You know what I love about YouTube? It’s the fact that if you’re not careful with your browsing, you could end up on the site for hours at a time. One of the main reasons I think that can happen is because YouTube has that dag-blasted related videos feature, that shows you all types of videos that are similar to the ones that you just browsed. I fell victim to the YouTube trap the other day, when I took a minute to look at some clips of the original Power Rangers show. It was one of those guilty pleasures I had in very early high school (which was 8th grade and part of my 9th grade years): “high school” kids with secret identities, colorful costumes, cheesy-as* monsters, sparks, futuristic weapons, and robot technology, and martial arts (of course), what’s not to like .
Beyond all of that, I think the show had such a huge following in the U.S. because no live action version of this type of show existed in the United States at that time. Of course there were cartoons that were nearly identical in style and plot (like Voltron, Defender of the Universe), but this live action thing, was different, it was fresh, it was engaging. The teenager semi-coolness was mixed with some Japanese style, action fighting. It was great!
I took another You Tube Trip Down Memory Lane. I checked out some of my favorite characters: namely the original Black Ranger*, the Green Ranger, the White, Ranger, and the Gold Ranger. I hate to admit it, but it was still entertaining to me.
*Did anybody else think the original Power Rangers stereotypes were a bit funny/weird? The Black Ranger was black, and had a special style of fighting called “Hip-Hopkido.” The only asian ranger in the group, had the…dun, dun, dun, yellow costume, and the girliest ranger had the pink costume. Hmm…
Despite how novel I thought the characters were, I realize that the show was just an offshoot of something that was already being done in Japan many years prior. If you’re familiar with Ultra Man or Kamen Rider , these Japanese television shows are the originals, the precursors to the Power Rangers. In Japan, Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー) and Ultraman have left their indelible mark on Japanese culture.
Ultraman (who is equally responsible for whoopin’ huge, fake, monster a$$) aired back in 1966, and he’s a super hero that can only stay super for a limited time. He he has a ton of different powers, most notably the one where he crosses his arms and shoots the, usually fatal, Ultra Ray. I guess you’re not a complete super hero if you don’t have a finishing move. Kamen Rider came a little later, airing in 1971, and he also has a host of wind based powers/attacks and don’t forget his nuclear powered motorcycle.
Both shows have gone through tons spinoffs, and even some feature films, but they both still air (in some form) to this very day.
I have seen literally one Kamen Rider episode and one Ultraman episode. Truthfully, I still am more of a Power Rangers fan, probably because that’s what I saw first (plus it’s in English). However, I give big ups to Kamen Rider and Ultraman for introducing us to a different type of hero, the Power Rangers owe you guys (and Voltron)…big time!
P.S.-Kamen Rider translates to mean Masked Rider. They had an American series with the same title that lasted all of two seconds (it was pretty bad).
P.P.S.-Did you know that one of the names of the original Kamen Rider films was Go, Go Kamen Rider. Kind of makes you understand even Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers theme song, huh?
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