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TRANSCRIPT – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers – 研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Episode Six Now We All Want Jamaican Food.

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 S01E06: Now We All Want Jamaican Food.
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Ethan: We rolling?

Nelson: Alright, all… the… lights… are on,

Ethan: Rollin rollin rollin. Okay, remember, it’s three two one clap.

Nelson: So we gonna clap this out?

Ethan: Yep. All right, three, two, one. [Clap.] Excellent.

[“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.

Andrew: You know, it really is my favorite.

Ethan: Yeah, I mean if you listen to it, it’s kind of default your favorite, because it’s the only one. Before we started this show… Well, I mean, before I even like proposed it, I just got curious and there are a couple of Power Rangers podcasts out there. Most of them have not updated in a long time, and none of them are doing the type of like, comparison work that we’re doing. So it’s your favorite by default. My name is Ethan, I use he/him pronouns, and with me is my usual co-host, Andrew.

Andrew: Hi, I’m Andrew, I also use he/him pronouns.

Ethan: And joining us once again is our good friend and producer of the show, Nelson.

Nelson: Heyooo, I’m back. I’m actually in the room with them. I know you won’t believe me, but I’m here.

Ethan: We can, we can, like physically reach out-

Nelson: Yeah, can you-? There you go.

Ethan: He’s there.

Nelson: Yeah, so we’re all here, gang’s all here, you know, all of that. I’m here to talk about the Power Rangers episode that I have watched too many times.

Ethan: If you recall from episode two of our show, we had a mix-up with the Archive.org episodes being out of order. They’ve since been taken down, Yahoo anime rules, don’t talk about s***.

Nelson: Wait, they took down all of Mighty Morphin’?

Ethan: It’s not there anymore.

Nelson: Oh, I was watching Zyuranger and it was…

Ethan: Zyuranger’s still there, but somebody put out a copyright claim.

Nelson: Where the hell… Where am I gonna watch Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers?

Ethan: Don’t worry about it. Anyway, the episodes being out of order means Nelson has been waiting for a quite some time to finally talk about today’s episode of Power Rangers. If you’d like to see the correct order of episodes, check the Ranger wiki. Today, we are discussing Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 6 “Tate, Daizyujin!”, which is “Arise, Daizyujin!” and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, season 1 episode 6, “Food Fight.” Without further ado, let’s get into the recap.

Nelson: Unless we have further ado.

Ethan: I do want to say a hearty f*** you to the Jasper Police Department.

Nelson: Yeah, I got pulled over on the way here. You know.

Ethan: He’s fine, we’re fine.

Nelson: I’m fine. Yeah.

Ethan: But also f*** cops.

Andrew and Nelson: All of ’em,

Andrew: Even the ones in my family.

Nelson: Yeah, even the ones you like. F*** em. Yeahhh.

Ethan: Yeah. So-

[“Kyoryu Sentai… Zyuranger!!”]

Ethan: “Arise, Daizyujin!” was written by Sugimura Noboru and directed by Sakamoto Taro. We pick up right where we left off with Geki, alone in a strange desert otherworld. Climbing over a ridge, he sees in the distance the destroyed remains of Tokyo, and at the bottom of the hill, he finds the skeletal corpses of his comrades. The Guardian Beasts appear in the sky and tell Geki that he must unite the hearts of his team, as well as the bodies of the Guardian Beasts in order to form Daizyujin. Geki sees an immense shape under the sand of this dead world as the Guardian Beasts tell him
this will be the future if he does not succeed at unifying the Rangers.

Nelson: Hold on. Hold on. There’s a big detail you’re leaving out there in that everybody was dead, everybody was like… I was like this is a kid’s show.

Ethan: It’s bleak, it’s bleak. It’s like, it’s horrifying. He finds the skeletons of the other Rangers, and he sees like a badly broken Tokyo Tower in the distance, and a totally destroyed cityscape. And like, this is what Bandora’s ultimate goal is: like, the destruction of all life on Earth.

Nelson: They were skeletons! It’s crazy.

Ethan: Yeah, it’s bleak.

Andrew: So she doesn’t just want to torture children.

Ethan: Right. Well, I mean she- that’s definitely like her mode of-

Nelson: That’s part of it.

Ethan: Her modus operandi of achieving this goal is to torture the children until all of humanity is dead, which is… pretty bleak. Geki promises he will do everything in his power and the Guardian Beasts zap him back to 1992 Earth in the forest where his friends and the children have been trapped by Dora Sphinx. He despairs for just a moment, saying he doesn’t know how to unite the team or form Daizyujin, but Barza overhears and says that Geki must seek out the Dino Crystals. Before they can discuss it, Dora Sphinx and Grifforzer reappear to make Geki’s day that much worse. They fight through the woods and into a quarry, where Bandora throws her sceptre, making Dora Sphinx and Grifforzer into giants. Geki runs around trying not to get squished like a bug, when suddenly his sword gives off a radiating glow and an energy bolt streaks out to a random spot in the hillside. You may remember this footage from a previous Power Rangers episode. It makes like, a little bit more sense, but it’s also still pretty random and far out.

Nelson: They just kind of throw Goldar in there… What was it, Grifforzer?

Ethan: Grifforzer.

Nelson: Yeah, I’m sticking with Goldar.

Ethan: That’s fine.

Andrew: I appreciate you bringing that up, because the Power Rangers footage was complete nonsense, where all of a sudden, [Jason] just knew that this crystal existed, and also how to find it, and what to do with it when he got it. At least Geki here gets some context.

Ethan: Yes, he gets, I would say, a minimal amount of context, but that beats the zero context episode of Rangers.

Andrew: This satisfied everything I wanted to know about the Crystal.

Ethan: Yes. Conveniently, this is the sack holding the Dino Crystals, which has apparently been waiting in this hillside for 170 million years, untouched by both archaeology and industry. Geki unwraps the Crystals and pitches the four that aren’t his to his friends, who are broken free from their imprisonment by the power of the Crystals. They summon the Guardian Beasts and, with the Dino Crystals, are able to combine into the Dino Tanker, and from there into Daizyujin, which gives Dora Sphinx and Grifforzer a fight to remember. Unfortunately, the loggers have arrived to clearcut the forest and make room for the golf course, which distracts our heroes from their fight.

Nelson: They start killing children.

Ethan: Yeah, they’re literally like- It’s not shown like how many trees they actually managed to cut down, but each of those trees-

Nelson: They killed some kids.

Ethan: -has a kid stuck in it and it’s I mean it- like with Hiroshi in the Land of Despair, like we just watch a couple of kids die.

Nelson: Well, yeah, that’s what Violet was talking about. That’s what Violet was talking about before, she wanted this show to not be afraid to show that they will kill children, and…

Andrew: Here they go.

Nelson: Yeah, like they kind of walked it back in the Land of Despair,
but…

Andrew: But not here.

Nelson: No, not here.

Ethan: But again, it’s not- The show doesn’t like linger on that at all. There’s no blood. You know at the end, there’s not like a, “It’s a shame we couldn’t save those those few we lost…” or- It’s just not commented on.

Nelson: But you hear kids screaming while they’re cutting trees down. You know.

Ethan: Dora Sphinx takes this opportunity to shrink back into his human form and challenge the Rangers to more riddles, Threatening to turn Daizyujin itself into a tree if they fail. They solve some, but Geki tricks the monster into revealing his weakness, and when Dora Sphinx resumes his giant form and attempts to blow them away, they summon Daizyujin’s weapon, Kyoryuken Godhorn, which is just the coolest s*** in the universe-

Nelson: Right? The Godhorn?

Ethan: -and strike the monster down in one blow, which frees all the children trapped in the trees. The episode ends with the Rangers reaffirming their promise to each other and to Daizyujin. Loose impressions?

Nelson: Loved it.

Ethan: This is the first time we see Daizyujin, or the Megazord, in
Sentai, and it literally the first shot of it is: it buried in the sand, which is such a cool shot.

Nelson: Yeah, it was so sick. Loved that.

Andrew: This was so much better than the accompanying Power Rangers episode. [Transcriber’s note: MMPR s1e4, “A Pressing Engagement,” which we covered in KSPR 04.]

Ethan: And I think it also blows “Day of the Dumpster” out of the water in terms of buildup to this like, incredible moment. I mean I- we want to get Will [Dover of Dover Demon Designs] to do some artwork for us of the red lightning on the black background, when [Daizyujin]’s raising the sword over his head. Oh, it’s so cool. I mean I literally get chills every time I watch it.

Nelson: I don’t know how exactly they did it with the whole like, covered-up Megazord, if they used like miniatures, because like looking at it, it looked like there might have just been like a little Geki action figure in there, like in a sandbox.

Ethan: I think that was a really well done compositing shot.

Nelson: Really?

Ethan: I think that they took the actual Megazord suit, or if not the actual suit, at least like a model of the torso, and put that in a sandbox, and then composited that in with the shot of Geki and it’s just- it’s extra premium.

Nelson: That’s crazy for ’92.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: Right. Well, I mean you look at the shot of the Guardian Beasts talking to Geki from in the clouds, it just looks like they’re standing up there.

Nelson: Yeah, but I mean they also, you know, that was that was more of an easy coverup, because they had the distance, and the mountain, and all the fog and everything. But yeah, no, that was definitely a cool shot with the whole Megazord like, under all the dust.

Ethan: And Godhorn is just such an unbelievably cooler name than “Power Sword!” I mean, the Power Sword’s also cool, but like Godhorn just- is unbelievable.

Nelson: There’s one part that I will never forget in this episode, when Dora Sphinx like goes back into his human form, and he’s like, “Goldar. Chill out.” and dude just like, just gets down. Puts his sword down and just chills out for a second.

Ethan: That’s Sexy Goldar!

Andrew: That’s the header image-

Ethan: Yeah, that’s our header image for our our CommunityMedia.Network account.

Nelson: I love that, he’s just chillin’.

Ethan: Just sexy Grifforzer, just- he’s just laid out, and just watchin’.

Andrew: So Dora Sphinx was a much more daunting villain than what we got in Power Rangers-

Ethan: King Sphinx, yeah.

Andrew: -and the combination of Dora Sphinx and Grifforzer here, it made sense. There were stakes, as opposed to, in Power Rangers, where they’ve they’ve set it up, they’ve already got the Megazord, every episode is just like, “Yeah, fight fight fight, Megazord, over! Hey!” Like this had weight to it. It’s weird that it was this far in but but yeah, I like this a lot.

Ethan: Yeah, and I think King Sphinx in Power Rangers uses his wings to blow Kimberley and Zack away, and that’s the only time you see him do that. When in Sentai, that’s his whole thing, is that if you if you fail his riddles, which are like pretty high level puns, if you like- the last couple that the Rangers solve as they’re in Daizyujin is- they’re quite tricky. But of course he cheats and is like, “What’s the what is the great force that will always win out?” And he says the answer is evil and they disagree and…

Nelson: Also, I mean there was another part that like, I had to pause it because I was laughing too much, where like they’re like, “We know what the final riddle is! It’s his weakness! He’ll never ask that!” and he’s like, “Hahhh, what’s my weakness?” They’re like, “Ah s***!” It like, just literally immediately, he’s like, “Hey, I heard you, so,” and like well, we don’t know, but just like that whole sequence of events, of just like, “He’ll never do that… I’m doing it!”

Ethan: It’s very fairytale, which is a strong influence on a lot of the monster stuff in in Zyuranger.

Andrew: For sure.

Ethan: I think that’s all I have to say about that.

Nelson: It’s a good episode. Oh, all right.

Ethan: Nelson has our Rangers recap which, again, he’s been waiting for probably three months to lay out.

Nelson: I have. Yeah, I made these these notes… Let’s check…

Andrew: Before we shot the first episode.

Nelson: I did! Either way, yeah.

Ethan: “Food Fight!”

Nelson: So, Rangers recap, folks!

[“Go, go! Power Rangers!” + theme music]

Nelson: Power Rangers, episode six, “Food Fight.” So we open up in Angel Grove, at the cultural center, and they’re having a cultural food festival. You know, that can’t be problematic in any kind of way.

Ethan: I think my first note on on this sequence is literally “Oh, we’re just like exoticizing brown women. That’s exciting.” It’s like, Ernie shows up with…

Nelson: With pies.

Ethan: Well, he’s flanked by like two-

Nelson: Two women in hu-

Ethan: Two women in like Hawai’ian… Yeah, hula skirts and leis. And that’s like the first thing you see in this episode.

Nelson: He walks up to Bulk and Skull and he’s like, “Help me with these!” and then he looks- they look at the women and they’re like, “Wohh!”, he’s like, “The pies, come on.”

Ethan: Yeah, not a great way to start the episode. Anyway…

Nelson: Yeah, so, the the Rangers are helping out at the cultural food festival today. They do not have time to deal with Reader Repulsor-
“Reader Repulsor,” what am I, f*** Southern?

Andrew: “Reader Repulsor!” [Cowboy noises.]

Nelson: “Reader Repulsor.” But yeah, they don’t have time for her schemes today, and luckily, you know, she’s upset. She’s got a whole headache, doesn’t even want to think about taking over the Earth. And back at Angel Grove, at the cultural food fair, despite the multicultural foreign cuisine being the most popular of things, the principal guy- What’s the guy with the wig, the principal?

Ethan: Kaplan.

Nelson: Yeah, he just wants some good old American hot dogs and hamburgers.
But he doesn’t want to pay for ’em, because he’s old. He’s an old cheap b***. And so, here we go, this is where Bulk and Skull enter.
As with every episode, like I said before, last time I was here, GOATed theme song. Amazing.

[Bulk and Skull’s theme]

Nelson: And so, yeah, then Bulk and Skull throw some pies and you get a food fight. You know, it is what it says on the tin.

Andrew: Chekov’s food fight.

Nelson: You know, yeah.

Ethan: I have written down that they bean the principal’s wig clean off his head.

Nelson: Yeah, that’s- it’s like they were aiming for the wig.

Ethan: Yeah, it’s targeted.

Nelson: This food fight goes on, man. This goes on for a while.

Ethan: I wrote also in my notes, this must have been hell to clean up, because they are truly going for it.

Andrew: So much of the show, though, is just like, “Hey, let’s point out the way that this person is different and then ridicule them for it.”

Nelson: It was the 90s, dude!

Andrew: Yeah, it’s no wonder that they were aiming for the wig, you know?

Nelson: But yeah, so this awesome food fight gets Rita’s attention, and she makes a pig monster.

Andrew: I just love the idea that, “Oh my head hurts. Oh, I don’t want to deal with the Power Rangers. Oh, they’re having a food fight? Well, I must have a part of that!”

Nelson: I mean, yeah, dude, like trust me. Growing up in the 90s, somebody has a food fight, even if you’re not in the mood, you’re gonna get it.

Ethan: That’s something I always wanted to happen at the elementary school cafeteria. I never saw it.

Andrew: Can you imagine how bad it would have been if we had a food fight in the middle school cafeteria?

Ethan: Oh, god, middle school? I mean, middle school, people would have died. Like someone would have gotten stabbed with a fork.

Andrew: And even if nobody got stabbed with a fork, when the principal showed up- well, Mosley wouldn’t have done anything. But when the assistant principal showed up, somebody would have been grievously injured. He would have just started grabbing people by the hair. I mean, he was not a good dude.

Nelson: Wow. Yeah, no, see, I love the idea of a food fight, but also now that I’m like- I love that I say “now that I’m an adult” like I’m actually an adult, but like, I think about like, food allergies. It’s like the minute somebody with a peanut allergy…

Andrew: Yeah! Gets hit with some peanut butter…

Nelson: Like, you got a lawsuit on your hands.

Ethan: Well, I also would think about like solidarity with janitors, by not making the biggest mess in the universe. And like, they’re not gonna make the kids clean that up. We’re not gonna- they’re not gonna let us mop anything, so like it’s gonna fall on the janitors, and that’s way too much work for them to do.

Andrew: Not to mention, you know, the food waste.

Ethan: Yeah, that also sucks.

Nelson: Yeah, okay, so she summons this big old pig monster to Earth to eat all of the food on Earth. I’m talking all of it. And I- you know, I may have glossed over it a bit here, but this pig monster…

Andrew: It’s disgusting.

Nelson: Oh boy. Don’t like it. Don’t like it at all.

Ethan: I don’t like his voice.

[“Oh, I’m hungry! Oughghhhh!”]

Nelson: I don’t like what he looks like, I don’t like what he stands for, I don’t like anything about it.

Andrew: Are you familiar- There was a line of toys in the the late 80s and the early 90s called Mad Balls. It’s just grotesque balls.

Nelson: Yeah, it reminded me of a mixture between one of those and a Garbage Pail Kid.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Nelson: Because it just has a Trojan helmet for some reason.

Andrew: For no reason!

Ethan: There is a reason for that, that will not become clear until we get to this- the episode of Sentai that he’s up in, which…

Andrew: Which means that within the context of Power Rangers, there is no reason for it.

Ethan: Zero context. It’s just like, “What?”

Nelson: Yeah, and his arms, I think, are in his mouth?

Andrew: Yeah, he’s all like…

Nelson: Yeah, his arms come out of his mouth to pull the food into his mouth, and he’s also a head on legs in a Trojan helmet.

Ethan: It’s funny y’all mentioned Garbage Pail Kids and toys. We had a toy of this at my granddad’s house, and the back- like, the lowest back part of his helmet is on a hinge, so that you can open it up and extract all of the things that you can feed to him. So you could actually feed him your tiny Power Rangers weapons from the five inch scale line, and then open his a** up and pour them out and feed ’em- I mean, it’s silly, it’s silly.

Andrew: No, he’s a grotesque little dude.

Nelson: Yeah, so, after this pig monster gets here and he destroys their picnic and eats the potato salad that took them three days to make.

[“Way to go buddy. It took us three days to make that potato salad!”]

Ethan: Three days for potato salad?

Nelson: It’s a SpongeBob reference, sorry. Might have gone over your head.
You remember, “It took us three days to make this potato salad!”?

Ethan: No, that one escapes me. I remember a lot of SpongeBob, but that’s- this one escapes me.

Nelson: That one was a real in the pocket one for you. So basically they get yelled at by the principal and then they’re like, you know, as they usually do when they get in trouble, say, “F*** this, Zordon’s calling.” So they go to the other room and they just dip out, and Zordon’s like, “Pig monster’s here! Y’all gotta do something about this.” And they’re like, “Yeah, we should,” and in the meantime, the pig monster goes to Angel Grove. He goes to the cultural food festival…

Andrew: The place that the Rangers had just left!

Nelson: Where they just were! And it’s just terrorizing that, which means, and you know, this is another fun thing that we’ve pointed out in this podcast, they had to shoot new footage for this.

Andrew: I didn’t think about that, but you’re right.

Ethan: Yes, when they imported all of the props and costumes, they had somebody come in in that costume and start shoveling, you know, fake shoveling, but like shoveling all the food.

Nelson: He was Cookie Monster-in’ it. Yeah.

Ethan: I would jam on some cookies right now, ugh.

Nelson: They realize that the monster can’t have spicy food.

Ethan: Correct.

Nelson: And this is after they try to fight him and he eats their weapons, and just poots out little remainders of them.

Ethan: His little tail bouncing is like gro-tesque. It’s like boingoing. Blech.

Nelson: So they lure him in with spicy food and, you know, he starts coughing out their weapons, and then they make the Power Blaster and they shoot him to death.

Andrew: Now see, I don’t know about you, Nelson, but but when I eat spicy food, I immediately start coughing up weapons.

Nelson: I mean who doesn’t? I mean, who among us, right, you know? But yeah, coughs up the weapons, they form the Power Blaster, day saved.

Andrew: Day is saved!

Nelson: And then because, you know, what’s the 90s without making people appreciate other cultures that they thought were weird? And so they convinced the principal to eat a little bit of spicy food, just a little bit, and you know, and then that’s the end. And he’s like, “Oh, all right, all right, I like what you’re doing.” So, yeah, honestly, I’m glad we could finally talk about this episode because I feel like I’ve had too much build-up for this disappointing a** episode of Power Rangers. They don’t even go big, there’s no Megazord in this!

Ethan: No, so, because he doesn’t the Megazord doesn’t ever fight the pig monster in the original show.

Nelson: They just shoot him with the Power Blaster, and he’s gone.

Andrew: And at that point in the original- in Sentai, in Zyuranger, the Megazord was basically brand new, and they have already established that it only has to come out for a big threat. This pig monster is not a big threat. He’s just a gross little dude.

Ethan: Yeah, he’s just hungry.

Nelson: And he got dealt with like a gross little dude. He got shot and exploded.

Ethan: The spicy radish stuff is so funny to me. It’s so goofy. I have had radishes that are like gnarly tasting.

Nelson: Do they make spicy radishes?

Ethan: It’s not spicy in the way that a pepper is spicy…

Andrew: It’s just kinda sharp.

Nelson: Yeah, it’s like ginger.

Ethan: This one that I’m thinking of was a black radish. I went- I was on a trip to Washington State to visit some friends in 2018, and one of their friends worked on a farm, and they had been growing these like extremely gnarly black radishes. And if somebody snuck me a whole sandwich of that, I would have also spewed up all the magical power weapons. There is a bit where someone says “flip his wig.””

[“Mr. Kaplan is going to flip his wig! Again!”]

Ethan: In reference to Kaplan, and I noticed that Thuy Trang’s face- She is trying so hard not to break at that point, if you watch her face in that shot, she is like really really holding it in. I thought that was really funny. I think this is also the first instance that we see “morphenomenal” come up as a thing that the Rangers say? It’s so obnoxious.

[“Why not lure the animal with food after we stick a piece of the spicy radish root inside? Morphenomenal idea, Billy!”]

Ethan: Morphatominal, morphitudinous, it’s all…

Andrew: They kept trying for these catchphrases.

Nelson: Also, I think it’s implied that Zack is Jamaican?

Ethan: Is it?

Nelson: I mean, if you look at the booth that he’s at, I’m pretty sure it’s a Jamaican flag that’s behind him? Like I’m pretty sure. I have to go back and look, which I will, since I’ll be editing this. But yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s implied that he is Jamaican of some sort. Which, hey, I don’t know if you guys’ve ever had Jamaican food, but whew s***, man.

Andrew: When we lived in Maryland, long time ago, we could walk to this Jamaican joint. And Ryan and I would frequently eat so much that we made ourselves sick, because it was wonderful, and it was cheap, and it was right there. Yeah, I mean it was fantastic.

Ethan: Well, I want some Jamaican food now, I guess.

Nelson: Yeah, right, good stuff. You know, yeah, so that’s the episode. What are you guys’ thoughts on this episode, “Food Fight?”

Ethan: I think there’s not as much fat shaming as there could have been, but there’s a non-zero amount of fat shaming, and I don’t appreciate it, once again.

Nelson: I mean, they do put [Bulk’s] face in food. The pies.

Ethan: Well, I mean Kimberley kind of shame- fat shames the monster. Which like he’s a monster, he’s evil, but also like we didn’t have to… you know, these are the tools of the enemy, et cetera et cetera.

Andrew: Considering all of the episodes of Power Rangers up to this point, and how bad most of them have been, this one at least felt almost coherent. Like the plot, while full of ridiculous bulls, at least stuck to its ridiculous bulls enough that that it- like, whoever wrote this did a good enough job with it.

Ethan: You know, it’s a good utilization of the source film. It’s like yeah, okay, pig monster eats all the food. How can we frame this in a way that sort of makes sense and has some stakes. Again, Rita is working on such a small-time level, like we talked about in a previous episode. Rita wants to gain control of the park. Okay, why? What purpose does that serve? How does that help advance her like, world domination cause?

Andrew: Especially when we’ve established how powerful she is. Like, it does seem super petty. Like, Rita has the ability to-

Ethan: Wreck whole cities.

Andrew: -And if we take Bandora’s actions in the first episode of Zyuranger as canon, like, can just reconfigure the entire Tokyo Tower, and she wants a park.

Nelson: She can ride a bike in the sky.

Ethan: Yeah, or she wants to ruin one school’s food festival, when she could be like burning crop fields, you know, and-

Nelson: You know, she’s doing what a lot of people should be doing, and that’s thinking locally, all right. You gotta start somewhere, you gotta be the change you want to see.

Andrew: Rita living those Community Media values.

Nelson: Is she an ally?

Ethan: No! No, she also loves pollution and other stuff, and making children cry.

Andrew: Making children cry!

Nelson: She’d make a great Captain Planet villain.

Ethan: Oh, yeah!

Nelson: Would she be too powerful for Captain Planet?

Andrew: She might be too powerful for Captain Planet.

Nelson: All you power scaling nerds out there.

Ethan: Yeah, where does Captain Planet fall on the Megazord scale? Like could Captain Planet take the Megazord?

Andrew: I need to know this.

Nelson: I think Captain Planet could take the Megazord.

Andrew: I need you to seek me out and tell me.

Nelson: Yeah, Deathbattle. Let’s get that going. They still do that, right? You haven’t watched Deathbattle?

Ethan: Are you talking about like, the claymation celebrity death battle?

Nelson: No, no, that’s Celebrity Deathmatch. It’s like a YouTube series…
with Whiz and Boomstick… I’m- you probably- that probably sounds like I’m just making s*** up. Yeah, no, but it’s like, a show where they take all the attributes of two characters and they animate like a death battle between them. Yeah, it’s real-

Ethan: Ichigo versus Naruto or something.

Nelson: Yeah. Yeah, or like Omniman versus Homelander. Yeah, if they’re still making those, let’s get Captain Planet against the Power Rangers.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Nelson: The Planeteers against the Power Rangers.

Andrew: Let’s do it. Okay, research time? I’ll start the research.

Ethan: So I know what our research topic is today, because we were talking about it off camera, off mic, but tell the people what do we got today.

Andrew: So for today’s research topic, I’m looking to talk about the actor who appears in the most episodes of Power Rangers. I got curious, I did some cursory internet searching, and and my cursory internet searching told me something that I didn’t believe? I thought was a lie. And it turns out that I was right not to believe it. So, let’s get into it.

Ethan: He’s been real cagey about who this actually is. He keeps talking about “the actor this, the actor that.” And so like I have a good idea, but I don’t actually know. So I’m really interested.

Andrew: I surprised myself. So let’s go. So first and foremost, if you search “who appears in the most episodes of Power Rangers?”, what you’re gonna get is Jason David Frank, who has not appeared in the show yet,
but who plays the Green Ranger and later the White Ranger.

Ethan: And later the Gold Ranger and later the Black Ranger.

Andrew: And I have no doubt that he was the Power Ranger who appeared as a Power Ranger in the most episodes of Power Rangers, but he hasn’t shown up so far in this series.

Ethan: Episode 17. It’s gonna be a banger.

Nelson: We’re getting close to that.

Ethan: Yeah.

Nelson: Nice.

Andrew: And some of his his co-stars, or at least some of his fellow actors, who are already in the show, also stick around for at least as long as he does, so I thought it was weird that that he would have the reputation as being in the most episodes, you know? So I did some more digging and specifically I went and looked at specific actors. There’s a character who’s already appeared in the show who definitely beats him and his name is Eugene Skullovich. He’s played by Jason Narvy and he appears in 151 episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, 50 episodes of Zeo, 44 episodes of Power Rangers Turbo, 43 episodes of Power Rangers In Space,
an episode of Wild Force, an episode of Lost Galaxy, and an episode of Power Rangers Samurai. He also appears in a one-off Bulk and Skull spin-off. They did a a direct-to-video spin-off episode because they were going to do a Bulk and Skull television program.

Ethan: When I was verifying that Paul Schrier is Bulk’s actor for the episode four transcript, I peeked into that and I did see a mention of that.

Nelson: There’s your special episode mention for this one.

Andrew: So that’s a hell of a run, you know, a ton of episodes.

Ethan: How many is that total?

Andrew: Just over 290. It’s about 294 or so, depending on if you count the the spin-off. And in a couple of those his character appears, but he does not. I don’t know if you recall this, but for a little while in Turbo, Bulk and Skull are played by monkeys.

Ethan: I did- I read about this also.

Andrew: And that’s while they were shooting the Bulk and Skull spin-off show.

Ethan: I think they did voiceovers for those episodes, but their faces don’t appear.

Andrew: So so just over 290, but is that actually the most appearances from a single actor?

Ethan: I have no idea.

