Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Zyu what?

During the holiday weekend, I spent a few hours watching Zyuranger. My wife, asked me why I was watching it since I regularly watch Power Rangers on Netflix already and have really already seen it all multiple times. Aside from the 'I like it', I told her it was a different show. Which, it is. Thinking about it, I don't think that's well established. It's not completely common knowledge that Power Rangers is made from Super Sentai shows, but known well enough that most people do understand that it's made from other footage. Most folks assume that it's basically the same show with just the non action sequences swapped out. Which isn't exactly true.

Zyuranger is a different show from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Sure, the bulk of the sequences in the first season are directly lifted from Zyuranger, but the plotting of the episodes are different. Most Zyuranger episodes are in two parts. The monster of the week is a bigger threat and the Rangers find themselves in more peril. Not to mention, Zyuranger is more of a fantasy show, which adds a certain something. In MMPR, generally the show starts with whatever the kids are doing today. Rita Repulsa bases a monster around this, the monster causes trouble. The kids fight some putties, fight and beat the monster... maybe there's a close call, but it's a happy ending in around 22 minutes usually. The show is silly, fun, and full of dad jokes. It's definitely meant for children and doesn't take itself too seriously.

Zyuranger on the other hand, while meant for children, doesn't shy away from letting the monsters be scary. Usually the episode starts with whatever dilemma the Rangers end up with, be it a quest for some item or a monster is causing all sorts of trouble. The Rangers get involved and during the course of the two episodes just barley win. Generally certain death is hanging over their heads and the lives of whomever they are saving are really in danger. In MMPR, the Rangers are teenagers (with attitude) who are granted their special powers. In Zyuranger, they are warriors from different tribes with different abilities. The Zords in MMPR are part of the deal in the special powers, in Zyuranger they are guardian spirits who have a mind of their own. I almost want to compare Zyuranger with the original Master of the Universe mini-comics.

MMPR is silly, even with it's monsters. Zyuranger takes it's monsters seriously and makes them more threatening. The most evident is in the differences between Rita Repulsa (MMPR) and Witch Bandora (Zyuranger). Rita is basically just an evil witch who was imprisoned and the minute she's free picks the first planet in sight to conquer first. Bandora has more of a tragic back story, wants to kill all the children on Earth and in fact kills the astronauts who accidentally free her. She doesn't mess around either, in her initial assault on earth in the first episode is an all out assault meant to maim, kill, and cause havoc. Rita starts trouble, but it kinda doesn't affect anyone in immediate focus.

I could go on and on forever, and being that this is the internet, others have already. It's a weird how directly different Power Ranger shows are from their Super Sentai counterparts. Even weirder when you consider how many of them were re-dubbed afterwards in Japanese and shown over there. Despite the differences, I don't have a favorite. I like my Power Rangers just fine and have been watching it for 25 years now. It's silly, fun, and kinda badass. Though, as an adult I can really appreciate the more mature Zyuranger. It's hard not too as a fan of this kind of thing. It's badass and tries to be a serious show despite the ridiculousness of it all. I also appreciate that there are two different ways to enjoy whats basically the same thing. In the end, getting more enjoyment out of something isn't a bad deal.

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