In the 25 years since Power Rangers first began, it’s only skipped adapting the current Super Sentai series three times. Now, for its 2019 season, Power Rangers is going back and bringing one of them to western audiences: Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters.
Announced at Toy Fair today by Saban Brands (Full disclosure: Saban Brands founder Haim Saban has ownership interest in Univision Communications, which itself owns Gizmodo Media Group, the network of websites io9 is part of), after the conclusion of this year’s anniversary-celebrating Super Ninja Steel, the 2019 series will be titled Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Instead of, as many expected—given that Bandai America had direct development input on the series—an adaptation of last year’s Super Sentai, the space-themed Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, Beast Morphers will instead go back and adapt 2012's Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, Here’s the new Beast Morphers synopsis:
Set in the future, a secret agency combines a newly discovered substance called “Morph-X” with animal DNA to create the Power Rangers Beast Morphers team. The Rangers must fight off an evil sentient computer virus bent on taking over the source of all Ranger power, the Morphing Grid itself. Featuring never-before-seen leather suits and an all-new beast-themed arsenal (including dynamic new Zords), fans should get ready for a season full of secret ops and morphinominal fun.
The premise loosely matches up with that of Go-Busters: three young adults who were orphaned and granted superpowers in a scientific experiment gone wrong when they were kids for a spec-ops team tasked with protecting a futuristic energy source called “Enetron” from corruption at the hands of a sinister A.I. spawned in the same accident that orphaned them. But, as with all Super Sentai to Power Rangers adaptations, there’ll likely be some major changes by the time Beast Morphers rolls around.
Aside from the fact that this marks the first time Power Rangers has delved into the back-catalogue of Super Sentai instead of adapting one of the most recent iterations of the show, what made it so weird that G0-Busters was skipped over in the first place was that the show at times felt like a big play towards Power Rangers in general. Not just in the gadgetry of the spy-theme, but in the fact that the show liberally borrowed Power Rangers terminology: the mecha were explicitly referred to as Zords, and the Go-Busters themselves shouted “It’s Morphin Time!” and “Let’s Morphin!” in English when they transformed.
At least now, what will be seven years later by the time Beast Morphers airs, Power Rangers will finally adapt Super Sentai’s weirdly dark love letter to its Western counterpart.