“You did quite well, but you need more training to defeat me!”
In 1994, two things apart from comics fascinated me: Video games and martial arts in movies/TV. Like any 10-year-old boy, I had a voracious appetite for both. I loved Capcom’s fighting game Street Fighter II: Turbo (released on Super Nintendo) and was very adept with using Ryu as my primary character. Of course, by “very adept”, I mean “unbeatable”. Age hasn’t waned my skills in that game either, so if anyone wants to see me, it’ll be like John Cena doing his infamous hand gesture in front of Stevie Wonder (think about it). But, also…FOX Kids debuted the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers around the same time. Consisting of high school archetypes (the jock, the smart Asian girl, the uber-nerd, the Black guy who can dance and the WASP-y gymnast) with varying degrees of martial arts skills, they gained the power to protect Earth by using badges to turn their clothing into special costumes and gain control over combinatorial robots.
The series was formulaic, but I ate it up. I emulated all of the martial arts moves as best as I could, but something was missing. That something was Jason David Frank who portrayed Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger. Tommy had a cooler look, was a better fighter and very popular with the fans. Even when they brought him back as the White Ranger, he just jacked Jason’s spot as the team leader without even asking. Never had I conceived of a battle between Ryu and the Green Ranger. But let’s compare:
Ryu’s a master of Shotokan Karate. He travels the world engaging in fights. He’s a Japanese lone wolf who roams the world fighting other opponents like he has OCD. He has no need for material wealth. For him, he lives to fight. He’s like Iron Fist, he harnesses his chi (internal energy) and manifests it at varying intensities as either a stunning energy blast (Hadoken), forceful punches (Shoryuken), and above-ground levitation (Tatsumaki Senpukyaku).
Tommy’s a martial artist with a 3rd Black Belt. Though in his late teens/early twenties, his skills were presumably enhanced upon his induction as a Power Ranger, with Rita and Zordon. Tommy’s enhanced abilities stem from an extra-dimensional source.
With all that, they seemed to be evenly matched, right? Recently, the quite imaginative batinthesun answered that question in the well-done battle in the video below. One cool part I liked was how they made the Power Ranger metamorphosis effect and the subsequently gained powers seem more defined. So who won? Watch this.
(Actual fight begins at 4:10)