How a little known Japanese show became the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers


If you were under the impression that superhero series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was an original idea, then you are sadly mistaken. While a lot of the show’s content is unique, it largely revolves around footage taken from another series from Japan. For years, MMPR has borrowed from the Super Sentai Series, and it has the Asian program to thank for its immense success.

Inspiring an adaptation

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was always supposed to be an adaptation of the Japanese metaseries. When the program’s creators first devised the idea, they were inspired by Choudenshi Bioman, the eighth installment of the Super Sentai Series. It took years for studios to take them up on their offer, by which point they’d moved their interest over to Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, the Japanese program’s 16th installment.

MMPR was commissioned for 40 episodes, all of which utilized fighting sequences from Zyuranger. The point of the American series was to recreate the Japanese show without all the quirks and violence that were prevalent in the original version.

From one show to another

As Mighty Morphin Power Rangers grew in popularity and returned for more episodes, the creators had to find a new source for their fight scenes. That’s when they started using footage from Gosei Sentai Dairanger and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, the 17th and 18th installments of the Super Sentai Series.

Taking from different shows wasn’t easy, especially with characters changing outfits and different elements being introduced. However, MMPR was able to adapt to the changes without losing the features American audiences loved most about the show.

Not suitable for children

Although Mighty Morphin Power Rangers picked and chose footage from the Japanese series to avoid showing too much violence, it seems their efforts were in vain. The program still received a lot of negative attention for its action sequences, with many parents concerned about the level of fighting on screen.

One of the most significant issues that moms and dads had with MMPR was the fact that most conflicts seemed to be resolved with violence. They believed it sent out the wrong message and was extremely inappropriate for a show aimed at children. However, despite the complaints, MMPR continued to take footage from the Super Sentai Series to keep the program going.

Keeping up traditions

It’s been over 25 years since Mighty Morphin Power Rangers started using content from the Super Sentai Series, and the franchise still does that to this day. Power Rangers Ninja Steel features a lot of material taken from Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, the 39th installment of the Japanese show, including costumes and props. While the franchise has started to create a lot more of its own content, it still relies heavily on the source material.

Given that MMPR started life as an adaptation of the Japanese program, there’s nothing wrong with that. Each new Power Rangers season borrows from a different Super Sentai Series, and it always manages to put its own spin on the action.

As long as the Super Sentai Series remains on Japanese TV, we can expect to see new seasons of Power Rangers airing on American televisions.