Kakuranger is a portmanteau of Kakure, which means "hidden", and Ranger
) is the eighteenth installment in the Super Sentai franchise, airing from 1994 to 1995.400 years ago, a band of Yōkai battled a group of ninjas, led by the legendary Sarutobi Sasuke. He and four other ninjas sealed the Yōkai away behind a magical door. In the present day, the Yōkai are set free when two of those ninjas' descendants, Sasuke and Saizō, are tricked into opening the door. Now, they and the three descendants of the other ninjas must put the Yōkai away as the Kakurangers.This is the first Super Sentai with a Ninja motif; its characters are also compared to the leads of Journey to the West. It was also the first Sentai to feature a female as its leader, and the first to have a non-human ally as a Sixth Ranger.It was adapted into America as the third season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Notably, the suits were used for the Aquitian Rangers, a separate team of Rangers that protected the Earth during the "Alien Rangers" story arc when the Mighty Morphin team were de-aged.
The Kakurangers are:
Sasuke / Ninja Red: The hot-bloodedHero of the story. Parallels to Sun Wukong.
Tsuruhime / Ninja White: The Chick and Smart Guy. She's technically the leader, but Sasuke's the P.O.V.-character. Parallels to Xuanzang.
Unfortunately, he was written with no counterpart, but Yulong is left over from Journey To The West
Ninjaman: Sixth Ranger, a disciple of the Sanshinshō who was imprisoned in a magic bottle after he was tricked into attacking humans. He can enlarge himself to fight giant Yokais and has the ability to transform into Samuraiman when angered.
Cool Bike: The Shark Machines, much like the Goranger Machines and the Zaurer Machines, consisted of one solo bike for Red (the Shark Bridder) and two sidecar-equipped bikes for the rest of the team (Blue's Shark Slider shared with White, and Yellow's Shark Launcher shared with Black). They could be combined to form a Finishing Move called the Shark Driver.
Cool Car: The Nekomaru van, a sentient van with the face of cat.
Crossover: Super Sentai World, a short 3D film where the Kakuranger team fought alongside the four previous Sentai teams (Fiveman, Jetman, Zyuranger and Dairanger). The main giant robot of each team were also present. This short film served as a predecessor to the annual Versus movies that began the following year.
Eyecatch: The eyecatch before the break features a Kakuranger by a black background slashing the screen. All 5 Kakurangers are then seen in the open turning to the camera. After the break, the eyecatch features the Three God Generals.
. Tsubasamaru gets the unique classification of Seininjū*
Holy Stealth Beast
Animal Mecha: The Kyodai Jūshō (and by proxy, the Jūshō Fighters) have humanoid forms with anthropomorphic characteristics, while the Chōninjū and Tsubasamaru are all animal-shaped. The name of each Kakuranger's mecha is a pun on the animal it's based on.
"Saruder" = saru (ape)
"Kark" = kaku (crane)
"Rogan" = garō (wolf)
"Kumard" = kuma (bear)
"Gammer" = gamagaeru (Japanese toad)
Combining Mecha: The Jūshō are the components of the Muteki Shōgun, while the Chōninjū are the ones for the Kakure Daishōgun.
Red Saruder + White Kark + Blue Rogan + Yellow Kumard + Black Gammer = Muteki Shōgun
God Saruder + God Kark + God Rogan + God Kumard + God Gammer = Kakure Daishōgun
Averted with the Jūshō Fighters, which are lightweight versions of the standard Jūshō that make up for their inability to combine with greater speed and flexibility.*
Their names are just like the others, only they all begin with "Battle" (i.e. Battle Saruder, Battle Kark, ect.).
Psycho Rangers: The Flower Kunoichi Gang, introduced in Episode 15, is an all-female variant. Notably, they were also the first team of Psycho Rangers who weren't simply Evil Knockoffs of the heroic rangers.
The Smurfette Principle: Ninja White, who unlike previous girls, is actually the leader of the team (although Ninja Red is still the lead character).
Dawson Casting: Slightly inverted. Satomi Hirose, playing Tsuruhime, was not yet 14 when filming began. When Tsuruhime is shown celebrating her birthday onscreen mid-series, her birthday cake can be seen holding 16 candles.
Distressed Dude: Seikai tends to get into trouble and captured first amongst the team. *
In case you didn't notice, that's what also happened to his Journey To The West counterpart
Gratuitous English: Averted by Jiraiya, played so straight that it hurts by Kappa and Rokurokubi.
Kappa: Oru-kay! Hai yew! Rook oba he-yah!
Heroic Lineage: The modern Kakurangers are descendents of the originals, some 24 generations down the line (in Tsuruhime's case). The modern ones all get to meet their ancestors when they get their Doron Changers - and we find out that the ancestors aren't exactly thrilled with their descendents' lifestyles.
As some of the previous show about 'previous heroes cast as villains', this time we had Remi Hoshikawa being one of the Flower Kunoichi Gang. This would have an effect below.
Tarō, one of the Dog Twins, was played by Keisuke Tsuchiya (Kazu/Kirin Ranger in Gosei Sentai Dairanger). The other twin, Jirō, was played by Keisuke's actual twin brother Daisuke, who played Kazu's evil twin in one episode of Dairanger, although he is much better known for being Takuya Kai/Blue Beet in Juukou B-Fighter (where Keisuke played his Evil Counterpart Black Beet).
Episode 35 is a Reunion Show where Satomi Hirose (Tsuruhime) teams up with her co-stars from Yugenjikko Sisters Chouchoutrian: Kei Ishibashi and Noriko Tanaka.
Kouta: "Striking at evil from the midst of shadows!"
Yousuke: "Ninpuu Sentai..."
The line is not limited for him alone though.
: "... has arrived!"
At one point Junior performs a ritual to Zashiki-Warashi evil, with the incantation "Daichi no akuryou tachi yo. Ikeru momo no subete no ikari to nikushimi wo atsume, kono zashiki-warashi ni aku no chikara wo atae yo" *
Evil spirits that dwell within the earth, gather the anger and hatred of all living things, and grant evil power unto Zashiki Warashi.
Reika's participation in battle alongside Sasuke gives tribute to Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger battles. Reika herself is an homage to Mei (who was played by her actress), her twin daggers are a nod to Boi (that team's Yellow), and unlike the Kakurangers' attacks, her blows strike Sword Sparks off the Dorodoros. What may be another Zyuranger nod are the non-urban shots of the Super Stealth Beasts running together.
Episode 35, the one with the Punishment Sailor Sisters, is a shout-out to Sailor Moon. The villains' plot is Sailor Moon-esque compared to the other episodes, the girls' Sailor costumes (Tsuruhime also gets to wear one) are a blatant visual reference, Tsuruhime and the Sisters confront the episode's Yōkai with an In the Name of the Moon speech worded quite similarly to the Trope Namer's, and it's Tsuruhime (the female leader of the team and who is a colour match for Usagi more or less) who finishes off the Yōkai single-handedly.
Stock Ninja Weaponry: Shuriken show up, wielded by all of the rangers. Most are of them are small. Each ranger has unique shuriken which resemble their ranger symbol. NinjaRed also has a Fuuma Shuriken, with his first Humongous Mecha wielding a bigger version that it rolls at enemies to kill them. The rangers also use Caltrops on a few occasions. Each of them has a wakizashi in Ranger form, and finally NinjaRed's third Humongous Mecha wields a pair of ninja-to.
Surprisingly Good English: Jiraiya is played by American-born Kane Kosugi, so his English is free of the usual Japanese accent. This is most jarring in the roll call, where he pronounces "Ninja Black" in an American accent (specifically he has a Californian accent).
In episode 3, his introduction, he says a buttload of things in perfect English.
Most of his dialogue in that episode is in flawless English, and even later episodes have him slipping into it.
Synchronization: If Daradara is injured, Ninjaman is injured instead. He can only be injured instead if Daimaou is injured.
Team Pet: Nekomaru, their... bus. He even has its own theme song.
Theme Naming: Each Kakuranger is named after a ninja from actual Japanese folklore. Justified - they're all descended from said ninjas, and their names are taken from their ancestors.
Sasuke: Named after Sarutobi Sasuke.
Jiraiya: Named after the hero of the folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari.
Saizō: Named after Kirigakure Saizō.
Seikai: Named after Miyoshi Seikai.
Tsuruhime: Named after Ōhōri Tsuruhime. (referred to as Shodai Tsuruhime)
Also applies to the Flower Kunoichi Gang, where every one of them has a flower name (Ayame = iris, Sakura = cherry flower, Suiren = water lily, Yuri = lily - the regular kind - , Ran = orchid)