Monday, December 9, 2013

Super Sentai and family : Part 1 : ranger siblings

Super Sentai is a kid show; and family is very important in a child's life. As such, many Super Sentai series have put a lot of focus on the theme of family. Often, standalones episodes would have children or a child and his parents as guest stars. Other times, one of the heroes, an ally or even a villain would have one or two episodes focused on his relationship with a father, a mother, a sister or a brother.
But there are also shows where main characters are in the same family, and as such, the relationship between the different family members can be an important theme of the series.

1) My siblings are my teammates : the 3 sibling sentai and other teams with sibling teammates

Three sentai series had all core members being siblings : Fiveman, GogoV, and Magiranger. 

1-1) Fiveman 
Fiveman was the first sentai series where the five teammates were brothers and sisters : the Hoshikawa family. Their childhood had a tragic start : they lost their parents when very young in a remote planet they were trying to revive when the evil faction (Zone) responsible for the destruction of that planet attacked them. During the attack, in order to save them, their parents sent them back to Earth with their robot nurse, Arthur G6. As such, they were pretty much raised by the robot, with of course, older siblings helping younger ones.
Not only the heroes were siblings, they also all became teachers (Gaku/Red taught science, Ken was a physical education teacher, Fumiya was a Japanese teacher, Kasumi a math teacher and Remi a music teacher). However, they knew that one day, Zone would attack Earth, and to protect Earth from Zone and avenge the loss of their parents, they prepared in secret and became the Earth Task Force Fiveman.
While he five siblings showed the typical teasing seen in siblings, but also the complicity between them, notably the twins Remi and Fumiya, the main recurring theme was the hope that their parents were still alive, especially after meeting Gunther, who met the Fiveman's parents (and also stole their robot). At the end of the show, at last, the Fiveman were able to communicate again with them, during the final battle, and the show ends with the Fiveman leaving Earth to search and meet at last with their long lost parents.

1-2)  GogoV
9 years after Fiveman, a new sibling sentai team appeared: the Gogofive. Once again, the five rangers were siblings (the Tatsumi family), and all of them worked in the rescue field:  the three eldest were involved in firefighers Matoi/ Red  was involved in a rescue team,  Nagare/ Blue  was working in the chemistry and technology department, Shou/Green  was involved in the aerial department. The fourth son, Daimon/ Yellow was a cop, and the only daughter, Matsuri/ Pink was a paramedic.
Like the Fiveman, the GogoV were pretty much abandoned by their parents during their childhood, with their mother having disappeared and their father having left 10 years before the beginning of the show. However, while Fiveman started with the siblings separated from their parents, GogoV starts with the heroes meeting again their dad. Indeed, their dad had left because he forsaw the arrival of the Saima and the need to fight them, and he had to prepare everything to confront that threat, hence him leaving to make all the technology needed to fight the Saima and creating the GogoV team. Through the series, the GogoV's dad would be their mentor, and would do build new technology and weapons to help them in their fight. However, leaving your kids 10 years isn't the kind of stuff that you kids would be happy about, and GogoV deal a lot with the confiicts and harships that Mondo (the dad) would face to reconnect again with his kids (Shou especially, resented a lot his dad), but also all the good stuff, the little things in life that build a strong relationship between a dad an his children. Mondo cared a lot about his kids, and more than once, showed how hard it was to him to see his children risk their lives in a fight that he himself involved his kids in. He never hesitated risking his own life if necessary to help his children (episode 18 and 25 are good examples).
GogoV also focused a lot on the relationship between the siblings themselves, notably with flashbacks from the past and the importance of the responsibility of the eldest towards the youngest (episode 4 is an example), or dealing with having to work together again in a same team, while they chose very different jobs before, and, of course, all the usual and fun adventures involving siblign relationship, the little fights, the arguments, but of course also the good times and the love they had to each other. During their time as the GogoV, they showed that they had a very strong connection between each other and fought in prefect unity, and of course, their bond included their father, and, at the end, the bond between the different family members was stronger than ever. The final arc even included better news for the family: their long lost mother was alive, and was in fact in a coma, but at last came woke up, and joined them at last, with the series ending with father, mother and children living the best family life one can imagine.
Interestingly, the family theme wasn't just used for the heroes. The villains too (the Saima) were siblings, a family of demons. Like the GogoV, the Saima were also abandoned by their parents, and they wanted to being back their mother Grandienne to them. While the Saima were evil, it was obvious they still had a strong bond between them, notably the three elders ones, Zylpheeza, Kobolda and Dinas. A fourth sibling, Drop was a kid at the beginning. The Saima prepared the arrival of their mom on Earth during the Great Cross. During those battles, Zylpheeza ended up dying, but despite that, Grandienne managed to reach Earth, but, because of the GogoV's actions, in a weakened state. At the same time, Drop grew up and become the Dragon demon Salamendes. Unlike his siblings, Salamendes didn't care at all for his family, only wanting to be the best in his mother's eyes, not even hesitating to sabotage his siblings's plans, like with the Thanatos Saima case. He even killed again his revived brother Zylpheeza during the final fight.  Kobolda and Dinas were of course angry against him and couldn't stand that spirit, especially since they were doing everything they could to bring back their brother Zylpheeza to life, with eventually Dinas sacrificing her life to bring back her brother. Unfortunately for the Saima children, it became obvious that Grandienne didn't care at all for her kids, only seeing them as tools to her aims, which were destroying the world and defeating the GogoV. Grandienne stranded her son Salamendes to the Saima hell, and even forced Zylpheeza to kill his brother Kobolda, and then, killed him as a weapon to destroy the GogoV. However, horrified by his heartless mother, Zylpheeza in his last breath gave some help to the heroes to destroy his evil mom. But Grandienne's power still existed, and she managed to stay alive, using at last his children Salamendes and a revived Zylpheeza as her puppets in a final battle.
Of all sentai series, GogoV certainly was the one using the most the family theme, and showed a great contrast of family spirit, not only between the heroes's family and the villains's family, but, in a more complex twist, the contrast within the villain group.

