Friday, July 19, 2013

The Blurry Line Between Super Sentai and Power Rangers

I have been planning this post for a while, since June actually. I know this is a controversial topic. There seems to be a divide between Power Ranger fans and Super Sentai fans. There are indeed fans that like both Power Rangers and Super Sentai but it is a small group. I do know that at least more than half of Power Force know Sentai and like both PR and Sentai, others just know Power Rangers but have no problems with Sentai. When some people mention that Power Rangers and Super Sentai are the same thing, most fans get angry. It can be both sides, the Sentai fan could get insulted or the Power Ranger fan would get insulted. Power Rangers fans mostly like when shows take a departure from the Sentai, hence the dislike of Samurai and consensus of love for RPM and In Space. 

But I bring this up because now with Super Megaforce using footage and material from Gokaiger, we are starting to see Super Sentai from before Zyuranger (other wise Pre-Zyu or Pre-MMPR) spill into the US. Jetman Figuarts are starting to be available in the United States. The new Universe of Hope cards (that have been delayed a SECOND time to July 26th) have Goranger and Sun Vulcan characters on it. Also, Dairanger seen in a marketing teaser for Super Megaforce, Ryuuranger (Red) cameos in an early episode of Megaforce, US Ranger Key prototypes at the SDCC made for them and the Super Megaforce Rangers become them in Episode 2 of Season 2. So it's all starting to come together, it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference between them... just kidding. But you know what I mean, they are getting closer and closer after years of being distinctly different. At least visually.

Obvious differences are that one series is in English set in the United States but the other is in Japanese set in Japan. Where as the majority of Super Sentai members being Japanese (Kyoryu Cyan being White and Houhouranger being half Chinese and other characters like that), Power Rangers usually have diverse groups of different ethnicities (especially with New Zealand and Australian actors). Power Rangers of course have less teams than Power Rangers and Dairanger suits were not used but they did change into them in Super Megaforce. Also, there VRV Master of Carranger upgraded to a Ranger as Phantom Ranger in Power Rangers Turbo. Titanium Ranger, the Spirit Rangers and A-Squad Rangers are exclusive to PR. Also, the Battlizers (save for the SPD one), new cycles and other different items and armors. In Japan, it has been a tradition to have a movie annually of the current series (usually double-billed with a Kamen Rider movie) whereas in the US, the last movie was Turbo. And now Teamups which are annual tradition, are also in theaters. Teamups usually are part of the episode count in Power Rangers, save for "Clash of the Red Rangers" which was a TV Special.

Obviously they use the same footage. Basically we are dealing with a team of 3 or 5 young people who transform with either a handheld item or wrist brace (etc.) and fight grunts, then a monster of the day. The monster of the day grows and they enter robots that combine to save the day. And they usually get new members added to the team. Also the rotating actors year by year.

 What Power Ranger fans don't like about Sentai
"Too Goofy." This is what I hear often when people who never seen Sentai talk about Sentai. It is the cultural differences. People find it weird. What can be weird? Is it the cross-dressing? Is it the Anime-like visual effects at time (Abaranger, Go-Onger, etc.)? Is it the talking dinos (Abaranger) or talking cars (Go-Onger)? Could it be that the whole cast starts dancing and singing at the ending titles? (Hurricanger, Magiranger, Go-Onger, Kyoryuger, Go-Busters, etc.) But it doesn't happen every year. Or could it be the balloon-monster (Go-Onger) or the cutie monster (Boukenger) or various ridiculous monsters? A lot of people don't understand it if they don't understand the Japanese culture.

 What Super Sentai fans don't like about PR
"Too water-down and specifically aimed for children by scared American parents." Super Sentai fans find that Power Rangers has been 'watered down' or a softer simpler version of Sentai. That it is made in fear that kids would imitate violence (hence explosions that appear behind people in the Disney era) and imitate behavior. Also, all the death and consequences are cut out. Many Rangers have died in Sentai, there are characters that are perverts or otherwise, there is guns and real bullets and oh also blood. The above picture from Mystic Force, Necrolai is looking at piles of feathers that used to be the Power Rangers thanks to a MotD, in Magiranger, the monster created a parasite in people's stomachs that killed them.

MORE after the 'jump.'

Power Rangers 20th Anniversary Merchandise
Super Sentai are starting to slip into Power Rangers through merchandise, mostly because Gokaiger covers the past 35 years of Super Sentai and some elements have been slowly seeping in for the 20th anniversary of Power Rangers. Andy of Action Card Game Facebook page says these were approved by Saban and that they are just shoutouts to Sentai fans, doesn't mean they will be in the show.
Red Megaforce Ranger (with VulEagle of Sun Vulcan -- exclusive)
Black Megaforce Ranger (With MidoRanger of Goranger exclusive)
Blue Megaforce Ranger (with AoRanger of Goranger -- exclusive)
Yellow Megaforce Ranger (with Ki Ranger of Goranger-Henshin Justice exclusive) 
 Pink Megaforce Ranger (With MomoRanger of Goranger-- Henshin Justice exclusive)

At the SDCC preview, TokuNation reported that the ShishiRanger of Dairanger key was at the Bandai display. The Super Megaforce Rangers do become the Dairanger in Season 2.

