The Power Rangers franchise left such a lasting impression that countless clones followed in its wake. But how do you know which ones are fake and which ones are outright fantastic?
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A lot of the inspiration for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers came from the Japanese Super Sentai series. In order to create a ’90s kids’ television phenomenon, the creators of Power Rangers used footage from other shows and spliced in scenes with American actors playing the unmasked Rangers as well. The popularity of Power Rangers in the West led to an abundance of cheap knockoffs, even if you believe it was a rip-off of Super Sentai or older shows like Voltron.
Some of these series went on to be successful on their own, but many were poor copies of the originals, and a few never made it beyond Japan. It’s time to revisit MMPR clones after a modern film reboot of the Power Rangers franchise opens this month, and all of these shows show how popular the legacy Power Rangers has become. These are the 15 Best Power Rangers Clone Movies.
1. Squadron Sport Ranger
It’s mind-boggling to think that the idea of fusing Power Rangers with sports didn’t arise until 2006. Considering the Rangers’ natural athleticism, you’d think this would be a no-brainer, but it took the Thai series Squadron Sport Ranger, which is based in Bangkok, to put the concept into motion. Dr. Earth uses SSR to recruit five teenagers and outfit them in colorful armor in order to guard magical medals from the Starhunter aliens. SSR will run for two seasons.
Power Rangers had different themes for each of the five main characters, but Squadron Sport Rangers sees each ranger focus on a single sport, with the five options being Boxing, Soccer, Swimming, Gymnastics and Tennis. In addition to the mech robots, the show borrows heavily from the Power Rangers universe by employing a similar visual style and tonality. There are some unexpectedly dark moments in SSR, like when the three male Sport Rangers give their lives to save the world in season one. Chivalrous.
2. Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger
In the same way that Power Rangers was the Americanization of Japan’s Super Sentai series, many Japanese fans consider Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger to be a ‘unofficial’ installment. HSA, one of the list’s newest additions, debuted in 2012 and caters to a younger demographic with only three main characters instead of the usual five. The show’s colorful styled hairdos on each Ranger’s armor are perhaps its most recognizable feature.
Remembering the online parody of the Mighty Moshin’ Emo Rangers from a few years back, the three Akibarangers – of the Blue and Yellow varieties – each wear their hair in different styles when they suit up, resulting in styles like Akiba Yellow’s schoolgirl bunches and Akiba Red’s anime cut that defies gravity. It’s possible that fans of the 2017 Power Rangers reboot movie were underwhelmed by the initial images of the armor, but one look at Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger shows just how bad things could have been.
3. Tomica Hero: Rescue Force
Power Rangers was frequently criticized for being a glorified toy commercial, but in the case of Tomica Hero: Rescue Force, such an accusation would have been far more appropriate. Tomica Hero was based on a Takara Tomy toy vehicle line of the same name, and as a result, the heroes in the show used a variety of rescue vehicles to help them defeat the bad guys and keep the world safe. Given the concept, it’s safe to say that both Transformers and Power Rangers have been lifted from the show.
Tomica Hero: Rescue Fire, which ran for over fifty episodes and spawned a sequel series, clearly outgrew its status as a merchandise spin-off series and developed a devoted following in Japan on its own terms. While it never made it to the West, the show’s combination of martial arts with automobiles and construction appeals to kids of all ages and backgrounds, so it had the potential to be a successful international hit.
An extraterrestrial being chooses a group of teenagers and grants them superpowers in order to stop an incoming alien threat. Put a stop to it if you’ve already heard it. Before it became a real series, Voicelugger was originally intended to be a parody of Super Sentai-style tokusatsu series. Four young Earthlings have been given the power to control a demonic Hell-beast by the Muon Empire.
Instead of using martial arts skills or huge B-Movie mecha, the heroes in this show rely on their vocal prowess to save the day. The show’s most notable gimmick is that the Voistones give their users’ voices supernatural powers. While the great Zordon would have sat on the sidelines and watched his minions do all the dirty work, in the show’s Zordon, Voicelugger Gold, actually joins his minions as their fifth member.
How about Van-Pires? Similar in appearance to Vampires, but they…transform into vehicles, so… Putting the cheesy title to one side, this show features a stellar cast, including an uncredited Gary Oldman as a wise mentor and The Who’s John Entwistle on the soundtrack. Van-Pires has a lot of star power and you can’t say he’s lacking it. Additionally, the show was one of the first to regularly incorporate CGI segments into its live-action material.
