Every time Tokyo Game Show
rolls around, we're always reminded of how much Japan's culture and entertainment industry has shaped and affected our lives. The video-game industry is the most obvious example of this, sure, but our childhoods were almost handcrafted by Japanese pop culture, whether we knew it then or not.
Voltron, for instance, wasn't an American cartoon and wasn't actually called "Voltron." The show is, in fact, an amalgamation of two different super robot anime from the early-eighties: Beast King GoLion
and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV
. Character names like "Akira Kogane" and "Takashi Shirogane" were westernized into "Commander Keith" and "Lance," and many plot devices were also changed to make the series appear less violent than it actually was. Zarkon's soldiers, for example, were referred to as robots instead of living creatures in order to mitigate the weight and implications of their deaths at the hands of the Voltron Force.
The Power Ranger series also falls into the same category of "sleeper Japanese cultural influences of yore." Originally airing stateside in 1993, the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
was, in actuality, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger
, the sixteenth
entry in the long-running Super Sentai
series. The above video is the opening sequence for Battle Fever J
: Power Rangers circa 1979.
Producing Power Rangers for American audiences was incredibly cost efficient, as well: scenes showing the rangers out of uniform were re-filmed with American actors, requiring minimal costume and prop assets, and sequences with the Rangers in action were simply dubbed. The yellow ranger isn't even female
The entirety of Beast King GoLion
is legally available on YouTube
; your now-shattered understanding of reality, however, will never be available again.
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