So today it’s 25 years to the day since the first episode of Power Rangers was broadcast. And as someone who’s been a fan since that first episode of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, (Day of the Dumpster if you’re wondering), I couldn’t let this anniversary pass without giving thanks for the influence it’s had on my life.
Growing up, I never liked anything that I classed as “violent”. I was a softie at heart, and even video games at the arcade with fighting etc. I deemed aggressive nonsense and actively avoided. So I fully expected not to like Power Rangers. But only having 4 channels at the tender age of 8, there wasn’t much else to watch so I watched it. And quickly got hooked.
The martial arts was finessed, controlled, awesome. Watching Jason and later Tommy teach martial arts at the Angel Grove Gym and Juice Bar, especially to cleverhead Billy, showed how martial arts can be used to better someone’s mental discipline as well as kick-ass physical prowess. It’s one of the reasons that led me to start martial arts at the age of 11.
But for me the show was more than that. It showed a team of very different people from different backgrounds working together to solve problems and help others. But it also taught me so much. Like all good children’s TV shows it wasn’t afraid to go deep. There was an episode in Series 1 where Kimberly (ah, who could forget Kimberly) finds out her parents are getting divorced and what that means to her. An episode in Power Rangers Zeo where a martial arts ace was blind and her talking about her experiences. One where a friend of the Rangers was dyslexic and what that meant. The list continues.
Growing up, when Power Rangers first came out everyone my age always said what Ranger they’d want to be. Obviously Green and Red where two popular answers, closely followed by pink and blue. But for me, I actually always wanted to be Zordon, the original mentor of the Power Rangers.
Zordon was wise. Zordon was knowable. I loved his slightly formal speech patterns but most of all he knew all sorts of stuff, from when to offer reassurance to the Rangers, not being afraid of Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, knowing about weather and planetary alignments and computers and the Morphin Grid. Yes, I wanted to be like Zordon growing up. Or maybe more like Mysterious Wizard Barza from the Japanese version of Power Rangers, Zyuranger, where we was physical and had an awesome staff.
(I wanted to fight and be part of the action too much to be stuck in a blue plasma tube alll the time).
Yes, some of the storylines were cheesy (like literally. There was one episode where the Rangers were baked into a giant pizza…) and it is ultimately a kids show. But it’s also had some deep storylines. Any episode where the chief bad guy demands to be teleported to the Rangers’ Command Center by blackmailing the life of the Pink Ranger (Changing of the Zords) reminds you the show can get dark at times. Any episode where the same chief bad guy realises the only way to stop another bad guy from winning is to help the Power Rangers who he’s spent 2 series trying to defeat, (King for a Day) shows how complex the show can be. Good guys have become bad guys (as per Power Rangers SPD). Bad guys have become good guys (the original Green Ranger, Kat as the Pink Ranger among others). Rangers and heroes have died, Rangers have lost at times but always never given up. It’s been pretty agonising as a youngster watching this show at times!!
Power Rangers has been a positive influence for most of my life and helped shape who I’ve become. And for that, I say thank you to the show and all those who’ve been behind or a part of it. Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary Power Rangers. And go treat yourself to a beer, you old dog!
May the Power Protect Us All!
All pictures copyrighted and belong to their original owners, etc etc.