Four ordinary teenagers (obviously) are accidentally given the ability to transform into fighting vehicles called Motor-Vaters in Van-Pires, another mash-up of Power Rangers and Transformers tropes. After that, they’re pitted against the titular Van-Pires, their ultimate mortal foes, in a fight for the fate of the world. Though the series only lasted for thirteen episodes, Van-Pires had its moments of brilliance and successfully blended classic horror themes with vehicle-based mechanical concepts for a fresh take on the horror genre’s staples.
6. Ultraman Tiga
There is some debate as to whether or not this entry is a rip-off of the Power Rangers, given that it is a part of Japan’s Ultra series, which began in 1966. Although the series had been away from screens for over a decade, Ultraman Tiga, released in 1996, represented a partial reboot that included many new and contemporary elements more in keeping with the Super Sentai style of animation. Ultraman Tiga was a one-man show with a single protagonist, an Earthling named Daigo, who was given the power to channel Ultraman Tiga’s spirit in order to protect the Earth from an alien invasion.
Even though it deviates from the standard Sentai format, Ultraman Tiga retains a strong connection to the series, especially during the series’ many climactic battles. Together we can achieve peace, and a hero fulfills his ultimate destiny are both prevalent themes in the show. Ultraman Tiga, unlike some of the other Japanese entries on this list, had an English dub that was broadcast on the Fox network in the United States, although it did not achieve the same level of popularity as Power Rangers.
7. Los Luchadores
Luchadores combines the worlds of Power Rangers and Mexican wrestling in one show. Los Luchadores, like its predecessor from the 1990s, was produced by Saban entertainment and debuted on the Fox Kids network around the year 2000. The action took place in the fictitious city of Union City, which had a buffoon for a mayor and was plagued by monster attacks that the Luchadores had to defend against.
A trio of color-coordinated Lucha Libre wrestlers donned traditional Mexican wrestling garb transformed into Power Rangers garb served as the show’s central protagonists. Due to the wrestling gimmick, the futuristic elements of MMPR were reduced, but the thin plot lines, exaggerated action sequences, and zany villains remained.
But the show didn’t succeed in bridging the gap between the older WWE demographic, and it was eventually canceled after two years on the air because of its failure to do so.
8. Mummies Alive!
Mummies Alive! may not be as much of a rip-off as some of the other entries on this list, but it did use a few Power Rangers-inspired elements on its way to success. In the United States and the United Kingdom, Mummies Alive! was a popular animated series that followed the exploits of four ancient Egyptian guardian mummies who must defend Prince Rapses, the modern-day reincarnation, from the evil villain Scarab.
They used the mystical power of Ra to improve their combat skills, armor, and weapons in order to protect their young master. A second season of Mummies Alive! was never greenlit due to the show’s dwindling popularity after its initial forty-two episode run. Mummies Alivenow !’s grown-up audience remembers the series fondly alongside other cartoon classics such as Gargoyles and Street Sharks because time has been kind to the series.
9. Kamen Rider Kuuga
To a similar extent as Ultraman Tiga, Kamen Rider was an inspiration for the Super Sentai series in that both featured high-octane action and schlocky villains. There had been a brief hiatus due to the rise of the Power Rangers, but it returned with a format and style that was much closer to the Sentai-style that had become popular during that time. There were even times when the Rider and the Rangers fought side by side.
The Kamen Rider series revolved around a human hero who had been genetically modified to take on the characteristics of a bug and was tasked with taking on Shocker, an evil organization hell-bent on world dominance. The idea that the ‘Kamen Rider’ title would be passed down from one character to the next had the greatest impact on Power Rangers was evident in the series. The series’ enduring popularity led to a U.S. remake, which we’ll discuss further below…
10. Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverley Hills
Aside from the tattoo part, the title of this show sounds like something you’d use to introduce someone to Power Rangers if they’d never seen it before. As a result, Beverley Hills, Ontario’s Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters makes it abundantly clear that they are a ripoff. However, due to the tighter budget, TTAFFBH’s production values were laughable even by the standards of the ’90s, making Power Rangers even more impressive.
Even with its flaws, the show had the ability to make fun of itself in its dialogue. To cap it all off, the final episode even parodied the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life. If you thought Power Rangers couldn’t get any cheesier before, you should take a look at TTAFFBH for an education in truly corny nostalgia after it left television.
11. Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad
It’s surprising that the popularity of Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad has held up so well despite its obvious ripoff of the Super Sentai format. There are numerous viruses plaguing the digital world in which Sam finds himself, as well as his fellow student Malcolm and his love rival’s Mega-Virus. The premise of the show actually sounds more like a prototype for Digimon than a Power Rangers clone.
That’s where the Digimon and Power Rangers similarities end and begin. Sam can use his Arsenal Programs as weapons or armor in the digital world, just like the Zords of the Power Rangers. If combined with Sam, they could form a Megazord-style warrior that was as powerful as the original Megazord. It’s interesting to note that actor Tim Curry, best known for his roles in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and It, provided the voice for the film’s villain, Kilokahn.
12. Masked Rider
Kids’ TV executives began looking for other Japanese material to adapt for an American audience as soon as the popularity of Power Rangers soared, and they soon found it in the form of the previous entry, Kamen Rider. Masked Rider, created by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, the team behind Power Rangers, followed the same formula for the Kamen world.
Just before the premiere of his own series, the new Rider appeared alongside the American Power Rangers as a promotional stunt to show that they shared the same universe. However, the new show failed to gain the same level of popularity. Because of low viewership and toy sales, Bandai cancelled Masked Rider after 40 episodes. Viewership was down, possibly because it had a lighthearted and comical feel to it thanks to a new character named Ferbus and an alien protagonist who tried to blend in as an ordinary American.
13. Mystic Knights of Tia Na Nog
In addition to being a beloved Power Rangers clone, Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog made an effort to stand out and be unique. In Mystic Knights, yet another Saban creation, a medieval setting with swords and sorcery values was envisioned for the tokusatsu format. A typical suit of armor is given to each of the four young protagonists chosen by King Conchobar to protect the land from Queen Maeve and her monsters.
In comparison to Power Rangers, this show focused more on long-term, ongoing storytelling and developed a devoted audience. Because Mystic Knights failed to be the huge hit that Saban had hoped it would be, a second series was shelved in favor of making Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy.
14. Big Bad Beetleborgs
The Big Bad Beetleborgs series came the closest to replicating Saban and Levy’s Power Rangers success. The three main characters from the show each had their own metallic armor and arm-mounted weapons, which made for an amazing toy line. Similar to MMPR’s use of Japanese series footage, Beetleborgs’ giant mech weapons were in full insect-themed force and featured footage from Metal Hero.
The Beetleborgs and Power Rangers shared some monster props and musical cues, but this was more likely a way to save money than a genuine attempt at a shared universe, although the two series never crossed over on-screen. Because the company simply ran out of Japanese footage to adapt, Beetleborgs was forced to come to an end, unlike many other Saban series that were canceled due to a lack of interest or poor toy sales.
15. VR Troopers
As with Beetleborgs, VR Troopers had a lot in common with Power Rangers and Saban had another hit on their hands with VR Troopers. Despite this, the show’s focus on virtual reality gave it the freedom to experiment with a variety of novel ideas. When the focus was on Ryan Steele’s relationship with his estranged father, it added a personal touch to the story that wasn’t present in previous Saban productions, for example.
VR Troopers, on the other hand, was a blatant rip-off that featured three young people who find themselves thrust into the role of defending the real world from the evil Grimlord while donning futuristic VR armor and weapons. VR Troopers, like Beetleborgs, was cancelled due to a lack of footage, despite using footage from multiple Japanese productions. The game was a commercial success and well-liked by children.
the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Craig began writing for Screen Rant in 2016, several years after finishing college, and he’s been ranting ever since, mostly to no one in particular in the privacy of his own home. Craig, who had previously written for a variety of sports and music publications, soon shifted his focus to television and film, where his lifelong love of science fiction and comic books came to fruition. It wasn’t long after many coffee-drenched hours working at night that Craig’s side gig turned into his full-time gig, writing about everything from the zombie apocalypse to Doctor Who’s Starship Enterprise. While Craig has been a part of Screen Rant’s breaking news coverage and slightly controversial ranking lists in the past, he now focuses on features. When it comes to acting, Craig prefers Jim Carrey, and some of his other interests include superheroes, anime, and the High School Musical trilogy’s overlooked genius.