Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why I Love the Power Rangers

Many wince when I say I like the Power Rangers. And old friends are not surprised that I quote, "Still like the Power Rangers" but sort of pity me for it. I am sure many fans have gone through this. The news about Saban re-buying the franchise has gotten more publicity online that Disney buying the franchise. And many mainstream people are surprised it still exits and that Disney even owned it. And many times the quote "We can all agree Power Rangers wasn't a great show." These reasons I believe is what makes adult fans continue loving it and also, why the franchise has lasted so long.

The Eternal Battle between Good and Evil
May seem a bit trite, but almost every documentary of any movie like Star Wars or Superman, someone says how it is 'the eternal battle or struggle between good and evil.' But at first, it is not hard to know who is good and who is evil in Power Rangers. Anyone Japanese or in a rubber costume that wasn't color-coded was evil. While anyone good was either a teenager, a robot or a giant head or in the case of "Island of Illusions," a little person. Later on, it is kind of hard to tell. The space aliens later on (Especially in Lost Galaxy) turn out to have consciences and have rules of honor, some redeemable. Enemies become friends and friends become enemies. Linkara has made a retrospective of each season and he brought up something I didn't really paid attention to, which was the themes of magic vs. technology, old vs. new, where Rita used dark magic and Billy used technology to counter it. In Lost Galaxy (1999), it was more about magic helping technology against practicality. And RPM (2009), it was nature within technology going against technology, it would have been interesting that magic fought it, but probably because producers had to use Go-Onger (2008) footage, which had zords that were car/animal hybrids.

Sci-Fi and Live-Action

There are very very few American shows these days, or any show in the world that is directed towards children and is shot in Live-Action and has a lot of special effects. Toei production, the company that does Super Sentai, does spectacular special effects. Yes, I know there is men in rubber suits, and sometimes you see strings, but there are some awesome practical effects and CGI effects. Imagine, Toei produces 50 episodes and they air almost every week. Once the budget became bigger in Power Rangers, the effects got better (Terra Venture anyone?). I mean, it is not a film, it is a television show, and I think they do pretty good.

Colors, Duke, the Colors!
That was a reference from a 90's Popsicle commercial. Like I mentioned in my post about why gay people like tokusatsu and Power Rangers/Super Sentai Different Shades of Colors, colors have always attracted me and effected me in a significant way. Power Rangers obviously are very colorful. Many people say who is going to fear a team in brightly colored spandex? But if you look at many comic books, that's the same. The X-Men were very much color coded in the comics. Of course these things do not translate well into television, but I think it is unique. Also, I do believe in what colors represent in culture, purple being royalty, red being passion, green can represent love or nature, pink can be romanticism or health, yellow can happiness, black can be conventional and white is purity.

Yes, yes, again, something trite and has continued from Super Sentai (which means Team in Japanese), but it is an important factor of Power Rangers. Even though the Battlizer and sometimes the Red Ranger saves the day without teamwork, teamwork is the ongoing team and in the end, it prevails. And most seasons try to get the villains to separate and just be one villain, after not using teamwork and deserting or betraying their evil cohorts.

Many do complain about the level of slapstick or goofy comedy but it has its charms. Bulk and Skull does do this with the charm. The monsters also executed a lot of the goofiness (either how dumb they were or inept), especially in Turbo (1998)--because of the spoof nature of Carranger (1997). It is interesting to mention that in the first movie, there has a humor that was not really used much in the series itself such as burping and fart jokes. I also enjoyed the humor in later seasons during the Disney era such as the whale zord dropping water on top of Dillon and Summer almost kissing in RPM and self-referencing humor ("color spandex is covert?").

Plot Twists
Some things we expected (Like Tenaya being Dillon's sister) very much, somethings were kept a very good secret. For example, Jason becoming the Gold Ranger and Andros destroying Zordon's tube. And somethings had to be done to get rid of actors for whatever reason like the infamous Peace Conference, staying Africa to help animals, and the unexpected going to an alien planet to be with his alien girlfriend.

Things Change
They never stay the same. Heck, not even Alpha stayed the same. Every year the cast, theme, suits, zords, villains, story and city changes, just like life. You can't stick to one character because even they can change. For example, Kimberly went from shallow valley girl to a strong independent young woman and Billy went from a shy meta-geek to a brave intergalactic man. I know there is plenty of examples, but to name just a few: Sky of SPD (2005) went from narrow-minded to not so narrow-minded, Jack went from not caring about others to caring and same goes for Dillon, also Dillon went from being lonely to having a sister, girlfriend and friends.

Girls Rock
I've mentioned this before but feminism does grow strong in the franchise even though it is now marketed towards only boys. The girl Rangers can stand up to villains without the help of the male counterparts, sometimes they are the ones to save the day (for example, "Fowl Play in the Sky" and "Power Ranger Punks" where Kim saves the day with her arrow). And females can be leaders (Delphine, Jen, and Charlie), also a girl can be a Red Ranger. Even mothers can be heroes, for example Udonna of Mystic Force (2006).

Many characters, not all, but some get to atone. I know that doesn't make sense but you know what I mean. Redeeming one's self is a classic theme. Most of the 'evil' Rangers had to atone, like Ryan (Titanium), Trent (White Dino), Blake and Hunter (Thunder Rangers) and Tommy (Green) had to atone for their sins. Tommy was tortured by his past by the villains, even though it was under a spell and not his own free will. Well, Trent was under a spell too and Ryan and Blake and Hunter was under bad influence. Others that atoned were Merrick (Lunar Wolf, above), Leanbow/Koragg of Mystic Force, Marah and Kapri of Ninja Storm, and Tyzonn of PROO had an inner struggle. Jarrod and Camille had a short span of time to redeem themselves in Jungle Fury but it came with the territory.


James Spiring said...

Lost Galaxy was in 1999, not 1997.

Anonymous said...

yeah your right american superheros are colorful but not that good plus american superhereos rely on strenght not team work so much look a justice league their a group not a team