As a kid, I was really impressed with how the Americans created their own version of a Japanese favorite like Maskman by introducing Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to the entertainment world. Due to lots of groundbreaking and unique action it brought into television at that time, a lot of kids were instantly hooked. It was only during the ‘Internet age’ several years after MMPR’s debut that those kids (now probably young adults) found out what Haim Saban didn’t want them to find out. But not without them (including me) developing misconceptions that remained uncorrected for several years. So without further ado:
1. Super Sentai came AFTER Power Rangers.
Probably the biggest reason for this is almost no one outside of Japan knew or heard about Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (as well the other Sentai seasons that followed it) while MMPR was being televised back in the day. Even fewer fans knew that pre-Zyuranger series such as Bioman, Changeman, Maskman and Jetman even existed before PR did. It was not until after almost a decade did adult non-Japanese fans realize that the PR franchise gets most of its material from various Sentai series and only mixes them with sequences containing English-speaking actors to help Americanize (and internationalize) it. This explains why people who watch Super Sentai for the first time refer to it as ‘Japanese Power Rangers’ when they should refer to Power Rangers as ‘Americanized Super Sentai’.
Rita Repulsa is, without a doubt, the most iconic villain in the PR franchise. Did Machiko Soga know about this? 😮
2. Rita Repulsa was played by an American actress in MMPR Season 1.
I honestly fell for this. Like I said in my previous post, I really thought that Rita Repulsa was not being dubbed by an American voice actress and it was her actual speaking voice in real life! Only after watching Zyuranger last year did I realize how clueless I was back then. For those who have been living under a rock all these years, Rita Repulsa’s actress (the late great Machiko Soga) was a FOOTAGE ONLY character whose sequences come from selected scenes involving The Witch Bandora – the main antagonist in Zyuranger.
Here is a scene involving Bandora in Zyuranger. This footage was never in used in MMPR for obvious reasons. 😉
But I have to give lots of credit to Saban on this one. They very carefully picked out usable footage of Bandora while meticulously paying attention to detail. In order to help ‘trick’ children into believing Rita Repulsa didn’t come from stock footage, they opted to use Zyuranger scenes wherein Bandora didn’t speak too much or the camera wasn’t closely focused on her mouth. In scenes where they needed to see movement in her mouth, the writers made sure that the lines Barbara Goodson (Rita’s voice actress) would utter would closely match the movement of Bandora’s mouth. A good example of masterful footage selection is demonstrated on the clip below:
It’s around the 5:10 mark of the clip when Rita starts to summon Lokar.
One possible reason why they were able to use quite a lot of Bandora footage was that Machiko Soga didn’t look very Japanese. Well, it could either be that or her costume helped hide her Japanese facial features very well. But they eventually ran out of Bandora footage due to the conclusion of Zyuranger in Japan so they had to hire an American actress to continue portraying her from season 2 up to In Space while keeping the voice actress to help support the story.
Got it? Good.
GaoYellow; one of Super Sentai’s 17 male yellow rangers. Jetman nostalgia anyone?
3. There are more female than male yellow rangers in Super Sentai.
Yes, it may be true that there are more female yellow rangers than male in Power Rangers. But what is true in PR isn’t always in Super Sentai. In fact, there are MORE male yellow rangers than female in the Sentai franchise. Of the 33 Sentai yellow rangers (including YellowBuster from the upcoming series Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters), 17 of them are male and 16 are female. The male yellows may only be ahead by one but still, the females are outnumbered.
As I pointed out in my previous post, Trini’s Zyuranger counterpart is a boy named Boi. If the character’s name was a message for Saban to not make the character female in MMPR, then he clearly wasn’t listening.
For a PR fan with little Sentai knowledge, identifying the gender of the Sentai counterpart of a particular yellow ranger can be done using the 3 ways below:
- Check if the yellow ranger costume has a skirt. If it does, then that yellow ranger is female.
- If the yellow ranger has no skirt, check if anyone else in the team is wearing one. If another member is wearing a skirt, then that yellow ranger is male.
- Only SPD has skirt-less female rangers in PR and their team has 2 females (excluding Kat Ranger, DekaSwan’s counterpart). That ought to make it easier for you. 😀
Those who watched Zyuranger never got to see Goushi wearing Burai’s Dragon Shield.
4. All action sequences in MMPR Season 1 were solely taken from stock footage from the 50 episodes of Zyuranger.
The statement above would have been true if Season 1 of MMPR only lasted for 40 episodes. But it didn’t. Well, this was supposedly Saban’s original plan as he didn’t think that MMPR would instantly become a massive hit.
So in order to keep the ball rolling, Saban did the unthinkable by visiting Toei Company in Japan to order additional specially-made action footage involving the Zyuranger costumes, mecha and new monsters. Like the Zyuranger stock footage from the first 40 episodes, the new footage (popularly referred to as Zyu2) would be mixed with sequences with the American actors to help produce an additional 20 episodes for Season 1 and help create a transition going into Season 2.
Obtaining the Zyu2 footage is considered one of the wisest moves Saban ever made for the PR franchise. This helped them eliminate whatever held them back in terms of storytelling when they were limited to using Zyuranger stock footage. Zyu2 also helped prepare fans of what was to come in Season 2 – thus making sure that PR would be far from becoming a one-hit-wonder.
Speaking in behalf of Super Sentai fans worldwide, I wonder what Zyu2’s story would have been like if it had Geki, Goushi, Dan, Boi, Mei and Burai running the show instead of having Jason, Zack, Billy, Trini, Kimberly and Tommy? Perhaps we’ll never know. 😦