Remember Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad? You know, four kids go into a computer to stop a reclusive nerd and Tim Curry (okay, his character’s name was Kilokhan) from destroying the digital world. While the series was clearly aping the success of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers in its heyday, what you might not know is that the companies behind the two shows nearly came to blows because of it.
As reported in Variety, back in 1993, DIC Entertainment developed a series that was going to be called PowerBoy. This is the series that eventually became Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad. At first glance the name seems inoffensive enough, but Saban Entertainment (now known as Saban Brands) was furious. It’s easy to see why, especially when the main character of PowerBoy was going to named Zack Jason. Yes, you read that right: Zack Jason. DIC clearly took the names of the Black and Red Power Rangers respectively and used it for their lead.
At a National Association of Television Program Executives confab in early 1994, Saban issused a statement that asserted DIC had agreed to change the name of PowerBoy and Zack Jason, putting a disclaimer on all marketing materials that would make it clear there was no relationship between the two series.
DIC did not let this go quietly. At NATPE (an event where TV shows are bought and sold) DIC took out a large front-page ad in Variety for PowerBoy. The disclaimer they agreed upon appeared, but only in two point type. You needed a magnifying glass to see it.
Eventually DIC did abandon the PowerBoy title and Saban quickly snapped it up, holding on to the trademark for several years.
After all that fuss, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad came and went with little fanfare. It aired 53 episodes and has barely been seen since. Its biggest bit of pop culture recognition came in the form of a reference in the Harry Potter fan musical, A Very Potter Senior Year.
Power Rangers on the other hand is still going strong with 25 seasons and counting under its belt. It’s easy to tell who the real winner between DIC and Saban was. If you want to learn more about Superhuman Samurai, check out our deep look into the series here.
Shamus Kelley still thinks the Gridman suit is one of the most beautiful suits in all of Tokusatsu. Follow him on Twitter!