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Series / Hikari Sentai Maskman

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Inside the human body, a mysterious power is hidden. With training and discipline, this infinite power can be obtained.

Hikari Sentai Maskman (Light Squadron Maskman) is the eleventh Super Sentai series, running from 1987 to 1988. The Title Theme Tune was performed by Hironobu Kageyama for the second time in the series. Not to be confused with the Korean animated series also titled Maskman.

Commander Sugata, a master of the mysterious Aura Power, assembles a team of five martial artists and instructs them in the use of their inner Aura to offset the menace of Tube, a once peaceful empire now ruled by the evil Emperor Zeba, who seeks to extend his reign to the surface world. Red Mask Takeru's girlfriend Mio is in fact Iyal, Princess of Tube, who is sentenced to sleep forever in an ice coffin for falling in love with a surface dweller. Maskman fights for peace both on and beneath the earth.

Recurring Super Sentai tropes:

  • All Your Powers Combined: Whenever the Maskmen meditate and use their aura power to energize the Jet Cannon. The Shot Bomber also counts but less so since it's more powered by its battery pack energy source than the life force of the team.
  • BFG: The Shot Bomber, \which had Red Mask wearing a large battery backpack with power tubes on it. Later, they get the Jet Cannon, which instead required the Maskmen to meditate to energize it with aura power. Takeru could also use the Jet Cannon to "skysurf" like he's on an aerial jet ski.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The Maskmen's Laser Magnums. They're laser guns that come with collapsible swords, which is reminiscent of the Choudenshi Bioman sidearms.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: They will yell "Aura Mask!" followed by their individual names in order to transform to their sentai selves.
    • Ryo on the other hand yells "Change Power" to transform into X1.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Whenever they summon their arsenal, they helpfully shout out what it is, whether it's the Masky Blade, Masky Rod, Masky Tonfas, Masky Disc, or Masky Ribbon.
    • Ditto when it comes to the armaments of Great Five and Galaxy Robo, such as the Gyro Cutter, Photo Electron Sword, Spartan Dash, or Aura Iron Fist.
    • You will regularly hear them yell out, "LASER MAGNUM!" at least once an episode too.
  • Combination Attack: Unlike other Super Sentai shows, they depended more on the Team Cannon rather than a specific named attack. They first had the Shot Bomber but when Kiros destroyed that, they started using the more powerful Jet Cannon itself, which used concentrated aura power as its ammunition instead to unleash its Kamehame Hadoken.
  • Color Character: They're another "[English color] [team prefix]" Sentai, from Red Mask to Pink Mask.
  • Cool Airship: The Turbo Ranger, not to be confused with the Sentai team that debuted two years later.note  The ship is designed to resemble a sports car. It can carry either the Great Five components or the Land Galaxy.
  • Cool Bike: The Mask Roader, a set of bikes for each member except Red Mask, who gets the...
  • Cool Car: ...Spin Cruiser, an armed ATV buggy modified from an F1 racecar.
  • Eye Catch: The eyecatch before the break shows the Maskman team. The end of the commercial break features Great Five posing with its sword and shield.
  • Finishing Move: The Shot Bomber is a standard Plasma Cannon with its energy source worn by Red Mask as a battery pack. The Jet Cannon is the vehicular upgrade of the Shot Bomber powered by the Maskmen's Aura Power.
  • Home Base: The heroes also have their own hidden base of operations (doubling as a racing company office) where Commander Sugata observes and converses with them through all-seeing TV monitors. He is flanked by two assistants, Dr. Azuma and Dr. Catherine, who monitor the progress of the team. It also has gym and medical facilities to boot.
  • Humongous Mecha: Introduced the first giant robot in Super Sentai formed from five components, which meant that every member of the team finally piloted an individual vehicle.
    • Combining Mecha: To form Great Five, the Masky Drill and Mask Tank first form the feet and legs, then the Masky Jet and Masky Gyro complete the torso and form the arms, and Masky Fighter forms the head and the chestplate.note 
    • Transforming Mecha: The Land Galaxy, a truck which transforms into the Galaxy Robo. It's also an Expy to the previous sentai's secondary robo.
  • In the Name of the Moon: The Maskman only get individual announcements in The Movie but not in the show.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Takeru, being a racecar driver, was given the Spin Cruiser buggy as his personal vehicle, the only thing that could thwart a monster's scheme. Two episodes later, he manages to master the God Hand move. Fast forward a little and he's also Jet Cannon's usual pilot, not mention the fact he's Igam's and Kiro's rival.
  • Make My Monster Grow: Energy Beast Okelampa's reason for living. This shellfish-like hermit crab monster has the ability to make monsters grow at least once an episode, which begs the question, "Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?" on the part of the Maskmen.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Part of the Maskman girls' suits. From this point on, most every Sentai heroine has this, with exceptions being Fiveman and Dekaranger.
  • Mooks: For this season, the grunts of the Underground Empire Tube are called the Ungler Soldiers. They sometimes pilot aircrafts knwon as the Unglermon Fighters. These planes are unique in that they're able to combine together to form centipede-like mechs.
  • Monster of the Week: They were called Chiteijū ("Underground Beasts"). A few of the early ones were actually two monsters in one, which were composed of an "Underground Doggler" and a "parasite" that would grant it power.
  • The Movie: The Maskmen tried to help a mermaid that was being deceived by Tube to sing a destructive song. Oh, and they had a Dancing Theme for opening.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase: The episode previews for Maskman mostly does a Title Drop followed by the title of the episode.
  • Supervillain Lair: In this case, the expansive lair of the Underground Empire Tube is of course the subterranean network of caves all across Japan. Many of their armies emerge from dank caves as a result.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Thanks to Hironobu Kageyama of JAM Project and Dragon Ball fame, every action of the Maskmen—from dealing with the mooks to taking out the Monster of the Week as well as summoning the Turbo Ranger shuttle to deliver the vehicles that form Great Five or Galaxy Robo—has accompanying pulse-pounding Eighties J-pop tunes to them.
  • Transformation Trinket: Averted. They wear a wrist device called the Masking Brace, but the actual transformation procedure is to glow with "Aura Power" while doing Hand Seals, making a screen of it in front of them that suits them up as they pass through. The Masking Brace is simply a communicator.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The fourth Sentai team in a row and once again another Yellow and Pink duo.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: As is the norm for Super Sentai, we generally have Tube sending out a MOTW with an Evil Plan Once an Episode, with our heroes then arriving on the scene to stop them.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: The weapons unique to each Maskman coincides with their personality or role in the team.

