Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lavender Ranger's Editioral: Why I think Power Rangers and Super Sentai are Boy's Franchises

UPDATED 9/9/13 7:30 PM EST
The reason I put 'Why I think' when I really believe that both Toei and Saban, even Disney believe this is because fans do not agree with this notion. It is understandable. I used to be bothered by this. The reason it is bothersome is on its surface (two females per most teams and focus on female characters and scattered female empowerment) the show serves both to boys and girls, but there are a lot of facts that show it is the Boy's franchise. Let me clear that what I mean is that the companies consider it a boy's franchise, I am not saying girls and women should not watch the show or enjoy it. What I am basically saying is that Toei, Saban and Disney (at one point) consider boys the target audience.
Age demographic
When I was 11, I didn't like that the show was aimed at kids. Nowadays it seems to be aimed to boys ages 2-11 (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130122006426/en/Saban-Brands-Presents-All-New-Series-Power-Rangers), while the toys say 4 and up and the TV rating is TV-Y7. With Samurai, there is now Halloween costumes for toddlers but still not infants. And being a teacher, I see kids from Pre-Kindergarten to 2nd grade like it, by 3rd grade they start denying they like it. Many kids over 8 say 'it's for little kids' even though parents have protested its 'violence' since the show began.

I have mentioned before on this blog about female empowerment (Lauren in Samurai and Jen in Time Force for example) and fans wanting more female toys. In 1994, Bandai released dolls based on Yellow Ranger and Pink Ranger which only lasted two years and were never done again. Bandai has reported for years before that the girl figures don't sell well. In Japan, some dolls for girls were released through the years but for random teams (Bioman, Changeman, etc.) and there was the short-lived 'Girls in Uniform' collectibles line that ran from 2006-2008 that had heronies and villainesses. But there is no girls costumes or girls clothing anymore. When asked if a female could lead a series, Toei producers said toy stores wouldn't support a boy's line lead with a girl. Probably the reason Ninja Red and Time Red were the lead in promotion in their series that girls lead them. At Wal-Mart in America back in 2006, Bandai wanted to have an exclusive figure for White Mystic Ranger called Winter Ranger but they didn't think it would sell well.

 In 1993, Neilsen report said that 40% of the audience was girls. "According to Ms. Margaret Loesch, approximately 40 percent of the "Power Rangers" audience is girls as opposed to about 20 percent for other Fox children's programs."

This other article about Power Rangers being blamed in the death of a little girl at the hand of three boys also states 40 percent of the audience are girls. 40 percent doesn't sound like a lot but in a boy's franchise it is. I couldn't find an article of what the percentage is now.

Greg Aronowitz on his blog stated that Disney said that SPD helped bring up the percentage of female viewership. Thanks to @morphin_k for the article.
- Majority of backpacks, lunch boxes and birthday supplies have only the male Rangers present
- Power Rangers clothing (underwear, t-shirts) for children is mostly made for boys these days. Same in Japan.
- At McDonalds, Power Rangers is now exclusively for boys as the meals are split from boys and girls since Dino Thunder (2004).
- In Japan, there are only one figure made per female. There are some chibi figures but majority are male. All the Rangers including female appear in majority of products and merchandise but they are usually smaller than the males.

  The Yellow Issue
  In the early Saban days, if there was one female in Sentai, they would turn Yellow from male to female. In Japan, Yellow Rangers used to be considered males. The first Yellow Ranger Ki Ranger was male. Since 2006 with Boukenger (which became Operation Overdrive) Yellow has been a female color. In fact the Toei now considers Yellow a female color because it has been used so much for females. They didn't want to use Yellow in Kyoryuger because they considered it too feminine, they wanted mostly males because the Kyoryugers needed to be believable (in their eyes) to beat up their dinosaurs to tame them. I suppose Kyoryu Pink and her dino could be excusable in their eyes. American fans were upset that there was only one female Kyoryuger in what seemed to be 10 Kyoryugers. Now we have a female Kyoryu Violet, making 2 females in about 12 Kyoryugers. Some fans even joked that Saban should make their own Yellow Ranger when Kyoryuger is adapted which I doubt them making.

 In the Power Rangers Megabloks nowadays, they make more Yellow products than Pink, seeing Yellow more excusable for boys. With Power Rangers, Yellow Rangers are considered female, even though there has been 3 male Yellow Rangers. My 26 year-old nephew says he still considers Yellow a girl color. My 3 year-old grand nephew liked Yellow last year and when given the option of dressing as a Yellow Ranger for Halloween, my 26 year-old nephew who is my grand nephew's uncle didn't like that option. It is interesting.

I do think it is a boys franchise but even though it is a male franchise, doesn't mean girls can't enjoy it too. Super Sentai tried only once to have the series without women (Sun Vulcan) back in the 80's. I think females do enjoy Power Rangers but probably not at the same frequency as males. As for adults, there are a lot of women's clothing and products now but I think it has to deal with the nostalgia factor. I do still think Saban should try to do more products for girls like back in 1993. Things have changed in the past 20 years what with Powerpuff Girls, Monster High and Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon is also 20 years old and hopefully will return to the US with the new Anime coming soon. I don't think Power Rangers being a boy's franchise is a bad thing. I say embrace it. Maybe it can be seen as just a cover that is it marketed to boys, it can serve for both girls and boys while on its surface being meant for boys.


Kandou Erik said...

The inclusion of girls in the team (even just one) is very valuable to the group dynamic and diversity among the team. Just having a female perspective in the group is valuable.

Plus, for those females who do like Super Sentai or Power Rangers -- its good that they are always represented.

Anonymous said...

You forgot MLPFiM, which is probably the largest break from the target demographic ever.

I could of course be wrong.

Also it said 40% were girls. Didn't mention age range or likelihood of actually buying toys. The later being the most important factor in a business sense.

Lavender Ranger said...

Mattwo, My Little Pony is a girl franchise. Unless you mean to compare how much percentage are boys or Bronies.

Anonymous said...

I mean to compare the amount of people outside the target demographic are watching and are buying the toys.

To clarify I'm specifically referring to the part where you said:
"Things have changed in the past 20 years what with Powerpuff Girls, Monster High and Sailor Moon."

Anonymous said...

I should probably point out that when I said:

"Also it said 40% were girls. Didn't mention age range or likelihood of actually buying toys. The later being the most important factor in a business sense."

I meant that to be a separate topic.