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TRANSCRIPT – KSPR – Please Pirate This Podcast and Anything Else You Care About

研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー - Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers
研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers
KSPR EPISODE TEN: Please Pirate This Podcast and Anything Else You Want to Keep

Ethan: Maybe someday, if PeerTube gets the right plugins, but…

Andrew: We could be live. We could do it. We just need to run everything into a video mixer,

Ethan: Which we have.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nelson: We’d need like, a live censor bar.

Ethan: If it slips, it slips. Sorry.

Andrew: Have you seen David Chang’s new show?

Nelson: No.

Andrew: It’s called “Dinner Time Live,” and it’s just him inviting comedians on and then he cooks dinner for them live.

Nelson: Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that because he did an episode with Seth Rogen.

Andrew: Yeah, they took $15,000 worth of caviar, and they just covered a Pizza Hut pizza with $15,000 worth of caviar.

[EDITORS NOTE: Dinner Time Live struggled with their censorship/content rating. It was relevant, I swear — Andrew]

Ethan: Three, two, one. [Clap.]

Andrew: Alright.

[“It’s morphin’ time!” + intro music]

Ethan: Minna-san yokoso, welcome to your favorite cross-cultural, deep dive analysis and recap podcast covering Super Sentai and Power Rangers, Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers. My name is Ethan; I use he/him pronouns, and with me is my usual co-host Andrew.

Andrew: Hey everybody, I’m Andrew; I also use he/him pronouns.

Ethan: Today we’re discussing Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 10, “Saru wa Mou Iya! (Monkeys No More!)” and Power Rangers season one episode 10, “Happy Birthday, Zack.” We’re also going to mix it up just a little today as Andrew is going to do his recap first. Without further ado, unless we have further ado? I think we had a lot of further ado last episode, so we’re good. Let’s get into the recap!

[“Go! Go! Power Rangers!”]

Andrew: Alright, so today we’re talking about “Happy Birthday, Zack,” which was written by Stewart St. John and directed by Jeff Reiner. I think that’s how you say that. Before I say anything else about this episode, I do want to say one small callout here: Zack’s outfit in this episode goes way too hard. Like, Zack’s a good-looking guy, but this is the first time in the episode that I’ve been like, “Oh, you can’t even play a teenager. You’re just a dude.” He’s got like, the Yankees jersey on.

Ethan: Yeah, the baseball jersey is a good look.

Andrew: Yeah. Anyway, just wanted to call that out. We open at the Youth Center. Billy’s listening to a walkman. They use this as an opportunity to make fun of Billy. It’s one of these things where he’s not speaking normal English and also kind of acting like a space cadet. Ernie is using some kind of really overbuilt automated cake machine, and it explodes.

Ethan: For some reason, an oven is not good enough. Didn’t he have a cake last episode that he had baked in a regular oven, assumably? [Transcriber’s Note: I do not stand by my use of the word “assumably.”]

Andrew: I would assume that the issue here is that Bulk destroys his cakes every time he makes them. So the cake machine explodes, and he calls for Billy’s help. Billy can’t hear him because he’s listening to music. Ha, ha, ha. Apparently, the automated cake machine is Billy’s invention, and it covers Ernie in what appears to be shaving cream, dyed blue.

Ethan: Something like that. I wrote ‘elephant toothpaste,’ which is a weird science experiment you can make.

Andrew: Ernie specifically at this point says, “I hate machines!” which I took to mean that he hates Billy. We then cut to Rita’s mansion, where Rita says that it’s somebody’s birthday. This is the first mention of a birthday in the episode. They’re planning a birthday party at the Youth Center, but Rita is the one who informs us of this. Weird writing.

Ethan: Can she read like, government records on the Power Rangers? Is she looking at their driver’s license? How does she know this?

Andrew: And if she can, why doesn’t she go after their parents?

Ethan: Right.

Andrew: We then come back to the Youth Center where suddenly they’re all talking about the fact that it’s Zack’s birthday. Jason and Ernie have a moment here where they talk about the secret identity of the Power Rangers, and this is the first time that we get anybody from Angel Grove acknowledging that the Power Rangers exist.

Ethan: Yeah, this is the first instance of any kind of like metanarrative commentary, and Jason’s just like, “The Power Who?” It’s pretty good.

Andrew: He tries to convince Ernie that the Power Rangers are aliens, which I thought was a good bit.

Ethan: That is a good bit because it will turn out to be true. On multiple occasions, actually.

Andrew: Eventually there will be Power Rangers who are aliens. Bulk and Skull show up even though the Youth Center is supposed to be closed. And I want to take a minute here. This was like the worst appearance of Bulk and Skull. Like this is them at their most villainous, in a way that-

Ethan: Genuine real creep predator type…

Andrew: Yeah, up to this point, Bulk and Skull have just been comic relief, and here they are a threat.

Ethan: You can see like, how much bigger they are than Trini and Kimberly, and it’s- they’re in a more or less empty building, late [or very early?] in the day.

Andrew: That [Bulk] thinks is empty. That- he thinks that there are no adults here.

Ethan: Yeah, I mean other than maybe that moment where Bulk grabs Jason, and it seems like he’s maybe going to suplex him or something, and like, genuinely try to hurt him, and it’s kind of jarring, because this is a moment of like actual peril, which is quite jarring, coming from the two goofballs.

