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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.
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Hikari Sentai Maskman (Light Squadron Maskman) is the eleventh Super Sentai series, running from 1987 to 1988. 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.


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Recurring Super Sentai tropes:

  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Aura Mask!" followed by their individual names.
    • Ryo on the other hand yells "Change Power" to transform into X1.
  • 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 buggy modified from an F1 race car.
  • 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.
  • 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 mecha.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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).
  • Dancing Theme: The movie opening.
  • Darker and Edgier: One of the first attempts of Super Sentai to instill seriousness (as in Star-Crossed Lovers) in the series (before J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai was included).
  • 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 things.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Zeba was actually the spawn of Rizal 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 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 ?).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Dogger. 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.
  • Shout-Out: Homages mecha anime Choudenji Robo Combattler V, Choudenji Machine Voltes V and Toushou Daimos both with Maskman's mecha, and key plot elements: The main hero's girlfriend is actually the princess of the invaders he fights as in Daimos, and Prince Igam is looked down upon by the rest of Tube for being related to the traitor Princess Iyal, mirroring Prince Heinel from Voltes V. Galaxy Robo's Aura Road Spark is also a Shout-Out to Combattler V's Grand Dasher Wave. Ironically, the last two series mentioned are also big hits with Filipinos like Maskman is.
    • The heroes also have a kunoichi in their group, Haruka/Yellow Mask. Yellow also happens to be one of the primary color of Voltes V resident kunoichi Megumi Oka (her piloting suit is yellow with pink accents). Her girly girl teammate, Momoko/Pink Mask, while a tough fighter on her own, has a slight flaw of low constitution which inflicts her with Heroic RRoD for one episode, which corresponds with the other Robot Romance heroine: Combattler V's Chizuru Nanbara (wears pink, is actually more feminine despite fighting along with the boys, has a velvecular heart disease that pushed her to Heroic RRoD only for one episode.)
    • Outside the Robot Romance Trilogy shout outs, Prince Igam being played by a woman and eventually revealed to be biologically a woman is also a borrowed aspect from another 80's mecha anime God Sigma, in particular the antagonistic noble general Teral who is a woman posing as a man and voiced by a female actress.
    • Oyobu's design is a Shout-Out to The Flash. He also sort of has Flash's Super Speed when running.
  • Sky Surfing: The Jet Cannon can double as a 'sky surfing board'
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Takeru and Iyal
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Okelampa's final fate after he enlarges Anagamas for his final battle is unknown.

 
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Maskman final battle

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

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