Mirai Sentai Timeranger (Future Squadron Timeranger) is the twenty-fourth installment in the Super Sentai series, running from 2000 to 2001. Partnered with the Kamen Rider series Kamen Rider Kuuga before concluding its airing alongside the first episodes of Kamen Rider Agito in what would later be known as the Super Hero Time block.
Adapted as Power Rangers Time Force; the adaptation is one of the closest ever done to the original Sentai.
By the year 3000 AD, Time Travel has been discovered and thoroughly developed. To prevent possible abuses of this technology, it is regulated by the Time Police, an intergalactic organization that also captures dangerous alien criminals and holds them in cryogenic stasis for the length of their sentence.
One such criminal, Don Dolnero, escapes from the Time Police, hijacks a prison ship full of convicts and flees to the year 2000 AD. Captain Ryūya of the Time Police sends four cadets to the past to capture him and his minions, Lila and Gien.
Unfortunately, the cadets have been deceived by Lila (masquerading as their captain) and are almost killed upon reaching the 21st century. With their Timeship destroyed, the cadets are trapped in the past until they can apprehend Don Dolnero and his gang. To aid their mission, they have access to powerful transformation devices called Chrono Changers. However, the Timeranger Project requires all five Chrono Changers to be activated at the same time.
Enter Tatsuya Asami, an idealistic young man yearning to break free from his oppressive father and future as the heir of the prestigious Asami Group corporation. Happening upon the cadets, he becomes their fifth member and vows to change the future for the better even against the pessimism of the other four Timerangers. Later on, an old university acquaintance of Tatsuya, Naoto Takizawa, seizes some of the Timeranger technology for himself and becomes Time Fire, a Rival and Foil to Tatsuya himself.
A major theme in Timeranger is the nature of fate. The characters of the future, being from a period where Time Travel has been extensively researched, are resigned to the fact that the future is entirely predetermined. On the other hand, the characters from the present day are determined to change their own destinies: Tatsuya wishes to break free from the future that has been decided for him since his birth, while Naoto wants to gain power in a world where connections and nepotism mean more than hard work. Eventually, the team discover that the entire story was set in motion by one solitary person whose only wish was to change his own future.
This is the 9th Super Sentai to be released in North America on DVD. Furthermore as the special where the team encounter the previous 23 Sentai and the following series is included, it's the first time that North American audiences get a look at Choujin Sentai Jetman and Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger respectively before their DVD releases, as well as the teams from Himitsu Sentai Gorenger up to Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman. The series is available to stream for free at Shout! Factory TV.
Recurring Super Sentai tropes:
- Color Character: The Five-Man Band are another "[team prefix] [English color]" Sentai. Averted in the case of TimeFire, being a second Red Ranger.
- Cool Bike: Averted. This was the first Sentai without a proper road vehicle. The closest thing was the Time Flyer, a small hovercraft that was at least large enough to carry the main team.
- Crossover: Mirai Sentai Timeranger vs. GoGoFive
- Evil Counterpart: Naoto to Tatsuya. Tatsuya is generally easygoing, altruistic and wants to make his way in life without relying on the wealth and power of his family. Naoto, on the other hand, comes from a poor upbringing, is a selfish Jerk with a Heart of Gold who desires power more than anything else. There's a reason they both get the red suits. But a second Evil Counterpart exists in Ryuya, who also wishes to change his own fate. But he does so out of purely selfish reasons and by changing the past instead of the future. As it is also revealed that he was originally meant to be TimeFire, he serves as an Evil Counterpart to BOTH Naoto and Tatsuya.
- Finishing Move: Slight subversion; the finishers are meant to shrink, not kill, their adversaries.
- Humongous Mecha: After several shows with multiple combining robots, Timeranger went back to having one individual mecha per ranger. Instead, their main set of mechas now have three possible combined forms (two robot forms and a jet).
- A Mech by Any Other Name: The Time Jets.
- Combining Mecha: Time Jet 1 (Red) + 2 (Blue) + 3 (Green) + 4 (Yellow) + 5 (Pink) = Time Robo Alpha, Time Robo Beta or Time Jet Gamma
- Robot Buddy: Providus
- Transforming Mecha: The Time Shadow, which transforms between Stealth Mode (jet) or Time Mode (robot), and the V-Rex, which transforms into the V-Rex Robo.
