Over the last couple of years the idea of “boys toys” and “girls toys” has been part of a topic of conversation, especially when it comes to gender identity. Major retailers like Target have chosen to remove the idea of a “boys” and a “girls” section of kids’ clothing in favor of simply a “kids” section. Now, we attempt to stay out of politics here at TokuNation because we like to see ourselves as a way for people to allow themselves a distraction from something you’re likely seeing or hearing about in the 24/7 news cycle however we felt it necessary to bring this portion of conversation to light.
A few years ago we wrote an article regarding a quote from a Hypable story where it was stated that there was pressure in Power Rangers to NOT feature or release girl action figures because Power Rangers is a boys action figure line. That story, for us at least, went viral on social media, reaching nearly 50,000 people on Facebook alone. Bandai America reacted quickly in the convention circuit and announced that girl action figures (and girl Ranger Keys at the time) were coming and that they were not going to cut the girls out of the line.
Boy, how times change.
At this year’s New York Comic Con, Bandai America openly stated to numerous fans in attendance that in the future they would be decreasing the number of girl action figures available in the various Power Rangers toy lines due to the fact that they’re not selling. And, in all honesty, they’re right – shelves are full of Power Rangers Ninja Steel White and Pink Rangers (and Yellow, because Yellow has traditionally been female) and the 6.5″ Legacy line of figures are swamped with Ninja Storm Blue, Mighty Morphin Pink, Mighty Morphin Yellow, and In Space Yellow figures.
Recently, our friends at Power Rangers NOW revealed the press photos of the upcoming figures in the first assortment of Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel. Missing from the line up are any female action figures. Our site sponsor BigBadToyStore.com put up a pre-order for Wave 4 of the 6.5″ Legacy Power Rangers figures. The case assortment does not contain the two Mighty Morphin female Power Rangers (Pink and Yellow) and instead opts to double up all the male figures.
Bandai America has stated themselves and used the YouTube channel MMPRToys to tell fans and collectors that if they want to see the new figures they need to buy the female figures. The quote from Bandai America at New York Comic Con is that the Psycho Rangers, a fan-demanded line of figures from Power Rangers In Space due out (originally) in late 2018, are ready to ship but won’t because female figures are clogging the shelves. This is correct though horribly stated. In order for new toys to ship out to stores, the old toys have to sell first. In this instance, the female figures are the leftovers from the older waves, and would need to sell first before the new wave releases. Hence, “buy the girl toys or the new toys won’t come out”.
In a world where Wonder Woman can be a dominating box office presence and an inspiration for young girls everywhere, we challenge both Bandai America and Saban Brands to do more to empower the female characters in Power Rangers to make them more desirable to all fans, young and old, boy and girl. Instead of being side characters to fill out a roster, do more to flesh them out so everyone will want a representation of that character in their collections. Power Rangers has always been progressive, featuring strong lead roles for so many different ethnicities in times where white skin males made up the majority of superheroes. In a world where discrimination against women continues to rock headlines, Power Rangers once again can be a pioneer in equality if it chooses to be.
However, with Uchu Sentai Kyuranger looking more and more likely to be the next adaptation of Super Sentai, a team that features 12 total heroes with only 2 of them being female, we may have to wait 3 years or more for that to happen.
On the plus side, the official comic book Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, published by BOOM! Studios, has revealed that there was an original team of Rangers before the teens we knew – and they featured a female Red Ranger (along with a Pink male Ranger to boot). So while the collectible side of things seems to be highly male-skewed, we have to give credit where credit is due to both Kyle Higgins, writer of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Saban Brands for approving these stories and adding more depth and diversity in to the history of the Power Rangers.
But what does the future hold for the Power Rangers toy lines? Are girls really diminishing from the toy line? And is that a bad thing for a brand geared towards boys? And can we blame Bandai for decreasing the number of toys that don’t sell (that just happen to be female)? Or do we blame Bandai and Saban Brands for not marketing their female characters in a more appealing way for kids and collectors alike? Join in our discussion.
UPDATE! (10/17/17) ComicBook.com reached out to Bandai America and they responded. Here is the official response:
“Bandai America is and has been fully committed to bringing ALL RANGERS to fans with our action figure lines. From the very first episode of Mighty Morphin, female Rangers have been equal and important members of Power Ranger teams and our product line will continue to reflect that. As with most brands, we continue to evaluate what characters and figures resonate with audiences and adjust the line based on fan demand and overall business objectives. Fans can rest assured that all Female Rangers will continue to be produced and included in Bandai America’s Action Figure and Legacy Figure lines.”
As of the time of this update we have had zero response from Bandai America or Saban Brands regarding this article. We welcome the opportunity if they’re interested.