Many kids grew up with the Power Rangers franchise, arguing on the playground over who got to be which ranger and why. But by the time Power Rangers made its presence known in the US, Super Sentai had already been going strong in Japan for years. While the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers aired in 1993, the first Super Sentai show debuted in 1975.
While the franchise has had its share of highs and lows and certainly isn’t as popular as it once was, even now there’s a new series airing in Japan, following in the footsteps of dozens that came before. For as many American fans who grew up with Power Rangers, a few more generations of Japanese fans grew up with Super Sentai. Nostalgia is a powerful force, and the hero team franchise has proven surprisingly tenacious.
Updated on November 22, 2022, by Mayra García: After almost 50 years, Toei Company is still producing Super Sentai, which remains as successful as the beginning. The series, which has earned a cult following, surely won’t run out of steam soon. We have updated this list with information on the Super Sentai series that premiered in 2022, Avataro Sentai Donbrothers, as well as the one that will follow, Ohsama Sentai King-ohger.
48/48 Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (1975-1977)
Himitsu Sentai Gorenger was the first Super Sentai tokusatsu series ever. Gorenger remains the longest, too, clocking in at 84 episodes. Himitsu Sentai Gorenger follows the Earth Guard League, aka EAGLE, as they fight the terrorist group Black Cross Army, led by the Black Cross Führer, using governmental technology that grants them superhuman strength and speed. At this time, Super Sentai was not yet an established brand, but Himitsu Sentai Gorenger‘s success allowed the franchise to expand in following decades.
47/48 J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai (1977)
While almost every Super Sentai team begins with either three or five members, J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai featured only four, with a fifth member appearing later in the series. This would become a common trope in later series, where every team would get an extra member in the middle of the series.
The title’s initials referred to the character nicknames: Jack, Ace, King, and Queen, taken from playing cards. These superheroes were enhanced cybernetically and given abilities such as X-Ray vision by the Japanese government to fight against “Crime,” a generic mafia network.
46/48 Battle Fever J (1979-1980)
Battle Fever J was a collaborative effort between Toei Animation and Marvel. Shortly before Battle Fever J, Toei and Marvel co-produced a Spider-Man series that followed a robots-fighting-monsters format.
Inspired by Captain America, Battle Fever J followed a team with codenames based on different countries, Battle France, Battle Cossack (Soviet Union), Battle Kenya, Miss America (United States), and Battle Japan. Battle Fever J was the first Super Sentai series to include mechas.
45/48 Denshi Sentai Denziman (1980-1981)
In Denshi Sentai Denziman, the rangers learn they are descended from Denzi, an alien race that became stranded on earth after losing to the Vader Clan. Since Earth is Vader Clan’s new target, the rangers team up to stop them.
Denshi Sentai Denziman is one of the most successful Super Sentai series. Its success in Japan led to the show being broadcast in other countries, such as Thailand. This would be just the beginning of Super Sentai’seventual globalization.
44/48 Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan (1981-1982)
Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan serves as a sequel to Denshi Sentai Denziman and is the only Super Sentai sequel series to date. It was the first show to feature rangers associated with elemental themes: air, land, and water. This theme would repeat in future series. Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan was the first series to feature only male rangers. Denshi Sentai Denziman only had 50 episodes, but a film by Shozo Uehara was released in 1981 with a plot taking place around episode 23.
43/48 Dai Sentai Goggle-V (1982-1983)
When the Dark Science Empire Desdark makes its first attempt to conquer the world, the Future Science Laboratory recruits five exceptional individuals to form the Goggle 5. This technologically-enhanced team is the only chance for Earth’s salvation.
Dai Sentai Goggle V is only the sixth Super Sentai series, but it marked the end of an era: it was the last show to incorporate neck scarves into the costumes. As of 2022, this unique accessory hasn’t been used again.
42/48 Kagaku Sentai Dynaman (1983-1984)
Kagaku Sentai Dynaman was originally slated to be a baseball-themed sentai series but ended up leaning toward the more traditional “science” themed storytelling. The series followed five teenagers who transform into the Dynamen thanks to the inventions of Dr. Kyutaro Yumeno.
Perhaps the first Super Sentai to make waves in the US, six episodes of the series received a parody dub, airing on USA Network under the name of Dynaman.
41/48 Choudenshi Bioman (1984-1985)
Based on science fiction, Choudenshi Bioman incorporated more dramatic character elements than most previous series and was the first Super Sentai to feature two female rangers. The five heroes were descendants of people who had been in contact with Bio-Particles. This gave them the ability to transform into Biomen.
Contrary to most of its predecessors, Choudenshi Bioman was translated into English, but not for America. Instead, Choudenshi Bioman was marketed to the Philippines. This would be yet another step into Super Sentai‘s world conquest.
40/48 Dengeki Sentai Changeman (1985-1986)
The second-longest Super Sentai series, Dengeki Sentai Changeman reached 55 episodes and showcased rangers inspired by mythical animals from European folklore, such as Dragons, Pegasi, and Mermaids. Change Mermaid was the first female ranger to wear white, a tradition that would repeat on different occasions in the future. Although Changeman used many references to European folklore, it was never broadcasted outside Asia.
