Gosei Sentai Dairanger (Five Stars Squadron Dairangernote "Dai" has multiple meanings, but it's mainly a reference to the Chinese clan the main characters are descended from.) is the seventeenth installment in the Super Sentai franchise, airing from 1993 to 1994.6000 years ago, the Gohma tribe and Dai tribe were at war, with five Dai warriors with extremely high Chi levels leading their efforts. Eventually both tribes disappeared, but the Gohma resurfaced in the modern day. Master Kaku, a former member of the Gohma who doesn't wish to see them destroy the world, gathers five youths with high Chi levels to become Dairangers and oppose their schemes.Its relationship with the American Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers series is interesting: the mecha battles were used for most of Season 2; the Kiba Ranger suit was worn by the White Ranger, Tommy's new alter-ego after he lost the Green Ranger powers; Daijinryū became "Serpentera", a warzord used by Lord Zedd; and the Super Chi-Power Bazooka became the Power Cannon. However, the five main Dairanger suits were never used on Power Rangers…at least until 2014.
"Tengensei" note Heavenly Illusion Star Daigo/Shishi Rangernote Lion Ranger: The green one. A pet shop owner, he's the second-in-command and the second-best warrior of the team next to Ryō. He's also very proficient in creating illusions.
"Tenjisei" note Heavenly Time Star Kazu/Kirin Rangernote Qilin Ranger: The yellow one. A smooth hair-dresser who ran away to Tokyo in his youth. His fighting style is Drunken Boxing with a little bit of time control.
"Tenpūsei" note Heavenly Wind Star Rin/Hōō Rangernote Phoenix Ranger: The pink one. The lonefemale of the team; Kaku's niece from China who moved to Japan to attend college. Like Ryō, she is a Dai Tribe descendant. She is very intelligent and difficult to con.
Daijinryū note Great Divine Dragon A dragon god who shows up near the end and unleashes a reign of terror to get the Dairangers and Gohma to stop fighting. Literally a Humongous Mecha that is over 500 meters tall.note That's roughly 1,640 feet.
Recurring Super Sentai tropes:
All Your Powers Combined: The Super Chi-Power Bazooka which is fueled by the six rangers' Lai Lai jewels, along with Kameo's.
By the Power of Grayskull!: "Kiryoku Tenshin note Chi-Power Change Form! - also a pun, as the 'Ten' here sounds like 'Heaven'! Aura Changer!"
Kō uses a variant phrase, replacing "Aura Changer" with "Kiba Changer," the name of his personal Transformation Trinket.
Calling Your Attacks: A variation - if someone has a special martial style, they'll announce that too.
Color-Coded Characters: Subverted again. The codename system is similar to the Zyurangers (with mythical Chinese creatures instead of prehistoric beasts), only they used the Japanese names of their respective totem animal instead of English names (presumably so that Ryu Ranger wouldn't be confused with Dragon Ranger). Kiba Ranger, whose totem animal is a white tiger, doesn't fit this pattern, since his codename translates to the "Fang Ranger" (otherwise, he would've been "Byakko Ranger"). The Kiber Machines plays this straight though.
Animal Mecha: Based on creatures from Chinese mythology this time.
A Mech by Any Other Name: The animal mecha were known as the Kidenjūnote Legendary Spirit Beast, while the humanoid forms of the ones that can transform are referred as Kiden Bujinnote Legendary Spirit Warrior.
Transforming Mecha: The Ryūseiohnote Dragon Star King and the Wang Tigernote King Tiger can switch between animal and humanoid forms. The series later introduces the Super Kidenjū Daimugen, a tortoise-based mecha that also has a "warrior" mode, which has the ability to heal the Ryūseioh or the Wang Tiger with an energy pool stored inside its body.
Motion Capture Mecha: Ryūseioh, being one of the lightest Sentai mecha ever, follows Ryū Ranger's movements (for the scenes where he's doing this, Ryū Ranger is played by the face actor rather than the stunt actor).
