Nobuo Akagi, Akiba Red: Eccentric otaku deliveryman for Sasaki's Ponpoko Delivery Services who has dedicated much of his life to being a die-hard Super Sentai fan, although his faith has recently been slipping thanks to the moe main character of Z-Cune Aoi. As the leader of the trio, his vast and intricate knowledge of Super Sentai tropes is vital to their success against Malshina and her cronies.
Mitsuki Aoyagi, Akiba Blue: Reserved and sometimes tsundere high-school student who aims to be a master martial artist, but secretly loves Z-Cune Aoi as well. The straight woman of the group, she's really only in on it to hone her martial arts skills on Malshina's mooks. In season 2, she's left the team, replaced as Akiba Blue by...
Luna Iwashimizu, Akiba Blue II: A school girl who wants to become a popular Idol Singer, joining the team under the impression that she can use a Super Sentai series as a vehicle for her own career.
Eye Catch: The eyecatch seems to vary per episode. Generally they involve the live actors or morphed Rangers (and maybe Hakase) messing around in the same black smoke-filled stage, and some involve running off to the left. So far, not a single eyecatch was reused.
As befitting the Wham Arc, the eyecatch is taken over by Malshina and the Mooks in #7. Gets taken further in #10 when a Whip Pan is used to combine two such clips into one.
In #13, the recap episode, the eyecatches become more traditional.
Home Base: the Sentai Cafe (complete with "Secret Base" on its logo in large red kanji)
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episode titles have the word 'ita'note usually meaning 'pain' in some form; episode 2 and 7's titles reference Itasha, which uses the kanji for pain in them, in a case similar to Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger and their usage of 'abare'. Season 2's episodes are all titled "Delusion [something]".
In the Name of the Moon: Their role call is part subversion, part played straight. It changes each episode, usually following the template:
Nobuo: [states one of his personal Sentai superlatives]...Akiba Red!! Mitsuki: ...Akiba Blue. Until the training with Sentai stunt veteran Kazuo Niibori, afterwards, she gets more pumped up in this trope with this: "Akiba... [does a long stunt movement] ...Blue!" Yumeria: [goes off about her cosplay adventures & dances about before being interrupted] Nobuo: Pain is power! Ready! All: Hikonin Sentai... Akibaranger! [followed by the team reacting to the explosion in some way]
Yumeria's mother's role call as Akiba Yellow in #5 is more traditional (and in Nobuo's eyes, "better").
In #7, Yumeria was cosplaying as Satomi from Nijiyome Gakuen Z-Cune Aoi, instead of continuing her rant she remarked that they should be more worried about the "vampire" attack in the real world instead.
In #8, Yumeria forgets her place in her rant so she starts a new one.
#9 has the team finally doing a proper role call, including Yumeria actually finishing one of her anecdotes. They get the customary explosion, then run full pelt at the monster-of-the-week whilst still holding their poses.
Played completely straight in Episode #11, when Takuma is head of the team. The new temporary role call is basically a massive Shout-Out to the Juken Sentai Gekiranger role call, but with lots of Meaningless Meaningful Words thrown in- also, the first characters in each phrase, when placed together, can be read as "Juumousou".
Takuma: Strength through flexibility, burning red! Intelligence! Akiba Red! Yumeria: Gratitude to miracles, like a blind turtle finding driftwood! Practitioner! Akiba Yellow! Mitsuki: A pearl within the blue, perfection through diligence! Fast Master! Akiba Blue! Takuma: Shine on! All: Hikonin Sentai... Akibaranger!
In season 2, Luna usually tries to follow the pattern of Nobuo's roll calls, but often messes something up.
Make My Monster Grow: Averted, the monsters stay dead rather than growing, much to Nobuo's surprise.
Finally played straight in #7 when the Chief Clerk turns into a giant spider monster. Though not nearly as big as the normal instance of this trope, being closer to the One-Winged Angel transformations seen in Kamen Rider.
And a heroic (well, only partially, given the circumstances) example occurs in episode 12, when the Itassha Robo grows to the size of an official Sentai mecha to fight Doctor Z's giant robot.
An actual heroic example occurs in S2 12 when Malshina uses the Wolzaphone to make Super Akiba Red grow to take on Prism Ace.
The Merch: Averted, which initially seems surprising, but makes sense considering the nature of the shownote Low budget, different target audience and it's also not an "official" Sentai series.. That said, merchandising does exist, but it is limited to collector-oriented pieces like SH Figuarts.
The pieces of the Akibarangers' season 1 team cannon are packaged with the Figuarts of their corresponding official ranger, and the pieces of their season 2 bazooka come with the season 2 versions of Akiba Blue and Akiba Yellow.
Merchandise-Driven/Off-the-Shelf FX: Blatantly parodied in Season 2, episode 1, where half the time the recap involves the use of the ACTUAL SH Figuarts for the Akibarangers and the official Sentai teams — and of course, there's commercials for them during the premiere.
#2-9: SHFiguarts for Itasshar Robo, or is that Itasshar Boy?
Monster of the Week: The Chief Clerks in Season 1; General Pain's creations in Season 2 pay homage to the official monsters and as such are fashioned after different groups with noticeable gimmicks (such as the cycloptic Gorma Monsters or the composite Trinoids).
Mood Whiplash: The ED Theme of Akibaranger, set to a melancholic piano piece with pictures showcasing the fame and glory (merchandise, movie deals, etc) that the team will likely never be able to obtain. It's especially jarring in #5, which has a pretty Downer Ending (mostly due to how #5 ends at the last moment).
