Offical series logo starting from 2000's Timeranger
Super Sentai is a long-running live-action Japanese SentaiTokusatsu franchise by the Toei Company based around a Five-Man Band of transforming heroes armed with Humongous Mecha.Unlike most American shows, each season is treated as its own series, introducing a new team, new costumes, a new setup, and new mecha. Each series has a unique Verse disjoint from the others, and the teamup movies are considered non-canon, though they appear to occupy their own side universe. The 35th anniversary series Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger is the first series to take place in this universe where all Sentai exist.Since 1993, each Super Sentai series from the previous year has been adapted for American and global audiences in the form of Power Rangers, using a multi-ethnic cast and splicing in the combat and mecha footage (often with many changes). This changed to two years after the 2010 hiatus in which a "reversion" of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was aired instead of an adaptation of the previous year's Sentai.To date, the franchise has undergone the following series:
All Up To You: Most of the single shot episodes involve the character getting focus that day needing to save the rest of the team from the Monster of the Week.
An Asskicking Christmas: It's nearly a norm now that there will be a Christmas episode... and monster ass-kicking WILL still occur.
With the New Year's episode next week following the norm.
Artifact Title: The Super Sentai arcade game Dice-O, so named because each Ranger's attacks were represented by six-sided dice. When the game was upgraded during Gokaiger's run, the dice were replaced by a roulette shaped like a ship's wheel.
Authority Equals Asskicking: The higher you get up the villains' chain of command, the more powerful they generally are. The leader of the Sentai also tends to be the strongest fighter.
BFG: The "Team Bazooka", which comes in one of two flavors. Sometimes it's a combination of all the team members' personal weapons (the first example of which is Battle Fever's Pentaforce) while other times it's a standalone weapon (the first example being Maskman's Shot Bomber). Though J.A.K.Q.'s Big Bomber is a BFG, it's not usually considered a Team Bazooka because it's a literal cannon and the separate pieces can't be used as weapons)
As of Gokaiger, 11 shows have use the combining weapons version (Gaoranger had the same concept applied to a BFS) while nine use separate bazookas (including the aforementioned Big Bomber). Three more teams use one of each, while the other eleven use alternative methods of finishing off a monster.
Gokaiger Goseiger 199 Heroes introduced the Super Sentai Bazooka, formed from the powers of all the teams and requiring ten Rangers (two full teams) to wield properly.
Badass: Lots. Usually, it's the leader, the second-in-command and the sixth ranger who fit the badass role perfectly.
World of Badass: Almost every hero and villain are badasses to some extent. Some series, such as Maskman and Kyoryuger, take this Up to Eleven.
Boss Subtitles: A tradition that started with Bioman, ended with Magiranger, and re-started with Kyoryuger, in which nearly every villain, whether they be a monster of the week or one of the main bad guys, would have their name displayed during their first appearance. The same goes for the heroes' and villains' mechs.
Broken Faceplate: In deadly serious battles, the villains will sometimes land a hit that cracks open the rangers' helmets, partially revealing their faces.
Camera Abuse: Starting to see use as of the 2000's, enemy explosions generally cause the battlefield "camera" to shake violently, in an attempt to hide the twitches and slight movements by heroes and mecha during finisher poses.
One exception for this is Mirai Sentai Timeranger, which had the (female) pink ranger as general leader of the team and the (male) red ranger only acting as field commander during battles.
Blue and Green trade off between The comic relief and super serious, though it's usually blue who is the serious one and green the goofball.
Black is usually the tough guy, possibly the lone wolf.
Yellow if it's female is usually masculine.
Pink tends to be the feminine one.
The Sixth Ranger tends to be the lone wolf, but may be the goofball in some cases. They often come in nonstandard colors; the one most commonly associated with them is Silver.
Crossover: Since Ohranger vs. Kakuranger, Toei has released a crossover movie each year that teams up the previous year's Super Sentai team with their direct predecessors.
Before that, there was a JAKQ vs. Goranger movie, which serves as an epilogue to the J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai TV series.
