March 20, 1995: Three days after Ohranger episode 3 aired. During the morning rush hour on the Tokyo subway system, 5 coordinated attacks are carried out by the Aum Shinrikyo cult at different stations on the system. 5 cult members smuggled bags of liquid sarin onto the trains and punctured them with sharpened umbrella tips. The exposure to this liquid (which is known to quickly evaporate and turn to gas) left 13 dead, 50 severely injured, and 1000 with temporary vision problems. It’s been called the most severe attack to occur in Japan since WWII. Aum Shinrikyo (now known as Aleph) was a cultist group founded on the belief that their leader, Shoko Asahara, was Christ himself. Aum believed that the world was heading for disaster, and only those who joined Aum would be saved.
What does this have to do with Ohranger? A lot really. Toei producers have confirmed that because of these attacks, Ohranger was slightly changed. No one knows when exactly this change occurred, or how much was tinkered with and what was even changed. However, if you consider that the attacks happened after Episode 3 aired, and Sentai usually has a 5-6 week gap between when the episode is filmed, and when it airs, you can assume that the attacks occurred during the filming of episode 8 or 9. Maybe even 7. Considering how out of place episode 9 feels, it’s a good guess to say they started their tinkering here.
I’m not going to go into a spiel about how Ohranger was forever ruined or anything, but from now on you will notice some odd things in this show. Every once in a while this show will just do something that makes you go “What happened to those 8 episodes? I miss them.” Episode 9 is an amazing example of this. You have characters acting out of place, a lot of misunderstandings, and just a generally weird plot going on. From the second it starts, you’re gonna feel like you’re watching a different show. Part of this can be blamed on this week’s writer, the infamous Toshiki Inoue. But even then he previously wrote episode 5 with Bara Cactus, and that was pretty great! We may never know what exactly happened, but such is the course of history.
I’m not trying to make this episode sound like it’s the devil incarnate, but I think that people who are fans of the more militaristic and darker aspects of the previous 8 episodes will feel a bit robbed. If you like this episode, then great! You’ve got a better tolerance than most of us and you’re gonna be just fine. For the rest of us, just know that the next episode is infinitely better and hang in there.