Sentai Rambling: Rambling On Zyuranger and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Season One)
I'd like to present my rambling on MMPR Season One vs. Zyuranger as the Super Sentai DVD will soon be released. So I still have a soft spot for the first season and I'd like to talk about Zyuranger as well. So I'd like to do some rambling. So it's not a hate ramble, in fact I will present both sides of the coin and how both sides differ a lot. I'll share my opinions on both shows one way or another. Just a bit as the title suggests, I'm NOT going to go beyond MMPR Season One. Instead, I'll compare the first season with Zyuranger.
So I saw Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers on ABiaS-CBN and they didn't broadcast Zyuranger. For me it's good, I mean I really don't want to recall that awful Bioman dub or the awful Maskman dub. A lot of Tagalog dubs turn out horrible, horrible and horrible and I pretty much hate them. So I didn't mind too much about the black ranger is African or yellow ranger is Asian... HOW MANY TIMES DO I NEED TO KEEP TELLING PEOPLE IT'S NOT RACIST?! So I'd like to share some random thoughts on how both shows were. Before proceeding, remember there will be spoilers so READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger played some roles for me. Back then, I became a Super Sentai purist and thought Mr. Krabs should go to jail. But alter on, I just wanted to be less bias because I discovered Power Rangers is legitimate and not bootleg. So I had a bit of a shock and not a shock and I was amazed at some differences. Zyurangers unlike MMPR wasn't teenagers with attitude but ancient warriors. The theme of teenagers with attitude was later redone in Megaranger. But let's focus on Zyuranger for now.
I don't see too much of a difference between Geki and Jason. Jason feels like he's your typical pre-Zyuranger red ranger. Geki on the other hand is a prince. But overall, they are both good at their own merit. Yuuta Mochizuki is still more experienced though than Austin St. John. Jason isn't the greatest, he was struggling but at least he keeps improving.
I don't need to explain too much here. I still think that having Zack as a different personality over Goushi was good. I'm not all too shocked.
For Billy vs. Dan, well looks like Billy won't like Zyuranger. If he were to want to meet another dino-themed Sentai, it'd be Abaranger and he'd want to learn their technology. But if he were to meet older Sentai, he'd love to meet the Dynamen. Dan was well, not surprisingly, Hideki Fujiwara who guest starred in Chojin Sentai Jetman. David Yost can act and so can Hideki Fujiwara. In my case, I'm Billy over Dan. But Billy would choose Dynaman over Zyuranger.
What didn't particularly shock me was this. I wasn't all too shocked to realize that the yellow ranger is a dude, that was in Turboranger. Plus, the Tiger Ranger suit is far too masculine. Again, it's pretty cultural why Trini is a lady and Boi is a man. Although I think Trini still is a match for Boi when it comes to fighting abilities as she's one badass yellow. It's not all too shocking for me either. I didn't mind too much of the differences.
While I do like both Mei and Kimberly, I do think I have my comparisons here. So okay maybe I'm biased, maybe I'm not but I always like to think of my previously shared opinion. I could share some of my opinions that while enrage them Sentai purist. As of late, I am a Power Rangers neutral because of two bad seasons in a row. I am just hoping Dino Charge may fix the damage in fandom even if I may not like it (you know I really don't like Kyoryuger but Dino Charge may at least fix the damage).
I was thinking about how Super Sentai purists had even gone too far to nitpick Kimberly as a trash-talker. I even remembered a bit of a review years ago that said Mei is prettier and more determined than Kimberly. Now here's my opinion on both sides, yes Mei is more determined (well Mei IS a warrior princess) than Kimberly (who is a teenager).
So what about Mei? Okay I think she's been more developed than Kimberly, no questions asked. She might actually be that badass Skull won't want to kiss her anymore. She has had some badass focus episodes like fighting Dora Boogaran with a booby trap, trying to struggle with her life/death situation and risking her life to defeat Dora Guzzler. Should I mention that while Kimberly didn't fight Scorpina, she fought Lami out of suit. Being a warrior princess, Mei is definitely a better fighter than Kimberly. That would be enough to make her more badass than Kimberly.