 Last year at SDCC, they had the Ryuuranger helmet to the right.

Red Hawk Figuart is already available at and Black Condor Figuart will be available soon. They are from Jetman.

Super Sentai characters in the Power Rangers Monolopy 
Picture from FuryDiamond of Megaforcecast

Power Rangers in Korea
 In South Korea, as I have mentioned before, show Super Sentai show with the Power Rangers name. In the opening sequence theme song, they use the Super Sentai song (for example Boukenger) but replace the name Boukenger with Power Rangers. Why would Bandai use the Power Rangers name but use Super Sentai show? Well my theory is that it is better to use Asian faces better than American ones to localize the show, also maybe they don't want to use the Japanese names but American names to have it be more accessible. The Koreans don't like Japanese, it is the main reason that Shinkenger wasn't adapted because it was 'too Japanese.' Believe it or not, Bandai (the entire company) counts considers profits of Super Sentai and Power Rangers internationally all clumped as 'Power Rangers.'

Lavender Ranger's Opinions
People might get insulted but I do see Power Rangers and Super Sentai not as the same exact thing but in the same grouping and genre. Power Rangers is a rare series in a class of their own, as it is imported but no dubbed. In the case of Digimon, Sailor Moon, Pokemon and other Japanese material, it is just dubbed. Sometimes its localized and they change some things around and basically the same series, just translated. With Power Rangers, they take Super Sentai footage, put on the mute button and edit it and not use all of it. They use their own actors and create their own stories and move it all around. So in a sense, Go-Onger isn't RPM and RPM is not Go-Onger but they do look alike. With Samurai and Shinkenger, they are very similar, same story, same twists, same plot lines, but different actors and different order and pace of said twists and plot. I am NOT saying that they PR and Sentai are the SAME EXACT thing. But I am saying since they use the same footage, same costumes and themes, so they are in the same family, closer than brother and sister, maybe like brother and brother like a year apart.

I am not saying that Power Rangers are becoming Super Sentai and Super Sentai is becoming Power Rangers. I am not saying they ever would. But I don't like all this fighting. I want the fandoms to unite. I think both can co-exist in peace, ha ha. I hate the thinking 'this one is better than another.' Maybe one could be handled more like the other or visa versa. I have been told by some fans that I unite the fandoms. The point of the name 'Henshin Grid' was 'Henshin' from Sentai and other Tokusatsu and 'Grid' from 'Morphin Grid' from Power Rangers. I guess healthy competition is not a bad thing. But completely hating one is like hating the one you love, if that makes many sense. They are made from the same cloth in my opinion.
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Greg S said...

I think of it this way....without Super Sentai there would be no Power Rangers.Without Power Rangers ALOT of people wouldn't even known what Super Sentai was without being in Japan or another country that shows sentai.I say can't we all just get along?I've been a Power Rangers fan from day 1.I enjoy both shows.

Lavender Ranger said...

Greg S, good point, I forgot to say that.

Jonathan said...

Greg S makes an excellent point.

I prefer Sentai, but have no beef. It's not like SS will disappear just because of PR, like the Special Editions of Star Wars. They're both around, they're both fun, and heroes from either show can kick but and take names :)

DaiRed1987 said...

I watched every Power Ranger season from season 1 all the way to Wild Force. By the time Mystic Force arrived I discovered Magiranger and from then on, never watched, cared for, or even liked Power Rangers anymore. Why? because I feel Super Sentai has better action scenes and better stories, whether its the hero or villain, the viewer becomes emotionally attached and can become invested into how the series plays out. As an adult I just see Power Rangers as goofy now and Super Sentai more mature (though some sentai seasons have been more comedic base) I've just became an Super Sentai fan for life.

G Money said...

What's with maskman dairanger goranger and sun Vulcan doing on the monopoly box?!?!?!?

Carlos Z said...

I agree with @Greg S. One feeds the other and vice-versa. However I do want to point out what @DaiRed1987 mentioned. I still view myself as a "power ranger" fan first and foremost as I've been with the show since MMPR. Waved off at the end of Galaxy, came back for Dino Thunder then left again and it wasnt until RPM that I came back. But my thing is this: I watched my first full season of sentai when Gokaiger came out. At around that same time, PR returned with Saban for Samurai. I immensely enjoyed Gokaiger and made me look forward to the use of Gokaiger in PR. However, I've been really put off and dissapointed from Saban's latest iterations of Samurai and all of Megaforce because the lack of motivation to make a good unique product. I enjoy PR because its the same but different. Here lately we either get a carbon copy (samurai) or an ill attempt at recreating MMPR with megaforce. I liked how PR tried to be different from its sentai counterpart. But if they continue this way, I'd rather watch the original iteration from sentai then watch the kid version commercial of PR if that makes sense.

Battra said...

