Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series
Starring: Yūta Mochizuki, Sejiu Umon, Hideki Fujiwara, Takumi Hashimoto, Reiko Chiba & Shiro Izumi
Released by: Shout! Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Serving as the first series in the popular Super Sentai franchise to be adapted for the American market, Super Sentai Zyuranger centers on the evil witch Bandora who after 170 million years of imprisonment is hellbent on exacting revenge upon Earth. Meanwhile, five ancient warriors are summoned from their suspended animation to defend the planet and its citizens against Bandora and her wicked henchmen, utilizing enchanted weapons and giant robots known as the Guardian Beasts.
Beginning in 1975, the long-running Super Sentai franchise has marveled the imaginations of Japanese children since its inception while, casual viewers recognize their prominence for inspiring the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in the early 1990s that would rise to immense popularity in America and the rest of the world. Interestingly enough, Super Sentai Zyurangerwould mark the sixteenth season of the popular series with extensive footage from its 50 episode run incorporated into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers inaugural season. With the exception of its action footage recycled and reformatted for the American audience, the majority of Super Sentai Zyuranger including its characters and episode narratives are vastly different to its American interpretation. Instead of summoning five teens with attitude, Super Sentai Zyuranger’s protagonists are a team of ancient warriors utilizing the power of prehistoric dinosaurs and robotic beasts to battle Bandora. More noticeable changes that left Mighty Morphin fans bewildered for years become clear in Super Sentai Zyuranger such as the original male yellow ranger explaining why the pink ranger was the only one bearing a skirt-like costume in its American incarnation. While, devoted fans of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series will be familiar with much of the episodes’ footage, those uninitiated with the Japanese program will revel in each adventures original intent. Noticeably more fantastical than its more superhero driven international version, Super Sentai Zyuranger also possesses a slightly more adult edge with characters using such mild language as “hell” and “damn”. In addition, the sinister witch Bandora (Rita Repulsa in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) is often threatening to kill her colorful enemies instead of the more commonly used “destroy” term.
Filled with marvelous martial arts sequences, vibrant colors and countless Kaiju-like battles, first-time viewers accustomed to the teenagers of Angel Grove will discover a wholly unique experience in Super Sentai Zyuranger that is equally exciting and action-packed. Containing all 50 episodes across a whopping 10 discs, Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series is a long-awaited addition into every Power Rangers fans collection and one that will stand proudly next to its American offerings as the series that truly started it all.
Shout! Factory presents Super Sentai Zyuranger full frame, sporting a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. True to its original broadcast appearance, Super Sentai Zyuranger appears murky at times with colors slightly diluted, no question attributed to the show’s low-budget. Never deal-breaking and with expectations kept at bay, the Japanese program looks as good as can be expected after nearly 25 years and will most definitely please enthusiasts of Shout! Factory’s previous Power Rangers releases. Equipped with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, Super Sentai Zyuranger arrives with its original Japanese audio intact and optional English subtitles. Dialogue, the show’s catchy theme song and its explosive battle sequences come across with no issues while, all subtitles appear clearly and easy to follow. Special features include the sole Power Progenitors: Super Sentai Zyuranger Power Morphicon 2014 Panel where three cast members from the original show field questions from adoring fans with their responses relayed in English subtitles (26:54).
Marking its DVD debut, Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series finally offers likeminded fans the opportunity to experience the original Japanese hit that would eventually birth the global sensation of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Endlessly fun and packed with dynamic eye candy, Super Sentai Zyuranger delivers everything that made its American rangers a blast but, with a slightly more fantastical flair. After doing the impossible and presenting the first 20 years of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and beyond for home entertainment, Shout! Factory goes back to the franchise’s roots and delivers another bonafide helping of morphenomenal awesomeness.
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