I tend not to like super sentai parodies in anime very much. I find that they tend to come off as insincere and tend to go for jokes that are way too obvious. When I expressed this in an article recently, fellow reviewer Ospreyshire recommended me Shinesman. A super sentai parody done right, according to him. Since it’s only 2 episodes long, I decided to give it a shot.
Starting off, Shinesman has a very novel premise to it. It takes the familiar tropes of a typical Power Rangers clone and filters them through the mundanity of Japan’s corporate world. There is an alien invasion going on, but these invaders are in disguise as typical businessman. Their plans to take over Earth involve corporate espionage and aggressive business strategies. Opposing them is a band of costumed superheroes, who are themselves all employees of a rival corporation.
The duality between exciting superhero stories and boring office culture comes up in a lot of different ways. The Shinesman come in such exciting colors like sepia, grey, and moss, and they use weapons that are all just lame office props. Meanwhile, the prince of the aliens is outraged by the many formalities of Japanese office culture. Particularly when it comes to treating his own minions as superiors because they “joined” earlier than him.
The sharp writing really helps the comedy stand out. I watched the anime in English and really enjoyed the bluntness of the dialogue. Jokes come out so snappy that it caught me off-guard a number of times. It gave me a good few laughs and I felt myself getting very invested in the characters as a side-effect.
What also helps is that Shinesman is just a pretty good super sentai series. It pokes fun at the genre, sure, but it then also just plays out like a proper show in this genre. The characters are real superheroes who fight real villains. Fight scenes are entertaining and find good places to add in jokes without reducing the whole appeal to just satire.
I was left wanting to see more of Shinesman, which is unfortunate. Like so many other OVA series, it existed mostly as a means to promote the manga. A manga that ended in 1998 and has never had any kind of foothold in the West. Not even in the shadier circuits of the manga community. The OVA is really good, but you will have to accept that it’s going to leave a lot unresolved.