1-3) Magiranger
Magiranger was the last team so far with the main rangers being siblings ( the Ozu family shown in the photo above). Like the other sibling teams, the theme of parental abandonment is used, but in a very different way. At the beginning, the heroes are raised by their mother, their father having disappeared years before. Unlike their predecessors, the Magiranger were taken care of by one of their parents during their whole childhood. It's only when the Infershia began to attack that the siblings discovered their mother's secret : she was using magic, and was involved in fighting demonic creatures. It's at that time  that their mother showed them their destiny, and made her children become the Magirangers, to protect Earth. Unfortunately, soon after, their mom would be seemingly killed by an evil wizard, Wolzard. Despite suffering a lot from that loss, and even despite some reluctance, the five siblings would become the Magiranger to fight the Infershia. It's during that time that they discovered the secret about their father: their father was Bragel,  a hero among Heavenly Saints and disappeared duringan intense fight against the Infershia. The Magiranger would find a new mentor, the Heavenly Saint Sungel, aka Hikaru, who would become their teacher and their guide, and also told them a lot about their father. Eventually, the heroes realized that their father was none other than Wolzard himself. Indeed, during the fight, Bragel was brainwashed into becoming the evil Wolzard, working for the Infershia God N'Ma, while still retaining his honorable way to fight. Eventually, Bragel managed to break his brainwashing curse, and stopped fighting for the Infershia. However, he was forced again to leave his children, without even having time to reconnect with them to contain the evil god that about to reawaken. He had just the time to tell his children that their mother was still alive. The final arc of the show showed the heroes searching for their mother and their father, finally finding them at last, and even fighting side by side with them. Indeed, at the end, all rangers were family, the five siblings Kai/Red, Tsubasa/Yellow, Urara/Blue, Houka/ Pink and Makito/Green, with their parents, the mother Miyuki/ Magimother (white) and the father Isamu/ Wolzard Fire, and Hikaru/ Magishine  joined the familyby marrying Urara. At the end, the whole family lives happy together.
Magiranger used heavily a fantasy theme, and the show treats the family in a typical fairy tale way. However, like in the previous series, the show also put emphasis on the funs and trouble that sibling relationships are, with the little fights between Kai and Tsubasa being nice examples.