Mooks: The Shatieeks ("Sacrificial Corporate Drones")
#4 is the parody of both a Brainwashed Ranger Episode and a Doppelganger Ranger Episode.
#5 is the parody of a Parental Reunion Episode.
#6 combines elements of a Training from a Swordmaster Episode and a Movie-making Monster episode, along with generally spoofing the editing tricks and suit acting skill that go into the making of a Super Sentai series.
Stock Footage: Averted, at least for Yumeria's transformation. Whenever she's in a different costume, the outfit in her transformation changes accordingly. Especially noticeable in episode 4, though it's blink-and-you'll-miss-it in 3.
"Super Sentai" Stance: Blue especially has trouble with these. Red usually pulls off his role in them well enough.
Theme Music Power-Up: Most notably used in episode #9. Parodied in #12 - a new song starts playing and the Akibarangers start winning a fight... but they were trying to lose.
Transformation Trinket: The Moe Moe Z-Cune (MMZ-01), an "officially licensed" figure of Aoi that also transforms into the team sidearm and also acts as the communication device. It only works in the delusional world until #9.
Season 2 introduces the Moya Moya Z-Cune (MMZ-00), a repaint used by General Pain to transport his creations into the Delusion World and by Malshina to transform, and the Munyu Munyu Z-Baan (MMZ-02), a new figure with Absolute Cleavage that doubles as a knife and enables Akiba Red's Super Mode.
Mini-Mecha: Rather than the usual Humongous Mecha, Itasshar Robo is extremely small by Sentai standards, transforming from a normal car and remaining the size of a normal car. It's bigger than the Rangers, at least.
Aborted Arc: At the end of episode 11, after Nobuo gets the other Akibarangers to realize they're in a TV show, Takuma abruptly leaves the team even though Deluknight claims they're fated rivals, and Hiroyo is just as suddenly cured of the scorpion mark curse. The blatant obviousness of the Executive Meddling means that the heroes can't really celebrate though.
Abusive Parents: Takehiro Tsuzuki/Doctor Z. Starting from his attempt from the beginning to curse his own daughter (Hiroyo) to ruin her seiyuu career, and also completely dismissing Malshina, whom has treated him like her own father and called him respectfully...
All Just a Dream: The Akibaranger powers and their entire conflict with the (fictional) Blatantly Evil Guerilla Marketing Firm B are simply a shared hallucination brought on by the Moe Moe Z-Cune and the Akibarangers' own imaginations. This Handwaves things like why the location suddenly changes after their transformation, why two non-combatants suddenly know how to fight and why Villain Ball is in full effect.
Alternative Calendar: In season 2, one of General Pain's schemes turns the Goraigers evil and adds a third member, making them Jakanja's 8th, 9th, and 10th spears of darkness. Since the original seven spears were named after the seven days of the week, this causes history to change in such a way that a week consists of 10 days instead of 7, with new days Uranday, Posday, and Hadday appearing between Saturday and Sunday. As it turns out, this is much more damaging than it first seems. More days in a week means less weeks in a year, and with Sentai still airing only once a week, each Sentai series now only lasts 36 episodes instead of the usual 51. On top of that, the three new days each have strictly enforced anti-otaku laws: Uranday is otaku garbage day (otaku goods are forcibly seized and disposed of), Tokusatsu songs cannot be played on Posday, and cosplay in banned on Hadday.
In the episode with Yoshinori Okamoto, we also get a cameo by suit actor Seiji Takaiwa, and Nobuo can even name all the past Red senshi he's been suited as... while ignoring the fact that he's had twice as many roles in Heisei Kamen Rider alone.
Alternate Universe: Season 2 is confirmed to take place in one spinning off of the events of episode 7 in S1.
The Artifact: In season two, at first Marushina seems this. As the corporate dronery thing was literallySo Last Season, one may wonder why the villainess whose name is basically a pun on a copyright symbol is still around. Turns out it's because she's still herself from season one, knows exactly what happened to the show's world and the "real" world, and is actually in Saburo Hatte's world trying to take the reins of sentai itself.
Artifact Title: Mentioned in-universe: In the altered history in which Akibaranger was an official series, "Gosei Sentai Akibaranger" instead of Dairanger, Nobuo points out that it doesn't make sense for a "Five-Star" Sentai to have only three members, and figures that this means that there were scrapped plans to add two new members to the team. This turns out to be the reason why Kibaranger attacked them, as he was one of the planned characters. (They also guess that the other one was an "A-ranger", but we never see who this might be.)
As Himself: Ryuuji Sainei cameos as himself in #2. (Though he does voice his Deka Red self in the delusion world.)
Suit Actor Kazuo Niibori note suit actor for Akaranger, Battle Japan, Denzi Red, Vul Eagle, Goggle Red, Dyna Red, Red One, Change Dragon, Red Flash, Red Mask, Red Falcon, Red Turbo, Five Red, and Red Hawk. appears as himself in #6.
Yukio Yamagata and MoJo, who (along with Halko Momoi) sing Season 2's OP, are summoned by Malashina in 2-2
Legendary Super Sentai narrator Nobuo Tanaka lends his talents in 2-6
In Season 2 Episode 8, Yoshinori Okamoto appears, as does Seiji Takaiwanote The suit actor for Ninja Red and twelve out of the fourteen Heisei Kamen Rider.
