Fighting for traffic safety! Gekisou Sentai, Caaaaaaaaaaarranger!
Gekisō Sentai Carranger (Extreme Rush Squadron Carranger) is the twentieth installment in the Super Sentai series, airing from 1996 to 1997. It's about a group of idiot workers at Pegasus Garage who use the power of car-shaped constellations to fight a group of idiot aliens called "Space Biker-Gang Bowzock".note Space Bosozoku Bowzock, "bosozoku" being the name for biker gangs. A comparatively punny name would be "Space Biker-Gang Byekagan".As the twentieth installment of the franchise, it's an Affectionate Parody of Super Sentai and all the tropes it has, while being a full Super Sentai series in and of itself. At the time, Super Sentai was under serious threat of cancellation due to falling ratings, and popular opinion is that the executives simply did not give a damn and allowed the writers to do whatever the hell they thought they could get away with... resulting in a series so ridiculous, comedic and inexplicably popular that it saved the franchise.Adapted in the US as Power Rangers Turbo. They attempted to make a serious series out of it at first (using the most goofy monster suits and stock footage imaginable) but gave up halfway.
Kyousuke Jinnai/Red Racer: The idiotleader; He's a test-driver who usually ignores his duties just to drive his boss' car.
Calling Your Attacks: Parodied in one episode. In the Monster vs. Mecha battle, the villain (SS Paaman) prepares his ultimate attack. Unfortunately, its name is so long that the Carrangers kill him before he can pull it off. (See Shout-Out below for why it's so long.)
Cool Bike: For the first time in the franchise, no one in the main team had a motorcycle (instead they had go-karts). However, Signalman rode one called the Polispeeder.
Cool Car: In addition to the aforementioned Speeder Machine go-karts (one for each member), the Ranger Vehicles and VRV Machines that composed the team's mecha naturally filled this role. They also had two sentient cars named the Pegasus Thunder and the Dragon Cruiser.
Custom Uniform: A partial version, since the differences were a male version and a female version.
Eyecatch: Both before and after the break, the eyecatch features a zig-zagging line, which is revealed to be the Vehicle (or vehicles if more than one are featured) of the hero of the episode which stops as "Carranger" appears on one of the straight lines of the pattern in English. In the post-break version, we hear a small piece of the Carranger theme in instrumental. The footage from these eyecatches were used in the second half of Power Rangers Turbo which makes the only Power Rangers season to also use the eyecatches from Super Sentai. From episode 32, the eyecatch changes: the same "zig-zag" and vehicle is seen at first, but only at the start of the eyecatch, where it opens into a split screen showing the Carranger tied to the color/vehicle, as well as both the vehicle and humanoid version of their VRV Machine.
Finishing Move: The Carrangers all have a unique move, but rely on the Giga Formula/Booster for that last hit.
A Mech by Any Other Name: The Ranger Vehicles and the VRVnote Victory Ranger Vehicle Machines (which could transform into humanoid forms called "VRV Fighters").
Combining Mecha: Notable for having the only Super Sentai mecha combination to date that is made up entirely of transforming robots. Also notable is that RV Robo and VRV Robo's limbs are interchangeable, a combination scheme that would later become a staple of Sentai robots in the 00s.
Red Vehicle + Green Vehicle + Blue Vehicle + Yellow Vehicle + Pink Vehicle = RV Robo
V Fire + V Dump + V Police + V Dozer + V Rescue = VRV Robo
Transforming Mecha: In addition to the aforementioned VRV Machines, Signalman's Sirender patrol car could transform into a robot as well, while the Vic Trailer, the giant trailer that stores the five VRV Machines, can transform into a robot that supports the VRV Robo in combat. White Racer's Radiecar Robo (which transforms from a car into a Mega Neko) is a parody of this concept.
Make My Monster Grow: The single silliest method of this in Super Sentai history: the Bowzock eat imoyoukan (a real Japanese snack food made from jellied sweet potatoes) to grow giant. Better yet, only fresh, hand-made imoyoukan (and from a PARTICULAR store, too, for even more comedy) makes them grow; factory-made pre-packaged and/or stale imoyoukan makes them shrink instead.