Now I'd move forward to Kimberly. Sentai purists tend to treat her as shallow or not to mention trash-talking which she is NOT. Now is she was developed as Mei? Not at all. She had some cool focus episodes though she's not badass, one can see she's not stupid. For instance, she's outsmarted Skull, she managed to land a plane, she had helped a deaf-mute girl gain confidence... I'll just talk about those prior to Zyu2 footage for now. So maybe she's not as great as Mei but what she lacks in strength, she makes up with her mind so she is NOT STUPID. Sure she's no inventor BUT she has her wits in battle. IMO I like Kimberly better than Mei overall even if the latter is the better character because of her charm. =P
What I can complement Zyuranger was this. Zyuranger had a better series of events. MMPR's premiere episodes were pretty messy. Zyuranger managed to write it better. You can read the comparison here. I guess back then, the writers didn't have much of an idea on how to write stuff until later on.
What didn't shock me at all in Zyuranger was Barza. Barza is basically Zordon to the series. He is not trapped in a time warp. If you look closely at some MMPR footage, they had spliced some Barza footage in a few episodes. So I was able to recognize Barza as "Zordon" when I first played the Zyuranger NES game (no offense purists but the MMPR SNES game for me was better). The concept of Zordon was later transported into Gingaman's Moak. I always thought he was a real cool old man who used an ancient book to find solutions out of certain problems. One of my favorite scenes was when he fought Bandora in the beginning and also tried to grab the Singing Squash which he defeated some Golems.
Zyuranger didn't have a Peebo 2.0 that MMPR had. Alpha Five was a U.S. original yet he would have come from a line of hysterical robots. Bioman had Peebo (who looks like a combination of C3PO and a Kamen Rider) then MMPR had Alpha Five. Alpha was completely missing in Zyuranger. I guess the producers back then didn't want to make too many assistant robots. On the other hand, it was okay to add Alpha Five right into MMPR as the first Power Rangers assistant robot.
For Bandora vs. Rita - well the choice is clear. Bandora IS the better villain and so are her minions. Bandora's footage was used for Rita Repulsa and a lot of them were repeatedly played for laughs (but it does bad). Yes, Bandora does get headaches but they were occasional ones and those footage were repeatedly replayed in MMPR for stupid reasons. Most of Zyuranger's typical Tokusatsu villain plot of the week had better execution than Zyuranger. Bandora had a clear sense of direction to what she wanted. Rita Repulsa felt more like a caricature. Yet Soga Machiko would re-dub her scenes in the Japanese dub of MMPR.
What was really not surprising for me is how Lokar is actually Rita's master in Zyuranger. Bandora herself was a queen who lost her spoiled son to a dinosaur attack. In grief, she sold her soul to Dai Satan which she waged war against the dinosaurs until she was defeated by Barza and the Guardian Beasts. She and her minions were sealed away. She ends up showing up as the wicked witch that hates children after she had lost hers. Also, it was probably due to the agreement she had with her master Dai Satan -- she was probably tasked to turning the Earth into a barren wasteland. That alone made her more threatening than Rita herself.
Now for Burai vs. Tommy. Burai wins, hands down. I wasn't exactly surprised to find out Burai died, hero death are very common in Super Sentai. Tommy was just overrated and reused too much, Burai had a proper conclusion. Tommy was my favorite in MMPR but later, I just find myself annoyed by how he's overused by bad writing. =P
So what did I think about Tommy vs. Burai?