Tropes Specific to Hikari Sentai Maskman:

  • Advertised Extra: X-1 Mask appears on the cover of DVD set Vol. 4, despite not being a regular.
  • The Atoner: To atone for her crimes of serving Zeba, Igam in the end is Taking the Veil and wanders the labyrinth of Tube as the first step of atonement.
  • The Artifact: The number "5" on their emblem, which was decided back when the team was originally going to be called "Fiveman". When they actually made a show with that name a couple years later, the suits instead had V's on them. Same explanation for why the first robot is called the Great Five instead of the Mask Robo or somesuch. (though they were the first 5-piece combiner; ironically, Fiveman's Fiverobo was only three pieces).
  • Barehanded Blade Block: One episode had Kenta learning this in order to thwart Baraba's scheme.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Even though Takeru and Iyal are reunited in the end, it doesn't last long. She's become the new ruler of Tube and is forced to break things off with him. On the bright side, Takeru still has his friends waiting for him and with Iyal taking the throne, Tube stops being a threat, will probably undergo reformation into a peaceful race like it once was and may be open for visiting by the Earthlings, so technically Takeru and friends can visit Iyal anytime.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Takeru as a kid is a brat who fancies himself a Henshin Hero, always gets into trouble, is bad at school academics, flips girls skirts, and wishes to stowaway abroad so that he could study there while maintaining his immature devil-may-care lifestyle.
  • Catchphrase: After fulfilling his weekly purpose, Okelampa exclaims "Yare Yare" ("Oh dear"/ "Good Heavens").
    • In the Brazilian dub, he says "Eu tô cansado" (I'm tired), while in the Filipino dub, he says "Makauwi na nga" (I'm going home).
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Aura Power. While the concept of Ki Manipulation is supernatural, being able to train your ability to manifest it like you'd train your muscles makes it a superpower reminiscent of Charles Atlas himself.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Dr. Catherine, Chief Sugata's other assistant in Episode 3 (the one played by a white girl).
  • Cowardly Lion: One of the Monster of the Week brainwashes Kenta into becoming cowardly.
  • Dancing Theme: The movie opening has the Maskmen dancing like it's a musical production number.
  • Darker and Edgier: Continues the trend of Super Sentai shows of its era to instill drama and seriousness (as in Star-Crossed Lovers) into the series before J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai was included into the franchise.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • For some reason, when this Sentai was aired in Brazil, Takeru's name was slightly altered to "Takeo", while Haruka and Momoko were respectively rechristened "Sayaka" (no relation to Change Mermaid) and "Keiko".
    • Not to mention the usual Filipino schtick. Apparently Takeru becomes "Michael Joe", amongst other things (like "Mio" being misheard as "Rio").note 
  • Eldritch Abomination: Zeba was actually the spawn of Lethal Doggler, a malignant creature defeated by the original Tube royal family. Driven by a seething hatred against humans from both sides of the crust, it proceeds to destroy the rest of the original family save Ial and Igam, corrupting Tube into becoming a militaristic Crapsack World using enslaved underground humans in an attempt to reach the surface world and extend its malicious grip.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Baraba's sorrow over his mother's death is what allows him to defeat Devil Doggler and obtain the Ground Empire Sword.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Akira. Turns out he was just possessed by an evil spirit.
  • Fake Defector: That one episode where Haruka and Momoko get "brainwashed" into becoming gangsters.
  • Gag Sub: In the CS Central fansub of the series they took Okelampa's Catchphrase above and even though he exactly said "Yare yare", the subtitle will say amongst things like "Whatever..."note  or "I need a bath..." or "I need a raise..." Could also go to Deadpan Snarker territory with lines like, "Why don't the Maskmen shoot me first?" It gets even more ridiculous and crazier in latter episodes with lines as "Don't worry, Kenta! You still have *insert all one-episode girl that interacted with him from the previous episodes, with the episode numbers mentioned*, you goddamn playboy!" (Note that this might cross the line since this is said after Kenta's girl of the week just tragically died)
