There have been enough iterations and knockoffs of Power Rangers to qualify it for its own genre. Though the entire concept is inherently goofy, there’s still been plenty of cases where having a color coded team of fighters wasn’t all that bad. Dare I say even good. Ronin Warriors is one of the better ones, though it clearly suffers from the same nonsense that everything in the Power Ranger genre does.
The ancient warlord Talpa returns after 1000 years to enslave the world and exact revenge. Five warriors, each color coded and imbued with an element, a representative virtue and super power attack/battle cry stand in the way of his conquest. The five face down Talpa and his four warlords in a possessed Tokyo, where apparently every apocalyptic battle has occurred for the last 50 years. These brash warriors must learn to control their powers and work together if they have any hope of defeating Talpa.
Like Robotech before it, any anime brought of here was typically edited and shown as a regular cartoon. Strangely though, with the exception of a few name changes, Ronin Warriors survives mostly intact. Originally released in 1995 in syndication here in the states, Ronin Warriors aired in Japan from 1988 – 89 as Yoroiden Samurai Trooper (Legendary Armor Samurai Trooper).
The Warriors each had a distinctive personality and power set. Outside of battle they wore color coded thin armor, covering them from neck to toe. Calling on their virtue (when you’d hear them yell “Dao Chi” for example), they’d transform into their full armor. Ryo of the Wildfire, wielding duel katanas, Cye of the Torrent, wielding a yari (kind of pointy spear), Sage of the Halo, swings a broadsword, Rowen of the Strata, using a bow, and Kento of Hardrock, using a naginata comprise the team.
Quality for the show was a mixed bag. For every thing it did well, there was something it did wrong. The character design was pretty solid, particularly for the villains, the warlords. The warriors, while they were a bit cliche, still had a solid design, particularly in their armor. The dub was particularly well done. Considering it was handled by the Ocean Group, I expected no less. While the voice acting was solid, some of their lines were a bit weird. “Well, I guess they’ve been taking their vitamins.” Then again, it was the 90’s. Animation was well done, though there was plenty recycled during their transformation sequence for example. Ignoring some of the odder elements, the story was easily the best part.
Ronin Warriors was a lot of fun, especially as a kid. Watching it now, some things annoy me, but I’m still really impressed with the care that went into the translation. I’ve rarely seen characters with such grabbing visual appeal and depth. If you can get past some oddities, Ronin Warriors is a solid viewing experience.
Which Warrior was your favorite? Impressed by the design as much as I was? Comment below!
They even formed white armor.