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  "Busters! Ready go!"

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (Special Mission Squadron Go-Busters) is the 36th and current Super Sentai series, airing from 2012 to 2013.

In the year 2012 of the Anno Novi calendar, urban life is supported by a new, clean energy source known as "Enetron". However, a hostile force codenamed "Vaglass" is attempting to steal that energy for their own dark purposes.

Thirteen years ago, the Vaglass Computer Virus infected the main computers of the Energy Management Centre that regulates Enetron. The virus quickly raged out of control and gained sentience, becoming a threat to the world itself. With no other option, the researchers sealed the virus away by teleporting the entire facility into hyperspace at the cost of their own lives.

Now in the present, the agents of Vaglass are aiming to siphon enough Enetron to teleport the consciousness known as "Messiah" back into the real world. Opposing their evil plans is the secret special-ops division of the Energy Management Centre, codenamed "Go-Busters".

The Go-Busters:

  • Hiromu Sakurada/Red Buster: The leader of the Go-Busters and most skillful of the team.
    • Cheeda Nick: Hiromu's partner, a humanoid cheetah robot who looks out for him like an older brother. He's able to turn into a motorcycle, but ironically has no sense of direction.
  • Ryūji Iwasaki/Blue Buster: The eldest and strongest of the team. Tries to keep peace between his teammates.
    • Gorisaki Banana: Ryūji's partner; for a robot gorilla he's a huge worrywart. Often does mechanical work around the base.
  • Yōko Usami/Yellow Buster: The lone girl of the group and has quite the temperment on her.
    • Usada Lettuce: Yōko's partner, a robot rabbit. Tends to be overbearing, leading him and Yōko to squabble a lot. Usually works as, well, one of the Bridge Bunnies.
  • Masato Jin/Beet Buster: An additional hero who joins the team alongside his partner...
    • Beet J. Stag/Stag Buster: A beetle-themed humanoid Buddyroid with the ability to transform into a Buster as well.

The Vaglass

  • Messiah: Head of the Vaglass. Currently Sealed Evil in a Can and directing efforts to break that seal.
  • Enter: A human-looking rival spy working as Messiah's agent in the real world. It's him who actually creates the Metaroids by infecting machines with Metaviruses. Likes to show off that he speaks French.

See also Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, a parody Super Sentai running at the same time. Not to be confused with the Paranormal Squadron Ghostbusters.


Recurring Super Sentai tropes:

  • By the Power of Grayskull: The team's Transformation Trinkets announce "It's Morphin' Time!" after being activated. Once it's formed the majority of their costume, they say "Let's Morphin'!" to form the visor to their helmet and finish the change.
  • Eyecatch: Averted, much like in Gokaiger, the Go-Busters' logo appears in the corner of the screen prior to commercial breaks.
  • Five-Man Band: The team solidifies with the addition of Masato and Beet J. Stag. There are two Lancers on the team. [1]
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: It's only been two years since we've had animal-vehicle hybrids in Tensou Sentai Goseiger, and four years since that was combined with Robot Buddys in Engine Sentai Go-onger.
  • Hammerspace: Conspicuously averted; dimensional matter transport itself is an established technology used by both sides, and would seemingly be prominently featured throughout. Both the Go-Busters and Buster Machines have their weapons teleported in from their base. Go-Buster Ace even has backup swords on standby in case it should lose one.
    • On the other hand, the entire concept of subspace as used by the villains is this trope taken to its creepy conclusion.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • A Mech by Any Other Name: The "Buster Machines" for the Go-Busters and the "Megazords" for Vaglass. Human-sized bots are "____roids" (Buddyroids for the Busters, Metaroids for Vaglass).
    • Transforming Mecha: Each Buster Machine can transform from a vehicle mode (Buster Vehicle) to an animal mode of some sort (Buster Animal). Buster Machines CB-01 Cheetah and BC-04 Beetle each also have an additional robot mode (Go-Buster Ace and Go-Buster Beet).
    • Combining Mecha: For starters, the Buddyroids combine with the Buster Machines to get them to do anything more complicated than their vehicle mode.
      • CB-01 Go-Buster Ace + GT-02 Gorilla + RH-03 Rabbit = Go-Buster-Oh.
      • BC-04 Go-Buster Beet + SJ-05 Stag Beetle = Buster Hercules.
      • Go-Buster-Oh + Buster Hercules = Great Go-Buster.
    • Mecha Expansion Pack:
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are called "missions".
  • In the Name of the Moon: Like Gokaiger, their roll call is pretty simple:

 Hiromu: Red Buster!