Andrew: The comic relief characters, yeah. And it comes out of nowhere. So Bulk shows up and he blows his nose in the birthday banner, and Skull immediately turns around and starts threatening what appears to be sexual violence against Trini. Bulk then pops some balloons and gets really into Kimmy’s face. The segment goes on for a really long time, and it’s like- it was a lot, but it ends with Skull getting a face full of goo, because of course it does, because that’s how all of these segments end. We then cut back to Rita in her palace where Rita decides to give Zack a monster for his birthday. So she goes and she bugs Finster to make a monster, and he decides to make the Knasty Knight.

Ethan: They cut to Zyuranger footage here, which I was so excited about.

Andrew: Yeah, it was it was really interesting. They cut to the footage of the Black Ranger from Zyuranger, not morphed, and fighting the the Knasty Knight. And they talk about how this is the last time they used this guy.

Ethan: On Tarnac III, which had to have been 170 million years plus ago.

Andrew: Oh, no, it’s only 10,000 years here.

Ethan: Oh, right, you’re right. Still. Getting my settings mixed up!

Andrew: But yeah, so that was kind of neat. There’s a bit where Rita is flipping through a book of monsters, and that’s also really cool. They’re showing production art of the various critters that they have created so far, and I thought that was a very well-executed sequence. They cut back to the Youth Center, and they’re really just leaning on this gag of Billy not speaking normal English and somebody having to translate for him, and specifically Trini having to translate for him. And again, this is like verging into racist territory, where the only one who can understand the nerd is the Asian. Like… yeah, Zack comes by the youth center, and Ernie just lies to him about all his friends not being there. Ostensibly, this is to protect the surprise party, but like, Zack walks away not feeling good about himself.

Ethan: Oh, yeah, he hits a major down note over the course of this episode.

Andrew: So then we cut to three of Rita’s monsters, including Finster, trying to forge a sword at a campground. Rita’s there too, and she does a spell to infuse the sword with magic under the moonlight. It’s a really neat segment, but it flies in the face of all established Power Ranger lore up to this point. Earlier, Finster was sculpting the Knight. But in spite of that, the sword being forged under the moonlight causes him to appear without being fired in the monster kiln. We then cut back to Angel Grove, to the high school. The Rangers pretend like they have forgotten Zack’s birthday, with Kimmy going so far as to say that it’s her dog’s birthday.

Ethan: It’s good writing, but it’s- it kind of goes back to what we talked about with like secret literature nerd Kimberly. Like, she is like, scrambling and inventing this whole crazy story. It’s like, where did you pull that from, Kim?

Andrew: And like, this makes Zack sad. I didn’t like this. I hate this trope, but this is just the neurodivergent in me. Like, I don’t like seeing other people being made to be embarrassed, you know?

Ethan: I made a note that the music here is like a sad, like, minor chord, leitmotif of the Power Rangers [theme] that’s like slowed way down.

Andrew: I made the same note. In the background, as Zack is being sad. They’ve got this kind of like…

[“Forget it.” (Sad music sting)]

Ethan: (Vocalizing) It’s a good touch.

Andrew: No, it really was. It was a nice touch. It drove home the fact that like, this was a sad moment. And-

Ethan: Oh, do we know anybody with a trombone?

Andrew: I think it speaks to the production values of this episode. This episode, just across the board, has had more face footage and better, more well-produced face footage than any other episode we’ve seen so far. And this musical refrain that was clearly recorded just for this episode is another example of that. So Zack retreats to the mountains to feel bad for himself, and he is immediately ambushed by Rita and a bunch of monsters. One of them has a television camera for some reason. This is not adequately explained.

Ethan: Yes. So let me consult the chart. That is, hold on… The Knasty Knight corresponds to Dora Knight, who shows up in episode 15 of Zyuranger, “Destroy the Dark Super Sword.”

Andrew: So we’ve got a while.

Ethan: We’ve got a while to go. I do not remember the context of the…

Andrew: The movie camera.

Ethan: The film camera.

Andrew: So the monsters are using a TV camera for reasons that are not explained. Zack engages the Knasty Knight and it’s a really brutal fight. He transforms pretty much immediately and is already like, damaged when the fight starts. Like, his axe thing is already corroded and covered in goo.

Ethan: I think it’s worth mentioning here before we get too much further: what I do remember about Dora Knight is that, like what you mentioned with the unconventional nature of his appearance, he is a monster that Goushi has fought previously. And I think that episode actually goes into a little bit of Goushi’s backstory with his older sister being his mentor and fighting teacher who was killed by this monster. Again, it could be misremembering. It’s been a long time since I watched this, but that’s part of why that happens. Anyway.

Andrew: Zack transforming here was kind of unique, because I think it’s the first time that we’ve seen one of the rangers morph entirely on their own. Something happens to the camera that the monsters are using, but what is not clear. And then Zordon sends the rest of the rangers to save the day. The rangers come in, weapons blazing and their weapons are immediately damaged by contact with the Knasty Knight’s sword. So they have to use their guns. Their guns also don’t do anything. The rangers are, at this point, cooked. So Rita makes the monster big. This time, instead of saying make my monster grow, she says, “Take that, wise guy!” I think it might be my favorite moment in Power Rangers so far. Just Rita Repulsa going: [“Take that, wise guy!!”]

