Friday 5 July 2024

Special REVIEW: Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger with Tombo Ohger

Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger with Tombo Ohger

The Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club April Fools' joke has become something of an annual tradition now, with them teasing some bizarre joke concept only for them to go and turn it into a viable special. For its 2024 rendition they announced its first ever romance drama in the form of "First Love Detective", to then later reveal the following day that the production was in fact Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger with Tombo Ohger. Coinciding with Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's 20th anniversary movie Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger 20th: Fireball Booster, the one-off special reunites the "Girls in Trouble" Jasmine and Umeko in a crossover with Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger's Yanma Gast.

Umeko and TenYanma and Jasmine

New Dekaranger recruit Ten Haretsuki has the ability to foresee future events through her dreams. She explains to Umeko that she saw Jasmine getting close with a handsome young man, much to Umeko's confusion as her teammate is happily married with a child. Just as Jasmine enters the room, they receive a report of an attractive Alienizer who has been arrested for carrying illegal weapons - with the three heading off to investigate.

The Alienizer turns out to be Yanma Gast, who has completely lost his memory. After Jasmine uses her ESP powers to identify the lost King, he declares her as his first love! With another Alienizer on the loose and causing havoc, the Dekarangers head off to investigate with Tombo Ohger in tow! With they save the day? And what will become of Ten's vision?

The Deka Girls meet Yanma GastRoll Call

Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club specials usually come in two varieties - the kind that are harmless fun without any bearing on anything at all, and the kind with so many story implications you wonder why they've been produced in such an exclusive format to begin with. Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger with Tombo Ohger is very much the former, born primarily from the fact Aoto Watanabe (Yanma Gast) had a crush on Jasmine when watching Dekaranger as a child. If anything, you have to respect the hustle of getting a special produced based solely on your childhood crush. But it means in terms of story there really isn't a lot here - in fact it doesn't even do the bare minimum of explaining why Yanma has appeared on Earth in the first place.

That doesn't however mean that the special doesn't come with its own intrigue though, but rather than coming from all the returning characters it instead comes in the form of Ten Haretsuki - who joins the Dekarangers as a second Deka Pink, Deka Pink Sono2. Played by Amisa Miyazaki, who previously portrayed Sononi in Avataro Sentai Donbrothers (hence the "Sono" in the name), Ten basically comes out of nowhere here and is accepted as a member of the cast with very little question. Presumably because the character is further explained/plays a more substantial role in Fireball Booster, but for what it's worth she makes a pretty good addition to the cast here too. While there is the sense that the role could have just as easily been written for Swan rather than making up a second Deka Pink, Ten herself is another slightly over the top character that Umeko can play against whilst Miyazaki herself is as much a joy to watch here as she was in Donbrothers. Deka Pink Sono2 could definitely do with something a little more than just a black neck piece to make it stand out, but with the way the Dekaranger system is set up having a second one doesn't feel all that ridiculous.

Yanma falls in loveIntroducing Deka pink Sono2

But most of all, the whole point of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger with Tombo Ohger is to be funny. And this it manages to do pretty well at overall, with each of the actors very good at tapping into the more comedic aspects of their characters. For Ayumi Kinoshita (Jasmine) and Koume Kodau (Umeko) this is pretty old hat for now, and even 20 years later (though the Dekarangers haven't actually been gone all that long) they can slip back into these roles with ease. Jasmine is very much the straight man to the zanier Umeko here, and having Ten along as well is a nice shakeup of their usual balance. That said Miyazaki and Watanabe have also had plenty of opportunity to be funny in their own shows - Watanabe in King-Ohger's surprisingly good moments of comedy and Miyazaki in Donbrothers just being Donbrothers. Doggie Kruger shows up in moments that are played entirely straight as well, which if anything just adds more to the comedic chops of the main cast.

As well as simply playing up the notion of Yanma Gast falling in love with Jasmine, there are a lot of clever little moments that very much feel like loving send ups of Dekaranger as a whole. Ten getting a whole Jasmine/Sen-like narration to describe her power is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect, but 20 years later it really does just feel like a bit. Similarly fun at the ways they play up the Dekaranger roll call sequence despite being 3/4 members down (and doubling up on another), or the amnestic Yanma following the lead of the Dekarangers when transforming. There's even a nice little Donbrothers gag in there just for good measure. In comparison the featured fight scene is fair standard but by no means disappointing - and at the very least it's great to see the Dekaranger girls back in action with some surprise guests.

Love is in the AirTombo Ohger and Deka Yellow

Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger with Tombo Ohger may not have any real impact on either series it features, but nevertheless remains a fun little special that knows how to have a laugh. Straightforward as it may be all of the cast involved know how to make their characters work in a comedy special, turning a wafer thin idea into a viable story featuring two Super Sentai shows that shouldn't really have much crossover with each other at all. Also major respect to Aoto Watanabe for getting to live out a childhood dream - that alone makes the whole thing worthwhile and any Super Sentai fan would feel exactly the same if they were in the same position.


rogerph2015 said...

You know what's missing here in this spinoff? Yuuto Uemura as Hikaru Hiwatari. It could've been more intense if there could've been a brutal brawl fight between Hikaru and Yanma Gust/TonboOhger fighting for Marika "Jasmine" Reimon-Hiwatari's/DekaYellow's love.
Also, what will the reactions of the other Pink Sentai Senior & Junior Female Heroines and Male Hero be if Koume "Umeko" Kodou/DekaPink will possibly be the first Sentai Pink Female Heroine to be killed?

CPF said...

So... KingOhger vs Dekaranger when?