Time again to look at another entry in the Super Sentai franchise. This time the show we will be looking at is the 31st entry of the series which debuted in 2006. The martial arts focused team known as the Juken Sentai Gekiranger.
Juken, an ancient form of martial arts where the practitioner mimics animal traits. Two practitioners, Retu Fukami of the Fantastic Technique and Ran Uzaki of the Honest Heart are taught by Grand Master Xie Fu under the guise of the sporting goods company, SCRTC. They train to fight against the Rin Juken School and their Kyonshi (hopping ghosts) who wish to resurrect a great evil. Joined by the feral boy Jyan Kandou of the Unbreakable Body, they become the Juken Sentai Gekirangers.
The team is an interesting bunch to say the least. Retu (the blue) is a man who has mastered various techniques and strives for perfection and Ran (the yellow) is the highly energetic one who is the heart of the group. The two of them resemble the behaviors of the blue and yellow members of the Akaranger team, but are distinct because of their red member. Jyan is annoying to say the least. The feral nature makes him unaware of how to act in too many social situations while at the same time spewing nonsense words like “Waki Waki” and “Gokin Gokin” which have no actual meaning but to Jyan. They get old fast. The other two members that come later do a offer a more appealing performances. Gou (the purple) has to overcome an evil presence which turns him into a werewolf and ken (the white) offers a more whimsical aspect to the team. A pretty decent team other than Jyan’s behavior.
The supporting team is very unique to say the least. SCRTC is owned by Miki who backs up the team with equipment and lodging along with her daughter Natsume. That’s the normal part. The seven Kensei Masters of Juken are each an animal who walk around without anyone questing that they are that they are a walking talking animals in people’s clothing. This is strange but you get get used to it as the show goes on. Also the Masters after Xie Fu offer new weapons and animals spirits that become the mecha. Great segway to talk about giant robots.
The mecha are based on animals and are called Geki Beasts. The main three are Geki Cheetah, Geki Tiger, and Geki Jaquar who form together into Geki Tohja. The other Geki Beasts become weapons for the Geki Tohja (and later Geki Fire) to help them in battle. The Mecha are controlled by the team mimicking movements in a group together which allows them to act out the moves they learned in the episode on their opponents through the machine. Also notable is that the Mecha battles get ringside commentary by Bae, a fly that lives in Mele, henchwoman of the main villain.
Another clever segway. The villains are led by Rio who is doing all he can to raise the three Kenma. He has a bit of a one track mind about wanting to train harder to obtain this goal. he is so blind to what’s going around him and doesn’t realize that Mele is in love with him. Poor girl. So devoted but sadly she just can’t get her guy to reciprocate. Also, no spoilers on who is the last boss but he truly is an evil individual. The kind of evil boss that doesn’t mind stepping over his underlings to obtain his goals.
Despite the annoyance of Jyan and the one track minded plans of Rio, Gekirangers is still an intriguing show who’s training and martial arts allows for character growth and action. Though it would have been nice to see the weapon based Geki Beasts do more than just be weapons. Fans who enjoy the martial arts side of the Sentai series will find Gekirangers particularly entertaining.