In #10 of season 2, after having made a brief cameo in season 1, Halko Momoi (who also sings the show's theme song) appears, this time explicitly as herself.
Of course, with a second season on its way, they may have yet extended their stay yet.
Badass: The core team are pretty badass, though Red and Yellow probably qualify as examples of the Lethal Joke Character.
Badass Grandpa: Kazuo Niibori and Yoshimoto Okamato, who're the oldest people seen, and are veteran suit actors who played the heroes and big bads - and can still kick ass.
Bait and Switch: This gets pulled off in-between #3 and #4. At the end of #3, Mitsuki says that she is leaving, only to add that she's just leaving for three days and isn't leaving the team.
Background Music: In-universe example. At the Sentai Cafe, Super Sentai opening themes can be heard in the background, there seems to be a different theme each episode, and the theme is relevant to something going on in the cafe.
In #7, while Yumeria and Mitsuki reenact a scene from Z-Cune Aoi, a patron in the cafe mouths the words to the scene. This patron is none other than KeiichiSato who did the designs for Z-Cune Aoi!
The show's singers Halko Momoi and Yukio Yamagata cameo at #9 as the victims of the burning hot monja by the MOTW.
A rather obscure one in #12 that borders on crossover territory: Mio Usagi, the rival Mitsuki mentions in the team's string of Sequel Hooks, actually originates from the martial arts film Salvage Mice (which was directed by Akibaranger's director Ryuta Tasaki.)
Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In #4 Nobuo and Yumeria struggle to not have delusions while Mitsuki is away at "training camp at Izu" but they keep getting into situations that relates to either sentai or their other interests.
Companion Show: The Akibaranger web radio series is a variation in that it started after the series itself ended. It's hosted by Masato Wada (Nobuo) and features interviews, music requests, fan mail, and other segments themed around Akibaranger (though it doesn't further the show's story).
Conflict Killer: In Season 1, the heroes vs. villains fight morphs into both vs. the show's creators. Seems set to happen again once everyone realizes what's going on in season two.
Content Warnings: The series announcement on the official website ended on the following:
"Adding some new blood and abandoning the taboos and restrictions of the sentai genre, this is a forbidden reverse sentai series meant for the adult core group."
There's also the fact that Akibaranger acknowledges that Super Sentai is a fictional series produced by a television company, so they don't want to "ruin the magic" for young kids.
Cosmic Retcon: Aside from the Author Powers displayed by Saburo Hatte in season 1, in season 2 the villains seem to have this power. So far, they've replaced Gosei Sentai Dairanger with Gosei Sentai Akibaranger as an official Sentai series, and changed the history of Nijiyome Gakuen Z-cune Aoi so that it was full of blood and gore- which also resulted in Hakase, Aoi's voice actress, getting into deep financial trouble. The source of the changes is in the delusion world, but the real world is affected as well, so the Akibarangers have to transform and defeat the Monster of the Week in order to restore history to normal.
Cosplay: It is Akihabara; there are several cosplay cafes and shops.
He comes back at the end of the next episode. Though just before Takuma leaves, his face shows what can be deciphered as a Traitor Shot that appears way too late to be a surprise. He must have known about the Executive Meddling from the beginning and was doing their bidding, if he wasn't a creation of it directly.
Cosplay Otaku Girl: Yumeria wears a Cat Girl costume on the first episode, complete with an appropriately bright blonde wig. In #4, Nobuo points out that she's surprisingly good at cosplaying female sentai villains after she dresses up as Mele and does a remarkable job at acting like her, remaining in character even after morphing to fight.
Kozukozu even moreso. She enjoys dressing up as past Sentai heroines.
Crack is Cheaper: This side of being a fan is portrayed in-universe. Nobuo intensely stares at a mint-in-box Great Five toy, but Aoi-tan also tempts him.
Nobuo: ...And it's only 108,000 yen!note About $1,300 So cheap... So expensively cheap.
Darker and Edgier: Happens through #10 and #11, with a dark twist to the story and the appearance of Delu-Knight, a competent and menacing enemy with no amusing gimmick. Nobuo realises during #11 that this is the writers attempting to retool the show to appeal to a wider audience, in tandem with him being Put on a Bus.
Daydream Surprise: Happens a lot with Nobuo- we see him acting cool or heroic in his head, then being a lot more awkward in reality.
The Akibarangers themselves in the #2-13, they really died in the previous episode and only came to also provide narration for the recap.
Death Is Cheap: At the end of Episode #2-12, the Akibas make a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent an alien invasion. (Which in itself is out of place; see Your Mind Makes It Real) This means that they were Dead All Along during the Recap Episode that follows. Ghost!Nobuo lampshades the cheapness of the Rangers' death by outright acknowledging that Hatte Saburo can bring them back to life if they are never needed again.
Deus ex Machina: Parodied in the 2nd Season Finale. During their fight with Malshina, the Akibarangers receive a call from Hiroyo to pray to a Captain Ersatz of Ultraman named Prism Ace. They do so, and he appears and defeats Malshina almost effortlessly... Then after a couple of scenes it's revealed that Prism Ace just became the True Final Boss.
#3: Nobuo finds out that Sayaka doesn't have a boyfriend. He thinks this is a love flag.