Ethan: Did you notice the weird thing about the Zord summoning sequence this time? There’s actually two weird things.

Andrew: The individual rangers summon their Zords one at a time, except for Kimberly, who does not speak.

Ethan: Except for Kimberly! She doesn’t get one!

Andrew: It’s a weird choice and it takes way longer than the normal Dinozord sequence.

Ethan: Two or three more seconds, maybe, for her to get her usual call-out. And the fact that the other four rangers get like, an extended call-out. Just odd editing choices.

Andrew: It was an odd choice.

Ethan: And I wonder if they filmed that and cut it out later or… I don’t know!

Andrew: Sound problems, you know, but yeah, no.

Ethan: Could be any number of things.

Andrew: I noticed both of those things.

Ethan: So funny that we both made a note of that. I also wondered if that was a new music track that was underlying that.

Andrew: It might have been. I don’t know.

Ethan: I couldn’t tell you what it was, in my mind right now, but apparently it caught my attention at the time.

Andrew: Once again, they skip tank mode, they go straight to Megazord mode as is appropriate. They should never go to tank mode. Tank mode does them no good. The Knasty Knight corrodes the Power Sword and knocks over the Megazord. Zack devises a plan and Kimberly uses the phrase ‘morphenomenal,’ which is bad. I mean, it’s so bad.

[“Morphenomenal, Zack. We’ll give him a little bit of his own medicine.”]

Andrew: So this results in them doing some kind of reverse energy drain thing to beat the Knight, which causes Rita to exclaim “Great galaxy gas!” I thought that was very good. I thought that this ancient witch shouting [“Great galaxy gas!”] Yeah, it was good. Rita goes home and she yells at her monsters for a minute. Zack and the rangers go to his surprise party and he feels less bad. The cake machine explodes again. While they’re at the surprise party, the music in the background states that you can get away with anything you want on your birthday, which I think is a really bad message for children. And then I think I’ve said everything that I need to say about this episode. Zack’s outfit is great. I hated the plotline of keeping the surprise party a secret. But this episode was really good. I hope that this means that we’ve reached the point where Power Rangers is finding its footing. But if not, this at least felt like an episode that they intended to outlive the television run.

Ethgan: Yes, I think when I was doing an image search just now that it got its own VHS release.

Andrew: We will talk about that momentarily.

Ethan: Oh, okay. Exciting.

Andrew: But this was the first episode that I felt like could stand on its own. If you were to show me this as a kid, I would have been hooked.

Ethan: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Every episode leading up to this, I mean, there were big robots and laser swords, and I probably would have been into it, but like, it wouldn’t have caught me like this did.

Ethan: Like, a real plot.

Andrew: Yeah! And the characters in the episode, like, are actual characters, like everybody gets to have their own moment. The teenagers get to be scared for a second. And like, I hated it. It made me really uncomfortable, but it was good. Okay, so, Ethan, anything you’d like to add about this episode?

Ethan: When they spring the surprise on Zack, he goes in for the double Kimberly/Trini hug, and he holds Trini’s hand for like a good second or two afterwards. And my shipper brain was like, “Oh, that’s what this is.” And I can just see that. It’s not been super subtle. I don’t want to get into it. But I’m just like, I’m watching them with laser eyes, like, yes, good. Yeah, I mean, I’m pretty much concur with you. It’s it’s, if not the best, probably top three so far.

Andrew: It’s not even close. This is the first good episode. You can throw “Food Fight” up there, maybe. And the one with the Eye Guy.

Ethan: The location matching was phenomenal. Whatever location they filmed with Walter Jones out there in the mountains was like, obviously not in Japan.

Andrew: But it was nearly exact match to where this battle happens.

Ethan: So close, too, like the rock formations and the coloring. And you know, that was really good.

Andrew: There wasn’t any of this like, okay, we’ve morphed and transformed stuff.

Ethan: The only like, weird inconsistency, as you mentioned, is the video camera that that Squat and Baboo are holding.

Andrew: The video camera and the fact that Zack’s axe is damaged the second that the fight starts.

Ethan: And that’s like the only weird inconsistency. So it seems like they’re getting more comfortable adapting that footage in a way that makes sense rather than like coming up with some sort of-

Andrew: Contrived excuse.

Ethan: -screwball idea and trying to shoehorn the thing in and like, match Maria’s outfit to Emiko’s outfit, even though they’re two totally different kids, and this is being filmed two years apart. And I also noticed- I actually messaged you and our buddy Sundog about the the bass that the bass player was playing- is a Steinberger style, narrow-body bass with what we call a headless- so like, it’s sort of flipped around. There’s no tuners on the headstock. They’re all in the body. And I just thought it was sick, like a blue sunburst. And I just thought that was cool. It’s a good episode.

Andrew: Cool. Sentai.

Ethan: We’ll start our Sentai recap.

[“Kyoryu Sentai… Zyuranger!!”]

