What’s in a Name? History of Sentai Titles!

What’s in a name? Well when it’s for a TV show, it’s everything. You need something that can grab people’s attention just from reading it. You also need something that’s going to be easily marketable to kids if that’s what area of television you’re making a show in. In the long and illustrious history of the Super Sentai Series there have been some truly creative titles, but what about the ones that didn’t quite make the cut? Today we’re going to be taking a look at the top 11 Super Sentai titles changed before production began!

NUMBER 11

Dainin Sentai Ninjaman – > Ninpu Sentai Hurricanger

First up on the list is Ninpu Sentai Hurricanger. This was the second ninja-themed series in Sentai and the first to do the three Ranger format since Liveman, something that would become a lot more common from here on out. Hurricanger’s working title was Dainin Sentai Ninjaman or Great Ninja Task Force Ninjaman. It was changed after Toei wanted to introduce a new team name suffix into the series and thus Hurricanger was born. Contrary to popular belief, the “ger” in the title isn’t a shortened form of Ranger, it’s actually a shortened form of the word “messenger” and was meant to convey the fact that we would learn a lot about these characters.

NUMBER 10

Dengeki Sentai Crossbonger and Kagaku Tokusou-tai Borghunter -> JAKQ Dengeki-tai

While JAKQ ended up with a different naming structure than Goranger, it was originally conceieved as another “Sentai” titled series in the form of Dengeki Sentai Crossbonger or Electric Task Force Crossbonger. (I seriously have no idea how that’s read) It was later known as Kagaku Tokusou-tai Borghunter or Science Special Team Borghunter, which sounds a little cooler than Crossbonger. Eventually there would be a Dengeki Sentai Changeman, but that was still some time away…

NUMBER 9

Captain Japan -> Battle Fever J

Most people know the story well, but for those that don’t, here it is in a nutshell. (hey that rhymes!) Toei and Marvel teamed up to release three series involving Marvel characters, the first was Spider-Man, the second was Battle Fever J and the third was Denjiman. The first two had some decent Marvel influence, but it seems like Denjiman was mostly original. Anyway, getting back to Battle Fever J. In its earliest form, the show would have been called Captain Japan and supposedly would have been a mostly solo show featuring a main character known as Captain Japan who teamed up with different heroes in each episodes. Eventually the random teaming up was dropped and become a team show and Battle Fever J was born.

NUMBER 8

Plasman -> Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan

Whatever the name, this series was always intended to be a sequel to Denjiman. In its earliest inception, it was thought that the Denjiman characters would cameo in a few episodes to sort of hand the role of hero off to the new team ala Kamen Rider 1 and 2 in Kamen Rider V3, but this was dropped fairly fast. This one makes the list because the show was originally trademarked as Plasman, whereas others had their names finalized long before this stage. Instances of the plasma theme influence can be heard in the ending song.

NUMBER 7

Go Go V and Mirai Sentai Miraiman – > Dai Sentai Goggle V

This is listed simply because it seems like good ideas are never thrown out, they just take some time to come into play. Dai Sentai Goggle V began life as a series called Go Go V. It seems like having everything be called a “Sentai” wasn’t a set thing at this point – and rightfully so. At this point in the franchise, we had an original show, then two shows that shared the Sentai title because they were sequels, Goggle V was under no pressure to continue that trend. (this was before Goranger and JAKQ were considered Super Sentai) After a while, someone must have figured brand identity was important, and good thing too because that lead to Sentai have a cohesive identity. Mirai Sentai Miraiman or Future Sentai Futureman would have been…well I’m not sure what it would have been about, but I can imagine it would have been vastly different from Timeranger.

NUMBER 6

Baseball Sentai V-Leaguer -> Kagaku Sentai Dynaman

Now that’s a change. And not a totally dramatic one at that. I’m sure I don’t need to translate the title, so we’ll skip that here. This one is on the list because I think it would have been the first Sentai to really make their motif have a visual presence in the show. Early concept designs for the series feature what are essentially baseball suits with Sentai style helmets. Written across the chest of each team member was the word V-Leaguer. This was eventually changed, but the baseball identity stayed on in the final Dynaman design with subtle traits.

NUMBER 5

Ninja Sentai GoNinja -> Ninja Sentai Kakuranger

Translated as Ninja Task Force Five Ninja, this was the working title for Kakuranger. It doesn’t seem like there was a huge change from concept to finished product as whatever the Sentai that aired that year was probably going to be heavily Japanese-based as a way to counter the Chinese influence of Dairanger. I list this because as GoNinja, this would have given us the chance to break the Ranger naming scheme. At that point, only a few shows made use of the Ranger title, breaking the chain right after Dairanger might have made things play out very different. And come on, it just sounds cool. Most of the original names aren’t too great sounding and they were changed for a reason, but I would have loved a GoNinja Sentai. (and the ensuing Vanilla Ice parody videos)

NUMBER 4

Red-1 -> Himitsu Sentai Goranger

Red-1 is…Red-1. Yeah. In its earliest itteration, that was the title of Goranger. Okay maybe there was an earlier one, but I’m sure it never became public so we’re going with this. It was always going to be a team series, that was the hook for this show, but the title was up in the air. As Red-1, we would have gotten a series that absolutely pushed one member to the forefront and while that still happens from time to time, Sentai still feels like a team of superheroes. I think they realized that having a show’s title single out a character wasn’t the best way to get across a sense of unity. It makes you think the show is about one character and not an entire team. So after this, the show went through several versions of what all amounts to Goranger.

NUMBER 3

Gekisou Sentai Carranger -> Kosoku Sentai Turboranger

One means Extreme Racing Task Force Carranger and the other is High Speed Task Force Turboranger. Here is an example of someone tossing a title to the side and then someone else taking it for a different series. No name modification or spelling changes, they straight up took Gekisou Sentai Carranger from the Turboranger NG bin and slapped it onto Carranger as a final product. Okay, maybe that’s over exaggerating, but still! Someone had to have been aware that this was already a name. So, my guess is that this was supposed to be a slight nod to a Sentai production crew long passed.

NUMBER 2

Bioranger and Gaoranger -> Gingaman

This one seems to be the most confusing of all because the show went through numerous early titles before finally getting to Seijuu Sentai Gingaman, Star Beast Task Force Gingaman. The first was Fantasy Sentai Gaoranger, which would have been a pretty awesome sounding series if you ask me. Apparently, Toei changed this because it sounded too much like a competing show at the time, King of Braves GaoGaiGar. That show would be the end of its franchise, but Sentai has kept trucking along since then. Once Gaoranger was given the NG, we were given Seijuu Sentai Bioranger…which supposedly sounded too much like Bioman and seemed a little unoriginal at the time. This time the change wasn’t hugely drastic, we went from Bioranger to Gingaman, Seijuu Sentai in both cases. It’s interesting to see how outside forces can effect the shows we love.

NUMBER 1

Chuuka Sentai Chinaman -> Gosei Sentai Dairanger

Chuuka Sentai Chinaman is translated as Chinese Sentai Chinaman. This one is at the very top of the list because someone seriously thought Chinaman was a good name for a team of superheroes. There are a number of reasons why this was a terrible idea, but let’s just leave it at that it doesn’t sound remotely cool.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s