkass, but Meru instantly forgives Pinocchio when Pinocchio apologizes afterwards, and they're friends again.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The country of Mugen, including Princess Aura, worship a god called the Great God Goal. He's a representation of everything positive in the human imagination, and stands for courage, love, and creativity; he's technically the ruler of the Novel Worlds just as Aura is the ruler of Mugen.
- Dare to Be Badass: In the world of Peter Pan, the Jyarei Monster disguised as Tinkerbell has hypnotized Peter Pan into being afraid of heights. Pakaracchi the Horse befriends Peter Pan for the rest of the episode due to Pakaracchi sympathizing with Peter Pan's desire to be a strong youth. Then during a fight with Captain Hook, Wendy is put into danger and Peter Pan must rediscover his flying powers to rescue her. So Pakaracchi gives Peter Pan a huge speech about the power of youth enabling one to face his fears, especially for a pretty lady like Wendy, and this inspires Peter Pan to overcome a fear of heights and fly.
- Did Not Get The Man: Tart has a crush on Gaoh, but Gaoh does not return her feelings. Tart moves on, to Pochiro according to the interpretation of some Japanese fans.
- Eastern Zodiac: The whole gimmick of the show. Each of the heroes has a numbered badge corresponding to the order in which he/she finished the "race to determine the Etorangers" (which actually happened before the series began; the race you see in the first episode is more of a sporting event, and in fact the fact you don't know right away what happened in the actual race becomes a plot point later). Of course, the heroes coincidentally finished in the same order that their corresponding animals finished in the eastern Zodiac legend. They are:
- #1, Bakumaru, the Mouse
- #2, Hols, the Ox
- #3, Gaoh, the Tiger
- #4, Cream, the Rabbit
- #5, Drago, the Dragon
- #6, Nyorori, the Snake
- #7, Pakaracchi, the Horse
- #8, Souffle, the Sheep
- #9, Monk, the Monkey
- #10, Tart, the Chicken
- #11, Pocchiro, the Dog
- #12, Urii, the Boar
- The famous "exception" to the eastern zodiac, the Cat, who in the legend was disqualified from the race. Of course, this series has Chocolat, the Cat who was disqualified from the race; this is a spoiler because, in part, that's what turned Chocolat into the villain Nyanma.
- Finishing Move: Bakumaru gets one later in the series, learning a technique called the Bakuretsu Shippuken, where he spins around like a ball with his laser sword outstretched like a pinwheel of death.
- Four Is Death: Later in the series, Nyanma stops relying on the Jyarei Monsters and splits off four parts of herself to become evil cat subordinates, who then become "boss fights" for the Etorangers.
- Freudian Excuse: Nyanma has one. She used to be Chocolat, a friend of the soon-to-be Etorangers and Gaoh's best friend in particular. However, due to a giant misunderstanding (see Poor Communication Kills), Chocolat ended up disqualified from the race that could have qualified her to be an Etoranger and she mistakenly thought Princess Aura was responsible. That turned her against the citizens of Mugen, and out of revenge she sought power from Bagi, the evil cat spirit. Bagi then turned Chocolat into Nyanma, granting her the power she sought.
- Gender-Blender Name: Kirinda used to be a reporter named Lydia who was killed and then magically revived as Kirinda. Lydia was a male reporter, however.
- Hot-Blooded: Bakumaru and Pakaracchi.
- Infant Immortality: In the events described under the spoilered Kill Em All below, Nyanma manages to kill almost all of the Etorangers. Only three are left, and of course, Urii is one of those three, because of this trope as a meta-reason, and as the in-story reason he was standing behind three other Etorangers and thus didn't get hit with the killing blast, but Nyanma thought he did and left him for dead.
- The Ingenue: Souffle.
- Kill 'em All: Shockingly enough, Nyanma almost manages to do this! First, Nyanma's final evil subordinate actually manages to get Hols and Drago killed when he collapses his lair as he dies, and Hols gets trapped and Drago doesn't manage to get Hols away in time. Then, when the Etorangers fight Nyanma herself, Nyanma manages to trap Nyorori, Souffle, Pakaracchi, and Urii in a house and then she kills first Nyorori, then Souffle and Pakaracchi. Urii survives, however, because he was standing behind the others and thus didn't actually get hit with the blast, and Nyanma mistook him for dead. Later, Nyanma aims a killing blast at Monk, but Pochiro intercepts and is killed instead. This causes Monk to go berserk and ferociously attack Nyanma, but Nyanma wins and kills Monk. Gaoh attacks next and actually almost wins, but he can't bring himself to kill his old friend Chocolat, so Nyanma blasts Gaoh over a cliff and Tart, trying to rescue him, merely falls in herself so they both fall to their deaths. That's 9 out of 12 Etorangers dead; however, Bakumaru, Cream, and Urii survive because they finally manage to get through to Nyanma that Bagi, rather than Princess Aura, was responsible for Nyanma's disqualification. Also, the Great God Goal manages to revive all the others as part of a gambit anyway.
- Laser Blade: Bakumaru's main weapon. Interestingly, he doesn't start out the series with it; instead, near the end of episode 2, Momotaro gives Bakumaru his laser sword as a gift (it makes sense in context; the world of Momotaro had been corrupted into a sci-fi futuristic battle in space).