Andrew: It turns out the answer is no.

Nelson: Oh, who do we got?

Andrew: Skull’s counterpart, Bulk.

Nelson: Ahhh!

Andrew: Surprisingly, Bulk, played by Paul Schrier, beats him out, depending on how you count it, he either beats him out by a little bit, or he beats him out by a lot. Paul Schrier appears in every episode of Power Rangers Samurai and in nearly every episode that that Jason Narvy appears in, plus a bunch that Jason Narvy does not appear in. And that by itself would be enough to put him in in the lead slot, but but like I said, it depends on how you count it, because he also appeared as a lead character in a thing called Power Rangers HyperForce. Power Rangers HyperForce is a canonical, officially-licensed web series that was done as a podcast and a Twitch stream.

Nelson: What!

Andrew: It’s a Power Rangers role-playing game. It’s a tabletop game, and they did this tabletop game, they had a bunch of professionals come in and play characters for this tabletop game, and they made the plot of the tabletop game canon within Power Rangers. It crosses over with several of the Power Rangers comic books and Paul Schrier plays a character named Jack Thomas, who is the HyperForce Yellow Ranger.

Ethan: I saw that mentioned when I was verifying that actor’s name. This makes sense now. It made no sense to me at the time, because I was like wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Nelson: Yeah, that’s something else.

Ethan: So how long is the HyperForce series?

Andrew: It’s like 20-something episodes.

Ethan: Of what, an hour a piece?

Andrew: No, they’re like half an hour.

Ethan: Oh geez, that’s super digestible.

Andrew: It aired in 2017, 2018. I’ll actually end up talking about it a little more in my next research segment. But yeah, so I did the the digging and Paul Schrier appears in more episodes of Power Rangers than anybody else, and I just find that fascinating.

Ethan: He stuck around. I mean, this- we’re talking about like a span of
30…

Andrew: Yeah…

Nelson: 30 years.

Ethan: 1993 to 2024 is a long time. [Transcriber’s note: you ain’t have to say that about your/myself.]

Andrew: We talk about this a lot on the show, but his character is just treated horribly, and it’s honestly a little heartwarming to me that he managed to take that and turn it into a multi-decade career, that in many ways culminates with him getting to assume the role of of an actual Power Ranger. I mean, like, I love that for him. That’s what I got. You know, I was surprised by this answer. It was not what I was expecting. And so in a couple of episodes, when I come back and do some more research segment, I’m gonna get into Paul Schrier and what else he has done. But I didn’t want to bog us down here, because I just love that reveal.

Ethan: No, that’s awesome. I read a little bit about his role in Samurai and some other stuff, and it didn’t even occur to me that he would be in the number one spot.

Andrew: And it’s kind of neat to watch as their characters- as Bulk and Skull evolve from like, the comic relief bullies to kind of almost supportive side characters. Like in the Turbo era, they’re still like not exactly friendly, but like the Power Rangers are frequently- they’re helping Bulk and Skull out, as opposed to bullying them, and as the show continues to progress that becomes a- more and more of their relationship is that these are just dudes that they know and are are generally friendly with.

Ethan: Why do I remember something about the Puce and Mauve Rangers? Does this ring a bell to you at all?

Andrew: No.

Nelson: Yes. Cause one of them was like the Purple Ranger? Yeah.

Ethan: Yeah. Is that- that’s ringing a bell with you?

Nelson: Yeah, I don’t remember what that was about, but I know there was a Purple Ranger who wasn’t a Power Ranger.

Ethan: They like, make their own costumes or something.

Nelson: They called him the Mauve Ranger?

Ethan: Yeah.

Nelson: That’s hilarious.

Ethan: I can’t remember the context, I don’t remember which season of the show it’s in…

Nelson: What child would know what color mauve is?

Ethan: That’s the joke. It’s like puce and mauve are such obscure…

Nelson: That’s crazy.

Ethan: I don’t remember any of the context, or even if it’s from the show, or like a comic, or something else.

Andrew: If you search for “Puce and Mauve Ranger,” you get Bulk’s wiki page. I don’t know the details and I will find out before my next research segment.

Ethan: This is such a very faint but distinct memory that I have. I can’t remember anything about it. I just remember them like basically sewing their own costumes that are not Power Ranger- they’re not power suits, and then like declaring themselves the Puce and Mauve Rangers.

Nelson: Puce and mauve.

Ethan: Puce and mauve, yeah.

Nelson: That’s crazy.

Ethan: But I can’t remember anything else about it. I just remember that that’s a thing that happened at some point.

Andrew: Okay, so that’s some research.

Nelson: That is some research.

Ethan: Yeah, no, that’s such a cool question.

Nelson: Good little trivia.

Andrew: Oh, I didn’t give a total. Bulk appears in well over 300 episodes, and if you include the the stuff from HyperForce, it gets up to like the
330 or so.

Ethan: Awesome. If we ever get a cast member on the show, we should spring that fact on them and see how they- what they think. I mean, we should we should ask them who they think it is, because I imagine all- virtually all of them would say Jason David Frank, and I think the fact that Bulk and Skull beat him out, both of them, is really funny.

Nelson: They’re the most Power Rangers Power Rangers, you know?

Ethan: Okay, well, I mean is that everything we have to say about these episodes?

Andrew: Yeah, I think that’s it.

Nelson: That’s it.

Ethan: Okay.

Nelson: Ethan, hit ’em with the outro.

Ethan: We’ll be back next time to discuss episode seven of Zyuranger, “Mieru, Mieru! (I can see, I can see!)”, and Power Rangers, “Big Sisters.” If you’ve enjoyed the show, please feel free to send me five dollars, 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: So I’m @AJRoach42@Retro.Social on the Fediverse. You can find the stuff that I’m doing at AndrewRoach.net. That’s all I got to say today.

Ethan: Okay. Nelson, what do you want to shout out?

Nelson (caught by surprise): Oh, uh, so-

Ethan: Middle school flashback, oh god!

Nelson: Yeah, right. So, I work on Working Class Music, you can go check that out. You know, I’ve got videos there of me doing music stuff. Speaking of music stuff, I’ll be here, playing playing a show in March.

Andrew: Which you’ll be able to watch on New Ellijay Television.

Nelson: Yeah, which you can watch.

Ethan: Or you could just show up. You have plenty of time.

Andrew: Yeah, when was the last time you played a solo show, Nelson?

Nelson: Phew boy, I’m not gonna say that on air, because then they might not come.

Andrew: Was it 10 years ago?

Nelson: I mean, I wouldn’t say 10 years ago.

Andrew: Was it 2015?

Nelson: Like, out? Not just like at my house? Oh, okay, probably like
I’d say…

Andrew: ’16 at the latest, man.

Nelson: No, 2017.

Andrew: Yeah?

Nelson: 2017, 2018 probably.

Andrew: Really?

Nelson: Yeah, it’s been a while.

Andrew: You played a show in ’17?

Nelson: I think so. I actually went and did some stuff last night. My buddy was doing like a whole karaoke thing with his band, and I was like, can you guys play “Short skirt, long jacket” by CAKE? We did that and f*** “Beverly Hills” by Weezer.

Andrew: Of course.

Nelson: Yeah, so that’s what I did last night. Got to get the reps in. But yeah come see John Thefruitman. Andrew finally gets what he wants. You also find me @Nelsonforyou on wherever, and if you can’t find that, don’t do anything else. Take a nap.

Andrew: Take a nap.

Ethan: Take a nap. That sounds good.

Nelson: All right, we’ll see you guys next time.

Ethan: Yeah! Okay, 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 EllijayMakerspace.org and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting Cherokee.org. Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people, and in the words of a wise man: f*** capitalism; go home.

Nelson: Yeah!

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TRANSCRIPT – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers – 研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Episode Five Please Do Not Treat The Deaf Girl Like A Dog

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 – S01E05: Please Do Not Treat The Deaf Girl Like A Dog.
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Ethan: All right are we good? We rolling?

Nelson (distantly): Yep! All right, let’s uh… do the old clapperoony.

Ethan: All right, three, two, one. [Clap.] Okay! That was- we discussed The Procedure. We have The Procedure down now.

Andrew: We planned it.

Ethan: We planned it! You have to plan it.

[“It’s morphin time!” + intro music]

Ethan: Okay, minnaasan, 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 Ethan!

Ethan: How’s it going?

Andrew: It’s- it’s going.

Ethan: We’re having a day.

Andrew: It’s been a day. My name is Andrew, I also use he/him pronouns, and I’m here to talk about some Power Rangers.

Ethan: Some Powerful Rangers. Today we’re discussing Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode five “Kowai Nazo Nazo (Scary Riddles)” and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers season one, episode five, “Different Drum.” Without further ado, unless we have further ado, let’s get into the recap. You got any further ado?

Andrew: Naw. This- the-

Ethan: It’s a weird batch, guys.

Andrew: Continuing the trend, these Sentai episodes are much better than these Power Rangers episodes.

[“Kyoryu Sentai… Zyuranger!!”]

Ethan: Okay, so, Super Sentai recap. “Kowai Nazo Nazo” was written by Sugimura Noboru and directed by Sakamoto Taro. We begin with the most ominously threatening gameshow host to ever harass random children in the park. This is Dora Sphinx, who uses riddles to trap people and blow them away with his wings. While Dora Sphinx is being the most normal anyone has ever been, Dan and Boi are out on the town, enjoying some modern life. Dan has got a 170 million year thirst to quench. In the underground sanctuary, Geki is dreaming about wandering alone through a scorching desert. Mei wakes him, but something is wrong. Bandora, having a dance party in her palace, invokes the name of Satan and gives a speech about how much she hates children. Dora Sphinx captures Boi while Dan is making a phone call, which leads Dan to impetuously allow himself to be captured so that the other Rangers can figure out where Dora Sphinx is sending everyone. The other Rangers spot him flying through the air and follow him to a forest where Dora Sphinx has turned all his victims into trees, which he reveals will soon be cut down to build a golf course. Teleporting the remaining Rangers to an amphitheater, Dora Sphinx proceeds to capture Mei and then Goushi, leaving Geki all on his own. He does manage to solve the riddles, except the last one, which isn’t really even a riddle. Teleporting again to a quarry, Bandora makes Dora Sphinx a giant, so Geki summons his Guardian Beast, but instead of fighting with him to defeat Dora Sphinx, the Tyrannosaurus teleports Geki again to the scorching desert that he foresaw in his vision. To be continued! It’s a two-parter.

Andrew: Aren’t they all?

Ethan: No, no.

Andrew: Just all the ones that have happened so far.

Ethan: Right, because we’re setting- we’re still sort of doing some stagesetting, so this one leads into the next episode, “Tate, Daizyujin!” where they form the Megazord for the first time, and then seven and eight are sort of standalone, monster of the week style. So I think there’s-

Andrew: I haven’t watched those. I’m supposed to have watched those but… I’ll watch them tonight.

Ethan: It’s fine. You’ll watch them tonight. A couple of really interesting points about this episode: this is the first time we hear Great Satan’s name mentioned. That’s important. Pay attention to that, put a pin in that. Comes up again,

Andrew: So I’m a little confused, because I thought the Great Satan was the United States of America.

Ethan: That is- this is a fascinating fanfiction universe you’ve just spawned, where just- where Rita’s just like, a troop.

Andrew: Yeah!

Ethan: …No, it’s a- it’s like, in Zyuranger, Great Satan is this sort of very ancient evil spirit.

Andrew: Okay.

Ethan: We’ll get more information later.

Andrew: So when you talk about the Great Satan of the United States of America, you’re you’re talking about something completely different.

Ethan: Two different Satans. The action in this is so goofy, just the way that the Sphinx like flexes his whole core and arms to flap his wings and everybody just zoots through the air, I mean it’s just all over the place.

Andrew: This footage was used in the episode of Power Rangers we talked about in the last episode, if I’m not mistaken, and it made absolutely no sense there, and I’m grateful that it makes slightly more sense here, but there is so much teleporting in this one. They’re just like-

Ethan: Yeah, they’re just like all over the place.

Andrew: It was almost as bad as Power Rangers with the- just like, “Okay, well, we’ve got some footage out here in the in the quarry, so… guess everybody’s going to the quarry!”

Ethan: And now we’re here. The Sphinx’s riddles are all really like s—y puns in Japanese. Some of them I was able to follow, and some of them I was not, but that’s sort of his whole deal, is that he he grills you on more more and more increasingly obscure wordplay until he can trap you in a tree and then you get cut down to make a golf course. It’s… it’s a scheme.

Andrew: What a convoluted way to kill people.

Ethan: Yeah and you know, Bandora’s whole sort of idea is that like all the children will disappear, and then all the trees will get cut down when the golf course gets built, and humanity as a whole will be so full of despair from this disappearance and then killing of the children, that they’ll just give up on everything, and I don’t know. She’s kind of all over the place.

Andrew: The idea, right, that that all the children of the world and/or Japan are going to disappear, and they’re still gonna build the golf course… Don’t you think construction would stop?

Ethan: It’s- yeah, this is a plan with many holes in it. We will learn through the course of this show that Bandora’s working through some stuff.

Andrew: Sure.

Ethan: I’m not- I don’t want to spoil anything because it’s kind of like the sort of core-

Andrew: I mean she has been imprisoned for a really long time.

Ethan: There’s a reason for that. We’ll get into that, you know, as more of her and Barza’s backstory are revealed, but I think that’s all I have to really say it’s a lot of setup for next episode. Geki’s getting these visions of this sort of desert otherworld, where he’s a sort of like wandering through. He looks like, he looks really sick, when Mei wakes him up. He’s like sweaty and red and he’s like- you know, he looks like how you feel when you wake up from a really good nap at totally the wrong time of day.

Andrew: Yeah, this one was was super disorienting. And like, intentionally so, but I’m glad I watched this one and the next one back to back.

Ethan: Yeah, definitely a two-parter and also the Sphinx’s his laugh and his human form is just so funny and I think that’s all I have to say about that.

Andrew: Cool.

Ethan: Hit us with a-

Andrew: Power Rangers!

Ethan: -Power Rangers recap?

Andrew: I can do that.

[“Go! Go! Power Rangers!”]

Andrew: So this episode is called “Different Drum” and spoilers: it was not good.

Ethan: Not very good. There was an attempt made to like make an inclusive and interesting episode of television, and they did not do that.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean- well, I’ll just get into it. So this episode opens with Billy failing to dance and being made fun of. They specifically ridicule his ability to get girls. As we’ve mentioned previously, this is a thing that they’re real, real rough on Billy. They’re almost as bad to Billy as they are to Bulk and Skull, and it’s a real shame.

Ethan: It takes on a different dimension when you know that David Yost is gay, also.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, and that they have written into the show that Billy can’t get girls, I mean. Kimmy’s teaching a dance class. A member of Kimmy’s dance class is deaf. According to the Power Rangers Wiki, her name is Melissa, but I don’t remember them calling her by that name at this point in the episode. Kimmy signs instructions to her, I’m sure that this is some kind of foreshadowing. Rita decides to use music monsters to fight the Power Rangers. She also insults Finster. Bulk and Skull show up to the gym/cafeteria where the Power Rangers always are, for some reason, and are challenged to dance. The gathered teenagers ridicule Bulk with some incredibly fatphobic bulls** t ending with Bulk tearing his jeans again.

Ethan: Second episode in a row. In my notes, I do have one note which is that Billy’s fit in this episode is like a truly excellent like, non-binary transmasc look, and also Bulk and Skull’s- all of Bulk and Skull’s outfits would be like peak lesbian fashion in about 12 years.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. I particularly disliked the way that the backing music changed between Zack and Bulk dancing. I don’t know if you noticed that, but but Zack’s got like music with a beat and then when they switch over to Bulk-

Ethan: It’s just like clown noises.

Andrew: It’s, yeah, it’s very much like Benny Hill kind of thing.

Ethan: Yaketty Sax.

Andrew: Like, hey, let’s let’s make fun of the fat guy. Of course this all ends with Bulk face planting into Zack’s food, as is common with these encounters. At this point, the Power Rangers leave to watch a movie.

Ethan: Okay.

Andrew: Yeah. Instead of any kind of modern music, Finster, who has been instructed by Rita to build a music monster, built an accordion monster to hypnotize children.

Ethan: Yep, the Gnarly Gnome.

Andrew: Melissa, as was established earlier, is not impacted by this monster.

Ethan: Right.

Andrew: There is actually very little accordion music played. There is a little bit, but it’s mostly just this weird drone. They just play this like , [BERRRRRRRRR…..]

Ethan: Yeah, so when this monster shows up in Zyuranger, I mean it sounds like–I need to go back and listen again–but it sounds like he’s playing “Working on the Railroad” and “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dina” and I was like- I had to pause the video and say, “Wait a second, is that-? What was that?” But you’re right, it’s just sort of this sort of tuneless, arhythmic, amelodic sort of noise.

Andrew: Drone.

Ethan: Hypnotizes all the…

Andrew: The monster Pied Pipers the kids into a cave. Melissa, for unknown reasons, follows along, but can’t enter the cave because of some kind of net. This is not explained. Apparently, deaf people can’t enter caves. So she goes back to the gym/juice bar to tell the Power Rangers. Why? Who knows! There’s a moment when she gets back to the juice bar that’s really s-y. While no one is around who can sign, and before she starts writing that she needs help, they do this almost like Lassie thing with her and-

Ethan: Literally Jason’s like, “What is it? What’s wrong?”

Andrew: And yeah, I mean, instantly made me deeply uncomfortable. Thankfully it does not last for long, and and they do recover and and do something reasonable but like, it was real, real s-y. The footage from the cave, I thought, was pretty interesting, in that it is a combination of the Japanese mask footage and fresh American footage. They’ve got the American kids kind of superimposed alongside the mask footage. I thought it worked pretty well. They’ve done that a couple of times in the past and it has worked really, really poorly. This is the the first time that I’ve seen it work well. At this point, the the Gnome turns invisible for some reason. Not explained at all. The Rangers then morph with no clear reason and appear holding their weapons before immediately engaging the monster in battle.

Ethan: I wrote “beating his a** right out the gate.”

Andrew: Keep in mind, this is a monster that they’ve never seen before, and have no contact with. They know nothing about this guy, they just morph, weapons, fight. They very quickly decide to build the ridiculous gun and power blast the monster. I don’t know what the ridiculous gun is supposed to be called, I don’t remember from the previous episode. I will be referring to it only as the ridiculous gun.

Ethan: I think they name it the Power Blaster, which is way less cool than its Sentai-

Andrew: That explains why I said “and power blast the monster.”

Ethan: Yeah, in Super Sentai, it’s called the Howling Cannon, which just kicks a**, sounds really good.

Andrew: Yeah, so Rita throws her staff and makes the monster grow, the Zangers summon their Zords, they pull the crystals and go tank mode. Kimmy’s footage in this montage is is weirdly desaturated, as if they had used a shot of a different ranger.

Ethan: I made a note of that too! Yeah, no, it’s just- some of the colors are like very muted, she just looks gray. Most of the other Rangers look fine, but like something happened with that film transfer, I think.

Andrew: So they they go tank mode. The tank battle is ineffective, so they go Megazord mode. The monster starts playing music, which makes the Rangers hallucinate a city, or possibly teleports to them, it’s not really clear. They then pull the sword, as introduced in the last episode, and they end the fight. With the monster dead, the teenagers free the prisoners who don’t question anything about their situation, in spite of the fact that they obviously should. At this point, we hear Melissa’s name for the first time.

Ethan: Five-sixths of the way through the episode.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, seconds before it’s over. They were like, “Oh, yeah, we should give her a name.” We end up back at the gym and juice bar. Billy dances with Melissa. Apparently, he can break dance now. That’s the episode.

Ethan: I mean, he really busts it out. It’s kind of incredible.

Andrew: I have to assume that that both David Yost and Walter Jones have a background in dance. I think we looked up in the last episode that Walter Jones definitely does.

Ethan: Walter definitely does. Also lost a piece of a finger as a child, which I thought was wild.

Andrew:But like two episodes in a row that weirdly center on dance, and that specifically center on Billy’s inability to dance, which I thought was just a really weird choice, and probably explains some of the weird hang-ups I had as a kid about dancing.

Ethan: That makes sense.

Andrew: I had serious insecurities about the concept of dance.

Ethan: I still do.

Andrew: And I blame Power Rangers for that entirely.

Ethan: That’s not unreasonable. I have many questions about this episode, but one of them is: why is a giant gnome not just a regular sized guy? Gnomes are tiny, supposedly, so you make a giant gnome, it’s just like a guy. That’s my main question. No, I mean this one is really interesting because it is another pretty poor adaptation of the source episode from Zyuranger, which we’re kind of ahead of the curve now, as far as monsters go, and I don’t think we’ll match up again until episode 17, but the Gnarly Gnome is based on Dora Goblin, and Dora Goblin pulls on a lot of like Celtic fairy mythos, in that he is able to like- they they called it ‘mazing.’ Basically you’re wandering through the woods at night, you’re trying to get home, and you keep getting turned around: you’ve been fairy-mazed. So he can’t be seen by adults, which is where the invisibility stuff comes from, and the only way to make him visible is to get him to swap his shoes. And so there’s a whole bit in episode seven about them getting him to swap his shoes. That’s episode seven, which is “Mieru, Mieru!”, which we’ll talk about two episodes from now. But- so a lot of the monsters so far have been like quasi-Greek-mythology-based this one is just totally random, it’s a fairy.

Andrew: And they did not use any of that mythology in the Power Rangers episode.

Ethan: No, absolutely none. It just sort of shows up and starts doing the Pied Piper thing.

Andrew: And then as soon as they see him, they’re like, “Okay, time to beat the gnome’s a**.”

Ethan: There’s a whole bit… I mean, sort of the whole conflict in the Zyuranger episode is that the Rangers are adults and can’t see the monster. So they are like losing the fight and it’s- they have to figure out a strategy, you know, sort of around that. This is not a good adaptation of of that source material. It’s kind of all over the place. And like I said at the start of the episode, they made an attempt to like be inclusive and have a disabled character like feature prominently, but… I mean she does sort of save the day, but she’s also treated quite badly. She’s not named until the end of the episode, but the the girl who bumps into her and gets s—-y about it is named, like first thing. So I mean they really- they they were aiming in the right direction, but I think they really missed the mark with this. But it’s nice to see that they’re trying, given the other sort of background that we know about, you know, with Saban’s politics and with the weird color coding of the morph suits. You know, they made an attempt, and that’s something, but I think that’s all I really have to say about “Different Drum.”

Andrew: I don’t have much to say about it either. It was not a very good episode.

Ethan: No, not a very good episode.

Andrew: I did not feel good about watching it, I did not feel good about myself after having watched it. Normally, these are at least fun, but the battles in this one were also just garbage. This episode, I think, represents the worst of Power Rangers so far. It is just…

Ethan: It’s frantic, almost. Doesn’t follow anything…

Andrew: It’s nonsensical, it doesn’t really- there is a plot there, and I’ll give it that. Compared to to some of the earlier episodes that they do, they are following a plot, but it feels so rushed and shoehorned and just vaguely coherent. And I know that Power Rangers gets better than this, I’ve alluded to that a couple of times, but like I’ve gotten far enough in on Power Rangers that I know that Power Rangers gets better than this.

Ethan: That’s how you know it was a kid’s show, because we ate it up when we were small, but looking at it with any degree of criticality is just like, “Whew….”

Andrew: But also I probably never saw this episode as a kid, you know? This is not one that would have been picked up in syndication reruns, you know? It was filler.

Ethan: If I had to sit down and make a list of episodes that I did see, I would not be able to.

Andrew: No, I probably couldn’t either, but there are some moments that I really distinctly remember, you know? I remember the Green Ranger saga, I probably had that on VHS at some point, you know. But like that there are moments that I remember and this is nowhere near them. If I saw this episode as a kid, it definitely didn’t make an impression, but I think chances are good that neither one of us would have, because this would have aired probably just when it aired.

Ethan: Yeah, that makes sense.

Andrew: There’s no good reason for this to be part of the the recap. Doesn’t move the plot forward, it doesn’t move the story forward, and it’s not very good.

Ethan:Mhm, yeah. Sort of sticking with the monster of the minute-

Andrew: Yeah, even more so in this case, because they see the monster, they beat the monster. Like, there’s no buildup, there’s no tension, just as a storytelling device, this episode falls flat on its a**.

Ethan: There was one more funny thing, which is that the weird net that falls down over the cave is like very obviously like a… construction netting, but it makes a sound like a castle portcullis. Like it’s probably magic or whatever, but I just think that was funny that… I mean, those things, they come in varying degrees of flimsiness. Some of them you could just like rip apart with your hands, and some that are a bit more tough, but none of them like are made of metal and could keep any human person out with any degree of effectiveness. Just an odd- kind of a running theme of like odd sound effects.

Andrew: Foley work’s hard.

Ethan (misunderstanding slightly): Yeah, foley does work hard. They just make strange choices.

Andrew: Well, so, to do foley work effectively is very difficult, but I think that it is very likely that instead of doing foley work, effectively, what they’ve done for this episode is just used a sound effects library.

Ethan: Yeah, almost certainly, yeah.

Andrew: And a lot of the sounds that they’re using here you can identify back to a couple of the widely available sound effects libraries.

Ethan: And it goes back to the the car squeak noise from from “Hi Five.”

Andrew: Yeah, it’s a cost cutting measure. You can use a sound effects library instead of having a foley artist, as long as you don’t care if your sound effects are very good.

Ethan: Yeah, which for a show for children in the 90s, didn’t really matter.

Andrew: And like I do it all the time. I’ve been scoring cartoons for New Ellijay Television, the two Mickey Mouse cartoons that recently entered the public domain. One of them did not have a soundtrack, so I scored it, put some music behind it, added some sound effects, and like I picked one of the commonly available sound effects libraries, and picked some sound effects out of it, and it’s fine. It works.

Ethan: You get a Wilhelm scream in there?

Andrew: I did not get a Wilhelm scream in there. There is not an instant- I mean, there’s one instance right after Mickey gets slapped that it could have worked, but anyway-

Ethan: I love a Wilhelm scream. It’s just- it’s very good.

Andrew: Nelson, you want to insert one right here?

Nelson: Yup. [AAAUUUUGH] Also, there’s a thing, when they’re fighting the Putties, I don’t know if you guys noticed, but when they’re fighting the Putties like there’s just like a pipe noise?

Ethan: Yeah! Yeah, it’s just like like a pipe hitting a concrete wall or something. It makes me wonder, like- they’re called Putty, they’re made of clay, but like what does hitting them feel like? Because like I’ve handled like the bags of clay we have in the pottery studio next door to here. I don’t know if you could just like…

Andrew: The putties have been fired.

Ethan: They have been fired. So are they like-?

Andrew: Bisque! They’re stoneware.

Ethan: That’s very weird to think about.

Andrew: And so like it would be like punching brittle rocks.

Ethan: Sounds bad.

Andrew: Yeah, and they do it barehanded all the time.

Ethan: Uh-huh. The the pipe noise that Nelson brings up is- it’s a really good sound effect.

Andrew: For something else, yeah.

Ethan: No, no, it’s like- it fits really well. Like it doesn’t make any logical sense, but it is like- it adds to the spectacle of the of the thing. Okay, well, I think that’s good for our talkback, and we’ll move on to our research portion, which is mine today because it’s an odd-numbered episode. My research topic this time is ‘What is tokusatsu?’ and this is a part one. We’re gonna have to dive into this.

Andrew: So, Ethan, what is tokusatsu?

Ethan: We’ll get to that. It’s an enormous topic with, you know, i mean- explicitly of, you know, 40, almost 50, years of TV history, but actually going back much further than that. For my first research segment, in episode one, I chose Ishinomori Shotaro, who is credited as essentially creating the Super Sentai franchise with Himitsu Sentai Gorenger in 1975. But where does this wider genre of tokusatsu come from? Tokusatsu translated literally means “special filming.” It denotes using techniques like miniatures and scale model sets, as well as camera tricks like the low angles used to make characters look giant, and the origins go back even further than 1975. Tokusatsu has origins in traditional Japanese theater disciplines like kabuki’s choreographed stage fights and bunraku’s puppetry. Tokusatsu also has subgenres within it, as well: kaiju films like Godzilla, for example, as well as superhero shows like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. There are two names it’s important to know when discussing the origins of the style of filmmaking and those are Makino Shozo and Tsuburaya Eiji. Makino was a very early filmmaker in Japan, with his earliest credit on IMDB listed as 1908. He directed dozens of short films and popularized the jidaigeki style of Japanese period films, depicting medieval and feudal Japan, and he used trick shots and other techniques to give these early films more expression. And another interesting tidbit is that he recruited a kabuki actor called Onoe Matsunosuke into being one of Japan’s first film stars. This is like, how do you make a film with lots of feeling with the first camera ever made? I mean, we’re talking black and white silent movies, early, early stuff.