The first episode of Kousoku Sentai Turboranger was preceded by a retrospective of the last ten Super Sentai shows before it. The Turborangers appeared in the special, along with the ten preceding teams from Battle Fever to Liveman (Gorangers and the JAKQ team were not part of the special, since they were only retroactively considered part of the franchise in later years).
Super Sentai World was a short 3D movie shown at amusement parks focusing mainly on the Kakuranger team, that had them teaming up with the previous four Sentai teams (Fiveman, Jetman, Zyuranger, and Dairanger).
Taken Up to Eleven with the first episode of Gokaiger, wherein all 34 teams fight together. Gokaiger's entire premise is of a crossover nature as well.
Then there's the arcade game Dice-O (and its successor, Dice-O Deluxe), in which you can build your own dream team of Sentai heroes and have them fight against other heroes or villains from various Sentai series.
In terms of the Sentai suits themselves (not counting the girls' miniskirts), this is pretty much the norm for extra warriors. While each member is (or would be, if they were monochromatic) differentiated by their helmets, extra rangers get a few more tweaks on their suits (like the Kiba Ranger in Dairanger, who wears a black vest over his suit while his teammates' vests are white).
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the Dice-O video game, normally using rangers from different teams in a Finishing Move results in random quotes and grunts from those rangers taking the place of the usual phrases used during the finishimg move. If you use the intended team, you'll get the quotes. If you mix up the order of the rangers from the usual one... they'll still use the quotes, but they'll be said by different rangers compared to what usually happens in the show. See thesevariationsoftheBig Bomber for an example of this in action.
In the same vein, the Gokai Galleon Buster is a special card that can be used by any team; the animations are the same regardless, but each character uses their own personal Ranger Key.
The Lancer: Blue Rangers; but can also include any type of 'Lone Wolf' (Gekiranger) or those with authority issues (GoGoV). Black and Green are the second most likely to play this role. This is also the second most common role for Red Rangers who are not the leader of their respective teams.
The Smart Guy: Green or Black; or any member who relies more on brains and analytical skills. This is the second most common role for Blue and Yellow Rangers .
The Big Guy: Yellow Rangers; or any member who favors brute force and direct offense. Green and Black Rangers are the second most likely to play this role.
The Sixth Ranger: Gold or Silver Rangers, or any ranger whose uniform includes a metallic color or armor. White Rangers and Bangai (extra) heroes are the second most likely to play this role. It should be noted that being a Sixth Ranger is not a numeric designation but rather marks them as a supplementary member.(IE-Abare Killer, the Sixth Ranger of Abaranger, was actually the fifth member of his team.) Among Sentai Teams; Sixth Rangers tend to serve as secondary Lancers (Dragon Ranger of Zyuranger) Big Guys (Kiba Ranger of Dairangers) or Smart Guys (Gokai Silver of Gokaiger).
Kid-Appeal Character: In a series where The Smart Guy isn't really the smartest of the group, this is where the Kid-Appeal Character comes in. The main feature of a Sentai Kid-Appeal Character is that he's relatable by children, either he's really good with kids or most importantly, he's the youngest of the team or between the men, making him more relatable to kids, but way too competent to be considered a Tagalong Kid. This may overlap with The Smart Guy, but not always. Very much justified since the intended audience of Super Sentai are mostly kids, so they're going to need someone relatable. Some characters of this type overlap with other main roles than The Smart Guy.
Fleeting Demographic Rule: There are some original themes here and there, but sometimes the creative team rehashes past themes. So far, there have been a few Sentai themes that have been used more than once, like cars (Turboranger, Carranger and Go-Onger) and dinosaurs (Zyuranger, Abaranger and Kyoryuger).
One theme that's often explored are Animal Motifs: starting with Sun Vulcan, we've had Liveman, Jetman (which used a bird subset), Gingaman, Gaoranger, Gekiranger (to a lesser degree, as the series explores mostly Kenpo), Go-Onger (half of it anyway, as the Engines are basically vehicles that look like animals) and Go-Busters (if only because of the Buddyroids).
God Mode: This varies from era to era, but especially in recent years, it's common to see the team getting through entire battles without even getting a single scratch until around episode 3.
Good Is Not Nice: Some series have some characters that are good, but are also jerks. Turned up to eleven in Gokaiger, where 60% of the team (50% with the Sixth Ranger) has a dickish demeanor.