1-4) Teams having two rangers being siblings

Other teams had siblings as teammates, but it was one ranger having another ranger as a brother or sister. For example, in Goseiger, the two Landick Goseiger, Agri/ Goseiblack and Moune/ Goseiyellow were siblings and had typical sibling issues. In other series, the sibling wasn't a core member of the team but came later.

A very famous example is of course Burai/Dragonranger and Geki/Tyrannoranger, the separated brothers from Zyuranger. Their relationship was made even more difficult because they've been put at odds with each other, because of their background. Burai wanted to take revenge on Geki, because Geki's adoptive father killed Burai's dad (who was also Geki's true father). Obsessed with revenge, Burai wanted nothing else but kill Geki, confronting him often, until Geki, after a powerful fight, let Burai strike him wihotu resisting. However, Burai wasn't able to do it, and at last, reconciled with his brother, and joined him in his fight against Bandora, helping him as much as he could. However, Burai had also a awful secret : he only had very little time of life left, and could only survive in a special cave where time stopped. As a result, he could only join his brother during fights, but couldn't stay to more reconnect with him. However, the siblings were still able to bond during some fights involving Burai staying longer than usual outside his cave, and during those times, the bond between siblings was shown to be strong. However, despite all his efforts and the help of his teammates, Geki wasn't able to make Burai escape his fate, and Burai died in his brother's arms. Geki was struck with grief and continued the fight, being his successor as Dragon Ceasar's partner.

Another example are Ryouma and Hyuuga from Gingaman. They were both brothers in the Fire tribe in the Ginga Forest. Hyuuga, as the older brother, was also teaching him how to fight, and it made their bond very strong. While Hyuuga was supposed to be the next Gingared, he was seemingly killed during the first fight against the Balban, and Ryouma had to replace him as Gingared. Because of the loss of his brother, Ryouma was more determined than ever to defeat the Balban who took his beloved brother. A few months later, Ryouma met a warrior, Kurokishi, who was fighting the Balban as well, but in a more ruthless way than the Gingaman. While Kurokishi was actually an alien from a remote planet that was destroyed by the Balban, and who lost his little brother at that time, Ryouma felt the presence of his brother. And indeed, Kurokishi had in fact taken the body of Hyuuga to go back to life, and, eventually, after a final fight, freed Hyuuga from his influence and sacrificed himself to save Earth. However, he was able to give his powers to Hyuuga who became the new Kurokishi. Ryouma and Hyuuga were at last able to fight side by side as fellow rangers, and their bond was stronger than ever. However, Hyuuga had to leave his brother and teammates again, when he was blackmailed by Bucrates to fight for him. While he was still able to help in the fight against the Balban (Bucrates wanted to take revenge against Zeihab, the Balban leader), they couldn't be together again, until the final fight, and the final defeat of the Balban, where all Gingaman and Kurikishi worked together to defeat Zeihab (Bucrates was killed a little before by Shelinda, Zeihab's lieutenant). At the end, not only Hyuuga and Ryouma were together gain, but they were able to come back to their forest home.

In Hurricanger, the two Gouraigers, Ikkou/ Kabuto Raiger and Isshu/ Kuwaga Raiger,  are siblings as well ; as the lone survivors of their ninja school, the Ikazuchi. At first, both borthers were working together to be the strongest ninjas ever, and for that aim, they were seeking for "that", the strong power that would make them the best ever. As such, they didn't care in helping others, and even allied themselves with the Jakanja, in order to find "that". Because of that, they were in conflict with the Hurricanger, and they often fought against them, even inflicting them very cruel defeats. Another reason why they were fighting the Hurricanger was because they had to defeat ninjas to find "that". But the real reasons behind their actions was the fact that they were following their father's path. Ikkou soon found out that it wasn't the Hurricanger he had to fight, but his own brother. As such, he started to fight his own brother, but his real intent was to have his brother kill him, because he couldn't do so. However, when Isshu realized it as well, he understood how twisted their father was, and how his obsession with "that" has made him a cruel and despicable man. Realizing how foolish they were, and after realizing that the Jakanja was doublecrossing them, they soon switched sides, and decided to fight for justice. However they still felt ashamed of themselves, and didn't want to become the Hurricanger's friends at first, rather helping them from the shadow. Soon afterwards, Ikkou got poisoned by Manmaruba, who put a scorpion egg in his body, which would eventually kill him. Ikkou at first tried to hide that from his brother, but Isshu was well aware something wasn't right anf that his old brother was hiding something. When at last he realized it, he didn't want to accept that his brother would die, while Ikkou was pretty much accepting his fate. At that time, the relationship between the brothers were strained, but once Yousuke saved Ikkou from death, at last, the Gouraigers were at last at peace with themselves and the Hurricangers, and all heroes fought together as a team. A last big crisis happened when Isshu, still marked by his father's influence and wanting to keep the Ikazuchi school going on, found out a magical sword belonging to their father. His choice to use that sword put him in conflict with his teammates, including his brothers, and he ended up hurting them with it.   Fortunately, he overcame that last crisis, and the reconciliation between the brothers and all heroes was complete.

