Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Superheroes needed: Power Rangers join Japan quake relief drive

Photo by Álvaro Felipe/Flickr (creative Commons)

In the two weeks since northeastern Japan was devastated by a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami, among the growing list of donors to relief efforts have been the Japanese companies that have operations in Southern California, even some in Baja California.

The latest on this list is Bandai, the toy company and purveyor of Japanese superhero action figures, most famously the Power Rangers.

Donors who stop by Bandai America's headquarters in Cypress between noon and 7 p.m. today for a drive-through fundraiser will get to meet characters from the Samurai Power Rangers, Ben 10 and Swampfire, Lassie the dog and Tamagotchi. Goodie bags are promised, too.

The Bandai drive takes place at 5551 Katella Avenue in Cypress and will benefit American Red Cross relief efforts. Cash and check donations (not food or clothes) are being accepted. Bandai and several related businesses, among them the entertainment company Saban, are part of the effort. Bandai America plans to make a matching contribution for personal donations.

Japanese American and other community groups, businesses large and small and a growing list of celebrities have helped raise funds for earthquake relief in Japan so far. But if there was ever a situation where superheroes were sorely needed, it's this one.

In the two weeks since the quake struck, Japan has been plagued by spreading radiation from crippled nuclear reactors that is contaminating food and water supplies. The death toll continues to spiral upward, and fuel shortages are hampering efforts to provide help to those left homeless.