So, it turns out that Wayne pointed me in the direction of “Shout Factory TV” which has full episodes of the origin of the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”. Super Sentai Zyuranger (Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger – 恐竜戦隊ジュウレンジャ) ran for 50 episodes on TV Asahi in Japan from February 1992 to February 1993 and was produced by the Toei Company. Toei is also responsible for producing VR Troopers, Big Bad Beetleborgs, and Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight and has been producing movies and shows in Japan since 1954. The episode I watched, “Run! Prince of the Eggs” (“Hashire Tamago Ōji” (走れタマゴ王子)) happened to be episode 6 in the series which aired April 24th 1992. Did jumping in 8 episodes help or hurt my experience as a whole?
I am notorious in the fact that I hate shows and movies with subtitles. It kills the joy of watching action or noticing facial reactions that one might see in a dubbed version. Putting that aside, I’m going to try my hardest to put my mindset in the role of a seasoned otaku, or a foreign film movie nerd while writing this review. It’s going to be rough but this is my cross to bear.
The episode opens up with the comic relief of the episode, rolling into the episode in a flying Volkswagen Bug, complete with a comedic smoke stack. The action starts by the couple driving parking their car inside of a small Japanese home as they introduce themselves as Baron Crockle, his wife Daisy, and a young boy simply named “The Prince”. Then the basic “Puddy Patrol” (They are called Golems by the Rangers themselves.) comes rolling in shortly followed by the Zyurangers. Later on in the episode they help the Zyurangers by providing them glasses that can let them see rifts caused by the Cockatrice that took the “Prince” hostage. Comic relief was done right in the source material, and if Bulk and Skull were ever fucking helpful in any way, I wouldn’t complain as much as I have in the past.
The Golems look identical to the ones used in the Power Ranger series as the rangers seem to never wear street clothes. The outfits are bright and colorful and it hit me that the pink ranger in the original series is the only female. This explains why Trini in the American series never wore a skirt after they morphed and didn’t notice the connection before watching this particular episode.
The similarities between Witch Bandora and Rita start and end with both of them being goofy and instantly getting headaches throughout the series at the end of each episode. Bandora has something that Rita didn’t have, a fleshed out background. It turns out that her son Kai was killed by being chased off a cliff by a mother Tyrannosaurus and vows revenge against dinosaurs for killing her son. In a deal with the “Great Satan”, she was given unlimited magical powers but in said deal she had to assist him by destroying the human race, by killing children. Holy shit. On top of that even Satan has an insane back story. It could be beneficial for me to have found this information before watching the first time but it made me watch it again putting everything into context. I can understand the reason why the original series wasn’t just dubbed over for the US audience. We were way too protected back in the day and they might be able to get away with something like this, but it definitely wouldn’t be for little kids. I could see this being akin to “The Dark Night Rises”, dark but the heroes always win.
The idea of jumping 8 episodes doesn’t appear to hurt the experience at all. Yes there was a slight confusion during the first battle scene, but I moved along knowing that there was a common story between them being together. If you use the “Shout Factory TV” site or app for your viewing pleasure, the only thing hurting this show is the subtitles. If it’s your thing, I would strongly recommend watching only if you were like me and grew up with the franchise. Be warned though, once you watch Zyurangers, you will never want to watch Mighty Morphin’ again.
(NOTE: I ended up just searching the site for “Zyuranger” and it gave me a list of episodes with just titles completely out-of-order. Click shoutfactorytv.com/tv/action-adventure and they have the first 9 series so you can watch to your heart’s content. If past me knew what current me knows about the site, I would have watched episode 1 for this review instead of episode 9.)