Ryūji: Blue Buster!

Yōko: Yellow Buster!

Hiromu: Busters, ready...

All: Go!

  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The red and gold Buddyroids and Buster Machines have more features than the others. CB-01 Cheetah and BC-04 Beetle have humanoid modes in addition to their vehicle and animal modes, and can wear other Buster Machines as armor. Cheeda Nick can also turn into a motorcycle, and Beet J. Stag becomes the fifth team member, Stag Buster.
  • Monster of the Week: Metaroids, evil machines created by a virus that Enter injects into other machines or living beings.
    • Make My Monster Grow: Averted. Instead of Metaroids growing into giant-size, Messiah sends a giant companion robot called a "Megazord" to assist the Metaroid (or take over the attack if the Metaroid is already destroyed). They come in at least three types (Alpha, Beta and Gamma).
    • Unlike other series, this is justified in the case of the Megazords. Sending them into real space takes a tremendous amount of energy so Vaglass is only able to send one at a time. In #3, Enter even suggests that they hold off sending Megazords until they can gather sufficient Enetron to dispatch multiple Megazords at once. In the same episode, it was revealed that a slow transfer time uses up less Enetron.
  • Mooks: Buglers, mechanical foot soldiers of the Vaglass.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: ...sort of. While Hiromu is a fully-trained member of the team, he was on furlough for a while because his sister didn't approve of it, so Yōko resents him as a "newcomer".
  • The Smurfette Principle: Yōko
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: It looks like Sentai has switched from spandex to leather after 3 decades.
  • Theme Naming: The first names of each of the Buddyroids are a combination of the animals they're modeled after and their respective partners, while their last names is a reference to their favorite foods.
    • Cheeda (Cheetah + Sakurada) Nick (a play on niku, which means meat)
    • Gorisaki (Gorilla + Iwasaki) Banana
    • Usada (a reference to his partner Usami and usagi, Japanese for bunny) Lettuce
    • The mecha seem to be taking a different approach - Go-Buster Ace, and Go-Buster-Oh, with "oh" meaning King.
  • Three Plus Two: Two additional Busters, Beet and Stag, joined the team later in the series.
  • Title Scream: Averted for the first time since Ninja Sentai Kakuranger's "title sing."
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted, transformations happen in real time and there have been cases where the Go-Busters have had to dodge while performing it while the mecha transformations happen very rapidly. Go-Buster-Oh's transformation takes longer, but the components of Blue and Yellow Busters' mecha circle Go-Buster Ace and form an energy field before it begins to protect it during the combination.
  • Transformation Sequence: Averted for the first 9 episodes, doing transformations without stock footage ala Kamen Rider. A stock transformation sequence has now been introduced though, possibly for budget reasons.
    • Also subverted with the mecha, who transform in live action as well. Played with when it comes to Go-Buster-Oh, who does have a transformation sequence, but is implied to happen in in real time protected by an energy shield.
  • Transformation Trinket:
    • Hiromu, Ryūji and Yōko: Morphin Brace
    • Masato and Beet J. Stag: Morphin Blaster
  • Weapon of Choice:
    • Improbable Weapon User: The Transpod, which can teleport the Go-Busters their weapons and has a built-in voice changer.
    • Shoe Phone: The Go-Busters' weapons seem geared towards this purpose:
      • Cool Sword: Sōgan Blades [2] for the primary members and DriBlades [3] for the secondary members.
      • Handguns: Ichigan Busters [4] for the primary members and Morphin Blasters [5] for the secondary members.
    • Bifurcated Weapon: Ichigan Buster + Sōgan Blade = Ichigan Buster Special Buster Mode

Tropes specific to Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters:

