The Power Rangers movie has certainly revitalized the Power Rangers fandom to levels not seen since the '90s. With a mighty legacy on television celebrating its 25th season with Power Rangers Ninja Steel, news has even surfaced that many veteran Power Rangers from the franchise are set to return in Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel.
A new chapter has been set with the recent blockbuster reimagining, and #Netflix is even considering an adult-focused series on the franchise. Whether this happens or not, the franchise seems set to continue for many years.
'Super Sentai' Is Nearly Twice As Old As Power Rangers
Super Sentai arrived in April 1975 and was created by the late Shotaro Ishinomori. Himitsu Sentai Gorenger had a simple concept: The United Nations creates an international peace organization called "EAGLE" to combat the threat of the secret society of evil, known as "Black Cross Army/Black Crusaders."
It ran for a whopping 84 episodes and featured six movies during its run, which is longer than any other Super Sentai series.
While the series had a simple style, it had all the building blocks for a successful franchise: multi-colored superheroes aimed to stop evil and save the world.
However, the show nearly ended when Ishinomori's second Sentai team, J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai, failed to meet expectations. What many do not know is that #Marvel's Stan Lee is responsible for saving the franchise.
Stan Lee And The Megazords
Fan favorite comic book creator Stan Lee made a deal with the creators (Toei) and allowed them access to his iconic character (Spider-Man), helping them reinvent their concept for the third series, Battle Fever J, in the process.
The early concept art for the series was drawn by Shuuhou Itahashi, and clearly shows how closely Toei was working with Stan Lee. The designs look very similar to the style of artist John Byrne, who was one of the pencilers of Marvel's X-Men comics. The series added giant monster battles and the Rangers would have their own giant mecha to combat the threat. From there, the iconic #Megazords were now a forever running addition to every Super Sentai series.
From here, the rest is history, as Super Sentai continued to grow as a franchise.
This Created One Of The Longest Legacies In Television History
From the first episode of Gorenger in 1975, to the first episode of current series, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, the franchise has aired over 2000 episodes. This is over double the total number of episodes Power Rangers has aired, with them having just hit over 800 episodes.
Pre-Power Rangers Super Sentai Teams
- Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (1975–1977): The first series but was classed only as Sentai for many years. Also featured the death of team members
- J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai (1977) Like Gorenger, was also only classed as Sentai for many years
- Battle Fever J (1979): The beginning of Super Sentai as the shows classification
- Denshi Sentai Denziman (1980): Super Sentai Series that created the standard colour lineups of Red, Blue and Yellow Rangers
- Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan (1981): Only Super Sentai series to feature only three members and all are male
- Dai Sentai Goggle V (1982)
- Kagaku Senati Dynaman (1983): The Super Sentai series to introduce the standard spandex outfits
- Choudenshi Bioman (1984): First Super Sentai series to feature more than one female Ranger
- Dengeki Sentai Changeman (1985): First Super Sentai series not to feature a Yellow Ranger
- Choushinsei Flashman (1986)
- Hikari Sentai Maskman (1987): First Super Sentai series to feature a sixth Ranger, but only appeared for a single episode
- Choujuu Sentai Liveman (1988): First Super Sentai series to feature a female Blue Ranger and featured the first combination of two separate Mechas
- Kousoku Sentai Turboranger (1989): Was given the celebration of the tenth anniversary for Super Sentai as Gorenger and J.A.K.Q were classed only as Sentai at the time
- Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman (1990): First Super Sentai series to have a team consisting of five siblings
- Choujin Sentai Jetman (1991): First Super Sentai series to see two team members marry
With a 15-year legacy behind them, Haim Saban looked to bring the superhero show using the footage from Super Sentai to western audiences. The franchise had reached a point where it had clear marketing appeal to a western audience, especially when the sixteenth series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger was set to use dinosaurs as its theme.
International Audiences Made The Legacy Even More Impressive
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers became a household title practically overnight, which made Super Sentai see an increase in their own personal market as Saban's new show proved their was money in the franchise.
Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (1992) was the basis for what gave birth to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and was the first Super Sentai series to make it the trend to add a sixth Ranger mid-series.
