|This article is about a/an specially recorded Japanese source material in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.|
Zyu2 is a fan coined term given to the footage developed exclusively for the American television show Power Rangers that did not derive from stock footage of the Super Sentai series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. First appearing after the episode Doomsday, Zyu2 footage is used for monster battles in the latter half of the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the first quarter of the second season.
Zyu2 wasn't the first time original footage was filmed by Toei for use in Power Rangers. Before the series began, Saban had Toei film scenes involving the villains (with both Machiko Soga and Ami Kawai reprising their Zyuranger roles as Rita Repulsa and Scorpina respectively). These scenes were of noticeably higher quality than Zyuranger footage, and were used in order to better match lip movements with the voices provided (some examples, Rita's now famous phrase of "Magic Wand, make my monster/Goldar grow", Rita yelling at her henchmen after her monsters get destroyed, and Scorpina calling for the Putty Patrollers to attack the Rangers) and extend the amount of footage available of the villains.
The original series of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was given a 40 episode run, however, due to its unforeseen popularity, an alternate ending was given to the last two episodes entitled "Doomsday".
Originally, like its Super Sentai couterpart, the Evil Witch Bandora (Rita Repulsa) was going to resurrect her deceased son Kai, who was reportedly going to be named Bubba, using the power of Great Satan (Lokar), and was going to drive the colossal driving force Dora Talos (Cyclopsis). Instead, the episode was a somewhat less dramatic climax, with the mechanized robot being given to Grifforzer (Goldar). And the Rangers, at the end of "Doomsday Part II", were given the option of keeping, or giving up their powers. None of them resigned.
Saban, of course, was pleased at the ratings of the series, and was eager to create more episodes, however, the series had exhausted all of the monsters used in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. So he contacted Toei Corporation (the company who produces the Super Sentai Series and Rainbow Productions, who also produces the monsters suits) to produce more new Zyuranger footage. The companies agreed and 25 episodes worth of new costumes were created and in-suit battle and mecha fighting scenes were filmed in Japan. The footage was created and sent to America where it was spliced with American footage in a similar fashion to the rest of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers before it. It was also requested that themes present in the Power Rangers series were placed in the new footage. There are four main significant differences between the original Zyuranger footage and the Zyu 2 footage.
Power Rangers technology
Whereas the Zyurangers relied on magic, the Power Rangers used technology. This was incorporated in the Zyu2 footage. For example, whereas the Zyurangers communicated telepathically, the Power Rangers used wrist-worn communicators that they had to put up to their mouths. This was shown during the fight scenes.
Furthermore, the Power Rangers used teleportation to travel to destinations instantly. The Zyu2 footage accommodated for this change by showing the rangers doing a particular pose right before they teleported, along with fading to the empty setting to facilitate adding the effect.
Green and Pink Rangers
As requested the relationship between the Green and Pink Rangers was present in the Zyu2 footage. During many battles the two would show certain signs of affection for one another, something that never happened in Zyuranger.
Examples of this include:
- In the battles against Guitardo and Dramole where the Pink Ranger was in danger, the Green Ranger rescued her.
- In the second part of the Guitardo battle, the Pink Ranger rescued the Green Ranger.
- The Pink Ranger also displays affection by clutching his arm and always staying close to him.
- In Green No More, when the Green Ranger had been spit out of Turbanshell's belly, the Pink Ranger ran to his side in slow motion, as she was concerned for his safety more than any other Ranger was.
In Zyuranger, TriceraRanger is the comic relief while MammothRanger is the intelligent one. In Power Rangers, the Black Ranger is the comic relief while the Blue Ranger is the "smart one". Saban requested that the new footage showed the Blue Ranger's intelligence, thereby giving his morphed form a whole new personality.
Many episodes had the Blue Ranger use special gadgets, weapons and machines to win battles. Particular examples include the fights against Saliguana and Pirantishead, both where the inventions malfunction and the Blue Ranger fixes them. Furthermore, in Green No More, the Green Ranger hands the laser gun to the Blue Ranger, showing that the Blue Ranger actually designed the gun.
However, elements of the original ZyuRanger character remained, such as when apparently MammothRanger designed the ice device (or at least in conjunction with TriceraRanger), the comic relief element remained in his snafu with the batteries in the signal blocker, the fact that he had two mirrors to use against monsters, and his penchant for charging headfirst into battle.
Also in Power Rangers, the Blue Ranger is the most timid and hesitant in battles, with the new footage taking this into account, an example being the battle against the Goo Fish.
Though Zyu2 does not have a woman portraying the Yellow Ranger, she is given female characteristics such as displaying a bond with the Pink Ranger that only female companions usually share (for example, as seen in the battle against Bloom of Doom). In the battle against Commander Crayfish and Mutant Rangers, the Power Rangers tried to defeat them with the Power Blaster, but only destroyed the Pink and Yellow Mutant Rangers, suggesting that only males can survive a "power blast". There are also minor examples, like how the Yellow and Pink Rangers pose or teleport with their legs together while the males keep theirs apart.
Gosei Sentai Dairanger Switchover
While episodes of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers continued to air in America using the new Zyu2 footage, negotiations were underway with Toei to obtain footage from Gosei Sentai Dairanger. This meant that in-battle footage would be filmed in America and the Zords would change to the Mecha used in Dairanger so the Japanese Mecha footage could be used.
