Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ethnicities of Power Ranger Villains

I was thinking about how Power Rangers supplied a variety of ethnicties through its 17 seasons, something Super Sentai can not do, as it is Japanese and shoots in Japan, but does try to show different skin colors and hair colors. As for Power Rangers, what many American children programs, producers worry about having a certain ethnicity as a villain. Because what other producers would think about would be the negative impact some might construed if the villains were say, African-American or Latino or Middle Eastern. In Power Rangers, no villain has been any of those three ethnicities I just mentioned. I am of course speaking about the villains outside of costumes, so this does not include Lord Zedd, Rito, Master Vile, the Machine Empire and the Mystic Force villains.

Rita Repulsa was the first villain and I think it was just necessity to keep her as a villain because of the footage and budget. So they had no choice but to have an Asian villainess. I say Asian because she is first Japanese but then played by actresses of unknown Asian origins. Vypra and Toxica were Asian, mostly to match with the footage of the Japanese actresses in footage from far away shots. Also, I think that contributed to the history of Rita to have an Asian villain. And no Asian communities have complained about it, that I've known of.

When Power Rangers went to New Zealand, Ninja Storm gave us a taste of the Pacific islands with our first and only Samoan Red Ranger Shane and New Zealander Villain Lothor. Lothor was seen to be Asian in a flashback but was clearly of pacific islander background as an Adult, as the same actor played him and his twin brother Sensei. Marah and Kapri were clearly Australian and white.

Many many villains have been Caucasian, beginning with the fifth season (Turbo) and Divatox. I think it went with that she was an original creation and had no reference Japanese footage. Astronema, Trakeena, and Nadira were American Caucasians. Other than Kapri and Marah, Nadira was the only Caucasian to wear a costume that can from the original Japanese counterpart show. Ransik was the only male Caucasian-American villain. Ilia Volok was the only Russian-born actor on Power Rangers, he played the only Russian character/villain Viktor Adler. As for everyone else, they were from either New Zealand and Australian, but they were also white. Elsa from Dino Thunder seem to be either Filipina or of Pacific Islander. But every thing else was white wash. My point is no Black, Latino or Middle-Eastern villain. Why is this important to me? Because shows shouldn't be scared to have a villain of another race, unless they get really racist and stereotypical. I'm sure not all Space Aliens are Asian or white, I mean, even Star Trek villains have been of other 'ethnicities.'


The_Doctor said...

I agree entirely, by being afraid to use some of these ethnicity as villains, they have in fact removed some of the diversity from the show.

Jonathan said...

I agree with The Doctor and yourself, that by not having a main villain be of a certain ethnicity, they are removing some of the diversity. Yet on the flip side, I believe that they tried to over compensate for that matter by making the Rangers team super diversified at times.