Friday, December 6, 2013

Numbers : the often forgotten gimmick in Super Sentai; members ranking in teams and order of appearance in team roll call

Hi Guys; it's been a while since my last post, but I lacked ideas. However, with the new sentai series info coming today, it inspired me to do a post about sentai and numbers.
With Tokkyuger choosing naming his heroes using numbers (Tokkyuichigo, nigo, sango... ) instead of using colors (probably because of the color change stuff), it's important to remind that numbers has been used very often in Super Sentai to identfy the heroes. As an example,  the image above show the Dekarangers, and the team members are not only identified by their color, but also by their numbers, shown in the uniforms. The numbers associated with each ranger is often linked to their hierarchical rank among the team.
In a similar vein, it's also interesting to make a little analysis of the sentai team roll call, which also display the team members in order of their rank among the team (with a few exceptions), and in almost all cases when the number theme  is important in the sentai series of the year, the roll call shows the rangers in the same order as their respective numbers.
A few rules among the order of each ranger in the roll call  :
- Red always first, even in the few cases he's not the leader)
- Core rangers always before additional rangers
- The second one is usually the second in command, or the non Red leader
- Men before women (yes, it's sexist, but I'm not the one deciding the rules)
- Older rangers before younger rangers
(except the two first rules,  there are exceptions)

I'm going to review each sentai series, starting with Gorenger, to analyse the importance of the number theme, and showing the order of appearance in the roll call :

Numbers are almost as important as colors in Gorenger : each ranger is not only identified by his (her) color, but alos by their numbers, shown in their helmets, the number of red stripes (yellow for Akaranger) in their suit, and their numbers in the team motor bikes.
As seen there,
Akaranger (Red) = 1
Aoranger (Blue) = 2
Kiranger (Yellow) = 3
Momoranger (Pink) = 4
Midoranger (Green) = 5
Interestingly, in the roll call, the order is Red-Blue-Yellow-Green-Pink , with Green and Pink switching ranks ; while Pink is higher in hierarchy, I guess they wanted the lone woman to be last in the roll call

Here, the number theme isn't explored, since the major gimmick is the trump card theme.
The order is Spade Ace (Red) - Dia Jack (Blue)- Heart Queen (Pink)- Clover King (Green). (Big One is a special case, since he's mostly Hiroshi Miyauchi stealing the show from everyone)

Battle Fever J
Here, the major gimmick is the country theme. Even the color motif isn't dominating. No role of numbers
Rank is : Japan (Red) - Cossack (Orange) - France (Blue) - Kenya (Black)- Miss America (Pink)

The number theme, while not prominent, is subtly shown with each ranger having a different number of white stripes in their uniform, and they appear in the roll call in the same order as the number of stripes in their suits

Red= 1 
Blue = 2
Yellow = 3
Green = 4
Pink = 5

Sun Vulcan
Animal theme ; no role of numbers here.
Order in the roll call = Eagle (Red)- Shark (Blue)- Panther (Yellow)

Goggle V
No special role of numbers
Order in the roll call =  Red - Black - Blue -Yellow - Pink

A subtle use of number: each ranger is numbered by a Roman number on their helmet, corresponding to their rank and order in the roll call :
Red- Black -Blue - Yellow -Pink

An obvious one, since the rangers are both named by their colors and their numbers : of course, the order of appearance in the roll call follows suit :
Red One - Green Two - Blue Three - Yellow Four - Pink Five

Mythological beast theme. no importance of numbers.
Order in the roll call :
Dragon (Red) - Gryphon (Black) - Pegasus (Blue) - Mermaid (White) - Phoenix (Pink)

No major role of numbers.
Order in the roll call : Red- Green - Blue - Yellow - Pink

Since the team was supposed initially to be called  Fiveman, the number five is heavily shown in the suits, the vehicles and the big robot is named "Great Five"; however, since the name Fiveman has been discarded, the number theme has been as well.
Order in the roll call : Red - Black -Blue - Yellow - Pink

Animal theme. No major role of numbers.
Order in the roll call  : Red - Yellow - Blue - Black  - Green (Green and Black are additional rangers for a core team of three ; Blue is the core woman)

The individual motorbikes of the rangers are numbered in the same rank as the rangers have
Red = 1
Black = 2
Blue = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
Order in the roll call : Red - Black - Blue - Yellow - Pink

Here, the number theme is heavily used in that sentai series involving siblings rangers.
Their rank in the team is shown in two ways in their suits : first, by their visors, which are divided in as many parts as their rank, and in their silvery plate in the torso, which is divided in as much parts as the ranger is ranked.
Moreover, like in Turboranger, the ranger's motorbikes are numbered by each ranger's rank number.
Fiveman has 5 siblings, which are, from eldest to youngest : Red, Blue, Pink, and the twins Black and Yellow; their rank follow their age, except Black, which, as a man, comes before the women.