Andrew: The same kind of thing that Melies would have been dealing with in France, trying to like, get some movement and emotion into- at the time they they didn’t really even have camera movement, they hadn’t worked out the dolly yet, you know?

Ethan: Tsuburaya Eiji came into filmmaking significantly later, but like Ishinomori, would have an outsize effect for a single creator. Among his many credits are the original Godzilla, as well as many of its sequels, Kurosawa Akira’s Throne of Blood, and, crucially, Ultraman, which Tsuburaya created. Like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, the Ultraman franchise is one of those mega-popular media behemoths in Japan, which is still going to this day, having inspired and influenced many generations of creators there, including, for example, Anno Hideaki, the creator of Evangelion. It’s all connected whe[n] you start looking. We’ll get more into tokusatsu, and filmmaking in Japan in general, in the future. There’s a lot to dig into.

Andrew: So Ultraman was probably my second exposure to tokusatsu, after Power Rangers.

Ethan: Yeah, late sixties.

Andrew: And not from the Ultraman show or anything, but from the fact that my dad had grown up as a huge Ultraman fan. You know, makes sense time-wise. And he showed up one day at the house, I think he had gone on a work trip, but he came back one day from wherever he had been with a bunch of Ultraman toys, big vinyl Ultraman toys, and I didn’t know anything about this guy, I just knew that he was much bigger than all my other toys, and so he got to wreck stuff. So like Ultraman- I, to this day, have not seen any Ultraman. We should do a special episode at some point, but he holds a very special place in my heart.

Ethan: We would have to do a bunch of special episodes, because there is a ton of Ultraman to watch. I would be interested! We had a VHS of Godzilla vs Megalon.

Andrew: Is that the one with Jet Jaguar?

Ethan: That is the one with Jet Jaguar, who is…

Andrew: Ultraman.

Ethan: Who is basically Ultraman, yeah. This is one of those figures who- I mean, he is- that franchise is just so popular in Japan, and has been forever, and now, I mean, there’s been multiple Netflix animated shows now, and it’s just all over the place. I mean, it’s one of those really, really big ones and, like I said a minute ago, like started in the late 60s. Like I think the first Ultraman broadcasts were before color.

Andrew: Makes sense.

Ethan: So this tokusatsu franchise, or style, rather, is- it’s got a lot of depths to it, and it goes it goes back a long way, depending on, you know, sort of, how you count it.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean like, when did the first Godzilla film come out? 54?

Ethan: 54.

Andrew: Yeah, so like, at least that far.

Ethan: And Tsuburaya was like, the like, special effects director, basically, for that. Pioneered some wild things and went on to sort of create Ultraman, which it- became this massive media success.

Andrew: And paves the way for everything else.

Ethan: So lots of really interesting sort of- the roots reached to really interesting places.

Andrew: Yeah, we gotta go find some of the silent films.

Ethan: Yeah, absolutely. They’re all- I mean, I don’t know all of them, but many of them are listed on IMDB, so we have something to look for.

Andrew: Cool.

Ethan: Okay, and I guess that’s it. We’ll be back next time to discuss episode six of Zyuranger, “Tate, Dazyujin! (Arise, Daizyujin!)” and Power Rangers, “Food Fight.” If you’ve enjoyed the show, please feel free to send me five dollars, 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: I’m @AJRoach42@Retro.Social, which is the best way to find me. If you want stuff to look out for: go check out New Ellijay Television. We’ve got a bunch of big stuff planned. It’s probably where you’ve gotten this podcast from, but if you got it from, you know, one of those podcast distribution networks, go click the link. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

Ethan: Yeah. That’s all show we have for you today. Thank you so much for listening. 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 EllijayMakerspace.org and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting Cherokee.org. Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people, and in the words of a wise man: “F**k capitalism; go home.”

Andrew: That’s an episode.

[Outro music]

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TRANSCRIPT – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers – 研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Episode Four: Zag on ’em. Turn YOURSELF into a giant for a change. Pull crystals out of your hands. Do the unexpected.

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
KENKYUU SENTAI PODCAST RANGERS EPISODE FOUR: Zag on ’em. Turn YOURSELF into a giant for a change. Pull crystals out of your hands. Do the unexpected.
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Ethan: I am still embarrassed about it to- He’s dead! He died and I’m still embarrassed about it to this day. Miserable.

Nelson, distantly: Alright, you guys are good to go.

Andrew and Violet: Cool.

Ethan: Yeah, should we clap again?

Nelson: Sure. Yes, on three.

Ethan: No!

Violet: Wait, what?

Ethan: It’s not on three. It’s on zero coming down from three.

Nelson: Oh, so we’re counting down.

Ethan: Yes!

All: Three, two, one, clap!

[“It’s morphin time!” + intro music]

Andrew: All right, so we know how this episode starts.

Nelson: Yeah!

Ethan: Okay… minna-san, yokoso. Welcome to your favorite cost-cultural deep dive analysis and recap podcast for Power Rangers and Super Sentai, Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers. My name is Ethan, I use he/him pronouns, and with me as always is my usual co-host, Andrew.

Andrew: Hey everybody, my name is Andrew. I also use he/him pronouns.

Ethan: Joining us again is our good friend and actual literal rock star Violet. Hey, Violet!

Violet: Hi, I’m Violet; I use she/her pronouns. I am apparently a literal rock star.

Ethan: I have watched you jump off stage in the middle of a guitar solo-

Andrew: Yeah, that’s true.

Ethan: -to an adoring crowd. Actual literal rock star.

Violet: Okay, this is gonna sound really dumb, but which time?

Ethan: Uh huh, thank you for making my point. Today we are recapping and discussing Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 4 “Yomigaere Densestu no Buki, Reawaken, Legendary Weapons!” and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 1, episode 4, “A Pressing Engagement.” You can tell which title I think is cooler. Unless we have any housekeeping up front, let’s get into the recap!

[“Kyoryu Sentai… Zyuranger!!”]

“Reawaken! Legendary Weapons!” was written by Sugimora Noboru and directed by Ogasawara Takeshi. It starts with a recap of the previous episode, “Fight in the Land of Despair,” and then Dora Minotaur retreats and the Guardian Beasts eject the Rangers from the cockpits, as they must claim the weapons by their own power, so you can’t just take your Tyrannosaurus Zord right up to the castle, you got to actually hike up there.

Andrew: Okay, we talked about this a little bit in episode one [sic], but why the retreat?

Ethan: So Bandora is the one who calls out that the Land of Despair becomes freezing cold at night.

Andrew: Right.

Ethan: I think there may be something going on with the fact that the monsters are made of clay, maybe they can’t fight in freezing temperatures, but it’s not actually ever addressed. It’s- we’ll call this a Power Rangers moment.

Andrew: Sure. Also, how did the- how does the Zord get to the Land of Despair?

Ethan: I call that out in my notes like at least twice. They just show up! How did they get there? So the Rangers get there through Geki’s magical stasis door. They reopen it and instead of the sort of like void that the other Rangers were sleeping in, it’s a island floating in the middle of the abyss, and it’s like, hmm, so interesting cosmology. Geki, Dan, and Goushi break through an invisible wall after walking in circles for a while while Mei and Boi navigate a trick door. It’s- it’s a door with two knobs, and if you open one side, flames shoot out and if you open the other side you get teleported to your friends, so it’s really 50/50 chance, it’s not that big of a trick door.

Violet: Yeah, and you can close the door before the flames get you.

Ethan: Exactly, exactly. You just sort of come around on the side and then open it.

Violet: Really low stakes.

Ethan: The Rangers are reunited and make it into the castle where they must face a final test: a sword possessed by an evil spirit. Dan is the first one to touch it, but Geki is the one to draw it and release it, revealing the way to the legendary weapons. The makeup that they use in this portion is really cool, I think. Naturally the Bandora Gang is waiting for them and Bandora paralyzes the Rangers knowing that the clock has run down on them and they’re due to turn to statues at any moment. She’s right, and her plan almost works, but Geki calls out to the weapons, appealing to their sense of justice, and it actually works! The weapons awaken and loan the Rangers their power. Bandora is unhappy with this turn of events and makes herself giant, which shocked me, because I did not remember that for my initial watchthrough, and starts shaking the floating island like a magic 8 ball. The Rangers power through, transform, and then use their new weapons to form the Howling Cannon and blast Dora Minotaur to bits. Furious, Bandora decides to destroy the Land of Despair, but the Rangers escape just before she gets them, and with Hiroshi’s mother’s tears having restored Hiroshi to life, everybody gets away alive. But Bandora appears in a vision and makes sure to threaten the Rangers once again.

Andrew: And all children everywhere.

Ethan: Yeah, all she hates all children everywhere. I think there is a monologue bit in this episode, or the last one, where she’s just like, “I hate all children!” and Pleprichaun goes, “Why though?” and she’s like “Don’t ask me questions!” That’s important! That’ll come up again later. Impressions on this episode, my dear co-host and guest?

Andrew: I thought it was great.

Ethan: Yeah, it’s a good one.

Violet: It was good episode. I will say, jumping straight to the end: I know that we never get Hiroshi’s mom’s name. She’s only called Hiroshi’s mom, even by the Rangers. And then… I’m just saying she felt despair, and the stakes would have been way higher if they were just both statues at the end.

Ethan: Mhm.

Violet: And then they would be like, “We’re not afraid to kill children, and their mom!”

Ethan: The previous episode ends up with Hiroshi- like, we watched that kid die. He is, he is-

Violet: Yeah, but they like retconned it. So it’s like, no-

Ethan: Love of a mother, the mother’s tears, all that stuff.

Violet: No, she was crying. She was despairing. She’s also a statue.

Ethan: Yeah, no, you’re correct. You know, when they find her, she’s like laying in a room in the cave and it’s like how long has she been here?

Violet: Yeah, just 24 hours not apply to them because like-?

Andrew: She wasn’t questing for the sword.

Ethan: She wasn’t questing, she also appeared to have been passed out. So maybe-

Andrew: You have to be conscious?

Ethan: I don’t know, there’s-

Violet: Just a nap your way through.

Ethan: Interesting.

Andrew: One thing that I noticed in this episode, or one thing that stood out to me in this episode, was that the sequence with the evil sword was really reminiscent of a ton of Chinese films. It felt like a kung fu movie. I’m sure that there are also parallels in Japanese cinema, but I can’t recall one, where that sequence felt like something straight out of of Hong Kong circa, you know, 1970. Which is awesome! I want to make that clear, like anything that they can do to make Power Rangers or Super Sentai more like Hong Kong Kung Fu is aces in my book.

Ethan: You are going to love Dairanger.

Andrew: Which one’s that?

Ethan: That’s the next one.

Andrew: Okay, so so halfway through season two.

Ethan: I think the start of season two.

Andrew: Okay season two, cool.

Violet: Okay, so in three years, you can enjoy it.

Andrew: Three years!

Nelson, distantly: How many episodes are in season one?

Andrew: Sixty. [Note: Sixty episodes in s1 of MMPR, fifty of Zyuranger. 55 planned episodes in s1 of KSPR.]

Nelson: What?!

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, December of 25 is when we finish at the current rate. We’re gonna have to step it up! We’re gonna have to bring in more hosts!

Ethan: The one thing that I think stood out to me most in this episode is, how did they get that like gooey statue effect, like, what is that stuff? Like did they do like plastic wrap around the feet and then like some sort of putty compound on top of that? It looks really yucky.

Violet: It does look really yucky.

Ethan: It looks really really shiny and wet and looks uncomfortable and I would hate to touch it.

Andrew: Obviously we talked about this in the last episode, but the Minotaur is small for for this the entirety of this episode.

Ethan: Right, so I think he wouldn’t fit into the palace on the moon as a giant, and it’s probably like one of those like MMORPG buffs that disappears if you use fast travel, or something.

Andrew: But that is the reason that in the last episode of Power Rangers, we ended up with the Rangers suddenly teleporting back to a small Minotaur.

Ethan: Mhm, that’s exactly right. He shows up in the Land of Despair again, normal size, and they can take him on this time because all five of them are there, and they have their their legendary weapons, each of which has a name. It’s super cool. My favorite is Goushi’s Moth Breaker, that’s just sick. I love- we’ll get into this, you know, the further we get in the show, but I love watching that actor and his suit actor fight. That’s some of my favorite choreography in the show, is specifically Goushi and the Black Ranger, with just a big axe just absolutely wailing on people. It’s so good.

Andrew: An axe that’s also a gun.

Ethan: Yeah. He does a high kick in this episode, before transforming, that’s like… that thing went all the way up there. I think that covers it for Zyuranger; you want to get into the Rangers recap?

Andrew: Yeah, I can do the Rangers recap.

Ethan, musically: Rangers recap~.

Andrew: I took notes again.

[“It’s morphin’ time!” + theme music]

Ethan: What’s this episode called?

Andrew: This episode of Power Rangers called “A Pressing Engagement” and, I will say from the top, it was better than the last episode, but only by a little bit. Okay, this episode opens up in the gym/cafe where the Power Rangers always hang out.

Ethan: Angel Grove Youth Center and Juice Bar, or whatever.

Andrew: Gym and juice bar.

Ethan: Ernie’s joint.

Andrew: Gymnasium and juice bar. And this is just such a weird thing. Why is there a juice bar in the gym? And it’s like just right in the middle of the gym? It’s not like a separate room. Gyms stink!

Violet: They do stink.

Andrew: And this is a teenager gym! And so the Power Rangers are always just like playing with food and eating food in the middle of just the stinkiest- Anyway, Kimmy is doing gymnastics and Jason is bench pressing.

Ethan: Trying to set a record.

Andrew: He is trying to break some kind of record. When the episode opens, he’s around a thousand reps and Ernie loses count. This is played for laughs, but like this is the first time in the episode that Jason hits a thousand reps in his-

Ethan: He is, like, he is sweating. I mean, I don’t- I couldn’t tell from just what from watching how much weight he’s using here, but like and obviously it’s-

Andrew: It’s fake.

Ethan: It’s fake anyway, but like he is sweating.

Andrew: Yeah. So Rita, who is watching this because again, she just watches the Power Rangers as if they are a sitcom-

Ethan: Important to note: Rita’s telescope in Power Rangers has a crosshairs in it, but Bandora’s telescope in Zyuranger does not. So like, I don’t know what kind of gun culture obsession thing that is, but like I did notice that.

Andrew: Rita decides to have Jason fight Goldar one-on-one, in what might be the most foolish decision she’s made on the show so far, considering Jason’s performance to date. She’s like hey, let’s isolate the one of them who has the best chance of defeating Goldar and have Goldar fight him.

Violet: They couldn’t pick like Billy or something like that?

Ethan and Andrew: Right!

Andrew: They have established that Jason is not only the leader, but the strongest, and the only one whose Zord has been shown fighting on its own. He is the least appropriate choice. Anyway, Jason drops his barbell a few seconds before finishing his 1,010th rep, as the result of silly shenanigans between Kimmy and Zack. I believe that this is supposed to be the second set of a thousand, at this point, because they already lost count during the first set, so the implication is that he has done a thousand more reps.

Violet: I couldn’t tell: is this supposed to be the same day?

Andrew: I assume so.

Violet: Because that’s like two-

Ethan: I think it is, yeah. There are a lot of cuts in this first sort of portion of the show.

Andrew: This is supposed to be minutes later, the best I can tell, and they do this silly chewing gum thing, and it’s very bad.

Violet: Like even at bar weight that is so much to lift!

Andrew: Right! Zack apologizes to Jason. He then apologizes to Kimmy, really poorly, and Kimmy says, “Forget it; it’s casual,” which is how I’m going to respond to all apologies for the rest of my life. Jason is like really unreasonably obsessed with breaking this record in a way that seems really unhealthy and I’m worried for him.

Ethan: We find out also that it’s actually Bulk’s record.

Andrew: Yes. That is the next line in my recap, is that Bulk holds this record.

Ethan: This part, and then the sort of confrontation between Bulk and Jason where Jason tickles him- I mentioned this last episode, but this to me is some like, ‘we’ve known each other since we were six years old’ type s***. And like, if they were ever like, friends-friends, they’ve obviously grown apart as they’ve gotten older and like, I assume high school seniors. Of course, they all look 25, because they were. But like-

Andrew: And there’s this like vague implication that Bulk and Skull are older than, or at least Bulk is older than Jason, because otherwise, why would Bulk hold the record and not Jason?

Ethan: And we don’t ever see Bulk like ever bench pressing ever in the show, so it’s just sort of a fact that’s spoken into existence. But the dynamic here is interesting and I’m curious to see if more of the show supports like a past relationship between them. Because like if Jason and Bulk were friends in elementary school who grew apart and had wildly different paths so far in life, that adds a lot of weight to the show, I think.

Andrew: It also explains a little bit of his unnatural obsession with them and the way that they are so casually cruel to him. So there’s a fight, and there’s tickling, and Bulk tears his jeans revealing boxers with pigs on them.

Ethan: They’re huge. They’re like comically enormous boxers.

Andrew: This show is not subtle.

Ethan: No.

Andrew: Never. Not ever. Bulk then falls on his face while everyone laughs. Go figure. Jason is obsessed with proving that he can handle things for himself, in flagrant contradiction of the last episode. The last episode was literally called “Teamwork!” Kimmy, Zack, and Jason morph and teleport to a theater, where they engage in brief combat with Putties and a barely seen gooey black monster. At several points Jason is seen holding a gooey black monster. No explanation!

Ethan: So those are Captain Putties, or at least they’re they’re supposed to be. I forget the exact… the Japanese name, but they are like more durable, smarter type of Golem from Zyuranger, but you’re right, it’s given no…

Andrew: Yeah, he’s just there.

Ethan: Some Putties just look like that.

Andrew: And then there’s a sphinx. The sphinx then teleports and demorphs Kimberley and Zack back to the combo gym/lunch room. He just flaps his wings and they get turned back into normal people and teleported a long distance. That’s an incredibly powerful monster.

Ethan: Yes. Rolling back one second, Zordon says Rita wants to gain control of the park. … What is the point? Why would she bother? What- is it tactically situated next to City Hall or-? I mean, there’s- He states that she has a goal, but no motivation for the goal and it’s just very weird.

Andrew: I mean that’s Power Rangers.

Violet: Chaotic evil. I just want it because it’s there.

Andrew: But she never even says she wants it, Zordon does! So the Red Ranger engages in combat, and Alpha panics. I don’t know why Alpha panics, but Alpha panics. So far all we’ve seen the Sphinx do is teleport people away, so like at best the reason that Alpha is panicking is that the Sphinx might escape? But like the the villains always escape. The Red Ranger and the sphinx then suddenly teleport to another location and continue fighting. All the dialogue centers on Jason’s insecurities about doing things himself and suddenly Goldar is here! Rita throws her staff and says “Take that!” Again, rather than “Make my monster grow!” which again makes me sad. And now Goldar and the Sphinx grow to giant size. So now we’ve got Jason–small human Jason–fighting giant Goldar and Sphinx. Jason laments that the other Rangers are not present, but doesn’t contact them? In spite of the fact that he has a communicator, and doesn’t call his Zord in spite of the fact that we have demonstrated that his Zord is more than capable of taking on many monsters by itself. The others are now concerned with his well-being and teleport themselves to… What’s it called? Ranger center? Command Center?

Ethan: Well, they go to Billy’s lab first, which I guess is just like the garage at Billy’s house.

Andrew: Right, and this is the first time we’ve seen that.

Ethan: And it is so goofy looking in there, but I would have loved to like tour that set. I would have been all over everything. It’s kind of adorable.

Andrew: So they get they get teleported to the Command Center to watch Jason be attacked by the two giant monsters on the viewing orb. In spite of the fact that everybody says that they’re worried, they don’t do anything about it. They just stand there and watch it happen on the viewing orb and then-

Ethan: That is what they do.

Andrew: -Zordon says put your hands together and bring forth the Power Crystals. This bit is complete nonsense, makes no sense, has no continuity…

Ethan: It will make sense in the next episode of Zyuranger, episode 6.

Andrew: I’m sure.

Ethan: But this is another instance where the the pacing issues that we’ve been discussing have really, really, really done harm to Power Rangers as a show.

Andrew: So Alpha is gonna take these crystals and send them over the Morph Grid or whatever it’s called. It’s nonsense. It makes no sense. It does however make Jason’s sword collapse a mountain and that’s neat.

Ethan: It’s pretty sick.

Andrew: Jason then goes and receives the Crystals which he has no reason to no exist, at great personal risk.

Ethan: He instantly knows what they are and what to do with them, despite the fact that the other four Rangers only just now found out from Zordon that: One, Power Crystals exist; Two, they are a tool for you to use; And three, you already have access to them, seconds before this happens, and Jason’s just like, “Oh, yeah, bag of Power Crystals, I gotchu.”

Andrew: And for some reason, not only does he know what the crystals are, but he can use them to summon the other Rangers, so he does. Again, it’s it’s patent nonsense. I’m sure it will be explained when we get to that Zyuranger episode, but but I haven’t seen that Zyuranger episode yet, and so it’s just nonsense.

Ethan: Yeah, it makes less than no sense. It’s actively confusing.

Andrew: Kimmy makes another pun while they’re forming the Zord

Ethan: “Jinx the sphinx!” I wrote that one down because, oh my god.

Andrew: And like I said, I’m assuming that this becomes a thing. I know in some subsequent episodes, she at least strays from puns and moves more towards Valley Girl stuff, but everybody else’s thing that they say when they get in the Zord makes sense, and Kimmy’s is always something to make her seem unintelligent, and and I don’t love that.

Ethan: I don’t even think it’s that. You’re right to point it out as like, at odds with her character because puns can be very difficult and tricky to come up with, so she’s like doing some weird literary s***, and like thinking of rhymes and things beforehand, which doesn’t fit with what we’ve seen of her character. But I do love the idea of like secret literature nerd Kimberly.

Andrew: Sure!

Violet: I’m here for it. I’m here for secret literature nerd Kimberly, cuz like, the idea of just acting dumb for fun is a great idea.

Andrew: Sure. Lady Moonbeam does a great job of that.

Violet: Lady Moonbeam. She’s Dr. Lady Moonbeam.

Andrew: Dr. Lady Moonbeam.

Ethan: I don’t… believe that.

Andrew: I mean, she she tells everybody she’s doctor lady-.

Ethan: I don’t doubt that she tells everyone that.

Andrew: Lady Moonbeam is Violet’s character on Jupiter’s Ghost, which is an entirely different thing that we won’t talk about today. So the Power Rangers, they board the Zords, and then they take these crystals, which again came out of their own bodies, and they shove them into some kind of receptacle within the Zords. They know how to do this for some reason. They know that this is possible, this is gonna power up the Zords, apparently. They then stay in vehicle mode, rather than going full stand up Megazord mode, and use the Crystal Cannon, which again, they just suddenly know exists for some reason. This fails and produces the only tension this episode has. There is a very brief moment of tension in this episode for the first time here. But then they transform into the real Megazord and they have a great battle. It really is a wonderful battle, aside from the inexplicable switch back to tank mode in the middle that lasts for like half a second-

Ethan: I thought that was a good bit, but it’s weird pacing.

Andrew: It is, it’s a weird pacing thing, but aside from that the battle is fantastic. Having the two monsters fighting against the Megazord is just a great thing to see, and then at the end of this, again for reasons that are never fully explained, they know that they have a new sword, so they summon the new sword for the Megazord and that’s also sick as f***. Goldar escapes, Rita throws a tantrum, and then we’re back at the gym/cafe where Jason does his third set of a thousand reps of the day. And then there’s cake.

Violet: And then there’s cake!

Andrew: Bulk and Skull show up, it goes exactly as expected, by which I mean Bulk ends up face down in the cake.

Ethan: I have a note of: “the dorks are about to ruin that cake. …Yep.”

Andrew: And it’s becoming frustrating how often the way that they deal with Bulk is by putting his face into food.

Ethan: Oh, yeah. No, it’s deeply, deeply fatphobic. We’ll probably dig into that actor’s experience. Paul Schrier, maybe is the guy? And see if we can dig up some commentary or something, but yeah, I would have been deeply unhappy in his role.

Andrew: And it just continues!

Ethan: It does not stop.

Andrew: And then that’s the episode.

Violet: Yeah, and I would like to point out that Jason only beat Bulk’s record by one, and they’re acting like Bulk can never ever do that.

Andrew: Okay so, to be fair, Jason beat Bulk’s record by 2001.

Violet: Okay, fair.

Andrew: Because he did two other sets of a thousand reps on the same day. The whole thing is absurd.

Violet: It is absurd.

Ethan: He was able to do that because everybody was there cheering him on, which is sort of supposed to be the point But like we just made this point last episode. We’re like, yeah, we’re stronger together…

Andrew: And then this whole episode is about how he has to do this by himself.

Ethan: It’s just- it’s silly, and the pacing really suffers from the Sabanization… deal. There are times when it works well, and this is not one of those times.

Andrew: Agreed wholeheartedly. Up to this point, everything about Zyuranger has been more enjoyable than Power Rangers.

Ethan: Yeah, I mean it’s because, you know, with Zyuranger being the 16th installment, like they have their process down.

Andrew: They had it down, yeah.

Ethan: There’s none of this like, stumbling awkwardness. They have a whole story written. They have, you know, character arcs for everyone. Power Rangers is just not at that point yet.

Andrew: And we’ll get to this a little more when we get into the research section, but the way that they were making this show was incredibly haphazard. The people who were driving the bus on which clips made it into the show were working with perverse motivation. They were not trying to tell a story; they were not really even trying to adapt this for an American audience; they were trying to sell toys. That is- more than anything else. The reason the show was brought to the US was to sell toys, and it was largely representatives of the toy company that made the- of Bandai that made the decision as to which mech footage and which monster footage made it into the shows, based on how quickly they could get toys to market.

Ethan: Yeah. Gundam fans will be intimately familiar with this sort of interference. From… not outside interests, I would say but like-

Andrew: Competing interests.

Ethan: Competing interests. So what is our research topic for today?

Andrew: So today I’m gonna be doing a research topic on Bandai, on the toys. And I started just on Bandai, but as I started doing my reading and my research I ended up expanding out into Bandai, Disney, and Hasbro. And so we’ll talk a little bit about why, but but first and foremost: Bandai. It was the company that was producing the toys for Super Sentai.

Ethan: Okay, so Bandai is a- is it a multinational corporation? And has American and Japanese divisions, or-?

Andrew: Yes.

Ethan: Okay. That’s something I was curious about.

Andrew: Yeah, and and and we’ll get there, but Bandai Japan was contracted to produce the the toys for Super Sentai very early on, towards the very beginning of the Sentai process and they became a vital part and partner in Super Sentai. In fact, a lot of the the models that are used on show end up being just things that Bandai made, or that that models that Bandai produced. So toys are a vital part of the Power Rangers franchise, but I’m not sure it’s it’s obvious how vital. Power Rangers would not exist in the US without the Power Rangers toys. Just straight up. It would not be here. If you’re a fan of 80s animation, you’ll be familiar with the idea of producing a television show to sell toys.

Ethan: Again, Gundam fans will yeah be intimately familiar with this sort of method.

Andrew: Well, I mean the idea kind of reached its peak in the 80s with with He-Man. Throughout the 80s, the idea of producing a television show to sell toys reached its peak with shows like Thundercats, He-Man, and G.I. Joe. These were based around the toy lines.

[“Look, G.I. Joe Transformers Thundercats He-Man! Yay, those shows existed!”]