Combining Mecha: The animal mecha of the other four Dairangers could combine with themselves to form a flying chariot for Ryūseioh to ride on, or wrap themselves around Ryūseioh like an armor.
Sei Shishi + Sei Tenma + Sei Kirin + Sei Hōōnote Star Lion, Star Pegasus, Star Qilin and Star Phoenix in that order. = Tenkū Kidennote Heavenly Chi Palace
Ryūseioh + Sei Shishi + Sei Tenma + Sei Kirin + Sei Hōō = Dairen-ohnote Great Union King
Mecha Expansion Pack: Like the extra mechas from the previous series, the Wang Tiger can replace Ryūseioh in combining with the mecha of the other Dairangers, while Daimugen can combine with all six of the other mechas for an ultimate attack.
Wang Tiger + Sei Shishi + Sei Tenma + Sei Kirin + Sei Hōō = Kiba Daiohnote Great King Fang
Ryūseioh + Tenkū Kiden + Wang Tiger + Daimugen = Jūkō Kidennote Heavily Armored Chi Palace
The series was written with the intent that all five members serve as the main character, rather than just the red ranger, breaking with the usual Sentai status quo. As such, Ryō isn't the best Ki user at the beginning - that's Rin.
Make My Monster Grow: The Gohma Monsters each have an Enlargement Bomb (essentially a grenade) which they use after being KO'd. The bombs themselves eventually got carried over to the US. This also came with a couple of subversions, listed later.
Monsters of the Week: The Gohma Monsters, many of whom have human forms. Their names consisted of a noun (usually their motif), followed by a social title or occupation.
Mooks: Kottopotoros, who act as servants to the higher-ranked Gohmas and appear to be wearing tuxedos.
The Movie: The Dairangers take on four revived monsters and a new one.
Psycho Rangers: The Copy Empress in Episode 25 could create clones of the Dairangers by merely taking their pictures. This actually allowed her to make more than one clone of each Dairanger.
Regular Caller: Averted: Whoever encounters a Gohma interference reports to the HQ through their Transformation Trinkets, where Master Kaku relays the message to the rest. With a simple radio, at that!
Arbitrary Skepticism: In episode 3 the entire team, except Daigo who is skeptical anyway, but doesn't dismiss the claim, is convinced that a puppet Shōji was attacked by was "radio-controlled or something" rather than the work of a Gohma. Later in the episode even Shōji convinces himself of it.
As Long as There Is Evil: As revealed in the final episode—The Dairanger's Chi power and the Gohma's You powers are two sides of the same coin. Eliminate one, the other goes with it. Thus to maintain the balance, the Gohma and the Dairangers are locked in a never-ending cycle of war. That is, if Daijinryū doesn't destroy them all first. The reveal makes for a Bittersweet Ending, driven home by the look of horror on older Ryo's face as he watches his grandson start the battle anew... But of course, the last shot of the series is Dairenoh just kinda... flexing a little, as if to say "we'll do it".
Badass Grandpa: Rin's grandpa Guhon. So badass that even 20 year old girls are all swooning over him.
Captain Ersatz: Iron-Face Chōryu is a blatant clone of Darth Vader, and his story is directly taken from Star Wars. He was once a great hero who sold out his allies to the bad guys, worked for them for a very long time, has a Luke, I Am Your Father moment with The Leader (who also has a sister), reforms and subsequently dies, and is welcomed to death by the ghosts of his former allies who forgive him. Given that Dairanger also borrowed from the soundtrack of Star Wars, this can't be unintentional.
Not only that, but Chōryu's master, High Priest Saw (the Monster of the Week) had the human form of an old man in robes who shot lightning at Ryō. Who does that remind you of?
Chinese Girl: Rin. She's more prone to speaking Chinese due to this. (At the same time, when he first turns up, Guhon notes that she's really going native in Japan.)
Couch Gag: Later episodes would sometimes begin with one of the three major Gorma generals throwing the Monster of the Week out of a large sack.
