AKA, what we missed out on in the United States.
I grew up loving the Power Rangers, but I had no clue what I was missing out on back then. I tried to rewatch some for my Rewatch series, but I just couldn’t get engaged anymore, so imagine my surprise when I found multiple Super Sentai series on Shout! Factory TV (a free ad-supported streaming service and app). Upon consuming several episodes, I became painfully aware of what we missed out on in the United States, and I’m hooked.
In short, Power Rangers takes the fight footage from Super Sentai and remixes it with overdubbed English dialogue and newly shot scenes featuring the English-speaking actors, often changing the plot dramatically. Rather than just getting a dubbed version of a great Japanese show, we got something very half-baked.
While scouring YouTube for some clips that I could use to make a comparison video, I was surprised to find exactly what I wanted, so let’s give them the ad revenue they deserve.
This clip shows a pivotal fight from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers between the Red Ranger and Green Ranger, followed at 4:08 by the Re-version of the fight featured obnoxious added visual effects (yes, this is official, and yes you should skip it for your sanity), followed at 8:30 by the same pivotal fight from Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger between the TyrannoRanger and DragonRanger.
I want you to notice a few things. First, the unrelenting electric guitar. It’s cool at first, but I won’t blame you if you find it obnoxious by the end. And second, how choppy and uneven the action is.
Let me give an example on that last point. In all three John Wick films, there is one scene involving gunfire in The Continental Hotel. If you took those three scenes and lined them up back to back, you’d be forgiven for accepting a thin narrative that they all take place around the same time, but something would feel very off. That’s what’s happening here in Power Rangers. To compensate for footage lost due to visible actors from the Super Sentai shots, and recognizable Japanese locations, the American produces have chopped in scenes from other fights. To make matters worse, some action has been cut entirely to keep the episode under time. All of that results in an unevenly paced, and sometimes confusing, fight sequence.
Compare that the Super Sentai scene, and you’ve got something very different. First, the music is great. And second, without any footage being removed or added, the fight sequence is evenly paced and far more intense.
I hope this brief comparison got you hooked on Super Sentai too. If it did, you can stream several Super Sentai series for free on Shout! Factory TV, so find the Super Sentai counterpart to a Power Rangers series you used to love and start watching it today!
Update: For more on this subject, see Rewatch: Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger.