Culture · Drama · Information · Japanese Pop Culture · Living in Japan · Television

Overly Colorful Superheroes Part 2

Apparently if a post is too long or too heavy you can’t post anymore (it just doesn’t show up!). So, here is the second part to my Ranger analysis.

Engine Sentai Go-onger/Power Rangers: RPM
Engine Sentai Go-onger/Power Rangers: RPM

Engine Sentai Go-onger (炎神戦隊ゴーオンジャー) Engine Squadron Go-onger
Machine World (マシンワールド Mashin Wārudo) is one of the 11 Braneworlds (ブレーンワールド Burēnwārudo) other than our own, which is referred as the Human World (ヒューマンワールド Hyūman Wārudo), and it is home to giant vehicular beings called Engines who wage a war against the Gaiark who desire to pollute their world. Losing, Gaiark’s three Pollution Ministers’ escape leaves them on Earth, seeing the Human World as an easier location to create their ideal paradise. The six Engines manage to pursue them, selecting five humans to become their partners, the Go-ongers. The team are joined by Go-on Wings and their Wing Engines, as well as the Ancient Engines, as they all together battle the Gaiark as well as other evil villains from other Braneworlds.

Power Rangers : RPM
Three years prior to the series’ beginning, an AI computer virus called Venjix took over all of the Earth’s computers, rendering all communication useless while creating an army of robot droids to destroy everything. Humanity’s last safe haven became the domed city of Corinth. Surrounded by Venjix’s forces and a force field, it is nearly impossible to enter without luck or firepower. When the force field is lowered to allow surviving humans sanctuary, Dr. K’s RPM Power Rangers fight Venjix’s forces to protect Corinth from being destroyed. It has been rurmored that this will be the last series of the Power Rangers run. I would be sad to see the saga end though.

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger/Power Rangers ???
Samurai Sentai Shinkenger/Power Rangers ???

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (侍戦隊シンケンジャー) Samurai Squadron Shinkenger
For 18 generations, samurai of the Shiba House (志葉家 Shiba Ke?) have suppressed the evil intentions of the Gedoushu, malevolent spirits that enter the world of the living from gaps between buildings and other structures. Now, the youngest head of the Shiba Clan must gather his four vassals (家臣 kashin?) in order to battle the Gedoushu as the Shinkengers. Once becoming a Shinkenger, they must renounce their past lives in order to keep their friends and family safe in case a member of the Gedoushu targets them. This is the newest of the Super Sentai series that just started showing in February of this year. My favorite part of the program is that the characters write kanji in their attacks.

Now, it is really hard to say which version was better done because the target audience are different between the two countries (and I mean the difference in how Japanese and American children think). However, I will admit that even now I do enjoy watching these superhero shows, but I cannot stand watching the American remakes – at least not the recently done ones. This is not because I am being biased and just want to lean towards everything Japanese. I actually like what they did with the first half of the Power Rangers saga because they were trying to create a timeline and all the events were related somehow. However…poor script writing got in the way here and things have just become worse and worse.

For the most part, I can watch the Japanese Super Sentai series and find something enjoyable and something that I genuinely find interested and that draws me in. In the American remakes, I feel that the story line is really dumbed down and everything is too childish. It is almost like they want to make the parents who children force them to watch TV with them suffer through 30 minutes of bad teenager acting. Just think a really bad soap opera for kids. This is not to say that the Japanese actors are any better (really, they are just as bad), but the Super Sentai’s saving grace is the story lines. They are more complicated and tend to include much deeper themes and morals than in Power Rangers. Because of this, the shows become a little more watchable for adults.

Both shows have their pluses. For example, I like how the American version tried to make a fluid story line with all characters and stories intertwining. In that way, it makes you want to keep watching to see how the current show relates (even if it is only something small) instead of all the stories being completely different. In the Japanese versions, I like how the themes are more prominent and it is clear that each series is trying to teach children about how they view themselves, how they view others, and how they view the world. So, I guess if you made me choose between the two, I would pick the original Japanese versions over the American remakes. Despite that opinion, I will still always have a warm place in my heart for Might Morphin Power Rangers (Go! Go!).

I should probably do a post sometime about the differences in Japanese and American animations, but I think I have proven myself enough of a nerd for today.

If you are interested in looking at each series individually or seeing how the characters have changed between the American and Japanese versions, I recommend the following sites (they are worth a look): Super Sentai Time Capsule & Power Rangers Central

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