Ethan: “Saru wa Mou Iya,” as with the last episode, was written by Sugimura Noboru and directed by Ogasawara Takeshi. Prince Yuuro and his crew, the Zyurangers, and Bandora and her minions have all reached the island of Delos where the Apello tribe lives in all their faux-Grecian glory. Reaching the cave where the dinosaur eggs are hidden, the Rangers are ambushed by Bandora who has elected to seal the eggs away beneath a rockfall since she and her minions cannot pass the barrier around them. You may remember this from “Big Sisters.” Again, makes so much more sense here. Like, unbelievably so much more sense.
In order to access the cave, our heroes must cross the bomb fields where a crew of Apello tribe exiles (question mark?) live in a sort of Mad Max lifestyle and throw lit sticks of dynamite at anyone who passes through their territory. The sense has stopped. This doesn’t make any sense. Yuuro, Emiko, and the Rangers get separated, but Yuuro finds Emiko again fairly quickly. She convinces him to take her to the second cave entrance, but something seems a little off. Once there, she asks for one of the barrier crystals as a reward for helping Yuuro, and he obliges, but Emiko smashes the sphere, destroying the barrier. It was Dora Cockatrice Mark Two all along, and Bandora’s minions steal the eggs.
The battle quickly grows to a fever pitch with the Zyurangers fighting Dora Cockatrice again, and a game of keep-away unfolding between Yuuro, Bandora’s minions, and the bomb weirdos. The chest containing the eggs eventually falls into the sea once more, and Daizyujin destroys Dora Cockatrice again. Time is a flat circle. After the battle, it seems as though the Apello tribe will remain cursed by the gods, but the Rangers and Emiko plead to the Guardian Beasts, who lift the curse and allow the tribe to return to heaven. Emiko gets a cool dress, the end.

[Music sting]

Ethan: This one is a little bit hectic, a little bit frantic. I like that the Dora Cockatrice is using its disguise tactics again. As we talked about last episode, the Cockatrice doesn’t have like a ton of historical precedent, compared to something like a Sphinx, but it has established it has this shape-shifting power because it pretended to be a waiter in the woods last episode, and the bomb weirdos are very weird. They’re like, in army helmets and goggles and things, and they’re literally just throwing M80s.

Andrew: I loved it.

Ethan: It’s like, you’ve got the Isle of Delos, right? You’ve got the Apello tribe, and they’re just doing, you know, they’re monkeys. They’re not really monkeys, they’re just people with a tail. People could have tails, it’s fine. And they’re just like, living their lives in their togas, and then like, five minutes away are these freakazoids with lit sticks of dynamite? Where do they get it? They’re on an island in the middle of the ocean.

Andrew: God.

Ethan: Maybe! It could be God’s dynamite.

Andrew: It’s God’s dynamite.

Ethan: The interesting thing about this that I didn’t want to get into on our last episode, because it’s part of this episode, but the Guardian Beasts appear to be able to extend God’s forgiveness to the Apello tribe. They are like, the intercessors, in much the way that like, Catholics pray to saints, individual saints, rather than straight to Jesus. [Andrew laughs.] I mean, that’s the thing.

Andrew: No, you’re- that’s exactly what’s going on. It’s just such a weird thing to think about, that you’re going to pray to a Tyrannosaurus.

Ethan: Right. I mean, it seems like they are going to be like, really harsh about it and keep the Apello tribe on Earth forever, but the Rangers and Emiko plead on their behalf. So this further raises more questions: What is the relationship between the Guardian Beasts and this God who has the golden orchard? We know more or less the relationship between like the five ancient tribes and the Guardian Beasts and Daizyujin. That one makes sense. Past that point is like, what is going on? What is this golden orchard?

Andrew: Well, and there’s also the whole idea that the Guardian Beasts are both gods and machines. That they are both holy and man-made.

Ethan: I don’t think it’s ever implied that they’re handmade.

Andrew: They are mechanical.

Ethan: It’s definitely implied in Power Rangers, multiple times, that they’re mechanical and can be like, repaired and upgraded.

Andrew: Sure. They’re clearly mechanical.

Ethan: Yeah. I mean, we can see that, right? But it is not ever touched on in the show that they are robotic, in that way. So this is where like, the marketing stuff kind of comes in. They’re toyetic in that way, you know, but it’s all very mystical, as Nelson was saying on our last episode.

Andrew: Speaking of which, not to go jump the track, but when Ernie was talking about the Power Rangers in “Happy Birthday, Zach,” he calls them Zords.

Ethan: Yes, he does call them Zords.

Andrew: He calls them Zords. So that word has escaped Zordon.

Ethan: I hadn’t even thought about that.

Andrew: That carries some implications.

Ethan: Do we think Billy is on some Usenet type stuff?

Andrew: Just bragging?

Ethan: Not necessarily bragging, but like, you know how Bruce Wayne has been known in various incarnations and forms to go online and argue that Bruce Wayne is Batman and provide all this [knocks microphone over] crackpot evidence specifically to make people who think that Bruce Wayne is Batman…

Andrew: Look crazy.

Ethan: Look crazy. So I could easily see Billy going online, getting in an IRC channel.

Andrew: I could see it going in the other direction. I could see Billy sitting in an IRC channel or on some, you know, Tor-based dark web back room.

Ethan: Did they have Tor in 1992?

Andrew: No, they didn’t have the web in 1992.

Ethan: Oh, you’re right.

Andrew: Yeah, we are early Internet.

Ethan: Oh, he would have been on some like some like-

Andrew: Gopher, FTP…

Ethan: University of California, like, specific, like, Berkeley board.

