Super Sentai Humor and Power Rangers Humor Compared
Super Sentai humor and Power Rangers humor is usually based on possible cultural differences, I felt like the need to understand them. American humor tends to on repeated stupidity and humiliation like Rita Repulsa keeps getting headaches almost every episode. Japanese humor tends to be based on genuine mistakes causing embarrassment which tend not to be overly done (ex. Bandora's headaches are very seldom done). Now it's time to take a look at how humor is carried out between the two genres and at the same time, I'd consider this an analysis on how I should write humor.
Comic relief characters
If you take a look at how comic relief characters are done in Super Sentai and Power Rangers, you might notice how one relies on genuine mistakes causing embarrassment (but the characters do develop) and the other relies on repeated stupidity and humiliation. At the same time, I could talk about the contribution of the plot of these characters.
In Power Rangers, most of the comic relief characters tend to be pretty useless. As a child, I used to find Bulk and Skull funny but most of the time, they do nothing but irritate people in moving the plot forward. First they start off as local bullies who end up as just nuisances, Skull has a crush on Kimberly which disgusts me and later, they just go from one stupid shenanigan after the other like trying to uncover the identity of the Power Rangers. Other characters we can find are Lt. Stone for Zeo to Turbo, Professor Phenomenus for PR in Space and Lost Galaxy where he had lesser appearances, Cassidy and Devin for Dino Thunder, and Spike (with the return of Bulk) for Power Rangers Samurai.
In Super Sentai, the comic relief characters are usually either from within the team or a plot moving ally. Zyuranger has Dan and Boi as the occasional comedic duo who improve along the way. Megaranger had Kenta, Kouichiro (I really find him the funniest) and Miku who tend to be comic relief in certain episodes. Gingaman has the father/son comedy team together with Bokku who act as mild comedy for an otherwise serious series. Abaranger has old man Ryunosuke who owned Dino Curry, Emiri who serves as Yukito's secretary and love interest and later Yatsudenwani who didn't appear all the time but was another example of monsters who reformed to tell the tale. Shinkenger had at least two comic reliefs namely Ryunosuke and Genta was added later on. I always thought Felix Ryan was totally wasted and that Spike was a depowered Genta. Maybe I could also note about Shinkenger episode 14 had a Bulk-like character in Mr. Brown. Post-Samurai, I always thought good thing he left at the end of the episode or two, good thing that he didn't bring Spike with him in that funny episode or the show would have been ruined.
Perversity or perverted jokes are not allowed in Power Rangers
This was probably what shocked me a bit about Super Sentai the more I watched it. Granted, I haven't really seen all series subbed and that I was just pretending to be a know it all when this blog started but now I confess my error (which I see my fic SS vs. PR as an old shame comes to an indefinite hiatus when I see my mistakes by watching more Sentai and plus, I'll confess I'm somewhat mentally unstable) and now I confess which series I've watched from start to end, but still even while reading episode summaries and watching raw, I was shocked at several degrees of perversity.
Let's try to take a look at the child rangers Justin and Kou. At first, I thought Kou was just another child but man, I didn't realize he was actually a perverted character during his introduction arc. The first time I saw Kou grope Lin on a raw Dairanger footage, I said WTF... then I remembered that the younger Takeru in Maskman lifted the skirts of Haruka and Momoko. In Power Rangers Turbo, you couldn't have Justin groping Kat, Cassie or Ashley right? Though I did also imagine to a certain extent, what if Justin groped Kimberly in the Power Rangers Turbo movie.
Abaranger and Dino Thunder also had that difference. While Yatsudenwani's counterpart was killed off in Dino Thunder, Yatsudenwani reformed (in some way) but kept his perverted tendencies. If you think about Yatsudenwani's appearances both in Abaranger's canon and the VS. Continuity's canon, he keeps a certain degree of perversity. In Abaranger, he has a crush on Ranru and even wanted to marry her which I think is just either funny or plain disgusting. In the crossovers, it was kept around. Cassidy and Devin were just regular idiots compared to Yatsudenwani who was some sort of pervert.