In Gekiranger, Retsu/Gekiblue met a strange wolfman, and soon after, realized that it was his long lost brother Gou who in fact, became a wolfman because he used a forbidden spell. Gou was astonished to discover his brother became a Gekiranger, because he saw him as a weakling more interested in arts than in fights, while he saw himself as the strong one, who was the one to fight in the Gekijyuken. However, Gou realized that while he was stuck as a wolfman, Retsu had grown up and became stronger, and he finally recognized his young brother's strength. While he initially saw himself as a lone wolf, not interested in justice, he realized that his desire to help people in danger was indeed an heroic quality, and ended up joining the Gekiranger as Gekiviolet with his own fighting style. An episode involving his brother being trapped in a mirror world and replaced by an evil copy showed the bond between siblings, but while Blue and Violet were trusted teammates, their relationship didn't get much more focus.

At last, Go-onger had the Go-on Wings, Hiroto/Go-on Gold and Miu/ Go-on Silver who were siblings, and were very close to each other. Miu had a great admiration for his brother Hiroto, and it was hard for her to be comfortable without him, until episode 38,  when she had to save her brother and her male teammates with Saki/ Go-on Yellow. While both were arrogant with the other Go-onger at first, Miu quickly showed her soft side, while Hiroto took more time to display it.

Update : In Kyoryuger, family members ended up being Kyoryuger as well. First, Dr Ulshade/ first Kyoryuviolet, soon after appearing in the show, and bringing back Plesion with him on Earth, hurt his back and had to stop fighting. However, he knew his grandaughter Yayoi, who was his assistant, had potential to replace him as Kyoryuviolet. Indeed, when Plesion was threatened by a resurrected DeboVirusun and an incomplete Deboth, Yayoi summoned all her bravery and, plunging towards the Zyudenryu, managed to wake it up, and allowed the Kyoryuger to defeat Incomplete Deboth thanks to Bakuretsu Kyoryujin. However, she was still unusre of herself and at first as unable to transform into Kyoryuviolet, and it's only after realizing how much she wanted to be Kyoryuviolet, not just to mmake her granfather proud, but also for herself, she managed to transform at last, and fight with the other heroes. Since then, Yayoi helped the Kyoryuger, both as a technological assistant, but also as Kyoryuviolet. In the final arc, her grandfather came back as Kyoryuviolet, and they both team up to defeat a gigantic Killborero with Plesioh.
Tessai/Kyoryugrey also had the opportunity to meet a descendant, who ended up being a mangaka. While at first, Tessai was disappointed, he soon relaizzed his descendant's worth when he protected a young woman from the Deboth, and decided to make him his successor as Kyoryugrey. 
Nobuharu/Kyoryublue also ended up having a family member as a Kyoryuger. Indeed, while his sister Yuko didn't know at first that her brother was Kyoryublue, she ended up realizing it during the Debovacance incident, and at the same time, realized her brother's bravery. She decided not to tell him she knew about his Kyoryuger identity, but her fighting skills managed to impress Ramirez/Kyoryucyan, who decided to make her his successor as Kyoryucyan. Nossan was completely shocked to see that not only her sister knew about his Kyoryublue identity, but that she became a Kyoryuger as well.
in the Kyoryuger 100 years after, the original Kyoryuger's descendants are gonna become the new Kyoryugers.
At first, I was planning to do a whole post about sentai and family, but, given how developed the theme is, I'm gonna make several posts about that theme.
Stay tuned for the next part.

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