Carlos sums up my every thought on the matter, but i'll just add that not only does PR & SS feed off each other but the entire Toku Genre feeds off one another. If PR is going to copy what Sentai does than what's the point of even making PR, it would be cheaper to license the show and release it over here like they do with anime. Saban can still make money off the toys.

Carlos Z said...

Battra makes a great pointI've never really thought. If saban is going to pretty much half-ass his attempts at making PR, copy sentai word for word, or cut corners like they did with hiring return actors for the super megaforce 20 year reunion just to save money, then they should just import sentai completely and dub it in english while saving the money in hiring new actors, locations, costumes etc and just edit the sentai footage to their liking.

Okkar min said...

I don't know how to say it but I just simply love Power Rangers. I don't really like Super Sentai because maybe in my eyes,they were too childish and immature and using too many anime-like effects and sometimes foolish. You were right. Sorry to disappoint Super Sentai fans though. I've always thought Power Rangers is the first and Super Sentai is next because I discover Power Rangers first in my childhood. You were saying that they used the same footage. Yeah,but when Super Sentai show the episodes first, many people think that Power Rangers show is cheating from a Japanese show. That disappoints some of the fans literally. But Power rangers have it respective actors and I like those plots. But now that damn Saban who is just dubbing those footages and just replacing those human parts. Why don't they just dub the whole episodes if they want to save money a lot? We are so disappointed on Samurai and Megaforce.I don't mean I hate Super Sentai but I just love Power Rangers MORE. Maybe because of the language difference.

Okkar min said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
***Firestarter1331*** said...

I would describe SS and PR as twins, both look the same but they have different personality and it depends on how they were nurtured by their parents. Just like to say if you don't like SS, then stay away from watching it, same goes with PR fans. There is no need for trash talking and just let each other be. I was raised watching both series each has an equal number of pros and cons. One cannot be better than the other.

Tomos Burton said...

I wouldn't say it's that small a group that like both. Thing is, I avoid idiots like that nowadays. I used to engage with all kinds of internet keyboard warriors and extremists on various topics, now I just try and ignore them.

Although I will say when Power Rangers is bad it's really bad whereas I haven't known Sentai to be terrible. It's had some pretty bad episodes but not overall terrible series.

About the carbon copy vs different adaptation thing, I think it depends on the story. I didn't like Mystic Force much because, don't get me wrong Magiranger wasn't bad, I just wasn't particularly interested in seeing the story again. Operation Overdrive on the other hand I found the worst because I loved the story of Boukenger and if you're gonna do a loose adaptation you've got to have something decent to replace it with. I don't think it being different to Sentai automatically makes it good.

Sedgrick said...

I love PR and SS but I love PR more because it was the one was raised with but I agree with others PR and SS generally benefit each other and I have also noticed that PR is at its best when its original so Super Megaforce I have some doubts but I think it will be good and it could be amazing and we have to remember PR and SS concepts never go together when PR does original season In Space and Megarangers are completely different nothing about Megarangers screams In Space the only reason why it screams that is because it was original and RPM was serious and Go-onger is cartoonish and I still love both but Go-onger doesn't scream RPM if you said that PR was going to make Go-onger a serious season before it came out than somebody would laugh in your face and Operation Overdrive and Samurai basically copied their respective season and It sucked so I think Super Megaforce is going to be good so and then their are series that are a little different from their season they were Good but amazing like LG, TF, NS, DT, MF, and those where good seasons but if you notice Turbo wasn't great it was ok at best but it is best known for leading to the series that every PR fans knows that made PR even more amazing In space so I think Megaforce is Turbo and Super Megaforce is In Space which will do what In Space did and Save PR and put it back on the map.

Jamill Payne said...

I have no Problem with Senti, but I do have a problem with American Senti fans. For most of them they were PR fans first then was introduced to SS. And if you decided you prefer SS that's fine. But don't talk down to PR like you weren't a fan.

cultistofvertigo said...


At first I thought you were joking, but are you actually suggesting that super sentai and power rangers are somehow different shows?

I would be interested to know more about how one justifies two shows that use exactly the same footage being "different." I heavily suspect it's just a product of your age and first experience with the show, which was the "Power Rangers Show" back when, for six seasons, they told a continuous story with consistent characters with a beginning, middle, and end wildly different in most cases from the original version. Heck, for three years it had the same name. With that cemented in one's head as "this is what power rangers is" one's expectations are pretty heavily colored in favor of the power rangers version being SIGNIFICANTLY edited and having it's story, characters, and most content outright gutted in favor and an entirely unique series.

And, yes, if all power rangers was were those first six seasons, then I might agree with the notion that power rangers and super sentai are different entities. It's still a large leap considering, again, they are still made up of the same footage, but at least it makes logical sense. But this isn't 1993 anymore, and what "power rangers" IS has changed dramatically. Since "in space" they dropped the idea of making a separate show from old footage, and turned it into the "super sentai with white people" show we know today.

Just to try and put how ridiculous the idea is into scope, a good analogy might be to say that considering power rangers and super sentai completely separate series is the same as considering the MST3k "Manos" episode a completely different movie than... Manos, the Hands of Fate. The addition of jokes does not mean you're not still watching Manos.