Even if I haven't quite reviewed ten Super Sentai shows yet (more reviews are coming, I promise!) I've completed watching ten exactly. When I have ten of something, my brain is compelled to rank them. You probably see where this is going.
I have seen at least one episode of more than 30 Super Sentai shows. Shortly after I kicked off my recent Super Sentai obsession, I sought out the first few episodes from every Super Sentai series dated 1987 and onward, and eventually watched a few episodes from before I was born. I continued watching the shows that seemed the most fun or interesting, and gave up early on a few others. So my first disclaimer is: these are the ten I actually liked enough to watch for 47+ episodes. Sure, one of them is ranked 10th, but that doesn't mean I hated it. I just liked nine other shows better!
And of course this list only represents my current feelings. This is a snapshot of my opinion and feelings on Super Sentai at this moment. It's subject to change, but it's consistent with my opinion as I write this over a period of a few days (or several days, as I'm not a very fast writer). Will I eventually make a top fifteen or top twenty list of series when I reach those milestones? Maybe! But certainly not today. And of course, since I'm terrible at counting to ten, I have some background shit and honorable mentions to get through before the real list begins. So let's start there:
Hey, Those Aren't Super Sentai!
Kamen Rider OOO (pictured)
Kamen Rider Fourze
Kamen Rider Wizard
Kamen Rider Gaim
Kamen Rider Drive
Kamen Rider Ghost
Oh, I Haven't Finished These Yet!
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger
Seijuu Sentai Gingaman
Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger
Mahou Sentai Magiranger
Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger (pictured)
These are my ongoing "viewing projects" for Super Sentai, i.e. shows where I've seen at least five episodes and plan on continuing soon. Gingaman is furthest along at around 35 episodes and Kakuranger is barely started at 5 episodes, but my favorite of the above is probably Zyuohger (which is ongoing and 22 episodes in). Honestly I'm not sure where any of these would figure into a top ten list, because I need to finish them first. How the ending shapes up is a major factor in how much I enjoy tokusatsu shows. But that's enough foreplay, let's get to the real deal:
Sollosi's Top Ten Favorite Super Sentai Series
Bet you weren't expecting this here! I haven't pontificated much on Power Rangers in my blog, but I definitely enjoyed it as a kid. I watched most of the first three seasons, then saw the beginning of the Power Rangers Zeo season, then fell off the wagon. That's when I was age 7 to age 10, which is right around the show's target audience. Growing up, I continued to enjoy stories with colorful heroes and flashy spectacle, but that manifested in comic book superheroes and video games instead of more Power Rangers. But here I am, a grown-ass adult, watching and writing about Super Sentai. And my enjoyment of Sentai wouldn't be where it is without at least a kernel of Power Rangers nostalgia, so MMPR gets an honorable mention. OK, now I'll start counting shit down.
Boukenger has a really fun gimmick (adventurers searching for lost treasures from myth and folklore) and the cast is mostly appealing. But I felt that Boukenger's lack of a major series-long story arc and disparate groups of villains were both weaknesses. The ending arcs felt like regular episodes with the stakes slightly higher. I also didn't love the suit or mecha combat in Boukenger relative to other series. But the cast is decent, the production is solid, and there are a bunch of excellent episodes. I'm not a Boukenger hater, but... I'm not a Boukenger lover either.
Gokaiger is in the very top tier of Sentai for its main cast, suit combat, and badass suit and mecha designs. Following a team of space pirate rogues in search of the Greatest Treasure in the Universe is a fun concept already; throw in the Ranger Keys gimmick, and you have more variety and more series callbacks than any Sentai ever. Gokaiger is a Super Sentai history lesson in addition to being a standout show on its own. For being the true tokusatsu total package, Gokaiger is my favorite Super Sentai and one of the most entertaining children's shows I've ever watched.
I wrote this one pretty quickly, since I had been slowly devising a mental ranking of Super Sentai shows as I watched each of them and have had plenty of time to reflect. Gokaiger was ranked number one basically from the moment I finished watching it, but every other spot in the rankings was in flux. Zyuranger was 10th until I watched the last fifteen episodes or so. Spots 5 through 7 changed a bunch of times. I'm still not sure if I like Jetman more than Dairanger. Oh well. In the meantime, I still have to write reviews for Carranger, Zyuranger, Kamen Rider OOO, and like thirty video games if I want to get current. We'll see how much of that I actually get to.