- The Leader: Bakumaru. He has the necessary hot-blood and determination traits, and every time the Etorangers need to visit a Novel World and Kirinda must pick four or five members to go, Bakumaru is chosen in the lineup almost every single friggin' time. There was exactly one episode where Bakumaru wasn't picked, and Souffle ended up taking the lead on that particular mission.
- Manly Tears: Pakaracchi, sometimes.
- Monster of the Week: The Jyarei Monsters. This is a variant of the trope, however: they're disguised as characters of the Novel Worlds themselves, so before our heroes can do battle they first have to use the Jyarei Mirror on the disguised monster to get him/her to reveal his/her true form. Sometimes it's the obvious culprit, such as the Jyarei monster disguised as the evil stepmother in Cinderella, who corrupted the prince's royal ball into a "disco dance contest" so the prince can't marry Cinderella, but sometimes it's someone they don't suspect at first, such as the Jyarei Monster disguised as the rhinoceros waiter in the corrupted "gangster car race" version of the Tortoise and the Hare, who wasn't revealed the first time Bakumaru used the Jyarei Mirror on the entire bar because he was standing behind him while he was using it. Still other times, the culprit acts in hiding so while the audience knows who it is our heroes don't even meet the monster at first, such as the Jyarei Monster disguised as the cricket in the corrupted version of Pinocchio, who corrupted the world by advising Pinocchio to have evil desires instead of good ones.
- Official Couple: Bakumaru and Cream.
- Once an Episode: Since having all 12 Etorangers visit a Novel World at the same time would be disruptive to the world, Kirinda picks about four or five Etorangers each mission by using a slot-machine reel.
- Papa Wolf: Gaoh has a weakness for young, cute girls in distress because they remind him of his long-lost best friend, Chocolat, so he gets more dangerous than usual if you threaten one.
- Panty Shot: Only once. In one episode, as Kirinda is sending the chosen Etorangers down to the Novel World enclosed in glass bubbles as usual, Souffle is accidentally put in the bubble the wrong way and her panties are showing to everyone. Pakaracchi makes a crack about the springtime of youth, and Cream gets angry on Souffle's behalf (because Souffle is too busy being embarrassed) and intentionally starts crashing into everyone else's bubbles so they can't concentrate on Souffle's panties.
- Playboy Bunny: One of Cream's costume changes. She uses it to serve as a distraction, but it either fails (like against the Hare in "Tortoise and the Hare") or she misinterpreted what sort of distraction they actually needed (like against a giant wolf mecha).
- Poor Communication Kills: Especially if the poor communication's been engineered. Before the race to determine the Etorangers began, Chocolat the cat received a visit from a hologram of Princess Aura, telling her to start the race right then so she could finish the race as Number One. The problem with that was it wasn't Princess Aura, it was a vision sent by Bagi as a trick. That caused Chocolat to start the race too early, which meant she was unintentionally cheating and the finish line was programmed not to let her pass. Chocolat didn't realize her vision of Aura was not real, and thus she mistakenly concluded that Aura had deliberately set her up to be humiliated as a dirty trick just to exclude her. That caused her to seek power from Bagi as revenge, turning her into Nyanma, and the rest is history.
- The Prankster: Monk.
- Refused by the Call: Chocolat was disqualified from the race, and thus also disqualified from becoming an Etoranger like she dreamed. But as it turns out, the call didn't actually refuse her; because of a trick by Bagi the evil cat spirit involving a fake Princess Aura, Chocolat disqualified herself from the call and didn't realize it due to lack of information.
- The Reveal: The Big Bad, Nyanma, is actually the team's former friend, Chocolat, who was corrupted by Bagi after Bagi tricked her into thinking Princess Aura had wronged her. There's another one that's almost as important: Kirinda, their ship's computer, used to be a reporter named Lydia, who got killed by a stray blast during Chocolat's transformation into Nyanma and was then magically revived as Kirinda.
- Smug Snake: Nyorori's a literal Smug Snake, but he's a non-villainous example, as part of a team of 12 heroes.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Bakumaru and Monk get on each other's nerves. Monk is frequently at odds with Pochiro as well. Despite this, they manage to work together as a team as part of the Etorangers. It gradually evolves into just plain "teamwork" without the "teeth clenched" part; in fact, Pochiro intercepts a lethal blast meant for Monk, and Monk's reaction is to go berserk and attack Nyanma viciously, only to get himself killed.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Souffle in episode 3. It doesn't end well for her; she's an Etoranger, so she has to leave the guy she had a crush on while visiting the Novel World of Cinderella.
- Tomboy: Tart, although she can be girly and feminine when discussing matters of, for example, romance.
- Transformation Trinket: Gaoh can transform into an actual tiger instead of an anthropomorphic one by putting on sunglasses and shouting "Tora Tora Eye!" Drago can transform into an actual dragon by using a ball with a miniature dragon inside it called "Adult Drop". Cream's magical carrot-shaped stick can transform her into various disguises.
- True Companions: The Etorangers, natch.
- Verbal Tic: Nyorori keeps adding his name, "nyorori", to the end of his sentences.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Hols in episode 11 unwittingly ends up wearing a dress in the Novel World of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Among the Etorangers, Cream has shades of this, but Souffle is the straightest example. There's also a couple of side characters who fit this archetype: Meru, Pinocchio's childhood friend, and the princess in the corrupted "Japanese Edo period" version of Aladdin.
- Youth Freak: Pakaracchi, although not quite to the extent of certain green-glad characters from a certain anime series about ninjas.