tokusatsu-l Mailing List Frequently Asked Questions

Release: December, 1997 (Version: 3.6.8)

Frequently Asked Questions about Sentai

4.1 What is sentai?

Sentai (sen-t'aye) is a Japanese for naval squadron (a pre-war Japanese term). Translating this word to English can be messy. Literally, it means war team (sen=war tai=team), however some translate it to battle team or task force. Task Force seems to be the more popular though battle team remains to be the most correct. Senshi, however can be properly translated to mean the English word Warrior.

As a genre, sentai defines a series called Super Century Sentai, usually one year long made of 50 episodes beginning in February that airs 5:30pm Friday evenings (in Tokyo) that meets the generic standards of tokusatsu. The specific sentai formula involves five characters (once three) and a leader that bestows upon them devices that allow them to use powers to transform into a team of warriors in multicolored (usually red as leader, black, green, blue, yellow white or pink) uniforms and helmets to protect the planet Earth from a group of aliens or humanoid-persons in possession of powers or technology they wish to use to either dominate or destroy the Earth.

Usually, stories consist of the evil group fabricating a monster of the day (kaijin) to inflict harm to persons or property on Earth in an attempt to disrupt and subsequently dominate. Either the battle team or their leader become aware of it and send them into action. While they fight without knowledge of the enemy's weaknesses, they learn them and return to destroy the monster (later on involving a giant robot and still later individual robots uniting into one).

The element to such stories that make them vastly superior to most Western good vs. evil stories, even for adults, is that there is not an on-going struggle between good and evil with no real winners or losers in the end, but instead there is a climax to such stories. As episodes progress, the overall situation becomes more serious as more and more is learned about the plot and its characters. Finally, all of it culminates into a single victor (not always the good guys).

4.2 What sentai shows have they made and when?

  1. Himitsu Sentai Gorenjaa (Secret Task Force GORANGER)
    April 5, 1975 - March 26, 1977; 84 Episodes (Longest Sentai Run Ever)
    Movie: "Bomb Hurricane" (July 16th, 1976)
  2. Jakka Dengekitai (JAKQ Blitzkreig Squad)
    February 4, 1977 - December 24, 1977; 35 Episodes (Shortest Sentai Run Ever)
    Movie: "JAKQ Blitzkrieg Squad vs. Secret Task Force Goranger" (March 18th, 1978)
  3. Batoru Fiibaa Jei (Battle Fever J)
    Super Sentai #1: February 3, 1979 - January 26, 1980; 52 Episodes
  4. Denshi Sentai Denjiman (Electronic Task Force)
    Super Sentai #2: February 2, 1980 - January 31, 1981; 51 Episodes
  5. Taiyou Sentai Sanbarukan (Solar Task Force Sunvulcan)
    Super Sentai #3: February 7, 1981 - January 30, 1982; 50 Episodes
    Movie: "Solar Task Force Sunvulcan" (July 18th, 1981)
  6. Dai Sentai Goggle Faibu (Great Task Force Goggle Five)
    Super Sentai #4: February 6, 1982 - January 29, 1983; 50 Episodes
    Most popular sentai until 1988.
    Movie: "Great Task Force Goggle Five"
  7. Kagaku Sentai Dainaman (Science Task Force DYNAMAN)
    Super Sentai #5: February 5, 1983 - January 28, 1984; 51 Episodes
    Dubbed over in USA Network's "Night Flight" as parody.
    Movie released March 12, 1983 (later broadcasted as Episode #32).
  8. Choudenshi Baioman (Super Electron BIOMAN)
    Super Sentai #6: February 4, 1984 - January 26, 1985; 51 Episodes
    Movie: "Super Electron BIOMAN" (Released July 14th, 1984)
  9. Dengeki Sentai Chejiman (Blitzkreig Task Force CHANGEMAN)
    Super Sentai #7: February 2, 1985 - February 22, 1986; 55 Episodes
    Movies: "Blitzkreig Task Force CHANGEMAN" (March 16, 1985) and "Blitzkreig Task Force CHANGEMAN: Shuttle Base! The Critical Moment!" (July 13th, 1985)
  10. Choushinsei Furasshuman (Supernova FLASHMAN)
    Super Sentai #8: March 1, 1986 - February 21, 1987; 50 Episodes
    Tenth sentai series produced.
  11. Hikari Sentai Masukuman (Light Task Force MASKMAN)
    Super Sentai #9: February 28, 1987 - February 20, 1988; 51 Episodes
    Movie: "Light Task Force MASKMAN" (July 18, 1987)
  12. Choujuu Sentai Raibuman (Super Beast Task Force LIVEMAN)
    10th Aniversary Super Sentai: February 27, 1988 - February 18, 1989; 49 Episodes
  13. Kousoku Sentai Taaborenjaa (High Speed Task Force TURBORANGER)
    Super Sentai #11: February 25, 1989 - February 23, 1990; 51 Episodes
    Movie: "High Speed Task Force TURBORANGER"
  14. Chikyuu Sentai Faibuman (Earth Task Force FIVEMAN)
    Super Sentai #12: March 2, 1990 - February 8, 1991; 48 Episodes
  15. Choujin Sentai Jettoman (Birdman Task Force JETMAN)
    Super Sentai #13: February 15, 1991 - February 14, 1992; 51 Episodes
  16. Kyouruu Sentai Juurenjaa (Dinosaur Task Force ZYURANGER)
    Super Sentai #14: February 21, 1992 - February 12, 1993; 50 Episodes
    Source footage for Saban's "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers#153;"
  17. Gosei Sentai Dairenjaa (Five Star Task Force DAIRANGER)
    Super Sentai #15: February 19, 1993 - February 11, 1994; 50 Episodes
  18. Ninja Sentai Kakurenjaa (Ninja Task Force KAKURANGER)
    Super Sentai #16: February 18, 1994 - February 24, 1995; 53 Episodes
  19. Chouriki Sentai Oorenjaa (Super Power Task Force OHRANGER)
    Super Sentai #17: March 3, 1995 - February 23, 1996; 48 Episodes
  20. Gekizou Sentai Kaarenjaa (Violent Dash Task Force CARRANGER)
    Super Sentai #18: March ?, 1996 - February 7, 1997; 48 Episodes
    Twentieth Sentai Series Ever!
  21. Denji Sentai Megarenjaa (Electromagnet Task Force MEGARANGER)
    Super Sentai #19: February 14, 1997 - Winter 1998; Approx. 50 episodes.
All sentai are referred to as "Super Century Sentai". Special Thanks to Marc Miyake for this listing of super sentai series' complete with release and ending dates. Some information contributed to by sources listed in section 7.1.

4.3 What is super-sentai and what series started them?

Super-Sentai began on the 3rd sentai series Battle Fever J (1979). Super-sentai series' are those series' that involve a giant robot to fight giant sized monsters. The eighth Super Sentai (the 10th sentai) Choushinsei Furasshuman (Supernova FLASHMAN) which brought us the first instances of separate large machines (such as vehicles and later robots) to form one giant robot. In FLASHMAN, one robot formed the core for others to attach to itself. Ironically, MEGARANGER goes back to the classic style of having a two-in-one robot with Galaxy Mega.
This page was last updated on December 1, 1997

Copyright 1997 Dairenn Lombard ()
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