Pre-packaged imoyoukan and its shrinking property becomes a Chekhov's Gunas it is used against the Big Bad in the final episode in order to depower him.
Does White Racer's henshin remind anyone else of Sailor Moon's?
Agony of the Feet: Happens to Kyousuke when he meets Pegasus Thunder for the first time.
All There in the Manual: Parodied; the Carrangers themselves have to refer to the manual in mid-battle to figure out how the Formula Nova and Ranger Vehicles work. This has proven flawed at least once, when a copy of the manual once fell into a fire in the middle of a battle.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: In every episode after the next episode preview, one of the characters gives safety tips for pedestrians (of course, 'cause kids are still not legally entitled to drive).
Butt Monkey: Most of the characters to some extent, but this seems to be the white Wumper's only reason for existing.
By-the-Book Cop: Signalman, so much so he sometimes ends up being a nuisance to the Carrangers. He once let a Bowzock kidnap Ichitaro just because the street crossing light was red!!! This causes him to veer into Lawful Stupid every so often.
Catch Phrase: Signalman's "Daremo tooranai..."note "Nobody's passing...", since he always chooses to set the Kobaan Base up in deserted places, which even Ichitaro imitates.
Colony Drop: Exhaus tries to crash Bowzock's base into the Earth. This gets stopped by Sirender, of all things. It gets reversed on him, but doesn't quite kill him.
Cool Cars: The whole point of the show. (In-show as well, since the Ranger Vehicles were based off of the Carrangers' "Dream Car"... models.)
Cool Old Guy: VRV Master, with a bit LOT of Large Ham involved. And while he turns out to have brought them the Victory Ranger Vehicles in VicTrailer, the Carranger's first impression?
Naoki: "He's suspicious..."
Yoko: "He goes right past suspicious and into creepy..."
Dating Catwoman: When Kyousuke realizes Zonnette likes him (but not that she likes Red Racer, regardless of who is wearing the helmet), he decides to try and make things right between them. It doesn't work at first.
Death by Origin Story: Subverted in the very first episode; after Dappu fails to recruit the future Carrangers, he dies at the hands of Bowzock. This motivates them to avenge his death; turns out Dappu faked his death to get them to do so. He even gets up right away and scolds the newly-motivated rangers for not cooperating earlier.
Finishing Move: Redefined with the RV Robo, which doesn't use an energy sword-style finisher - the RV Sword is, instead, something of a scaled-up Viblade. RV Robo dashes towards the Bowzock while the sky turns dark, starts spinning like a top, crashes into the Bowzock really-pointy-sword-first, then ends up in an awesome pose while the Bowzock explodes behind it.
Actually, the blade does seem to glow a little, or at least change color, when they spin.
Fun with Acronyms: When lined up, the first kana of the heroes' surnames spell JI-DO-U-SHI-YA, as in jidōsha, Japanese for "car".
However the two teams made peace and the Carrangers sacrificed their wish (a vehicle to that can travel the universe) in order to give the Megarangers the necessary power to win their current battle so it's more like they are Jerks With Hearts of Gold
Heavy Sleeper: Dappu's race goes into hibernation for a few weeks per year, and he does so once about halfway through the show. This causes problems since, being mentor to a group of Idiot Heroes, he's effectively their leader...
Heel-Face Turn: All the main Bowzock; the only two exceptions are Ritchhiker and Exhaus, who both die.
Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted humorously in the first episode by Dappu, who played dead just to get the Carrangers to transform.
Karmic Death: The first Gorotsuki, BB Donpa, a musical themed bad guy, plotted to annoy other aliens into destroying Earth by literally conducting a symphony of honking cars around the Earth. He escapes getting destroyed by the Giga Formula, only to be blasted to bits by his fellow aliens for making too much noise.
Milestone Celebration: The show celebrated the 20th anniversary of Super Sentai, despite not being a full-fledged tribute like Boukenger would be ten years later (actually, it was not even a tribute at all, though a parody is also a sort of homage).