Andrew: He had Usenet. But anyway, I could see Billy trying to like research Zordon, trying to find information about ‘What is this dude that I’m serving?’, you know? I could see that happening. Him being the one, of the group, to reach out to like his contact somewhere and in the process, leaking information like a sieve, a siev- sieve?

Ethan: Sieve.

Andrew: Because he…

Ethan: Is the way that he is.

Andrew: Is the way that he is. He’s got no poker face.

Ethan: No, I could just see him, you know, correcting someone. Are you familiar with the video game War Thunder? Have you ever heard of this?

Andrew: No.

Ethan: It’s like a war sim game. And the player forums on this game have a consistent problem of active duty service members in the US Armed Forces leaking classified specifications-

Nelson, off screen: Oh my god.

Ethan: -to prove a point about in-game mechanics. “This tank cannot go this fast. This tank cannot hit a moving target at this many yards. And here’s how I know,” and posting a whole-ass DoD-classified… This happens again and again and again.

Andrew: I love that.

Ethan: It’s so funny. I can see Billy kind of playing a little inside baseball and “Uh, well, they’re not mecha, they’re Zords. The Triceratops top speed is 75 miles per hour.” I can see that very easily. But no, it’s interesting that- I mean, we know the Power Rangers get on the news later and there’s like a Power Rangers day in the city park.

Nelson, off screen: Oh, they were already on the news.

Ethan: Oh, they were already on the news. Okay.

Andrew: But at this point, that they have been well-known enough, that it’s a topic of conversation. All right. I didn’t mean to derail it. You talking about them not being mechanical, I was like, Oh, yeah, Ernie’s got the name down.

Ethan: Yeah, this is what the talkback portion is for, is talking. What do you think Billy’s username would have been?

Andrew: It depends. Did he make it before or after he became a Power Ranger?

Ethan: Well, I mean, I feel like, you know, his last name is Cranston. Billy sounds like berry. So I could see him being like Cranberry and then a series of numbers. I just think that would be cute, if he was Cranberry.

Andrew: I think his username is probably BluePowerRanger. Yeah.

Ethan: Oh, no. All right. Well, you have our research segment. You’ve hinted at it already, but let’s get the full scope.

Andrew: So I’ve been working on a research segment about the Power Rangers video games. I mentioned that before. And while I was researching that, I came across the answer to a question that we asked in one of our earliest episodes, and to a few other questions that we’ve asked along the way. If you’ll recall, when Nelson, our producer, appeared on episode two of this show, he had watched the wrong episode. He had watched “Food Fight.” And we spent a few minutes talking about how sometimes “Food Fight” gets listed in the wrong order and we didn’t know why, and we speculated, but I can confirm definitively why now. And along the way, I can answer a couple other questions. So the reason is VHS tapes. When Power Rangers came to home video, it was in the era of the VHS. VHS tapes were more expensive to produce than DVDs would be.

Ethan: How many members of our audience do you think have never, like, held a VHS tape?

Andrew: I imagine a lot of our audience is our age.

Ethan: Yeah. But I wonder how many people, like, how many people in the world don’t even own any DVDs now? Anyway.

Andrew: So VHS tapes were more expensive to produce than DVDs would be. And they only held about two hours of material at the max end. It was not common for shows to get a full season release, and Power Rangers was no exception, but the VHS releases for Power Rangers are weird. So I’m going to stick a full list in the show notes and I’ll link to the article on the BreezeWiki about the VHS releases. So the first two make sense: VHS number one and two are episodes one and two of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Episode one establishes context and episode two introduces the teleporters and those are very important episodes. But they were also the first VHS tapes to be released from the show.

Ethan: So that’s that’s “Day of the Dumpster” and “Hi-Five.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: What is the maximum time length capacity of a VHS tape?

Andrew: It depends on what mode you’re recording in and a bunch of other stuff. About three hours, but two was standard. If you went more than two, they usually went to two tapes.

Ethan: It’s just interesting that they have these like barely-

Andrew: 22 minutes.

Ethan: 25 minute episodes on on a tape by themselves.

Andrew: So they weren’t by themselves. They had a ton of trailers.

Ethan: That makes seeeense.

Andrew: Trailers for other Saban material, trailers for other Power Rangers material, commercials for Power Rangers toys. Because-

Ethan: Oh, too hot- Do you remember [commercial announcer voice] “TOO HOT TO HANDLE”? Do you remember that?

Andrew: No.

Ethan: Okay, it’s like a kid playing with the Megazord in his house and the house explodes. And it shows him and he’s got like crazy eyes, like, soot on his face and his hair is blown back. [commercial announcer voice] “TOO HOT TO HANDLE.” Very good commercials.

[“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers! Too hot to handle.”]

Andrew: When they did these VHS tapes, these VHS tapes were not about selling the tape. They were about selling-

Ethan: Everthing else. [Laughs.].

Andrew: -the toys. So the tapes were sold pretty cheaply. They were done occasionally as promotions with restaurants and things. And VHS number one and two are hard to find. They came out before any other tapes did. They were kind of, “We’re going to test the waters and see if this works.” This is all 1994. And they worked. They did really well and stores ran out of them and started clamoring for another one.

Ethan: I know I had the movie in a blister case on VHS. I’m trying to remember if I had any other Power Rangers movies or VHSes. Definitely had Turbo on VHS, the movie. Might have only been movies. Anyway, continue.

