If you’ve read my Kamen Rider Agito review, you probably know that I am a relative newbie to Tokusatsu shows. Despite growing up watching Power Rangers as a kid, I never really paid much attention to the genre as a whole. I’m really sad that it took me this long to get into it as Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoFive was an absolute treat to watch. Western audiences may recognize it as Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, a show that was notable for having the first American-only ranger. I watched Lightspeed Rescue as a kid, so that was why I chose to watch this series. Once you get past the weirdness of seeing suits you recognize from a different show, it becomes a really enjoyable experience and a good way to revisit stuff you may have forgotten about.
The plot of GoGoFive is pretty simple; the orphaned Tatsumi siblings are “rescue specialists” such as firefighters, paramedics, etc. One day, their father returns to their home and tells them that they need to become the “GoGoFive”, a group of masked heroes, as the earth is about to be attacked by monsters known as the Psyma (or Catastrophiends) as they are working to revive their leader, Great Witch Grandienne.
The five siblings are all pretty interesting characters, although some of them clearly rise to the top.
GoRed (aka Matoi) is the de-facto leader and the one who basically raised his family in the absence of his parents. He’s brash, arrogant, and
kind of a dickhead, but deep down he’s really kind and pure-hearted. If I were to take issue with anything in this show, it’s how much everyone else leans on Matoi to solve most of the problems. Still, the fact that he has character flaws makes him stand out a cut above characters typical of the genre.
GoBlue (aka Nagare) is the smart one. He’s pretty soft spoken
and kind of a beta. He falls in love with, like, five different girls over the course of the series and the show never really follows up on any of them. Nagare is easily the second most competent member of the team, as his genius mind helps with repairs of the Giant Robot, among other things.
GoGreen (aka Shou) is pretty forgettable. Every episode based around him end with his ass getting saved by Matoi. He also whines a lot, which is a good character trait.
The youngest brother, GoYellow (aka Daimon), has a bit of an inferiority complex. In terms of character development, he probably has the most second to Matoi. All of his individual focus episodes, while goofy, provide a lot of insight into his character. One of these episodes in particular, in which he drinks a carton of milk to gain magical martial arts abilities gets a lot of flak. But I think if you look past the surface goofiness and get to the actual core of the message the episode tries to deliver, I think it is a pretty good one.
GoPink (aka Matsuri) is the sole girl of the family. For most of the series her identity doesn’t really evolve past her gender, but the writers end up giving her character some subtle development in the latter half. This is a nice change of pace, considering how ridiculous this show can get at times.
The Psyma Family are the main antagonists of the series and provide a good contrast to the GoGoFive – they’re also a family, but their family dynamic is a little different. Pleasing their mother, Grand Witch Grandienne, is the main motivation behind their actions. The siblings are so desperate for approval that they’re willing to do anything to defeat the GoGoFive. This dynamic evolves later in the series, but to avoid spoilers I won’t go into detail.
One of the biggest strengths of the series is how ridiculous it gets, especially during filler episodes. Some highlights include Matoi’s wife-to-be getting her body swapped with a giant pig monster and Daimon learning secret martial arts by drinking milk. One scene in particular that stuck out to me because of how bizarre it was was when Matsuri fights an enemy that signs bad J-Pop by singing a J-Pop song of her own. It’s never explained and the people singing have never expressed interest in music at all, so it never gets brough up again. Bonkers.
This isn’t to say that the show doesn’t have its fair share of serious moments. Each character has a serious subplot, and there are a lot of really emotional moments. One or two scenes nearly brought me to tears, which is crazy to think about, because this is a show about people dressing up in spandex and fighting demons.
On a final note, the suits… I sort of like them. They have a candy stripe appeal and the negative space between the colors really attracts the eye. I don’t really like the masks though, as they’re just big, goofy, and dumb. I guess that they’re supposed to look like oxygen masks to fit with the rescue team motif. The Victory Robo design is also pretty cool. It has a very timeless design that looks like it would fit anywhere, and the way it slashes its sword is just badass. The later zords aren’t as cool as the Victory Robo, though. The GoLiner in particular is a little fat around the arms and doesn’t seem to be as practical.
I’m not sure if I would recommend this GoGoFive as the first Sentai you’d watch, as it skips out on a lot of the standard issue thing you’d expect like a sixth ranger. However, its focus on family differentiates it from other Sentai series.