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Zyu2 Essay

The Concept

When Margaret Loesch, the president of the now-defunct Fox Children’s Network, picked up a little show called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the Fall 1993 season, many people didn’t expect the show to last for more than one season space, including the higher-ups. The show, which had been pitched time and time again, had a simple premise: take fight scenes from a Japanese Tokusatsu program, splice in footage featuring American characters, do some necessary voice over work, and you have a cheaply made children’s television show.

But, the unthinkable happened: the show became that year’s hit phenomenon. Ratings were through the roof and toy sales quickly greatly exceeded expectations. Then, an important question reared it’s ugly head: what happens when we run out of footage?

With 40 episodes filmed, utilizing nearly all the adaptable footage from the 50-episode sentai series Kyoryuu Sentai Zyuranger (also known by its international, English-language names of Galaxy Rangers and Dino Rangers), Saban Entertainment was at a crossroads. What happens next? How do they continue to produce episodes of America’s #1 Children’s television show if the Japanese footage that comprised around half of each episode was bled dry?

Solving The Problem

The working theory on what happened goes like this: Saban went to Toei, ltd. hoping they could help rectify this problem. Toei had previously shot additional footage featuring the villains in Rita’s palace exclusively for Power Rangers (referred to as “Zyu1.5” by fans since its discovery in the late 2000s), and now the hope was for more, but on a much greater scale.

In the end, Toei commissioned 25 additional monster suits, in Zyuranger-style, and filmed footage of both Ranger-sized and Zord-sized battles for each of them. These monsters and the respective Japan-shot footage became what Power Rangers fans now universally refer to as Zyu2, a name given by Power Rangers fan Chris “Cmdr Crayfish” Funaro, who himself took his nickname from one of these very Zyu2 monsters.

With these new resources, Saban proceeded to crank out 20 additional episodes to bring the first season total to 60, utilizing 15 of these monsters, their accompanying pre-shot footage, as well as additional U.S.-filmed ground fights, directed and choreographed by Jeff Pruitt.

Realizing that they had achieved something that could last a while, Saban entered into negotiations with Toei, ltd. to get the rights to adapt the next Sentai series, Gosei Sentai Dairanger, for the second season of Power Rangers. Many things would remain constant, such as the Ranger’s costumes and arsenal, however, the chance to upgrade the zords was something they couldn’t pass up (both in terms of ratings as well as toy sales).

Bridging The Gap

Saban Entertainment was certainly not a dumb company. Having chosen to continue to use the familiar Zyuranger hero costumes (and, accordingly, sell toys based on them), they still had 10 additional monsters with footage that they could utilize at the beginning of season two. The inclusion of Rita-style Putty Patrollers and the first season Dinozords, though, would present a problem. This led to some of the most ingenious and/or most horrible editing jobs in all of Power Rangers history.

Making sure not to show any shots of monster-zord contact, the producers spliced together Zyu2 footage of the monsters with footage of the Thunder Megazord from Dairanger footage, with lots of shots of sparks and explosions to bridge the gaps in between. There are many times where the editing was not quite perfect, and an attentive viewer can see a monster’s attack land on the original Megazord for a frame or two, before cutting to the Thunder Megazord reacting to an attack.

Season 2, as well as many later seasons, loved to bring back old monsters. While some monsters came back because they were favorites and their suits held up remarkably well (i.e. Eye Guy), in MANY cases, these monsters were monsters from Zyu2. Sure, the footage may have been exhausted, but these costumes were on hand, owned out-right by Saban Entertainment, and ready to fight one more time. So, for example, when Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa got married, most of the guests at the wedding were Zyu2 monsters.

The Fanon Story

At some point, it was speculated that some parts of the pre-shot Zyu2 footage could’ve formed a continuation for the original sentai series. After realizing this, Jesse “SirSTACK” Herndon came up with titles for each segment in the Zyu2 footage, naming them in a traditional sentai manner. While the suit actors would often show characteristics of both their Sentai and their Power Rangers counterparts, it is still highly unlikely that this continuation was ever the intention.

All footage stills are from adapted Zyu2 footage. Monster details borrowed (graciously) from Joe Rovang’s now-defunct “Writers’ Guide”. Micro Hero monster images provided by Christian “MegaZeo” Salabert.