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Super Sentai is a long-running Japanese superhero franchise that mainly consists of live-action TV series and films produced by Toei Company and Bandai, in addition to films, video games and an action figure toy line built around a five-member group of teenage superheroes who fight against invasions of monsters by morphing into powerful warriors and assuming control of giant robots known as mechas.
Each entry tells a story about a team of five people, who are the only line of defense against an invading force of monsters, who are bent on either conquering or destroying Earth. The team fights the monsters by transforming into color-coded uniforms (either through technological or mystical means) and use both martial arts and powerful weaponry to defeat the “monster of the week”. It would then grow to gigantic sizes, forcing the team to summon their giant machines known as “mecha”, which take forms of either vehicles or beast, sometimes both. Then they combine into one, giant humanoid robot and defeat the monster. While each series follow this basic premise, each one of them have different tones, themes, values and morals.
The first entry in the series, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, premiered in April 1975, and was created by the late Shotaro Ishinomori, creator of Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009, the first Japanese super-hero team. He did not create any further Sentai series after his second entry, J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai, was poorly received. These two series were originally both just called Sentai and were not officially a part of the Super Sentai series until 1994 when Toei decided to include them to make a round 20th anniversary of the metaseries. Since then Shotaro Ishinomori is also credited as the creator of the franchise in general.
Following J.A.K.Q., Toei chose to work with Marvel Comics to produce the live action adaptation of Spider-Man in 1978, which included the first giant robot in a Toei Superhero show. This concept was used in Toei and Marvel’s project Battle Fever J (1979) and was deemed the first Super Sentai Series. Originaly it was supposed to star Captain America, but The use of giant robots (which later in the USA where dubbed as “Megazords”) have become a staple of the franchise.
Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger
Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger is a tokusatsu comedy series based on Super Sentai and produced by Toei. As indicated by the name, it’s not officially part of the Super Sentai franchise, but is instead a parody geared towards adults who were fans of the franchise as children. It stars three otaku’s, who are recruited by an beautiful scientist to protect Tokyo’s district of Akihabara from villains. The series debuted on April 6, 2012 and ran for 2 seasons. The first season can be legally viewed with English subtitles on Youtube here (available only in North America).