While not as popular today, “Power Rangers” exploded in popularity in the nineties. What many kids didn’t know at the time was that this show was based on a Japanese series known as “Super Sentai.” In recent years fans have found ways to watch these shows and “SHOUT! Factory” has even released DVDs of some of the shows. The most recent American release is the manga based on the first show called “Himitsu Sentai Gorenger” written by the creator of “Super Sentai” and “Kamen Rider” Shotaro Ishinomori.
An evil organization calling itself the “Black Cross Army” is wreaking havoc on the world. An elite task force calling itself “EAGLE” is standing up to them by recruiting five people to use these suits that enhance a human’s abilities and calling this group “Himitsu Sentai Gorenger.”
The story of the manga is split into two parts. The first part is based on the first few episodes of the show with some differences in plot and the second part is four different stories that differ in the tone of the first part. The first major difference fans will notice is that the characters do not transform. Instead, they don the costumes like they were donning ordinary clothes. Second, there are no giant robots. Those ideas came later.
The story itself, while the second part will seem familiar (monster of the week wreaks havoc on innocents and the team defeats it) the first part seems more like an action manga than “Super Sentai.” It’s not terrible, there’s plenty to enjoy but don’t expect anything familiar. The characters, story and action scenes are still entertaining to read and are worth your time. Also, this isn’t the entire show. The show itself is 84 episodes long and this manga was made more as an accompaniment to the show than an alternative to the show.
The artwork is that classic 1960s01970s style that some people would refer to as “Astro Boy” style. If you’re not familiar with the style or prefer the later styles this may be a deal-breaker. If you’re OK with this style and just want anything “Super Sentai” this is fine. There aren’t any major issues with the art, it boils down to personal preference.
If you want to know where “Super Sentai” came from or are already a fan, the manga version of “Himitsu Sentai Gorenger” should be in your collection. While not the entire show and the story may be a little different than what fans are used to it still pacts plenty to like and will make anyone interested in the first show want to check it out and even hoping that this manga release means someone will release the entire show in the US sometime in the future.