Poke the Poodle: The villains are a gang with no regard for traffic laws, and blow up planets for the lulz.
Perhaps the best example is when we're introduced to the Zokurangers as they go around committing the most heinous of crimes: ZokuRed (SS Paaman) shoots some flowers with his gun; ZokuBlue tramples a sand castle some kids were making; ZokuGreen scares off a couple by bursting through a window; ZokuYellow steals a boy's popsicle; and ZokuPink soils clothes hanging out to dry with earth.
Real Life Writes the Plot: More of a "...writes the characterization" — apparently Yoshihiro Masujima (Naoki) really was that overly polite during his audition, and Yoshihiro Fukuda (Minoru) really hailed from Osaka, so their characters were rewritten that way.
Rearrange the Song: The opening theme was replaced with the rearranged "Full Accel Version" after only 13 episodes.
Lampshaded in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger where they change into that team, realizing that it's a competently different one.
Secret Identity: At no point does it seem like they're making an effort to do so on purpose, but the Carrangers' human identities are kept secret - in fact, everyone except Dappu and VRV Master thinks they're aliens. (This is apparently a case where everyone believes the Carrangers are too strong to be human - Dappu out-and-out introduced them as such to the Bowzock in the first episode.)
Furthermore, this is the first show in the Super Sentai series to actually bother keeping their identities a complete secret. Amusingly, it's also the one that keeps it best, with no outside characters finding out until the end.
Self-Parody: As mentioned above, Carranger parodies Super Sentai while also being an official installment in the series.
Shout-Out: SS Paaman's attempted final attack when giant-sized is a amalgamation of all the previous series' Humongous Mecha' attacks - he gets about halfway through before getting a Gekisou-Giri from RV Robo.
In keeping with Carranger's parodic nature, he also likes to do typical "Oyaji" stuff, like Pachinko (in which he apparently does very well), drinking coffee milk, and getting shaves at the barber. Daily. Despite pretty obviously not having any hair.
The Psycho Rangers: Bousou Sentai Zokuranger, brought together by Bowzock's #1 hero researcher SS Paaman. Notable for: 1) consisting of barflies aside from SS Paaman 2) Not resembling the heroes in the slightest and 3) getting their own version of the opening song.
To a far lesser extent, when ZZ Gyuuri and four Wumpers board the stolen RV Robo, the Wumpers correspond to the colors of the usual pilots (with the white Wumper taking Yellow Racer's seat). The blue Wumper even does Blue Racer's Diagonal Spark pose before firing it.
Theme Naming: The surnames of the Carrangers (Jinnai, Domon, Uesugi, Shinohara and Yagami) form the Japanese word jidōsha ("automobile").
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A hallmark of the series - unless they're actively causing trouble, very few people ever seem to take more than casual notice of the Bowzock. All the more notable when Ritchihiker pulls The Starscream on Gynamo, and he and Zonnette spend the next few episodes doing varied stuff on Earth (even getting jobs at a pachinko parlor - the same one that VRV Master attends, to boot!).
Glatch, for example, goes out and buys the Imoyokan himself. This is after he himself grew to giant size and stumbled about town.
Verbal Tic: Dappu who likes to add his name to the end of all his sentences. He even does it with his handwriting.
So do the Gorotsuki, by constantly repeating their names (excluding the double initials), which even replaces Calling Your Attacks for them.
Victory Pose: Parodied in one episode where Minoru kills a monster and then decides his pose wasn't cool enough and practices several others trying to find the best one. He gets so absorbed in his task he doesn't notice his henshin bracelet fell off and spends the episode unable to change to Green Racer.
Villain Song: The show's ending theme is an upbeat song sung from the point of view of the villains, about having a chance to relax after a tough day of getting beaten by the heroes, and wondering if maybe the good guys can let them win next time.
Weirdness Magnet: Ichitaro and family. Dappu setting up shop in Daddy's shop was merely the beginning.