COUNTDOWN: The Top 30 'Zyuranger' Villains

A tale of good vs. bad is only good if the bad guys are as equally compelling as the good guys, otherwise it just doesn’t work. But in TV shows where the good guys have to win, the bad guys never seem to amount to much. Over the course of a season, the Japanese version of the Power Rangers – Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger – featured more than 30 Dora monsters across 50 episodes with varying success, and while some barely put up a fight, one thing was true across the board: the amount of detail and care given to creating the look and the costumes of each of the monsters was quite astounding, and remember, this was an era where CGI didn’t really exist.

Hands down, the best villain from Zyuranger was Burai, the green Dragon Ranger, but he’s not a monster creation and therefore he doesn’t count. Neither does Bandora, the evil witch and the Zyurangers’ main nemesis, or the Great Satan, a god-like entity.

As a supplement to my in-depth look at the Zyurangers, here is a countdown of the top 30 Dora monsters of the Japanese series. Enjoy!

 Dora Ninja

Dora Ninja

30. DORA NINJA, Episode 35, “Ninja Warrior, Boi”

“Boi” is actually the name of the yellow Tiger Ranger, who is male in the original version, but, yes, the title is still unintentionally hilarious. A giant ninja is what I’d expect an American production to come up with if they ever needed a Japan-inspired monster – hell, it even wears military camo – so it feels totally uninspired coming from Japan. Rating: 0/5

29. DORA TITAN, Episode 1, “The Birth”

The show didn’t get off to a great start with its first villain – Titan’s basically just a giant knight, so literally no imagination was required here, not to mention only the Red Guardian Beast was needed to destroy him. He kind of bumbles around, waves his sword a bit, then gets beaten up. Totally boring, totally lame. Rating: 0/5  

28. DORA KNIGHT, Episode 15, “Destroy! The Dark Super Sword”

So, Titan’s a big giant knight, but Knight is also a big giant knight but actually called a knight. Even more confusing? Knight carries around a black-and-gold shield decorated with the Royal Arms of England… and to think Japan’s fascination with England was limited to a chocolate statue of David Beckham and a troublesome Meiji period. At least, unlike Titan, the Zyurangers needed their robot Daizyuzin to defeat him. Rating: 1/5

27. DORA SILKIS, Episode 38, “Princess Mei’s Seven Metamorphoses”

It looks like a giant Mothra in caterpillar form but with a giant skull on its head, and it doesn’t do anything more than what most caterpillar monsters do: shoot endless amounts of silk to cocoon its enemies until it feels oddly sexual. Rating: 1/5

 Dora Fake

Dora Fake

26. DORA FAKE, Episode 40, “Burai’s Departure of Death”

It’s a giant, pearl white cyclops with a cruder form of Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in a Shell outfit, and its special power is shooting lasers from… *drum roll*… it’s eye. Yup, zero points for creativity here, even though he puts up one of the better fights. Rating: 1/5

25. DORA PIXIE, Episode 23, “The Knuckleball of Infatuation”

Japan loves baseball, if you didn’t know that already, and Pixie is a boy with a unicorn helmet and a giant baseball glove who turns into a hairy kappa with a red chest protector when he’s in giant form. He throws knuckleballs that makes people fall in love with the first person they see, kind of like a baseball cupid, so his demise is probably why Japan’s birth rate is negative. Rating: 1/5

24. DORA NARCISSUS, Episode 32, “Geki! Kill Your Tears”

As Zyuranger starts the back half of their 50-episode run, the monsters seem to get worse and worse, as if the good ones were done at the beginning in case the show didn’t make it far. Narcissus is a plant monster whose ultimate weakness is mirrors, because whenever it sees one it has to stop and admire itself, which allows the Zyurangers to defeat it when it’s distracted. Rating: 1/5

23. DORA UNICORN, Episode 45, “The Foolish Boy”

Funny how the episode title is how I would describe the person who came up with this monster, a zombie bipedal unicorn with the hands and feet of a lizard. Rating: 1/5

