Super Sentai Savvy Part 2: Hikari Sentai Maskman

 After Bioman, the next big thing in Super Sentai here was Hikari Sentai Maskman (Light Taskforce Maskman).

Maskman (1987) was shown about a couple of years after Bioman in the local airwaves, in which case 2 other previous Super Sentai shows Changeman and Flashman were skipped. Most of us thought that  it was a sequel for Bioman but it turned out to be  a different show altogether. Maskman was a huge departure from the usual Super Sentai formula as it is a lot grittier and more grounded than most Super Sentai shows. The plot revolves more on the characters' dilemma and not just on beating the monster-of-the-week, giving it a broader audience than other shows of its type.

Maskman introduced a lot of epic elements not quite found in previous shows. First, it started out with a one hour special episode which established the main plot points: the arrival of the Underground Empire Tube, the Maskman's origins (they started out as a racing team) and the romance between Takeru/Red Mask (Michael Joe in the local version) and Mio/Princess Ial (Rio). It also introduced a number of 'firsts' : the first 'extra' member for a Super Sentai, in the guise of X-1 Mask (which appeared in just one episode),the first team to have two team weapons, and the first to have each member with a personal machine.

The show also stands out because of its plot turns and twists, something unheard of in Super Sentai in a long time. Shows like JAKQ and Goggle V were a bit serious, shying off some of the younger audiences back then. This is the reason why Maskman was hailed as having one of the more 'balanced' plots showing a good mix of action, humor and a love angle for good measure. The fight scenes were more fluid and coordinated that its predecessors for one. The Takeru/Mio love angle is ever present. And humor is supplied by characters like Anagmas and Okerampa, the latter still being the target of vulgar references up to now by fans of the show.

A lot of fans attest to Maskaman's enduring legacy. Much more are even glad that it was not included into the Power Ranger mythos for fear of it being ruined (we're looking at you VR Troopers!). Even today, a fan would just sing the Opening and Ending theme at random and a discussion about it would initiate more often than not. 

And speaking of the Tagalog dubbed OP and ED themes: 


Gokaigers, we're waiting for you to meet up with them!

Aura Power!
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