Original Uncut Japanese Power Rangers Coming to U.S. For the First Time

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Two decades later, the series that brought Sentai to the U.S. will show its true face

22 years ago, musician turned multimedia mogul Haim Saban was traveling in Japan on business when he caught an episode a popular Japanese TV series about a team of superheroes who used color-coded costumes, weaponry and robots to battle alien monsters. Saban, a fan of Japanese monster-movies as a child, had an idea that the heroes wore helmets covering their whole face during action scenes, the series could be easily localized for American audiences by shooting new footage for the out-of-costume parts and dubbing voices into the action scenes.

The result was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which grew into one of the most powerful entertainment and merchandising brands of all time. But the original show that caught Saban's attention (and which formed the backbone of MMPR's first season and key portions of the next two) was Kyoryu Sentai ZyuRanger - the sixteenth series in Japan's enormously-popular Super Sentai franchise. Now, nostalgia DVD powerhouse Shout! Factory (who already brought the near-entirety of Power Rangers to DVD last year) announced that they'll be bringing and official DVD collection for ZyuRanger: The Complete Series to the U.S. for the first time.

While many of the visuals, villains and even entire action sequences will be familiar to U.S. Power Rangers fans, ZyuRanger features an entirely different storyline and set of characters. The heroes are the last survivors of an ancient humanoid civilization that coexisted with dinosaurs. They are reawakened in the present when their arch-nemesis Bandora (aka "Rita Repulsa" to MMPR fans), an evil witch responsible for the extinction of their race and the dinosaurs, is accidentally released from imprisonment on Planet Nemesis. The defend Earth from Bandora's attacks with the aid of a wizard and sentient prehistoric robots called Guardian Beasts.

No announcements have been made as to features, release date, pricing or release plans for any of the other 37 existing Super Sentai series.

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