Up ahead are my musing over Go-Busters and its ratings – not just its overall ratings, but how it’s doing with kids. (hint: it’s not good)
Lately there has been an increased discussion over ratings and whether or not they really matter to tokusatsu. I’ve always been of the mind that they do and that people can be a little too quick to write them off, but they’re a necessity. Why? You need to know who your audience is and whether or not your show is doing well with the intended audiences. There are two kinds of ratings, the bare rating that gives you the rating of the episode and the demographic ratings. Demographic ratings split the viewing audience into groups based on age, the group Sentai is aimed at is kids, obviously. By looking at demographic numbers, you can see which shows kids tune in and out of over the course of the years. While it’s quite true that toy sales matter a lot, Toei is not in the toy business, they are in the TV business. Toei gets some of the money that Bandai makes from the toy line, Bandai foots some of the TV show bill, and Toei makes the TV show to promote the toys.

The question I’ve always asked is…what happens when Bandai realizes, “Hey! No one is watching this show and we’re still making a truck load of money. Let’s stop paying for it and just make our own brand of Sentai toys!”? Go-Busters is doing well as a toy brand, no doubt about that, but as a TV show? Sentai’s never seen worse, purely based on numbers. I’ll make a parralel to Kamen Rider Fourze. That show is the least viewed Kamen Rider series ever, just like Go-Busters will be. The different that keeps Toei and Bandai happy there? The core audience of kids is about the same as OOO and Double, it’s the older viewers that tuned out. Go-Busters, on the other hand, is a different story. To help provide some context for people following ratings, I’ve compiled the series average for the kids demographic in the first 21 episodes – which is all that’s available for Go-Busters right now. I’ve also compiled that same average for the last ten years of shows.

Demographic Ratings – KIDS
Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters – 6.9%
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger – 11.8%
Tensou Sentai Goseiger – 11.3%
Samurai Sentai Shinkenger – 11.4%
Engine Sentai Go-Onger – 10.9%
Juuken Sentai Gekiranger – 14.2
GoGo Sentai Boukenger – 14.4%
Mahou Sentai Magiranger – 18.2%
Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger – 17.4%
Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger – 18.4%

It’s clear to see, kids are not watching Go-Busters. That franchise series average low wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the kids demo was big, but it isn’t. In the last ten years, Sentai has lost over 10% of the viewing audience in kids. Even Gekiranger, which was faced off against a Pokemon variety show throughout its entire run, barely dropped from Boukenger in that area. Toei sees this problem and I think it’s obvious that they’re doing anything they can to bring kids in. Inject more comedy into the show, a last minute opening change to make it seem fresh. Heck, even the upcoming Gavan cameo strikes me as more of a desperate ratings ploy than proper movie advertising.

So what is it about Go-Busters that kids don’t like? It’s hard to say really. The show set out to be different from any Sentai before it, but this was purely visual. Naomi Takebe, a long time Kamen Rider producer, was brought on to do Sentai in the capacity of head producer for the first time in her career. We’ve got a much more realistic look concerning the suits, amped up mecha action, probably the best Sentai will ever see, but beyond that? Go-Busters isn’t very different from the shows before it. I think we’ve finally entered that era where Toei needs to change Sentai if it’s going to survive. Visuals just aren’t enough, they need to have something fundamentally different. At the rate Sentai is going, I don’t believe it’s going to last another five years if nothing is done. As a member of this fandom for ages, I’ve always seen the idea that Metal Heroes would one day return and replace Kamen Rider. But what if it’s Super Sentai it replaces one day? That’s just a totally wild guess, but I think it could happen if these trends continue.

We’re in an era where nothing is safe, Super Sentai included. Toei has the capacity to change things and they should. I think, even for just a year, a Sentai that goes all the way in trying to mimic modern day Kamen Rider would be an interesting experiment.

SOURCE: Rising Sun Tokusatsu



  1. maybe just maybe, kids don’t like to wake up early in the morning to watch tv shows?
    i’m 15 and i don’t but it was the same when i was 10. Maybe the need to change the timeslot.

    1. hat can’t have any ting to do with it since the other shows aren’t suffering. In the US there just isn’t anything on in the morning anymore, most of it is just reruns of stuff during the week. There is far less in the Saturday Morning line-up then there was say back in 2000-2006 or the 90’s/80’s. It’s pretty much dead for us.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa…you think Toei should change the sentai formula to gain ratings? That was the whole point of Go-Busters and it isn’t working. Go-Busters IS a Kamen Rider show. They have leather suits, the main protagonist rides a motorcycle, and the villains and heroes share an eerie bond in origin of powers. They need to stop trying to be so different and go back to what’s endured consistently in the franchise for 35 years.

  3. I personally think the problem with go-buster is that it’s repetitive and nothing has happened. I stopped watching after episode 18 and the only significant thing to happen the introduction of beet and stag buster. Every episode was the practically the same and it didn’t seem like the plot was going anywhere. I don’t know about now with the introduction of Escape, but it seems very slow paced. And the characters seem bland.