Andrew: I never saw individual episodes on tape.

Ethan: I mean, looking at this cover image for the “Happy Birthday, Zack” [VHS release], I know I have seen it at some point.

Andrew: Sure. Just a standard cardboard box release. So episodes three and four that were released on VHS are “Food Fight” and today’s episode, “Happy Birthday, Zack.” I thought “Food Fight” was a weird choice. It’s among the better episodes of the early series, but it’s not great, you know. But that’s the reason that “Food Fight” will occasionally get listed out of order or get put far earlier in watchlists than it’s supposed to. “Food Fight” was, for a lot of people, episode three.

Ethan: Makes perfect sense.

Andrew: Now, why was that episode two on the watchlist that we had instead of episode three? Who knows? But “Food Fight” frequently gets listed earlier than it should be because it was the first episode that a lot of people had on VHS. I’m less surprised that “Happy Birthday, Zack” was released on VHS because it’s the best episode we’ve seen so far, by a pretty wide margin.

Ethan: Yeah, not close.

Andrew: 12 days later, they did another VHS drop, which featured episodes we have not seen yet. “No Clowning Around,” which is episode 11 of the show overall. And then there were six more VHS tapes released from season one of Power Rangers. The next five are the Green Ranger Saga, and I’m excited for us to get to the Green Ranger Saga.

Ethan: I’m pumped.

Andrew: But the Green Ranger Saga was basically the only VHS tapes that were kept in continuous production. All the early episodes were one issue and scrapped. And then the final VHS from season one was the official fan club video, which we’ll have to save for a special episode.

Ethan: I’m so intrigued.

Andrew: Four more episodes were released on VHS in 1994. Three of them were season two episodes, and one of them was a VHS exclusive.

Ethan: That would not have been the Bulk and Skull show.

Andrew: I don’t think so.

Ethan: That came later.

Andrew: 1995 brought 10 more Power Rangers VHS tapes; 1996 brought four more. I think ’96 is also when we get the movie, is that correct?

Ethan: ’95, ’96. Somewhere in there, yeah.

Andrew: But we have zero Power Rangers VHS tapes in ’97, only one in 1998 and only two in 1999. And that’s pretty much the entire classic era of Power Rangers.

Ethan: This is season one, two and three, and then Zeo.

Andrew: Zeo, yeah. Now Power Rangers continued releasing VHS tapes well into the DVD era. Dino Thunder VHS tapes were coming out in 2004, and SPD VHS tapes were coming out in 2005.

Ethan: That’s wild. That’s crazy.

Andrew: But trying to catch Power Rangers on recap in 1994 meant relying on inconsistent reruns or picking up one of the 11 episodes available on VHS. And that’s it, for more than a decade. If you wanted to watch season one of Power Rangers, you were stuck with one of the 11 VHS tapes, or hoping that you taped it when it came on TV. I think that helps to explain some of the filler episodes and how little care was spent on them. Power Rangers was brought to the U.S. to sell toys, and it’s easier to sell toys with new episodes, because they were trying to sell new toys. They didn’t want to sell the toys that had come out a year ago, because they weren’t making those anymore. It wasn’t until 2007 that Power Rangers got a proper full season DVD release, and even that was region two only, in German.

Ethan: That’s bizarre.

Andrew: The first region one English release wasn’t until 2012, 20th anniversary of the show, before you could actually watch season one.

Ethan: The whole show, yeah. I mean, I think this echoes like a lot of the carelessness that like, early film was handled with.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. It was not seen as something important. It was something that you could throw away.

Ethan: I mean, we’re still seeing that today with movies being deleted and scrapped for tax write-offs before they ever get a single screening.

[Nelson breathes heavily offscreen.]

Andrew: Because our-

Ethan: Sorry, I just rose Nelson’s blood pressure by probably 10 points.

Andrew: Because our culture… for me and you, it’s our culture. For Haim Saban or..

Ethan: David Zaslav.

Andrew: Exactly. It’s numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s money.

Ethan: It comes back to that McKinsey Institute MBA mentality that should be eradicated from the Earth for all time.

Andrew: So the upshot of all this is that watching old episodes of Power Rangers was basically impossible. And they knew from the gate that only the episodes that they picked would ever get seen again. And the show ran in syndication, but even in syndication, they produced so many episodes over such a long time that they could pick which episodes were going to get syndicated.

Ethan: A little bit of a throw spaghetti at the wall approach, I think.

Andrew: Exactly. And so when something like “Happy Birthday, Zack” hits it and lands, of course that is the one that gets released. When the Green Ranger Saga comes around and everybody decides, “Oh, this is when Power Rangers has made it.” I barely remember the Green Ranger Saga, but I remember the Green Ranger being my favorite when I was a kid.

Ethan: It was endlessly contentious between all of the boy children at, well, all of them minus one who only wanted to be the Pink Ranger. But all of us would squabble about who got to be Tommy. And then after the big kid inevitably said, “No, I’m Tommy, and I’ll fight you.” Then it was between everybody else who got to be Jason.

