Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Super Sentai - The Origins of The 6th Ranger


Time for a history lesson. While Tommy is famously the first 6th Ranger of Power Rangers and Buria is technically the first of Super Sentai, there are some interesting stories leading up to Buria. Click "Read More" for the full tale.

Choudenshi Bioman - Magne Warrior

The 8th Super Sentai season airing from 1984-1985 - A mountain man named Shota Yamamori desperately wants to become the 6th member of Bioman. Sadly, his body is not compatible with the powers and is declined. This leads  the villians into tricking him into becoming their Magne Warrior which gives him powers but also brainwashes him into fighting the Rangers. Eventually, with the help of the Rangers, he is able to break free and helps save the day but loses his powers in the process. A 2 episode story arc. Not technically a Ranger and is not listed in any official countdown but he is remembered by fans. Set the standards for the brainwashed warrior soon to be turned ally.

 Hikari Sentai Maskman - X1 Mask

The 11th season that aired from 1987 to 1988. - This is a familiar sounding story for a 6th Ranger. The 5 core Rangers are about to be defeated when out of nowhere a 6th Ranger appears and saves them. Ryo Asuka, a Ranger before the main 5 but refuses to join the team because he failed to save his woman and does not feel worthy. However, after being confronted by the Red Ranger, he is eventually motivated to join the team. However, in a dire situation, Ryo sacrifices his powers in order to save the rest and a defeat the villain.

Sounds like what would expect from a 6th Ranger, so why isn't Ryo counted as the first? Sadly, because he was a one-off character. He lost his powers on the same episode he appeared and that entire arc was less than 20 minutes of screen time. No Zord or unique weapon. At least he eventually got a Ranger Key.

Shoto and Ryo have been dubbed the Prototype 6th Rangers. The real deal came in a familiar face.

Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger - Dragon Ranger Burai

The 16th season which aired from 1992-1993 - Forever setting the standard for 6th rangers. Buria had 6 spotlight episodes while he was on his evil rampage before turning good. However, it felt like the creators were still cautious about mixing up the formula because it was mostly his Mecha Dragon Caeser that joined the main cast. Buria had to hide in a special room because he was dead living on borrowed time and almost never got to do any fighting outside of the giant battles. He never even appeared in the theme song and was eventually killed off. Returned once as a spirit but never appeared unmorphed in any reunion specials.
Despite all that, his short time on screen was amazing a beloved by fans. Such popularity caused the 6th Ranger to become a staple in the series.

The next few seasons would all have some sort of 6th or extra Ranger/Hero. They experimented with the formula, stronger with limitations, not adult or human, ect. It was a new concept, a Ranger that did not have to fit the status quo of the core and it allowed for new Super Robo Combinations.

Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive - Beast-Demon Hunter Zeek

The 23th Super Sentai originally airing from 1999 to 2000. - This story is not so much about this cool looking Demon Hunter but rather what would happen when a season opted out of having a 6th ranger. Titanium Ranger is famously known as the first Power Ranger to be all original with no Super Sentai counterpart. (There is no Go-Silver.) The closest GoGo Five got was this movie exclusive hero Zeek who is never revived after his movie. However, GoGo Five simply not having a 6th member is not entirly true. LinerBoy, known as Max Solarzord in Power Rangers, was a mecha without a pilot that had an AI which the season introduced as the 6th member when they addressed the lack of a 6th ranger. My interpretation is that this was another experiment to make the extra hero purely giant battles as something different and because the mecha are more marketable than the Rangers as demonstrated when Burai was overshadowed by his own Mecha Dragon Ceaser. However, this decision backfired because the lack of a 6th Ranger hurt ratings and every season following would have some sort of 6th ranger, extra hero, or more. But, the idea of a sentient Super Robo (Megazord) would return for later seasons.

The rest is history. There were 15 incarnations of Super Sentai with 2 Prototypes before they tried out the concept of a 6th Ranger, and it stuck. It was coincidence that the first Power Rangers happened to use footage that included the first 6th Ranger, but Saban did attempt seasons before Zyurangers before finally getting greenlit. Thank you for reading, this has been Cendoo the Ghost Ranger, signing off.

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