At this point, everyone would know that the American TV series, Power Rangers, are heavily edited adaptations of the long-running Japanese franchise, Super Sentai. Power Rangers has been taking Japanese costumed fights spliced together with original American footage since its creation in 1993.
That said, a lot of changes are made during the transition from Japan to America, from simple plot points to entire premises of similar seasons. So much so that beyond the shared aesthetics, the two franchises are almost completely different.
Granted, the original Japanese shows have a lot more leeway in terms of its plot development, character scope, and scale of action scenes, which means the Power Rangers team has to be very creative in making each season work.
So while we admit that Super Sentai is the superior franchise in so many ways, here are five how Power Rangers manages to have a leg up on their Japanese counterpart.
Super Sentai is pretty blatant in its sense of continuity, with each season taking place in its own universe, far removed from one another. Power Rangers, on the other hand, takes great lengths to establish its connected universe, so much so that seasons that pretty much end in reality-shattering ways like Dino Charge and RPM are set in separate universes.
Beginning with the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, each season is loosely connected with each other, some more than others, especially with newer seasons like Beast Morphers and Dino Fury. This also makes the crossover events within Power Rangers much more natural, particularly in seasons like Wild Force and its legendary Forever Red crossover episode.
The Morphin Grid
Every first episode of Super Sentai introduces a new power system in which the heroes of the season use to transform into their spandex-wearing alter egos. It makes sense since each season is set in its own universe, so the power of transformation is also different each time.
Each Power Ranger team’s source of power is from the Morphin Grid, a sort of transdimensional power source that bestows power onto selected individuals. It is a connective tissue that binds everything together, something Super Sentai doesn’t really have beyond the Ranger Keys seen in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
New Wave Comics
While Super Sentai does occasionally have video games based on certain seasons, manga adaptations are something the franchise does shy away from. For the most part, Super Sentai exists as a purely live-action series.
Meanwhile, the current Boom Studios comics run has reinvented Power Rangers for the better, which is still ongoing today with new stories based on older seasons and even crossovers with other comic properties like the Justice League and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Mighty Mighty Zords
It is not a Super Sentai series without giant combining robots dealing the finishing blow at the end of every episode. It is a part of the franchise’s DNA, with each yearly mecha being something fans look forward to.
These mecha are not however divided into classes, as Power Rangers does with Zords, Megazords, Ultrazords and the like. Weirdly enough, this uniform classification of their robotic arsenal adds a great sense of power scaling with each fight, since depending on the type of Zord used, fans get a sense of how powerful an enemy can be.
Good Ol’ Diversity
Not that we blame Super Sentai for being a Japanese franchise, but Power Rangers has allowed more people to be superheroes, with more than a handful of Southeast Asian Power Rangers in its history since its creation.
The Vietnamese-American Thuy Trang served as the very first Yellow Ranger, with subsequent seasons like Time Force and Wild Force featuring Filipino Rangers, Ninja Storm having a Malaysian-Singaporean Ranger, and both Dino Charge and Ninja Steel featuring Indonesian Rangers.
That said, both franchises are getting better at representation, with Super Sentai having the occasional non-Japanese side character and even having the first male Pink Ranger, and Power Rangers featuring their first autistic Ranger and LGBTQ Ranger.