On February 10th, the 36th Super Sentai, Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, finished their year-long run. The following Sunday, on February 17th, we welcomed the 37th group of rangers ready to save the world: Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger!
It’s been a little over a week since the show started, but I wanted to wait until the giant monster battles before giving my initial impressions.
So, let’s get jamming!
Long ago, during the time of the dinosaurs, the alien Deboss Army invaded the Earth, only to be stopped by the Wise God Torin and the Zyudenryu. After centuries of being sealed away in a glacial prison, the Deboss Army revives. Preparing for the second invasion, Torin recruits five warriors worthy enough to become the People of the Strong Dragons – Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger!
The theme songs
Opening theme: “Vamola! Kyoryuger” by Kamata Shogo.
Ending theme: “Minna Atsumare! Kyoryuger” by Takatori Hideaki.
Let’s introduce the heroes.
Kyoryu Red/Kiryu Daigo (played by Ryusei Ryo) is the “Fanged Hero”. He’s a bit of a wild child, with a reckless fighting style and the guts to back it up. His personality is reminiscent of Kamen Rider Fourze – carefree, hot blooded, strong willed, and lets his heart do the talking. His dino buddy is (of course) a T-Rex. If it’s dinosaurs, Red always gets the T-Rex (I guess).
Kyoryu Black/Ian Yorkland (played by Saito Shusuke) is the “Bullet Hero”. As his nickname implies, he’s skillful as a gunslinger in both combat and personality. The first thing we see this mysterious hot shot do is try to score a date with Pink. His dino buddy is a Parasaurolophus.
Kyoryu Blue/Udo Nobuharu (played by Kinjo Yamato) is the “Armored Hero”. He’s really similar to Blue Buster, in the sense that he’s the oldest member of the group (at least 30 years old), and that his fighting style revolves around his ridiculous strength. The main thing that sets him apart is his klutziness. His dino buddy is a Stegosaurus.
Kyoryu Green/Rippukan Soji (played by Shiono Akihisa) is the “Slashing Hero”. His nickname is earned because of his proficiency with the sword, as hinted with the kendo shinai that he is seen walking around with. His seems to be a quiet and cool type. His dino buddy is a Velociraptor.
Kyoryu Pink/Yuzuki Ami (played by Konno Ayuri) is the “Horned Heroine” and the sole female of the team. She’s the young lady of a wealthy family and is always followed around by her butler, Gentle. She fights with great finesse and gymnastic ability. Her dino buddy is a Triceratops.
In case you haven’t noticed, the first syllable of each of the characters’ surnames (Ki-Yo-U-Ri-Yu) spell out “dinosaur” in Japanese (kyoryu), while the first syllables in the given names (Da-I-No-So-A) spell out the pronunciation of “dinosaur”. Pretty clever.
They are mentored by Torin (voiced by veteran voice actor Morikawa Toshiyuki, a bird-like being whose favorite English word is “brave”.
The main motif of Kyoryuger comes from dinosaurs, succeeding previous dino-themed Sentai Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger and Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger. To spice things up a bit and give fans something refreshing to look forward to, electricity is used as the another motif in the form of the Zyudenchi, or Beast Batteries, which are used to power everything from their dino-partners (the Zyudenryu) to their weapons.
The Zyudenryu, this series’ mecha, are pretty awesome. They are unique among the generations of Sentai mecha because they are sentient beings rather than controllable robots, fighting alongside the Kyoryuger. The only time we’ve seen the Kyoryuger board them (as of episode 2) is when they combine to make the prime fighting mecha, Kyoryuzin. The Zyudenryu by themselves are entertaining to watch, as they are constantly moving even when standing in one place, adding to the bouncy energetic feel of the series.
…Though now that we think about it, some of the other times sentient mecha appeared in Super Sentai were on the other dino-themed shows, Zyuranger and Abaranger…
Kyoryuzin’s first appearance is a three-piece combination, using the Zyudenryu of Red, Blue, and Pink. It leaves one wondering how the other two Kyoryuger’s Zyudenryu will be used. It will probably be the same as what was done in Engine Sentai Go-Onger, in which a three-piece combination was the initial formation, with the other two getting outfitted on a few episodes later.
Each Zyudenchi is filled with a different dinosaur spirit, and we’ve seen only five so far in action: the ones that enable the Kyoryugers to transform as well as power up their respective Zyudenryu. However, in the Spirit Base (the show’s hero headquarters), we are teased with the existence of 23 Zyudenchi! So, that either means that there are possibilities of having a wide variety of weapons/attacks to use, more Zyudenryu allies, and maybe more than one extra hero (as hinted by the rumors and images circulating the web).
The atmosphere of this light-hearted show is accented by the use of energetic Samba music, which not only sets the fun, hip-shaking mood of the show, but also gives the Kyoryuger something to move to as they dance into their henshin pose.
Their prime weapons are the GabuRevolver (a gun) and GabuCalibur (a sword), and can be combined into the GaburuCannon. In case you didn’t know, gabu means “to chomp down” or to “sink one’s teeth into something”, as hinted by its prior usage in Kamen Rider Kiva’s henshin. Also, each Kyoryuger also has a personal weapon that reflects their fighting style, nickname, and Zyudenryu partner.
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of the suits. While the return to spandex (as opposed to Go-Busters‘ leather) is nice, it doesn’t stand out as unique as previous Sentai designs. However, the lacking designs are more than made up for by the high-energy action sequences.