  4. I’m more amazed that the ratings for Goseiger and Gokaiger were so close. the general opinion in the US fan community was that Gokaiger was so much better than its predecessor, I presumed the same was so in Japan.
    I’m one of the folks who FAR preferred Akibaranger, and as I have for several series in the past, I’m quietly waiting Go-Buster out for the next one,
    I’m curious what the ratings were for Ohranger, which almost the last series once before. Considering it was before cable and the Internet, I’ll bet they were far higher, as there were less options.

      1. Oh, I’m well aware Akibaranger wasn’t a kids’ show (said so right in the tag), I just meant I preferred it to this year’s proper series.
        I’m ever fascinated what other countries presents for kids. The Sentai and other Toku shows are so much more complex and intense than what passes for entertainment for the same audience here. As I always mention, Doctor Who is still considered a children’s show in the UK, regardless of the adult fanbase it has.

  5. “I think, even for just a year, a Sentai that goes all the way in trying
    to mimic modern day Kamen Rider would be an interesting experiment.”

    A Sentai mimicking classic Kamen Rider, ala Cyborg 009 would be kind of cool…

  6. gobusters has had such a boost in many areas. but by improving by some people’s perspective, is decreasing in the kids perspective. kids like repetitive routines that they can expect and copy. like the shadow theatre in hurricanger. the role call in pretty much every series I have seen before now. all the stuff that akibaranger parodied. this is stuff kids like because it makes them feel comfortable. it’s something they can go over in their minds later as a ritual.
    gobusters got rid of most of the repetitive rituals. that’s a shame in a way. it’s better for some of us who are more mature. but actually, one of my favourite parts of hurricanger, was when they called the shinobi machines. I liked the music and the build up. it would be a shame to lose the quality they have added to gobusters. I hope toei can recognise that these parts are valuable. I hope they don’t do another goseiger.
    the quality character development is something i have missed for such a long time. it’s soemthing that makes gobusters so enjoyable to watch.

  7. Wow, I had no idea. Personally I think Go-Busters is a great show! I won’t say it’s perfect, it has it’s flaws but overall I woud say it’s good. The action choreography is just plain amazing and the mecha fights seem more planned out to me. I will say though that the plot is a little slow moving (I mean, when are we going to see those ‘Powered Custom’ upgrades?). Perhaps it’s the story that needs to be worked on?

  8. Well in order to boost kamen rider series ratings here’s the solution:

    and for super sentai heres another solution try something to an ext super sentai series in which a main mecha will have a combination of sentai turned into mecha figures (like kakuranger and magiranger) and try a mecha which is the fusion of the sentai warriors turned mecha because of a box simialr to young justice animated series mother box

  9. Maybe franchise fatigue’s setting in (if it hasn’t already). Why not either take a year off and only do movies or something (like how Toei did with Kamen Rider), then come back with fresh ideas, writers, directors etc.?

    1. I agree with this. You can see the numbers spiralling down the drain for both Sentai and Kamen Rider as each series gets lower ratings. Better to give both a break and try something new for a while. (Metal Heroes for example, although I’d bet this is coming shortly anyways. Kamen Rider Wizard will likely be replaced by a Metal Hero show when it finishes.)

  10. More likely, I see Live Action super sentai being replaced by a fully CGI version in the near future ala Iron Man: Armored Adventures or Clone Wars and them just skipping the whole part involving troublesome live actors. It would open the show(s) up to more possibilities, be cheaper to produce, and bring a breath of fresh air to the series. (Plus no more needing to reshoot everything in New Zealand to sell it internationally.)

    As for fixing the current version one possibility would be to do something more like the Avengers where the characters have individual hero lives, and occasionally team up to battle bad guys in various combinations rather than always being there as a team. So sometimes we get one character alone, other times we get different combinations of two or three, and then when things get really bad we get the whole team. (They can have individual mecha too, which can combine in different ways depending on who is available to combine with.) All the characters have their own stories, plotlines, and villains.

    1. Now that, my friend, isn’t such a bad idea. Like anyone would’ve said, this idea would work perfectly with making a sentai version of heroes like Zubat, Akumaizer 3 or even Kikaider, hence opening up opportunities for a ‘Justice League/Avengers’ style sentai team.

  11. One thing I’ve noticed with Go-Busters is that it’s, when you look at it compared to the rest of Sentai, rather mundane. Their theme is basically what a real world security firm would try to do for an energy company if they had to fight off giant robot monsters. There’s no sense of an epic nature or a mission behind it: they’re a security firm who happen to be working for that energy company because they have motivations in another world that they can’t go to.

    Last year when Gokaiger was on, my 4 year old nephew showed up on the exact day Gokaiger would come on, despite not knowing how to tell time yet, and ask me cheerfully “Can we watch Pirates?” He appreciated the theme and he appreciated the things being done with that theme, he saw a big flying pirate ship and these colorful characters doing pirate things and getting a kick out of it. You just can’t have the same with the Go-Busters theme, especially not with the way their plot has been going.

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