- Mecha Expansion Pack: The Time Shadow, which combines with either Time Robo formation.
- Time Robo Alpha + Time Shadow = Time Robo Shadow Alpha
- Time Robo Beta + Time Shadow = Time Robo Shadow Beta
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are called "Case Files," and each one has a date attached to it.
- In the Name of the Moon:
- "Timeranger! (Prisoner)! You're under arrest!"
- They do a combined roll call with GoGoFive during their team-up movie.Tatsuya: "The lives of people are the future of this planet!"Matoi: "Burning Rescue spirits!"GoGoFive: "Kyukyu Sentai - !"Matoi: "Go! Go!"All: "Five!" "Timeranger!"
- Make My Monster Grow: Each prisoner has a seal on their body that was used to shrink them; breaking it off has the opposite effect.
- Mini Dress Of Power: Part of Time Pink's costume.
- Monster of the Week: They are alien prisoners from the far future. Unlike the previous and next seasons, they are not exterminated, but recaptured upon defeated.
- Mooks: Zenitts, the Mecha-Mooks. Gien even calls them "cannon fodder troops"! And yet, they're possibly the only Super Sentai mooks ever to actually kill a ranger.
- Narrator: Yukitoshi Hori provides the narration for the series.
- "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase:
- "Next... Timeranger!"
- The only exceptions are the next episode previews for Case File 36 (Where it's not said), the series finale, where it's said "Timeranger, Final!" and the franchise recap episode, where it's said "Timeranger Special!"; the last one said by the cast.
- Transformation Trinket: The Chrono Changer, as well as Naoto's V Commander.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: As is the norm for Super Sentai, we generally have the Londerz sending out a MOTW with an Evil Plan Once an Episode, with our heroes then arriving on the scene to stop them.
Mirai Sentai Timeranger provides particular-to-this-series examples of:
- 10-Minute Retirement: Tatsuya, when Ryūya took his Chrono Changer and he had to lead his father's company.
- An Aesop: Death is the inevitable (final) stage of human life. We humans know that we all have to die eventually and even lose people we love in the most unfortunate circumstances, no matter how much we can deal about it, we can't turn back time.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Tatsuya is surprised to learn Rouge was jailed alongside the other convicts, when all she did was steal jewelry and knock some people unconscious. Yuri explains to him that in the future, that can get you frozen once you hit your third strike.
- All Just a Dream: Case File 38's adventures through movies is just Shion dreaming.
- Almighty Janitor: Sometimes the rangers get jobs that involved cleaning.
- Always Someone Better: Naoto to Tatsuya. However, Tatsuya also feels the same way: because Tatsuya comes from a rich family with great social influence, no one will take him seriously.
- And I Must Scream: It is confirmed that the criminals are aware during crystasis. It's described in one episode as constantly feeling like you're about to fall asleep but never actually doing so. Somewhat justified in that it wouldn't be much a punishment to just fall asleep and wake up.
- Big Eater: Domon.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Great Extinction of 2001 has been averted, the Londerz Family is no more, and Tatsuya and Yuuri finally confess their love to each other. In addition, history in the future has been altered as a result of the G-Zord incident: Domon's ban from in-ring competition is reduced to a year of suspension, Ayase would still succumb from Osiris Syndrome in less than a year but a cure for that illness is found, and Yuri's family is still alive. But Tatsuya and the other four Timerangers have to go their separate ways, with Sion's history remaining unaltered because of his home planet having no contact with Earth prior to its destruction. Even though Tatsuya promised himself he'll see them again someday in some way or another, that might not happen... at least (probably) for the next eleven years.
- Broken Bird: Yuuri has hints of this as her family was murdered when she was ten.
- Casanova Wannabe: The reason why Domon never seems to get a student for his self defense class.
- Catchphrase: The Timerangers and TimeFire respectively say "Time's Up" and "The End" whenever they defeat a Londerz prisoner.
- The Chessmaster: Ryūya. But he still fails.
