“Wait, it’s a weird low budget version of Power Rangers and it’s NOT made by Japan? Oh, but they air it in Japan, okay that makes sense at least.”
~AFFotD’s Television Critic
We talk about Japan a lot on this site. The simple truth of the matter is, we fear what we don’t understand, and we don’t understand raw horse meat ice cream. So when we did bath salts with one of those homeless people that sells bootleg DVDs off an old rug in Chinatown and we woke up to find the Wikipedia page for Shin Kenjushi France Five on our tabs, we were frankly shocked that this was not an instance of “Goddamn it, Japan.” Because the show is French and it is mindfuckingly insane.
It’s technically a mini-series of six episodes but, in what is frankly only middle-of-the-road in terms of the insanity behind this project, it was aired over the course of 13 years. That’s right, they had a single episode a year in 2000, 2001, and 2002 before taking a year off until 2004 and releasing the last two in 2012 and 2013, because clearly the French public was clamoring for a French Five Power Rangers spoof revival. There’s so much to take on here, and we don’t even trust ourselves to give you every delicious morsel of insanity, but we’ll do our best. Here goes nothing.
Goddamn It…France? You’re Doing It Wrong: The France Five Mini-Series
Before we get started, here’s the intro to France Five. Please watch it. It is…the best thing. We…we just can’t even. So, okay, the thing to remember is that the purpose of this show was to emulate the Super Sentai series, which is the Japanese show that America basically bastardized into the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. And by bastardize, we mean if you saw a scene of Power Rangers in your youth, it’s a fair guess to say that every time you had a scene that didn’t explicitly have American actors not wearing masks, it was probably just old footage from a Super Sentai episode.
Now, America’s approach was lazy, but made sense. They basically hired a bunch of white kids, tossed in a few people of color in the most racially insensitive way they could, and wrote an entire series under the guise of “how can we minimize the amount of days we take shooting this before we can just sell the action figures to kids for a crazy sum of money.”
Invisible flip kicks not included.
Now, in France’s defense, their approach to this was meant to be an homage, so it has some parody aspects to it. That said, with a shoestring budget of $5,000, they went about making a French version of the Power Rangers that had, in the words of a positive review from its IMDB page, “a low budget and a non professional[sic] crew, but an impressive energy.” Here’s the important thing to realize for France Five, however—this movie decides to go all in on being as patriotic towards French as humanly possible. That means that every member of the French Five has a very intentional theme based off of important items in French Culture. Now, if you have read our (occasionally irritatingly not-so) humble site previously, you would be within your rights to roll your eyes and say, “Oh, it’s an America Fun Fact of the Day article making fun of French people, they’re going to toss out some stereotypes like ‘oh the characters are named after baguettes, wine, and accordions’ but…wait, why am I reading my own thoughts on this page? Oh shit, am I the hypothetical reader that’s being used as a devise where I say a self-aware joke answer that actually ends up being correct?”
You bet your ass you are.
We don’t hire a graphics department, so we couldn’t have made that up if we wanted to.
Hold onto your dicks (and for our lady readers, just reach for the nearest phallic object, you live in enough of a patriarchal society to ensure that there has to be at least one within reach of you at this very moment) because here are the heroes of France Five. Up there you have Thierry Durand, otherwise known as Black Beaujolais. He’s the son of a rich winemaker in the Beaujolais region, but he rejected his heritage, “Preferring a rebel life on the roads of France.” He hides his feelings, often clashes with authority, and would rather go at a mission alone instead of asking for help. He respects, though constantly clashes with, the leader of the team…
Antoine Deschaumes, a.k.a. Red Fromage. He’s a skilled boxer, and takes his patriotic duty very seriously. Oh, yes, this is a patriotic team, because the French Five were assembled by Professor Aristide Burgonde, in conjunction with the French Ministry of Defense. We’re serious. Anyway, Red Fromage is very serious and stern, and to quote the official character biography on the France Five website, “He only laughs at the end of episodes, when the danger has been dealt with.” We’re considering changing the name of this article only because we’re starting to think this is the best thing that France has ever produced.
Serving as the comic relief of the group, we have…
Albert Dumas, a.k.a. the Blue Accordeon. The official site tells us, “His big flaw is his curiosity, a sign of his landlord side.” Wait. What? What does that even fucking mean, France? Anyway, he’s the son of a musician, and…well yeah, he’s carrying around a honking accordion right there. This show is ridiculous.
He’s a goddamn baker. This is Jean petri, a “talented baker apprentice and endless playboy, he is the youngest member of the group.” He also “doesn’t hesitate to show his powers to the girls to ensure romantic conquests.” We love the Google translate job the site for this series has, we really, truly do. Finally, you gotta have at least one girl on the team. Hopefully they didn’t make her whole thing being good at shopping or something like…
Oh, goddamn it, France. This is Catherine Martin, a.k.a., ugh, sigh, Pink a la Mode. She’s a top-model, and skilled in haute-couture. She and Blue are the good-natured members of the group. She’s also a cleaning maniac, much to the dismay of our heroes! Oh man, France, you guys are just. Oh man.
So the plot of this is simple. Hahaha, just kidding, of course it isn’t. Glou Man Chou (which sounds like it’s supposed to be offensive?) rules the Lexos Empire. Having destroyed many planets, he decides he wishes to eliminate Earth next, except for one pesky problem. The Eiffel Tower, which for some reason controls a protective barrier around the planet that stops him from being able to send a full invasion. The first three episodes show Glou Man Chou (God, our fingers feel racist just typing that name) sending his forces down to destroy the Tower, which must be protected by…The French Five. Oh, and at this point we should mention that Glou Man Chou looks like an Oakland Raiders fan got lost and just decided to sit down in a stone chair to rest for a while.
At least he’s not a Redskins fan?
These battles occur in the five episodes, which are all filled with unnecessary punctuation and have hilariously over-the-top names. Episode One, of course, was “Hypnostreum’s Attack! Don’t Lose The Guide!” That was followed by, “Everyone on the Dance Floor! Discostreum Leads the Party” and “Cheating Isn’t Fairplay! Toxicostreum Reverses the Rules.” After a year break, they returned with, “Is Paris Burning? The Menace Is Named Zakaral” where the Eiffel Tower did finally fall. And finally, we had the closing two episodes, from 2012 and 2013, of “The Day of Glory has arrived! Farewell France Five” and “This Time, It’s the End. Antoine Faces His Destiny!”
So yeah, those are all things that are real. There is also a mysterious silver sixth fighter, who is a friend of Red Fromage and who dies protecting him in Episode 4, though his spirit comes back in Episode 6 just to make sure to remind you how silly this whole thing really is.
The important thing to remember is that France made a patriotic version of Power Rangers on a shoestring budget, and not only is it batshit insane…most of the episodes are online. If you’re really lucky we might actually go through the trouble of watching all those. It’s been a while since [REDACTED] has had to review something this batshit awful. We’re just staying.
So while this show has since become somewhat popular in Japan because, of course it did, this is a strange moment where we are actually both chastising France…while secretly being extremely impressed at their sheer balls-to-the-walls level of crazy. Because our Power Rangers wasn’t anywhere near this fucked up, and we’re pretty sure our show had writers on stronger drugs. So, uh, good job with that, France? You’re still doing it wrong, though. As always.