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The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Go! Go! Loser Ranger!

How would you rate episode 1 of
Go! Go! Loser Ranger! ?
Community score: 4.1

What is this?


13 years ago, a giant floating fortress appeared 10 kilometers in the sky, and an evil army called "Kaijin" started attacking humanity. The Kaijin have regenerative powers, so they are effectively immortal and pose a real threat to humanity. A new organization called Ryūjin Sentai Dragon Keeper featuring people with mysterious powers and weapons called Jingu continue to fight against the Kaijin to this very day.

Go, Go, Loser Ranger! is based on the manga series of the same name by Negi Haruba. The anime series is streaming on Sundays on Disney+ or Hulu, depending on the region.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

There's nothing like a good anime deconstruction of popular tropes or sub-genres. And to be fair, this is far from the first time that an anime has done this for the Power Rangers. However, what sets this one apart is twofold. The first aspect is that it's told from the point of view of one of the nameless mooks that the Rangers slaughter each week. The second is that it shows a world built on, what I like to call, the “Putty Patrol Genocide Industrial Complex.”

For more than a decade, the war has been over—the evil invaders defeated. Yet, the weekly battles continue. The “Dragon Keepers” are more popular than ever—appearing in numerous ads and having entire squads of support troops. The “Dusters” have been painfully “dying” week after week for no other reason than to keep the Rangers in power. They may be evil invaders but there's no doubt they are slaves.

So here we have the story of D, a Duster who has had all he can take of the situation. He's laughably weak—to the point where a normal human could likely beat him but he's determined to kill the Dragon Keepers and take over the world. His plan? To go undercover as a Dragon Keeper cadet and wait for his chance to strike. It's a fantastic setup for the series to build off of.

Now, it's no secret that I deeply enjoy the original manga so simply following it would have been enough to keep me happy. However, even this first episode improves on the original. Unlike the manga which reveals the “Dusters” ineptitude from the start, the anime reorders events to preserve the twist until the end of the first battle--basically showing what you'd expect from a Power Rangers-style battle before recontextualizing that battle and turning everything on its head.

Add to this great animation and fantastic fight scenes that bring the drama to life and you have all the pieces of a great show. I have no complaints. I'll be back for more next week (and every other week that this show is on the air).

Nicholas Dupree

In the past few years, we've gotten a few shows about super sentai stories from the villains' perspective. It's a good place to mine for comedy and catharsis, exploring the often silly and artificial nature of weekly action shows made for kids, but often with a more cynical, adult spin. Sometimes, being a villain is like working in an office. Other times, we explore the enemy generals' life "off the clock," so to speak. This show, however, is all about the existential nightmare of being a Putty in Power Rangers: one of the nameless, faceless drones who the audience doesn't just expect to lose, but are literally designed as fodder for the heroes.

It's an excellent hook, and this first episode delivers it with a ton of style and some really sharp comedy. The battle between the Dragon Keepers and their captive Duster foes has all the goofiness of a monster-of-the-week fight but is delivered with fantastic production and a strong second level of comedy from the fact that everyone involved in the fight knows it's a farce. The Dusters spend every week tearing their hair out trying to keep coming up with fresh monster ideas after 13 years of doing the same thing, throwing ideas at the whiteboard until something sticks, even if that "something" is a big robotic tiger that transforms into a Hijet that looks like Garfield. All the while, we witness the frustration of being a caged, de-fanged lion in a global circus show through Fighter D, asked to sympathize with him over the soul-crushing misery of being the designated loser for so long.

My one quibble is that this episode spends so much time setting up its premise that there's not much room to get to know the character or even figure out which characters will be sticking around now that Fighter D plans to infiltrate the good guys' ranger recruits. Fighter D is appreciably surly, yearning for victory in a fight he is quite literally written to lose, but the rest of the Dusters are, perhaps fittingly, rather anonymous. The Dragon Keepers each have their own gimmick, but we only get a couple of glimpses behind the (metaphorical) mask during the fight, and it's not enough to really know what any of them are really like. We've got the broad strokes for now, and while those are engaging, I dope subsequent episodes will give us a firmer grasp on who our major characters will be.

For now, though, this is a compelling introduction, taking what could be a trite idea – "What if the power rangers...were the bad guys?????" – and making it just grounded enough to work without feeling full of itself for coming up with the idea in the first place. Combined with the sharp visuals – including some excellently integrated CG characters in places – you've got an easy recommendation. It's funny, cool, and has some clever twists on an increasingly common subversion. If they can keep this up, Loser Ranger is a winner.

James Beckett

I've been a fan of tokusatsu since I was old enough to sit down in front of a TV and learn all of life's greatest lessons about fighting evil, standing by your friends, and color-coordinating your monster-mashing spandex wardrobe from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Unsurprisingly, I am inclined to love most any anime that is a sendup of the many tropes and classic visual icons of the many Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series we've gotten over the years. Most of them tend to be pretty laid-back sitcoms or slice-of-life shows, though, so outside of the occasional Samurai Flamenco or the like, it's rare that we get a toku sendup that tries to bring the goofy references and the over-the-top spectacle in equal measure.

You probably can imagine how overjoyed I was to sit down and revel in Loser Ranger's campy, gloriously animated goodness! Go, Go, Loser Ranger! begins by establishing an entertaining take on a post-Power Rangers world where the team of heroes reigns supreme, and they force their former foes to reenact their humiliating defeat in a surprisingly well-animated and exciting rendition of those awesome live shows that I am super jealous of never getting to go to. The secret sauce of the best tokusatsu productions is that the audience and the creators get to collaborate in this wild, silly, and deeply sincere act of play that allows even the most limited of TV budgets to bring our goofiest action figure smash-'em-up dreams to life. I don't hold any grudges against the shows that prioritize laughs over lavishly animated action scenes, but Go, Go, Loser Ranger! lets us know right off the bat that Yostar Pictures is taking the stakes and the scope of this world seriously. This, of course, only makes the comedy that much funnier.

That's when we get into the meat of the show's premise, which involves one of the Evil Army's low-level grunt "Dusters" getting it into his head that the only way to end their eternal humiliation is to infiltrate the team of heroes and destroy them from within. It's always funny when a series tackles the Super Sentai formula from the perspective of the baddies, and nothing serves comedy better than a stubbornly relentless commitment to an incredibly stupid bit. I would gladly watch dozens of episodes of the Dusters acting a fool and scheming from the shadows in their Spooky Skellington uniforms, though I'm happy enough to settle for the baker's dozen we're likely to get with Go, Go, Loser Ranger! very eager to see how our "Fighter D" fares in his underdog battle against the despicable forces of goodness.

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