Order in roll call = Red - Blue - Black - Pink - Yellow

Bird theme. No major role of numbers.
Order in roll call : Red - Black - Yellow - White  - Blue  (the girls are White and Blue)

Dinosaur theme (or rather prehistoric beast number)
No major role of numbers.
Order in the roll call : Tyranno (Red) - Mammoth (Black ) - Tricera (Blue) - Tiger (Yellow) - Ptera (Pink). Dragon Ranger (Additional Green) only appear very sporadicaly in the roll call, and comes between Tyranno and Mammoth

Like in Turboranger and Fiveman, the numbers corresponding to each ranger's ranking appear in their individual bikes.
Ryu (Red) = 1
Shishi (Green ) = 2
Tenma (Blue) = 3
Kirin (Yellow ) = 4
Houhou (Pink) = 5 
Mythological beasts are the main theme though
Order in roll call : Red - Green - Blue - Yellow  - Pink  (the few times Kibaranger (White) ) appear in the roll call, he comes after Pink

A subtle one in this sentai: the rank of each ranger is defined by the number od sides of their respective symbol, the number of sides being their rank.
Kakuranger has White as the leader, but Red always comes first : order :
Red = 1 (symbol is a S)
White = 2 (symbol are a pair of wings (two sides))
Yellow = 3 (symbol is a triangle (three sides) )
Blue = 4 (symbol is a square (four sides))
Black = 5 (symbol is a pentagon (Five sides) )
Order in the roll call : Red - White - Yellow - Blue - Black

Like in Kakuranger, the rank is suggested by the number of sides in their respective symbols, or, in the case of Ohred, the fact he used a pentagram (a five-pointed star) : unlike Kakuranger, the higher the number, the higher the rank :
Red = Pentagram (number 5)
Green = Square (4 sides)
Blue = Triangle (3 sides)
Yellow = Two stripes  (2 sides)
Pink = a circle (1 side)
Order in roll call = Red - Green - Blue - Yellow - Pink (also the rank order)
(King Ranger is a special case: as a sixth ranger, he appears after the heroes; also in his case, he's defined by the number of sides in his symbol (the kanji for King) which has six sides)

In the show, the heroes's individual karts, and their individual mechas, either for the RV Robo or the VRV Robo (the latter being able to be individual robots as well) are numbered after each ranger's rank
Red = 1
Blue = 2
Green = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
Order in the roll call = Red - Blue - Green - Yellow - Pink (Signal man is a bangai hero, with his police theme)

Here,  numbers appearing in the Mega Voyager mechas, since the Mega Voyager is the only Megaranger robot being made from the fusing of individual mechas from each ranger. Once again, number is the same as the ranger rank :
Red = 1
Black = 2
Blue = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
Order in the roll call = Red - Black - Blue - Yellow - Pink - Silver (Silver is the additional ranger)

Animal theme : no big role of numbers here.
Order in roll call : Red - Green - Blue - Yellow - Pink - Kurokishi (additional ranger)

In this new sibling sentai team, number is as important as a theme as the color and the rescue job each ranger had before (and after) being the GogoV. Their individual weapons and each one of their individual mechas (each ranger has three : one for the Victory Robo, one for the Grand Liner, one for the Victory Mars: the numbers also appear in the cockpit of the robots);  The Bay Area where the mechas are stored are also numbered after each ranger's number, with the matching color.
In that sibling team, the oldest the sibling ranger is, the higher is the rank :
Red = 1
Blue = 2
Green = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
Order in roll call : Red - Blue - Green - Yellow - Pink

Timeranger has the big weapons of the heroes which are numbered : the rank is
Red = 1
Blue = 2
Green = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
However, unlike most shows, that color ranking is completely different of the actual ranking in the team. Indeed, the leader of the team is Timepink, even if she has the weapon n°5.
As a result, the number theme is very limited, and the actual rank of the heroes, seen in the roll call is : Red - Pink - Blue - Yellow - Green
Timefire, who is red like Timered is pretty much a lone wolf and isn't really included in the roll call

A very subtle one here : each hero has a big golden part in their suit just under the right shoulder, and for each ranger, it is divided into a different number of stripes: the higher the number of stripes there is, the higher the ranger is ranked (at least for the five core rangers)

Red= 5 stripes
Yellow = 4 stripes
Blue = 3 stripes
Black = 2 stripes
White = 1 stripe
Gaosilver is the sixth ranger; he has 6 stripes, but he's a special case.
Order in roll call = Red - Yellow - Blue - Black - White - Silver

Ninja and element themed series. No major role of numbers.
Three different teams ranked in the order of their appearance in the show as protagonists : Hurricanger  (Red, Blue, Yellow) - Gouraigers (Kabuto (crimson red) Kuwaga (navy blue))- Shurikenger  (Green)
Order in roll call (rangers)  : Red - Blue - Yellow - Kabuto - Kuwaga - Shurikenger.

