Power Rangers and the Rise of Anime in America by Jerry Whitworth
Anime (Japanese animation) has made its way to the United States for decades. Astro Boy, Gigantor, and Speed Racer paved the way for Battle of the Planets and Star Blazers which lead to Voltron and Robotech. Series trickled in slowly until the 1990s where it seemed like a veritable explosion lead to anime becoming staples of programming blocks like Fox Kids, Kids’ WB, and Toonami. The rise in popularity of anime is generally attributed to the cultural phenomenon of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Debuting in 1993, Power Rangers was created by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy using footage from Japanese production studio Toei and its super sentai series. The relationship between America and super sentai predated Power Rangers, super sentai owing a fair deal of its life to a relationship between Toei and Marvel Comics. Super sentai toys were even produced in the United States by Mattel as part of their Shogun Warriors line (itself bringing anime to the US in Force Five), the line which created Marvel’s initial arrangement with Toei. By the time Power Rangers captivated America, super sentai existed for nearly two decades in Japan inspiring content there over that time (aforementioned series like Battle of the Planets likely helped inspire super sentai where Voltron was produced by Toei and aired the same year as Marvel and Toei’s final co-produced super sentai series). The first anime series to come to America based on the popularity of Power Rangers was Ronin Warriors in 1995.
When it was announced that Street Fighter was going to have a presence in the mobile fighting game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars some months ago, the news seemed to be accompanied by crickets. While it was cool that Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile, Cammy, M. Bison, Akuma, and more were coming to the game, such crossovers in fighting games have become fairly commonplace in this day and age. Little did fans know that come San Diego Comic-Con International, we would get a proper crossover. Bat In The Sun Productions made a name for themselves with the 2003 fan film Batman Beyond: Year One but went on to generate a lot of buzz with its web series Super Power Beat Down. This lead to being hired by Valiant Comics to produce the live action web series Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe which included Jason David Frank of Power Rangers fame as Bloodshot, one of Valiant’s most established properties (in fact, Bloodshot will be the first character from Valiant adapted for feature film with Vin Diesel starring in the titular role). In San Diego, we learned Bat In The Sun’s latest project: Power Rangers Legacy War: Street Fighter Showdown.
Power Rangers Comes to Toys That Made Us by Jerry Whitworth
When the documentary series The Toys That Made Us about toy brands and properties was renewed by Netflix, speculation immediately arose about what future episodes would emerge. Fans did not have to wait long as the first four episodes were announced at San Diego Comic-Con International and the Nerdfect Strangers accurately predicted at least three of those selections. It was revealed the next four episodes will focus on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, wrestling, and Power Rangers. Having already gone into detail with the former three previously (although, the ambiguous descriptor for wrestling has lead to speculation the Kinnikuman keshi, or Kinkeshi, better known in America as M.U.S.C.L.E., maybe included), we’re going to discuss the history of Power Rangers and its toys.
Top 10: Most Popular Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth
Hello Nerdfect Nation, this is your intrepid co-host Jerry Whitworth back with a new article. Its been a while, I know, but there’s been an important development in my life. As many of our listeners know, I’ve worked for ComicArtCommunity.com for five years but, sadly, we’ve recently parted company. No hard feelings, they’re still a great site and resource but it was time to move on. At this time, I don’t know where I’ll end up, but for now, I thought it would be fun for a small retrospective. I’ve produced 267 articles for CAC (not including the biography I wrote for the Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume One), which is roughly on average an article a week for my time there, and certain pieces of work stand out from the rest. Thus, I will produce two Top 10 lists: first, my most popular articles and second, my favorite. Based on the number of views and unique visits, the following are the ten most popular articles I have written for CAC. Enjoy.