Andrew: I think He-Man is kind of the quintessential example of this. They made a toy, and with He-Man in particular, Mattel went to Toys R Us and they said “Hey, we’ve got this great new toy line. Check it out. How cool is this? It’s been focused testing really well. We think we can sell this.” And Toys R Us said, “You can’t just sell a toy” And Mattel said, “Oh, well, no, no, of course not. There’s not just a toy, there’s a comic book!” Toys R Us was like, “Fine, there’s a comic book, maybe.” And so they started placing their orders, and and they were doing the mini comics, and eventually they actually did a Marvel comic series, and this was a very dark kind of mature He-Man. And then another toy company, I don’t remember what it was called, but another major toy company, the big competitor to Toys R Us in the 80s, was like, “We’re not gonna carry this without a cartoon.” And so Mattel produced a cartoon based on the He-Man toys, and the toys were just based on whatever crap they had lying around. They recycled molds from toys that they hadn’t produced in 20 years, and this worked. And it worked really well and it kicked off a frenzy. It’s it’s how you end up with Transformers. It’s it’s how you end up with with large parts of the Gundam franchise making in the US. It’s where we get Thundercats. It’s where we get GI Joe, and frankly-

Ethan: Like Ninja Turtles, X-Men…

Andrew: Ninja Turtles and X-Men are kind of an interesting case because neither one of them came directly from the toys. But the toys were developed in concert with the TV shows. But Power Rangers, you might assume with its mixed up transnational heritage, would be immune to this kind of toy based marketing scheme, but that that’s just wrong. Power Rangers was brought to the US not only by Haim Saban, but but also by Bandai of America. Bandai and and Saban worked together to create the chimera that is Power Rangers. Bandai of Japan was founded in the wake of the Second World War; they drove the popularity of many Japanese brands in the US, and one of their their big successes, relatively early on, was Ultraman, another tokusatsu series. They’d done a ton of stuff leading up to that, but the stuff leading up to that was small, and and Ultraman was the first time that they brought in a big property, and it worked, and it worked really well, and eventually they they decided to double down. They were producing the Japanese toys for Sentai and, with minor modifications, they produced their American counterparts throughout the 90s and 2000s. But the relationship with the show is way deeper than just producing the toys. Bandai worked with Saban to localize Power Rangers. They selected which Sentai shots to use and occasionally supplied models and other materials sourced from their toy molds to appear on screen when the Japanese mask footage was insufficient. So if they do a reshoot, if there’s a shot that that appears in the US show that features one of the things from the Japanese footage, but is not using the Japanese footage, it’s almost certainly shot using something that that Bandai provided. Bandai was in many ways the beating heart of Power Rangers. Saban gets the credit, but Bandai was the real steward of the franchise. They produced toys for every hero, every villain, every monster, every Zord, and most of the accessories that you see on the screen. Bandai, and particularly Bandai of America, served as caretakers of the Power Rangers and Super Sentai legacy and the quality of their products was remarkable. We talked about this a little bit in episode one or episode two, but like the Japanese toys were made to an astounding level of quality. They featured these metal die-cast parts and when they were brought into the US, they were often remade in plastic. Replacing these metal parts with plastic was obviously in part a cost-cutting measure, but it wasn’t wholly a cost-cutting measure, and I found that to be really interesting. It was also necessary in order to please the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that many of the unmodified Japanese toys didn’t meet their standards and would be considered unsafe in the US. Now-

Ethan: Interesting.

Andrew: Bandai had not had this problem early on when they were bringing stuff in for a couple of reasons, the biggest one being that they were largely bringing in vinyl toys. Ultraman toys were big hollow blowmold vinyl toys, like the stuff on the shelf, you know, this kind of thing. They were thin-walled cheap plastic and they were not especially dangerous, but they did also bring in metal toys and and things with action and things that shot, and the US Consumer Protection Safety Commission was largely a toothless organization throughout most of the 1970s, and this part of the story is sad.

Ethan: I mean, this is like peak leaded gasoline years.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Ethan: So like things are not going great. I mean you got the Ohio River just catching on fire in Cincinnati, and all kind of crazy stuff going on.

Andrew: So before we get back to the toys, we have to do a brief aside about the never-released rocket-firing Boba Fett.

Ethan: Okay, again a direction I did not expect to turn, but I’m interested. I’m intrigued.

Andrew: As many of you are likely aware, in the wake of the success of the Star Wars movies, Star Wars toys were a hot commodity, and Kenner promised to release a rocket-firing Boba Fett. If you sent away enough stamps or proof of purchases, you got your rocket-firing Boba Fett. This was supposed to come out in early 1979. In December of 1978, a child died.

Ethan: Oh, no.

Andrew: It happened very near here, actually. It was in Canton, Georgia.

Ethan: No kidding.

Andrew: I think it was Canton. It was in the metro Atlanta area. The kid died from complications due to injury sustained from a Battlestar Galactica rocket-firing Viper. I’ve got the Viper around here somewhere and I’ve got- not the one that killed the kid! I’ve got that toy around here somewhere, and I’ve got replica rockets for it, because most of them were sold with the rocket glued in. After this event, Mattel started gluing the rocket into place.

Ethan: I mean, are we talking about like an incredibly powerful spring or what actually happened?

Andrew: It was a fairly powerful spring, but not an unreasonably powerful spring. But it was a small rocket and- only about half an inch, maybe an inch long, and the thing got wedged in the kid’s throat. He shot it into his open mouth, and because somebody had died, the CPSC got involved. And they were able to use this to champion funding for the CPSC. For the first time, they were actively taking a role in policing the safety of children’s toys. The most immediate direct result of that more active role was that Boba Fett lost his ability to fire his rocket. It was advertised as “we’re going to have this rocket firing Boba Fett!” and it was basically going to be the exact same mechanism from the Viper, and then it was not. And so Boba Fett was launched without a rocket firing option. Later on, they changed branding standards and how toy packages had to be labeled, and they introduced some new mechanisms through which you could have things that that launched, and one of the mechanisms was- or one of the ways that you could get away with this was by having a weaker spring. One of the ways that you could get away with this was by having the missile be of a specific size that couldn’t be lodged in a throat.

Ethan: That makes sense.

Andrew: But as a result of rocket firing Boba Fett and the the Battlestar Galactica missile, we get the the Consumer Protection board being much more involved in certifying toys for importing to the US. This is the reason that many new Power Rangers, and other collectibles, but we’re talking about Power Rangers here, when you find them on the shelves, you’re gonna see them marked 14+ or 18+, and it’s not because they’re particularly unsafe in any given case. It’s because now if you want to release a toy to children in the US, you have to get it tested, and you might have to retool it after that testing, if you fail the testing. And a lot of companies, especially the ones who are producing the more expensive collectibles, don’t bother doing that and instead just release the thing for adults. As a result of all of this, we end up with different versions of the the Power Rangers toys coming into the US, because we had different standards for safety. We couldn’t have the big heavy metallic toys because that’s a bludgeoning hazard. And that’s really what it came down to. Some of them could, under certain circumstances, be made to be sharp if they were mishandled, and the US took an active role in ensuring children’s safety in this particular small regard, in a way that that has never really been necessary in Japan.

Ethan: Interesting! Yeah, I never knew about any of that. The difference in the toys is astonishing. I didn’t buy it, because it was way too much money, but I found at one point a White Tigerzord, a Japanese release White Tigerzord, in a shop. And I had two of the American release ones, when I was a kid. I don’t remember why that was, but just holding it was like, several ounces heavier and the plastic was like glossy, with a beautiful finish on it. And it was like just a nice off-white with like gray specks in it. I mean it was like, choice, just sort of touching it and holding it.

Andrew: And in spite of the fact that the American toys were lower quality than their Japanese counterparts, they were still good toys.

Violet and Ethan: Yeah.

Andrew: And modern Power Rangers toys just aren’t. And I wanted to find out why. So that is where I started this research, was to try and find out why and it led me to through the Consumer Protection Bureau, but it led me down another weird rabbit hole: in 2001, Saban sold Power Rangers to Disney. And Bandai remained involved, Bandai was still the the people producing all of the toys, they were still doing a lot of the localization work. This was still a very toy marketing driven effort. Disney planned to cancel Power Rangers in 2008, but their contract with Bandai prevented them from doing it.

Ethan: That tracks.

Andrew: And so Bandai held up- had Power Rangers continue through 2009. And then Bandai got together with Saban, and in 2010, Saban purchased Power Rangers back from Disney, using a Lot of support from Bandai. Bandai remained involved in working with Saban for the next eight years, 2010 to 2018, and in 2018 Saban announced that Bandai would no longer produce Power Rangers toys. Three months after Saban announced that Bandai would no longer produce Power Rangers toys, Saban suddenly doesn’t have the money to make Power Rangers anymore.

Ethan: Weird.

Andrew: Uh-huh. And so Hasbro purchases the rights to produce Power Rangers. And so Saban is no longer involved. Hasbro purchased the Power Rangers franchise completely, and they do all of the localization work. They shoot all of the American footage. It’s entirely a Hasbro production, and they also release all the toys and Hasbro’s toys are of lower quality than Bandai’s toys were.

Ethan: And not just lower quality materials. Like they have less articulation, they’re less visually interesting. I mean, you don’t see a Megazord like you used to see.

Andrew: No, they do all the pieces of each individual Zord or they just do the Megazord. The Megazord is smaller. They don’t do every villain, they just do the big ones. It’s a really weird- and the actual play stuff the kid-sized-

Ethan: Accessories, morphersm, and swords, and whatnot.

Andrew: -is basically non-existent now. And then as Violet pointed out, they’ve got the Imaginext stuff. Their line for toddlers. And the Imaginext toys are where most of their energy and efforts going because it sells to six-year-olds, and that’s what all of this is really about.

Violet: I think they have a Megazord out, at least in the last couple of years, but it is much much smaller than even the 2010 Megazord.

Andrew: And they do a big Megazord… for the Imaginext line, with a goofy, I mean the whole thing is just-

Ethan: Your mother buys you MegaBlox instead of Legos.

(Nelson groans audibly.)

Andrew: Yes, except that what we have here is less “your mother buys you MegaBlox instead of Legos” and more “MegaBlox buys Legos and destroys Legos.”

Ethan: Yeah! That wasn’t ever in a Vine, but yeah.

Violet: No, that makes a lot of sense and like I know a lot about the Child Protection Consumer… through Transformers. Once again, that’s where I come- my background for a lot of this. And the difference between the Takara/Tomy toys versus the Hasbro toys? It’s huge! Even to this day, it’s just gotten to the point where even if there’s no additional metal being put in, they just put in more effort in the Japanese-released Takara/Tomy toys than they do in the Hasbro toys.

Andrew: Oh, totally. And I don’t want to speak ill of Hasbro, because I don’t want to get sued.

Ethan: Fingers crossed, listeners. Pray for us.

Ethan: Hasbro has released a lot of really interesting figures and they’ve been a very innovative company in the history of toy production. But if you go watch a show like “The Toys That Made Us” that occasionally touches on the role that Hasbro actually plays, they’re a behemoth. They consume. They are largely the equivalent of Disney. They own…

Ethan: Wizards of the Coast.

Andrew: Wizards of the- exactly. They own Wizards at this point, and Wizards makes most of their money! And they continue to mishandle these properties that they own, because Bandai did a good job with the Power Rangers toys out of respect for this thing that they had built. And Hasbro milks them for everything that they’re worth, while releasing the worst product that they can, because they know they can get away with it.

Ethan: I mean, it’s your classic sort of rent-seeking, profit-maximizing American corporate behavior. That’s just standard practice. It’s- and of course the consumer loses out. I watched a video, just because I’m a normal person, of like every main mecha in the Sentai series, and some of them I had never seen before, because like there’s a significant portion of like US-released Power Rangers that I just missed. There were several that I know I had and don’t have anymore, so that’s a question I’ll ask of my mom sometime, and some of them are incredible. The one that sticks out to me is the one from Magiranger, which is- it’s five individual humanoid mechs that have these like- they’re sort of cool, swirly, sort of organic-shaped. They combine into a giant dragon, which can then also transform into a giant humanoid mech, and I mean my jaw hit the floor watching that one. And some of them are less interesting. There’s one that’s like all the Zords are cubes that then morph into a like a elephant or a lion, and then the lion and elephant combine to- you know, some of them are less interesting than others.

Andrew: We’ve got that gorilla around here somewhere.

Ethan: That’s at the antique mall. Yeah, it’s a gorilla that turns into legs. But looking at those- at the more recent ones, you know post-2010 ones compared to what I’ve like seen on the shelf at Walmart and it is like night and day. They’re not good.

Andrew: Yeah, so that’s that’s what I got. Bandai was a pivotal player in the formation of and the release of and the stewardship of Power Rangers. And if you’ve noticed a drop-off in quality and Power Rangers- I haven’t, because I’m rewatching it now for the first time, but if Power Rangers has changed in quality from 2001 to 2010: well, that’s cause Disney owned it, and if it changes in quality from 2010 to 2018: it was back in Saban’s hands, and if post-2018, Power Rangers is getting worse: I would not be surprised, because Hasbro has a tendency to kill everything they touch.

Ethan: Yep, it sucks when any type of corporation does this, but when it’s like a show made for children to enjoy, at least in part, you know, it’s- everything is a toy commercial, that’s made for kids, essentially, but like also there are people who put their life into making that so that it will make a child happy, and when the when the frickin’ McKinsey Institute graduates get their horrible withered hands on it, and just like slurp all the life out of it so that they can get another ten cents on their annual dividends… it’s really- it sucks.

Andrew: It’s almost like we’re living in a dying society.

Ethan: Mhm, mhm.

Violet and Andrew: So on that happy note…

Ethan: Do we have any other material for the show? Or are we ready to get out of here?

Andrew: Is there anything you want to say about this episode, Violet?

Violet: Uhh… I’ve already forgotten the episode, I’m so focused on toys.

Ethan: Do you have like any strong memories of of any Power Rangers toys that you had?

Violet: So… absolutely. I had a costume of the Red Ranger, then a costume of the White Ranger, and I had a three-foot-tall White Ranger toy.

Andrew: I forgot about that! Yes! I had, I had-

Ethan: Was it a stuffy?

Violet and Andrew: No!

Andrew: No, They were hard plastic.

Violet: Hard plastic, with like poseable arms and legs…

Ethan: How did they get that past the Consumer Protection people?

Violet: Because they were like vacuum-formed.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean they were- they didn’t weigh much, but they were plastic. Oh, God, I think I had the Blue Ranger? I forgot about that completely.

Violet: Yeah, I’ve got the White Ranger somewhere, but he’s missing all of his clothes?

Ethan: Some part of that does not surprise me at all.

Andrew: Yeah, no those were those were sick. The Power Rangers toys that I remember most vividly are the Power Rangers Ninja McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.

Violet: Okay!

Ethan: Interesting pull.

Andrew: They were about two and a half, maybe three inches tall. Super limited articulation, just you know, big five, made like classic Kenner Star Wars or something like that. And they had little sit-in Zords.

Ethan and Violet: Oh! Yeah!

Andrew: And during that same- this was for the the movie-

Ethan: Movie promo, for sure.

Andrew: During that same campaign, they they also did all the Morphin’ Coins, and you could get those through some kind of promotion at McDonald’s, and like- I’m assuming it was McDonald’s, it might have been Burger King. I don’t-

Ethan: Pretty sure it was McDonald’s.

Andrew: But those are the Power Rangers toys that I remember most vividly. I had the flippy-head guys and I had the big, tall, shiny guys and I had the big, tall, not shiny… I had a ton of Power Rangers toys. I loved Power Rangers toys. But the ones that I remember most vividly are the McDonald’s toys, because I was not afraid of just beating the absolute hell out of those, you know? I would put those through things because they’re McDonald’s toys, they don’t matter. I would put my Happy Meal toys-

Ethan: Yeah, the Zords are literally like just two clamshell pieces screwed together. I mean, you can’t hurt them.

Andrew: But I would put that through things that I would have never dared put my nicer Power Rangers toys through, because I was afraid of breaking those, you know? So yeah, I would wrap a plastic bag around- stick some string in a plastic bag and tie it to the thing’s waist and throw it off a roof. You know, parachute Power Rangers?

Violet: Parachute Power Rangers!

Andrew: And then as it’s floating down, shoot at it with a BB gun and… you know! I was not a good shot because I didn’t have my glasses yet, so I couldn’t see anything, so I would miss wildly, but you know, it was a good time.

Ethan: My outstanding memory is an ungodly amount of envy that like a five-year-old should not be able to summon, because I knew two kids who had all the Power Rangers toys: my mom’s boss’s kid, and one of the quote-unquote big kids from my babysitter’s, who can’t have been more than three or four years older than me. But you know when you’re five and they’re nine or ten, that seems like a huge gap. They both had all of them. They had all the Megazords, they had all of the weapons that combined, everything. And I just- I wanted all of it, and you know, we- I didn’t get most of them. I had a- on my Christmas list from probably 1993 or 4 to 1999, every year, was an original Megazord, and I did not get one until probably my 27th or 28th birthday, when Andrew gave me one for a birthday gift, which is now on display at my house. And I just remember thinking how cool all the stuff was, you know, the morphers, and there’s like a one-shoulder cannon that I think is originally from Dairanger, that shot like two-inch ping-pong balls, I mean, it was a beast.

Andrew: Can’t choke on those.

Ethan: No, you sure can’t and then like the Power Rangers game on Super Nintendo… We never owned a Super Nintendo.

Andrew: Did you ever play the one on the Sega Genesis?

Ethan: No, we didn’t have a Genesis either.

Andrew: Okay, so have you played either of the the 16-bit Power Rangers games?

Violet: Didn’t the Genesis one get ported to Game Gear?

Andrew: Maybe?

Violet: If it did, I played that.

Andrew: It was a 2d fighter.

Violet: Yeah…

Andrew: So the Super Nintendo one was like a standard like side-scrolling adventure game.

Ethan: Yeah, very Ninja Turtles-y.

Andrew: But the the Sega Genesis one was just a straight-up like Street-Fighter-style fighter.

Ethan: Oh, interesting.

Violet: Okay, maybe not, but…

Andrew: Okay, so I know what we’re doing for our next special episode. I’m gonna go find that game and we’re going to hook up all the equipment that we need to so that we can do a screencap of that.

Violet: Yes!

Ethan: Yeah, like tournament style? Sure.

Andrew: Yeah, bring Nelson and Ryan into it.

Ethan: I think the Super Nintendo one- my strongest memory of that is Billy’s fighting style, pre-transformation, is that he holds one hand up to his glasses and sort of flails with the other- [Ethan knocks over a bunch of figures and stuff]

Andrew and Violet: Man down! Man down!

Andrew: All right, I think that’s our episode.

Violet: I think it is.

Ethan: I gotta be careful. All right, on that note, we’ll be back next time to discuss episode five of Zyuranger, “Kowai Nazo Nazo,” which is “Scary Riddles,” and Power Rangers, “Different Drum.” If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please feel free to send me five dollars, 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 AndrewRoach.net. I’m doing a bunch of things, but most recent to this episode being released, we should have just released another episode of Jupiter’s Ghost. This is a Creative-Commons-licensed, collaborative, crowd-sourced podcast about the crew of a space-faring vessel in the distant future. Think Starfleet, but without the monopoly of violence.

Ethan: Yeah, Violet and I are both on that show. It’s really fun to make and we like a lot.

Andrew: It’s a blast. You can find Jupiter’s Ghost online at Intergalactic.Computer.

Ethan: Just a great URL. And Violet, what do you want to shout out today?

Violet: I’ll shout out… I shouted out several things last episode, but Dr. Deathray is my band, also Hurly-Burly and The Volcanic Fallout is my band.

Andrew: You’re bopping your head to Hurly-Burly right now.

Violet: Beh-beh-b’behbeh~, something like that. But yeah, I do those things you can follow me on the Fediverse @DoctorDeathray@Retro.Social, or on Instagram at Doctor.Deathray.

Ethan: Okay, yeah.

Andrew: Thanks, folks.

Violet: Thank you.

Ethan: That’s all the show we have for you today. Thank you so much for listening and thanks again to Hurly-Burly and The Volcanic Fallout for the use of their song “Colossal Might-”

Violet: You’re welcome.

Ethan: “-(Totally Radical Instrumental Version)”–hey, we got that on record, we’re welcome–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 EllijayMakerspace.org, and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting Cherokee.org. Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people, and in the words of a wise man, “F*** capitalism; go home.”

Andrew: Amen.

[Outro music]

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TRANSCRIPT – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers – 研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Episode Three Worf Jabroni Revelation

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
KENKYUU SENTAI PODCAST RANGERS EPISODE THREE: Worf Jabroni Revelation
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[“It’s Morphin’ Time!”]

Nelson, distantly: Minna-san, yokoso!

Ethan: Okay, three, two, one, clap. [Andrew and Violet clap.] That was good. I’m not even going to bother with that one. Y’all got it.

[“It’s morphing time!”+ intro music]

Ethan: Minna-san, yokoso! Welcome to your favorite cross-cultural deep dive analysis and recap podcast, Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers. My name is-

Andrew: It is my favorite.

Violet: It’s mine too.

Ethan: My name is Ethan, I use he/him pronouns, and with me is my usual co-host, Andrew.

Andrew: Hi!

Ethan: We are also joined today by our friend and local hometown rockstar, Violet. Hi, Vi, introduce yourself.

Violet: Hi, I am Violet, I use she/her pronouns, I watch Power Rangers, and I am Doctor Deathray, look up AnalogRevolution.com.

Ethan: We’ll get to the plugs.

Violet: Okay, we’re going to start with the plugs before we lose them.

Ethan: So we did do that last time, Nelson did plug everything ahead of time and had nothing to say at the end of the show, so.

Andrew: Violet wrote our theme song, which you have just been enjoying.

Ethan: “Colossal Might (which is very fitting) totally radical instrumental version”, it kicks so much ass and we’re so grateful to have it.

Violet: I had to do some two-finger tapping, it was very fun.

Ethan: I remember you like, just picked it up out of nowhere basically and like, were fiddling with that recording as I was walking out a few weeks ago, and I was like, “is this gonna be…?” and then it was.

Violet: Yeah, and then it was!

Andrew: And then it was.

Ethan: Today we are recapping and discussing Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Episode 3, “Ikusa e Zetsubou no Daichi (Fight in the Land of Despair)” [TRANSCRIPTION NOTE: This title reading is incorrect. The episode is actually titled “Tatakae Zetsubou no Daichi.” This is not the first or only title listed incorrectly on the various wikis and other resources, and we will continue to try and catch these errors before publishing. We appreciate your patience and grace.], and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1 Episode 3, “Teamwork.” Without further ado, unless we have further ado, we’ll get into the recap.

Andrew: Recaps!

Ethan: All right.

[“Kyoryu Sentai… Zyuranger!!”]

Ethan: “Fight in the Land of Despair” was written by Sugimura Noboru, and directed by Ogasawara Takeshi. It begins with the Zyuangers sparring and practicing in a park somewhere, but they are just too strong and keep breaking their weapons, which to be fair are also 170 million years old. Dora Skelton broke all their other weapons that they like brought out of their magical stasis, so they are just fighting bare-handed, which is not great. But Goushi has the solution: back in the dinosaur times, a five-headed dragon was killed, and within its body were found five legendary weapons, which totally coincidentally line up with each of our heroes’ signature fighting styles. The Rangers confer with Barza, and he confirms that the legendary weapons remain in the underworld’s Land of Despair, but are nearly impossible to get, because if one gives in to sadness or spends more than one full day there, they will turn to stone. Bandora, of course, knows about all of this, and her plan is basically to stress out and distract the Rangers long enough that they are claimed by the Land of Despair. She herself can’t claim the weapons, but she only needs to prevent the Rangers from doing so.

Andrew: So Barza has normal ears. Barza has normal ears for the entire episode.

Ethan: For the rest of the show.

Andrew: Barza’s weird ear still bothers me. I had a dream. I had a dream that there was just an old man sweeping a sidewalk, and he turns his head, and he’s got Barza’s giant ear. It is haunting me.

Ethan: Yeah, it’s like very fleshy and like protrudes a great deal.

Andrew: Anyway.

Ethan: Yeah, so Bandora kidnaps a boy called Hiroshi, as well as his mother, who live in the Sakura Condominium building to use as hostages against the Rangers, and she also commissions a new monster from Pleprichaun. In the Land of Despair, the Rangers split up. Geki, Dan, and Goushi plan to reach the castle as quickly as possible, while Boi and Mei go to search for Hiroshi. Dora Minotaur attacks Geki’s group, while Golems attack Mei and Boi, and they all fight as best they can with no weapons, but are outmatched even after transforming. Then Bandora uses her evil magic to make Dora Minotaur a giant, which is the first time we see Bandora do this in Zyuranger, and the Rangers must call on their Guardian Beasts to fight. They give him a run for his money, but ultimately Bandora calls a retreat, as the Land of Despair becomes freezing at night. Meanwhile, despite being rescued by Mei and Boi, Hiroshi can’t stop worrying about his mom, and the sadness in his heart causes him to become a statue, and that’s the end of the episode. Kind of a bummer. There were a few crazy things that happened in this one, and one of them I made a note of… The Minotaur acts like a landshark when it first shows up-

Violet: Yeah!

Ethan: -and it’s sort of zooming around underground. It also breathes fire. Oh, the cool thing that the Rangers did was use their Dino Bucklers as brass knuckles.

Violet: Yeah, no, that was sick!

Ethan: They use it as an offensive and defensive weapon, which makes sense. If you have a magical item that is plot-critical and is not going to break unlike your ancient weapons, like, yeah, just f*** beat somebody with it.

Andrew: Did we have all the zords in this one?

Ethan: All the zords were in this one.

Andrew: And this is the first time that we see all the zords, because in the last one, we just had the dino- or the…

Ethan: The Tyrannozord.

Andrew: Tyrannozord, yeah.

Ethan: Guardian Beast Tyrannosaurus.

Violet: Which was so sick to see all of the zords come flying in and just-

Ethan and Andrew: Yeah!

Violet: Yeah, no, here for it.

Ethan: This is one of the big differences in the pacing between these two shows…

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: Is that it’s kind of a slow burn. The Rangers don’t immediately have their zords; they don’t immediately have their weapons; they don’t make a Megazord right away. You get to see these incremental things sort of build. And this is true of a lot of Sentai shows.

Violet: Yeah.

Ethan: Whereas the American versions sort of spoil the whole game, go straight to the top.

Andrew: We talked about this a little bit in the last episode. Power Rangers go swinging out of the gate hard with the Megazord in the first episode. But in the episode that we watched today, or that we’re talking about today, and the next one that we’ll talk about, they do start introducing some of these things that kind of get filtered in from the Japanese show. But they did, they started with the big reveal. Hey, we’re going to go Megazord first. And then we’ll sprinkle in all the other details.

Ethan: And as we’ll see in the next few episodes, it really throws the pacing off. So like there’s like a loose correspondence between which monsters are in which episodes, and like they obviously have to fit the plot of Power Rangers to the mask footage that they’re importing somehow with the absolute buckwild pacing shift from episode one… it’s taking them a while to figure things out.

Andrew: And I remember it working better, so I have to assume that it starts working better eventually. But right now it’s not working well.

Violet: No, it’s very much like go as fast as you can in Power Rangers. And it’s almost shocking to me that they, in Power Rangers, and we’ll get to this, that they don’t have the Power Weapons yet.

Andrew: Right, right!

Violet: Like they start with Megazord and then it’s like, oh yeah, by the way, you probably need these too.

Andrew: But they’ve got guns.

Violet: They’ve got guns.

Ethan: Yeah, they’ve got the Ranger Blaster, Ranger Swords. I want one of those so bad. I remember- I think ThinkGeek is dead now…

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: But ThinkGeek at one point had a physical store at Town Center Mall in Kennesaw. And it was packed out of incredibly well-made Power Rangers merch. And I just didn’t have money for any of it, of course. But I’m just like, I’m still slavering.

Andrew: Oh, totally.

Ethan: Just like a well-made Dino Buckler with like that clicky- and a power- oh my god, yeah.

Andrew: So Violet?

Violet: Yeah?

Andrew: Have you watched any Super Sentai before?

Violet: So mostly through the Americanized versions.

Andrew: Right, so you’ve watched Power Rangers?

Violet: I’ve watched Power Rangers. The Thunderzord era is my favorite. And then I don’t remember them well, but I do remember watching VR Troopers and Big Bad BeetleBorgs.

Andrew: I loved BeetleBorgs.

Violet: So those are the main ones that I’ve watched. And I really remember Power Rangers. I revisited it in 2010 when they did those re-releases. But for the most part, it was Power Rangers focused.

Andrew: Do you know why they did those re-releases?

Violet: I don’t remember, no.

Andrew: You’ll have to listen to our next episode.

Violet: Oh, man, ok.

Andrew: I will be talking about it, but it’ll be in the next episode.

Violet: Oh, OK. Episode four.

Andrew: Yeah, episode four. You’ll have to come back for episode four to find out why they did those re-releases.

Violet: Stay tuned.

Andrew: Stay tuned. But this is your first time watching Sentai.

Violet: This is my first time watching Sentai. This is my first time with Zyuranger. This is my first time with any Japanese Sentai at all.

Andrew: So, quick first impressions.

Violet: Quick first impressions are: I can’t believe that it’s not like super high tech. There’s no Alpha-5, there’s no-

Andrew: It’s all magical.

Violet: It’s all magic.

Ethan: Super magic. I mean, there is a certain degree of magitechnology, but also just technobabble in Power Rangers. But it’s like there is a Power that exists in the Morphing Grid. And this is a sort of nebulous concept that I think they explore very deeply like in the Dark Horse [sic: the comics might actually be IDW? idk.] comics, for example? But like is not explained. And so it’s like there is just Power out there somewhere in the universe that through their morphers and things, the Power Rangers are able to like pull on and channel.

Andrew: And in the next episode, just straight out of their hands.

Violet: Out of their hands, because why not? But yeah, no, in watching Zyuranger and everything, I was like, oh, this is like magic. Why do they have robot dinosaurs?

Ethan: It’s kind of interesting because I mentioned in our first episode that Zyuranger has a lot of firsts for the Sentai metafranchise, and that’s one of them, is that it is not a purely sci-fi show. There’s a lot of fantasy magical elements. You know, you look at something like Jetman or even Gorenger, the original one, it’s all just straight up sci-fi stuff. There’s no magic. There’s all like har- I don’t want to say hard sci-fi, but very definite sci-fi.

Violet: Yeah, and then like also watching Zyuranger, it’s like, okay… this makes way more sense than Power Rangers is making as an adult, like watching this, like it’s- there seems to be plot continuity!

Andrew: Well, and so you talked about the pacing thing. You talked about how Power Rangers just kind of blows the pacing and throws everything out. And you made an allusion to that being a common thing in all the American Sentai. There’s at least one show where that is not the case. And I feel like it’s worth bringing up. I’ve brought it up before and we will bring it up again, I’m sure. But that’s The Mystic Knights of Tir na Nog. The only actual American show done in this style follows the Zyuranger formula of, okay, we’re going to slowly introduce things and we’re going to slowly ramp up the power. And because they were producing it from scratch, they were like, hey, let’s actually, let’s write something.

Ethan: Well, I think it’s just crucial to note that like, no one, again, no one had done this before. There’s a weird parallel with Victory Gundam, which was like the fourth major Gundam series to release. Yoshiyuki Tomino, who is the creator of Gundam and was like the principal writer and director of the show, really butted heads hard with the studio who wanted the Gundam in the first episode, and he wanted to do a little bit more of a slow burn over the first four. And so what they ended up with was this terrible compromise that jumps back and forth in time. It makes no sense. And I think Saban was under, who can say whether it’s from the studio or pressure he put on himself, but like, I think that he wanted to hit that big high note, first thing to capture that audience and to get the interest. And I mean, he was making the show for kids, obviously, in the 90s, but he also had to like impress the studio execs at Fox and like-

Andrew: Who had repeatedly rejected this premise.

Ethan: Margaret Loesch originally thought it would never happen, like ridiculed the idea.

Andrew: Right, he only way we got Power Rangers was fluke on top of fluke. You know, it’s interesting that you say that Saban was the one who was under pressure, because I got to wonder how much of that was an attempt to kickstart toy sales. You can’t sell a Megazord toy if nobody’s seen the Megazord yet.

Ethan: And it would also be confusing if kids are in the store and see one and are like, “What? What is that?”

Andrew: Yeah, it hasn’t happened on screen yet. Right. And so I wonder how much of that plays into it. But I don’t know the timeline of the toy releases.

Ethan: Me neither.

Andrew: Have to find that out at some point.

Ethan: You gonna to hit us with a Rangers recap?

Andrew: Yeah, I can do a Rangers recap.

Violet: Rangers recap~.

[“It’s morphin time! Go Go Power Rangers!”]

Andrew: This episode was called “Teamwork.”

Ethan: It was.

Andrew: Which is just such a heavy-handed title.

Ethan: I don’t know that anyone alerted the American production team about like subtlety or things. I don’t think they’re familiar with the concept.

Andrew: This episode is not subtle.

Ethan & Violet: No.

Andrew: So I’m not doming at this time. I did take some notes. I’m going to run through it relatively quickly. My notes are probably too detailed. It’s a work in progress, folks. Okay, so when we start off with Kimmy and Trini collecting signatures for getting rid of a toxic waste site. They’re at the high school, they’re collecting signatures, some folks hassle them. They want the boys to come with them to deliver the signatures, and the boys all have previous engagements, most of which sound made up.

Violet: They do. They sound legitimate, like, reasons, but they make them sound made up.

Andrew: Right, they make them sound made up. And the one that sounds the most made up does turn out to be a legitimate reason. But they play it like the boys are just blowing the girls off, which was a weird choice. The girls in response talk about teamwork and how they feel like they’re not being supported, which would land a little better if they had given the boys any notice whatsoever. Obviously this is heavy-handed foreshadowing. Rita, who is just watching the Power Rangers as if they are a sitcom, decides to use pollution as her grand scheme to take over the planet.

Ethan: Crucially, she implies that she has already created the situation. So my question in my notes was like, does she have like an LLC? Is she incorporated on earth through like a shell corporation and is just trying to pollute Angel Grove?

Andrew: And obviously the site when they do get there has been there forever. So like, decades. And Rita has only been free for days.

Ethan: Many questions.

Violet: So many questions.

Andrew: So Rita talks about pollution. And then we cut back to the high school where Bulk and Skull show up, and they beat up a guy for recycling a can. Kimmy humiliates them. And there was a bit here that caught me off guard. While Bulk and Skull are stuck in the trash can, doing the whole crab walk in the trash can, an unnamed woman comes over and tries to help them out. She’s wearing similar clothes to them. We don’t get her name. She doesn’t speak. But this does really raise some questions about Bulk and Skull’s place within the social strata at Angel Grove.

Ethan: So she is actually in a previous episode. Let me see if I can find the note that I made.

Nelson, distantly: There’s more of them in “Food Fight.”

Ethan: Oh, it was in “Food Fight!” The episode that we watched out of order. She is there and there is another guy there also. They’re all sort of like loosely goth.

Andrew: Vaguely punk.

Violet: Kind of punkish, yeah. Just like alt.

Ethan: She’s got like, long dyed-blonde hair and wears sunglasses 24/7. But crucially, those characters never talk.

Violet: She looks a lot like Debbie from the Wild Thornberries.

Ethan: I can see that, I can see that.

Andrew: I mean, just classic 90s grunge. So the reason that I bring this up is because I think it does raise some questions about Bulk and Skull as they are presented within the show that these characters are vexing me. I remember them being buffoonish cartoonish villains as a kid. And they are. They are played as baboonish and cartoonish villains. But they are also not explicitly and consistently the object of ridicule in the way that I expect. It’s a weird dynamic. Anyway-

Ethan: There’s an incident in episode four between Bulk and Jason that makes me think there are further underlying social dynamics. That might just be my writer brain acting up.

Violet: I really wonder about their home life.

Ethan: Yes! Big time.

Violet: Like I am concerned for Bulk and Skull.

Ethan: Deeply, yeah.

Andrew: So Kimmy and Trini go to the industrial waste site, which appears to just be like a construction site. There doesn’t actually appear to be much waste. There’s a mud puddle.

Ethan: In their conversation throughout this episode, there is some questions for me whether they want to close down the dump site or clean up the dump site. So I think there is supposed to be a dump there, but the corporations that are dumping their toxic waste are not following the regulations or just like dropping stuff and leaving.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s not clear.

Ethan: Yeah, not clear at all.

[“Sign a petition! Help shut the dump site down!”]

Andrew: So Kimmy and Trini go to the industrial waste dump where they’re ambushed by the Putties and a monster. This is all U.S. footage and there’s lots of like super tight close-ups and extra wide shots to mask the fact that they’re using stunt doubles. Rita and company watch the telescope and they decide to send Goldar to help. This makes no sense. Zack teaches Alpha to dance.

Ethan: He does do that.

Andrew: He says something about hip hop, which I didn’t really understand. And then Alpha starts screaming “dudettes in trouble.” It was a really weird phrase that that stuck in my mind as a kid when I saw this episode.

Ethan: I also made a note of that.

Andrew: But he says it like seven or eight times. And the first time he said it, I had no idea what he did. “Dudettes in trouble!”

Ethan: Yeah, hard to parse. No subtitles.

Andrew: So Zordon summons all the boy rangers to HQ. Clearly this implies that he could have also summoned the girl rangers to remove them from the conflict that they were in and chose not to.

Ethan: So like he does kidnap them in that first episode, but he like alerts them to transport immediately and they do, which I think implies that the things that they told Kim and Trini that they had to go do that they couldn’t come to deliver the signatures, were not actually that important. Because they literally show up in a second. It’s not like a “What’s up? What’s going on?” They just appear.

Andrew: And Zach’s thing was teaching Alpha to dance, which is, which is just ridiculous. So the boys show up and they watch the girls fighting on the viewing orb and they do nothing. They just stand there and watch. Finster sends a monster, the boys morph and are instantly teleported to a rock quarry that has nothing to do with anything else going on to fight the monster. The girls are at a toxic dump. Then Goldar shows up. Then the girls morph and are instantly teleported to a forest, and then to a beach. And during that sequence, the Putties kind of show up and disappear and show up and disappear. They fade in and out of reality. Alpha and Zordon talk about teamwork. Zordon talks about the secrets of the Power Weapons.

Ethan: Ancient secrets of the power weapons.

Andrew: The ancient secrets of the power weapons. Again, no, no context. Zordon’s just like, hey-

Ethan: He’s just been holding onto these for the time he felt was appropriate.

Andrew: Maybe now that they’re all getting their butts kicked, we should give them some weapons.

Ethan: We said this in episode one, but like Zordon’s motives again are deeply, deeply questionable.

Andrew: Yeah, he’s a suspicious dude.

Ethan: He could have presented them with the weapons right off the bat. Now that would screw with the footage importing, obviously, but like-

Violet: Like I gave you a Megazord, I gave you control of a giant robot that could destroy towns, I can trust you with these weapons.

Andrew: So at this point, Rita does not say make my monster grow, which made me sad. But she does throw her staff and make the Minotaur huge. And this is the same Minotaur from the Zyuranger episode. Jason asks for help from the girls and then he summons his Zord. I noticed in this shot for the first time I was, I was paying attention to all the Zord summoning the way the pterodactyl flies out of the volcano. And it happens every time the pterodactyl shows up, but it’s such a sick shot.

Ethan: Oh, it’s totally sick. There’s another sick shot where the Minotaur fires energy beams from its horns at the SaberTiger. And it like leaps off a cliff with these explosions behind it. And I was like, oh man.

Andrew: So I watched that three or four times this morning.

Ethan: Just a really good puppet shot.

Andrew: So this also brings us to a trope, which will continue, as each of the Rangers forms the Megazord, they all say something. And normally it’s just like-

Ethan: Yeah, when they like take their cockpit seat, basically.

Andrew: And normally it’s just like, you know, “we’re here, we’re going to do this thing,” except for Kimmy, who every time either makes a dumb joke, in this case, “Let’s munch this Minotaur!”, or says something else to really drive home the whole Valley Girl thing that they were going for with Kimmy.

Ethan: I don’t know how Amy Jo Johnson delivered those lines without bursting into laughter.

Andrew: After jumping into the cockpit and saying let’s munch this Minotaur, the pterodactyl does do a flyby on Goldar and shoot him with some lightning. Nobody discusses this, but they do it. And then they go back to fight the Minotaur. They fight the Minotaur with the little Zords and it is sick. It is it is absolutely the coolest footage I can remember seeing of the individual Zords fighting.

Ethan: This is something that happens somewhat regularly in Zyuranger and the other Sentai shows that barely ever happens in Power Rangers.

Violet: Yeah, I don’t ever really remember that happening very much, but it was very like, Voltron-esque.

Andrew: So like when when Dragon Zord comes along, Dragon Caesar in Zyuranger, he will combine with SaberTiger, Mastodon, and Triceratops, and they will fight as one unit and then Tyrannosaurus will fight on his own. So they will like, tag team and the same thing happens in Dairanger which corresponds to Season 2, the ThunderZords.

Violet: ThunderZords with Red Dragon Range- er, Zord.

Ethan: The White Tiger Zord will combine with the Unicorn and the Kirin and the Firebird and the Red Dragon Zord with its like dual mode capability will act as backup. And so you get a lot more interesting fight dynamics that way.

Andrew: So they transform into the Megazord and more or less immediately Zordon is like, “Yo Rangers, he’s too strong, come back.” Which corresponds with the fact that this fight did not actually end with the destruction of the Minotaur in Zyuranger, but it was a real weird pacing choice. We don’t see what happened to the Zords either, which I thought was was a real weird choice, but Zordon immediately says, “Oh, I hid them, they’re back in their hiding places.”

Ethan: I mean, we see the Zords like emerge without teleporting, but it makes me wonder like, can they also teleport?

Violet: That would be convenient.

Ethan: Very convenient.

Andrew: And then Zordon gives them their weapons. They get the Power Weapons, the weapons that in Zyuranger they’re still questing for. One point to note here is that this was US mask footage, which I thought was very unusual.

Ethan: I think it might be the first US mask footage we see in the show.

Andrew: And it’s not especially well done and super awkward. They all just do not wear the costumes well or whoever they’ve got in them. They teleport back to the Minotaur and they’re talking while they’re teleporting, which I hated.

Ethan: Yeah, this is- that’s not the first time this has happened, when they’re sort of like their electricity blur forms and they’re flying over a color corrected landscape, that’s usually like red or green. And they’re like making a plan as they’re going. It’s- you really wonder about like if they’re traveling at, you know, whatever, you know, clearly faster than like the speed of sound, for example. It could be light speed. I feel like there would be huge explosion when they arrive. But there’s a lot of logistics questions here.

Andrew: But how are they talking?

Ethan: Exactly. How are they, I mean, are they physically, mentally communicating? It’s very- I’d be interested to dig into that question.

Andrew: So, so when they get back, they’re with the Minotaur and he’s small again.

Ethan: Yes, he is.

Andrew: And this is not explained at all.

Ethan: No it is not. It’s barely explained in Zyuranger, frankly.

Andrew: Yeah. They pull their weapons and they start attacking the Minotaur more or less immediately. There’s no like lead up. There’s no build up. It’s just, oh, we got weapons, let’s attack. And within a few seconds of that, they form the weird, big, ridiculous gun and they blast the Minotaur to dust. Rita sulks. They all go back to the high school where Kimmy says, gee, things sure work out a lot better when we work as a team. And then the principal comes up and gives them a hard time and they speed clean the hallway, really badly, by the way. I don’t know if you noticed that, but they left a ton of trash on the ground. The principal comes back and he’s like, hey, how is the hallway clean so quickly? Which again, it is not, but whatever. And the Power Rangers just lie to the principal, just gaslight him. “What mess are you talking about? There was never a mess.” Zordon calls them on their communicators to congratulate them. And then there is a silly coda about Alpha learning to break dance.

Ethan: With a teddy bear.

Andrew: With a- yeah, inexplicably.

Ethan: Totally unexplained or unaddressed.

Andrew: So this episode sucked.

Ethan: Not one of the better ones. They condensed three and four of Zyuranger into this one to finish the Minotaur fight. But again, the pacing loses all sense. When the Zyurangers go to the Land of Despair, that’s like a big deal. Like we are risking our lives so that we can get these weapons. We don’t know how to get around in here. There’s this like curse hanging over everything. There’s a kidnapped boy and his mom we have to save. None of that is in- there’s no stakes.

Andrew: This episode, yeah, exactly. We get this vague environmental message. We get these comments about Rita, about using pollution to destroy the planet or whatever. But then that has nothing to do with the rest of the episode.

Ethan: The Minotaur is not like a pollution beast.

Andrew: Right. And it’s not like they didn’t have pollution beast footage to pull from.

Ethan: The two themes do not intersect.

Andrew: The whole thing was just bizarre. I remember seeing this episode as a kid. I don’t remember being especially disappointed by it because it’s got a bunch of really cool fight scenes in it, and that’s really all I’ve watched Power Rangers for.

Ethan: There’s a really cool shot when Jason is alone on the ground and the Minotaur is like stepping. And the camera like does this like juddering, jumping thing that I thought was really cool.

Andrew: Lots of the footage that they pulled into this episode from Zyuranger was excellent.

Ethan: That shot is not in Zyuranger.

Andrew: Sure, but lots of the footage they pulled into this episode from Zyuranger is excellent. And some of the fight sequences, even the U.S. stuff in the toxic waste dump or whatever, they were good. The fight with Goldar was fine.

Ethan: It was cute how they used the trash can technique on the Putties that they just had seen used on Bulk and Skull.

Andrew: But from a plot standpoint, this was hot garbage.

Violet: It makes zero sense. It really does.

Ethan: I thought Day of the Dumpster was confusing, but this blows that out of the park in terms of just, there’s nothing here, which is a real shame because this episode of Zyuranger is my favorite so far. The whole Land of Despair thing, it had big like Jim Henson 1980s vibes. It was very like Dark Crystal-slash-Labyrinth, kind of, and the whole idea of them turning to stone. And there was there was stakes, there was pressure.

Ethan: And there’s like all these statues sort of littered around like, oh, this is what will happen to us, which I’m deeply curious about those. Like, I don’t think they made all of those just for this.

Andrew: Right, so where did they come from?

Ethan: So I’m curious about where they came from. Do they just like live at the studio and they bring them out whenever they need sort of miscellaneous, Samurai, there’s Samurai, there’s like weird guys in sci-fi armor. There’s a couple of like Western style knights in armor, it’s very interesting.

Andrew: But yeah, I was disappointed enough in this episode of Power Rangers that it was a struggle for me to watch the next episode. And like, the next episode is better, but it’s not much better.

Ethan: Yeah, they’re really, really struggling to find their feet.

Andrew: I know that they do eventually. But I hope they do soon.

Violet: They do, but yeah, cause right now it’s very jumbled. Because I watched the first four episodes of each one back to back. Because I am just catching up to guest star on this one. And it’s so jumbled. I could not believe what they were pulling from which ones in the just first few.

Andrew: And this is the second time that they’ve just kind of thrown Goldar in as, “oh yeah, he’s also here!” because they just didn’t have enough footage to make a fight work. And so far, no one in Zyuranger has seen Goldar. Goldar has not appeared to the Rangers. But so far, the Power Rangers have fought him twice. They’re doing that thing with Goldar here in Power Rangers that they do with Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Ethan: That is- I was not expecting to hear that show mentioned today, so I’m intrigued as to where this comparison is going.

Andrew: On Star Trek: The Next Generation, they set up Worf very early on, season two once Tasha’s gone. They set Worf up as being this big badass. He is supposed to be this magnificent warrior. He’s the chief of security on the flagship of the Federation.

Ethan: Dear listeners, Worf is a precious teddy bear and he’s double autistic.

Andrew: We’ll break that down when we do our Star Trek podcast. 2025, right? But when they introduce anybody and they’re trying to show what a badass this new person they’ve introduced is, the first thing that they have that person do is go knock Worf on his ass. And so just over and over again, they have-

Ethan, experiencing transcendence: Oh, he’s a jobber!

Andrew: Yeah, he’s a jobber! He’s a jobber!

Ethan: Oohhhhhhhh…

Andrew: They have they have people step up and and and knock Worf on his ass over and over again. They turn him into a jabroni and they’re doing that with Goldar in a really confusing way. They’re establishing Goldar as Rita’s enforcer and this big bad.

Ethan: He has a very scary face. He has this face and his cool golden armor and wings and stuff.

Andrew: Yeah, incredibly cool character and they just stomp on him over and over again.

Ethan: That continues the entirety of both shows. Although he does get a mech. He gets his own mech late in the show. It’s sick.

Andrew: I love that.

Violet: Good for him, good for him.

Ethan: Yeah, we’ll get to that. All right. I mean, I think we’ve largely covered our talkback. We talked a little bit about Violet’s history with the series. One question I have for you is that you and Ryan used to perform with a Megazord on stage, if I’m not mistaken. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Violet: Yeah, when I was in Hurly-Burly and the Volcanic Fallout, which I guess I still am in, because we just released an EP. So we would perform- and we were ridiculous kids in costumes. We were theater kids. So it was all about the costume, the stage presence, but we didn’t really have like money for props. So we had Ryan’s Megazord from when he was a child and it always was on his bass amp.

Andrew: And papier-maiche volcanoes.

Violet: Papier-maiche volcanoes- we couldn’t afford papier-maiche, we had boxes.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, that’s true. I’ve seen Hurly-Burly perform with a papier-maiche volcano.

Violet: …Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, full of balloons.

Violet: Full of balloons. The first time it was a cake and it was for my sister’s birthday party.

Andrew: Well, I love that. The Megazord is here. It’s downstairs.

Ethan: Yeah, it’s on display.

Violet: That’s not Ryan’s Megazord. That’s my Megazord, which is why it’s missing the pterodactyl.

Andrew: Big difference between your Megazord and Ryan’s Megazord.

Violet: Mine’s the 2010. Ryan has the original, which I wish I had.

Andrew: Okay, okay, my apologies. I didn’t mean to open that wound.

Violet: I don’t know where my pterodactyl is.

Ethan: They’re very easy to lose.

Violet: And then on top of that, I have another connection to Mighty Morphin: My brother was taught Shakespeare by Skull.

Ethan: No!!

Violet: Yes.

Ethan: Oh my god…

Violet: In like 2005, circa 2005-ish, Skull was teaching Shakespeare to Virginia Governor’s School. So like in the summer, he learned Shakespeare.

Ethan: That’s amazing. Okay, so pulling up Skull’s page, full name- This is a doozy: Eugene… Skullovitch. That’s why he’s called Skull. It’s not like a goth thing, it’s just Skullovitch. So that actor’s name is… Jason Narvy.

Violet: Yes, that was it, Narvy.

Ethan: Who just has this like incredibly well-crafted annoying laugh that mostly gets deployed at Bulk’s expense, frankly, he doesn’t really laugh that much at other people. Just such a good character.

Violet: Shakespearean trained.

Ethan: Apparently! And Shakespearean training. What’s your brother’s name?

Violet: Jesse, Jesse Hunter.

Ethan: Jesse Hunter.

Ethan and Violet: Shout out, Jesse.

Andrew: So when’s Jesse going to be on the show?

Violet: We can make that happen.

Andrew: Okay. When’s Skull going to be on the show?

Violet: I don’t know if I can make that happen.

Ethan: Are they still in touch?

Violet: I don’t think they’re still in touch.

Andrew: It probably wouldn’t be that hard.

Ethan: Has he got his email?

Violet: You know, honestly, we can reach out.

Ethan: We could at least just like send a nice note like, hey, we appreciate the work that you did… thirty years ago.

Violet: Would you Skype into our podcast?

Ethan: Oh, I don’t want to think about how teleconferencing and this show would work.

Andrew: It’s not that bad.

Ethan: No, that is such a cool connection. So that’s- we’re like three degrees away from an actual cast member. And who knows what we might discover later in the future.

Andrew: As we continue to Kevin Bacon.

Ethan: Three degrees from Jason Narvy. No, that’s so cool. I didn’t- you didn’t let us know about that before the show. So we’re like discovering this live in real time.

Violet: Yeah, I figured like, I should tell y’all.

Ethan: Violet, I know you’re- you’ve told us you’re not into Sentai yet. I mean, I guess, except for four episodes, but you’re into like other tokusatsu and mecha shows also, right? So tell us a little bit about what animes do you like?

Violet: I really love mecha anime in particular. Grew up with it on Toonami and everything like that.

Ethan: God bless Toonami.

Violet: God bless Toonami. You know, my intro into like the anime that I really remember first really digging was, of course, Gundam Wing.

Andrew: That’s the only Gundam show I’ve seen.

Violet: Oh, there’s several, several good ones. I really like the original Gundam.

Ethan: Frankly, Gundam Wing is pretty mid by the standards of the others. Like, it has a special place in my heart and will forever, but it’s pretty mid. It doesn’t help that the director died halfway through production, I mean completely- that threw everyone, as it would, but the second half of the show really, really suffers from production disaster. Anyway.

Violet: But yeah, so watch several of the Gundam series. Zoids, Zoids was so good.

Andrew: So Zoids is one of these things that I know I watched and loved. But Ethan and I talked about this recently. I could not remember a single detail about the show. Couldn’t remember anything about it. Couldn’t remember anything about how it worked, like the mechanics of the show were lost on me. All I remember is big robot, go fight.

Violet: Yeah. That’s most of it. That’s most of the show.

Ethan: But it’s important to note that robot is cat.

Andrew: And sentient.

Violet: And sentient!

Ethan: EhHhHh, some of them definitely are, and some of them aren’t.

Andrew: Sure.

Violet: But yeah, I collected the Zoids toys. Like they were little model kits I put together.

Andrew: Ethan had quite a number of those.

Ethan: I still have a bunch of mine. Whenever I want to feel burning shame about how bad of a modeler I was as a kid, I pull those out and look at the terrible nub marks.

Violet: Oh god.

Ethan: Like a four millimeter stub sticking off of every armor piece. Like, what did I use to cut these out? A freakin kitchen knife? I don’t know.

Andrew: Scissors? Your bare hands.

Ethan: I truly don’t know.

Andrew: When I built models as a kid, I definitely snapped them with my bare hands.

Ethan: I mean, I know I had access to like nail clippers, which is better than nothing, but like-

Andrew: Sure, but you didn’t have the knowledge that you needed them.

Ethan: No, no. You have a model of something. It’s a resin kit that we have talked about. What is that?

Violet: It’s a vinyl kit.

Ethan: A vinyl kit.

Violet: It is Combatler V.

Ethan: Okay, tell us about Combatler V.

Violet: So Combatler V, I really know from having it as a toy as a child. My dad would travel a lot and he would come back and bring us a toy, usually, when I was younger. So I’m pretty sure it came from like an airport or something? But um, Combatler was this red robot made up of various transportation parts, like his feet were like drill cars or something like that. And his chest was like some kind of jet thing. So I had the toy as a kid and it was my favorite toy. I have since lost every single one of the pieces.

Andrew: Sure, of course.

Violet: So now I have this vinyl kit in the other room that I have had on my project list forever, and I can’t wait to put back together. The other toy that I really want to get a model is Big O. I love Big O.

Ethan: They put out like a high quality Big O model a couple of years ago.

Andrew: Is that the Soul of Chogokin?

Ethan: I don’t think it’s Chogokin, I think it’s a different-

Violet: Okay, because they’ve had him out and yeah.

Andrew: They did a Combattler V that way too.

Ethan: There are a few, there are a few- the Chogokin stuff is like, big money.

Andrew: So I’m assuming that the vintage toy would have been from the same line that gave us the Super Shoguns in the US.

Violet: Probably.

Andrew: And I have a ton of those. I don’t know anything about those characters in Japan other than Mazinger. But even then I know more of that from like Spain than I do from Japan. I absolutely love big ole robot toys.

Violet: Oh, Transformers, I get so nerdy about Transformers.

Andrew: Sure, of course.

Violet: Because like it’s like the toy version of what they did with the Power Rangers.

Andrew: In more ways than one.

Violet: Because they took just all these different toys from all these different companies that they got the molds and the rights to and just like, hey, let’s shove this into a show.

Andrew: And we’ll actually be talking about more of that in the next episode as well.

Violet: Good.

Andrew: Because the parallels are even stronger than you might realize.

Ethan: And there’s a parallel to Gundam there also, which is that Tomino saw Transformers and was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” So then all of the suits, like all of the big name suits and mobile suits in Zeta Gundam are transforming suits. Literally would not have happened unless he had happened to catch an episode of Transformers and go, “Oh, that’s a good idea.”

