** Episode 1 **

Straight off the bat I might have to tell a few people that this isn’t technically part of the officiall Super Sentai series, instead it’s more of a parody/tribute to the fan and franchise as a whole. It’s aimed to a more grown-up audience and hardcore sentai fans.  The name “Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger” actually translates to Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger, Akibaranger is referring to Akihabara which is a district of Tokyo that’s mostly a shopping area for electronics, technology and general geeky merchandising.

The first episode doesn’t actually start with the series opening instead the opening theme from Dekaranger is playing, this is something the series does a lot, when mentioning  a Sentai show it plays it’s theme  instantly connects you to that series . We see the Red for the series, Nobuo Akagi, pretending to be Ban a.k.a Deka Red.  Nobuo is a 29-year-old diehard sentai fan who is a delivery boy and also enjoys the anime Z-Cune Aoi  and proclaims he is “moe” over it’s lead character Aoi.

He is constantly daydreaming, this leads to many comical moments such getting turned down by a woman for being a sentai nerd and calling anime girls “mai waifu”.  While doing his job he has daydream that he is helping a mugging which in reality he has fallen down a bunch of stairs on his bike and the victim uses the bike as a weapon. After this incident a mysterious women asks if he wants to be a member of Akibaranger to protect humanity.  Nobuo is a really run character while being a caricature of a sentai nerd it never feels like they are making fun of the fans as a whole and his feeling about being a hero are genuine.


The opening theme plays starting with the usually sentai narration but this time it’s saying how this is the first episode and the premise hasn’t been set-up yet. The music it self is a kind of a 8-bit influenced song that seems rather light for a sentai series but in context of the show it really works. The lyric are hilarious and even involving internet fans and how there are hate posts already. The theme is sung by Haruko Momoi who is mostly know for singing anime themes but it also features Yukio Yamagata who performed the Gaoranger theme.

After this we are shortly introduced to the other two members. Mitsuki Aoyagi is AkibaBlue who is a high school aged martial artist, she has little sentai knowledge and is also a fan of Z-Cune Aoi but insists she likes it only for the fights. She joined the team to improve her fighting skills since she recently lost a tournament.  She comes across as moody and cynical. Yumeria Moegi is AkibaYellow who is a big lover of cosplay seen in this episode dressed up as a cat girl and using pun with “nyan”.  She is a fan of both sentai and Z-Cune Aoi but not as much as Nobuo. She seems bubbly and upbeat.  I would have liked to know more about the other members but as this is the first episode I hope they make time for the others to get focus episodes.

The woman who bought them all together is Hiroyo Hakase, the owner of a sentai themed café which has many items of merchandise lying around for you to spot and pine over, the café acts as their base of operations. She created the Akibaranger powers and changers which are dolls of  Aoi that turns into a gun after their call of “Grand Delusion”. This transforms them and moves them to common locations in the sentai world such as warehouses and quarries.


The Akibarangers make it their mission  to become an offical sentai team while fighting to save Akihabara from the evil organisation Otsu Corporation. Lead by Malseena with her monsters of the week, the chief clerks, and her footsoldiers  the Sacrificial Corporate Drones who are faceless salary men.  The suit design of the monster of the week was nicely design being reminiscent of past sentai monsters and being unique, I look forward to see what monsters they will come up with.

While fighting there are many jokes around sentai like how there are no constant power levels and the long name of the monster of the week. The actual fight choreography is well done mixing comedic moments into the standard sentai fights and is enjoyable to watch. The ending theme is a slow ballad and show Akibaranger on front of magazines and usual places you would see the official teams in Japan and is sung by the actor Masato Wada who plays Nobuo.

GRADE

I really like this series so far, it has fun with the sentai formula and troupes that have built up over the years but never feels like it is laughing at it rather laughing with the fans. The characters are unique and are set up well and I look forward learning more about them.  The jokes are funny and had me in stitches many times. The only problem I have is someone new to sentai might not get full enjoyment out if.  5/5