Crying Wolf: Used in Episode 32. Shōji, after failing to wake Ryō up using normal telephone, wakes him up using the Regular Caller telling that there's a Gorma Attack. Ryō got pissed when he realized he was suckered. And when an actual Gorma appeared, Ryō didn't bother to go thinking Shōji was lying again, until Master Kaku sets him straight immediately.
Determinator: In episode 23, Daigo and his love interest, Kujaku, are swallowed by a Gorma. So Daigo punches his way out, saving both their lives. Afterwards, his knuckles are shown to be bleeding.
Eldritch Abomination: Daijinryū, who destroys the Gohma Palace and a huge chunk of Tokyo to force the good and bad guys to stop fighting. When that doesn't stop the action, he comes back to Earth, takes control over the minds a large number of innocent civilians, making them jump to their deaths against their will as the ultimate form of blackmail to the good guys.
Identical Grandson: The grandchildren of the Dairangers in the final episode, although they clearly have different personalities than their grandparents.
Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Tombstone President, Telephone Teacher, and Kamikaze Boss (AKA the "Three Gohma Stooges"). Rather than fighting the Dairangers, they'd rather have a motorcycle race or play soccer (they're not very strong in a straight fight). They try this three times, failing each time, and in the end they give up fighting and survive the war.
Instant Expert: Despite not knowing jack about Chi power or fighting, Ryō instantly turns Badass after his very first Henshin.
Kill’em All: Probably the last Super Sentai to have such a ridiculous death count of good aligned or sympathetic characters.
The Mentor dies
Three Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains die (subverted)
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You Arrogant Kung Fu Guy dies
A vengeful anthropomorphic goddess dies
A love redeemed MOTW dies
A little girl dies (actually a MOTW cactus minion who is thrown to the ground and crushed at the heel by Gara)
The Leader’s power-hungry traitorous father dies
And finally the Sixth Ranger’s mother dies along with the abused Enfant Terrible
Larynx Dissonance: The elderly Dairangers and their grandkids are played by the main actors, meaning they sound like their teenage selves.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Iron-Face Choryu, the Dai tribe defector who fights the Rangers in Episodes 7-8 is actually Ryō's father. Also, Shadam is secretly Kō and Akomaru's father.
Make My Monster Grow: By design, it's possible to interrupt the growing process by preventing the Gohma from using the bomb (one got fenced in with Dairenrods, and a few got blown up in human size). There's also a limit on how long they can stay giant (this allowed a few Gormas to survive). And the bombs don't revive corpses - the giant Media Magician was completely silent, as he was already killed by Lt. Gara.
Making Use of the Twin: In Episode 25, the Copy Empress made evil duplicates of the Dairangers. Kazu's was played by Keisuke Tsuchiya's twin brother, Daisuke. The roles were later reversed when Daisuke went on to play Blue Beet two years later, while Keisuke played his Evil Counterpart Black Beet.
Mundane Utility: The Dairinkens apparently make pretty good cooking knives, as demonstrated by their inventor.
Pops up from time to time in the Gohmas. Telephone Teacher can use her ability to make free calls from anywhere to anywhere, for example, and Tombstone President has (at least) a TV and a Fortune Slip Dispenser in his tombstone.
My Friends... and Zoidberg: It is impossible to neatly split the Super Sentai shows into ones that weren't adapted into Power Rangers and those that were, because Dairanger didn't get a full adaptation, mixing the Zyuranger heroes with Dairanger's monsters, mecha, and Sixth Ranger. Even Kakuranger was briefly adapted fully with the Alien Rangers arc after mixing the Zyurangers and Kiba Ranger with Kakuranger's monsters and mecha.
Three of the rangers share the same colors and beast motifs with their counterparts from Dengeki Sentai Changeman: Change Dragon and Ryū Ranger (both are red) Change Pegasus and Tenma Ranger (blue), and Change Phoenix and Hōō Ranger (pink).
Dairanger also has a martial arts theme similar to Hikari Sentai Maskman. The power source used by the Maskmen was actually "aura power", which is what kiryoku means in Japanese (more or less).