39/48 Choushinsei Flashman (1986-1987)
Choushinsei Flashman was the tenth official Super Sentai series. While other shows sometimes showcased characters descended from aliens, this series’ heroes were human beings who didn’t grow up on Earth under different circumstances. This gave them superior knowledge to become rangers. Choushinsei Flashman aired in different countries. Choushinsei Flashman was dubbed in Spanish and Portuguese for Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil, but it still didn’t reach the U.S.
38/48 Hikari Sentai Maskman (1987-1988)
Hikari Sentai Maskman, the 11th Super Sentai series, centered on a group of heroes, each of which was an expert in a different martial art. Each had their own mecha, which could combine with the others to create an even bigger robot. This became a common trope in the following series. Hikari Sentai Maskman proved popular both in Japan and abroad and found success in Korea, Brazil, the Philippines, and France. The series lasted 51 episodes.
37/48 Choujuu Sentai Liveman (1988-1989)
The first Super Sentai to include a blue female ranger, Choujuu Sentai Liveman was the last series produced during Japan’s Showa period, which officially ended in 1989. Choujuu Sentai Livemanwas also the first to use animal-themed mechas. The team was formed by Red Falcon, Yellow Lion, Blue Dolphin, Black Bison, and Green Rhino. The Green Rhino ranger was eventually impregnated by one of the villains, which led her to consider an abortion. For such a lighthearted show, this was quite a controversial moment.
36/48 Kousoku Sentai Turboranger (1989-1990)
20,000 years after the Fairies helped humans against the Bouma Tribe, these villains manage to escape to destroy the world. To avoid this, Dr. Dazai and Seelon, the last fairy alive, form a team of five heroes to become the Turborangers.
The first series of the Heisei era, Kousoku Sentai Turboranger proved slightly less successful than its predecessor, due perhaps in part to featuring rangers powered by fairy magic. By this point, every ranger was a high schooler, suggesting the franchise was starting to lean toward a younger demographic.
35/48 Chikyu Sentai Fiveman (1990-1991)
Chikyu Sentai Fiveman focuses on the Hoshikawa siblings, five high-school teachers at the Newtown Elementary School. The siblings also fought together against the Galactic Imperial Army Zone led by Empress Meadow and Captain Garoa, in order to avoid these villains from conquering the world.
Originally, this was supposed to be the penultimate Super Sentai series. In fact, Chikyu Sentai Fiveman fared poorly in both ratings and toy sales. However, Toei chose to continue the franchise after revamping it for Power Rangers.
34/48 Choujin Sentai Jetman (1991-1992)
Inspired by Gatchaman, Choujin Sentai Jetman marked the end of an era. It was the last Super Sentai series to grace screens before the franchise was reborn abroad as Power Rangers. Given this, it was the last series not to get a Power Rangers counterpart. Choujin Sentai Jetman was considered too dark to adapt, in part because one of the core rangers died. A ranger death hasn’t happened in a Super Sentai show since.
33/48 Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1) (1992-1993)
Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger was the first property whose footage was used to create a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series abroad. Contrary to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger followed a group of humans who evolved from dinosaurs, not a group of teenagers.
Beyond this, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger was remarkable in many ways. The series featured a prehistoric animal motif, a villainess that hasn’t been forgotten, and fantasy rather than science-fiction elements. No wonder it was the first become an international success.
32/48 Gosei Sentai Dairanger (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2) (1993-1994)
Gosei Sentai Dairanger, which focused on Qi powers Dai warriors from Chinese culture, wasn’t adapted even if some footage was used. Gosei Sentai Dairanger proved a bumpy ride when it came to adapting material for Power Rangers. The Dairangers themselves weren’t part of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers adaptation, but the monsters they battled sometimes were. Because of this, any adapted fight scenes had to be cropped to exclude the unfamiliar ranger suits, and the result often felt makeshift.
31/48 Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3) (1994-1995)
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger brought the franchise back to more traditional Japanese themes, with a story about ninja rangers fighting yokai. This move was intentional, as the series prior, Dairanger, featured traditional Chinese themes. For the Power Rangers franchise, the suits were used for Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.
30/48 Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (Power Rangers Zeo) (1995-1996)
Chouriki Sentai Ohranger, like Dai Sentai Goggle-V, showcased a storyline inspired by ancient civilizations. Each ranger of this team was a pilot of the United Airforce with special abilities thanks to the Chouriki, a type of energy dating back to Pangaea.
Its Power Rangers counterpart, Power Rangers Zeo, had little in common with the plot of Ohranger and instead served as an offshoot sequel to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
29/48 Gekisou Sentai Carranger (Power Rangers Turbo) (1996-1997)
The only Super Sentai show to serve as a parody of other Super Sentai series, Gekisou Sentai Carranger was once believed to have saved Super Sentai from cancellation. Since then, this has been refuted as Carranger didn’t sell as much merchandise as its predecessor. On the other hand, many fans believe Power Rangers Turbo is one of the best generations ever.