    • CS Central is pretty liberal when it comes to subs, actually. Just watch their Choujin Sentai Jetman subs (where else would you watch "aa, sonna..."note  translated as "No way, Jose"note ?).
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Takeru delivers this twice on his teammates, first for Haruka (complete with slap), then for Kenta, during their respective breakdowns.
  • Handsome Lech: Kenta is the shameless skirt chaser of the team, particularly during the episode when he met Miyuki after fending off a couple of rude bikers. He struck out with many women that day. He doesn't pursue a relationship with Miyuki for fear of endangering her further after she was used by Baraba as a pawn to one of Tube's evil schemes.
  • It Only Works Once: Despite its legendary reputation, Takeru's God Hand technique is only used once after its premiere in episode 6, and fails to damage its target.
  • Keet: Akira is the Genki Guy of the team. He's also the youngest and shortest guy of the Maskmen. He's thusly treated like a little brother by the team.
  • Lady in Red: In episode 41, Momoko wears a sexy red dress whilst acting as a brainwashed armed robber.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Both Baraba and Prince Igam, receive new weapons shortly after the Maskman team has gotten their own.
  • Love Triangle: Arguably Takeru, Iyal, and Kiros. However, Kiros acts more like the "Gaston" of the trio, while Takeru and Iyal also don't end up together because of Iyal's responsibilities as Queen of Tube after the downfall of Emperor Zeba.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Galaxy Robo and Jet Cannon.
    • Baraba and Prince Igam get theirs in the form of the Daichiteikennote  and the Igam Dragon respectively.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: When the Maskman are rushing in their new Galaxy Robo to go retrieve the stolen Great Five, they notice that the Monster of the Week is on their tail. So they stop to fight him...and we find out that Power Glows even applies to using the brake pedal.
  • Mythology Gag: Yellow Mask’s status as the team’s sole Ninja has been done before with DynaBlack from Kagaku Sentai Dynaman.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Not very severe but the preview for episode one makes it look lighthearted and nothing very heavy.
  • Only One Name: None of the Maskmen seem to have surnames, except Ryo Asuka, the one-off X-1 Mask.
  • The Plan: Anagamas' plan to bury the Great Five depends on one, heavily.
  • Pocket Protector: In episode 5, Fumin threw a sword into Akira's chest which would've killed him if it wasn't for the fact he had a apple right inside his shirt.
  • Posthumous Character: Dr. Yamagata (the inventor of the Galaxy Robo)
  • The Power of Love: Takeru's love with Mio/Iyal usually is what pushes him forward.
  • Power of the God Hand: While the effectiveness is questionable, the idea behind naming the Limit Break God Hand still stands.
  • Predecessor Villain: Lethal Doggler. Even though he's not the main antagonist, the show's events were set in motion by him.
  • Shirtless Scene: Takeru and Kenta wearing nothing but little speedos in episode 25.
  • Sky Surfing: The Jet Cannon can double as a "sky surfboard" or "sky jet ski".
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Takeru the leader of the resistance against Underground Empire Tube and Iyal, the deposed princess of the previously pacifistic Tube Empire.
  • Temporal Paradox: Igam tried to do this by traveling back in time and attempting to kill Takeru when he's a kid in episode 38.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: In addition to the Mini Dress Of Power, the female rangers also have earrings on their helmets.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Haruka and Momoko, though this one's more downplayed: They got the differences all right, but the fact that they're martial artists means that they're equally prone of jokes of 'Are these tomboys enjoying feminine things? You serious?' And they both don't take it well. And of course, Igam and Iyal.
  • Villain Song: We Are Angler by Koorogi '73.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Akira mostly fights and continues training to make his mother proud. Apparently, Commander Baraba is this to his mother Laraba as well.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Okelampa's final fate after he enlarges Anagamas for his final battle is unknown.


Video Example(s):


Maskman final battle

Even by Super Sentai standards, Emperor Zeba's death is pretty spectacular.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TechnicolorDeath

Media sources: