Today's Super Samurai
episode was the kind that really shows how slavishly they're retelling the original Japanese stories, and there's a lot here that would be lost on most American viewers. This was basically recapitulating the history of the samurai class, how they were rendered irrelevant when firearms brought an end to the age of the sword. Which would kinda make sense in a Japanese show symbolizing the culture's history and heritage and mythology, but still seems rather strange in the context of a show where various types of gun and blaster and cannon and the like have been a routine part of the Rangers' arsenal from the beginning.
And you know, it occurs to me that they've missed an opportunity. In a show that's built around paying homage to the lore of the samurai, why settle for having only six team members instead of adding one more and going for the full Kurosawa? I mean, The Seven Samurai
, so I gather, is pretty much the ultimate samurai film of all time. It seems an oversight not to reference it.
Of course, a lot of stuff about this show is similarly rooted in Japanese cultural elements that don't translate well. One thing I was reminded of recently is that samurai wasn't a job description, but a hereditary noble class -- something they acknowledged to an extent with Antonio, since he wasn't born into the lineage and thus could never be a true samurai. But the idea of all these non-Japanese characters being samurai by heritage is rather ridiculous -- and of course Bulk & Spike's quest to learn to become samurai is missing the whole point. Of all the Sentai seasons that Power Rangers
could've chosen to adapt nearly verbatim, Shinkenger
is probably the worst choice, since it's so deeply rooted in Japanese culture and heritage. I wish they'd reworked the concepts and storylines some so that they weren't as incongruous when Westernized.