I'm Comparing Super Sentai And Power Rangers To Japanese Sushi And American Sushi!
I would confess that my feelings for Super Sentai and Power Rangers is like me choosing between Japanese sushi and American sushi where while I usually prefer Japanese sushi, I can still enjoy some American sushi. Now it's time to share my rather ridiculous comparison and oddball confession of Super Sentai and Power Rangers to Japanese sushi and American sushi.
So what does Super Sentai and Power Rangers have to do with a comparison with Japanese sushi and American sushi? Well if you know this, sushi was introduced into America then later, we have American-style sushi like California roll which was made to cater to the American audience. Likewise, the same happened with Super Sentai. They couldn't easily introduce it to America because as I'll confess, it tends to be a "weird Japanese show" for some people. The keywords were to localize and adapt, yes Power Rangers is not fake. When Saban and Toei finally had some agreement like royalties and everything, Haim Saban would be equivalent to a guy who wants to franchise the rights to a sushi bar, but he decided to give it a localized touch and sold American sushi instead, just like how McDonald's has different types of menu all around the world. You get McDonald's serving Filipino style, American style, Chinese style, etc. as a multinational corporation.
Now it's time to get your sushi plates ready!!!!
Super Sentai compared to Japanese sushi
Both Super Sentai and sushi came from Japan, both concepts that were later brought to the United States of America. Super Sentai is what you might as well call the very inspiration or source for American sushi. Without Japanese sushi, American sushi wouldn't exist just like without Super Sentai, Power Rangers wouldn't exist. It's sort of like starting a trend that would not exist without a prerequisite then the cycle returns back to its home country scenario.
Sushi's main ingredients started out with seafood and rice but later, more ingredients like tamagoyaki, mushrooms and the like were used. It was supposed to be a food that was low in fat, high in protein and high in carbohydrate. Like sushi, Super Sentai innovated with other ingredients and styles of making Japanese sushi. In the 70s and 80s, Toei started taking ideas from the West like Spiderman (which they created their own Spiderman, sharing the same name). Later, they would also get inspiration from Robocop to create Jiban as a kaijin slaying Robocop, Janperson as a Robocop style series in the 90s and Carranger's extra hero Signalman.
Just a bit of my rather limited knowledge on Japanese culture is this. After World War II, both the U.S. and Japan agreed to bury the hatchet after Emperor Hirohito renounced his so-called divinity, a lot of Imperial Japan's members committed suicide as a result. In the 60s, Japanophilia started to rise in the United States and sushi restaurants started popping. However food in itself is always subjected to cultural changes like how Japanese shaved ice influenced the Filipino halo halo or the Chinese versions of shaved ice, Likewise, sushi itself was innovated for the United States.
Power Rangers compared to American sushi
Well like it or not, Super Sentai and Power Rangers will always have them cultural differences. From what I read in Questor, a producer from Saban went to Japan and wanted to market Super Sentai into the United States. However with the original Japanese format, it would not easily fit with America so there was some thing to do here and there.
Now it's time to do some some elaboration on the history of sushi in the United States. American sushi was created to suit the taste of the Western palate. The invention of the California roll was a response to that need to innovate sushi for the west. Likewise if Toei wanted to do business in the United States, they needed to get their shows adapted and localized into Power Rangers. Haim Saban would sign his contract, get the rights to use some footage and the costumes from Toei and thus Power Rangers was born. I can view Saban has the franchisee of the sushi restaurant with Toei as the franchiser or actual owner. For Saban to click, he would do American sushi while using the supplies of ingredients from Toei (footage, costumes) for the American audience.
