On the Watch – Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

Over the past year, I have recently gotten heavily into the Tokusatsu genre of films and television. The Tokusatsu genre refers to action, sci-fi and horror media that usually involves people in costumes (most commonly giant robots, monsters, demons or super flashy, spandex-clad men and women).

Most people would generally associate the Godzilla and Power Rangers brands as Tokusatsu. Despite liking Godzilla a lot as an extremely young kid, my last real exposure to the genre itself was Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers back in the early 90s. Granted, I had long since knew that MMPR and its later seasons were just localized versions of the long running Super Sentai franchise in Japan.

For a very long time, I was very hesitant to start to get invested into a tokusatsu TV series. I say this mainly because of the sheer length (specifically a 49 episode investment per series). One year (and several Super Sentai and Kamen Rider shows) later, I am officially hooked on the genre overall. The specific show I just finished is titled Zyuden Sentsi Kyoryuger.

The show begins in the Prehistoric era with the focus on the main antagonist of the show, Deboth. Deboth, the evil alien warlord almost causes the extinction of not only the dinosaurs but the entire planet itself. That is until an unseen force transforms ten of the dinosaurs into the mystical Zyudenryu (robotic dinosaurs). The Zyudenryu proceeds to freeze Deboth and his army rendering them immobile for centuries.

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The starting five Zyudenryu (legendary dinosaurs).

Fast forward to the modern world (or in this show’s case 2013), the Deboth army has now thawed out and ready to wreak havoc in modern-day Japan. Luckily, Wise God Torin (a giant anthropomorphic bird-man) had been ready for this day, assembles five (later on six) young 20-somethings the ability to re-awaken the Zyudenryu and dawn the power of the Kyoryugers to fight off the Deboth and his army of darkness.

Now after all that exposition, I’m sure you all are asking “Is this show entertaining Chaz?” Now I will be honest, I wouldn’t say this is my favorite Super Sentai series. However, it’s a really fun watch. I’d also say that it is also a really good gateway show for those who are transitioning from MMPR over to Super Sentai. The show is still very formulaic. The tone of show is a balance of serious sci-fi and goofy anime-esque hi-jinks. The Kyorugers themselves while being playing the roles very well are still somewhat generic. The team consists of the usual tropes. There’s the leader, the playboy, the hard-worker, the old man and the pretty girl.

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The Kyoryuger crew. From left to right: Ian (Kyoryu Black), Nobuharu (Kyoryu Blue), Utsememaru (Kyoryu Gold), Daigo (Kyoryu Red), Amy (Kyoryu Pink) and Souji (Kyoryu Green).

Despite me being very judgmental of the show’s premise, it is still a really enjoyable tokusatsu experience. During my watch of the show, I found myself cheering/getting excited for my favorite rangers (Green, Blue and Gold if you were curious), laughing hysterically at the incredibly Japanese silliness and even tearing up at the near death moments of certain characters. One of my favorite episodes revolves around Deboth creating a monster that projects whatever the last movie a victim watches and transfers it into reality. Watching Amy’s (Kyoryu Pink’s) vision of a Japanese delinquent gang come to life was incredibly fun to watch.

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Delinquent gang Kyoryuger. If this became a movie or a side-story, I would not be against it.

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryugers overall is a silly and yet badass romp into the world of Super Sentai. I definitely recommend it for this show for anyone looking to get into Sentai or anything live action Japanese entertainment. The show isn’t actually available for DVD (not legally anyway). There are a few dedicated fansub communities that supplying subtitles to a lot of tokusatsu entertainment. Two groups that I would personally recommend TV-Nihon and Over Time. I will now leave you with one of the most extravagant transformation sequences ever! (Yes, they’re dancing before they change).

I will be back in a couple of weeks with the next show on my watch!