This year’s Power Morphicon was host to three Super Sentai alumni who shared their experiences in this panel.
Fans attending the 3rd day of Power Morphicon were treated to the Super Sentai Legends panel, where three Super Sentai alumni had come to share their appreciation for the franchise that started not only their careers but also spawned Power Rangers. The guests included Hisashi Sakai (Kou/Kibaranger in Dairanger), Teruaki Ogawa (Sasuke/NinjaRed in Kakuranger and Hyuga/Black Knight in Gingaman), and veteran suit actor Yasuhiro Takeuchi who can be currently seen as the suit actor for LupinBlue in Lupinranger vs Patranger.
To begin, fans asked the panel of guests to speak about what the audition process was like for becoming a part of their respective series. A shared thread between Saka and Ogawa was that they both were less than truthful about their qualifications to get onto the shows. The producers at the time asked Sakai about skateboarding prowess he didn’t have and Ogawa about having a motorcycle license that he also did not have, but didn’t let the production know that. Ogawa stated that fellow Kakuranger cast member Kane Kosugi had his choice of roles for that season and was offered a spot on either Kakuranger or Blue SWAT, but opted for the former. He stated that the two of them got along well, despite the language barrier and often took part in competitions to see who could do more push ups between the two.
For Takeuchi, the audition process was much different, as he had to show that he was capable of performing the necessary stunts the shows would require in order to join the Japan Action Club. Extensive training and testing were required of him to receive the certification to become a suit actor. Over the years, Takeuchi has performed as many different hero, villain and robot roles and in a variety of colored Ranger suits, but only ever once as a Red Ranger in Tensou Sentai Goseiger as GoseiRed’s suit actor. Takeuchi later talked about the most dangerous stunt he’d ever done, describing a fall that had to look graceful from 20 meters/ 65 feet off the ground for Boukenger. He also likes to portray characters that are animalistic in nature like OokamiBlue or GaoYellow for the dynamic nature or bringing those characters to life.
Sakai and Ogawa were questioned about what they thought of their counterparts in their respective Power Rangers adaptations. Whereas Sakai was very impressed by the fact that his character had become a cool, handsome American teenager, Ogawa held some confusion for, as he put it, “getting turned into an alien with that face… Why?” in the adaptation from Kakuranger to Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers. He further punctuated his jealousy of Sakai’s luck by jokingly remarking “That is why I hate (Sakai)”, a sentiment he repeated several times in English to the amusement of the audience. Takeuchi joked that his ‘counterpart’ was doing a great job, as the Toei sourced fight footage that gets used in Power Rangers is still of him.
When asked what their favorite Super Sentai series is, Sakai stated Gokaiger, Takeuchi stated Dekaranger, Magiranger, and Abarenger (which were all season he did not participate in), and Ogawa said: “just the ones he was in.” In regards to the question of what kind of series motif would be interesting to see, Takeuchi would be interested to see a vegetable theme team, but Sakai wanted a team that could grow in size like Ultraman or be music based. Later, when asked about what series they grew up with, Kamen Rider V3 and Kamen Rider Amazon were cited as some of Takeuchi’s early tokusatsu influences, UltraSeven and AkaKage(Red Ninja) were Ogawa’s, and Jetman and Zyuranger for Sakai, the latter of which he got chosen to play the younger version of Burai.
At the end of the panel, the three were asked to perform their signature transformation poses and roll calls and graciously posed for selfies with the audience.