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Power Rangers - Toys of the 90s

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Power Rangers - Toys of the 90s

 

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Another top symbol of the pop culture of the 90s are the Power Rangers; a franchise built around a live action children's television series featuring teams of costumed heroes. The franchise is an American adaptation of the 1992 Japanese tokusatsu (live-action film or TV drama featuring superheroes, monsters and a considerable use of special effects) Super Sentai Series; launched on August 28, 1993 as a live-action TV series under the name Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The show became an overnight success, catapulting into pop culture within a few months. Along with the success of the series a line of action figures and other toys were introduced by the toy company Bandai.

A combination of robots, monsters, and super-heroes; Mighty Morphin Power Rangers featured a group of five teens chosen by an ancient wise man to protect the planet Earth from attacks by evil sorceress Rita Repulsa. To do this, the teens were granted special suits and masks that transformed them into warriors with special abilities and powers named Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The teens had also special battle vehicles known as Zords that could be linked to create a Megazord. They used these weapons to fight off an impressive, colorful array of creatures that looked like humanoid versions of pigs, spiders and other skin-crawling creatures.

The battles between the Power Rangers and the Space Aliens were the drawing ticket of the show, combining action scenes with flashy visual effects, making young viewers to want to create monster battles of their own, a fact that led Bandai produce a line of Power Rangers toys.

During season 1 of the show, the company produced a wide array of figures. Initially, there was a series of highquality 8-inch plastic figures for the Power Rangers and four Space Aliens (Squatt, Baboo, Goldar and King Sphinx). There were also 8-inch Karate Action Rangers that could throw powerful kung fu moves. Bandai also produced 5.5-inch figures of the Power Rangers that boasted head-flipping “morphing action” and came with unique weapons. They were matched by a series of 5.5-inch Space Aliens that consisted of twelve villains, including everyone from Slippery Shark to Knasty Knight. There was also a Red Claw vehicle for the Red Ranger.

Bandai also made life-size weapons to simulate the show’s action. The first weapons produced were the Dragon Dagger, which made electronic sounds, and the Power Gun Sword, which boasted both flashing lights and sound effects. Between these weapons and the figures, Bandai also created a number of toys for the fans to buy. No matter the theme, fans purchased anything they produced. Thus Bandai produced new toys for the next two seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

During season 2 of toys several new Zords were introduced; like the Thunderzord Assault Team, a series of four Zords that could be joined together to form a Chariot, and the Red Dragon Thunderzord, which could transform from a warrior into a dragon. There were also Thunder Bikes that came with 4-inch Power Ranger figures.

New weapons were introduced also, like the Power Blaster, a handgun that shot plastic balls, and Saba, a sword that extended and made sound effects.There was also a new Power Ranger figure for the White Ranger as well as new 8-inch alien figures like Lord Zedd and Rhino Blaster.

During season 3 of the show the first Power Rangers motion picture was released, leading to the production of a big number of new Power Ranger items. There were new styles of items like tiny PVC figurines and Micro Playsets, as well as the usual 5.5- and 8-inch figures. The new 8-inch could each say a unique phrase, new villains were also added like Master Vile and Silent Knight. New 5.5-inch figures included Ninja Rangers and villains like Vampyrus and Steamy Meanie. New Zords were also added, like the Deluxe Ninja and Shogun Megazords that combined miniature zords into one big, impressive-looking warrior.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ended after season 3 in 1995, but this was not the end of the Power Rangers. Actually the show continued on in new variations like Power Rangers Zeo (1996) and Power Rangers Turbo (1997), bringing out new powers, weapons and villains to carry on the adventures of the favorite super heroes of the 90's kids. The new shows also inspired new toys, most of which were made also by Bandai as usual. Meanwhile, the original show’s toys continue to be favored collector’s items for sci-fi fanatics and toy collectors.

Other series ensued, in 1998 Power Rangers in Space, in 1999 the Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy aired in 1999 and Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue in 2000 the latter featuring the first entirely American-produced Power Ranger, the Titanium Ranger.

The production of new series during each year of the 2000s continued; and thus the franchise stays alive and is still as successful as in its old days back in the 90s.

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