Andrew: Have you seen Our Friend Power Five?

Violet: I have not seen Our Friend Power Five.

Andrew: Ethan, do you know about this?

Ethan: I don’t know what this is.

Andrew: Okay-

Violet: Oh, wait. No, no, no. Yes, you showed me this.

[“POWERRR… FIVE!”]

Andrew: Our Friend Power Five is a South Korean hybrid live action animated film starring the worst Ninja Turtle knockoffs you will ever see.

Ethan: Oh, you did show me this. The guy got like a whole shipping container of Ninja Turtles costumes or something like that.

Andrew: He got the molds for the Ninja Turtles toys and a bunch of Go-Bots in South Korea, but neither Ninja Turtles nor Go-Bots had been released there. It hadn’t been localized and he needed a way to sell the toys. So he made a movie using some animated footage of the Go-Bots, using the same studio that actually did a ton of animation at that time. A bunch of anime was actually being produced in South Korea. So he used some of the same studios and then Toei provided him with the suits of his horrible Ninja Turtles. They’re really, really bad. But it’s the same idea where they needed a way to sell these toys. So they produced this film. The whole thing’s up on YouTube. It’s not good.

Ethan: Nelson’s watching it right now. I’m watching Nelson watching it.

Andrew: So the animation is super limited, but not especially bad, you know? But when you get to the live action shots, I mean, it is breathtaking. Yeah.

Violet: But same thing. Same hat, same hat.

Ethan: Cool, thank you for telling us about all of your history and your interests. So the research topic today is mine and I chose the actress Soga Machiko, because she came up so frequently. This is the actress who plays Bandora and the face of Rita, although not the voice for most of it. Although she would go back to redub Power Rangers in Japanese. So it is- if you watch the Japanese release of Power Rangers, it’s her dubbing over herself.

Andrew: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s a Japanese release of Power Rangers?

Ethan: Yeah! They redubbed it.

Violet: That’s amazing.

Andrew: They took-

Ethan: Uh-huh.

Nelson, distantly: Yeah, that’s crazy.

Andrew: Is it successful?

Ethan: I have no idea.

Andrew: Okay, we gotta find out.

Ethan: It’ll have to be like a special episode.

Andrew: Yeah!

Ethan: We watch some Japanese Power Rangers.

Andrew: I want to see reaction videos. I want to see people who watched Super Sentai watching Power Rangers for the first time.

Ethan: That would be awesome. It’s like- it’s like that whole process that we’ve been talking about of like, the cultural transference. But not in reverse because it’s already happened once. So it’s just like a weird U-turn, you end up with like a sandwich effect.

Andrew: And that’s the way that this always works. This idea that any culture is a monolith is a myth. All cultures are made up of bits and pieces of one another. And this is just a particularly egregious example, where something that was localized is being relocalized, is being relocalized. I mean, it’s neat, frankly. Um, I love that I know this. Thank you for sharing this.

Ethan: We’ll have to look further into it. So Soga Machiko was born March 18th of 1938 in Hachioji District in Tokyo and got into acting through radio, starting in the early 60s. So she played like a couple of protagonist characters, a couple of evil characters. You know, she could do like a little kid voice if she needed to do a little kid voice, stuff like that. Her television debut came in the early 70s, mostly doing voiceover work. And then her first big tokusatsu role was as Queen Hedrian in 1980’s Denshi Sentai Denjiman. She would play the same character in Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. And then very soon after that would play Majou Bandora in 1992 and ’93. And then as we mentioned, through the Sabanization process, she would be required not only to phonetically read some English lines to provide more footage for Power Rangers, but also to redub her own performance that had already been redubbed in English back into Japanese, but crucially was not playing Bandora, but was dubbing Rita.

Andrew: Right.

Violet: That’s amazing.

Andrew: So I know Lord Zedd was not in any of the Sentai, is not in Zyuranger.

Violet: Really?

Ethan: Yeah.

Andrew: Lord Zedd is an American invention.

Ethan: Complete Western new character.

Andrew: So does that mean that all of the footage of Zedd and Rita interacting was also… I guess it has to mean that, that is the stuff that was reshot by this actress.

Ethan: So there are multiple actresses now have played the character of Rita.

Andrew: Interesting, ok.

Ethan: So Zedd doesn’t show up until season two. When they have their interactions, that’s the same costume, but a completely different actress. That’s an American actress in the Rita costume playing the character.

Andrew: So when Machiko is playing Rita in English, it is for the last 10 episodes of this season.

Ethan: Right.

Andrew: Okay, cool.

Ethan: Soga passed away in May of 2006, aged 68, after a long and storied career. And I think probably my favorite fact that I learned about her was that she had a small antique and curio shop in Harajuku. I just think it would be really neat if you just are like wandering around Tokyo thrifting and you walk in and Witch Bandora is just there trying to like sell you a rug. Or like-

Andrew: Threatening you if you don’t buy her rug.

Ethan: “I’ll crush your children in a spaceship!” Or you know, and I just think that’s such a cute little fact of like, she just had her own little shop.

Andrew: That’s wonderful.

Violet: I love that.

Ethan: And if you, you know, look at her actress credits, she’s all over Sentai and tokusatsu in general. The radio show stuff specifically is like expansive.

Andrew: Sure.

Ethan: And she actually makes another appearance in Power Rangers in like 20 years from where we’re at now in our coverage as a sort of quasi-angelic figure, which is like a reformed Rita Repulsa, who’s like the source of all good magic in the universe.

Andrew: Interesting.

Ethan: Shows up way, way later. We’ll get to that when we get to it.

Andrew: In a decade, yeah. It’s going to take us till ’25 to get through season one at this rate.

Ethan: Correct.

Andrew: Good stuff.

Ethan: That’s the research topic for today.

Violet: Cool!

Ethan: Thank you, Soga Machiko, for your excellent performances. We got anything else before we close out?

Andrew: I’m good.

Violet: I’m great.

Andrew: Thank you so much for being here, Violet.

Violet: I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for including me.

Ethan: Yeah! We will be back next time to discuss episodes four of Zyuranger, “Yomigaere Densetsu no Buki: Reawaken, Legendary Weapons!”, and Power Rangers, “A Pressing Engagement.” 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 at KenkyuuSentaiPodcastRangers @ meet.CommunityMedia.network. Violet, what have you got going on that people should look out for and how should people get in touch if they want to?

Violet: I have so many things going on.

Ethan: I know.

Violet: Okay, so I am Dr. Deathray.

Ethan: She is Dr. Deathray.

Violet: Of Dr. Deathray and the Implements of Destruction. You can find us on Instagram, preferably through AnalogRevolution.com, or find me on the Fediverse at DoctorDeathray @ retro.social.

Andrew: That is correct.

Violet: I also am in Hurly-Burly and the Volcanic Fallout, who of course did this theme song. And we just released a Christmas album. This is coming out after Christmas. But go ahead and listen to it because seven days of Christmas- 12 days of Christmas technically starts on Christmas day.

Andrew: It’s also guaranteed to be a perennial Christmas classic.

Violet: Perennial, yes.

Andrew: It’s a free download and you will listen to it every Christmas for the rest of your life or you will die.

Violet: One of the two. Probably both. And then what else do I do? I’m an audio engineer. I run Analog Revolution with Andrew. It is our record label. We have a whole bunch of artists out. Pre-order’s up for Michael Cera Palin. Just released Eli Pop. All kinds of things. Just go to AnalogRevolution.com or find me on the Fediverse, DoctorDeathray @ retro.social.

Ethan: Mhm, mhm. Andrew, what have you got going on lately?

Andrew: I don’t think I want to do a plug today. There’s too much going on. No, very briefly: I’ve just started releasing a film serial from the 19-teens called “The Master Mystery” starring Harry Houdini.

Ethan: Yeah, the Harry Houdini.

Andrew: Yeah, the Harry Houdini. It’s a really fascinating kind of thing because it’s a mech show. The premise of the series is that there is a mech in 1918. This is before the word robot was coined. So like they don’t have the language to talk about this guy yet.

Ethan: What do they call it? Automaton?

Andrew: The machine.

Ethan: The machine, that makes sense.

Andrew: But yeah, it’s a fascinating little thing. An adventure serial in 15 parts. The closest thing that the teens had to television. But of course it’s silent, so I’m re-scoring it using some music that we’ve composed here and some music that I found in various places, Creative Commons licensed and so on and so forth. That’s fun. It’s on New Ellijay Television. We’ve also recently started releasing new episodes of Expedition Sasquatch, which is the comedy bigfoot podcast that I do. You can find that at expeditionsasquatch.org.

Ethan: Dot Org. Again, to any IRS agents who might be listening, .org; it is a non-profit endeavor.

Andrew: And you can also find that on New Ellijay Television. That’s a lot of fun. I do that with my buddy Josh, who will almost certainly end up on this show at some point.

Ethan: Almost certainly. We might have to like send a car to pick him up, but yeah.

Andrew: Bad driving anxiety, but that’s okay. We’ll get you here some way, Josh. And I think that’s it for now. Y’all know me, I’m always doing too much. You can find the rest of the things that I work on at AndrewRoach.net. And that list is also not accurate, but it’s more accurate than most of the other lists that I share.

Ethan: Including, but not limited to.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: All right. 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 EllijayMakerspace.org, and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting Cherokee.org. Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people, and in the words of a wise man, f*** capitalism, go home.

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TRANSCRIPT – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers – 研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Episode Two Volleyball Spike Your Repressed Aggression Straight Down Into Hell

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
KENKYUU SENTAI PODCAST RANGERS EPISODE TWO: Volleyball Spike Your Repressed Aggression Straight Down Into Hell
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[“It’s Morphin’ Time!”]

Ethan: Minna-san, yokoso. Welcome to Episode 2 of Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers, your favorite deep dive cross-cultural recap and analysis podcast for the Super Sentai and Power Rangers franchises. My name is Ethan, I use he/him pronouns, and joining me today is my regular co-host Andrew.

Andrew: Hi!

Ethan: As well as our good friend, producer of the show, and many others, Nelson. Welcome to the show.

Nelson: Hello, yeah, I’m Nelson, I’m- yeah, he-him, since that’s the vibe here, like that, more people should do that, and yeah, I do stuff around here, but from my house.

Andrew: Yeah. Nelson drives a long way to get here, and it takes him a long time to do it.

Nelson: Yeah, you know, but it’s worth it every time. I like coming out here, it’s a very relaxing drive, except for the part through Jasper.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: Jasper has like… four red lights in two miles.

Andrew: It’s the worst.

Ethan: You wouldn’t think that a full-on four-lane highway would get that backed up just because of four red lights in two miles, but you would be wrong.

Nelson: Yeah, I saw like two different people get pulled over on the way here, so, you know, wasn’t me.

Andrew: Nelson, since I’ve got you here on mic, when are we getting more John Thefruitman?

Nelson: Oh man, this is what all this was about, wasn’t it?

Ethan: This was actually, yeah, this was an elaborate trap.

Nelson: This was a ruse!

Andrew: So for those who don’t know, Nelson is the songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist for the acclaimed musical act John Thefruitman.

Nelson: All-around man of mystery.

Andrew: Among other musical projects, but John Thefruitman. That’s how I met Nelson back in the Analog Revolution days, the first Analog Revolution days.

Ethan: Hashtag f*** Cobb County. We might have to beep that.

Nelson: But yeah, I do other stuff. I’ve got a show that I make with my roommates that you can also find on New Ellijay TV called Working Class Music.

Ethan: It was just playing on the TV in the lobby, actually.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nelson: So yeah, I do a lot of stuff. I don’t sleep a lot.

Andrew: That’s true.

Nelson: So here we go. I watched the wrong episode of Power Rangers.

Andrew: It’s going to be great. I did too. It’s okay.

Ethan: Today we are recapping and discussing episodes two of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger and season one of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Before we get into the recaps, Nelson, why don’t you tell us about your experience with these two shows and the franchises they come from?

Nelson: Right. So Sentai, never watched it. Watched it here and it’s great.

Ethan: Yeah!

Nelson: It’s so out of pocket. I love it. You know, not to get you ahead of, you know, ahead of things, but episode two was super real, you know, straight up.

Ethan: It’s kind of hype.

Nelson: Yeah. It’s like…

Ethan: It kind of gets me hype to watch it.

Nelson: It opens with guys on the news, you know, being like, “There’re kids in danger! Yeah, well, I don’t like the way your face looks!” And then they all get into a fistfight.

Ethan: This is- I don’t know how much like, original Godzilla you’ve watched. But the like newsroom brawl or just like the talking heads segment.

Nelson: That’s the thing that happens in actual foreign government.

Ethan: It’s a staple for sure.

Nelson: But yeah, never watched Sentai.

Ethan: You’re a little bit younger than me and Andrew, so what was the first Power Rangers show that you were like into?

Nelson: Mighty Morphin’. I mean, yeah, I was born in ‘95. So I still caught Mighty Morphin’ on… What’s the thing?

Ethan: It would have been Fox Kids.

Nelson: Yeah, Fox Kids. Saturday mornings. But yeah, you know, grew up loving Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, Dragon Ball Z, you know, all of the coolest sh**. Can I curse on here? Is that cool?

Andrew: Yeah, go for it. You’re going to have to bleep it later.

Ethan: Yeah, we’re going to have to… That’s fine. We want to keep it sort of PG-ish.

Nelson: Yeah, I’ll bleep it.

Andrew: I mean, we did end the last episode with-

Ethan: Yeah, I mean, that’s part of the outro. We’ll do that every time. I did disparage Cobb County, deservedly. But I think we’re going to try and keep it to a minimum because, you know, it’s a kids’-

Andrew: We’re talking about kids media. This is not a kid’s show, but we are talking about a kid’s show.

Ethan: I hope some kids listen to it though.

Nelson: But you know, yeah, it was just all the cool stuff that, you know, the kids were into. And I was, you know, a stressed out kid. So my parents were just like, hey, just…

Andrew: “Watch TV.”

Ethan: “Chill out.” Okay.

Nelson: You know, and also pro wrestling, you know, all that, which, you know…

Andrew: We’ll get to one of these days. I want to do a full Nitro and Thunder watch, me and you. Nitro and Thunder.

Ethan: I would listen to that show.

Nelson: Yeah, no, because I mean, I’ll tell you right now, one of my favorite things to go back and do, if I’m ever not feeling good, is watch anything WCW related between 1999 and 2001 when they closed. Because it’s some dying days of capitalism type stuff.

Andrew: And so when I was growing up with Power Rangers, you know, ’96, ’97, ’98, I was also a huge pro wrestling fan.

Nelson: Oh, yeah. ’97 is the greatest year of pro wrestling ever.

Ethan: I was not allowed to watch pro wrestling.

Andrew: I was there at the stadium for the Finger Poke of Death. I was there the night that WCW died. And I think that, you know, there’s some stuff to be said there. So one of these days we’ll get to that. But today…

Nelson: It’s about Power Rangers.

Andrew: We’re talking about Super Sentai.

Ethan: So we’re going to begin our recap segment with Zyuranger as usual.

[“KYORYU SENTAI… ZYURANGER!!”]

Ethan: Episode two of Zyuranger is titled FUKKATSU, the Revival, and was written by Sugimura Noboru and directed by Tojo Shohei, just like episode one. The episode starts with, as I mentioned, a Godzilla-esque news talk show bit, which rapidly dissolves into name calling and sort of loses the thread. Bandora is up on the moon plotting her plots while the Rangers are in their secret base doing exposition. We see Geki reading from a Bayeux-Tapestry-looking tome while he explains the frankly buckwild crackpot history of the five ancient tribes, which sounds like a mix between some ancient aliens type stuff and some young earth creationist type stuff.

Nelson: It’s got a hard stance on evolution.

Ethan: The book, the book itself has to be 170 million years old, and it’s just- it was current history at that time. And he’s reading from it, I guess, for the sake of nostalgia. But we can look at it, and I mean, there are there are young earth creationists who have the same ideas that-

Andrew: They don’t think it was 170 million years ago.

Ethan: Right, they think it was 6,000 years ago.

Nelson: That’s the people who think like humans and dinosaurs were like, we’re all here. Yeah, okay.

Ethan: Velociraptors on Noah’s Ark and stuff like that. Which was,

Nelson: Yeah, that’s great. I’m here for it.

Andrew: We’ve got in the core, the Guardian Beasts. We’ve got the Tyrannosaurus and the saber-toothed tiger.

Ethan: Lived in vastly different eras.

Andrew: I mean, the Tyrannosaurus and the Pteradon were in vastly different eras. But the Tyrannosaurus and the mammoth or the saber-toothed tiger, that’s going pre and post Rise of Mammals.

Nelson: Wait, but weren’t there dinosaurs in one of the Ice Age movies?

Andrew: Yes.

Ethan: Oh, we found a link. Did you bring your corkboard and red string?

Andrew: It’s downstairs in the Expedition Sasquatch room.

Ethan: That is literally, actually, literally true. Okay, Bandora launches the Nemesis mission shuttle back down to Earth, still in mini form, still with the kids inside of it, which races around the Tokyo streets causing havoc. While she gets Pleprichaun, whom many of the U.S. viewers may know as Finster, to create a new monster, Dora Skelton.

Andrew: Pleprichaun is a better name.

Ethan: Pleprichaun creates Doraskeleton. Crucially, not Dora Skeleton, Dora Skelton. All of Bandora’s monsters have this Dora signifier at the start of their names. That’s just a convention we’ll see going forward.

Andrew: It’s because they’re in Bandora’s family.

Ethan: Correct. And the skeleton is a powerful reassembling skeleton monster with some very strange powers. He breaks all of the ranger’s ancient weapons, and after they transform, he captures them in a weird pocket dimension. Totpat and Bookback, who are the little goblin and vampire guys, respectively, are also here planting a cartoon bomb on the mini space shuttle to kill the school kids while the rangers are distracted.

Nelson: Yeah, dude, the bomb, dude? Crazy.

Ethan: It is a black orb with a long fuse coming out of the top that they light with a match.

Andrew: Classic, yeah, Warner Brothers, Acme bomb.

Ethan: Yep, 100%. The rangers defeat Dora Skelton when Dan chucks his disassembled head into a huge crack in the earth, telling him to go to hell, but victory is short-lived as Dora Titan shows up again and rips into the pocket dimension, capturing Geki. Geki escapes, but the rangers are at a loss until the Guardian Beast Tyrannosaurus appears. Geki leaps in to pilot the Guardian Beast, and between its great power and the other rangers launching the mini shuttle like a missile at Dora Titan’s face-

Nelson: Oh, they get the kids out first.

Ethan: They do. Crucially, they get the kids out first, and they are victorious against Dora Titan. He’s vanquished.

Andrew: I expected, after seeing that, that we were going to get one per episode introduction for all of the Guardian Beasts.

Ethan: That is not an unreasonable assumption.

Nelson: Is that not what happens?

Andrew: That is not what happens, but that’s okay. That’s what I expected, though, because… So Saban later goes on to do the Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog. Do you remember the Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog?

Nelson: I do not, no.

Andrew: This was an entirely American homegrown show.

Ethan: It’s still a tokusatsu show, but it’s based loosely, very loosely, in Celtic mythology, and knights and stuff.

Nelson: Glad I didn’t see that. It probably would have upset me dearly.

Andrew: It is just this odd amalgamation of the tokusatsu style, done entirely with an American cast, set in a vague English stereotype.

Ethan: Yeah, sort of quasi-ancient Ireland. Sort of land of myth and monsters.

Nelson: Are there castles?

Andrew: There are castles. But it also has just the worst special effects. The worst special effects. They’re so bad.

Nelson: Worse than this early 90s power… Wow.

Andrew: Because it’s the same budget, but they started using digital effects.

Ethan: Yes. Crucially, tokusatsu means special effects, but it’s in the sense of…

Andrew: Camera effects.

Ethan: Camera effects, yeah.

Andrew: Special shooting.

Ethan: Special shooting and almost all of… I mean, all of the spark packs that explode when they strike each other with swords, all of that stuff is practical.

Andrew: Practical, yeah.

Ethan: There are computer graphics in some Sentai shows. I’m currently watching Megaranger on my own, and the whole sort of conceit of that is it’s all based in digital stuff. So this is like 1997. They’re really getting into it. But by and large, a lot… The vast majority of effects are practical ones.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nelson: See, here’s… Yeah, see, again, I don’t know about that other show, but it makes a lot of sense because the Power… Like, you know, my biggest Power Rangers memory is the movie with Ivan Ooze and all that.

Andrew: Right, Ivan Ooze, yeah.

Nelson: And there’s a whole CGI ending fight. Which like… You know, it’s 90s CGI. And it’s really bad.

Andrew: It’s exceptionally bad.

Nelson: And it’s like, oh, this is not mask footage. This is just America.

Ethan: In 1998, I was incredibly hyped. And then I went back and watched that movie not too long ago, within the past decade, I would say, and I was astonished at how poorly that CG has aged.

Nelson: It’s good until the last 15 minutes of the movie.

Andrew: Exactly.

Ethan: The costumes in that movie are phenomenal. The acting is…

Andrew: Okay.

Ethan: I mean, it’s as good as it gets in Power Rangers most of the time. The practical effects that they do use. It starts off with that incredible… We’ll do a whole episode on that.

Nelson: That’s a later…

Ethan: But it really, really tanks when you get to the…

Andrew: The CG fight. And it’s a shame because what makes Power Rangers work is the dudes in rubber suits. Like…

Ethan: That’s the whole thing.

Andrew: It is the whole thing. And they had all this money and they were like, maybe we shouldn’t do dudes in rubber suits. No, always do the dudes in rubber suits! All right. So Nelson was going to do a recap of the Power Rangers episode, but Nelson watched a different episode of Power Rangers. And that’s not his fault.

Nelson: It’s the links they gave me!

Andrew: If you’re watching Power Rangers along with us and you’re using the archive.org links, you’re going to see episode two listed as “Food Fight.” But “Food Fight” is like episode seven or eight. Episode two is “Hi Five.”

Nelson: Which, where did you guys find this?

Andrew: It’s just episode three on archive.org. [Nelson makes a face.] Yeah, I know.

Nelson: Well, I think we should provide an accurate list.

Andrew: We will provide an accurate list.

Ethan: That’s going to be one of my projects, is working out a watchalong map.

Andrew: And I didn’t realize that this was a problem until Sunday morning before we started.

Nelson: It’s a good thing we pushed it to Tuesday.

Andrew: And then didn’t tell you. But I started watching ahead and I was like, oh, this makes way more sense. So I’m going to do a quick recap of the Power Rangers episode. And again, my recap is not going to be nearly as detailed as Ethan’s because I did not take notes.

Ethan: All good.

Nelson: So I guess I’ll be back for “Food Fight” because I do have those notes.

Ethan: Yeah, I mean, whenever you want to come, you’ll be here filming and engineering anyway. Literally, it’s up to you.

[“IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!” + theme music]

Andrew: Power Rangers episode two opens with the Rangers standing around a rope and climbing a rope. And this particular exchange is supposed to highlight a couple of things. One, what’s the yellow Ranger’s name?

Ethan: Trini.

Andrew: Trini. Can we talk about the fact that they color-coded the Rangers by race?

Ethan: This… is a thing.

Andrew: Yeah, and it sucks.

Nelson: I mean, OK, hold on. As the only person of color here, let me tiptoe through this very, very dangerous bed of roses. Weirdly, I was all the way up for it for so long until I realized like, “Ohhhhhh, yellow, that’s not good, yeah, don’t go doing that.” But the Black Ranger, I was like, that’s f****** sick. I’m here for that. Because, you know, black’s always been my favorite color.

Andrew: Sure.

Nelson: That’s me to death.

Andrew: He was my favorite Power Ranger as a kid because black was also my favorite color.

Nelson: Yeah. But yeah, once you dip into it a bit more, it’s pretty bad.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: It’s one of those problematic things.

Andrew: It’s especially confusing, though, because if you watch Super Sentai, if you watch Zyuranger, the yellow Ranger is Boi.

Ethan: Yep.

Andrew: He’s not just a boy; he is a boy named Boi.

Ethan: His name is Boi.

Andrew: And I had never noticed before that the Pink Ranger wears a skirt, and the yellow Ranger does not.

Ethan: In the mask footage, that’s correct.

Andrew: In the mask footage. And anyway, so Trini is afraid of heights. That is what we’re supposed to get out of this segment at the beginning of the episode. Bulk and Skull show up.

Nelson: Goated theme song, by the way, for those two. Just gotta drop that in there. Great, yeah.

Andrew: I won’t argue with that. Bulk and Skull show up. People make fun of them. They try to make Bulk climb the rope. This ends badly.

Ethan: He yanks it out of the ceiling, but it is magically repaired at the end of the episode, with no sign of having been actually repaired. So, you know, not really. But it sucks. It’s fatphobic. It’s secondhand embarrassment city.

Andrew: I was not a fan of this. But the episode continues. And the episode continues in… It’s so weird. It’s so weird. So they wanted to incorporate the spaceship footage, the little spaceship.

Nelson: Yeah, the tiny spaceship.

Ethan: The time device.

Andrew: So they call it a time device!

Ethan: “We’re going to trap the Rangers in a time warp, just like we trapped Zordon.””

Nelson: What!?

Ethan: “Pay no attention to the fact that it is just the Earth space shuttle.”

Nelson: I remember the episode with the rope, I don’t remember the time device being the space shuttle.

Ethan: It is just the space shuttle.

Andrew: So they launched the space shuttle back to Earth, the tiny space shuttle.

Ethan: Strangely, it does not include any footage of the two Japanese schoolchildren. I can’t imagine why.

Andrew: It does not. But they use the exact same footage of the tiny space shuttle flying through the streets of the- Tokyo, I assume.

Ethan: They say in Zyuranger, “It’s headed towards Ginza!” So somewhere in the neighborhood of Ginza. I don’t know Tokyo geography.

Andrew: But they very quickly pan past or mask out any Japanese text.

Ethan: They overdub all of the sort of gasps, the sort of crowd noise to be English instead of Japanese, which is very smart.

Andrew: And then the spaceship shows up at the Rangers’ headquarters and flips up its nose and lets out a blast, which means that they had to shoot new footage of this little space shuttle in order to incorporate the space shuttle footage. Why did they even bother?

Nelson: They could have just done something else.

Andrew: They could have done anything else!

Ethan: Anything.

Andrew: But instead, the space shuttle is a time device, and they’re going to trap the Power Rangers in time the same way that they trapped Zordon in time. So-

Nelson: It’s crazy that they use that footage of them going through the street with the rocket, because Angel Grove is in Santa Clarita, which is like, you know, near like Northern California. And I’ve never been to Tokyo, but I’ve driven through Santa Clarita. And then- I’m going to tell you right now, they’re very different places.

Ethan: Yeah, there are no Japanese industrial parks in Santa Clarita.

Nelson: Yeah, way less buildings out there. Crazy enough.

Andrew: So one thing that really stood out to me in this episode, though, from there, it follows the same basic plot of the Zyuranger episode. They have a battle with some putties, they get transported to a pocket dimension, inexplicably, by the skeleton monster.

Ethan: Who, crucially, speaks in this one and does terrible skeleton puns. In Zyuranger, he just has a sort of terrible laugh that he does. He doesn’t actually talk.

Andrew: They go through the same battle. They throw his head through the same crack in the ground. They plant the same bomb on the time device, because that’s how they’re going to trigger it.

Ethan: Yeah, that part really falls apart under any level of scrutiny.

Andrew: And then, we have- I don’t remember what his name was in the Power Rangers episode, but we have the giant monster show up.

Ethan: I don’t think he gets named. It’s Dora Titan, but he’s just a sort of miscellaneous, unnamed giant monster.

Andrew: Yeah, he might not get named. And we get Rita’s make my monster grow, which is great. It’s the best line from the show.

Ethan: I think actually that one is in episode one, but not in episode two.

Andrew: You’re right. Because the Titan’s already a giant.

Andrew: Because the Titan’s already a giant.

Ethan: But it will show up basically every other episode moving forward.

Andrew: And we get the Tyrannosaurus Zord showing up inexplicably, and it’s the only Zord in the episode. And this is after we have already seen the Megazord. So they have the ability to turn into a giant multi-robot mega-robot with a sword. But instead, they’re like, you know, maybe we should just use the Tyrannosaurus.

