Wednesday, 8 June 2016

DVD Review - Super Sentai: Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Complete Series

Not Rated; 996 minutes; $59.97; Shout! Factory; Amazon
Believe it or not, but the Power Rangers franchise wouldn't exist if it wasn't the for the long-running Japanese series Super Sentai. Saban Brands (the creator/owner of the Power Rangers) used costumes, props, zords and footage from the Super Sentai series to make the Power Rangers seasons, which the tradition continues today.

The first Super Sentai series, titled Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, debuted in 1975, which involved five twenty-somethings that transform into superheros. Each new series that followed had a new cast, costumes, zords, and villains. The franchise is currently in it's 40th season (series). There are also over fifty feature films.

For the first time ever, the Super Sentai: Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Complete Series is now available in the United States thanks to Shout! Factory, featuring all 53 episodes. There are no special features or extras on the 10 disc set.

Originally airing in Japan from February 1994 to 1995, the Ninja Sentai Kakuranger is set about a hundred years after the war between the Youkai and the ninjas. The war ended when the Youkai Commander Nurarihyon and all their energies were sealed away by Sarutobi Sasuke and the ninjas. A few of the Youkais survived by living as humans for centuries, well that is until they tricked Saizou and Sasuke (descendants of Kirigakure Saizo) into opening the sealed door and releasing all the energies, giving the Youkai the ability to transform into their original form.

Due to the new threat on Earth, the ninjas give Saizou and Sasuke strong powers and the ability to transform into Ninja Blue and Ninja Red. Three other Saizo descendants are summoned as well - Tsuruhime (Ninja White), Seikai (Ninja Yellow) and Jiraiya (Ninja Black). Together, they must battle the Youkai army with their Ninja powers, weapons and zords.

Action scenes and villain costumes were used during the third season of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The Ninja costumes and zords where used for the Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers mini-series.

Final Thoughts: While there have been clips available on Youtube for the series, this is the first time the Ninja Sentai Kakuranger series has been released DVD for USA fans. Unlike some Power Rangers seasons that follow close to it's Super Sentai counterparts, the plots in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger are completely different; with only a few elements being adapted into the Might Morphin season 3 and Alien Rangers episodes.

Similar to other Super Sentai series, the Ninja Sentai Kakuranger might look like a kids' show, but  it actually has many adult themes, including mild-language, violence (more violent than the Power Rangers) and a darker theme. There is no dubbed audio option for the episodes, but English subtitles are available. The episodes are presented in 1:33:1 aspect ratio.

Overall, I've enjoyed watching the Super Sentai: Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Complete Series. Like I already said, the episodes are a lot darker than the Power Rangers; but there is also more slapstick humor. I watched the subtitled-version as I don't know Japanese, but after a few episodes I started to ignore the subtitles as the plots were easy to follow. Overall, I've enjoyed watching the Super Sentai: Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Complete Series and I recommend it to other fans.

*Disclaimer - I received complimentary copy in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

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