Other examples of perverted jokes in Super Sentai I can remember are as follows. In Turboranger, Daichi's sumo diaper was accidentally pulled off making him nude in public but he covered his private part at the end of the episode. In Jetman, Gai Yuki and Raita tricked Ryu into falling into the women's bath area. Dekaranger had Umeko in the tub (which an Alienizer in Hoji's body also saw her by accident) and in one episode, she saw Tetsu (in script anyway) in his full frontal glory.
Well-timed humor vs. blatant silliness
I don't know about this but I personally think Super Sentai has juicier ham than Power Rangers. I'll just admit, I prefer the humor of Zyuranger over Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers which I think is just purely cultural reasons. It might be time to do some more of the Zyuranger/MMPR comparison which for me might help define my writing style to help write better stuff in the future.
Now aside from Bulk and Skull being a constant nuisance for me (but it looks like they were loved by Power Rangers fans for their running gags), I could start with mentioning Rita Repulsa and how she was carried out in MMPR. As I mentioned earlier, American humor tends to rely on repeated stupidity and humiliation. You might see that with Rita Repulsa herself who is an evil for evil's sake villain with, "Hey let's conquer the nearest planet, Earth!" Most of her dialogue is simply focused on her dream to be EVVVVIIIILLL like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers. What got pretty old was that most of the time, the MMPR cast would overly replay her headache scenes based on Bandora's footage.
I personally find Bandora funnier and her jokes don't get old. Maybe it's because her humor is based on genuine mistakes causing embarrassment. Like after her Dora Ladon was defeated, she doesn't say, "You call yourself bad guys." but rather "I was this close to eternal youth!" throwing the clay sculptures at her minions. From episodes 17-18, she shows her hammy side with a dance number celebrating at the fact that Burai might be the key to her success against the Zyurangers. Episode 17 had her dancing with her minions and in episode 18 she is dancing with her minions while they kidnap a child knowing they could blackmail the Zyurangers into giving up the dinosaur eggs. Plus, Bandora's "I've got a headache." aren't overly replayed in almost every episode.
Super Sentai properly uses "science of stupid" as plot material more than Power Rangers does
What I love about Super Sentai is that it tends to use what I call as the "science of stupid" in such a way in later seasons, something I think Power Rangers does wrong or fails to use properly. Carranger itself appears as a very unique parody that's hard to replicate. The comedy are truly hard to do and needs some experience, criticism and a lot more before it's even done properly which I learned based on bad reviews on my very first fan fic which has soured pretty bad and as said, it's indefinite hiatus so to those who like it, sorry for that plus I'm pretty busy with real life. Like think of all the comedy the show has to offer from Grotch buying potato jelly from an unsuspecting Imocho, to the Bowzock having a very low common sense level or the Robocop parody called Signalman is too stiff. Whenever I watch the show, I always thought that it might be a cultural thing why Carranger is mostly a funny series.
When I think about it, Super Sentai tends to have more intellectually stupid characters than Super Sentai whether it be the heroes or the villains. When I started looking at some of them, you might notice Super Sentai rangers tend to have at least one idiot in some seasons. A pretty good example might be that Dan in Zyuranger is a slacker while Billy is a genius, Gouki is somewhat inattentive while Kai Chen in Lost Galaxy is a stuck-up know it all, Ban in Dekaranger is a fireball idiot (but with lots of determination) compared to Jack in SPD and Ronnie in Operation Overdrive isn't a ditz compared to Natsuki. However, these characters develop overtime from a bad start to a good ending which for me is also the right application of the science of stupid.
Not to mention, I started to look into the differences of Carranger and Go-onger to their Power Rangers counterparts Turbo (no not Turboranger) and RPM. If you notice this, PR Turbo tried to be serious in contrast to Carranger's comedy but failed. Power Rangers RPM was able to film more original footage and be way more serious than Go-onger. While Go-onger was about a comedy series, RPM was mostly serious as it takes place on Earth occupied by the Venjix Virus. So I just wonder is it for cultural reasons that those changes happen?
August 16, 2015