 Dora Tarantula

Dora Tarantula

22. DORA TARANTULA, Episode 25, “The Park Where Demons Dwell”

The costume is terrifying and sure to send people with arachnophobias to the hospital. Much like Shelob, Tarantula shoots thick webbing to trap its enemies. It’s a pretty uninspired monster, but certainly put up a tough fight. Rating: 1/5

21. DORA REIGER, Episode 33, “Teach Me! The Jewel of Bravery”

Reiger looks like Brunhilde except she’s dressed in white with blue hair and wears a geisha mask. Like many of her monster colleagues, she had the ability to transport children to alternate dimensions, where she would turn them into a blue liquid, which would then turn into a storm (yes, a literal storm) and wipe out the city. It’s actually quite traumatic episode, and also notable episode for how blue Tricera Ranger-centric it is. But, Reiger is ultimately defeated without the Guardian Beasts ever appearing, making her one of the weakest. Rating: 2/5.  

 Dora Endos

Dora Endos

20. DORA ENDOS, Episode 16, “The Great Sneeze Plot”

Zyuranger episode titles are always quite literal, so it’s as silly as you’d think: Endos is a faceless, stubby, palm tree-looking monster that has yellow and red tentacles (very Japan, I know) protruding from where the head should be, and its special ability is to either turn himself into a golden soccer ball or produce golden soccer balls filled with a debilitating sneezing powder from its torso. His weakness? Water and ice… how he was able to survive on an island country, I’ll never know. Rating: 2/5

 Dora Tortoise

Dora Tortoise

19. DORA TORTOISE, Episode 24, “Hope Springs A-Turtle”

A pun! Tortoise is actually a giant snapping turtle, which makes no sense, but what do you expect when mindless minions Topat and Bookback create their own monster? Pleprechaun even calls it the “worst work ever.” The cool thing about Tortoise is that it can retract its head and replace it with a cannon; the funniest thing is that it has a traffic light attached to its shell that can either make people do things forever when it’s green or stop them in their tracks when it’s red; the lamest thing is that its weakness is a plant called the “peaceful flower.” Rating: 2/5

18. DORA CHIMERA, Episode 44, “Swordsman! Japan’s Best”

Props for sticking to its original form with its lion head, goat-head torso and its snake tail, but this one looks like someone dropped acid before trying to draw Aslan. It has the ability to absorb the skills of its victims, but proceeds to consume a basketball player and a baseball player because, y’know, it could be real handy if the final battle for the fate of the world decided by a game of H-O-R-S-E. Rating: 2/5

17. DORA GIN, Episode 11, “My Master!”

Gin was originally a good genie until Bandora stole the lamp, smashed it, then made a new one that transformed him into a monster that looked like Anubis. The Zyurangers manage to defeat Bandora again and turn Gin back into his normal form, but rather than setting him free so he’s not subject to the machinations of an evil lamp holder, they put him back in his original lamp and lock him away forever – it’s terribly morbid. Rating: 2/5

16. DORA MINOTAUR, Episode 3, “Fight in the Land of Despair”

There wasn’t much thought put into these early on, eh? Taking a page from Greek mythology, this Minotaur had the ability to burrow underground (Japanese bulls can burrow underground, I guess) rather than the ability to transport the Zyurangers into a never-ending labyrinth, which would’ve been much cooler. His saving grace? He freakin’ breathes fire, man! Rating: 2/5

15. DORA COCKATRICE, Episode 9, “Run! Prince of the Eggs!”

Armed with a pair of giant garden shears and wearing a red do-rag on his blue head, Cockatrice gave just about every other kid nightmares with its looks alone. Other than that, Cockatrice isn’t very memorable, though it does come back from the dead. Rating: 3/5