#12: Taken to absurd levels now that the characters are trying to fight the producers by avoiding ending flags so that their show will remain on the air. At one point the villain shows up and declares that he wants to settle things once and for all, he's using a Deadly Upgrade, all other villains are dead and his troops will die if he's defeated, and that he plans to visit his fiancée after the fight. And then challenges Akiba Red to a one-on-one battle, destroying his own chest armor and telling him to shoot for the hole to make things fair.
Being savvy of these is part of what makes General Pain into a much more challenging adversary.
Malshina later takes Pain's knowledge, though, and combines it with her experience and Saburo Hatte's powers to become an even bigger threat.
At this point, it's been played with so many times. For example, #2-12 exploits the visual trope of showing who's gonna win depending on what side the fighters are on.
Exiled from Continuity: With the exception of the "Episode 14" stage show which featured Shinkenger and Goseiger (along with Go-onger), the four most recent Sentai series as of the beginning of each season are never directly shown, with only a few minor references included, rather than specifically calling out their plots and characters (with the exception of AkaRed, who has appeared (though not as part of the story) in his Gokaiger appearance rather than that from Boukenger)- presumably this is to avoid catching the attention of younger kids. This also applies to Goranger and JAKQ, which some have speculated is meant to avoid having to credit Shotaro Ishinomori or deal with his involvement- but again, there have been a few minor references to those shows.
Towards the end of Season 2, while not mentioned by name, Kyoryuger was given at least two nods.
Failure Is the Only Option: Simultaneously Inverted and Played Straight. In the final battle with DeluKnight,the Akibarangers discover that no matter what they do, it is literally impossible for them to lose the battle. This is exactly what they don't want, since they're fully aware that they're in a TV show, and that it will end if they win the final battle.
Fake-Out Opening: The show kicks off with a Deka Red walking towards us, theme song and sirens blaring... but it's just Nobuo being a fanboy.
#8 starts with the Z-Cune Aoi intro instead - it's just our heroes watching the show though. The real OP kicks in later.
Fake Shemp: Spoofed at the start of episode 11 when Nobuo is replaced with Takuma. All the standard techniques are used and abused.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Thus, Nobuo is this at least half the time. More than once, he stares dumbfounded as the rules are being broken. Also, he thought the third Ranger (after learning he was red and Mitsuki was blue) might be a green or a pink, when we know all 3-member startingteamsarered, blue, andyellow.
However, that last part might have just been him thinking that they were going to have the full 5 member team, and he wasn't sure which of them was going to be next.
He is surprised when the first monster doesn't grow after it is defeated even though in several series, most recently Goseiger and Gokaiger, the first monsters of the week didn't become giant either.
In the first episode they started the fight with their Finishing Move. The monster calls them out on it, saying that using their best move right at the beginning is unfair (and because he had to sacrifice his mooks to block it).
Getting Crap Past the Radar: During the visit to Toei Studios in Episode #6, a prop rolls by in the background that is clearly an billboard ad for a Japanese brothel they used in a show of some sort.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Boomerang Titan, especially since the corner of the Delusion Empire in deep space that it came from didn't even exist before #12.
Hand Signals: Used in #2 by the fake Deka Red to give his message to Nobuo, as he was actually a man in a suit hired by Hiroyo and as such couldn't speak, he eventually resorts to giving Nobuo the same drop kick Ban used to snap Hoji out of it in Dekaranger.
Drunken Master: ...Sort of. Hiroyo tells them that alcohol can help them become more delusional and, hopefully more powerful. This leads into a-
Drunken Montage: Most of the episode is spent on Akagi and Moeginote (Mitsuki cannot drink as she is underage.) getting sloshed in hopes of increasing their delusional power. It fails within the system as Akagi's Heroic Fantasies keep colliding with Moegi's Yaoi Fangirl fantasies creating a Running Gag loop of Akagi saving Malshina disguised as Sayaka from the Monster of the Week and then said MOTW getting a little too comfortable with Akagi which causes Moegi to pass out. Thankfully, Mitsuki is there and she leads us to-
Suddenly Sober: Mitsuki attacking Malshina directly and quoting lines from Boukenger is able to snap Akagi and Moegi from their drunken stupor and stops the loop allowing them to finish off the Monster. This is lampshaded by Nobuo.
Heroic BSOD: Nobuo goes through one in #2 after finding out that the team's battle from the previous episode was just a delusion. He snaps out of it thanks to "Deka Red" (actually someone in a Deka Red suit).
Heroic Sacrifice: Sort of. Thanks to the Akagi's script, Prism Ace's defeat to the Akibarangers, and Hakase triggering Suicide Flags the Akibarangers end up sacrificing themselves to stop an invading alien fleet.
Hijacked by Ganon: In season 1, Malshina initially seemed to be the Big Bad, but she was replaced by Dr. Z and then in the final episode by Saburo Hatte- and it even seemed like she was going to join the heroes in their efforts to extend the show. Near the end of season 2, with Hatte apparently dying in the hospital, she took back her spot as the top villain from General Tsuu, but had her spot as the Big Bad hijacked again; this time by Prism Ace, a hero from another company slated to take Super Sentai's timeslot.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The Akibarangers paid so much active attention to victory and defeat flags during the last few episodes of season 2 that when Hakase tells them all to come back in the end it trips a suicide attack flag, causing them all to die stopping the alien invasion. The invasion is also their fault, having been the Excuse Plot for the VS movie against Prism Ace.
Hope Spot: There are a few moments in episode 12 where it seems like the heroes have succeeded in forcing the story to continue. Most obviously with Dr. Z and Malshina arriving to stop the battle between Delu-Knight and the Akibarangers, with Dr. Z saying he won't be manipulated anymore, only to... be manipulated again.