Henshin Hero: They mostly don't use the word itself, instead opting to use phrases that include the the word "change". However, the Ohrangers and Magirangers say it, and the Shinkengers have it written on their Shodophones.
Law of Chromatic Superiority: Not to the extent of Power Rangers, but the Reds definitely have the advantage, usually getting extra weapons and vehicles. Taken to the extreme with Abaranger's AbareMax, in which AbaRed takes some of the power from his partners, AbareBlue and AbareYellow, to gain a Super Mode.
Lighter and Softer: When compared to Kamen Rider. But not as light and soft as Power Rangers... sometimesnote A special case of YMMV: the two are hard to compare, because of Values Dissonance about what is allowed on a children's TV show between Japan and the US, allowing tropes to be used that are considered Darker and Edgier in Super Sentai that can't be used in Power Rangers (like some of the entries in the 80's), while Power Rangers cuts out a lot of Super Sentai's silliness making it Darker and Edgier. It could be called Darker And Softer vs. Lighter And Edgier.
Darker and Edgier: A few of the shows do feature a somewhat heavier tone than most, however, most notably Jetman, which was at least as dark as the original Kamen Rider towards the end.
Ohranger was also supposed to go the Darker and Edgier route until real-world disasters (including the sarin gas attack) forced the studio to quickly change it.
Part of the lighter tone recent Sentai has had in general is due to its being in a Sunday morning time slot (geared towards kids) since 1997, as opposed to a Wednesday evening time slot (more family-oriented).
Long Runners: 2011 marked 35 years of Super Sentai, with 199 Heroes uniting all of them (an expansion of the Legend War at the opening of Gokaiger's first episode). Unlike its companion franchise, Kamen Rider (which reached 40 years in 2011 and had its reunion in the OOO movie Let's go Kamen Riders), there has been a new Sentai series almost every year since the beginning, with the exception of 1978 (Battle Fever J, which was considered the first Super Sentai for years, aired in 1979).
Media Watchdog: Around 1983/84 Super Sentai series received serious retools in how the action scenes played out due to being specifically targeted by Moral Guardians for violent content due to being directly targeted at children.
Mini Dress Of Power: Every female ranger since Maskman (plus the girls in JAKQ and Denjiman before it; Fiveman and Dekaranger being the only exceptions after), over their regular bodysuit/leggings, which allows one to tell which (usually yellow) rangers were gender-swapped when the series was converted to Power Rangers. Even when they did not have them, sometimes the suits had designs reminiscent of swimsuits (as seen in Bioman and Changeman).
Mood Whiplash: Aside from Wham Episodes interspersing with BizarroEpisodes depending on the series, there's also the fact that the ending theme is quite upbeat pretty much most of the time, creating the effect when an episode ends in a dramatic note.
Worse when watching online or on DVD - the original TV broadcast would have commercials between the final scene and the end credits.
The Multiverse: While it was suspected and widely believed for a long time, Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger: Ten Years After left Continuity Snarls involving Shurikenger and one of the villains that seems to have confirmed this. How it works:
Each team generally has their own universe.
Denziman and Sun Vulcan share a universe.
The crossovers all exist in the same universe and, barring some changes, is basically combining all of the other universes. The events of Gokaiger happens in this universe.
Akibaranger heavily implies at the end of Season 2 that it is also part of the Super Sentai multiverse, but in a weird place.
There is a shared afterlife between every universe.
Finally, some seasons have multiverses of their own, such as Go-Onger (the eleven Braneworlds) and Akibaranger (the "real" world, Delusion World, and Saburo Hatte's World.)