Dinosaur themed series. No number motif. despite having a main ranger color, Abareblack is seen as an additional ranger. Moreover, Abarekiller is only with the team at the every end of the show.
Order in roll call : Red- Blue - Yellow - Black - Killer (white)

As seen in the photos above, Dekaranger is one of the best examples of a series using a lot the number motif. Indeed, each main ranger (the five main rangers and Dekabreak, the sixth ranger) have their number shown very strikingly in their suits (for Dekabreak, it is in Roman numbers, unlike the main 5, which have arabic numbers). Furthermore, at the top of the helmets, black spots can be seen, and there is as much black spots as the rank of the rangers.  The numbers are kept when the rangers use the SWAT mode.
The five core rangers also have their individual mechas that have numbers on them, each number matching their rank: both the mechas used to make the Dekaranger Robo and the Dekawing Robo have those numbers.
Lastly, when they use the Dekabase, the rangers are next to pillars having numbers matching their own.
The ranks are :
Red = 1
Blue = 2
Green = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
Break (white) = 6
Special case : DekaMaster (Doggie Kruger) who has the number 100 : but since he's the boss, that number isn't a rank, but more a way to show how badass he is.
The other rangers (Dekaswan (white-oranger) and Dekabright (Silver) only appear once or twice and won't be taken into account.
Order in roll call = Red - Blue - Green - Yellow - Pink - Break - Master (as Bangai hero, Master comes after the sixth ranger)

Sibling team,  magic and elemental themes. No emphasis on numbers.
Interesting element : unlike the other sibling teams, the red ranger is the youngest, and among the main five rangers, they are ranked starting with the youngest until the oldest. Additional rangers come afterwards, first the sixth ranger Magishine, then, the Bangai heroes, Mather and Wolzard Fire (the heroes's parents)
Order in roll call : Red - Yellow - Blue - Pink - Green - Shine (gold) - Mother (white) - Wolzard Fire

In Boukenger, the rangers aren't themed by numbers. However the mechas (GogoVehicle) are.  As a result, the five main heroes have their main mechas with numbers matching their rank among the team. In an interesting case, the second in rank isn't the second in command (Black is the second in rank, but he's the rebellious one ;  Pink is pretty much the second in command). Because more mechas appear between the beginning of the show and Silver (the sixth ranger)'s introduction, Silver doesn't use the mechas numbered 6. Only the five main rangers are ranked according to their main personal mechas.
Red  = 1
Black = 2
Blue = 3
Yellow = 4
Pink = 5
Interestingly, in the Daivoyager, the five heroes uses vehicles with numbers increasing in the same order :
Red = 14
Black = 15
Blue = 16
Yellow = 17
Pink = 18
Order in roll call = Red- Black - Blue - Yellow - Pink - Silver - (Zubaan)

Animal and martial arts theme : no emphasis on numbers. Violet and Chopper are additional rangers;  Rio and Mele are Bangai heroes at the end.
Order in roll call  : Red - Yellow - Blue - Violet - Chopper - Rio (black) - Mele (green)

Like in Boukenger, the numbers are used, but mostly for the mechas, the Engines, which are sentient. Indeed, each Engine has a number.  While the five main rangers are ranked according to the ranking of their personal partner, and also have the number of their partners on their suit, and in the cockpit of the robots involving their Engine partners. However, the sixth Engine appear before the additional rangers (the  Go-on Wings) and as such, the Go-on Wings partners are Engines number 7 for Gold and 8 for Silver. Unlike the main 5, the Go-on Wings haven't numbers on their suits. Like the Go-ongers, the number of their personal partner appear in the cockpit.
For the five main Go-onger, the rank is
Red = 1
Blue = 2
Yellow = 3
Green = 4
Black = 5
Gold is the sixth with Engine 7
Silver is the seventh with Engine 8
Order in roll call = Red - Blue - Yellow - Green - Black - Gold - Silver.