Hostile Show Takeover: Near the end of season 2, Malshina uses the knowledge of Super Sentai villains' defeats that she's learned throughout the show to defeat all the official Sentai heroes and take over their shows, turning the Super Sentai series into the Super Malshina series, where the villains win every time.
Hotter and Sexier: While not on the porno level that some suggested it would be, it still shows some definitely TV-14 content (even then, played for humor rather than sexiness.) Basically, the Content Warnings had people expecting a radically different show than the Affectionate Parody we got.
I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Discussed in episode 4. Nobuo and Yumeria think Mitsuki has been brainwashed and try various methods to snap her out of it that have been used in various Sentai series. Actually, it's not Mitsuki at all. Malshina's impersonating her... just like she did with Sayaka the previous episode. Nobody guesses, even after not seeing through such things was just a running gag. Admit it, neither did you.
"Super Sentai shows have a glorious tradition that has been going for 36 years. But in its shadow there's a pile of discarded material, wild delusions and ulterior motives, which have been supporting the toku series without ever having the chance to actually shine in the open. And now that tremendous chaotic power has finally burst out. Its name is 'Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger!"
Nearly half the common Sentai tropes are pointed out in the first episode alone. Most of the tropes get pointed out by Nobuo, also.
Malshiina's Breaking the Fourth Wall rant in 2-11 lampshades common complaints that apply to Super Sentai and Akibaranger as a whole, along with her exhortation to blame it on Saburo Hatte.
Like Reality Unless Noted: The world of Akibaranger is our world with the exception that Super Sentai and Power Rangers exist but other Toei and toku series don't or exist as something else.
Lost in Translation: Akibaranger is chock-full of wordplay, Internet memes, cultural in-jokes and 2chan slang, not to mention all the Super Sentai and fandom references. All of this has made Akibaranger an incredibly tough show to translate into other languages.
Male Gaze: Mitsuki gets into a comical fight with Nobuo about this in the OP after he points out her skirt is ruffled after a fight, showing the large teddy bear face emblazoned on her suits backside.
Mark of the Beast: Hiroyo turns out to have one ever since receiving the Moe Moe Z-Cune from her father, in form of a scorpion tattoo that moves upwards everytime the Z-Cunes are used in the real world. If it reaches her neck, she will lose her voice and thereby her seiyuu career. What's worse, an Aoi-tan movie is coming soon...
As of Episode #11, it's gone completely as if it had never happened.
It reappears with a vengeance in Season 2 Episode 9
Medium Awareness: This is actually a plot point, and happens when the main characters realize that they are indeed in a TV show. Believe it or not, it's Played for Drama.
And then they forget it all in the second season thanks to Word of God.
Medium Blending: The live action is blended with a bit of anime when Aoi "talks" to Akagi in the first episode.
One of the most significant moments of this comes with the lead-in to Akiba Red's Super Mode, which is shown first in the form of manga panels and then becomes animated. The eventual Stock Footage of the Super Mode activating includes animation as well.
Mickey Mousing: Yumeria's actions, both in and out of suit, are frequently punctuated by sound effects for added Kawaisa.
Mid-Season Twist: Continuing from the previous episode, Malshina is in the real world and it seems to know Hakase, evident from a drawing the latter had in a safe in the back of the cafe drawn up by her father. Later the Akibarangers, Machine Itashar, and the Monster of the Week appear and fought in the real world.
When Nobuo and Mitsuki are racing to the Toei studios in #6, the Carranger theme is heard.
In #7, the Akibarangers "combine their powers" in Machine Itasha and enter a yellow-on-black grid world to chase down—then fight—the MOTW. This place resembles the "dimension" several past robos entered either when forming, or performing a Finishing Move.
Doctor Z, with his white suit and black cape, looks somewhat like Doctor Shinigami from the Kamen Rider series and other Showa-era villains. (Nobuo even says he looks very Showa.)
In #10, when Takuma opens the sensor and explains how many transformations are left before Hakase loses her voice, the Dragon Caesar summoning music from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger plays. Oh, and the sensors are shaped like candles... just like the candle representing Burai's diminishing life force.
The curse being represented by an animal tattoo slowly making its way up her body towards her neck whenever a certain someone transforms is similar to the Titanium Ranger's curse.
Episode 12 has Deluknight intentionally give himself a weak point when challenging Nobuo, referencing the bounty hunter Kiaido from the Jetman tribute episode of Gokaiger.
In the same episode, Deluknight being revived to pilot the Boomerang Titan is the standard procedure of giant monster fights in Dai Sentai Goggle Five.
The third appearance by official sentai members involves General Pain turning the Gouraigers evil and giving them a third member: a female yellow. Pain later explains that his motivation for doing this was due to What Could Have Been, specifically that the Gouraigers were originally intended to be the Hurricanegers' enemies, and that they were going to have a third member. Some text then pops up on the screen telling the audience that "This is merely General Pain's delusion. Do not take it as fact". You would think that means that the writers simply made up the What Could Have Been stuff for the sake of the episode, but that's not entirely true. Believe it or not, there were originally plans for a female yellow Gouraiger... in the Power Rangers Adaptation!
On top of that, there were wishes for the Thunder Rangers to be the Wind Rangers' rivals longer than they were; sentai footage of them being bad guys for only a short time forced them to do differently. He really is describing What Could Have Been in Power Rangers Ninja Storm rather than Hurricanger.