Name's the Same: Counting only the on-duty Rangers, so far we had three Akiras (Goranger, Denziman - this one was a woman - and Maskman), two Asukas (Hurricanegernote Shurikenger's real name was Asuka Kagura and Abaranger), two Daichis (JAKQ and Turboranger), two Daigos (Dairanger and Kyoryuger), two Daigoros (Goranger and Denziman), two Gais (Jetman and Gokaiger), two Gakus (Fiveman and Gaoranger), two Goros (JAKQ and Ohranger), three Hikarus (Bioman - this one too was a girl - , Gingaman and Magiranger), two Juns (one male in Denziman, one female in Bioman), two Kais (Gaoranger and Magiranger), two Kens (Fiveman and Gekiranger), two Kentas (Maskman and Megaranger), two Kyosukes (Battle Fever J and Carranger), two Rikis (Turboranger and Ohranger), three Ryus (JAKQ, Dynaman and Jetman), two Shiros (Battle Fever J and Bioman), two Shous (Changeman and Go Go V), two Takerus (Maskman and Shinkenger), two Tatsuyas (Denziman and Timeranger), two Yosukes (Dynaman and Hurricanger), two Yokos (Carranger and Go-Busters).
By extension, one can also count two Hayates (Changeman - in which case it's Shou/Change Griffin's surname - and Gingaman - where it's a given name), two Tsubasas (Changeman - again where it's a surname, Mai/Change Phoenix's - and Magiranger, where it's a given name), two Shiraishis (Kensaku/Battle Cossack in Battle Fever and Mako/ShinkenPink in Shinkenger), two Nagisas (Maria/Miss America II in Battle Fever and Sayaka/Change Mermaid in Changeman, also it's not spelled with the same Kanji), two Akagis (Denziman and Akibaranger), three Joes (Liveman - where it was spelled the Japanese way, Jou - Go-onger, a surname also spelled the Japanese way, and Gokaiger - where it's spelled the English way), two Jins (Battle Fever J and Go-Busters) and six Hoshikawas (semi-justified: one of them is Ryu/DynaBlack from Dynaman, while the others are the all-sibling team of Fivemen).
In addition, the carrier mecha from Maskman was called the Turboranger (although the pronunciation is different; the Maskman carrier is pronounced "Turbo Runger"), while the evil sentai from Fiveman was called Gingaman.
Near Villain Victory: The last few episodes of any given series will see the Big Bad on the cusp of absolute victory before their inevitable defeat.
No Export for You: A few countries have received some form of export of the series, but most of those countries are still missing some of them. North America, for example, has Power Rangers, but that only adapts the series from Zyuranger forward. And even then, people who want the original Japanese shows in countries where Power Rangers is shown are usually out of luck, since Super Sentai is expensive to be licensed in any country, except in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
No Ontological Inertia: several cases of whatever damage the villains have caused being completely undone after their defeat. More specifically, afflictions to civilians seemingly disappear afer the MotW is brought down the first time, even if it's Not Quite Dead AND still able to return as a giant.
Only One Name: Generally used to mark characters who are outsiders to modern day Japan, like the Zyurangers, Timerangers (except, obviously, for Tatsuya and Naoto), or Goseigers.
Passing the Torch: A symbolic version. Starting with Dekaranger, the closing credits of each series finale ends with a short vignette of the current Red Ranger shaking hands with the Red Ranger of the next series.
Pink Means Feminine: The series often had a girl in the group wearing pink. Nowadays in teams without a Pink Ranger, it's often the Yellow Ranger instead. For bonus points, when the girl is the White Ranger, she tends to have pink accents in the uniform (examples being Jetman and Gaoranger, while Kakuranger is an aversion; notably, Changeman had both a Pink Ranger and a female White Ranger, and the latter's uniform did have details in pink).
Ranger: Many Super Sentai heroes aren't technically this by name, but they're all generally this in description. Vul Panther from Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan happened to be a ranger in the military sense before he even got his powers!
Real Men Wear Pink: Averted, unless Ranger Keys are involved (see below). Of the twelve colors that have been used (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink, Black, White, Silver, Gold, Orange, Violet and Gray), pink is the only one reserved solely for women. Red (Hime ShinkenRed ), blue, yellow, green (Mele), white, silver, gold (DekaGold), orange (DekaSwan) and violet (the second KyoryuViolet) have been used by both genders. As of Kyoryuger, black and gray are still male only.
Played straight in Gokaiger VS Gavan, which has a scene in which the entire team (even the men) changes into pink warriors - complete with no Mini Dress Of Power for the boys.
Red Is Heroic: All seasons have a Red Ranger, who is almost always the leader. Even when he isn't (as in Kakuranger and Timeranger), the POV is mostly centered on Red rather than the leader.
