The New Super Sentai Show Asks ‘What If Fast and Furious Actually Had Superheroes?’

The New Super Sentai Show Asks ‘What If Fast and Furious Actually Had Superheroes?’

There are arguably two dominant superhero cinematic universes around right now: the MCU (although that’s a little more debatable these days), and, as io9 has written about before, the Fast and Furious franchise. But while Fast has dabbled with superheroics and touched the edge of full-on cars in space movies, we now have a series brave enough to supplant it: Bakuage Sentai Boonboomger.

The 48th and latest entry in the Super Sentai franchise—the Japanese tokusatsu series that forms the action footage and design basis for Power Rangers—Boonboomger began airing this past weekend in Japan, and the premise is pretty simple: what if your brightly colored superhero team was actually also a car-based courier service for anything and everything, from secret files to women about to be wedded off into crime families unwillingly, while also a bunch of car-obsessed aliens were about to invade earth?

Image: TV Asahi

This is far from the first time that Sentai has done a vehicle-based, or even car-specific team—the action footage for Power Rangers Turbo came from the delightfully goofy, road-safety obsessed Carranger, for example, or the apocalyptic RPM being derived from the racecar-themed Go-Onger—but even in its first episode, Boonboomger’s desire to go all in on the Fast and Furious vibe is clear.

The main trio—Red Ranger Taiya (Haruhi Iuchi), Blue Ranger Ishiro (Yuki Hayama), and the team’s newcomer, Pink Ranger Mira (Miu Suzuki)—already feel like they’re five seconds away from calling each other “family.” There’s a comic relief sentient car robot, Bundorio Bunderas—I cannot stress enough that this is really a play on Antonio Banderas’ name—who not only grows in size to help the team’s cars transform into their giant robot, but is also their personal hype man back in their base. Even the villains, the foot soldiers of the Hashiryan empire, are similarly obsessed with speed and cars, referring to the human screams they collect as “Ghassolin” and even willing to pause a drag race with their new enemies in the Boonboomgers to adhere to Earth’s road laws. And although there are some live-action car stunts, a lot of the vehicular carnage and mecha-combining occurs in a digitized car hyperspace runway that essentially looks like Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road.

Image: TV Asahi

It’s a very silly debut, leaning more towardSentai’s comedic side than the straight laced superheroic fare. The Boonboomgers might be superheroes facing an alien invasion, but they’re also all motorheads driven by their desire to be behind the wheel, the freedom of being passionate about racing and driving. And that’s arguably as important as donning wheel-shaped helmets and getting in giant robots to them, which makes the Fast and Furious parallels feel even closer. As much as those films have steadily raised and raised the stakes until they’re perpetually teetering on the edge of becoming full-on genre fiction, from enhanced humans to Cars In Space, Boonboomger taking the full step and making that desire its whole thing proves that, honestly,Fast should go ahead and do the same, because it’s fun as hell.

Bakuage Sentai Boonboomger is now airing in Japan, but is unfortunately currently unavailable internationally—but hey, if Hasbro is still a few years off of trying to fully make Power Rangers into its own thing with a rebooted, unique continuity, maybe we might eventually see a Turbo-esque adaptation of it down the line. Megazord Drift, anyone?

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