Power Rangers Vs. Super Sentai: Western Recognition

For those of us in the tokusphere, one of the most difficult things in the world is to try to explain our obsessions to non-toku fans. This is especially true for anyone who has ever tried to talk about Super Sentai with someone who has no clue what it is. The main difficulty in explaining this argument is the obvious: it’s impossible to explain what Super Sentai is without bringing up Power Rangers. And we all know what happens when we bring up Power Rangers. They just stop listening. You’re lucky if you can get half of what you’re trying to explain across to them. They assume that it’s just like Power Rangers in America, only with an all-Asian cast. And it’s just beyond frustrating sometimes. Heck, I’ve tried to show people I know this blog, and they just don’t even bother feigning interest sometimes. There are times that I’ve gone very far to try to appease these people, I tell them it’s far better than Power Rangers (though I half-heartedly believe that), I tell them about all the stuff they get to talk about and show and do over there that an American kid’s show would never be able to get away with, I even try to compare it to anime sometimes (in a lot of ways, it is very anime-like, and not just because it’s Japanese). But it just never seems to work. It almost seems like it’s impossible to get across to these people. Almost.

Recently while going through the blogosphere (the general one, not the toku one) and I noticed a few non-toku blogs were talking about the opening scene of the frist episode of Go-Kaiger, the scene of the Legendary War, where all 34 of the past sentais came together to fight the initial Zangyack invasion. Apparently, there are still a few clips on YouTube of that scene, and other people are starting to see them. And from what I’ve seen and read so far, they are just as impressed by it as we are. This is a sign, ladies and gentlemen. A sign that it is time for America to be formally introduced to Super Sentai, in all it’s untranslated, unabridged glory.

Why now, you ask? I’ll give you three reasons: 1) Because Go-Kaiger kicks ass! 2) Because Power Rangers Samurai has regenerated interest in Power Rangers, even amongst people who haven’t had interest in the show since 1995. And 3) Despite the fact that there is a ton of Power Ranger and Super Sentai stuff on the web (sometimes overlapping), it’s like no one has taken five minutes to look up and see that Power Rangers comes out of Super Sentai. We now have a chance to correct that, if anything just so that we can have that on record, and not just on a few blogs and a seldom read Wikipedia page. We have the potential, over the next couple of years, of seeing a huge increase in Sentai and toku fans. If we can just get Go-Kaiger out to more people, we could seal the deal.

Now, your otaku side might be flaring up now and asking “why should we spread our fanaticism to other people? This is our territory, I don’t want to see stupid people trounce all over it. How could we possibly benefit from this?” Well calm down and I’ll tell you. If more people know about Super Sentai, if more people really begin to follow it, then it will have a much greater presence over here. Imagine, walking into an anime convention, cosplaying as your favorite senshi/ranger, and not feeling out-of-place because everyone there thinks you’re dressed as a power ranger, because they know what you’re actually dressed as. A small but substantial victory, but that’s not all. We could have our own toku conventions, dedicated solely to tokusatsu, whatever form it may take. And with greater pressure from an overseas audience, maybe the companies that produce these series will stop being complete jackasses and ease up on how much they restrict their content. I’m still pissed off at Toei, and a few others, and this would be the ace in the hole for getting them to change their policies. Heck, if demand got high enough, maybe they would outright bring this stuff directly over, and have it broadcast over here as it is (not to say there wouldn’t be some slight editing due to content and time restrictions, but you get my point). 

We have to take this opportunity, and take it now. Do what you have to to get the word out. Find these videos and email them to people. Talk about this stuff openly with friends and family. Post this stuff on your own YouTube accounts and Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, or whatever service you may use. Because this opportunity may not come up again for a while, so we better jump on it while we can.

For those of you who decide to do this, I would just like to say, ganbatte kudasai.

-M.C., the Quantum Twin