- Continuity Nod: Case File 36 features Reiji, a thief who'd previously appeared in an episode of Rescue Sentai GoGoFive (the same writer wrote both episodes). Just like before, he attempts to take an item wanted by both the heroes and villains.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dolnero actually manages to get rich enough and becomes an executive of a company.
- Cooking Duel: Not exactly between two cooks but an iron soba chef Domon against a food taster Londerz.
- Covers Always Lie: Naoto is often seen posing with the Timerangers in promotional material, despite the fact that he never joins the team in-series.
- Crapsaccharine World: In the beginning of the series, we were made to believe that the futuristic world of the year 3000 was a peaceful utopia. But as the series goes on, we later learn that even in the distant future, certain diseases can't be treated, crime is still a major problem, and if you were the last of your own kind, you are placed in a lab and constantly studied on like a common lab rat.
- Crime Fighting With Cash: The City Guardians and when Naoto became TimeFire.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The case of Gien who used to be a good natured young man before he was made into a robot to save his life, turning him into a psychopath.
- Darker and Edgier: Timeranger is quite possibly the most straight-faced and serious Super Sentai series in the early 2000s, even moreso that the late 80's and early 90's Sentai combined: Monsters of the Week doing real-life criminal activities, two Rangers having a higher risk of dying (Ayase has terminal illness, while Naoto dies from a Zenitt gunshot In the Back), the Big Good who is actually the mastermind behind the villains' actions, and a mentally defective Ax-Crazy Cyborg with Omnicidal Maniac fantasies and delusions of godhood. This also heavily influenced the American Power Rangers adaptation, which was the darkest season of that respective series until RPM.
- Deadly Doctor: One episode had a Mad Doctor monster taking over a hospital.
- Death Seeker: Because Ayase has the incurable Osiris Syndrome, he practically chooses to completely forget his well-being to protect people.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Inverted with the Londerz criminals who, while being consumed by a ball of fire, are merely refrozen. Played straight with the G-Zord and Gien's creations, including Neo Crisis.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Yuuri, thanks to Character Development.
- Energy Weapon: Lila's specialty.
- Expy: Don Dolnero is a Fat Bastard alien mob boss, much like Jabba the Hutt.
- Fantastic Racism: Not to the extent of Time Force, but still, we never do see any human criminals get the freezing treatment.
- The Fatalist: The characters from the year 3000 AD. Augmented by the fact that they are from a time period where Time Travel has been greatly researched and accept it as common knowledge that the future cannot be changed. The series never answers the question of whether it is possible, but it does instil the message that whether or not time is predetermined, you have to possess hope for the future.
- First-Name Basis: Every Timeranger whose suit color isn't red.
- Foreshadowing: In the first episode, right when Dolnero escapes from confinement, the scene cuts to Captain Ryuya and the four future Timerangers, Ryuya briefly flashes a sinister smirk. While he was revealed to be Dolnero's henchman Lila in disguise afterward This also foreshadows the real Ryuya's true nature.
- Flung Clothing: Sometimes part of the rangers' transformation sequence to reveal their Chrono Suits. They usually throw said clothing on their opponents' faces.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Sion. His usually odd job is also fixing broken electronics.
- Gold Digger: Lila even tells Dolnero outright that she'll keep loving him if he keeps giving her money. But when Dolnero died she also said that even without the money she will still have liked Dolnero a little.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Happens to Naoto in Case File 35, a episode named "Tomorrow Isn't Coming".
- Heroic BSoD: Tac essentially shuts down because he just doesn't seem to have the crucial data the rangers needed thanks to a command circuit that was removed from within.
- Identical Grandson: Ryūya says he came from the Tatsuya's bloodline and they're both played by Masaru Nagai (although Nagai changes his hairstyle when playing Ryūya).
- Identical Stranger: By the finale, Tatsuya notices five people resembling his friends (including Naoto), only to realize that they were not them.
- I Have Your Wife: Well your Robot Buddy alarm clock in one episode.
- I Was Just Passing Through: Naoto used this excuse once.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ayase and Naoto. Naoto borders a lot more on the Jerkass though, but gradually becomes more willing to work with the other rangers as the series progresses.