The Gosei Sentai Dairanger footage was obtained in time to be used in episode 61 (2x01) of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, Saban had not yet exhausted all of the Zyu2 footage, so in episode 61, a new villain (Lord Zedd) was introduced. The remainder of the Zyu2 monster and Ranger footage was spliced with newly made American footage of the Zyu2 monsters and the Power Rangers morphed and in battle. One of the most obvious examples of this is in Episode 2x07 (The Power Stealer) when Zyu2 footage of the Red and Blue rangers fighting the Octophantom was used, while close-up shots of the remaining Rangers (who were captured at the time) were filmed in America surrounded by the American-only Z Putty Patrollers, as opposed to Rita's regular putties. Though equivalent footage was filmed by Toei with the original putties (albeit without the Green Ranger), it could not be used under the circumstances.
The usage of Zyu2 proved difficult to use when Saban chose to make the switchover from the old Dino Zords to the new Mecha from Gosei Sentai Dairanger (The Thunderzords) prematurely in episode 63 when Zyu2 footage was still being used. The difficulty came when Japanese footage of the Dairanger mecha was spliced with Japanese footage of the Zyu2 monsters, as they could not be seen fighting the Daizyujin (original Megazord), so most Zord battles from this time would only show the monster attacking using mostly lasers and beams, followed by a shot of just the Thunderzords taking the damage. This did not always work, however, as the monster could occasionally be seen making physical contact with the old Megazord, such as in The Mutiny when Pirantishead is electrocuting with Daizyujin on the ground, or in The Ninja Encounter, when the old Megazord was seen as the Thunder Megazord was blasted, then seen again when the Thunder Megazord had the sword out. The monster would also sometimes be shown close-up receiving a quick punch from the Thunder Megazord with its fist taking on the appearance of the original Megazord's (a single exception lies in the battle against Octophantom, where its fist is seen punching the Thunder Megazord's chest).
A further challenge lied in the fact that the Season 2 battles against Primator and TurbanShell featured the Dragonzord in action, the Green Ranger's Zord being part of the original Zyu2 battle footage. These were the only true cases where a mecha could directly be seen battling the enemy because of the change in Megazords, with no footage showing the Thunder Megazord and Dragonzord together directly.
In the Season 2 episodes which utilized the Dairanger/Zyu2 hybrid footage, when it came to finishing the monster, the Dairanger stock footage of the Thunder Megazord's eyes lighting up then charging and "firing" its Thunder Saber would be used. However, to reconcile with the clashing Zyu2 footage, the American production team digitally added a "pulsing-laser slash" striking the monster, which then fell backwards and exploded, followed immediately by stock footage of the Thunder Megazord turning around and returning its sword to the hilt. Saban would reuse this effect for the mostly American-filmed Zord battle of Season 3's A Friend in Need.
Along with the Japanese footage, Saban also sanctioned an American band to produce new music for Zyu2, as well as Season 2, with some of the songs carrying over to Season 3. These were either rock songs, or heavy metal, in order to give Power Rangers a more mainstream appeal.
The monsters are listed as the Sentai name on the left, and the American one on the right in parentheses. Monsters whose names are identical in both versions are listed once, in bold.
- Goofish (Goo Fish)
- Flea Monster (Fighting Flea)
- Jellyfish Monster (Jellyfish Warrior)
- Dora Mole (Dramole)
- Bee Monster (Grumble Bee)
- Pumpkin Rapper
- Parrot Monster (Two Headed Parrot)
- Speed Shark (Slippery Shark)
- Rhino Blaster (Rhinoblaster)
- Crayfish Monster (Commander Crayfish)
- Oyster Monster (Oysterizer)
- PiranhaHead (Pirantishead)
- PriGorilla (Primator)
- Galamander (Saliguana)
- Flower Buster (Bloom of Doom)
- HoeSoilBeetle (Stag Beetle)
- Venueleon (Invenusable Flytrap)
- MinGuitar (Guitardo)
- Turbashell (TurbanShell)
Differences between Zyu2 and Zyuranger
The monster suits were available for shooting in U.S. footage, allowing them to appear in American footage compared to the Rangers reacting to an off-screen monster for the majority of original Zyuranger costumes.
The most noticeable difference between Zyu2 and Zyuranger, as noted by many fans, is the pace of the actual fighting between the Zords and the monsters of the week. Whereas Zyuranger's had more lively and fast-paced Zord battles, Zyu2 featured slower and more deliberate movements. While there's no confirmation either way, it's believed this difference is because the suits were at least a year old (possibly two as Zyuranger finished airing in 1992 and Zyu2 was likely filmed sometime between November 1993 and April 1994) and not taken care of as Zyuranger was over and Power Rangers unlikely to need footage beyond the 50 episodes. In addition, it's likely Saban asked Toei to keep costs low. As a result, the original Daizyuzin suit was reused beyond what Toei had initially planned for and likely couldn't stand up to the same action it withstood during Zyuranger.
- Ironically, this makes the Daizyuzin suit the first time a mecha suit was brought back and reused. The trend would continue in Super Sentai World (featuring both mecha shown to fight Zyu2 monsters, Daizyuzin and Dairen'oh) before becoming an almost regular trend in Gekisou Sentai Carranger vs. Ohranger (the Kakurangers' mecha were not featured in Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: Ole vs. Kakuranger, likely as a result of Toei still not yet seeing the need to keep the suits on hand after the end of a series as that wasn't planned to be a team-up until late in pre-production).
Below is an example of the difference in fight pacing:
Recently Released Footage
Power Ranger fan GrnRngr & Jeff Pruitt, the stunt coordinator for MMPR, released uncut footage showing what fans had believed from the start that the Megazord did indeed fight Primator, Octophantom, Turbanshell, Bloom of Doom, and Invenusable Flytrap in Zord battle footage that was never used. Jeff later found and released more footage showing Robogoat, Stag Beetle, Oysterizer, and Pirantishead that was also never used.