 Dora Goldhorn

Dora Goldhorn

14. DORA GOLDHORN, Episode 37, “A Dinosaur is Born”

Despite Japan being known as a tech innovator, they’re not particularly good when it comes to original ideas. Dora Goldhorn is a rip-off from Journey to the West, a giant monster samurai who used two weapons made famous from the novel: a giant burlap-shaped fan that can send its enemies flying, and a giant gourd that sucks in its enemies where they begin slowly melting – like a portable sarlaac! Rating: 3/5

13. DORA GUZZLER, Episode 27, “I Want to Eat Mei”

There’s a running theme throughout Zyurangers that plant monsters are almost always defeated by the pink Petra Ranger. Guzzler is a Venus flytrap with two small Jar Jar Binks-style eyes sticking out from its sides with crab pincers for its hands. It inhales flowers into its mouth and then spits them back out as mutated flowers that bite people with its teeth and infect them with poison. Think “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” except with flowers. Rating: 3/5

12. DORA ANTAEUS, Episode 43, “Live Again! Zyusouken”

A giant lizard monster with rubbery dark green skin, a hunched back that resembles a mountain when lying on its stomach, and a chicken head with shark-like teeth, Antaeus was the Zyurangers’ first challenge after (SPOILER ALERT!!!) the green Dragon Ranger dies, but it’s not very memorable, and neither is the episode. Rating: 3/5

 Dora Goblin

Dora Goblin

11. DORA GOBLIN, Episode 7, “I Can See! I Can See!”

This is the second time the show has borrowed a character from Journey to the West, and Goblin looks very much like Zhu Bajie, an anthropomorphic pig character that wields the same weapon: a giant rake. The best part about Goblin is that he feeds on the souls of children (awesome) by hypnotizing him with his accordion (brilliant). His weakness, though? If he ever puts his boots on the wrong feet, he loses his ability to turn invisible. Did I ever mention how weird this show was? Rating: 3/5

 Dora Argos

Dora Argos

10. DORA ARGUS, Episode 12, “Papa’s a Vampire?!”

A monster that is formed from a collection of various eyeballs, Argus looks really cool but would actually be really cool if he didn’t have to borrow the same powers as Dora Skeleton, including being able to re-assemble his body. There’s a strange subplot where Argus makes a girl hallucinate and think that her dad’s a vampire, so that’s where the wacky title comes from. True Blood ain’t got nothin’ on this. Rating: 3/5

9. DORA LADON, Episode 13, “Fire! The Golden Arrow”

A terrifying giant lizard who could dislocate his jaw and open his mouth all the way to his crotch, Ladon’s biggest drawback – and weakness – is a golden apple that rests at the top of his head. Why? Who knows, but it’s certainly inadvisable for any villain to leave its ultimate weakness exposed. It’s not uncommon for some Japanese themes and shows to borrow things from the West, and there’s a strong Snow White vibe here when Ladon makes the pink Petra Ranger eat a poisoned apple that puts her to sleep. Rating: 3/5

8. DORA GANROCK, Episode 36, “Smash It! The Mirror of Death”

Ganrock was certainly one of the Zyurangers’ fiercest foes, a rock-shaped monster with oversized shoulders and trap muscles and shot rocks that attached themselves to the target until they’re completely covered and immobile, not unlike the guns Syndrome uses to capture Mr. Incredible. Ganrock also has the distinction of being the only monster who was defeated by an inanimate object, and not the Zyurangers. Just watch the episode, you’ll understand. Rating: 3/5.