Andrew: Yeah, I was always left with, I guess, is the word, with Billy. But yeah, like I said, I ended up going down the road because I was looking at the Power Rangers video games, and the video games start coming out in in ’95. And they kind of ride this similar wave in that they got to market really quickly, and they were pretty poorly made. I’ll come back to video games in a few weeks unless I get distracted with another topic between now and then. But I just thought that this was really, really fascinating. So I’ve got one of the later VHS tapes. I’ve got one of the- I think it’s Power Rangers [Lost] Galaxy. It comes in a blister pack. And I’ve got a single episode of the Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog on VHS.

Ethan: I’ve seen that. I saw that tape in the lobby. I was like -gasp!-

Andrew: And then I’ve picked up a couple of other tokusatsu series as they were imported into the US. But some of these shows are still incredibly difficult to find. So many of them don’t get US releases at all.

Ethan: So I was having a conversation online with someone about a Sentai show that’s relatively recent called ToQger, which is like a train-themed Ranger Squadron. And it’s sick. It will never get adapted for a US release because if we awaken the train lust in today’s children, the dominance of the automobile will be forever sundered. And they cannot allow- the petrochemical industry cannot allow that to happen. But yeah, there’s a couple of Sentai shows that have not been adapted. So we’ll have to think about if and how we want to cover those, because they’re all interesting. They’re all good.

Andrew: The same problem you mentioned with the Warner stuff that they’ve been canceling and shows like Dead Space, that just get kind of disappeared from the catalog.

Ethan: I want to watch that damn Wile E. Coyote movie.

Andrew: Right. There are places where it gets weirder. And I think an interesting one that’s at least tangentially relevant to this show is Robotech.

Ethan: Oh yeah. There is stuff in the news today about Robotech.

Andrew: I know, that’s why I’m talking about it. Robotech was an anime that was brought to the US. It’s one of the first successful animes to be brought to the US. It was the anime Macross and it was brought to the US as Robotech. But it was basically Sabanized.

Ethan: In a lot of ways, yeah.

Andrew: They took the show and they chopped it up and they made a new show with it. And it wasn’t the same show.

Ethan: If I’m not mistaken, there were also bits of other shows spliced in as well.

Andrew: And Voltron ends up getting the same treatment. The original run of Voltron wasn’t long enough for a full season in syndication, so they just tacked another show on to the end and rewrote it so that it kind of sort of happened in the same universe. Robotech is the same idea. They took these two different- I think it’s just different seasons of a show. It might be two different shows entirely, but they made them exist within the same continuity in a way that they were not supposed to. The reason that this matters is because Macross is now available on Disney+. Now, I’m no fan of Disney, but I will applaud them making a previously very difficult to see series available in the US. However, this does not include the season that was adapted into Robotech.

Ethan: …Is the original Macross show.

Andrew: And everything else that happens in Macross depends on that context that you absolutely are not allowed to have in the US. And the reason why is because a company called Harmony Gold owns the rights to Robotech and as a result of them owning the rights to Robotech, it means they own the US rights to the first season of Macross and they won’t license it to the US.

Ethan: To anyone.

Andrew: To anyone.

Ethan: People have been trying for decades.

Andrew: Decades. You know, this is in the news as we’re recording this and I found this to be kind of an interesting analog. It took years for any of the Sentai shows to get an official US release, and I genuinely don’t know what, I mean, aside from a couple of Shout Factory DVDs, I don’t-

Ethan: I mean, the Shout Factory catalog is substantial at this point.

Andrew: It’s incredible. But like, if I wanted to go watch Gorenger, can I? I have no idea. I don’t think that there’s a legal way for us to do that. The closest I can get is reading the the recently published translation of the manga.

Ethan: I will say also, if you’re listening in 2024, Tubi currently has a ton of Sentai shows, just up. I’m watching Gingaman right now, which is- which was adapted into Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, and they’re just up there. They’re subbed. They’re free.

Andrew: Cool.

Ethan: Ad blockers actually work on Tubi, which is pretty choice. Who knows how long that will be the case? You know, these are notoriously contentious rights licenses and things, but if you’re listening, you know, when this is released and you want another way to watch Zyuranger or you want to watch past Zyuranger, or- I haven’t checked the whole thing, but I know they have at least from Zyuranger onward, in most cases. And, you know, I’ve just been working my way through the shows.

Andrew: And then there is one other thing I want to call out. I originally pulled Zyuranger from And this was very much a gray market kind of thing; hosts user uploads, and as long as a copyright holder has not complained, then they can continue to host the upload, just like YouTube. But in this instance, is currently facing down a pretty nasty lawsuit that was brought about by some publishers over’s tendency, or practice, rather, of lending eBooks. They had physical books in their collections, they produced scans of those books, and they were lending the books from the scans. You could check them out for- in increments of five minutes, and people mostly use them for like double-checking quotations or referencing citations. I’ve personally used the system a lot for whenever I’m researching old 78s or old film to figure out when a thing was actually released, because a lot of those records only exist on paper.
And the Author’s Guild and a bunch of publishers got together and they’re suing the Internet Archive over this. And they already won once and it looks like they’re probably going to win their appeal as well. And this could be really bad for what is one of the best resources for researchers on the internet. So, you know, if you care about this kind of thing, give them some money, make a couple of calls, don’t really know who to call, I’ve been calling senators and just saying, “Hey, make the archive legal.” But I don’t know if that’s doing any good. But I just wanted to call that out here, as we’re talking about how difficult it is to find some of these things and how these things don’t really have a home online. The fact that there is this non-commercial space where you can just go and dump stuff and it live forever, you know, at no cost to you. It’s an incredible resource that we’re in danger of losing.