Interestingly, this means that all three appearances by official sentai members in season 2 contain Power Rangers references.
The Dairanger Inordinate Power is a pair of literal Hand Cannons (cannons shaped like hands). Well...
The new transforming blade-figure is named Munyu Munyu Zuban.
Nerds Are Virgins: Nobuo is described this way. He tries to hide his being a Sentai fanboy for fear of instantly losing any chance with his would-be Love Interest.
Never Recycle Your Schemes: Double-subverted in a meta-sense (and, as it's revealed next episode, in-universe as well in season 2: General Tsu attempts to use a similar plan to the one Malshina used in season 1 to break out of the Delusion World and into reality, but it turns out that Malshina's suggestion that he should do this was a lie, intended to both get Tsu out of the way and resurrect Delu-Knight.
In #2: They were deluded enough to cause the Machine Itassher to transform (but not enough for a cool battle with it yet); Nobuo was deluded enough for Deka Red to appear to help fight and give them the penultimate power of the Dekarangers, the Deka Cuffs, wielded by Akiba Red.
In #3: Nobuo was drunkenly delusional enough to call forth Bouken Red in his one episode silly outfit for the first battle; in the second battle, Nobuo and Yumeria were too drunk and their delusions interfered with one another; Later they received the penultimate power of the Boukengers, the Bouken Scooper, wielded by Akiba Blue.
In #5: The team was deluded enough for Yumeria's deceased mother to appear.
In #6: They were deluded enough to give the MOTW the movie episode runaroundnote normally done by the MOTW to the other sentai warriors and call forth Red Hawk and receive the penultimate power of Jetman, the Jet Winger, wielded by Akiba Red. It was also allowed Malshina to go into the real world.
In #7: They were deluded enough to change the delusional world and finally have a cool robot battle. They even go into the real world and turned a real world sign into a gun for their mecha.
In #8: They were deluded enough to combine their Inordinate Powers (Deka Cuffs, Bouken Scooper, and Jet Winger) into the Inordinate Cannon, all while in the real world.
In #9: Nobuo transformed in the real world and single-handedly defeated the MOTW by consecutively using the Inordinate Powers.
In #10: Akibas Yellow and Blue ALSO gained the ability to transform in real life in order to assist against Delu-Knight, despite the plot clearly establishing that Nobuo is the most deluded out of the three of them. (And thus the only one that was capable of pulling the feat off.)
In #11: While not a power per se, Nobuo suddenly gains enough perception to realize that he is in fact in a TV Show, despite being completely unaware of it, or being able to perceive it, prior.
In #2-4, Nobuo inspires Malshina to use her dark Aoi-tan and henshin. Yumeria and Luna unhappily lampshade this.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In Season 2, General Pain gives Malshina a book detailing all of Sentai History to help better herself against the Akibarangers. She read the part where an early Sentai villainess backstabs her higher up to take charge and promptly does that.
No Fourth Wall In Episode 10 Nobuo, becomes aware of the fourth wall. He convinces the rest of the characters of this and this trope is in full effect for the rest of season 1 as the final episodes revolve around the Akibarangers trying to thwart attempts from the producers to end the show. Season 1 ends with The heroes fighting the end credits.
#2-11 has a scene like this in which Malshina justifies her evil plan by directly addressing the audience.
Older than They Look: Nobuo is 29, although he looks more like he's in his early-to-mid 20s. Made even funnier by that fact that his actor, Masato Wada, is actually 32 in real life.
The One Guy: For the first time in Super Sentai history, girls outnumber boys when it comes to being a ranger. Nobuo/Akiba Red is The One Guy in a team of four, counting the Hot Scientist mentor Professor Hiroyo.
Opposite Day: in 2#11, victory flags become defeat flags and vise versa.
Otaku: With all the repercussions to boot. Nobuo hides his fanboyism to both Aoi and Sentai from public in fears that his would-be girlfriend would reject him for being an Otaku.
Out-of-Character Moment: Yumeria deciding to wear generic clothing along with an Akibaranger jacket in #11, rather than one of her outlandish costumes. Justified in that it's a symptom of the attempted retooling of the show that Nobuo discovers.
Put on a Bus: Because of the Alternate Universe-induced Retcon, Mitsuki leaves at the beginning of season 2 to aid the Pentagon (and as far as we can tell, it's not a trap like it was for Nobuo this time.) It's also mentioned briefly that Sayaka moved to Bhutan for work as well.
Real Trailer, Fake Movie: A variation in the form of Real Movie Posters, Fake Movie; a cardboard stand-up and tickets were made for an Akibaranger movie called "Treasure of the Maid Kingdom" (the same one that is shown in parts of the ending credits) which presumably won't really be made.
Recap Episode: Episode 13 has the Akibarangers watching a DVD sent by Saburo Hatte, containing a recap of their previous adventures.
The first episode of Season 2 summarizes what happened in Season 1, but it becomes blatantly clear that the summary is wrong.
Recycled Script: Invoked in the show. Akagi got replaced in a very similar way to how the first Vul Eagle was replaced, and he points out the similarity. This is how he finds out he's in a TV show.
Replaced the Theme Tune: A minor instance of this. Episode 11's opening switches to the second verse of the main theme, which contains more electric guitar and synthesized elements. If the differing 'feel' of the previous episode recap didn't already clue you in, this is a another warning sign that something's wrong. At the end of the episode, Nobuo snaps his allies out of their executive-meddling-induced personality changes, and come next episode the theme has changed back to the bubbly, moe-esque tune of the main theme's first verse.
