Happy 30th Anniversary to Zyuranger, the Japanese Show That Turned into Power Rangers Mania

The Power Rangers have been around for 29 years now, providing generations of superhero fans with nearly three decades of giant robot battles, evil witch cackles, and the inherent joy of color-coded superhero transformation sequences. But they would be in a very different place were it not for, of course, the series that helped make them visual icons: Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger.

First broadcast in Japan on February 21, 1992, Zyuranger was, and still is in some ways influential, in the shadow of its long-term predecessor Super Sentai series, Chojin Sentai Jetman. The 16th entry in a superhero universe that’s still spinning to this day, there was a time when Zyuranger may never have happened if not for Jetmanthe radical overhaul of the Super Sentai The formula — injecting more intra-team drama, more nuanced villains, and character work beyond giant robot spectacle and super-suited martial arts action — hadn’t revitalized the series, saving it of an impending cancellation. While Zyuranger extrapolated and built on some of these elements itself, it also deviated in more fantastical directions.

Unlike many Sentai series up to this point, which has seen contemporary people empowered to become costumed superheroes, battling evil and sometimes extraterrestrial forces of evil, ZyurangerThe heroes of were ancient humans from a long-lost prehistory – five young men and women called Boi, Mei, Dan, Goushi and Geki – who were placed in suspended animation after battling the sinister witch Bandora there. millions of years. When Bandora was accidentally awakened from her asteroid prison by astronauts in the early 90s, the five young warriors rose again, using the power of their Guardian Beasts to transform into Zyurangers and protect the world from the hordes. bandora monsters.

Although still set in then-contemporary Japan, Zyuranger carved further from Super SentaiThe sci-fi roots of , incorporating fantasy elements into its backstory around ancient humans, their magical weapons and tools that allowed them to transform into heroes, and the armies of Bandora. He was the first to them his mecha and hero designs after prehistoric animals, a motif that would return many times over the years since, in part due to the massive success of Power Rangers beyond the borders of Japan. It was also the very first Sentai to introduce the usual concept of the bonus ranger, a sixth addition most often to the team added midway through a series: in ZyurangerSuch is the case with Burai, the vengeful brother of the Red TyrannoRanger, Geki. Unlike his Power Rangers Tommy Oliver counterpart, Burai perished eight episodes before Zyurangerbut was so popular that the concept of an additional ranger joining a show after the initial team’s debut has endured in Sentai until this day.

Image: You

But of course, ZyurangerThe true defining legacy of lives on beyond the borders of his home country. As shown, after several attempts beforehand (even including Jetman) which eventually brought Sentai west as the strongly adapted series Power Rangers by Mighty Morphin, Zyuranger‘s status as the source of visual iconography for the very first Power Rangers team has let it live on in popular culture far beyond its influence on Super Sentai himself. Power Rangers may have ejected a large portion of Zyurangerexcept for a few physical performances like human villains Bandora and Lamie – where the voices of Machiko Soga and Ami Kawai were dubbed by Barbara Goodson and Wendee Lee, respectively, to become villains Rita Repulsa and Scorpina – but the imagery of the series is engraved in the spirit of Power Rangers fans forever.

From his brightly colored, glittering supersuits to the designs of the massive mecha DaiZyujin and Dragon Caesar – which became the first Megazord and Dragonzord – Saban’s decision to keep ZyurangerThe action sequences as they are in Power Rangers gave the series a special place in history, not quite as revered in its homeland as its transformed self is beyond those borders. Power Rangers probably never really got away Zyurangerhis designs for Mighty Morphin’ team becoming the defining image of what the series is all about, even three decades later – the standard that every new Power Rangers team and adaptation is judged by. 30 years later, Zyuranger might not be as beloved as other classics Sentai series, but his legacy as a model for Power Rangers by Mighty Morphin secured his place in superhero history forever.

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Marie A. Evans