Side 2 of a Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers pack-in catalog from 1994 (side 1 is here). Got this with either the Auto-Morphin Green Ranger or the blue Thunder Bike, I think.
Power Rangers hit when I was growing up on Guam, a Pacific island that’s four hours off of Japan by airplane (and eight off Hawaii, for comparison’s sake). Japanese toys, trading cards, and other memorabilia in their original-language packaging frequently made the trip over. So did the country’s television programming, in the form of both NHK transmissions carried by the local cable company and probably-actually-illegal rental shops that loaned out shows systematically taped off Japanese TV. For me, though, there was a third option.
Early in middle school, I had a Nisei-or-Sansei friend (okay, he was my only friend) whose relatives still lived in Japan. These relatives would regularly send care packages to my friend’s family, including various giant robot toys and cassettes of Japanese-language children’s programming; they were presumably meant for my friend’s younger brother, but we ended up watching them together anyway. It was through these tapes that I first saw G Gundam, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z… and Dairanger, the show that would be adapted for Power Rangers’ second season.
Do you know how weird that was? Living in the era before the widespread use of the Internet, knowing that the Thunderzords came from a show with an entirely different set of suits and main villains than what was airing on Fox Kids? Mostly, what that knowledge made me was annoyed: annoyed that Saban “messed up” Dairanger by not keeping any of its in-suit fight footage, which had the side effect of forcing the American episodes to focus more on the out-of-suit antics of the Ranger teens.
Nobody watched early Power Rangers for the leads’ acting!
Still… despite that dissatisfaction, I kept an affinity for David Yost’s Billy. A smart, nerdy kid in glasses who was nonetheless a superhero? There was something inarguably uplifting about that for me (see: the part above about having an “only friend”). Those feelings led to me getting the blue Thunder Bike from the second assortment of Power Rangers toys - which, um, didn’t end up featuring into the show. At all.
Barring some instances of “oh god nothing else is on,” I ended up quitting the franchise almost entirely thereafter, and wouldn’t return until around Lightspeed Rescue and Time Force.