Nelson: It’s so they let you know the Red Ranger is the leader.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s so that you know. Yeah.

Ethan: You can definitely tell this is like early days with this, because this type of adaptation had not ever been done before.

Andrew: No, it hadn’t.

Ethan: They are figuring it out on the fly. They loaded all of the really cool stuff in episode one to catch people’s eyes and to get kids interested. And then they sort of set- took a step back and said, OK, let’s try to do an episode by episode approach, which I think doesn’t doesn’t land quite as well.

Andrew: No, this one did not. And I know that- I know because I remember the show and because I’ve seen some of the episodes that are coming, that it’s going to work better in the future. But this one was just so weird.

Ethan: Very weird.

Andrew: I will call out a thing that I missed at the beginning of this recap is that this is the second episode of the series. It’s the first time that we get their communicators. Billy, very early on in the episode, demos the communicators for the rest of the Rangers. And I want to spend a couple of seconds on that, because Billy is just treated real bad by the show.

Ethan: Oh yes.

Andrew: For whatever reason, he can’t talk? in normal English? Instead, everything he says is ten cent words and technobabble. And they have Trini translating for him. And it’s not- they’re not exactly making fun of him yet, although that definitely does come. But like, they’re already being real mean to Billy is what I’m saying.

Ethan: It is worth noting also that that Billy’s actor, David Yost, was the only openly gay cast member on this show.

Andrew: And and got bullied for it pretty badly off set. Yeah.

Ethan: In addition to the like weird color coding that we mentioned before, we’re already seeing some like, capital P problematic sh**.

Andrew: Yeah, Billy’s communicators malfunction and end up transporting all of the Rangers back to the headquarters. And that is where this episode actually gets underway properly. And that’s how we end up with the time device attacking the Rangers. Somehow, it also causes Alpha to just kind of go crazy?

Ethan: This, I think, is a running theme with Alpha that he has got sort of, I mean, I think about it like a low sensory tolerance, kind of? He’s a weird neurodivergent robot, circuitdivergent.

Nelson: That makes so much more sense.

Ethan: I mean, just watching, textually, the show offers no explanation for why touching the communicator sort of pinballs him around the Command Center.

Andrew: But it does.

Nelson: Electrostatic interference!

Andrew: And then he does eventually repair the communicators. And the episode ends with that, basically. So they now have the ability to teleport to Power Rangers Central when it makes sense, sometimes. And they can communicate with one another. That’s pretty much the episode. Did I miss anything crucial?

Ethan: Trini conquers her fear of heights in order to save Billy from a putty warrior.

Andrew: Yes.

Ethan: She climbs some very obviously not dangerous looking rocks. It takes a long time.

Andrew: It does take a really long time.

Ethan: And she tricks the putty into jumping off a cliff to its terrible demise. And it doesn’t show you the putty landing at the bottom of the cliff, but it does make a noise, the like stock noise of car shocks squeaking. I don’t know if y’all picked up on that, but it sounds like the putty lands on the hood of a car in an action movie.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: It doesn’t show you, again, but it makes that like skwerk-kink sort of a noise. I just thought that was an odd thing.

Andrew: Real weird choice.

Ethan: But Trini conquers her fear of heights to climb up the cliff after Billy. And then…

Andrew: And she does save Billy.

Ethan: She saves Billy.

Andrew: Which, again, is them putting, very early on, putting Billy’s character in the position of being the weakest and the worst of the Power Rangers. They have established that he is good with technology, but not good enough. Out of the gate, his thing is malfunctioning. And he is the worst fighter among them. And he is the…

Ethan: Pre-transformation.

Andrew: Pre-transformation, yeah.

Ethan: He does fine afterwards.

Andrew: And he is the most scared among them. And so I think it is worth highlighting, even at this early stage, how badly they are treating Billy.

Nelson: Yeah. They do make him seem like a weak little nerd guy.

Ethan: Which, like, he is a nerd guy, but…

Nelson: But, you know, you can be like… I mean, hey, you can be a jacked nerd.

Ethan: Buff nerds do exist.

Andrew: Like, I’m pointing this out because it was something that bothered me as a kid. Watching Power Rangers as a kid, I was a weird little nerd guy, and I empathized with Billy. And I always felt really bad about the fact that he never really got treated well. To the point that, much later in the show, he leaves. The characters on the show bully his character so badly that he leaves the Power Rangers.

Nelson: Spoilers for Power Rangers Zeoverse.

Andrew: Yeah, right?

NelsHe’s just like, yeah, I’m gonna go to this other planet and fix their technology because, hey…”

Andrew: “Y’all hate me and I don’t want to do this anymore.” And it’s just… It’s sad. And it just… It tore me up as a kid. And I think it’s really telling that it is so evident this early in the show.

Nelson: It’s funny because, like, when I was younger watching this, like, my older brother, like, just straight up just told me that with no context. He was like, “you know the Blue Ranger is gay, right?” And I was just like…

Andrew: Yeah, right, right! I remember getting that sh** too!

Nelson: All right. Like, yeah. So does that just kind of explain why, you know, why his character sucks? Like, I don’t know. It’s weird.

Ethan: It’s very emblematic of the times in a lot of… In all the worst ways, I would say.

Andrew: SSNelson, this was your first time watching Zyuranger?

Nelson: It was. And, like, I…

Ethan: Any Super Sentai, I think you said, right?

Yeah. No, none of it. I always see, like, Kamen Rider stuff and I’m like, that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Ethan: A lot of the Kamen Rider designs are incredibly sick.

Nelson: Yeah, so sick.

Ethan: It’s a little bit… manic? of a show for me? I would need to be in just the right mood to watch it. But I definitely appreciate the aesthetics.

Andrew: So have you ever watched… And Ethan’s going to hate me for bringing this one up, but have you ever watched Supaidaman?

Nelson: What?

Andrew: Spiderman.

Nelson: Spiderman?

Andrew: Japanese Spiderman.

Nelson: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Where, like, his dad just, like, makes him into Spiderman.

Andrew: It’s an alien.

Nelson: It’s an alien?

Andrew: It’s an alien that makes him into Spiderman.

Nelson:I thought it was…

Ethan: He’s got a car…

Andrew: He has a giant mech called Leopardon.

Nelson: Yeah, no, he’s got a bunch of stuff. He’s like Batman Spiderman.

Andrew: He’s Batman Spiderman.

Nelson: Yeah, I’ve seen it.

Andrew: So Supaidaman’s another one of these things that I definitely want to spend some more time on eventually.

Ethan: That’s a special episode, for sure.

Andrew: It is such a buckwild thing. But within the context of Power Rangers, I think it’s interesting that we had someone in Japan taking Marvel Comics Spiderman and reinterpreting Marvel Comics Spiderman for a Japanese audience.

Ethan: Yeah, as a tokusatsu character.

Andrew: Exactly.

Nelson: And so the other way around.

Andrew: Exactly.

Nelson: That’s awesome.

Andrew: Done by the same studio that produced Super Sentai, that was producing GoRenger. And many of the things that would come to be staples of Power Rangers, of Super Sentai, were the giant transforming robot, for example. That came straight out of Supaidaman. That was the first time that it’s seen on television. So this transnational sharing and adaptation is baked into the DNA of this stuff. Yep.

Ethan: So, Nelson, what’s grabbing you about Zyuranger so far?

Nelson: So, well, basically, it’s as out-of-pocket as I was hoping it would be. Yeah, like you were telling me before, how children just being in danger is such a regular thing. Like, why do they send kids to space? Because they’re good kids! Good kids get to go to space.

Ethan: They’re like honor students, right? So their reward for their good grades was they got to go on a whole-ass space mission.

Andrew: To a planet that only appears every 170 million years.

Ethan: To a planet that they called Nemesis. Hey, maybe don’t send infants to a planet called Nemesis.

Andrew: And they’re like seven!

Ethan: Yeah, no, they’re very young kids.

Nelson: Well, that and what grabbed me is… I guess the same thing that grabs me about a lot of old mech anime is just like, there’s the whole thing, like, you know, “get in the robot.” You know? Like, they’re just like, “hey, go, do it.” You know? Like, the ancient warriors are just like, “hey, we are those guys.” Like, we’re those folks. So we gotta get out there. We got to go get this done. And then they do it. And that’s the show. And then it’s like, cool. See you next week.

Andrew: I do really love that element of it. Comparing Super Sentai to Power Rangers, Power Rangers tries to do the whole, like, reluctant hero’s journey thing, where Super Sentai is like, actually, it is their destiny.

Ethan: Yeah, it is their destiny and their duty. And they are enthusiastic about it.

Andrew: And good at it.

Nelson: It is crazy how, like, very much American teenager vibes there are from Power Rangers. Because, yeah, even in the first episode, when it’s like, all right, you guys were picked specifically because you are going to save the world. And they’re like, mm, I don’t really know about that, bud.

Ethan: Not into it.

Andrew: Kimberly specifically.

Nelson: Oh, yeah. She’s like, what even is this?

Andrew: They were trying so hard not to give her a “whatever.” You know?

Nelson: Did they not?

Andrew: I don’t remember her explicitly whatevering Zordon.

Ethan: We do get a, uh, we do get a not. Yeah, we do get a “not!”

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Ethan: I can’t remember if it’s in one or two, but-

Andrew: I think it’s in two.

Ethan: Cringe. Yeah. This is why I haven’t gone all the way back through Power Rangers until we started making this show.

Nelson: Well, that, and I don’t think when they made it, they expected people to do that.

Andrew: No, no!

Nelson: They just thought, we’re doing a thing.

Andrew: This was a cheap cash-in program. It was not designed to live more than a year. The fact that there was another season is astounding.

Ethan: I mean, they, the studio asked Saban to extend season one by 10 whole episodes, which is a whole fascinating process we’ll get to.

Andrew: And how’s he going to do it? Because he doesn’t have 10 more episodes of footage to use.

Ethan: Exactly. And then, yeah, the franchise is still going today.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nelson: Good for them. But not, not Saban specifically. Talking about everybody that’s ever benefited from being a Power Ranger. Also except for that one Red Ranger that murdered a guy.

Ethan: Oh, wait, what?? Which?

Nelson: I don’t remember what season, but there is-

Ethan: Hold on, I do remember a vague headline about this. I mean, it wouldn’t have been one of these Rangers.

Nelson: No, it wasn’t one of these Rangers.

Ethan: It would have been a much later show.

Andrew: It wasn’t that much later.

Nelson: It was an early Red Ranger.

Andrew: We’ll get there.

Ethan: Okay, damn.

Nelson: Also, like, I completely forgot how aimless everything was before Tommy shows up.

Ethan: Oh yes. There is zero plot.

Nelson: We’re just doing stuff.

Ethan: We’re just doing stuff.

Andrew: Monster of the week!

Ethan: I mean, it doesn’t even really feel like Monster of the Week. It feels like Monster of the Minute in a lot of ways. It just shows up and it’s gone.

Andrew: And it’s gone.

Nelson: You know, comes in, gets big. Boom. Gone. Episode over.

Andrew: That’s Power Rangers.

Ethan: Hey, who among us, you know?

Nelson: Yeah! Hey, if everything could go that fast, you know, hey, I would probably get a whole lot more done.

Andrew: I won’t argue with that.

Nelson: Like, yeah, if you just wake up today and it’s like, hey, today we’re climbing a rope. Cool. That’s it.

Andrew: That’s it.

Nelson: Climb a rope.

Andrew: You got to conquer your fear of heights and kill a skeleton monster.

Nelson: Hey, but I mean, if you climb the rope, all the rest of that, walk in the park.

Andrew: It just happens!

Ethan: Going back to the skeleton monster for just a second before we get into the research segment. It is completely brutal the way that the Blue Ranger disposes of that monster’s head.

Nelson: Oh, yeah, just right-

Andrew: “Go to hell!”

Ethan: The skeleton like sort of smashes the ground with his sword and a big sort of chasm opens with lava. Who knows what the geology of this pocket dimension is? But the Blue Ranger just like volleyball spikes his head straight down.

Nelson: It’s my favorite part of that episode.

Ethan: It’s outrageous.

Nelson: They’re like, you’re not doing this again, dude! Get out of here!

Ethan: I can’t remember if it’s Boi or Dan in Zyuranger… sort of makes sense for him. He’s like athletic. He’s like active. When you watch Billy do it, it’s like, “Jesus Christ, dude, are you okay?”

Nelson: He’s getting that aggression out.

Ethan: He’s like, I mean, there’s something, I don’t know-

Andrew: Ranger power.

Ethan: But anyway, Andrew has our research segment for today.

Nelson, losing it a little: He’s got Ranger rage…

Andrew: So today I want to talk about David J. Fielding.

Ethan: Okay.

Andrew: Do you know David J. Fielding?

Ethan: I mean, I’m looking at your phone screen, so I do know who he played.

Andrew: David J. Fielding was Zordon, and I pointed out in our first episode that they don’t show Zordon’s mouth moving.

Nelson: I never noticed that.

Ethan: It’s sort of like liquid. His face sort of bobs around the tube, but there’s very little definition there.

Andrew: Right, and it’s almost like they’ve smeared Vaseline over the part of the lens that is specifically in front of his face. And you’re seeing him from a distance. So it’s not something that you notice unless you’re looking for it. But the next time you watch an episode, pay attention to it. You do not see Zordon’s mouth move. And I was wondering why. It made sense for Rita. It made sense for the Japanese footage. Makes no sense for Zordon, who they had to have shot in the US because he’s interacting directly with all of the US characters. So-

Ethan: And that character does not exist-

Nelson: He’s an original character.

Ethan: He takes the mentor role from Barza, and I think there may be footage later in Mighty Morphin’ Season 1 of pre-Time Warp Zordon, which is just Barza footage, I think. I can’t remember. But crucially, the character entirely is a completely new creation of Saban’s.

Nelson: Yeah, because in the movie, I think it’s in the movie, when they break his thing. It’s just him in a little blanket.

Ethan: He’s just a guy in a robe.

Andrew: Yeah. So in the movie, he is not played by Fielding.

Nelson: He’s not?

Andrew: He’s played by Nicholas Bell, I believe.

Nelson: What!?

Andrew: Anyway, so Fielding, the original Zordon, why doesn’t his mouth move, right? Well, the answer is that he only appeared as Zordon for one shoot on one day.

Ethan: This makes perfect sense to me.

Nelson: What?

Andrew: Because Haim Saban is a cheap ass. And he was making this show as cheaply as he could. That was the whole reason that all of these things happen. Every decision that they make on the show, every decision that they make on Power Rangers is made from the perspective of “how can we make as much money on the show as possible?”

Nelson: So they’re just reusing the same footage?

Andrew: They’re reusing the same footage over and over again.

Ethan: It’s like a DVD screensaver in a man’s head.

Nelson: That’s crazy.

Andrew: They had him record all of his dialogue, but then they had to bring him back, and they had to make him do more dialogue because the show was a hit. They got an order for additional episodes. So for his one day of footage, which they reused in 150 episodes, and now that I’m saying that, it might even be more than that.

Ethan: It wouldn’t be suprising.

Andrew: But for years, they’re using this footage of Fielding. For that, he was paid $150.

Ethan: Good lord.

Nelson: This is why they went on strike. I’m going to tell you that right now. Wow.

Andrew: They had him come back, and they had him do overdubs for the rest of season one, and they had him do additional footage for future seasons. And with all of that, at most, the man made about $1,000.

Nelson: Wait. So was it the same guy that did the voice?

Andrew: Yes.

Nelson: Okay. So that’s why they had to have him re-record.

Andrew: They had him come back. Over the entire run of them using Zordon in Power Rangers, all the way up through Power Rangers In Space, the man made a cumulative total of $1,000.

Ethan: That is outrageous.

Nelson: That’s insane.

Andrew: He does a bunch of other stuff now. He does a bunch of stuff that is entirely unrelated to Power Rangers. He started in 2018 or so appearing at cons.

Ethan: That’s cool. I don’t like cons, but it’s cool that he goes to them. If I was a con-goer, I would be thrilled to meet Zordon.

Andrew: Nobody recognizes him.

Ethan: That doesn’t surprise me.

Andrew: Nobody recognizes him at all.

Nelson: He’s not standing in a tube.

Ethan: One shot from 30 years ago, so I imagine he looks quite different now.

Andrew: He does indeed look quite different now. And he has hair.

Ethan: That’s not allowed.

Andrew: And facial hair.

Ethan: He should fix that.

Nelson: And if he wants to be recognized, he should fix that.

Ethan: Or he could just put a big tube over his head, even with the hair and beard, if he just walked around with a big thing full of…

Andrew: So he at cons frequently appears next to the actress who played Bandora.

Ethan: Oh, okay. I don’t know her name off the top of my head. [Transcriber’s note: She’s Soga Machiko. See my research segment in KSPR 03 for more!]

Andrew: I don’t either.

Ethan: But that’s delightful.

Andrew: But the two of them will frequently end up sitting together. And if you go and you read interviews with him, a lot of these interviews, because he doesn’t really do public appearances, a lot of these interviews are done at cons. And there was one in particular that I was reading that the interview was interrupted midway through for Bandora to start shouting at a person who has asked her, “hey, film a video with me!” And so she shouts one of Rita Repulsa’s classic lines at this girl. And they interrupt the interview. And he says afterwards, “I really hope you leave that bit in. Make sure to include that in the write up.” And, you know, I just love that. He just seems like such a…

Ethan: Good sport.

Andrew: Exactly. He is incredibly at peace with the fact that he was this iconic figure in this huge franchise and that he’ll never be recognized for it and that he’ll never make any money off of it.

Ethan: Yeah, just outrageous exploitation.

Nelson: First part I’d be okay with. First part, if I did something like so sick, you know, like if I was, you know, say like there was like a live action Spawn movie. That was good. And I was the guy who was like just in the Spawn suit and, you know, imagine if Michael Jai White just never had a speaking role. Great life. You know, but then he goes and opens his mouth and he’s got this iconic voice. Boom. Now you got to go do a whole other stuff.

Andrew: I mean, you get that with Star Wars with David Proust, who played Darth Vader.

Nelson: Darth Maul. No, wait, I’m thinking of David Park.

Andrew: Yeah, Proust plays Vader. And when he opened his mouth, it was ridiculous, so they had James Earl Jones open up all of those lines.

Nelson: So funny.

Andrew: It’s absurd, but it’s a very similar situation to what happened to Fielding, where you’ve got this like iconic character that he’s never going to get recognition for.

Ethan: Who is like the impetus for, I mean, he drives the story forward.

Nelson: Yeah, he really does.

Andrew: Entirely.

Ethan: He recruits the Rangers. He gives them the tools.

Andrew: And the only day he was actually on set was when they were shooting “Day of the Dumpster.”

Ethan: That makes perfect sense to me.

Andrew: As of the interview that I was reading with him in 2018, he had not met many of the actors. He’s never met the Red Ranger.

Ethan: Doesn’t surprise me. Well, Austin St. John, I think, is his own special story. We’ll have to get to him. He kind of drops off the face of the earth. Like it’s a whole thing. Sure.

Andrew: [Fielding] was there on set the day that they shot Day of the Dumpster, and he met some of the Rangers and that was it. Everything else they did with him, they did in a studio. And I thought that was fascinating.

Ethan: That is really fascinating.

Andrew: And I think that it’s a great example of the kind of cost cutting that the show was doing. You know, Saban Entertainment is, not was, is still out there and it’s a financial juggernaut. A big part of what made Power Rangers work was the toys. And a big part of why they made Power Rangers at all was that Saban was looking for a way to get those toys into the U.S. Looking for an excuse to get those toys into the U.S. Needed a franchise to hang them off of. But I don’t know if you’ve looked at Power Rangers toys recently…

Ethan: They’re not good. I do actually look at them.

Andrew (to Nelson): Have you looked at Power Rangers toys recently?

Nelson: Like recently? Like they’re still making them? No.

Ethan: Like what’s on the shelf at Walmart right now.

Nelson: No, because the only action figures I pay attention to are like stupidly expensive ones because the, like, because, you know, like to get all of that detail, you gotta, you gotta spend some money.

Andrew: I sympathize. So the Power Rangers action figures that are on the shelves right now are Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

Nelson: Still?

Andrew: They do action figures for the original series.

Ethan: They’ve been doing like fresh molds, like fresh-

Andrew: Because it’s a new company that’s doing them. It’s Hasbro that’s doing it now.

Ethan: That makes perfect sense to me.

Andrew: The original Power Rangers toys were just straight reissues of the Zyuranger toys. They were just straight reissues of the Japanese toys. They were made in American factories, or were made in factories with the intention of shipping them to America. They weren’t actually in America. But they were made at a different standard of quality than the Japanese releases. They had plastic-

Ethan: Vastly different.

Andrew: They had plastic cast parts instead of die cast parts. And they were worse, you know. But they were at least made from those original molds, and they were made in these original designs. And the toys were what made the show.

Nelson: Yeah, I remember my old Power Rangers toys being like so dope, dude.

Andrew: And circa 2017 or so, Hasbro approached Saban and was like, hey, let us make Power Rangers toys. And they don’t have the rights to any of the original toys. They don’t have the rights to any of the original material.

Ethan: Oh no, dude.

Andrew: So I went and bought a couple of the more recent Power Rangers toys because they’ve been doing reissues of some of the side characters like Ninjor from Power Rangers Ninja. Well, I had the original Ninjor toy as a kid. It’s at the coffee shop now, and we’ve got a big toy box at the coffee shop my wife and I run that kids can just come and play with toys. And my original Ninjor’s in there. He’s, you know, yea tall. And I’m gesturing to the cameras, but this is a podcast, so you might not see that. But, you know, he’s about 18 inches tall and has some basic transformation. And they did a reissue that’s like seven, seven and a half inches tall. And it’s just like Ninjor. And it’s great. It’s small, but it’s great.

Ethan: Does it transform?

Andrew: He does all of the movement, yeah. The shoulder pads pop up, the shorts drop, the head flips.

Ethan: Sometimes my shorts drop and my head flips also.

Andrew: Yeah. But, you know, it’s a good toy. Yeah. And it is significantly better than most of the new Power Rangers toys. They’re all just hot garbage. That’s the kind of cost cutting that Saban is about. If he has an opportunity to make more money on a worse product, that is what he will do.

Ethan: And it’s worth noting that tokusatsu, like the original tokusatsu shows, are not expensive to produce, compared to, you know, like your average TV drama. All of those effects are done with trampolines. And you’re talking about 30 second cuts. Yeah. Like, I’m sure that just like setting up shots takes the most time. But Saban is like an expert cost cutter, which is like, it fits because sort of, if you read into the sort of the Power Rangers mythos, Shuki Levy does all of the music for the show and is credited as a co-executive producer. Saban met Levy on a business trip in France, because he is a businessman who goes to France for business. What does that mean for Power Rangers? I don’t have a clue. But like, he is a staunch capitalist, I would say, in addition to the Zionist mess that we mentioned briefly in episode one and will cover in due time.

Andrew: And that kind of cost cutting produces some really interesting results.

Ethan: Yes, 100%.

Andrew: Because working inside constraints forces you to get creative. Mm-hmm.

Nelson: Yeah. Don’t I know it.

Andrew: But it also occasionally just backfires horribly. Like we discussed with the Power Rangers motion picture, with the CGI at the end of the movie.

Nelson: Yeah. Shouldn’t have done it.

Andrew: And sometimes there is a human cost to it. And Fielding, I think, is a great example of that human cost.

Ethan: Yeah, we will eventually also talk in depth about Jason David Frank, who plays Tommy, who tragically took his own life not that long ago. And we’ll have to do our research before we can talk about it in any level of depth. But like, there is a human cost to these things. David Yost, Billy’s actor. Very, very tragic, which we will discuss in time, for sure. Do we have anything else to talk about?

Andrew: No, I think that’s it.

Nelson: Yeah. I mean, yeah, we got all the plugs out of the way early. You know, make sure to do that. Gotta, you know, gotta get my stuff in. You know, screw capitalism.

Ethan and Andrew: We’ll get to that.

Ethan: We’ll be back next time to discuss episode three of Zyuranger, which is “Ikusa e Zetsubou no Daichi,” “Fight in the Land of Despair,” and Power Rangers, “Teamwork.”

Andrew: “Fight in the Land of Despair” is a good one.

Ethan: It’s a good one. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please feel free to send me five dollars. And if you want to find me online, don’t. Nelson, if people want to find you online, what should they do? And what projects, as you’ve mentioned, have you got going that you want to shout out?

Nelson: They should not do that. That’s, man, it’s funny because I did go like private online like a year or two ago.

Ethan: That’s how I have all of my things.

Nelson: Yeah. And then everything I was working on started doing well and people were like, who made this? And I was like, ah, ****. So you can find me everywhere at NelsonForYou. You know, and if you can’t add me, then that’s too bad.

Ethan: Yeah, don’t worry about it.

Nelson: Yeah, it’s like, yeah, you can find my stuff on New Ellijay TV, IndiConRecs on YouTube, Working Class Music, the PlayJason YouTube channel. I don’t know. I make music videos. I do a lot of stuff. I’m very tired, so leave me alone.

Ethan: Perfect. Andrew, how can people find and get in touch with you? And what should they look out for?

Andrew: I’m at AJRoach42 in most places. The Fediverse is where I spend most of my time. I’m AJRoach42@Retro.Social. I make all kinds of stuff, including this podcast and many other programs for NewEllijay Television. And that’s probably the best place to find me. But I’m also at AndrewRoach.net or AJRoach42.com.

Ethan: There you go. Look him up. That’s all the show we have for you today. Thank you so much for listening. Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers is licensed CC-BY-SA and produced in collaboration with New Ellijay Television at the EllaJay Makerspace, which stands on the ancestral, unceded, stolen, and occupied lands of the Cherokee people. You can learn more about the Makerspace by visiting EllijayMakerspace.org, and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting Cherokee.org. Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people, and in the words of a wise man, f*** capitalism; go home. We’d like to thank Hurley Burley and the Volcanic Fallout for the use of their track, Colossal Might, extremely radical instrumental version for our intro and outro music. You can find that and more on Bandcamp.

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TRANSCRIPT – Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers – 研究 戦隊 ポッドキャスト レンジャー – Episode One Was there like, other trash in that space dumpster? Alien trash?

[“IT’S MORPHIN TIME!” + intro music]

Ethan: Okay. Minna-san, yokoso. Welcome to the very first episode of our new show, Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers, or Research Squadron Podcast Rangers. Hopefully the name gives you a good idea of what we’re about, but before we get into that, we’d like to introduce ourselves. My name is Ethan, I use he/him pronouns, and I am pretty much a lifelong Power Rangers fan. I’ve got the Insert-Your-Child’s-Name-Here books to prove it. Obviously, I came to Sentai much later, but it has become an enduring special interest for me. With me is my regular co-host, Andrew.

Andrew: Hi, Ethan!

Ethan: You want to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Andrew: I guess I can.

Ethan: I would like it if you did.

Andrew: Okay. I’m Andrew. I use he/him pronouns. I watched Power Rangers when I was seven. Haven’t thought about it much since then until about two weeks ago.

Ethan: This is a strong difference between us.

Andrew: This is a strong difference between us, yeah. I was not a huge fan. I had some Power Rangers toys. I watched it when I could, but like X-Men was my thing when I was a kid. So like, I remember Power Rangers, you know? It’s in my head, but like, it’s not… It was not like a formative thing for me.

Ethan: Okay. Andrew and I will be the regular hosts for the show, although we hope to have a diverse rotating guest seat. Nelson, our recording engineer, is actually already here in the studio and will be joining us immediately after this recording for episode two. Andrew and I have also been friends since we were 11 years old, so please don’t ask us to explain any of our 20-year-old in-jokes. We no longer recall where they came from.

Andrew: Speak for yourself.

Ethan: So what is this? What are we doing here? What does Kenkyuu Sentai mean? I’ll answer those in reverse order. Kenkyuu is the Japanese word for research or analysis in a scientific, literary, or academic sense. Sentai is a really important word for this project: it means squadron or fighting force. The purpose of this project is a deep-dive analysis of the Super Sentai franchise, the Power Rangers franchise, and the cross-cultural interplay between the two, from Japan to the U.S. and back again. One of my big inspirations here is Mobile Suit Breakdown, a Gundam podcast devoted to watching and analyzing every single episode of the Gundam franchise. Shout out to Thom and Nina. So those are the broad strokes. We’re going to move into the recap portions now, beginning with episode one of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. If you have no idea what that is, don’t worry. We’ll get to that. One quick programming note is that in this show, we will be saying Japanese names with the family names first as they’d be spoken in Japan. We’re also going to be shouting out as many of the cast and crew of both shows as we can because we respect workers in this house.