- Killed Off for Real: Naoto and Ryūya.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The moment Wataru Asami is gravely injured, Naoto takes this chance to seize control of the City Guardians. However, Asami is able to recover and retake control, and worse, is able to remove the voice lock function of his Transformation Trinket, meaning Naoto becomes a case of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, so he tries to flee but gets ultimately gunned down by a Zenitt controlled by Ryuuya to engineer his death.
- Lethal Chef: Yuri. She got better in the later episodes. Domon's soba chef friend Sugara also counts and he got better.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: A kid named Taichi in one episode.
- Mad Scientist: Gien, especially in the later episodes where he completely went bonkers for death and destruction.
- The Man Behind the Man: Captain Ryūya. He orchestrated everything, including Dolnero's release and Naoto's death, because he saw a glimpse of two possible timelines - in both of which he would die - and wished to change history so that he would survive. He succeeds in changing history, but is killed in a different way instead.
- Meaningful Name: All three main villain are named after forms of currency; specifically, Dolnero from dinheiro, Lila from Lira and Gien from Yen, the former two are currencies of Portugal and Italy, respectively (and the first one is still the Portuguese word for "money").
- The crossover movie with GoGoFive introduces Dogoal's twin brother Real, named after the Brazilian currency.
- Moment Killer: There was a breakfast scene where Tatsuya and Yuri were alone and enjoying themselves over pancakes when Sion suddenly bursts in, making the couple bounce several inches from each other.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Dolnero's reaction after Gien's conversion to a robot.
- Mythology Gag:
- A dinosaur-based Sixth Ranger who dies after passing his henshin device and mecha to the Red Ranger. How haven't I seen this before?
- Also, his mech is a T-Rex and his color is red (another Zyuranger reference).
- The Time Robo is a homage to Jet Icarus from Choujin Sentai Jetman, which also had a jet mode for its mecha.
- The similarities to Jetman don't end there. The Timerangers themselves are sort of an inversion of the Jetmen, with a Rookie Red Ranger and four more experienced time cops, whereas Red Hawk was the only Jetman with actual training. Gien also has some parallels to Tranza.
- G-Zord, anyone?
- Multiform Balance: The red, sword-wielding Time Robo Alpha is generally sturdier and better in close combat, while the blue, gun-wielding Time Robo Beta is more agile. Time Jet Gamma is for sturdy defenses and safe time travel.
- Official Couple: Honami and Domon (They even have a child!) and Tatsuya and Yuuri via Last-Minute Hookup in the finale. But of course Yuuri and Domon still have to return to the future...
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: It came to the point that Yuuri shielded Dolnero from Gien's attack because she wants to be the one to arrest him and complete her revenge. It ultimately doesn't work out.
- Only Sane Man: There was one episode (Case File 21) where the rangers drank a 30th century wine which made them act like playful children. Sion, being an alien, wasn't affected.
- On the Next:
They travel the present, past and future
- A special case of this for the next episode previews for Case Files 3 to 22, the blurb before the shouting of the "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase reads:
to explore the future all by myself.
Heroes of Justice going over time and space,
whose name is TIMERANGER!!
- After that, when the next episode catch phrase is said, the above blurb (Excluding TIMERANGER) disappears to say "next", and the TIMERANGER word zooms in leading to the episode preview itself.
- Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Weaponry in Sentai can get boxy enough, but the Vol Units and Voltech Bazooka are tech explicitly from the future, and they really take the cake.
- Pet the Dog: Naoto has his moments, especially when it involves a little girl and his pet birds.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Dolnero helps out the Timerangers when Gien releases Emboss because Emboss was threatening civilization, and that would mean no more money for Dolnero to get his hands on.
- Prison Ship: The villains hijack a Prison Ship and name themselves after it.
- Psychic Powers: An alien that Sion befriended had telekinesis.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tatsuya and Naoto.
- Replacement Goldfish: It's very subtly implied by Don Dolnero in the episode where he dies that Lira is a younger clone of his dead mother. She is unaware of this and doesn't pick up on the "confession".
- Robot Buddy: Tac and then later Robota.
- Restraining Bolt: Dolnero had a Spirit Key to suppress Gien's psychotic tendencies in the event he got out of control. Unfortunately, Captain Ryuya released Gien from its effects and then prevented the Timerangers from using a duplicate on him.
