Ever since i found out that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 2 was loosely based of a Sentai which featured previously unseen Ranger suits (to a PR fan, at least), not only i was surprised but also excited to watch a Super Sentai show that was not entirely adapted into Power Rangers. So this August 5 i started watching the Power Rangers that never was: Gosei Sentai Dairanger, and now that i just finished watching it i can tell you that this show.......is ok......not bad, not great but it's competent.
Here's the summary of the plot: Eight thousand years ago, the Daos Civilisation flourished in Southern China. It was made up of three separate tribes - the Dai tribe, the Shura (who went on to become modern day's humanity) and the Gorma. However one day the Gorma tribe decided to take over both the Daos and the world itself, leading to a 5000 year war between the Dai and the Gorma. The Dai defeated the Gorma, whose magical powers granted them the ability to turn into monsters, with the help of five Dai warriors whose high Qi powers allowed them to control the five mythical Qi beasts.
Years later, the Gorma reappear on Earth and continue their plans for conquest. In retaliation, the mysterious Master Kaku assembles a team of five youths with high Qi levels to become the new Dairangers. These five are Ryo of the Heavenly Fire Star (Ryu Ranger), Daigo of the Heavenly Illusion Star (Shishi Ranger), Shoji of the Heavenly Gravity Star (Tenma Ranger), Kazu of the Heavenly Time Star (Qilin Ranger) and Rin of the Heavenly Wind Star (Houou Ranger). During their battles, they are told they will soon be joined by a sixth Dairanger. This is none other than Kou of the Howling New Star (Kiba Ranger), a nine year old boy who comes from both Dai and Gorma blood.
I'll star up by saying that the show's strengths lies within the story arcs: All of these story arcs rank from good to excellent and every single one of them are well crafted with engaging build-ups and good pay-offs, my favorite being (aside from the 9 part finale which is also great) the Kibaranger and Three Ladies story arc as it is the introduction to the show's 6th Ranger (and my favorite character) and includes great character development for Kibaranger and a great villain that, thankfully, sticks around for the rest of the series. Another great thing about Dairanger that sets is apart from other Super Sentai shows is the choreography: When the characters morph......I MEAN CHANGE! into their Ranger suits, it's hard to convince the audience that the suit actors are the same ones playing the characters outside the suits, but here......is no exception, BUT at least here each actor that play their parts outside the suits used their own unique fighting style, meaning that the actors can pull off the same choreography as the suit actors. With this choreography also came some impressive battle poses during the transformation roll call. One highlight of the show comes towards the end (episode 46 i think) when the actors manage to pull off some of these complicated poses for an out-of-suit roll call, making Dairanger THE VERY FIRST Super Sentai show to feature a suitless roll call.
However now we come to the bad aspects of Dairanger. I'm gonna skip some ones since this is a spoiler free review and focus into my number 1 problem with Dairanger, the one that kept me from liking this show, the pacing: The show constantly shifts from story arc, to one-shot episodes, to story arc again, so on and so forth. When you have story arcs as good as these ones, you want them to continue making arcs, but no. Even when a story arc ends on a cliffhanger, the show doesn't come back to it until after a couple of one-shot stories. These one-shot stories not only are unengaging but they don't tie in with the previous story arc. Consider this: In Star Trek: The Next Generation theres a little two-parter that some of you may have heard about called THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. Ever heard of it? This episodes are great for many reasons. They're intense, well written and keep your attention enough to wanting to know what's happening next. So much so that the following episode, despite having it's own plot, shows the consequences of the events of the last episode. Same thing with Star Trek Voyager's two-parter, Scorpion. Epic story and the next episodes shows how the events of the two-parter affected the characters. If Dairanger would of done the same thing, it would of been great, But instead the story arcs that kept you interested are followed by boring ass single episodes that have ZERO impact on the story and when the show has an ultimate goal, it only creates impatience. Which leads me to one last problem the show had: The stories of two "important" characters. Because this is a spoiler free review i won't tell their names, but they are ShishiRanger's (the Green Ranger) love interest and RyuuRanger's (Red Ranger) rival. Both of this characters have their own character arcs that also provide some character development for the Rangers, but the problem is these episodes that comprise their stories are scattered throughout the series and when these episodes end, these characters don't show up until many episodes later. It would of been like if in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 1, the Green Ranger didn't had a five-part episode, but rather shows up for one episode, dissapears and comes back MANY episodes later only to do it again and again. What's insulting is that in the final story act, the show pretends that these characters contributed something relevant to the story AND THEY DIDN'T. One good thing i noticed is that some episodes are actually two-parters and despite featuring characters that where never mentioned again, they did have relevance to the story and where in fact important. And last more thing: Dairanger........WHAT THE FLYING FUCK IS WITH YOUR OBSETION WITH THE WORD "UNFORGIVABLE"? I'm not kidding when i say that the characters say this word more times that a character from Sonic the Hedgehog say "Long time no see". I said this to Christopher Nolan and i say it to Japan: NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT!!!! LEARN ABOUT BASIC HUMAN INTERACTION, FOR FUCK SAKE!!!!!DX<
I have some other problems with the show, but again......spoiler free review, so i'll end this by telling my final thoughts.
While i don't think that Dairanger lived up to the hype it receives in tokusatsu circles, it still no less a good show full of decent stories, design and choreography, it just didn't lived up to my expectations (not until the 9-part finale which was EXACLY how i pictured the show was gonna be).
Final score: 3.4/4