Shift into Turbo? Nope it’s Gekisou Sentai Carranger. Carranger happens to be Super Sentai’s second attempt at actually doing an automobile theme. The very first automobile themed Super Sentai was with Kosoku Sentai Turboranger back in 1989. It was said that after Ohranger, Super Sentai was in the risk of cancellation. During that time, they hired writer Yoshio Urasawa to become its head writer for a comedy Super Sentai series. Some people say that the series “saved” Super Sentai but others argued it was actually Megaranger. Regardless, I thought this was one of my favourite series. The plot involves the use of vehicles and magic similar to Turboranger but in its own way. Unlike Turboranger, the show feels more consistent and is a less serious entry of the series.
It’s not about teenagers with attitude like Turboranger or its successor Megaranger but about five “unremarkable civilians” who were fated to control the show’s own version of “Car Magic”. The show has five workers at the Pegasus Garage who get picked up by Dappu (who’s the show’s version of Lerigot except he has no wife and kid kidnapped). At first they were hesitant but they ended up seeing how their actions could affect the whole world. They become the Carrangers where both magic and automobiles run throughout the course of the show. The show’s heroes are Kyousuke Jinnai (Red Racer), Naoki Domon (Blue Racer), Minoru Uesegi (Green Racer), Natsumi Shinohara (Yellow Racer) and Youko Yogami (Pink Racer). Not all of them were involved in repairs as Minoru was a salesman and Yoko was an accountant. I also felt like the show had its own whole season Gou/Mika type of relationship with Kyousuke and Natsumi. Later, they end up meeting a Robocop parody in Signalman who they tend to have a funny relationship with.
As for the bad guys, we have aliens known as the Bowzock. They’re a gang of real idiots who want to blow up the Earth but never come up with a practical plan. I even wanted to joke if Nostalgia Critic were to watch this series, he might say, “Why don’t they just drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the night?” The comedy of Carranger’s villains seem to derive from the fact most Super Sentai villains love to use convoluted and/or absurd plots to achieve whatever purpose they had.
The hierarchy of Bowzock involves President Gynamo (the actual leader) who is manipulated by Zonette herself (the de-facto leader, the show’s counterpart of Divatox) while we’re having Zelmonda (the idiotic cone head guy) and Grotch (maybe the only smart guy there) in their nonsense shenanigans. They’d later hire the short-term villain Ritchhiker who was later written off midseason. They’re really so stupid that they don’t even realize they’ve been manipulated all along. As the recurring villains, they had no idea that they were manipulated by Biker Lord Exhaus (who seems to be a parody of Emperor Ragorn in Turboranger and Star King Bazoo in Changeman) all along. Much of the events of the show involved Biker Lord Exhaus manipulating these idiots into doing his bidding.
After watching Carranger, I felt like that the idea that Super Sentai has to be serious and mature to be a good show is baloney. After Ohranger, Super Sentai started to consider toning down the seriousness before the violence eventually got toned down after Timeranger. Unlike Turboranger that suffered from several inconsistencies like the midseason changes that got rid of three villains and introducing the Nagare Bouma or Bioman’s still unsolved mystery of Yuki Yajima’s appearances, it managed to get a lot of stuff carried out. Years later, there would be Engine Sentai Go-onger which I also like for being funny but not as much as I like Carranger. Carranger had more plot than mecha plus it wasn’t really a slapstick. While it can be considered more of a comedy Super Sentai I still liked it.