This interview with Dairanger DVD producer Brian Ward was originally published by RangerCrew.com and is reprinted with permission.
What was your first reaction when you saw Dairanger?
My reaction was largely the same as when I saw Zyuranger. It’s a little weird to see where the footage used for Power Rangers came from. It really made me wonder about subsequent seasons, as we move away from MMPR. I’m eager—and hoping—to see later seasons, like what was used for In Space and S.P.D.Seeing these early seasons is fantastic, but it makes me want to see more.
What was your favorite Dairanger episode?
I’m partial to the “Your Souls, Please” episodes. By no stretch of the imagination do I ever want children to be harmed, but there’s something interesting about the way children are legitimately put into danger during the Japanese series. They’re not just people to be saved. They’re really in life or death situations. And that’s not something MMPR was generally allowed to do. So to see a villain remove the kids’ souls (in the form of a ball) from little doors in their chests is fascinating. But to then put those souls into DOLLS! These writers were twisted. And I kinda love ‘em.
What did you think of the Dairanger theme song?
As catchy as ever! All of the Japanese theme songs are the best, no matter what the series.
How would you compare Dairanger with Zyuranger seasons?
I enjoyed Dairanger a little more. Ultimately, I think they’re very similar series. Like Power Rangers, you know what you’re going to get; it’s just a question of how you’re going to get it. And I think Dairanger has a really interesting storyline. I won’t lie, though; I kinda miss the costume-y nature of the day-to-day clothes the Zyurangers had. They were as epic as their morphed costumes!
What are your thoughts on Mighty Morphin White Ranger’s counterpart in Dairanger?
Eek. I’ve never been a fan of the “little kid turns into a full-grown adult superhero” character. I never liked Captain Marvel(aka Shazam!) for that reason. There’s something about the instant transformation that just seems a little too much like fantasy fulfillment to me. Bananaman might be my one exception. I’m sure folks will probably present me with others with which I agree. But, for me, this was a big deal. As you may know, because we’ve known each other for a while now, the White Ranger has my favorite helmet. If someone said I could have any Ranger helmet, that’s the one I’d want. But my love of the White Ranger costume is quickly set aside when you hear a child’s voice coming from behind the mask and, suddenly, he’s riding a skateboard. And… I dunno. Like, if you were to take the helmet off while he’s in his full Kibaranger regalia, is he a full-grown man with a child’s voice?! Is he a disproportionate child?! Either way, it’s creepy to think about. That being said, he evolves a bit. He becomes a valuable member of the team. And that makes him more interesting to watch, as the series progresses. That’s one of the things I like about these series; there is progression with the characters. But I do prefer the stronger leader we see when Tommy’s inside the White Tiger helmet. For sure.
What was the process in bringing Dairanger to the final product stage?
No different than the other series, really. The masters came in from Toei by way of Saban. They looked great, so we didn’t need any replacements. Then, we went into the subtitling phase, because Toei doesn’t make English translations. The subtitling was done a little differently this time around. For Zyuranger, we did pretty direct translations from the series. While they weren’t inaccurate, some fans thought they were a little dry or lacked a little of that tokusatsu umpf. So this time, we did direct translations, followed by a round of QC, where we went through and made changes where we thought the translations could use a little punch. We always respected the translation, so our revisions weren’t dramatic. We didn’t make changes. But if they said something that simply could’ve sounded better, if stated a different way, we’d consider it.
Is the Dairanger movie included in this set?
Sadly, the Dairanger movie is not included. I waited until the very last minute to come to that conclusion, too. We were still trying to make it happen right up to the end. Unfortunately, the movies are a completely separate deal and don’t fall within our rights to release the series. I’m not 100% sure what it’ll take to get them, but I never count the possibility out anymore. Had you asked me years ago if Shout! Factory would ever be releasing Super Sentai—and some of you did!—, I’d have quickly said, “no.” So I’m not doing that here. Who knows? We could release the movies one day. I’m just not sure when or how. Ideally, they’d be part of their series.
How was the experience restoring the video and quality to DVD format?
We didn’t have to restore anything. Like with Zyuranger, the masters came in and looked good, so we encoded those straight from the source.
What are your thoughts on the box art?
I like it. Again, we’re faced with the difficulty of marketing a series that a handful of people know exist without confusing the marketplace with Power Rangers. On one hand, the art has to cater to fans. On the other, it has to inform the audience that isn’t already within the fan base. So I like that we’re focusing on the characters out of costume, while including the costumed Rangers on the bottom. I think it’s a nice line to walk.
What can fans expect from the Dairanger DVD set?
Fun, plain and simple. If you’ve never seen Gosei Sentai Dairanger, it’s a treat. Whether you’re a fan of Power Rangers is irrelevant. This series is fun to watch.
Will the Dairanger DVD Set have any bonus features?
Unfortunately, no. We had a great stroke of luck with Zyuranger, in that, we were releasing it in a year where there was a Power Morphicon and that convention just happened to have a great panel with original Zyuranger cast members. As you know, there was no Power Morphicon this year and, for a title as niche as this, we can’t travel to other conventions around the country or world to do the same kind of thing for Dairanger—assuming the cast members from Dairangerare even attending any conventions. I’d like to try to get some bonus features on future releases, for sure. But it will depend on what’s available to us. Some folks suggested panel footage shot by audience members, but that becomes a legal issue because the panelists haven’t signed releases and getting their permission—not to mention the convention’s permission—to include the panel on the DVD can be difficult.
Are there plans for more Sentai DVD releases?
There are plans only so far as to say, “if Dairanger sells well, we’ll move forward with Kakuranger.” And I sincerely hope that’s true. But only the fans can make that happen by proving there’s a market big enough for us to invest in another season.