By IBurningStar 16 Comments
Get comfortable because you are going to be in for a bit of a read here, because it is time that I introduced you all to the glorious work of modern television that is known as Akibaranger. The show’s actual full name is Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger and it is what has been dubbed as an unofficial season of the hugely popular Japanese series Super Sentai. For those of you who don’t know, Super Sentai is what Power Rangers was based off of. Each season exists in its own universe and has different characters and history. The simplest way to describe it would be to say that it is kind like Final Fantasy in that while they aren’t directly related they do share many of the same tropes, scenarios, and themes.
Enough with the history lesson, it is time to get into the real meat of this article. Akibaranger is a more “mature” (I am using that word very loosely.) version of your normal Super Sentai show. While the show is normally aimed at children and families, Akibaranger is target more at teenagers and young adults. The story is set in Akihabara, the “electric town” of Tokyo where gaming and anime culture come together to form a haven for otakus, which, by the way, is exactly what our three main heroes are. The trio end up acquiring the typical set of Sentai powers and gadgets and are tasked with defending Akihabara from various threatening outside forces.
So far this all sounds very run of the mill, but this is where things get interesting. The individual storylines, characters, and basically everything else all come together to form what can be best described as Internet: The TV Show! I mean we are getting into Saint’s Row the Third levels of absurdity and weird meta humor. Hell, the overarching narrative of the show is the Akibarangers trying to be noticed as an official Sentai series! Everything from waifus to bubble art is mentioned and used here. There is a part where someone kicks the air and wildly misses her target that is a good 20 feet away, but because of forced perspective and how the camera captures the scene the kick totally hits the guy! That is the actual explanation for how that fight happens. Is is dumb as hell and it fills you with absolute joy.
The character of AkibaRed is my new hero and is basically an absolute failure in everything he has tried in life. If it wasn't so hilariously pathetic, his story would actually be really sad. He lives in a constant fantasy land in his head. The guy is 29 years old and is absolutely obsessed with moe anime and Super Sentai. He works a dead end bike messenger job. He is super creepy and inept when it comes to talking to girls. Not Adachi creepy, think more unintentional spaghetti master. You get the idea. However, all this is what makes him excel as an Akibaranger, because all of their powers are based on delusions.
Yeah, by the way, they don't actual have any powers nor do they actually fight anything. The reality of the show is that three grown ass adults are running around in the middle of the road attempting to defeat the air. Their enemies and their schemes are all part of deluded fantasies that are conjured up based on what is going on around them.
Next we have AkibaYellow. Yellow is a cosplayer who is always in some sort of costume and in character as appropriate to that costume. While dressed as a cat girl she constantly works in "nya" sounds whenever possible. (Nya being the Japanese version of meow.) At one point in the show it is revealed she is really into Yaoi, or boy love. And yes, that does come into play during a few situations where AkibaRed finds himself being put in some what compromising positions by one of the villains of the week.
Finally there is AkibaBlue who plays what could be considered the straight-man of the group. That isn't to say that she is a serious character -no one on this show is a serious character- she is simply the least animated. Her running gimmick for the first half of the show is that she doesn't have a grip on what is going on when it comes to things like posing and whatnot.
Why watch it?
This has all been extremely difficult to write, because it is hard to explain to you why you need to watch this without simply telling you what happens. It is sort of like writing a review for a comedy film. I can tell you it is funny, but for me to go into the specifics of why it is funny would require me to spoil some of the gags for you, meaning it won't be as funny for you when you see it happen on screen. I went into this almost blind. I want you to have that same experience. My mind was blown away out how absurd this whole thing was. The heroes aren't what you would call heroic; their main motivation is to get picked up as a TV show. The villains schemes are things like turning Akihabara into a new Shibuya or opening up a lot of hostess bars everywhere. Not really world threatening stuff. Hell, their "morphers" are anime dolls that transform into guns and their finishing manuever is called Moe Magnum. The Megazord equivalent is one of those hideously overly designed cars with anime girls on them. The enemies names are things like Shibuyaseitakaawadachisohidenagaaburamushi and other unpronounceable gibberish. The names are so long that they have to write their own names down in order to remember them!
I really have to hope what little I have shown you here is enough to pique your interest in the show. It is only 13 episodes, so it isn't too much of a time investment. Maybe some of you will check this out, and if you decide to then I promise you that you will be rewarded for doing so. Granted, some of the shows humor requires you to understand certain aspects of Japanese culture, but seeing as how you are reading this on a gaming site then you are most likely the kind of person who has absorbed this unintentionally.
You can find some English subs of the episodes.