- Screw Destiny:
- By the end of the series, "You were also told that you can't do what you want to do. You can't return to the future. Even if you can't save the future, let's just save tomorrow."
- Also, "I don't know what history is meant to be. But I can't just stand here!"
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How Tatsuya initially got his black belt. Though to be fair, it was his father's idea.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sion and Domon.
- Shirtless Scene: Domon, Tatsuya, Ayase, and Shion for a little bit on the beach in Case File 27. And Tatsuya in Case File 38 during the kung-fu movie scene.
- There are some obvious nods towards The Matrix, including a Bullet Time scene in the first episode, along with Time Robo Beta's first fight containing a 360-Degree camera spin as the mech fires on the MotW in midair.
- Case File 38, among its movie moments has the rangers ride flying bicycles in front of a full moon in a homage to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Yuri in one episode, after a lady Londerz made fun of her tomboyishness (Unable to do cook or do feminine things).
- Shown Their Work: The Super Sentai showcase, in comparison to over Sentai crossovers, brings in a lot of trivia that doesn’t come up about past shows, like the J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai being cyborgs (which even the show itself basically glossed over towards the end) and Dai Sentai Goggle Five being a science-based team, as opposed to the common misconception that they were a gymnastics team.
- Surprisingly Good English: The V-Commander, Naoto's Transformation Trinket, speaks several complete sentences of perfect English.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Honami has Domon Jr. (renamed Mirai in Gokaiger) in the finale. Though of course Domon didn't die but just went back to his time...
- Starcrossed Lovers: In both cases, because one of the parties had to go back to the future.
- Tatsuya and Yuuri.
- Honami and Domon.
- Take a Third Option: In Case File 50, the rangers from the future learn from Captain Ryuya that he saw that there were only two possible ways the timeline could go. Option one was 3000 being slowly destroyed by the black holes in the sky sucking up buildings, but then Ryuya prevented that from happening by going to 2000 and saving Gien's life. Option two was the Great Extinction of 2001 when two-thirds of the world's population would disappear into the black holes in the sky caused by the fight between the V-Rex and Gien's robot. In both options, Ryuya (as Time Fire) is killed. Despite the promise of a great life in 3001, the rangers are against all the lives lost in the past, so they go back in time and help Tatsuya destroy Gien's robot, so the Great Extinction never happens. The results as to how that changes 3001 are not revealed.
- Thanking the Viewer: The final episode (Actually the Sentai history recap special) ends with Tatsuya and the gang in their Timeranger uniforms without their helmets thanking the viewer for supporting the show. Yuuri also adds that they will see each other again someday somewhere else, and they all say their goodbyes.
- This Is a Drill: The City Guardian's Raimei battle tank had a drill but never got to use it.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The last 4th of the series, once Captain Ryūya and the G-Zord show up.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Not exactly married to Lira, but Dolnero is not exactly handsome at all. Well to humans anyway.
- The Unfought: The Timerangers never got their hands on Don Dolnero. Gien killed him instead.
- Unwitting Pawn: Everyone to Ryuuya, but Gien and Naoto are the most important.
- Verbal Tic: Robota ends most of its sentences with the word "time."
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Time Robo Beta has very tall shoulders.
- Villain Teleportation: Actually, this is only series that shows "how" the villains teleport themselves (Gien used his device to teleport).
- Was Once a Man: Gien, who was originally a simple, but good natured young man who ended up trying to help Dolnero out. After he was nearly killed, Dolnero had his brain transferred to a robotic body, only to result in Gien turning into a psychopath.
- Wife Husbandry: Averted in episode 33; guest character Emily, whom Ayase guarded, asks if she can marry him later. Ayase sort of agrees, but he knows he can't do it.
- Will They or Won't They?: Yuuri and Tatsuya.
- You Can't Fight Fate:
- Despite manipulating everything to change history and avoid his death, Ryūya still dies on the same date he would have originally died, just a thousand years later and by a different method.
- As for Tatsuya, he will eventually become the head of the Asami Group just as history dictated... but on his own terms.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Ayase having an incurable disease means he only has around a year or two to live.
- You Killed My Father: Dolnero also killed Yuuri's mother and younger sister.