Sentai Teams Used by Saban To Create Power Rangers
- Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (1992): Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1
- Gosei Sentai Dairanger (1993): Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2 (Zords and White Sentai suit were all that were used for the Rangers as they kept the Zyuranger's suits for the core team)
- Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (1994): Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3 (Zords used by the Rangers and continued using the Zyuranger's suits, Kakuranger's suits used to create the Alien Rangers)
- Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (1995): Power Rangers Zeo
- Gekisou Sentai Carranger (1996): Power Rangers Turbo
- Denji Sentai Megaranger (1997): Power Rangers In Space
- Seijuu Sentai Gingaman (1998): Power Rangers Lost Galaxy
- Kyukyu Sentai GoGo-V (1999): Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue
- Mirai Sentai Timeranger (2000): Power Rangers Time Force
- Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger (2001): Power Rangers Wild Force (last season produced by Saban for seven years)
- Ninpu Sentai Hurricaneger (2002): Power Rangers Ninja Storm (First series of Power Rangers produced by Walt Disney)
- Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger (2003): Power Rangers Dino Thunder
- Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (2004): Power Rangers SPD
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger (2005): Power Rangers Mystic Force
- GoGo Sentai Boukenger (2006): Power Rangers Operation Overdrive
- Juken Sentai Gekiranger (2007): Power Rangers Jungle Fury
- Engine Sentai Go-Onger (2008): Power Rangers RPM (last season produced by Walt Disney before returning to Saban)
- Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (2009): Power Rangers Samurai & Power Rangers Super Samurai
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger (2010): Power Rangers Megaforce
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger (2011): Power Rangers Super Megaforce
- Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (2013): Power Rangers Dino Charge & Power Rangers Dino Super Charge
- Shuriken Sentai Ninninger (2015): Power Rangers Ninja Steel & Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel
Over the course of its run, Power Rangers has had plenty of themes to play with thanks to Super Sentai. Some series differed in their theme, as some Super Sentai series have gimmicks in relation to that year's theme for the show.
While Power Rangers Turbo continued the have "preventing evil from conquering the world" as its focus, the Super Sentai counterpart Gekisou Sentai Carranger had a road safety theme play throughout the show. Personally, I'm pleased they abandoned the samba dancing theme during transforming for Zyuden Sentai Kyoryugerin.
Power Rangers have sometimes made the right choices in how they adapt the Super Sentai series, but there have also been many mistakes. One of the biggest was when they tried to recreate the legendary battle from the Super Sentai 35th anniversary movie, Gokaiger Goseiger Super Sentai 199 Hero Great Battle. Where Super Sentai have always had a new team of heroes with each series, Power Ranger hit a bump when featuring their past Rangers reuniting in a final legendary battle.
The Pink, Blue, Green and Yellow Zeo Rangers featured, as did the five Turbo Rangers and the five Space Rangers. This would be impossible, as the Zeo Rangers became the Turbo Rangers, and when they were replaced, their predecessors became four of the Space Rangers. This was a huge continuity error for Power Rangers that fans would surely notice.
The Forgotten Super Sentai
Since #Saban took the Ranger franchise back, they have skipped some series of Super Sentai. Each year they aim to get two years of Power Rangers out of a single series of Super Sentai. Since then, three series of Super Sentai have been skipped:
- Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (2012): Only Super Sentai series to use leather instead of spandex. Also a five only team starting with three to begin with and two joining later.
- Ressha Sentai ToQger (2014): First Super Sentai series to use trains as the Rangers theme and to have an Orange Ranger. Ended with seven Rangers and the Rangers had the ability to swap their colors e.g. Red could turn into Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink, Orange or Purple.
- Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger (2016): A return to an animal theme and consisted of seven Rangers by its conclusion. First Super Sentai series to have Zords that looked like they were designed on Minecraft.
The Next Potential Power Rangers Series
The next potential theme, after Power Ranger Ninja Steel and Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel, could see a return to space for the Power Rangers. Uchu Sentai Kyuranger will set higher standards than ever before in Super Sentai.
Starting with a total of nine Rangers and three more joining later, they are inspired by constellations. The team also holds Super Sentai's first female Green Ranger (we are not counting Mele/Camille as they are a Ranger ally, not an actual Ranger).
Each of the Sentai Rangers are lone survivors of alien planets, aiming to end an evil force of evil:
- Red Ranger: Constellation Leo
- Orange Ranger: Constellation Scorpius
- Blue Ranger: Constellation Lupus
- Gold Ranger: Constellation Libra
- Black Ranger: Constellation Taurus
- Silver Ranger: Constellation Ophiuchus
- Green Ranger: Constellation Chamaeleon
- Pink Ranger: Constellation Aquila
- Yellow Ranger: Constellation Dorado
- Violet Ranger: Constellation Draco
- Aqua Ranger: Constellation Ursa Minor
- Second Red Ranger: Constellation Houou
With alien origins being popular thanks to the Power Rangers Movie and fans calling out for a female Green Ranger, this is likely to be the next series of Power Rangers. So, do not be surprised if you hear about Power Rangers Celestial Force (or something similar) once Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel has concluded.
The Legacy Has No End In Sight
Both Power Rangers and Super Sentai have no end in sight. Both are still gaining new viewers due to changing themes and ideas. However, one thing is certain: As Power Rangers has never gone wild and created a Power Rangers series that is 100 percent original and their own, they will always depend on the success of Super Sentai. Super Sentai has reused themes several times, but reinventing them at the same time to create something new, whereas Power Rangers look for the easiest way to adapt the footage they receive from Super Sentai.
Are you a fan of Super Sentai? Let me know in the comments below!