Shiro Izumi had previous experience, Jason David Frank was a newbie. So what got me shocked (at first) was that there was no Burai/Mei romance (which is crack pairing, don't EVEN attempt it). I also loved how Burai himself was presented as willingly evil in contrast to Tommy who was brainwashed and crazy (like Maria in Jetman or Magne Warrior in Bioman). Burai's story was a more tragic one. Also, I thought that Burai being willingly evil added the conflict and the fact that he even tried to get rid of Bandora. So his villainy to redemption story for me was more touching than Tommy's being freed from Rita's brainwashing spell or Shota Yamamori being freed from his Magne Suit in Bioman. I thought it was also very predictable he was going to die when I read he only had thirty hours to live. So it's a pretty tight spot for Burai.
What about Tommy? I don't hate the idea of brainwashed and crazy. Tommy's inclusion was fun for me except that some bad writing made him look lazy. He was my favorite MMPR character and I do still like him, but hated the fact he was recycled again in Dino Thunder. I thought the Tommy/Kimberly romance was also a nice sub-plot which at first, made me expect Burai and Mei were a couple. I was saddened by the Green Candle episodes (which I assume could have killed him if he didn't give up his Power Coin) but again, Burai's was more tragic. I thought that Tommy's written off due to script reasons was passable but not as great. I was happy to see him return for the Zyu2 exclusives but later, I simply can't watch MMPR beyond season one.
During the Green with Evil Arc of Zyuranger, I was also amazed to find out that Daizyujin was sentient. So in a way, while Zyuranger was more entertaining, I always thought Dino Megazord being your average Tokusatsu mecha made MMPR a little less confusing in that area. If Daizyujin were sentient, why did it need the Zyurangers? Well I always had the thought of "cooperation" and that the the dinosaur avatars were merely a shell to the Dinosaur God. I always thought Daizyujin was sort of crazy when he asked Geki to kill Burai. But that plot made Zyuranger's Green with Evil more entertaining to watch than MMPR's Green with Evil for me.
While I was surprised that Griforther didn't talk until much later (Goldar was very talkative and just won't shut up... like me), he was different. What didn't surprise me was that Griforther was married to Lami. I mean, even MMPR has Goldar and Scorpina as a couple. So not too surprised really. Also, what also didn't surprise me that Griforther was no pushover against Daizyujin and he was really ferocious. Sad to say, MMPR's over-extended production made Goldar a dummy.
Not to mention, Zyuranger had lots and I mean lots of nightmare fuel compared to Mighty Morphin'. Who can forget that episode when Bandora started kidnapping 13 children to call for the ritual to call back her master Dai Satan? Rita Repulsa did no such thing! Zyuranger has lots and I mean lots of nightmare fuel. Mighty Morphin' didn't have much of a choice though when they brought Dai Satan as Lokar for their side of the fence. I can't deny how I was only ten and I had nightmares about Lokar showing up in the sky but that's just the surface of what nightmare fuel Zyuranger has. Hmmm... they would have probably competed with Disney nightmare fuel such as Maleficent or Aunt Medusa huh?
Many episodes in Zyuranger have that nightmare fuel in spite of the child of the week plot. There was that episode of Dora Ladon turning children into apples in the slowest, most horrifying way possible or Mei getting stuck in her own nightmares. There's the scene of cockroaches creeping out of the ground. There's scene of people getting sick and hospitalized as a result of the monster-of-the-week's attack. It's just that horrifyingly creepy in several levels!
On the other hand, Zyuranger practically explained why Bandora was pretty different as a villain. If you don't mind being spoiled, you can read here. Bandora herself was unique since unlike most villains, her evil was always targeted primarily on children while most villains didn't mind too much about them. Yet if it wasn't for MMPR, I doubt it Toei would have entered America in the first place. Super Sentai and Power Rangers are culturally different so adjustments were needed. Rules and regulations of American TV would not allow Super Sentai to be aired there.
So until now, I always thought that Power Rangers learned their lesson from MMPR's overextension. It was a good thing Power Rangers' Zordon Era ended in PR in Space then Lost Galaxy up to RPM followed Super Sentai's way... that is no more overextension. Still, it was a time of exploration and MMPR Season One for me is still worth my rewatch even if I like Zyuranger better.
So I hope I have presented my point. ^_^