My Personal Fanboy Opinions on Kimberly Hart and Rishiya Princess Mei as a Super Sentai Fan!
It's no secret anymore I like Zyuranger better than Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and that I wish the latter ended in just one season. Now I'd like to discuss about my personal opinions on Kimberly and Mei. Knowing I've seen MMPR first, I would discuss about Kimberly though I may limit her discussion most of her first season since Mei was a season long only character written off with everyone in the finale.
It's already obvious my favoritism for Kimberly is wide open, it's no secret. I liked her a lot for shallow reasons. So it's no secret and I've stated it too many times that I watched MMPR as child because she's really hot. It's no secret that I consider her hotter than any Super Sentai or Power Rangers girl... though due to time, Mako gets the crown for me.
For a bit of background. Kimberly is portrayed as the hottest girl in high school although the actress was 23 years old but looking young. She is best friends with Trini. She hangs out with the group. Personality-wise, she is girly while she loves children. In the pilot episode, she complains about breaking a nail which thankfully didn't make it into the actual episode! She also has attracted one of the local bully wannabes, Skull.
For her development, I would find it pretty slow. She's just eye candy for most of the season. Although I have to admit that while she does seem airy, but she isn't. For example, switching bodies with Billy was one experience that started her development. She fooled Skull into kissing Bulk. Her relationship with Tommy was fun to watch as it developed her further. She was sad to see Tommy depart. In spite of her being overly blunt, she's a nice person overall.
Also, I even think that the whole "Dear John" letter episode in Zeo was a "F*CK YOU AMY JO JOHNSON" episode. Sad to say, that was a huge blow to Power Rangers in general.
Rishiya Princess Mei is the Warrior of Love. Now I saw Zyuranger as an adult, not as a child so I guess the impact is pretty different. Some people say Mei is prettier than Kimberly but that's their opinion, I don't find Mei all that attractive compared to Kimberly. I don't find her that attractive. However she's among some Sentai girls I didn't treat superficially... compared to Momoko, Lin, Chisato, Nanami, Ranru, Jasmine, Sakura and Mako. In my case, I find her cute but I don't really watch her for her looks. I watch her only for her character and who she is.
For a bit of background, let's consider that Zyuranger is different from MMPR. The Zyurangers are ancient warriors, not teenagers with positive attitude like the Turborangers and Megarangers. Mei is the Warrior of Love although this love is not limited to romance but love in general. Brotherly love, sisterly love, her love for children. She is a badass archer and she's a warrior. A gain, the Zyurangers are ancient warriors so I feel like a comparison between her and Kimberly is like apples and oranges.
For her development, she's a pretty interesting character. In the episode against Dora Ladon, she gets poisoned because her arrow is the only thing that can stop the monster which nearly kills her. During Dora Guzzler's plague, she takes the risk that she might die like her ancestor (who also looks like her) but she survives. When she fights Dora Boogaran, she gets out of suit, fires some spears and wow... she's done more attacks than Kimberly has. Plus, her rivalry with Lami (whose footage was used for Scorpina) also made her a more interesting character.
Character-wise I find Mei way better written than Kimberly with the reasons stated above. Kimberly appears more as eye candy for me (and a guilty pleasure), Mei has more character development and interesting stuff in her. So it's biased considering I like Super Sentai better than Power Rangers. In short, I like Mei better than Kimberly in terms of characterization and development. I would consider Mei as a better written character.
Now do I dislike or even hate Kimberly now considering I think Mei is written better? I don't. I still blame the producers for the "Dear John letter" which is very out of character for her. I still remember Kimberly as a sweet person. So I still like Kimberly as a character but I like Mei better although appearance-wise, Kimberly is for me way more appealing than most girls. In fact, I find myself liking Kimberly more.