Samurai and kanji theme. No emphasis on numbers
At the end, a female Shinkenred replaces temporarly the first Shinkenred and has the same rank as him. No Emphasis on numbers.
Order in roll call : Red (including HimeShinkenred) - Blue - Pink - Green - Yellow - Gold

Angel and elemental tribe theme. No emphasis on numbers.
Tribes ranked in the order Skyick (Red-Pink) Landick (Black - Yellow) and Seaick (Blue)
Order in roll call = Red - Pink - Black - Yellow - Blue - Knight (silver)

Pirate and sentai franchise tribute. No emphasis on numbers. The heroes are ranked in the order they've joined the pirate crew.
Order in roll call : Red - Blue - Yellow - Green - Pink - Silver

Again, the main item which uses the number motif are the heroes's individual mechas which have the numbers matching each ranger's rank
Red= 1 (CB-01)
Blue  = 2 (GT-02)
Yellow = 3 (RH-03)
Beet (Gold) = 4 (BC-04)
Stag (Silver) = 5 (SJ-05)

Order in roll call = Red - Blue- Yellow - Beet - Stag 

Here, there are ten rangers. Here, it's the main item used by the heroes (the Zyudenchi, Beast Batteries) which have numbers. Each hero is ranked according to the Zyudenchi he uses to change and which matches his Zyudenryu (the dino mecha) partner. Besides, even additional Zyudenchi, which are dinos not used as mechas are numbered, with at the end, 23 different Zyudenchi (not counting special ones, like Tobaspinoh's)
There is here four groups of rangers :
Core five = Red, Black, Blue, Green, Pink
Sixth ranger, which joins the core five : Gold
Additional rangers, joining sporadically : Cyan, Grey, Violet
Promoted mentor : Silver
They are ranled are follow:
Red = 1
Black = 2
Blue = 3
Green = 4
Pink = 5
Gold = 6
Cyan = 7
Grey = 8
Violet = 9
Silver = 10

Conclusion : Tokkyuger is far from the first sentai putting high emphasis on numbers, since several series also have used that gimmick, notably those with vehicle mechas, such as Carranger, GogoV and Dekaranger.

A little comment about the way the colors are ranked :
Red is always first.

Black is usually in second : black rangers are usually second in commands (Goggle, Dyna, Change, Mask, Turbo, Jet, Zyu, Mega, Bouken, Kyoryu). Most of the cases where Black is much lower in rank are series where Black is in a way an additional ranger (Live, Aba, Go-on), or special cases, like Five, Battle Fever, Kaku, Gosei and Gao.

Green : at the beginning, ( Goren, JAKQ, Denzi ), Green was the young one, and was usually fourth, just before the girl ranger. Starting with Bioman, until Gingaman, Green was usually the second in command (similar to Black) (Bio, Flash, Dai, Oh, Gingaman) ; the only exceptions being Live, where he was additional, and Car, where he is number 3. 
Starting with GogoV, Green was either number 3 (Gogo, Deka), but, even more often, was again the youngest male ranger, in rank 4 (Shinken, Gokai, Kyoryu) or even 5 (Time) Magi is a special case, with Green being number 5

Blue : he is second in command when neither a Green or a Black are second in command (Goren, JAKQ, Denzi, Sun, Five, Car, Gogo, Hurri, Aba, Deka, Go-on, Shinken, Gokai, Go-Busters), otherwise, he's usually in third rank ( Battle Fever, Goggle, Dyna, Bio, Change, Flash, Mask, Live, Turbo, Zyu, Dai, Oh, Mega, Ginga, Time, Gao, Magi, Bouken, Geki, Kyoryu). in very few occasions, he can be very late in the ranking (Kaku, Gosei, Jet).

Yellow: He's usually in fourth rank, especially if Yellow is female (Goggle, Dyna, Bio, Flash, Mask, Turbo, Zyu, Dai, Oh, Car, Mega, Ginga, Gogo, Time, Deka, Bouken, Gosei, Gokai). He (or she) can be second (notably if leader or second in command (Live, Gao, Magi,  Geki) or third, notably in three man teams (Sun, Hurri, Aba, Go-onger (special case),  Go-Busters) or teams where Green is fourth (Goren, Denzi, Gokai) or in a special case (Jet). In a few cases where Yellow is female and very young , she replaces Pink as the last one  (Five, Shinken)

Pink is usually number 5. Exceptions are Time (despite having the number 5), Five,  Shinken and Gosei (and in a way, Goren).

White, as a female regular, is either 4 (Mermaid, Swan) or 5 (Gao).  In Kaku, White is number 2, as the leader.

Metal colors (Gold, Silver) from additional rangers come after the five main ones. When Gold and Silver are together, Gold comes first.

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