Delu-Knight: "I've received word from the Delusion Empire homeworld on the edge of the galaxy, that our armada has mobilised and is approaching Earth."
Dr. Z: "The edge of the galaxy? But I thought the Delusion Empire existed in a parallel universe..." *jerks in pain as screen fills with static* "Oh, yes! The massive invasion force, the pride of our Empire... When it arrives, none shall stand against us!"
In episode #12 Dr. Z is able to reactivate Delu-Knight after killing him because he "used the blunt edge of [his] sword", despite clearly having shot him with a gun. The other characters notice this.
Retraux: A lot of the marketing and merchandise for the show are throwbacks to the early days of Super Sentai. The opening theme single CD, for example, has an old-style colorful cover, while the CD itself is made to look like a vinyl record.
Rule of Perception: #9. Despite Akihabara being home to some excellent cosplay, the cafe customers can somehow tell it's a real monster before them even before it attacks (not fatally, thank goodness).
Also, in the episode where Mitsuki trains with Niibori, and the good guys initiate the Trapped in TV Land plot, she strikes a good distance from the monster and does damage, because 'whatever the camera captures is reality.' We then switch to another camera and see that it really looks like she was hitting him from that angle.
This Rule is taken up to eleven in Episode #11. See the "Noticing the Fourth Wall" entry.
Lampshaded in the Clip Show, where Nobuo only spots the head clips on the impostor Deka Red helmet during the recap.
Averted in the S2 OP, when the new Big Bad gets swamped by otaku. Then justified as that's real-world General Pain, who's really just a cosplayer.
Running Gag: Not only is Akiba Yellow's little story during her roll call getting constantly interrupted, so far she's been managing to pick it up where she had left it the previous episode.
Sailor Earth: In season 2, General Tsu's monsters are designed in the style of previous official Sentai series monsters, even following their Theme Naming. Also, the Deluded Rangers that appear follow the motif of What Could Have Been (What if Dairanger was Chinaman, and what if the Gouraiger were still evil and had themselves a third member), save for the Powerful Rangers.
Salaryman: The Mooks. Their name, Shachiku, basically means corporate drone, though apparently it's written a bit differently from the real-life term.
Save the Villain: Akiba Red saves Doctor Z from being killed in the destruction of the Boomerang Titan in the final episode... though it's more out of a desire to still have a villain left to fight, and thus continue the show, rather than being worried about his life.
Scarf of Asskicking: The Rangers have white ones. Nobuo has a scarf as his civilian self to evoke the image, but he doesn't exactly kick much ass while wearing it.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Malsheena's go-to tactic in season two, like a lot of Sentai villains. Unlike most Sentai villains, it's not really because she's being beaten, but more like, "okay, this is getting stupid, MOTW, you handle the rest".
Sequel Hook: Nobuo and friends try to invoke as many Sequel Hook as possible in episode 12, down to those that are outright Ass Pull. Unfortunately, The Executives conspire to resolve all of them in the very same scene the hooks are introduced.
Sequel Reset: Parodied in Season 2 by taking it to extremes.
Series Continuity Error: One that is deliberately put in place. Season 1 most definitely didn't end the way first episode of Season 2 depicts it to end. Blame Saburo Hatte, again. Or rather, blame his injury.
The A in the Akibaranger seal looks suspiciously like that of The Avengers' logo.
Z-Cune Aoi has a lot in common with the Busou Shinki girls, substituting "always 8 inches tall" with "always in 2D".
The stances that the Akibarangers pull is VERY similar to that of the Ginyu Force's.
Adding some Kamen Rider to an existing Sentai gimmick, our heroes can gain "Sentai Ultimate Powers" that actually function more like the Final Form Ride. And instead of Decade grabbing the past Riders from behind, the past Sentai Reds grab our heroes by the chest... including the ladies.
When Yumeria says she's cosplaying as a schoolboy in #3, she does a finger point similar to another school student.
#2-4 mentions an old anime called "Ninja Cap-tan", which is a reference to a real-life Toku show produced by Toei in 1976 called Ninja Captor (Which, depending on who you ask, may or may not have been considered an installment of the Sentai series at one time, possibly making this a Discontinuity Nod).
#2-6. Yumeria is channeling Ichirou Mizuki for some reason.
Show Within a Show: Nijiyome Gakuennote 2D Wife Academy Z-Cune Aoi, which is tied into the main show's plot; the Akibarangers' morphing devices are transforming action figures of Aoi-tan, and all 3 of them are fans of the show. It later turns out Malshina is actually a rejected design for the main villain of the show by Hakase's father, that he also happens to be the head of Stema Otsu, and that Hakase herself is Aoi-tan's voice actress. Season two has an Aoi movie coming up.
The Super Sentai franchise (including Power Rangers on occasion) also exists as an in-universe show, which is another reason the children aren't supposed to watch Akibaranger, as it will break the illusion.
Shrinking Violet: Subverted. Despite being described a virgin, Nobuo isn't exactly a shy guy, he's actually very passionate and occasionally boisterous about being a Sentai fanboy.
"Silly Me" Gesture: In #4, Hiyoro Hakase does this when Nobuo reminded her that she was the one who made both him and Yumeria drunk in the previous episode.
