The 90’s gave us a lot of cool stuff that was simple by today’s standards. Nintendo gave us the first 3D gaming system, CDs were the most amazing thing ever invented, Pogs, inline skates, Skit-it, Starter Jackets, Tamagotchis, and lots of other stuff. But one thing that took off like a rocket was “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers.” What most people who watched the show is that it was based on preexisting show.
I know people could tell when the rangers morphed and fought the monster-of-the-day, the look was different compared to the teenagers in high-school in their “civilian form.” Saban used footage from a Japanese children show called “Super Senti” and spliced it with new footage so the show would be “Americanized.” Some might ask why didn’t they just dubbed the footage and keep the show intact like martial arts movies? It’s because different cultures have different tastes, values, and preferences, and children might not be turned on to it without fitting the American culture in the show.
But as I got older I became curious to find any information on the Japanese show. The first thing I should point out is that “Zyurangers,” the specific show that MMPR was based off of, was the sixteenth season of “Super Senti.” It makes sense that something that is popular would be carried over in the American market but being around for more than a decade and a half is an astonishing feat. Not to mention, the show was more Sci-Fi/Fantasy where 170 million years ago five human tribes worshiped Guardian Beasts, which were the Zords. The witch Bandora, Reta Repulsa in MMPR, killed all the dinosaurs after her son Kai died. Bandora was locked away on another planet, which returned in 1992. Astronauts freed Bandora while exploring the planet which was the opening shot of MMPR. After she was free, the five warriors of justice were awaken from their suspended animation to battle her once again.
Goushi, portrayed by Seiju Umon, was a knight of the Sharma Tribe, which worshiped the Mammoth. His older sister Otome was killed by Bandora, and he vowed to avenge her death. Goushi’s American counterpart was Zack Taylor, portrayed by Walter Jones.
Mei was a princess of the Lithia Tribe, portrayed by Reiko Chiba, who worshiped the Pteranodon not the Pteradactyl. Despite the MMPR, she was the only female member of the Zyurangers. Her American counterpart was Kimberly Hart, portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson. Funny side-note is that the PteraRanger’s attribute is Love, which is probably why Kimberly’s last name is Hart.
Dan, played by Hideki Fujiwara, was a knight from the Etoffe Tribe. Unlike his American counterpart Billy Cranston, he seemed to be a bit laid back compared to everyone else on his team. Billy, played by David Yost, was the intellectual of the group, often solving and creating inventions for problems the team had. However, Dan is a great fighter despite his personality.
One of the biggest changes to the Japanese show was changing the sex to the Yellow Ranger/TigerRanger. Here is a great example of clashes between cultures. While yellow might seem as a color to other countries, in America, yellow is considered to be a girl color. This explains why Kimberly’s costume had a skirt while Trini Kwan, played by Thuy Trang, didn’t and why she is mostly a tomboy in MMPR and saddens me that the actress died in 2001 in a car accident. Although Bio is the youngest member on the team, he is headstrong and courageous.
The leader of the Zyurangers is Geki, played by Yuta Mochizuki. He was adopted by the Yamato Tribe King only to find out that his birth father wanted to overthrow the King. Geki found out the truth of his origins after finding out his older brother Burai wanted to avenge his fallen father by killing Geki and the other Zyurangers. Geki’s American counterpart was Jason Lee Scott played by Austin St. John.
I saved the best for last. When Power Rangers first aired, it exploded in our pop culture, but what cemented it was the evil Green Ranger Tommy Oliver portrayed by Jason David Frank and has been a favorite character in Power Rangers. In Zyurangers, Burai was Geki’s older brother and wanted Geki and the team dead. The entire ark of the two brothers battling it out was definitely a highlight of Zyurangers. Burai wasn’t controlled by the rangers’ main villain but instead controlled by anger, revenge, and sorrow. I would spoil the character’s journey from the show because I recommend that you watch it yourself on ShoutFactoryTV.com. If you’re a Power Rangers fan, you will not be disappointed in watching it. It makes me wish MMPR would have done more overlap than what they did in the show.
We are just one week away from the new reincarnation of Power Rangers in the US, and I can’t wait to see it. When Lionsgate announced that they were making another movie to the franchise, some people said this was stupid. And I can see where they were coming from: the first movie did okay while the second tanked during their releases. But in this new age of Superheroes, I thought it is worth a chance. However, they could make it like the 90s TV show or the Japanese show. It had to evolve with our modern time, and judging from the trailers, the pictures, and Elizabeth Banks portrayal of Reta, I think they got a winning combination. I can not wait until I see if it lives up to my hopes of having a successful rebooted franchise that was apart of my childhood. Be sure to stick around for a post credit scene mid-way through the credits.