Not really, Dairanger was the first of either series to feature this trope. Lost Galaxy was the first Power Ranger series to feature this with it already also been featured in Gingaman as well. In Space subverts this trope though.
Sixth Ranger: Along with Power Rangers, Trope Namer. A once-a-year tradition that began with Zyuranger, although J.A.K.Q. and Liveman both featured additional members introduced mid-series, while Bioman and Maskman experimented with the idea of a sixth member in the form of a One-Shot Character. Some of the more recent shows that begin with just three members on the team (such as Hurricaneger and Gekiranger) have more than one additional warrior in order to round out a team of five. At some points it gets crazy; Hurricaneger ends up getting a sixth member anyway, the fifth member of Abaranger is counted as a sixth due to showing up at the usual time for a sixth to appear and joining really late, and Go-Onger has two official sixth rangers and, as of now, is unique in that regard, as other teams with more rangers choose one to be the sixth and make the others extra rangers, most notably Dekaranger, Magiranger, and Kyoryuger.
During its early seasons, Power Rangers would gender flip the yellow rangers when adapting Sentai shows with just one girl in order to have two girls for each each season, resulting in five male yellow heroes from Super Sentai being changed into female characters for Power Rangers.
The Sixth Ranger appears around Episode 17note Changed around in Dekaranger, as Doggie first transforms into Dekamaster in Episode 12 (thus giving the team their first Sixth Ranger), but the official Sixth Ranger of the team is Tetsu, who joins in the arc between episodes 21 and 23.
Roughly Episode 20 will involve the villains having another extra strong Monster of the Week, which will require the heroes to get another Humongous Mecha in order to defeat it.
The vicinity of Episode 30 will get the villains the ability to create stronger Monsters of the Week.
Anywhere from Episode 42-47, the villains get their own Humongous Mecha that's every bit as strong as the heroes'. In some cases, this is the last battle.
In the final 3 episodes the teams base (if they have one) will be destroyed (though their tech crew and mentor will be able to escape in time) and they will lose the ability to transform until the very final battle.
Also the team almost always use the same equipment year after year with different names and slightly different looks and design. (All members carry a sidearm that can transform into a melee weapon. All members have personal weapons, Red almost always has a sword, and the others vary but usually at least one member has a stronger ranged weapon and another has a spear and one member will have a very weird weapons like a flute or fan or something. The team always has a big cannon to finish off the monster off on the ground. The trademark Humongous Mecha always has a sword to finish off monsters, but Mid Season upgrades and combinations of the two will focus on firepower instead.
A few series have deviated from this. Most recently:
Magiranger had staffs that transformed for the male members into personal weapons,
Gekiranger had two personal weapons for each of the core 3 members.
Gokaiger had the rangers have identical swords and guns.
Go-busters did the same as Gokaiger for the core 3.
Also fights follow similar formulas year after year. Monster attacks civilians. Team has initial face off against the monster in which it uses its gimmick against the team which disables all members except the character getting focus that week and they need to retreat. Focus character researches weakness/gets confidence back/does some other Character Development thing. Round two, focus character beats up the monster and frees the other members. The use the team attack to knock the monster out. Make My Monster Grow. Mecha battle. Scene with group at the end.
One hero (usually but not always male, but almost never the Red) will encounter and fall in love with a mysterious person, who by the end of the episode turns out not to be human and either leaves the show or dies. If it's the latter, cue a cry of This Is Unforgivable at whatever bad guy killed her (or him, if the episode's hero is female) followed by a cathartic Curbstomp Battle. Sometimes overlaps with the above plot, sometimes not. Usually written by Naruhisa Arakawa, who has written episodes of nearly every Super Sentai since 1991 and likes to write this plot into nearly every series he writes for.
The heroes may find and befriend a Monster of the Week who doesn't want to harm anybody. They are usually forced to destroy the monster at the end of the episode. It also usually ends up being a Tear Jerker for the heroes and the viewers. However, it may also be a Crowning Episode of Funny and, in this case, the monster will end the episode alive.