If you notice, Power Rangers is not a mere copy/paste. Like American sushi, it adds something to make it well, American. For example, the franchise itself introduces stuff that's very exclusive to Power Rangers like a multiracial team as opposed to Super Sentai's Japanese team (with occasional half-breeds). You can also have the issues of musical styles (compare Bandora's Theme to Hey Rita) having lesser provocative outfit (ex. Zonette's far more a nosebleed than Divatox, Shelinda never had an American counterpart in Lost Galaxy), muscular heroes are more used in Power Rangers than Super Sentai or creating additional villains like Ransik (since Dolnero looks too wimpy for American audiences, so Gluto was a comic relief while Dolnero, NEVER mess with him), tone of seriousness (Zyuranger is considerably more serious than Mighty Morphin Season 1) or humor can vary between cultures (ex. Abaranger vs. Dino Thunder).
Cultural exchange happens between the two shows
Just like you can see American-style sushi in some Japanese restaurants here and there, likewise Super Sentai and Power Rangers ended up having a cultural exchange. Later Super Sentai tends to make some references to America like Jiraiya in Kakuranger grew up in America or maybe, as of late we have Kinji Takigawa who exists as an American-Japanese. So really, I thought of Kinji Takigawa based on a note from TV Tropes concerning Ninninger's Mythology Gag... yeah I know let the debate begin shall we? Kinji is a westernized version of the other rangers and he finds everyone unusual in the team but he slowly warms up. Super Sentai can be viewed as a "weird show" by Americans and Japanese may also think the same but there are Power Rangers fans who warm up to the parent of their beloved show and for somebody who doesn't really like Power Rangers, as I said some seasons are worth a watch. Note, I think whoever made the edit made a typographical error since Power Rangers is less violent than Super Sentai.
When you take a look at this and that, you can look at how ideas tend to exchange not just between the two franchises but also from East and West like how sushi started in Japan, got modified for the Americans then found itself back to Japan. It does remind me of how Power Rangers get dubbed in Japan and now, Super Sentai DVD starting from Zyuranger and now Dairanger will be released by Shout Factory. So really, I can't deny the cycle of influence has taken place. In-between, Super Sentai started to take steps in becoming less serious like adding villains who are pretty dumb (ex. The Bowzock in Carranger) and in some seasons, Power Rangers tried to become more serious than usual like adding villains who reach Sentai standards (ex. Trakeena in Lost Galaxy).
Also I thought about the meeting of Super Sentai cast members with Power Rangers actors. As of late, I really want to give my salutations to Yoshi Sudardo himself. He went to Japan to meet some of the Kyoryugers and the whole cast of Ninninger. Back in Morphicon 2015, you also have Austin St. John meeting with Yuuta Mochizukiand more followed which I think shows acknowledgement to each other. I would say that even if I don't really care too much about Power Rangers nor do I really watch it, think it's part of Toei's cash cow and getting rid of it may considerably cut down earnings.
Closing with my own personal thoughts
Considering that I'm just a passing through Super Sentai fan and I'm no Super Sentai expert (disclaimer above page), I think the same can apply for Power Rangers. Like my preference between Japanese sushi and American sushi, I'd say it's all about the mood like today, I can prefer California Maki or California roll but tomorrow, I want my Japanese sushi. I'd say that even if I prefer Japanese sushi, I can still like American sushi. But does that mean hate American sushi because I like Japanese sushi better? No, either I tend to dislike it or I just like it but I couldn't really like it as much as Super Sentai, something I'm not that much of a big fan of either. Likewise, I feel like Power Rangers is something that while I don't hate it, I am not all that fond of it but I respect its healthy-minded fans.
When I think about both types of sushi, there's also what I can call each one has something good and bad in the other. Super Sentai and Power Rangers is also like that. For the most recent examples, I could really say that Dino Charge should be credited for not having that samba and a more natural cast (at least to my point of view) than its Japanese counterpart Kyoryuger while Shinkenger has better acting and execution than Power Rangers Samurai. Some people even can be mixed with how they rank certain shows like Gingaman, Lost Galaxy, Timeranger and Time Force like they say, "Well, Lost Galaxy's better than Gingaman for me but I still watch them both. They are still good but for me, Lost Galaxy is a better show." type of scenario like how I pick some American sushi and Japanese sushi in a buffet because each variety has something nice to offer.
So what are your thoughts?