  • Acting for Two: In Episode 12, Yoko discovers she has a Doppelganger, a Chinese actress named Angie Sue. They look exactly alike except for their hairstyles. Naturally, they're played by the same actress.
  • Actor Allusion: Tessho Genda, in the role of Gorisaki, has famously transformed into a truck before. Note that he only voiced the better-known Optimus Prime/Convoy while someone else played Optimus Primal, the one that did turn into a gorilla.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: The Big Bad (at least at the start) is a computer that gained self-awareness.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Enter actually launches an infiltration of the EMC's base as early as #6, though he started it off in #4.
  • Alternate Timeline: The first Sentai to follow the trope, seeing that Enetron is already present at 2012 and before, but nowhere in sight during Gokaiger and any Sentai titles previously. And during the teamup movie, it seems that this timeline lacks any Sixth Ranger of the previous Sentai.
  • Animal Motifs:
  • Big Badass Rig: GT-02.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hiromu in #1, arriving on Cheeda Nick's bike mode and shooting out the monster's eye when it has his team mates on the ropes, weakening it enough for them to finish it off while he takes on the Megazord in Go-Buster Ace.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Mission 13, the actress Angie Sue sends the Go-busters an e-mail in English. It's never translated into Japanese, outside of its overall meaning as a thank you as stated by Ryūji. Those fluent in English can read most of it, and can also tell that it's not written by someone who is a native speaker. It only appears a few seconds on screen, so it has to be paused to be read.
  • Boogie Knights: Go-Buster Ace can dance. Your argument is invalid.
  • A Boy and His X: Red Buster plays it the straightest as his buddyroid, Cheeda, stands by him the most compared to other buddyroids who stay in the headquaters.
  • Cavalier Consumption: #10. Yōko eating her candies while staring down the enemy actually looks badass.
  • Cerebus Retcon: If it's possible to take a straight example even further, Ryūji almost punching out the chief in #4, treated merely as a Hot-Blooded Shonen staple, carries even more serious implications in #5 with the reveal of his Superpowered Ax Crazy side.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the start of #4, Mission Control tells the Go-Busters that transporting through Cyberspace is unreliable, and even using Metaroids as a beacon, enemy Megazords can be as far off the mark as three kilometers. When Enter shows up right outside one Enetron tank and is blatantly obvious about it, Hiromu realizes that he's just a diversion and their real goal is another district's tank, three kilometers away behind a nearby mountain range.
  • Combat Tentacles: Enter has some.
  • Competitive Balance: The Vaglass' Megazords come in different types:
  • Concealment Equals Cover: From the looks of the first episode (and the general theme of this year's Sentai), looks like this one's going to see a lot of use.
    • Improbable Cover: Ryūji uses a table in #1 to block a bullet attack from the Monster of the Week. Said monster has an arm that can cut through a car with no effort.
  • Cool Bike: Cheeda Nick can transform into one for Red Buster, making it the first Sentai bike since the Machine Husky and Machine Boxer.
  • Cool Shades: A part of the Go-Buster's helmet designs; their transformation device, the Morphin Brace, releases shades that they wear to transform. It is also incorporated into the design for Go-Buster Ace which gained these when in robot mode. Enter's got some, too.
  • Cyberpunk and Post Cyber Punk: A case can be made for both, but it swings more towards Post Cyber Punk. A Government Agency of Fiction using child soldiers is presented as mostly good, even if it is also responsible for the series' Big Bad, while the child soldiers themselves apparently underwent some degree of Unwilling Roboticisation.
  • Dancing Theme: In this case, it's the Rangers and crew dancing on catwalks around Go-Buster Ace.
  • Darker and Edgier: Seems to go this way, even at five episodes. Deconstruction aside, Enter already displays capabilities to outmaneuver the Busters in #4, their commander is not exactly the nicest guy around. And then, when Ryūji was overheated, he's utterly scary...
  • Deconstruction: Go-Busters is much more explicit about the sort of aftereffects that would be involved in a giant robot attack than the usual Sentai series. The Busters often spend just as much time rescuing people from collateral damage or cleaning up the aftermath of the battle then they do actually fighting the robots.
    • Also, while definitely not the first Sentai series to have a Mission Control and support crew, it is likely the first to realistically depict the amount of logistics that these crews have to do to give assistance to the team (instead of simply showing them typing on computers). For instance, the first episode shows that a large number of technicians are needed to coordinate the launch of Go-Buster Ace. Hiromu also needs to inform the base minutes before that he will be using the mech to give them some prep time, instead of simply 'summoning' it instantly.