Andrew: Hell yeah.

Ethan: We also have to do a quick disclaimer. Haim Saban is a hardcore Zionist and we are staunch anti-colonialists. To the best of our knowledge, Saban’s political leanings don’t really filter into Power Rangers, but if we notice it, rest assured we will call it out in no uncertain terms. And when Saban eventually makes his way into the research segment, we will be discussing it in depth. This show, as with all media we produce, stands in opposition to all forms of oppression. Free Palestine. Moving into the recap segment.

Andrew: Before we do the full recap.

Ethan: Okay.

Andrew: This was my first time watching.

Ethan: Oh yeah. No, it’s your first ever episode of Sentai.

Andrew: This was my first time watching Super Sentai.

Ethan: Okay.

Andrew: What was your first episode of Super Sentai?

Ethan: Probably this same one, but it would have been five or six years ago at this point.

Andrew: Okay.

Ethan: I think I was just browsing the Power Rangers Wiki because that’s a normal thing that normal people do,and just started filtering over into the Super Sentai sections of it and reading up a little bit on the sort of fascinating process of creating Power Rangers. And I said– well, I think actually what I did was started rewatching Power Rangers, found it extremely cringe, which it is.

Andrew: Can’t argue with that.

Ethan: And I said, let me see if the original show that it’s based on is any less cringe. And then from there, I’ve watched through– I actually just finished Carranger. So I’m, I don’t know, six or seven or eight Sentai shows deep at this point.

Andrew: But you started with Zyuranger.

Ethan: Yeah.

Andrew: And have you watched anything that came before that?

Ethan: No.

Andrew: Okay. So this is something that I didn’t know, but Zyuranger is not the first Sentai show.

Ethan: That’s correct. It’s the 16th.

Andrew: It’s the 16th. It’s where Power Rangers starts, you know, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Zyuranger use the same footage, but there is a lot that comes before this. And so I know that’s not what we’re doing on this show, but at some point I would really love to dig into the history of the tokusatsu format.

Ethan: Absolutely.

Andrew: Anyway, let’s recap Super Sentai Zyuranger episode one.

Ethan: Special episodes and all sorts of stuff going backwards in time.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: Okay. So Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger translates to something like Dinosaur Squadron Beast Rangers. And it’s the show that provided the mask footage for the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Super Sentai as a franchise got its start in 1975 with Himitsu Sentai GoRenger or Secret Squadron GoRenger, which we hope to cover on this show at some point, as we mentioned. Zyuranger started airing in 1992, a year before Power Rangers would make its debut in the U.S. and it is the 16th installment in the Super Sentai franchise. It’s notable for a number of firsts in the franchise, which we will cover as we get to them.

[“KYORYU SENTAI… ZYURANGER!”]

Ethan: For now, let’s recap episode one of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, titled TANJOU, which means “The Birth,” which was written by Sugimura Noboru and directed by Tojo Shohei. It is a peaceful day in Tokyo. Children are going to school; workers are at their labor. At the Sakura Condominium’s apartment building, a custodian with a great secret is sweeping the front walk. This is the mysterious sage Barza, who notes with distress that a space program has sent a crewed mission, including requisite schoolchildren, to the mysterious dwarf planet Nemesis, which has a highly eccentric orbit and only approaches Earth every 170 million years. On their spacewalk, the astronauts notice a strange object and when they touch it, it opens, releasing several monsters and their mistress, the witch Bandora.

Andrew: All right, let’s pause here for just a second.

Ethan: Yeah.

Andrew: Um, the old man with the broom?

Ethan: Uh-huh.

Andrew: With his… ear?

Ethan: Yeah!

Andrew: Stopped me in my tracks.

Ethan: Uh-huh!

Andrew: He’s sweeping and then all of a sudden he’s just got one weird giant ear.

Ethan: Huge, sort of grotesque-

Andrew: Disgusting, yeah.

Ethan: -Elf ear. It’s important to note also that when he changes into his sage clothes, his ears are not weird and pointed. He has regular human style ears, but it’s such a wild practical effect because it, it’s a… it’s a wide shot of him on a rooftop and then it sort of cuts into his face and this ear sort of passing from behind his head and stretching out. So it’s like a pretty good practical gag, but it’s like a- it is a pretty grotesque.

Andrew: And it’s huge and it makes absolutely no sense.

Ethan: It’s as big as his face.

Andrew: Contextually, there’s no reason for it. He doesn’t come back at any point in the rest of the episode.

Ethan: He has normal style ears for the rest of the show.

Andrew: Just, just all of a sudden Barza’s got a giant ear. Um, I just needed, I needed to discuss that.

Ethan: Yes.

Andrew: All right.

Ethan: It’s a very important thing to call out.

Andrew: So they freed Bandora. Then what?

Ethan: Yeah. Uh, Bandora wastes no time in causing a ruckus, flinging the astronauts into deep space with a breath attack and kidnapping the two children. Back on earth, Bandora engages in some urban rearranging and generally makes a nuisance of herself before Barza reveals himself, again, with extremely normal ears. They have a brief magic duel and then both retreat. Bandora has to gloat about the two children she’s going to smash like bugs, but Barza has a plan. Below the basement of the Sakura condos is a mystical realm, which Barza has maintained for 170 million years in preparation for Bandora’s return. With his ring of keys, he is able to revive Goushi of the Sharma tribe, Dan of the Etofu tribe, Mei of the Litha tribe, and Boi of the Dime tribe from their magical slumber, although he cannot open the last door. The four revived heroes battle Bandora’s forces, but are captured until the fifth hero, Geki of the Yamato tribe appears, having been awoken from his magical sleep. He frees his comrades, who rescued the children in the shrunken-down spaceship. However, Bandora has already summoned one of her fearsome monsters, Dora Titan, a giant who steals the space shuttle back again and vanishes along with Bandora’s castle.

Andrew: Okay, so this, this brings us to the first point of Zyuranger that has confused the hell out of me. So these episodes, at least so far, have been two-part stories, where there’s a big cliffhanger at the end of the first one, and then they resolve it in the second one. I read ahead, I’ve watched the next episodes that we’re going to be talking about already, and they do it again there. But the cliffhanger is resolved with absolutely no stakes. Do they do that every time?

Ethan: It changes depending on… I mean, Zyuanger has much more of an overarching plot than Power Rangers does, at least until Tommy shows up.

Andrew: Sure.

Ethan: But I mean, it’s still a kid’s show, so they have to make it so that six-year-olds who watched it while doing other stuff on Sunday morning will come back to it the next week.

Andrew: So Dora Titan shows up. Dora Titan wrecks everything. And then at the beginning of the next episode, and, spoilers, but we’ll get there, Dora Titan is just gone. With absolutely no context, just gone. And we don’t see Dora Titan in the next episode at all, do we? Towards the very end?

Ethan: I think, yeah, that’s the fight at the end of this episode.

Andrew: Okay. Well, we’ll get there. But it was just so different from what I was expecting. I expected we would build to the big climactic battle. There would be a climactic battle. There would be some Megazords. No. No Megazords. No regular Zords.

Ethan: Crucially, no…

Andrew: No Zords whatsoever.

Ethan: No mechs of any flavor in this first episode. And only one shows up in episode two, as opposed to Power Rangers, which we’ll get to, which has a full Megazord transformation in the first episode.

Andrew: Blew my mind. Anyway, I wanted to address that. So, I’m going to do a quick recap of the first episode of Power Rangers.

Ethan: Let’s hear it.

Andrew: And unlike Ethan’s recap of Zyuranger, I’m doing this from the memory of having watched the thing two days ago.

Ethan: Doming it. He’s doming it, folks.

Andrew: Yeah. But unlike future episodes, where there’s at least going to be a little bit of overlap, um, this one is just entirely unrelated to Zyuranger. So, I’ll hop in.

[“IT’S MORPHIN TIME!” + Power Rangers theme music]

Andrew: Episode one of Power Rangers sets the basic scene for what Power Rangers is going to be. You’ve got kids. They are doing karate. You introduce Bulk and Skull relatively early on, and they’re picking on Billy. This becomes a theme. Everybody’s real mean to Billy.

Ethan: I have so much to say about Bulk and Skull and about Billy and David Yost, the actor specifically–we’ll get to that. But Bulk and Skull, I just want to put out like a broad-spectrum content warning for secondhand embarrassment. If you are neurodivergent and you have the unfortunate predilection towards secondhand embarrassment, take care of yourself while watching the show, because it is not kind to Bulk and Skull, who are not good people anyway, but are supposedly also, I guess high school seniors, just like the Rangers are. And it’s deeply insulting to them in many ways.

Andrew: Yeah. Real rough on them. They show up, they try to learn karate. They get made fun of very, very quickly and very hard. Meanwhile, Bandora, who in this case is Rita Repulsa, has escaped.

Ethan: Yes, Rita Repulsa.

Andrew: She has been freed by some astronauts. We get no context on this astronaut mission. There’s just, they just let her out and she’s free.

Ethan: “I think it’s a space dumpster!” The episode is called Day of the Dumpster. And I think that’s a pretty hilarious change to make it from, to change the sort of prison bucket– It’s like a big, weird space bucket.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: To change it from this like magic item that Barza created, to just like, oh no, it’s just a space–

Andrew: It’s just a dumpster.

Ethan: She’s just been living in a dumpster for, I think she says 10,000 years, which is significantly less time than 170 million since the dinosaur times.

Andrew: And then we get to the kind of biggest change that Power Rangers makes and that instead of Barza, we get Zordon and Alpha. And we’ll talk a little more about Zordon later, because there’s a lot to say about Zordon, but we’re taken to what will become the Power Rangers’ headquarters, Zordon’s lair.

Ethan: The command center.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ethan: Which is interestingly– it’s a Jewish Torah study building on a college campus in California, which I think we will have to do a research segment about some point in the future, because it’s fascinating.

Andrew: So we get the robot, Alpha, who immediately like struck such a huge chord with me. I loved this robot as a child.

Ethan: Alpha’s great.

Andrew: More than anything else about Power Rangers, I loved Alpha.

Ethan: And I think he must have focus tested extremely well because he’s still there in like 15 years.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Alpha entered my vocabulary. As a child, when I was upset about something, I would definitely say, “Ai yai yai!”.

Ethan: This makes perfect sense to me.

Andrew: Yeah. And my parents hated it. This was part of the reason that they did not like Power Rangers. It was a whole thing. Regardless, Zordon at this point says one of the most just buck wild things that I can imagine. He requests surly individuals.

Ethan, laughing: Yes, he does.

Andrew: And Alpha goes, oh no, teenagers. And then they just teleport the teenagers.

Ethan: Yep, they kidnap five children to a remote undisclosed location via magitechnological means.

Andrew: And Zordon explains to the Rangers, hey, you’re going to be heroes and you’re going to save the day and this witch is evil and yada, yada, yada. And he gives them all their morphers. And the Rangers are like, yeah, no thanks.

Ethan: Yeah, they kind of dip out.

Andrew: And they leave. And rather than sending them home, which would be the good and ethical thing to do, Zordon’s like, good luck in the desert.

Ethan: Zordon’s motives are highly, highly questionable.

Andrew: And so the Rangers walk out into the desert where they are immediately attacked by putty men. The putty men are great. I really, really loved, in both shows, seeing the effect of them sculpting the putty men and putting them into the oven. And like, I had forgotten entirely about that aspect of these monsters. But it was wonderful. And they fight the putty men. And I’m sure that footage comes– Well, no, they weren’t in costume. They hadn’t morphed yet. So that was–

Ethan: Correct. This is US side footage.

Andrew: That was US footage.

Ethan: I want to go back in time and look in the shipping container that went from the Tokyo studio out to the California studio. I’ve seen there’s all sorts of behind the scenes videos out there on the internet. And sometimes you’ll just like get a peek into a warehouse and instantly recognize, you know, five different things or like a car that’s been modified. And it’s just sitting in a warehouse. It’s never been used. No one’s like auctioned it for charity. And I would be fascinated to see what the like shipping manifest would look like.

Andrew: So the rangers fight the putty men. Is that what they’re called?

Ethan: Yes. They are putties in Power Rangers. And it’s not, I don’t think it’s ever actually mentioned in Zyuranger, but they’re called Golems. I made sure to look that up because I didn’t know.

Andrew: Cool. So the Power Rangers fight the putties. They win. At that point, they do eventually have to engage their ranger powers and they do their transformation sequence and suddenly are transported to an entirely different location for the rest of the fight.

[Power Rangers audio]

Andrew: This will become a theme.

Ethan: This is a theme. And if you pay attention to signs, writing…

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Ethan: Sometimes the quality of the footage isn’t necessarily worse, but noticeably different because it’s being filmed on completely different equipment. And then just like the general makeup of crowds, if there are any crowds, they do an excellent job of masking the fact that all of the crowds in the Japan footage is- it’s all Japanese people.

Andrew: They also did a really interesting thing that I didn’t notice as a kid with the mouths of these various characters. I think it’s worth pointing out if you’re watching the first episode of Power Rangers and you’re looking at Zordon’s mouth specifically, you can’t see it.

Ethan: Super blurry.

Andrew: It is blurred beyond any visibility. And we’ll talk about that in an upcoming research segment because I think that the reasons why are worth discussing.

Ethan: I’m really curious about what video techniques were used to put him in that tube. For 1993, that’s…

Andrew: Yeah, it was a fairly advanced effect. And even with Rita and the various other critters that are running around with Rita Repulsa, there are no close-ups of her face. They’re using wide shots and they reuse wide shots and they double up on the wide shots so that they don’t have to do anything fancy to dub her dialogue. It’s very rare that you actually see her mouth move and when you do, it’s normally just “a ha ha ha.””

Ethan: Yeah, laughing or like bearing her teeth and sort of growling, all those kinds of shots. Pretty interesting.

Andrew: It was very creative.

Ethan: A very similar problem I would imagine to, you know, dubbing animes like Dragon Ball Z or Pokemon, which would be coming up very shortly in the US, sort of, slate. And I’ve seen videos from Team 4 Star talking about how they managed what they call lip flaps, which is a really gross phrase that I don’t like. That’s like its own whole entire discipline with animation dubbing and other things like that, is getting those to be just right. Because when it’s right, your brain doesn’t even notice, but when it’s wrong, it stands out very much.

Andrew: And I think one thing that was really interesting here is that I watch a lot of foreign films, and Japanese films specifically, and especially recently I’ve been watching a lot of Turkish films, which again, we’ll talk about at some point. And when you see those things dubbed, they can’t make an effort to hide the actor’s face. Italian films will occasionally, because they were filmed in multiple languages at one time and just dubbed for every release. So every version of an Italian film is almost always going to be dubbed. It was just such an interesting technique that they had the freedom to take this thing that they are dubbing and go, well, we’re just going to use a different shot so the dub is less obvious.

Ethan: The camera work, really on both sides is incredibly clever and if you sort of know what to look for, you can see all the little tiny ways that they manipulate camera angles and other things and it makes a cohesive whole in a way that I think is really interesting.

Andrew: So anyway, to finish up this recap, Goldar, is that his name?

Ethan: Grifforzer in Zyuanger and Goldar in Power Rangers.

Andrew: Goldar shows up. I’m not great with names. Y’all are going to have to forgive me. Ethan has got my back here.

Ethan, laughing: We’re very different flavors of brainweird, but trust- rest assured, we are both very weird-brained.

Andrew: Yeah, I won’t argue with that. So Goldar shows up. Rita makes Goldar real big. Megazord shows up. Megazord fights Rita. Episode over. The Megazord has given very little context.

Ethan: None, I would say, absolutely. It’s mentioned by Zordon. He kind of spoils the whole game with the viewing orb in the Command Center and… compared to the pace of Zyuanger Episode 1, it’s wildly different.

Andrew: So when talking about this episode, the thing that stood out to me about the Power Ranger side of this is that I had never seen this before.

Ethan: That doesn’t surprise me.

Andrew: No. But as someone who watched Power Rangers contemporary with when it was airing, I would have had no way to go and see this.

Ethan: Correct. Video on demand did not exist. That may be shocking to some listeners, but you could not always just get on YouTube and find anything. There was a point in time that YouTube hadn’t been invented yet.

Andrew: And I spent a lot of time at the local video store as a kid. Our home had a VCR. I watched a lot of tapes. And eventually Power Rangers The Movie made it out on VHS, but I don’t remember ever seeing an episode of Power Rangers at the local Hollywood Video or Blockbuster. So it’s possible that they existed and that I just didn’t have access to them, but for myself, I never got the recap. I never got to go back. If I missed an episode, I missed an episode.

Ethan: I was in a very similar situation. So up until 1997, my family lived in a subdivision, with cable TV, so I could catch Power Rangers at home sometimes. I might catch it at the babysitter’s house, and I might catch it after school during the ASP when all the kids whose parents worked later than 3 p.m., which is all of us, were chilling out in the lunchroom watching TV. But after 1997, I didn’t have satellite, cable, or internet at my house until 2005. So there is a huge chunk of kids programming that I flat out missed.

Andrew: And see, we were mirrored in that way because we had cable until about the time you and I met, until about 2000. So I grew up watching these things, but Power Rangers also aired at 9 a.m. on Saturdays.

Ethan: Yeah. We could actually probably look up the schedule and tell you exactly why we missed it.

Andrew: But it was early in the morning on Saturday, so it was one of those things that it was very hit or miss if I ever saw it. And as a result, I never saw this specific episode, which is a shame because this episode, while making absolutely no sense, it is nonsense, it provides a ton of context for the show. The deep lore that I was always missing and that we just kind of made up when I was a kid. You know, when we were talking about Power Rangers or playing Power Rangers or playing with our Power Rangers toys or whatever, we were missing all of the- well, who is Zordon? And this was the only explanation we ever got. This episode and the next say that he’s been trapped in some kind of time bubble.

Ethan: He’s in a time warp.

Andrew: Yeah. Okay, great. Well, I know that now; I did not know that when I was seven, you know? So that I just wanted to call that out as like the thing that stood out to me about Power Rangers, you know, this show that that ostensibly I am familiar with and that was a huge part of my childhood, in spite of the fact that it wasn’t my favorite show. I mean, I had a ton of Power Rangers toys. You know, you have seen them. I still have a handful of Power Rangers toys and it clearly went on to inform a lot of other aspects of my life. You know, I got really into BeetleBorgs when that came out and that’s another Haim Saban tokusatsu show that was reinterpreted for the U.S. It’s a different show than the GoRenger.

Ethan: So with the success of this import footage method, of this sort of hybrid footage, Saban’s company would go on to import BeetleBorgs, Kamen Rider, VR Troopers, and then Power Rangers is still going today, as is Super Sentai in Japan. So this method of hybridizing footage proved to be extremely successful and I imagine quite lucrative as well.

Andrew: And cheap. And we’ll talk a lot more about cheap, but it was cheap.

Ethan: I reckon that pretty much takes care of the talk back section so we will move on to our research segment. So I took the first research section for this first episode and my topic is a gentleman called Ishinomori Shotaro.

Andrew: Okay.

Nelson, distantly: Research!

Andrew: Ishimori Shur- how do you say that?

Ethan: Ishi no mori.

Andrew: Ishinomori.

Ethan: Shotaro.

Andrew: Shotaro.

Ethan: Yep.

Andrew: Okay.

Ethan: So before we get fully into the research segment, I want to shout out the BreezeWiki and AntiFandom websites. If you’re into stuff in any kind of deep way, you’ve probably seen or used the fandom.com website for basically any media franchise. They do video games, it’s got TV shows, movies, I mean anything you can think of. And you don’t need me to tell you that it is an ad-ridden, personal data stealing, U.S.-Armed-Forces-aiding trash heap. BreezeWiki and AntiFandom are ways to view the content on those fan wikis in a much less intrusive way and these have been invaluable resources for researching these various topics.

Andrew: I really appreciate you calling that out. And I want to just take a very small second here to say it even more fully. Fandom.com is really, really bad.

Ethan: Evil.

Andrew: They actively steal the contents of other people’s wikis–and they can, the things are licensed in a way that enables reuse. But then they use the fact that they have such strong SEO, that they rank so well in the search engines, to make sure that those other wikis never get any traffic. So you’ve got a bunch of people, you’ve got communities of fans, people like you who are listening to this podcast, who give their time and their energy and their effort to these wikis to make them good and correct and Fandom profits off of those, rather than the people who put their time and their energy and their effort into them. And this is something that will come up again as we talk about research in the future and yada, yada, yada. But I really do appreciate you calling out BreezeWiki and AntiFandom. These are great resources. And if they’re not already a part of your toolkit, make them a part of your toolkit.

Ethan: They have a browser extension, which I personally haven’t tried out yet, but probably should. I’m looking at the open tab on my laptop screen right now. But just completely invaluable tools for avoiding Fandom. And when I say Fandom is evil, I’m not exaggerating. They partner with the U.S. military for recruitment purposes and probably other more nefarious things, like… not good people. And there was a time where individual franchises would have had their own wikis, which were lovingly maintained by hand. And as Andrew mentioned, the Fandom is like a conglomerate octopus, just like slurping everything into itself and then using its budget, again, which comes from, at least in part, the U.S. military, to rank itself more highly in the search engines and steal traffic from those sort of hand-maintained craft wikis.

Andrew: It’s a real shame. So host your stuff yourself if you can.

Ethan: If you can. And if you can’t, there are people you can talk to.

Andrew, whispering: Like me.

Ethan: So my topic today is Ishinomori Shotaro, the original creator of 1975’s GoRenger, and thereby the father of the Super Sentai franchise as a whole. He was born in January of 1938, and he’s best known as a manga writer and artist and holds the Guinness World Record for most comic pages published by one author, which is just an insane record to hold. His total is over 120,000 pages. I just can’t- That doesn’t fit into my head. His mentor was Tezuka Osamu, who’s known today as the God of Manga. If you know anything about anime or manga or just Japanese media, whether it’s kids’ or not, you’ve heard Tezuka’s name. He created Astro Boy, among many other famous characters and is generally regarded as having begun the manga boom in Japan, which continues today. Interesting fact that a lot of people don’t know, is that his, like, sort of soft, big-eyes style that’s so synonymous with anime and manga these days was actually influenced by some of Glen Keane’s drawings for Disney in the 40s. So this is one of the deepest rabbit holes you can go down in just media analysis in general.

Andrew: I love that you bring that up, because I love Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. And the thing that you find with Kurosawa’s work is that some of his most famous work is his transposition and retelling of American gangster novels. And so he transposes American gangster novels into feudal Japan and retells those stories in feudal Japan. And then Sergio Leone takes those same stories and transposes them to the American West by way of Italy and retells them again. And then Roger Corman takes those same stories and transposes them again to some high fantasy land where there are dragons and tells them again. And you end up with this kind of transnational cross-cultural sharing. And to hear that, you know, the most common anime style, art style was heavily influenced by Disney. And then you’ve got, what’s the Simba?

Ethan: Kimba the White Lion?

Andrew: Kimba the White Lion, which is just the Lion King five years or ten years before Disney makes the Lion King.

Ethan: And the Lion King, which is just Hamlet.

Andrew: Which is just Hamlet. And so you’ve got these kinds of stories being told and layered on top of one another. And as a society and as a culture, we have decided that that kind of sharing and reuse, that kind of creative reinterpretation is wrong, is illegal.

Ethan: In many cases, yeah.

Andrew: In spite of the fact that it is just the way that stories are told.

Ethan: It’s the backbone of culture.

Andrew: And so, as we’re talking about Power Rangers and as we’re talking about Zyuranger and as we’re talking about all of these things, I want us to keep in mind the lens of folklore. The transnational adaptation and reuse of Zyuranger into Power Rangers is folkloric. It is taking these themes… and the folklore is all over Zyuranger. It’s very heavy in Zyuranger.

Ethan: Yes, we’ll get to that. Extremely mythological in its sort of makeup.

Andrew: But Power Rangers takes that and recontextualizes it in a way that is palatable for children in the US. And I think that that is a valuable lens through which to explore this conversation. And a good thing to keep in your head, is that this is evolving the way that folklore evolves. Okay, so you were talking about…

Ethan: Pop culture.

Andrew: …Ishinomori.

Ethan: Yeah. So in addition to creating Himitsu Sentai GoRenger, Ishinomori was also involved in the creation of the second Sentai series, which is J A K Q, which I don’t know how to pronounce, “jack-queue” Dengekitai in 1977, although he would not be involved with the franchise afterwards. Some of his other notable creations include Cyborg 009 and the original Kamen Rider series, which was partly an adaptation of his 1970s manga Skull Man. Ishinomori’s influence on Japanese media in general and the tokusatsu genre specifically is hard to overstate. He passed away in 1998 at the age of 60, with Super Sentai and Kamen Rider still both going strong. There’s also a museum dedicated to his work in his home prefecture of Miyagi. But that’s Ishinomori Shotaro, incredibly influential in Japan and by extension the U.S. and the Kamen Rider/Super Sentai Sunday Morning Kids programming block is still a thing in Japan. Every Sunday morning, those two shows air together.

Andrew: I love that.

Ethan: And have been for, I guess, like 40 years.

Andrew: Yeah. I love that.

Ethan: Do you have anything else to cover for this episode?

Andrew: No.

Ethan: Okay. So we will be back next time to discuss Episode 2 of Zyuranger, which is Fukkatsu, “The Revival” and Power Rangers, “High Five.” We’ll be joined by our good friend and recording engineer, Nelson. If you enjoyed the show, please feel free to send me $5, and if you want to find me online, don’t. Andrew, what other projects should our listeners check out and where should they go if they want to find you online? Prepare yourselves. Take notes on this.

Andrew: Yeah. So I’m going to go ahead and apologize: in the description of wherever you found this episode will be lots of links. I do a lot. We’re sitting here in the Ellijay Makerspace, which is a Makerspace in Ellijay, Georgia, that I operate. I’m wearing an Analog Revolution t-shirt, which is a record label in Ellijay that we operate and have for the last 10 years.

Ethan: Various incarnations of that one, largely speaking.

Andrew: Yes. You can find the Makerspace at EllijayMakerspace.org. You can find Analog Revolution at AnalogRevolution.com. We also run New Ellijay Television, which might be where you’re watching and/or listening to this podcast. And you can find that online at NewEllijay.TV. We run Expedition Sasquatch, which is a podcast about the world’s worst big-foot hunter, and you can find that at ExpeditionSasquatch.org. We run-

Ethan: Org. It is a non-profit enterprise. It’s crucial that the IRS understands that.

Andrew: We run a lot of other stuff, but the thing that I’ve been putting most of my time and energy into recently is Community Media. I wrote a book; it’s about 100 pages. It’s being published as a hand-bound zine. The full text is up online, communitymedia.network, and that is the summation of my philosophy on how we can reclaim our modern folklore and…

Ethan: Our media means of production.

Andrew: Our media means of production.

Ethan: Or our means of media production, whichever.

Andrew: Both.

Ethan: Both, why not?

Andrew: But yeah, that’s me. I’m at AJRoach42 at Retro.Social on the Fediverse, and if you want to find me, that’s where you should find me.

Ethan: All right. That’s all the show we have for you today. Thank you so much for listening. As Andrew mentioned, Kenkyuu Sentai Podcast Rangers is produced in collaboration with New Ellijay TV at the Ellijay Makerspace. It’s licensed CC-BY-SA, and the Ellijay Makerspace stands on the ancestral unceded, stolen, and occupied lands of the Cherokee people. You can learn more about the Makerspace by visiting our website at EllijayMakerspace.org, and you can learn more about the Cherokee people by visiting their website at Cherokee.org. Strength, love, and solidarity to all oppressed people, and in the words of a wise man: “f*** capitalism; go home.”

Nelson, distantly: All right.

Ethan, sleepily: We’d like to thank Hurley Burley and the Volcanic Fallout for the use of their track “Colossal Might (extremely radical instrumental version)” for our intro and outro music. You can find that and more on Bandcamp.