[“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.
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.
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.
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.
Andrew: And have you watched anything that came before that?
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.
Andrew: Anyway, let’s recap Super Sentai Zyuranger episode one.
Ethan: Special episodes and all sorts of stuff going backwards in time.
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.
Andrew: Um, the old man with the broom?
Andrew: With his… ear?
Andrew: Stopped me in my tracks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nelson, distantly: Research!
Andrew: Ishimori Shur- how do you say that?
Ethan: Ishi no mori.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.