The Gorma Shitennō would appear to be a homage to the Crime Shitennō from JAKQ Dengekitai Vs Goranger, both villainous quartets are composed of human-form villains who combine into one monster.
One Name Only: Despite being regular civilians, none of the Dairangers have any known surnames. Instead, they precede their names by mentioning their Star of Destiny when they perform their roll call (Ryū Ranger, "Tenkasei" Ryō; Shishi Ranger, "Tengensei" Daigo; ect.) . Their zodiac titles are usually written in quotation marks to indicate that they're not actual surnames.
Palette Swap: The final monster in the show's epilogue is a recolor of String Baron.
People in Rubber Suits: Played with - the heavier material on the majority of the Gohma costumes is torso-only (imagine a heavy vest with a built-in mask), with far lighter material (spandex or even loose clothing) on the arms and legs, likely to facilitate any martial fights.
Pun-Based Title: The title Dairanger, could be interpreted as a reference to the "Dai" tribe that the heroes are descended from, or as the "Great Rangers". It's also worth noting that Dairenja, the Japanese pronunciation of the title, shares a partial namesake with Dairen, the Japanese name of the Chinese city of Dalian. While Dalian is never directly referenced on the show, the name of the team's mecha, Dairen-oh, uses the same kanji used to write the city's name.
Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Three Gohma Idiots are this from the get-go. How do they carry out their first nefarious plot against the Dairangers? By challenging Ryo to a soccer match. Of course, it's rigged and one (later five) aginst eleven, but still.
Sdrawkcab Name: The name "Wang Tiger" is derived from a backward reading of the kanji characters used to write Kiba Daioh's name. "Wang" comes from the Chinese reading of the kanji for "king"note 王, while tai and ga are alternate pronunciations of the kanji for "great" or dainote 大 and "fang" or kibanote 牙 respectively.
Spell My Name with an S: Lin, or Rin? You'd think it's "Lin" since she's Chinese, but the Media Magician episode plasters "Rin" all over the place.
The Four Gods: While the colors are off, four of the Mythical Chi Beasts are meant to invoke the Four Gods: the Red Dragon, the Pink Hōō, the White Tiger, and Daimugen, their ally. As Dairanger draws more from Chinese mythology than Japanese, Huanglong/Koryu also shows up in the form of the giant dragon Daijinryuu.
The Starscream: Shadam, who's overall motive throughout the series is to kill the Emperor and take over the Gohma Empire.
This proves to be wrong, in fact he is technically the Man Behind the Man due to the fact that he had already controlled the Gohma tribe. The Gohma leader is technically already dead, the man sitting at the top is a clay replica. In fact, they are all clay replicas, Shadam just happened to be the only one carrying on the will of the past self.
Theme Naming: Unique in Super Sentai, the vast majority of Gohma are members of a society, and usually have two-part names consisting of a noun (the theme they're based around, very rarely a personal name) and a title/job.
Some of the characters' names are taken from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, such as Zhang Liao, Jia Xu (Master Kaku) and Zǐlóng (Shiryu, Master Kaku's sympathizer within Gohma).
Title Scream: Some episode titles are rendered like this (including the premiere).
Unnamed Parent: Ko's mother. None of the other Dairangers even bother to figure out her name, simply calling her "kaasan".
And then there's General Kamikaze's first appearance, riding around on his bike - there's some bystanders in the background (likely not part of the shoot), and their expressions appear to be: "WTF?"
Villainous BSOD: Akomaru is very shaken upon learning that he, Ko and his mother are all related.
What the Hell, Hero?: Daigo delivered one to everyone for coming too late to save a child of the week, first by socking Shōji and Kazu with a punch on the face. And when even Ryō and Rin didn't even seem to show determination to keep the team, he delivers this:
You all make me sick.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Sort of. We find out, at the 50th year anniversary of their final battle with over the Gohma, that they all did well in life and settled down with their families in peace. And then a new String Baron appears, which their grandchildren stand up to as the new Dairangers.
This has lead to the joke that the Super Sentai series of 2043 will be Dairanger.