Note: Images from Super Sentai Images.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Mahou Sentai Magiranger (English translation Magic Squadron Magical Ranger) (2005) was the 29th installment of the Super Sentai franchise and the first to use a magic motif. Magiranger is kinda like Go-Onger, mostly campy and lighthearted through most of the series, but gets more serious towards the end. Magiranger is generally a popular series (especially compared to its PR counterpart, Mystic Force) for the story it tells, but also has some critics for its campy and childish nature. Personally, I'm a little mixed about this series. It's not bad, it just could have been much better.
Like Gekiranger, the villains and the main plot are the strength of this show. My favorite villain (and favorite character) on this series is Wolzard. Like many of the villains on this series, Wolzard is a complex villain, who has honor and later turns out to be the Magiranger's father. Other villains I liked included Sphinx, Titan, and Meemy. The story elements I like are the family and courage aspects. I like the story circling around the Magiranger's parents and felt it was well done. I also liked that even the Magiranger's teacher, Hikaru, had to learn some things like learning from Kai to not give up or not overthink. The music from this season, though lighter in tone compared to say Dekaranger, is pretty good. I like both the intro and the outro themes (though it took me a while for the intro to grow on me), and I also like some of the insert songs, such as Mika Kikuchi's Peace in Heaven and the Nae and Mae theme song. Among the main characters, my favorite was Makito. He's easily the most mature and he seemed to be a better leader than Kai, although Kai was definitely courageous. Speaking of Kai, I also liked his rivalry with Wolzard, which was like a lot of good Sentai red warrior/villain rivalries such as Jan/Rio and Takeru/Juuzo. I also liked the Magiranger team-up with Dekaranger, and the movie was ok. The final battle was pretty good and did everything to bring it to a close.
The main problem I have with this series is the ranger cast. The cast really isn't bad. They're better than their Mystic Force counterparts and better than a few other Sentai casts (like Goseiger), but across the board all the characters come across as just average. They get solid development, it's just I wish they could liven up their personalities a bit more. Houka for example, does some stupid things (like spying on Kai and trying to play matchmaker, and later dating 15 different guys), though she does redeem herself with the Titan arc. The rest, I'm kinda nick-pickinng on a few things. While I like the story overall, some of the subplots felt either a bit awkward (like the method of how Miyuki "survived) or felt rushed (like the Urara-Hikaru relationship and how suddenly Vancuria/Nae & Mae turned good). Also, the new spell every episode saga was kinda overused and repetitive.
The only thing that I found terrible about this series was Hades God Toad. While all of the other villains were generally very solid, Toad was just, baka.
C+, 7/10. Overall, it's an ok show. It could have been much better if it had a better cast.
Episodes 11-12: Houka is turned into a vampire, and we get to see some background of Vancuria as well as hear the awesome Nae and Mae song.
Episodes 16-18: A new character, Lunajel, is introduced.
Episode 21: This episode is one of the reasons why I like Makito.
Episodes 23-24: This one gives some good development to Tsubasa, and Hikaru learns that being a teacher also means learning.
Episode 28: A touching episode about a girl who was being forced to do evil deeds.
Episodes 33-34: The big reveal, I won't reveal anymore than this.
Episodes 37-38: Makito shares his dreams while Tsubasa shows him that he doesn't have to do everything.
Episodes 45-46: This two parter is the best of the season, imo. It shows not to discriminate against everyone even if they're part of the Infershia, and you have to like it when a villain shows he does have a heart. Also, Isamu becomes Wolzard Fire and he's badass.
Episodes 48-49: Magiranger has a pretty impressive final battle.
Episode 26: Some character development for Smokey.