Adventures in QC #4

Megaliths

Aside from technical issues like crackly audio, working with older entries in the Sentai franchise can have other difficulties. Since Toei cranks out a new Sentai show every year, entries in the franchise tend to be extremely topical. Passing fads that are now long-forgotten may end up woven into the plots of a year’s show in a very off-handed way. Viewers at the time would’ve quickly understood it, but people trying to decipher a show twenty or thirty years later can be at a disadvantage.

Battle Fever J does this several times throughout its second episode, mentioning a lot of ideas that people might’ve considered cutting edge at the time. Cloning, for instance, was a new enough concept that BFJ opted to put it in the title of the episode, even though the creation of the monster otherwise has little bearing on the plot. We also see the overachieving girl’s mother bring up positive affirmation, a New Agey idea that involved saying things you wanted to happen aloud to quasi-magically make them more likely to happen.

Probably the strangest fascination of the late ’70s to make its way into Battle Fever J was the passage this episode that explains how Satan Egos is actually responsible for world megaliths like Stonehenge. At the time, people took the “ancient astronaut” theory (popularized in Erich von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods?) that aliens or other paranormal forces created super-huge ancient structures like the pyramids far more seriously than anyone today would.

This sequence was completely baffling during the translation phase, thanks to the audio problems, the weird vocabulary it used, and the offhanded way it was tossed into the plot. It was only after a consultation with our friends at Over-Time that we could decipher the line well enough to figure out that it was just Battle Fever J trying to work some crazy pseudo-science into its story. While it probably would’ve seemed pretty hip when the show originally aired, now it’s more like a time capsule that quietly reminds you of the show’s age.

~Lynxara