7. DORA SPHINX, Episode 5, “Scary Riddles”

I’m not sure exactly how much of The Riddler was an influence in this one, but not only is green one of Sphinx’s colours, he also has a sceptre with a question mark at the top and masquerades as a game show host. He’s got a pretty cool look with a fancy headdress that shoots lasers and a third eye on his chest, but what’s really significant about Sphinx is that he’s the first Dora to evolve from human form, rather than being molded by monster creator Pleprechaun. Rating: 3/5

6. DORA MIRAGE, Episode 46, “Presenting! The Vicious Squadron”

It’s funny the verb in the title is exactly how I’d describe Mirage’s leotard costume, which looks more like something out of the Lingerie Football League with its giant breastplate and oversized shoulder pads. Mirage is the second-last Dora Monster to appear in Zyurangers, and has the ability to revive past monsters to form its own monster posse, and manages to imprison the Guardian Beasts on her own. Rating: 3/5

5. DORA FRANKE/ZOMBIE FRANKE/SATAN FRANKE, Episode 28, “Great Upgrade! Clay Monsters”

Franke was the first monster to be created with the new Dokiita Clay, which allowed Pleprechaun to create stronger monsters… and he promptly comes up with Frankenstein with bad makeup... YOU’RE FIRED, BUDDY. It’s a weird episode overall, with two subplots that involve a cockroach-infested ramen shop, and a class struggle that implies the Zyurangers are basically indentured slaves with a 100 yen per diem (that’s basically $1 per day) who are also forbidden to take part-time jobs, but Franke gets major points for turning the bolts in his neck into nunchuks and kicking the Daizyuzin’s metal butt with Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball.

Franke lasts a few episodes, evolving into a Resident Evil-inspired Zombie Franke after his first death, and then finally into Satan Franke, a monster with red eyes, big horns on its head and a big blue flower on its chest. Franke gets more interesting as his story arc progresses, forcing the Zyurangers to find the Thunder Slinger guns in order to defeat him and ushering the appearance of King Brachion, the last Guardian Beast to be introduced in the series. Negative points for overall creativity, but it’s also the rare monster that has three forms and manages to move the plot along. Rating: 4/5

 Dora Circe

Dora Circe

4. DORA CIRCE, Episode 8, “Terror! Eaten in an Instant”

It took eight episodes but Toei finally had an originally monster the Zyurangers could face. Named after the Greek goddess that turned people into animals in Odyssey, complete with a shared weakness to an herb called moly, it’s a pig with an oversized head attached only to two arms and two legs while wearing a Roman centurion helmet wielding a giant knife and fork as his primary weapons. The thing is just so bizarre it works, not to mention it looks like the stuff of nightmares. Circe’s special ability? It consumes so much food it can start famines. Now that’s a fucking superpower. Rating: 5/5

3. DORA BOOGARANAN, Episode 26, “Be Careful of Shaved Ice”

After 10 episodes of boring monsters, Toei gets back on track with the Zyurangers facing a giant frog that eats its enemies, and is armed a yellow horn on his head that could shoot lasers or create force fields. Boogaranan arguably got the furthest of any monster, almost defeating all the Zyurangers before fatally revealing its weakness – a face hidden in the folds of its neck – after falling into a trap set by the pink Petra Ranger, who promptly puts an arrow through it. Rating: 5/5

 Dora Skeleton

Dora Skeleton

2. DORA SKELETON, Episode 2, “Revival!”

For American viewers, Skeleton was the first main villain, and he made a pretty memorable impression: he had the ability to re-assemble himself if he ever lost a bone or two, and his skull can float on its own and send people to other dimensions. He’s got a red cape, wears the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts, and manages to overpower the Zyurangers, sending them on their quest to find the Legendary Weapons. He’s iconic and manages to push the story forward. Rating: 5/5

 Dora Talos

Dora Talos

1. DORA TALOS, Episode 47, “Break In! The Final Deciding Battle”

Talos is actually a giant mecha operated by Bandora’s son, Kai, who wears a giant white wig that would put Jareth’s to shame, so it doesn’t really qualify as a Dora Monster, but there’s a Dora in his name so that’s that. People who have played a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers video game will remember Talos as Cyclopsis, who is usually the final boss. Armed with two blades on its arms and a variety of modern firearms, Talos manages to dismember the Daizyuzin and Dragon Caesar, and is only defeated when all seven Guardian Beasts combine. A memorable final boss for a memorable TV series. Rating: 5/5