The Series (4/5)
I was never a big fan of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The show started airing when I was in the 5th grade, and seemed to knock (from my perspective at the time) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles off their long held TV top spot. Also, something about the show itself felt off to me. I could never figure out what that was. Last year, thanks to the incredible folks at Shout! Factory EuroCultAV.com got to review many of the later seasons of Power Rangers, and in doing so I came to a new appreciation of the show that I did not have previously. That being said I did not get to go back to the earlier series of the show that I was most familiar with during my childhood viewing. However, due to many conversations with a friend of mine over recent years I was made aware that the first series of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and the concept itself was based off a Japanese Series Super Sentai.
Shout! Factory after having released the entire Power Rangers run, has now gone back to the show that started it all Super Sentai: Zyuranger. Super Sentai: Zyuranger is actually the 16th series of the Super Sentai franchise, and is a run of 50 episodes. The American series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers essentially took the battle sequences with the monsters, robots, all the intergalactic material, and anything that featured costumed fighters and created there show based around that footage. In Zyuranger, we have the evil witch Bandora, who is accidentally revived by a pair of astronauts when her prison planet is within Earth's orbit. This awakens 5 defenders who previously helped destroy her 170,000,000 years in the past. These defenders the Zyurangers have special powers, and also control robotic beasts that when combined together can fight back against Bandora's forces.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers basically took the battle footage from Super Sentai, and rather than create a show with a similar concept created something that might have been more relatable to American children at the time. In MMPR the Rangers were high school students that ended up with powers, in this series they are ancient warriors called back to battle an ancient evil. This makes the American show feel more like a reflection of being a clinched teenage existence circa 1993, whereas this show has a more timeless appeal, and fits in more other Japanese Kaiju oriented films and shows from Godzilla and Guyver to Super Robot Red Baron. The issues I had with MMPR when I was younger seemed to disappear as I watched Super Sentai: Zyuranger, and found myself caught up in the series fun, and occasionally delirious atmosphere. The DVD release by Shout! Factory is actually the first legitimate release of any Super Sentai series in the U.S., and I would encourage any fan of Power Rangers to pick this up and encourage Shout! to release more of this stateside.
Shout! Factory presents Super Sentai: Zyuranger in the series OAR 1:33:1. The series looks as good as the source will allow decent colors, detail is fine, it does look a bit faded, but I have to chalk that up to the source material more than anything else. The audio is presented in Japanese 2.0 Stereo and subtitled in English, and sounds quite nice with dialogue, score, and effects coming through audibly.
The sole extras on this set is Power Progenitors Super Sentai: Zyuranger Power Morphicon 2014 Panel.
Having watched a good majority of Power Rangers over the last year, it was interesting to go back and see where it started. I found myself enjoying this quite more than the show is spawned. The DVD from an A/V perspective looks and sounds quite nice, and though the extras are slim this is a release I have to recommend as it is long overdue on the U.S. market, and Shout! has done a fine job in bringing it over. Now if we could please get some more....