So we are up to the fourth episode of Power Rangers Samurai, and for anyone who also watched Shinkenger (which luckily was easier to watch before Toei went crazy), you may have noticed some slight similarities. And by slight, I mean that the story line for each episode is a carbon copy of their Shinkenger equivalent. And believe it or not, that isn’t an exaggeration. Heck, there was even a short YouTube series by TeamNewCanada called Samurai Vs. Samurai (yeah, that’s where I got the title) that took scenes from both shows and compared them, and except for the Japanese stuff that most Americans wouldn’t get, and some of the scenes that they couldn’t put on the air for a kid’s show, it’s almost exactly the same (they stopped making them because their point had been made, but I wish they would have kept doing it, it was nice watching those episodes of Shinkenger again). Just take the episodes that have been on so far. The first episode was about Mike, and how he was behind the others in his level of training, and how he worked to overcome that gap his own way. Not only was that the premise of the third episode of Shinkenger (substitute Mike for Chiaki), but they copied what happened in the episode scene-by-scene. Him running off after practice, joining two friends of his at an arcade, his friends get hurt when the monster attacks, blames himself for what happened, and goes to practice under the moonlight while Red (either of them) meditates at their headquarters. And we’re not talking about stock footage here, they aren’t wearing spandex. This is what has happened. And a lot of people on the internet have cried fowl.
But can we really blame the writers for rehashing the episodes? Take what has happened since Disney announced that they would not produce a new season of Power Rangers. First off, basically everyone that had been involved with producing Power Rangers for Disney was let go. Then, almost out of nowhere, Saban bought the brand back from Disney four months later, and announced that they would produce a new season, which they had intended on launching last year. But because of time and production costs, it didn’t launch until February. Plus, they had to bring in a new cast and a brand new crew, including a new writing staff, that had very little time to come up with a storyline for this new season based on what they had from the Shinkenger footage. What would be the fastest, easiest thing to do under those circumstances? Before now, the writing staff had months to prepare an original script for whatever series they were planning, maybe even while that series was on in Japan. Now, Shinkenger might have been over and done with in Japan, but they still only had so much time to throw a script together. Plus, they only had so much time to shoot the whole thing, so there’s another time restraint. So, with all of that running together at once it’s no wonder that they basically rewrote the episodes, and added Bulk and that Spike character. And while some of the hardcore, old school fans might not like how similar it is to Shinkenger, it seems to work, because so far it’s ratings have been through the roof. So can we really complain?
-M.C., the Quantum Twin