Taking Super Sentai And Power Rangers Into Space!
While Grown Ups In Spandex is subbing Changeman and Flashman, I felt like the popularity of space-based science fiction like Star Trek, Star Wars and maybe some Marvel Comics series have inspired some characters. Then we had Power Rangers in Space and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy which took Power Rangers into space.
Taking Super Sentai into space during the 80s...
Dengeki Sentai Changeman
Some Super Sentai powers were taken from alien sources like Denziman and Bioman. Denziman was the start of space themes, Bioman was more on the science theme while having extraterrestrial technology. Changeman then had both space technology and military hardware at their disposal. Their mission is to stop Star King Bazoo from making Earth its next target. Bazoo has a "united alliance of evil" from different planets whom he rules over with an iron fist. The Changemen's severe training soon awakened the Earth Force. The five survivors of the Gozma's initial attack managed to become the Changeman themselves. What's more so "in your face" with the space theme is that their flying fortress is in the shape of a space shuttle.
Gozma's ruler Star King Bazoo as the "grand monarch of evil" in Changeman's storyline. Members of the Gozma are usually forced to fight against their will. Bazoo as the "grand monarch of evil" would threaten destruction of their home worlds. I feel like he's one of the scariest villains to ever grace the scenes of Super Sentai during the 80s. He appears as some kind of head and torso, speaking and giving commands to his troops. Along with him were a group of people that followed his commands since he held their home planets hostages. Monsters were taken from various planets of Star King Bazoo's empire to help conquer Earth. He had a "united alliance of evil" with Commander Giluke, Princess Shiima, Adjutant Buuba, Gator and later Ahames.
The villains here were complicated. Some of them willingly served Bazoo but others because their planets were under hostage. Ahames may have been a cruel adversary but she was also loyal to her planet. Buuba had a caring heart for Shiima. Shiima was an Amanga princess who was raised to be evil since childhood and she has that conflict in her. Gator may be the comic relief but there's more than just that as he's not really there at his own free will. Much of the off-screen conflict in Changeman happens in space. Buuba would later have in contact with his old pirate crew, Shiima starts to rediscover her roots and Gator missed his family badly.
Just one year after Changeman, we have Flashman still under Hirohisa Soda and Takeyuki Suzuki. It was going to be the next Soda era Super Sentai with an assistant android in Mag. IMO, Mag is the most unusually shaped Super Sentai assistant android that they could get an Alpha robot instead. But that's 80s. Flashman's plot isn't a sequel to Changeman but it is its own story. The story has five children who got kidnapped by alien hunters, the spaceship for some reason crashed into the Planet Flash. So we've got a "lost galaxy" theme with five children who grow up in the Planet Flash and its four moons. Years later, they would use the technology they grew up with to battle the Reconstructive Empire Mess.
Taking Power Rangers into space for two seasons
Power Rangers in Space
Years later, Power Rangers was going to a more serious direction but not too serious. After Power Rangers Turbo, it was said that Power Rangers in Space was intended to be the final Power Rangers season. Hmmm it was also said that Jetman was intended to be the final Super Sentai season. The outcome ended up that interest in Power Rangers was renewed thanks to Power Rangers in Space. It was the grand finale for the Zordon Arc as four out of five of the Turbo cast (second half) became part of the team. Sidenote, the Megarangers have their INET base in space even if the theme was more on a conflict of sciences.
The plot of Power Rangers in Space differs from Megaranger. While Megaranger was more or less a huge tribute to Hirohisa Soda's era of Super Sentai with Bioman and Turboranger themes going on, Power Rangers in Space wasn't a science themed Power Rangers. Instead, the show focused on Andros who wasn't from Earth as the red ranger. The show was space-themed focusing on their battle to destroy the United Alliance of Evil once and for all. The villains have Dark Specter as the self-proclaimed Grand Monarch of Evil, Astronema as the "queen" with her bodyguard Ecliptor and Elgar ends up as comic relief.
I felt like the show had some references to Changeman with the villains. Dark Specter rules as an intimidating tower of destruction. Hmmm they could have used Bazoo's footage there you know. Then you have Astronema's similarity to Shiima as both characters were kidnapped and raised to be evil since childhood. Ecliptor serves as the Buuba of the story as they rival the red rangers while protecting the Shiima counterpart. Elgar well ended up serving Gator's role in some way as the comic relief but had a more different approach. The show also had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as part of the Power Rangers' continuity.
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy
While the series is based on Gingaman but the series is far from Gingaman. I don't feel like making too many comparisons on both series because one's a treehugger, the other feels like a pseudo-sequel to Flashman in its own way. What's not too surprising is that Changeman was immediately followed by Flashman then we have Power Rangers in Space followed up by Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. The series takes place in the Terra Venture which is a space station designed for space travel. There's still some Gingaman stuff into it like Leo replacing his older brother on field. The plot of the Quasar Sabers may be partly from Gingaman but the Lost Galaxy Rangers didn't use them based on lineage. Instead, they pulled out the swords and were worthy. King Arthur and the Excalibur anyone?
The villains in Lost Galaxy also differ from Gingaman. Scorpius and Trakeena were Power Rangers exclusive. No, I don't see Trakeena as a Shelinda counterpart as both are too different. Instead, I view Trakeena as what if Ahames were the daughter of Lar Deus. Scorpius may feel like a spiritual successor to Lar Deus in his own way. Dr. Hinelar's mutated form was made into the first general Furio while Sanbash was later made into the villain Villamax. Villamax might have been an attempt to insert a Sir Kaura type of villain into the show or not. Trakeena on the other hand shows signs of being a cruel a cunning villain that's more of an 80s Super Sentai villain like Ahames than today's Super Sentai or Power Rangers villain.
So what's with the Flashman themes? Now Lost Galaxy may not have addressed the issue of genetic manipulation but it's still space themed. I felt like the cast of Lost Galaxy would look better cosplaying as the Flashmen in their attires than the Gingamen in their attires. I'd probably give my thumbs up if they were imitating the Flashmen on stage over their Japanese counterparts. I felt like Leo was trying to be more of Jin than Ryoma. I feel like maybe Danny Slavin would end up choosing Flashman over Gingaman. I'd give him thumbs up if that ever happens. The U.S. exclusive footsoldiers the Sting Wingers were bug-themed like the Zorors of Flashman. Both shows have a lost galaxy involved in their plots executed in their own way.