Spoiler Opening: Averted in season 2's first episode. Sketches hide the new Akiba Blue, mecha and main villain, and all lyrics in the new OP related to the three are replaced with na-na-na's. Season 2 episode 2 brings out the full version of the opening, after there's no longer anything to spoil.
Spot the Impostor: Discussed in episode 4. When the supposedly brainwashed Mitsuki turns out to be a fake, Nobuo thinks this situation is going to happen. Subverted when Malshina just reveals herself on her own, figuring there's no point in keeping up the disguise when the real Mitsuki has shown up.
Stylistic Suck: Used a lot in episode 11, most prominently the obvious Fake Shemp techniques in the first scene, as well as Takuma getting on his bike super-quickly.
The first episode of Season Two has a bit of this thanks to the ham-fisted Retconning, such as bad overdubs of scenes from the first season, "flashbacks" where characters have slightly different costumes (and in Mitsuki's case, a completely different hair style) and the most blatant example, when they Retcon events that happened five seconds ago: before the mid-show eyecatch, Hakase reacts with happiness but after the eyecatch she reacts with dismay.
Subverted Trope: Several Super Sentai tropes are subverted, much to Nobuo's dismay. For example in #1, where the Monster of the Week fails to grow after being defeated, Nobuo notes that "these bad guys are subverting all the tropes!"
Ironically, just before this, the Akibarangers subverted a trope of their own when the monster initally gave them a hard beating before Malshina decided to let him take it from here, spelling certain doom for the monster. Whereas in pretty much all modern Super Sentai series, the team's debut is a Curb-Stomp Battle where they utterly obliterate the monster and its Mooks without difficulty.
Suddenly Sexuality: Yumeria confessing her lesbian love for Kozukozu, intended to be a Sequel Hook. Unfortunately, Kozukozu's reply is that she loves Yumeria too, so this hook is resolved.
Swiss Army Tears: Yumeria tries to invoke this to turn the supposedly evil Akiba Blue back to normal. It doesn't work when one is wearing a helmet.
10-Minute Retirement: Nobuo in #2, after Hiroyo revealed to him that his adventures as an Akibaranger is merely a delusion, until he is snapped out of it by a drop kick from Deka Red (actually a man in a suit hired by Hiroyo). Nobuo notes that that was the same drop kick Ban used to snap Hoji out of it in Dekaranger.
Theory of Narrative Causality: Winning battles isn't a matter of strength or tactics - it's how many victory or defeat flags you trip by Tempting Fate. All the major characters have intentionally tripped flags to try and get an advantage at some point or another.
Theme Naming: The three heroes all have their color in their surname. note Nobuo Akagi, Mitsuki Aoyagi, and Yumeria Moegi This is also lampshaded by Nobuo in the first episode. Invoked with Luna's recruitment: one of the first things Nobuo checks is that her name contains the kanji for blue (it does, inside another kanji at least).
Meanwhile, the Chief Clerks are all given very long names that are combinations of areas in Tokyo and animals (usually insects). For example, Alpaca Tsukishima's main weapons are a set of monjayaki spatulas, Tsukishima being the district of Tokyo where monjayaki is thought to have originated.
In Season 2, Yumeria became the tomboy to the new Akiba Blue, Luna's, girly girl.
Tsundere: The Itassha Robo's twin swords are based on this concept, with one being the "Tsun sword" and the other being the "Dere sword". In the first episode of season 2, they declare that they'll never use the Dere sword on an enemy they really dislike.
Wearing a Flag on Your Head: You can tell the "Powerful Rangers" (altered Zyurangers) are American because they have stars and stripes on their collars and belts.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most of the monsters of the week actually have good intentions, or generally, intentions that aren't all that evil at all, such as remaking Akihabara into a second Shibuya, a hostess entertainment district, or just cleansing Akihabara of all impure desires. As with most of these tropes, this is played for laughs and most of these plans are played up to Felony Misdemeanor
Wham Episode: Episode 6 ends with Malshina leaving the delusion and entering reality, meaning the Akibarangers' fights now have real consequences.
In 2-12, the Akibarangers are killed following a Heroic Sacrifice to stop an invading alien fleet. 2-13 twists the knife even further by revealing that the Akibarangers were Killed Off for Real, and are only shown as spirits whilst reminiscing about the events of the season.
Wholesome Crossdresser: In the ending of #2-4, Nobuo dresses up as a female character from an in-universe anime series. Though, said character is an altered version of one of the male characters from Ninja Captor.
A Wizard Did It: Any inconsistencies between season 1 and 2 (or even any inconsistencies in the series at all) can be easily explained as being the result of rewrites by Saburo Hatte
Writing Around Trademarks: As mentioned above, a lot of actual Toei material gets renamed and redesigned specifically for the Akibaranger universe. More to the point of the trope, Yumeria's cosplays, unless from Super Sentai or Z-Cune Aoi, do not reflect any specific anime.
You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Nobuo's reaction to the fact that Yumeria throwing a soda can at the kaiju-sized final boss caused it to defeat itself.
Your Mind Makes It Real: In Season 1, Malshina manages to appear in the real world halfway through the season, soon followed by bringing monsters over as well, and the Akibarangers being able to transform in reality.
Subverted at the end of Episode #2-12. The Akibas sacrificed themselves to save Earth from an invasion, but are implied to be in the delusion world during. (Making it a delusion, despite it being treated as an actual, real event) However, their deaths in the Delusion World are confirmed to have killed them in reality.