So last week I told you all a little something about my history with the classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers toy line. Short version, they were great toys, and legitimately captured the spirit of the show it capitalized. Today, I figured since the topic is fresh in my mind, I might as well linger on the subject and see just how much loose ends I can get tied up from my childhood. You see, Power Rangers is one of those shows I used to think was the greatest thing in existence. The way things stacked up in my life, it was like Power Rangers, Rugrats, and Breathing. (Give me a rest, I was six and had Aspergers Syndrome.)
But now I’m 22-years-old and the problem I have with The Power Rangers is… well actually I have tons of problems with them. To start, it’s not aged well in the slightest. To put it in perspective, I can go back and watch the late 80’s cartoon of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the first two Ninja Turtle movies, and I’ll still have a fun time with them, but if I go back and watch the Power Rangers or its first movie, I just feel embarrassed.
I don’t know what it really is. Is it just easier for me to stand cheesy one-liners and over exaggerated poses when they’re being done by cartoon and animatronic turtles rather than live action teenagers in spandex? Maybe, but that’s just the beginning of the questions I have to ask myself right now. So without further ado, here are some of the biggest head-scratchers of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
To start, I would like to make it really clear that many of these questions have one answer, so I will get those out of the way right now.
8. How come there is a difference in the video quality between the kids at Angel Grove and the Rangers kicking butt?
7. How come Rita Repulsa’s lips never seem to match what she’s actually saying?
6. How come every time an enemy attacks, Angel Grove suddenly turns into a barren wasteland, only to look perfectly normal once the battle is over?
5. Why is it sunny in space?
And probably the most mind boggling of them all…
4. WHY did the Yellow Ranger look like a dude?
All of these questions and more can be answered quite simply. It all happened one day when I was at my friend David’s 18th Birthday party, and one of the gifts another friend gave him were torrents of the first episodes of a Japanese series known as Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, the 16th installment of the long running Super Sentai series.
So to answer the questions in order,
8. Every time you saw the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on the battlefield fighting Goldar, Putty Patrollers, and assorted space monsters, it was stock footage of the Zyurangers from Japan with the American cast simply dubbing over the action with their own voice work (not much different from any typical anime).
7. The same went for any scene in Rita Repulsa’s lair with all her evil minions, so her voice was dubbed too. Or at least until Lord Zedd showed up in season two, who was in fact created by the American run (which would explain how the lair started to look different after a while), and Rita was recast and filmed in America as well. Besides that, the only real scenes that Saban Entertainment had complete creative control over were the ones in Angel Grove, during school or at Earnie’s Juice bar (Yeah, I can’t remember the name of the juice bar, but I can remember the dude who ran it. My mind’s weird), or the scene’s at the command center with Zordon and Alpha 5.
6. In the first episode, I can see that they tried to establish that Zordon’s command center was somewhere in the middle of the deserts of California, and that’s just where the bad guys decided to make their frequent battleground for convenience sake, but frankly, Saban was just working with what they were given from the original material. I mean it’s not like they forked over millions of dollars for the rights to remake all the costumes for the Rangers and the Puttys and all the other monsters so they could put in the effort to film their own fight scenes. That would be ridiculous.
5. In the original Zyuranger series, the scene of Rita (whose original name was Bandora) and her minions escaping the dumpster actually took place on her home planet Nemesis, not the moon. Yeah, not the most original name for a planet, but at least it’s more interesting than astronauts just finding it on the moon. Not to mention it makes sense to why there would be atmosphere to create a sky.
And 4. Because he WAS a dude. The original Tiger Zyuranger was in fact a boy, and his name was Boi. If that is not the most ironic thing ever, I don’t know what is.
So yes, that means that Ptera Zyuranger Mei was the only female in the group. Not only that, she was a princess, and was prettier and had a personality that was eons more likeable than our Pink Power Ranger.
So, seeing as many of the show’s plot holes and inconsistencies are all simply a technicality due to its rough east-to-west transition, all of these I can forgive. But I still have problems with the show, and one revolves around the biggest plot hole of them all.
