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by Rick DeWeese

A Sentai Robo Retrospective

First of all, I feel it's important to pay homage to the first two Sentai series: Himitsu Sentai Goranger (aired in 1975 and lasted 84 episodes!) and JAKQ Dengekitai(two years later in 1977 and survived 35 episodes). Without these two shows and their popularity the world of multi-colored spandex clad heroes might have never made it to today. Now onto the Robos!

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1979: Battle Fever J

Robo: Battle Fever Robo
episodes: 52

Battle Fever is the father of Sentai robos. Much like the super robots of the time, watching Battle Fever was like watching a live action Mazinger Z or Grendizer. The toy was released by Popy, a then small branch of mega-company BanDai. Standing at a whopping 6 1/2" and plenty of diecast, (a trait that is used to this day with sentai toys, only in Japan though) the toy offered exactly what kids wanted: an arsenal worthy of destroying any monster that got in his path!

1980: Denji Sentai Denziman

(Electron Task Force Denjiman)
Robo: Daidenjin
episodes: 51

Daidenjin was the first transforming mech to ever be seen on live action TV in Japan. The giant robo could transform into the great space port Denjin. Following a "wedge-shaped ship" suit that many future robo's shared. Clearly a step up in the world of Sentai robos. Daidenjin's toy was brought to the US under BanDai's Godaikin line, a line of diecast robot toys that many who grew up in the late 70's and early 80's should remember quite fondly. For many of us they were our first experiences with Japanese toys, and robots in general. He stood at a fine 6 1/2", transformed into the spaceport Denjin, fired missiles, and came with a sword taller than him.

1981: Taiyo Sentai Sunvulcan

(Solar Task Force Sun Vulcan)
Robo: SunVulcan
episodes: 50

For the first time, two separate vehicles formed to create one large robot. One, a shuttle, the other...er..a construction crane. Not exactly a vehicle, but it served it's purpose of forming the legs. The toy, also part of the Godaikin line from BanDai in the early 80's was big. Standing at about 10" and sporting a good amount of diecast, you could easily kill your little brother or sister with it, if those firing missiles didn't get them first. Maybe this is the reason I never had one as a kid...

1982: Dai Sentai Goggle V

(Great Task Force Goggle Five)
Robo: Goggle V
episodes: 50

Well, here is something special. Goggle V (Five) was the first mech to form from three vehicles. Goggle Jet, Goggle Tank, and Goggle Dump formed this great robo. Yet another Bandai product released withing the Godaikin line, the toy stood at about the same size as Sun Vulcan, 10-12" seems to have become the average size for DX robos at this time, and hasn't changed since. The toy featured firing fists, a huge sword, lots of shooting missiles for each vehicle and sweet, cold, diecast parts.

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1983: Kagaku Sentai Dynaman

(Science Task Force Dynaman)
Robo: DynaRobo
episodes: 51

Three great vehicles (DynaMach, DynaMobile, and DynaGarry) combine to form DynaRobo, a true champion of justice. Another in the Godaikin line, standing at about 10" and, of course, loaded with excessories.

1984: Chodenshi Bioman

(Super Electron Task Force Bioman)
Robo: BioRobo
episodes: 52

BioJet-1 and BioJet-2 combine to form BioRobo. A personal favorite of mine, BioRobo really stands out from other sentai robos. The colors, the design and combination process. Given to US fans thanks to Bandai and the Godaikin line.

From 1985 to 1992 all the robos are produced solely by Bandai Japan. The US didn't have the Godaikin line to carry these robos into the US for recognition, and no Power Rangers T.V. series had been created yet, so these are truely exclusive to Japan and parts of Asia.

1985: Dengeki Sentai Changeman

(Lightning Task Force Changeman)
Robo: ChangeRobo
episodes: 55

1986: Choushinsei Flashman

(Super Nova Task Force Flashman)
Robo: Flash King
episodes: 50

Flashking was made up of three vehicles. Two were jets capable of incredible speeds: Jet Seeker and Jet Delta. These formed the legs, and Tank Command formed the upper torso and arms. If you look closely you can see that FlashKing and Bioman are very similar in design, must have been the 80's.

1987: Hikari Sentai Maskman

(Light Task Force Maskman)
Robo: Great Five
episodes: 51

Maskman was a truely diverse show. It introduced the combination of five vehicles into one mecha, which is very commonly used these days. Three air and two ground units formed GreatFive, a very original robo which set the standard for future sentai robos.

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1988: Cho Zyu Sentai Liveman

(Super Task Force Liveman)
Robo: LiveRobo
episodes: 49

Air, Land, and Sea. LiveRobo was strengthened by the earth's terrain. SkyMachine, a bird-like jet formed the upper torso and back, LandMachine the lion mech formed the rest of the torso and arms, and AquaMachine formed the legs. A bit of a step down in vehicle numbers, but the giant lion-headed chest of LiveRobo reminded many of a super robot-esque design and gained fans that way.

1989: Kosuku Sentai Turboranger

(High Speed Task Force Turboranger)
Robo: TurboRobo
episodes: 51

Five very normal looking automobiles formed TurboRobo. A hot rod, a mack truck, an RV, a buggy, and a smaller pick-up style truck were all driven/piloted by the team. When duty called they would merge and the monsters would try hard not to laugh.

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