    • It's worth noting, however, that it's not the first or the most "logical/realistic" by far; Rescue Sentai Go Go Five was pretty much an entire series of a serious take on that.
    • Another deconstructed is towards the Civilian Powers from Power Rangers. The powers are the results of upgrades and those same upgrades also grant side-effects, like freezing at the sight of chickens, slowing down to a grind, or the real clincher, going Ax Crazy if you use your powers too much.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In the updated version of Gokaiger's Super Hero Getter which includes Gokaiger and Go-Busters, Go-Busters line is "Tokumei Mission, Go-Busters." The problem is that "Tokumei" translates to "Special Mission", so in full English, the line is actually "Special Mission Mission, Go-Busters."
    • Also, the command to form the Combining Mecha is "Combine Operation, Tokumei Gattai", which one fansub group translated as "Combine Operation, Operative Combination".
  • Dual-Wielding: Ryūji does this in the 8th episode when facing the Drillroid.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The main trio faced off against Basco in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan the Movie.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: A low-tech but effective example in #5, where the image is simply rotated at the same speed as Blue and Yellow's particularly difficult 360-flipping moves.
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: Realizing that sending Messiah to subspace wouldn't defeat it for good, Hiromu's father essentually did this with the three Busters and Buddyroids, inserting in them a program that can counter the Metavirus.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The opening has excerpts from the English Super Sentai Wikipedia page scroll down at one point. See here.
  • Freudian Trio
    • Superego: Hiromu
    • Ego: Ryūji
    • Id: Yōko
  • Gratuitous English: Dear Lord where do we begin...
    • From the Go-Busters' equipment (whose English is Surprisingly Good English)
      • "IT'S MORPHIN' TIME!"
      • "TRANSPORT!"
      • "LET'S DRIVING!"
      • "IT'S TIME FOR BUSTER!"
      • "CALL MODE!"
      • "ANALYZE MODE!"
      • "IT'S TIME FOR SPECIAL BUSTER!"
      • "BOOST UP FOR BUSTER!"
    • From the main characters
      • "Let's Morphin'."
      • "Roger Rabbit."-Usada Lettuce
      • "Come on!"
    • The Moprhin Brace Toy also has another line:
      • "SPEEEEEECIAAAAAAAAL MODE!"
    • From the theme song: "4, 2, 3, 1, let's go!" Yes, in that order.
  • Gratuitous French: Enter uses quite a bit of this, including his Catch Phrase "Ça va (How are you), Go-Busters?".
  • Instant Expert: Averted; the team has been training through simulations for 13 years, even Hiromu who was sheltered by his sister all this time.
  • Meaningful Name: The code for the Buster Machines indicate the animals and vehicles they can transform into. Buster Machine GT-02 for example, is a Gorilla that can transform into a Truck. Subverted by the CB-01, which is a Cheetah that transforms into a sports car, which combines with Cheeda Nick (who transforms into a Bike).
    • The number at the end (0X) also indicates their owner. When X is a number, it indicates that the owner is a Buster, whereas letters indicates that it's an auxiliary mecha not owned by anyone in particular.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Go-Busters takes a lot of cues from Power Rangers, apparently paying tribute to Saban's show on the eve of its 20th anniversary. Some of the specifics:
    • The Buster Machines seem to be a mash-up of the Engines (animal/vehicle gimmick) and the Gosei Machines (removable head gimmick).
    • The name and the spy theme itself seems to be a homage to Himitsu Sentai Goranger. Yōko's name could also be considered a homage to EAGLE Agent 007, whose given name was also Yōko.
    • GT-02 using banana projectiles to attack is nothing new.
    • Neither is Ace using a sword to attack even when in vehicle mode. That would go to the Pat Striker.
    • Apparently Enter's habit of repeating words thrice came from Kinggon. Did Messiah get his temper?
    • The end of the Dancing Theme shows everyone in a very familiar pose.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Messiah" is the trying-way-too-hard-to-be-good type.
  • One, Two, Three, Four, Go: Referenced directly in the OP lyrics "Scramble! Four Two Three One Let's Go!"
  • OOC Is Serious Business: #5. Not just Ryūji - Seriously, how often does the Monster of the Week plead for mercy?
  • Only in It For the Money: Why Kazuya, Ryūji's high school friend, decided to cooperate with Enter after the hard work he made to the Buster Machine was not done the way he did in his years as an Engineer. This was before he decided to forget it after seeing Ryūji fight off the Drillroid to prevent Vaglass from securing the blueprints of Buster Machine BC-04.
  • Overt Operative: It's Super Sentai. "Secret" agents or no, they still have colorful suits and giant robots.
  • Painting the Medium: The audio noticeably becomes glitchy when Ryūji overheats and goes berserk.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Remember in the little handover clip at the end of the last episode of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, with the Captain apparently punching Hiromu in the face until he caught it? Now watch the end of Go-Busters #4.