Ethan: And especially when the creations themselves are so often treated as totally disposable by the powers that be, you know, by the studio executives and other such folks. And they just don’t seem to value it in any way that we can detect.

Andrew: You know, we recently opened a bookstore, and I’ve been looking at how many books that were published within the last five years that are completely unavailable. They’re not technically out of print, but they’re just- they’re- I can’t buy them. They will eventually do another print runn, but in the meantime, there are authors out there who aren’t making any money on this work, because if the publisher prints more books, they have to pay the author more money. And so in the short term, it is cheaper for them to let the thing rot. The author is stuck. They can’t do anything else with this work.

Ethan: That’s what the publishing contract does.

Andrew: Yeah. So they’re now captive to a system that will not allow people to legally enjoy their work. I mean, you run into it in the manga world all the time, too, with the piracy being rampant. It’s almost a meme at this point within the community, that everybody reads pirated manga. But the reason is that it’s difficult to do anything else.

Ethan: Yeah, I would say it’s definitely improving.

Andrew: Especially recently.

Ethan: You mentioned the Shonen Jump app on our last episode. I read, essentially, all of Bleach and Naruto in bad fan scanlations. And I mean bad translations, I mean bad scans, just frequently terrible. Weird font choices. Some stuff was just straight up wrong. And now you can get those other places much more easily. And I know a lot of, like… take Nintendo, for example, releasing Tears of the Kingdom and all of the last several Pokemon games in multiple languages, worldwide, simultaneously. That was unthinkable 20 years ago.

Andrew: Sure.

Ethan: Because that requires them to have not just an English translator, but multiple teams of translators for multiple languages. And they have that now.

Andrew: The company that publishes Shonen Jump, they run an app called Manga Plus. And simultaneously, every new manga that gets released on Manga Plus, everything from that week’s Shonen Jump plus a bunch of other magazines, plus a bunch of web exclusives gets released simultaneously in Japanese and English. And about half of them are also translated into Spanish. And that’s all free, because piracy has gotten so rampant at this point that they are doing anything that they can to claw back some of that. The fact that they’re doing this is an exception. They are going to exceptional lengths, as the stewards of a huge portion of this kind of now international brand, you know? So many other companies look at this situation and because of the way that financialization has worked, especially in this country, they go, actually, we would make more money if you couldn’t read our product. Actually, we would make more money if you couldn’t watch our movie. Actually, we would make more money if we didn’t make art.
And having gone through and seeing what it used to look like for these Power Rangers VHS tapes, and how hard it was to watch this stuff for so many years, and then that brief window where not only was it available, but it was reasonably priced and everywhere, and you could just go out and you could buy the thing. You could pay money to a person and you could walk out with the show that you wanted on a disk that will probably still work in 30 years. And then today, this stuff is out of print again. Technically, there is a Blu-ray release, but like, I can’t find it. So that’s Power Rangers Home Media Releases.

Ethan: Archiving is your friend.

Andrew: And you gotta do it because nobody else is going to.

Ethan: Treasure the things that get made. And if you make things, treasure them yourself. I treasure this podcast. Well, that is a huge topic to cover. And I really appreciate all the work you put in. The fact that they were still releasing VHS as late as that is so wild.

Andrew: SPD,

Ethan: 2005.

Andrew: Yeah, Dino Thunder, Ninja Storm.

Ethan: It probably looks great on a CRT though. Well, anyway, we’ll be back next time to discuss episodes 11 of Zyuanger, “Goshujin-sama! (My Master)”, and Power Rangers, “No Clowning Around.” If you’ve enjoyed the show, please feel free to send me $5, and if you want to find me online, don’t. But you can follow the show on the Fediverse @KenkyuuSentaiPodcastRangers@Meet. CommunityMedia.Network. Andrew, how can people get in touch and what should they look out for?

Andrew: You can find me online at, and what you should look out for is our archival work. Through New Ellijay Television, I archive a ton of what would otherwise be entirely lost media, stuff that’s never gotten an official home media release. I’m mostly working on television shows from the ’40s and ’50s, and that means that I’m getting them on reels of film that were made by pointing a film camera at a small television screen during a live broadcast. And the companies that would have originally owned the rights to these things have just given up on them. They don’t think that there’s a market for this stuff anymore, and so huge portions of American pop culture and the pop culture from all over the world are just- they’re disappearing. Just within the last week, I received one of the costumes that was worn for one of these shows that I’ve been archiving because nobody else wants it, because I’m the only one who cares. So, you know, if you want to go find something that’s worth seeing, check out our Space Patrol archives on New Ellijay Television, and remember that if you don’t keep this stuff alive, nobody else is going to.

Ethan: That’s all the show we have for you today. Thank you so much for listening, and thanks also to Hurly-Burly and the Volcanic Fallout for the use of their song “Colossal Might (Totally Radical Instrumental version)” for our intro and outro music. Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers is licensed CC-BY-SA and produced in collaboration with New Ellijay Television at the Ellijay Makerspace, which stands on the ancestral, unceded, stolen, and occupied lands of the Cherokee people. You can learn more about the Makerspace by visiting and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people and in the words of a wise man, fuck capitalism, go home.

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