3. What secret identities?
So there are three rules our five heroes are given by Zordon when he makes them Rangers. First is never use their power for personal gain; okay that’s perfectly understandable. Second is to never instigate a confrontation unless Rita forces them; pretty self-explanatory. Yet the most simple and rudimentary rule of all somehow becomes the most puzzling, and that is to keep their identity secret. Now normally, this is a rule every superhero follows in order to keep their friends and family safe from their enemies. Only that holds no ground for the Rangers, because right from the start, Rita knows all five Rangers by face and name, so what’s to stop her from simply zapping Angel Grove off the planet and threatening the lives of their friends and family? Oh right, kids show.
But even so, who are they really keeping their identity secret from? Their peers? Well it’s a good thing Principal Caplain, Mrs. Crabtree, Earnie, and everyone else in the neighborhood knows how well the five of them get along perfectly, despite all the stark personality differences between them, and how most of them have demonstrated some kind of physical skill (karate, dance, gymnastics, tai-chi. Guess who’s who?) and how all five of them conveniently wear the colors of the five Rangers on a regular basis. There are even two other kids in their same class that see them every day, and their whole purpose in the show is to find out the identity of the Power Rangers. How much more obvious could they possibly make it for them? How stupid could they possibly be?
2. How is this show still alive after 18 years?
Power Rangers has become the Deadpool of children’s television: it’s annoying, yet no matter how many times it’s shot down, it never ever dies. Don’t ask me how many seasons there have been. I lost count around the Lost Galaxy, or whatever. Okay, I understand if this is a cult following for kids in Japan, but I don’t see why we keep subjecting our own kids to a watered down, dubbed version of it when it’s obviously long past its prime here in the states. Don’t kids have better things to watch now? With all the money these people spend in trying to culture wash it, they might as well make a whole entire TV show. You know, like VR… Troopers. Or Beatle…Borgs. Or Super Samurai Cyber…Squad. You know what, forget I said that.
Okay people, last one. But certainly not least…
1. Why is that theme so catchy?
I still remember what the show lineup was on Fox Kids weekdays after school. Back then, it was Batman The Animated Series, followed by Animaniacs, and then Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Now those first two shows I just mentioned are freaking AWESOME shows. They are just about the pinnacle of animation and writing in the 90’s and they both appealed to a wide audience of younger and older kids. Both have aged significantly well and I miss them dearly. But the saddest part of this story was that the ONLY reason I watched those two shows as a kid was to kill time before Power Rangers. That’s terrible. I mean yeah I did grow to eventually like them too, but I never loved them the way they deserved.
However if you were several watts brighter than me at the time and did appreciate those two shows and watched them every day, you wouldn’t turn off your TV’s just as soon as they were over. Why? Because immediately after, the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger theme song would come on, and even if you despised that show to no end, you would stay and wait till the theme was over before shutting it off and saving yourself the embarrassment. That’s how powerful it was. In fact, I’m almost ready to believe that song left a subliminal message in my young mind that hypnotized me to watch it. It told me, “Be honest with yourself Little Gus. If this show is a fragment as bad ass as this song, you know it’s going to be epic.”
Wait? That’s all the time we have left? But I still have more questions. Way more. Like… how is Billy smart enough to create a flying car, but not smart enough to only keep it around for one episode? Why is Johnny Y. Bosch, the Black Ranger from seasons two through five, the only actor with a legitimate career once they’re off the show? How come these kids never have any parents? Are they just completely oblivious that their kids are out fighting in giant robots that could very easily destroy the city, but for some reason don’t? Why does every single monster they fight spontaneously combust every single time they are defeated, even when they are completely organic?
Fine Zodron, you bigheaded… head. Great, now I’ve caught the stupid. Guess now is a good time to stop before it gets any worse. Until next time guys.
Ugh… I guess I have to say it now.
“Go forth, and may the power protect you.”
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