  • Race Against the Clock: Zigzagged. The timer that shows how long before an enemy Megazord materializes ticks with varying paces, but there's nothing that states that the Go-Busters absolutely must defeat the Monster of the Week before the countdown finishes; in fact, more often they simply split up and bring in their Humongous Mecha while simultaneously fighting the monster if there isn't enough time, or they defeat the monster well before the countdown finishes and have plenty of time to get into their Buster Vehicles.
  • Right Behind Me: The plot of #9 is kicked off by a feud between Yōko and Usada after she walks in on him ranting about her poor test scores and how "she doesn't need to be getting any dumber!", all while Hiromu and Ryūji look on and wince.
  • Robot Buddy: Each Go-Buster has a "Buddyroid", a human sized robot companion that is capable of transforming into the control panel of their individual mecha.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signature Style: It's written by Kobayashi; her trope repertoire is bound to show up sooner or later.
    • The series itself in general seems to be breaking a number of trends already from the start - see Something Completely Different below - although it's hard to tell which ones are her handiworks.
    • Nice Guy: Hiromu; there's something to be said about his socially unintelligent bluntness though… Ryūji, on the other hand, fits the trope absolutely so far, until he overheats, anyway.
  • Something Completely Different: Between the change from spandex to leather, promotional materials calling it the "first in a new era of Sentai", and the Milestone Celebration that is Gokaiger, it seems Go-Busters is going to some interesting new places. This is also the first Sentai series since 1999's Gogo-V not use the suffix "-ranger" or "-ger" on the title.
  • Spot the Imposter: #12. The Copyroid even drops below the radar when impersonating someone, so all our heroes can do is watch for Character Tics. Unfortunately the Copyzord has none of those later on... so Yoko just shoots them both.
    • Our heroes try to turn this on the bad guys in #14 with Hiromu dressed as Enter - but instead of Hiromu's incorrect use of French, it's his vital signs that tip them off.
  • Stock Super Powers: Each Buster has a unique special ability.
  • Sweet Tooth: Yōko eats sweets to keep her energy up.
  • Teen Superspy: Yōko, and Hiromu isn't far out of his teens either. Averted with Ryūji, who according to promo material is one of the oldest heroes in many years at 28 years old, at least for a hero whose not a returning Legend and an official hero (Nobuo is 29 years old).
  • Traveling At the Speed of Plot: Hyperspace transfer times for Vaglass Megazords seem to depend on how soon the writers need it to appear. For example, the ShovelZord in Mission 1 took 3 minutes and 30 seconds to transfer. In Mission 3, the NeedleZord took 42 minutes to completely transfer.
    • It should be noted however, that the slower transfer time was acknowledged in series. Also note that it was implied to be that the slower the transfer time, the less Enetron used in the process.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: The Fanzord managed to do this at Yōko in #11, unfortunately.
  • Twisted Christmas: Messiah's first incursion into the human world 13 years ago happened on Christmas Day.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: #10. Nick can't find his way to Rika's exhibition, and tries hitchhiking... but gets ignored.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Enter has a glorious one when his plan in #9 is utterly foiled.
  • Visual Pun: The debut of Beet Buster and Beet J Stag involves Kuroki searching all over and finding them up a tree - which is precisely where kids go to catch beetles in Japan.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Hiromu and Yōko.
  • The Watson: The newest support personnel Miho Nakamura, has little to no knowledge of what the Vaglass are or even how the Go-Busters got their powers and is in frequent need of explanation, good thing too since if she didn't the viewers would have a hard time keeping up.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The same procedure that gave the Go-Busters their Stock Super Powers also gave each of them a weak point.
    • Hiromu: When he panics, he completely freezes up. Even when in mid air, at which point he will be stuck floating. Chickens are the thing he fears the most (a fear actually unrelated to his weakpoint), so more often than not it's the sight of a chicken, even a picture of one, that will freeze him up. While not as bad, yelling "chicken" at him will make him move like a rusted robot.
    • Ryūji: If he uses his Super Strength too much, he will overheat. And when he overheats, he goes Ax Crazy and starts lashing out at anyone nearby, friend or foe, until he either cools down or collapses.
    • Yōko: If she runs out of energy, she will stop moving. As a result, she has to eat sweets.
  • X Meets Y: While it's too early to see just how many cues its taken, some are already calling it Super Sentai meets Power Rangers.

Notes

  1. Yōko (to Hiromu) and J (to Masato).
  2. A pair of binoculars.
  3. A steering wheel for their respective Buster Machines.
  4. A single-lens camera.
  5. A cell phone.
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