The heroes fight off Mooks unmorphed while dressed up as medieval samurai. Or cowboys. For the latter's case, this always happen: Most rangers are owning the mooks, but the token cool guy will nearly blast themselves by accident for comic relief. The women of the group will knock down the Mooks using a cute wink (This trend started in Denshi Sentai Denziman, especially the 'wink knockdown'. The comic relief by the cool guy started out by Dai Sentai Goggle Five, and it keeps getting better and better, especially in Dengeki Sentai Changeman. You'll more often see this in earlier Sentai, though, the last time used being in Timeranger vs GoGoV).
The characters prepare for some sort of festival or event (usually New Year, Tanabata or a summer festival), requiring them to dress in gorgeous traditional clothing
The characters are forced to go to Kyoto and/or go back in time to Edo-era Kyoto, complete with gratuitous Scenery Porn. This one has a funny subversion in Dekaranger, where the characters voluntarily pretend they are in Edo-era Kyoto to calm an alien (not an Alienizer) who had a brief freak-out with modern-day Kyoto.
The Christmas episodes mentioned in An Asskicking Christmas don't need to happen (Shinkenger didn't necessarily have one - the plot is occupied by the final battle against Akumaro instead - but it was shown that they celebrate Christmas there), but the New Year episodes do (New Year's Day in Japan has a higher cultural significance than Christmas).
One of the rangers meets up with an old scientist friend who has made a deal with the villains or has otherwise lost their way while trying to advance their research. Through The Power of Friendship, the focus ranger helps their friend see the error of their ways (often by reminding them of why they pursued a career in science in the first place) and inspires them to redeem themselves.
A monster who turns people into inanimate objects, usually dolls.
A body swap episode.
An episode in which a parent or grandparent visits and tries to set up an arranged marriage with one of the rangers. Usually, but not always, it will be one of the girls, and in that case the male rangers inevitably pose as suitors to sabotage the interview.
An episode with a Monster of the Week who challenges a Ranger to honorable combat, and always ends up cheating.
As for the series themselves, starting with Hurricaneger a 5 year pattern seems to have developed:
Year 1: Experimentation (Hurricaneger, Gekiranger, Go-Busters). Attempts to play with and deconstruct the Super Sentai formulas are tried and tested, like rival teams or Darker and Edgier takes. Also, it follows the Three Plus Two team scheme and always introduces new colors to the core team.
Year 3: Action (Dekaranger, Shinkenger). Now fully back in track with the Strictly Formula for the next three years, it instead puts focus on a "cool" motif that's associated with battle by default, which reflects in the improved combat choreography that gives this series an intense action feel.
Year 4: Fantasy (Magiranger, Goseiger). Where the previous series put focus in action, this one puts focus in mystical powers and abilities. Expect Elemental Powers and less Testosterone Poisoning than usual.
Year 5: Anniversary (Boukenger, Gokaiger). The apparently mandatory Homage series that Toei seems to have decided to hold on every fifth year, it features collection elements and Mythology Gags by the bushel, subtlety may vary. Gaoranger was a precursor to this type of series; however, its more blatant Mythology Gags were cut during production and ended up as All There in the Manual elements.
Of course, with a Long Runner such as this series, expect Subversions to occur from time to time.
Stock Sound Effects: Super Sentai is known to reuse some of the same sound effects in multiple series.
Stuff Blowing Up: The first explosion in Super Sentai history occurs two seconds into the opening of Goranger. Between the colored post-transformation explosions behind the heroes and the huge detonations of defeated monsters, it's a long-held tradition.
Title Scream: A tradition that began with Goggle-V, although they don't scream the full title until Bioman. From then on, prior to Tokumei Sentai Go Busters, only Kakuranger averted this, with something we could call Title Sing (as it is the first line of the opening theme).
Go-Busters changed it's OP mid-series and no longer averts this trope.
Transformation Trinket: Known throughout the series as Changers, these vary from wrist-mounted ones in early Sentai to handheld ones resembling cell phones in the Heisei Sentai.
Translation Matchmaking: Ever since Abaranger, Super Sentai is dubbed in South Korea under the title of Power Rangers. Funnily enough, Abaranger and Dekaranger had the same titles as their respective Americancounterparts.