I make no secret of it that I enjoy the Power Rangers franchise. You can’t deny the enjoyment of watching people in colorful spandex fighting guys in rubber suits and play it completely straight. As I’ve gotten older, I became more interested in the production and business side of my favorite franchise and I wanted to compare the popularity the franchise had back in the 90s compared to today.
First off, the franchise might never be at the same popularity level as it was when it first aired and it’s because of one reason: it was different. While the U.S. has imported media from Japan with shows like Battle of the Planets, Speed Racer, and Ultraman, we have never had something like Power Rangers that was an adaptation than a dub over the footage. Here we had a show where five people would change, or rather morph, into colorful spandex that revolved around a theme and would fight in giant robots or zords as they’re called in the show. The action footage was primarily from Japan’s franchise, Super Sentai, that would be edited in with the footage of the American (or down under) actors. It combined super identities of comic book heroes and martial arts with sci-fi and fantasy elements.
I would also say that the success of Power Rangers opened the door to more media companies importing Japanese media to America and other Western nations. Based off my own observations, when Power Rangers became a hit, a lot of other Japanese made and inspired shows began to become popular such as Pokemon and Digimon and on the live action side, Big Bad Beetleborgs.
Nowadays, importing media from Japan is pretty much commonplace and the average person has a basic knowledge of anime and manga. This is probably why Power Rangers Samurai worked was because kids of today are used to seeing Japanese and Japanese inspired shows. While we’re not at the same level as Mighty Morphin‘, Samurai has brought in a lot of fans and has brought Power Rangers back into the mainstream with appearing at parade floats, gracing food products and having the actors be more involved with the fans. One factor that the new series has going for them is cashing in on the nostalgia aspect of the franchise since it has existed for twenty years. With all of these factors, Power Rangers might go back on the top of every kids’ Christmas and birthday lists.
This post will be part of a series as I take a look at the franchise that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. They will all be under the Power Rangers Perspective tag on my blog and I hope to hear any commentary about your opinions on the franchise and if I had written something wrong. I hope you enjoy this series.
- Parting Shot: The Power Rangers Recreate Iconic Album Covers [Video] (comicsalliance.com)
- Review: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete First Series (benspark.com)
- Holiday Gift Guide: 338 Episodes Of ‘Power Rangers’ On 40 DVDs (comicsalliance.com)