This would be a long article if I tried to put it all in one shot, even across multiple pages, and this installment goes for three videos (mostly because Linkara takes time to address fans who have been demanding the next episode). And anyone new, yes I do have his permission to post the video here. I had wanted to do a series of Power Ranger articles myself for the longest time, but never had the opportunity to track them down. He does it better in video form, so what I do here is see what memories are sparked by his video as well as take a brief look at the Sentai it comes from.
Since I’m not willing to give up three days of articles, even though I couldn’t think of a thing to write about this week, the next three Thursdays, baring special circumstances, will be dedicated to my take on Wild Force. Linkara himself is already up to Ninja Storm and is preparing for Dino Thunder. As you’ll see from the beginning of part one, however, don’t rush him on it.
As you can tell, this came out when Power Rangers Samurai was still in production. By the way, if you haven’t heard about the David Yost interview, long story short he came out as being gay and said that led to some strained relations with the higher ups and that was why he left the way he did. There’s probably more to it than the summary I just gave, but it’s been awhile and despite Billy being my favorite of the Mighty Morphers I didn’t really look into it at the time.
As to whether Wild Force is a Saban or Disney show, my classification is transitional. Since Disney did keep the Saban shows in canon for their run I consider it one big Power Rangers Universe so it doesn’t matter who made it. It’s like how IDW has one G.I. Joe title that continues the Marvel run’s story.
The CG Zords: They didn’t bother me too much. As Lewis noted, in the original Hundred Beast Soldiers Growl Ranger (apparently the team name, Gaoranger, can be translated) they went more toward computer generated and less towards the minatures. I think that works here, as the “Power Animals” are called upon to get more physical. They’re not vehicles like other “zords” but are living creatures and thus interact more with the characters. In some ways it’s an improvement over the “Galactabeasts” of Lost Galaxy, and this is from a guy who defends the monster suits over CG when it comes to Godzilla.
Although, the soccer ball attack? LAME!
The theme song kicks butt! While this is still my least favorite series for reasons I’ll get into in part 3 (with possibly a few hints in parts 1 & 2), the music was well done. There are some hints of how the theme would go under Disney’s run, but also hints of how Saban did it, which actually makes the transition between companies a little easier. I can’t honestly say there is a Power Rangers intro that I hate, although Operation Overdrive is probably my least favorite.
Something to note considering some of the complaints (including my own) about the way Power Rangers Samurai opened versus Wild Force. Here we meet the team with four of the members already formed. Cole will come in and join the group, becoming the Red Ranger (and thus the leader, which I think got miss military–again, I proudly support the military–all disappointed, since she seems to like being in charge). Cole is our entry into the Wild Force storyline so although the Wild Force Rangers have been battling the Orgs (interestingly the same name in both series) for a while we have a way into the events. With Samurai, however, we’re dropped into the middle with only a slight bit of narration to explain the backstory. The first aired episode should introduce us to the entire cast somehow, while the first aired Samurai show goes right to focusing on one particular Rangers without giving us a reason to care. That’s the difference. Now let’s discuss the Rangers themselves.
- I’m going to give Taylor (or Punch McRockfist) quite a bit of flack, but I do love her as a character. She may be by the book (which she actually wrote) but she honestly cares about the team and learns to accept Cole as both member and leader. It’s not a bad or insulting depiction of the military (in her case a pilot) and the fact that I mention her first over the Red Ranger means she may be my favorite character of the five.
- As for Cole, if it wasn’t for the environmental theme of this series, I wouldn’t understand how he got to be the leader, too. Also, why does he get super-spiritual powers that the other teams don’t? (Most notably the power to reach other peoples hearts, which appears to simply require thinking really hard about it. He’s like Ma-Ti from Captain Planet but without the ring. Not surprising, considering the theme.) He’s the right character for this show, and he does at least have a nice sub-plot which I will get into in later parts.
- Danny is my least favorite Power Ranger of all time! We get a couple episodes focusing on his unrequited love for a co-worker in his old life, but that’s it. There is literally nothing to him outside of being big and powerful but lovable and good natured. He’s like Rhinox from Beast Wars: Transformers without everything that made Rhinox so darn cool.
- Max, in addition to being the only reason Danny has anything worth doing (being Max’s best friend), is just a great character. He’s like Mike from Samurai, but with a strong sense of responsibility. In this case, he’s trying to prove he isn’t just a “kid” (being the youngest member of the team) and he’s just the most interesting to watch, even if Taylor is my favorite.
- I think of all the Rangers in the entire franchise, Alyssa is the one I’d most want to date. This would be the last season I was young enough to find any of the female Rangers attractive and having seen her portrayer in Lewis’ “Power Morphicon” videos, she is still just as beautiful. Seriously, if Jessica Rey is reading this, call me.
Jindrax and Toxica. I’ll get more into them later, but for now…best “generals” in the franchise. I think they may have had more depth than any of them. They succeed where the Lightspeed Rescue villains tried to go and failed, and Ecliptor had only come close: being three-dimensional character who aren’t just evil to be evil, as much as I have no problem with such characters in a kids show.
That’s the original Gaoranger morph for comparison. And here’s where Lewis and I disagree on both fronts. First off, I think that a cell phone as a morpher is a good idea, as it does keep it a lot more secret and easier to hide from non-Rangers. Plus it can act as a communicator without looking weird to people wondering why they’re talking into a strange-looking watch. (Even the Mighty Morphin’ communicators had that problem.) Later cell-phone morphers would add other functions. At least it’s not something stupid, like sunglasses or something, but I’m sure nobody would try something that lame, right? Yes, I know disappointment is coming in a few seasons. Merrick’s is even lamer, since his phone doesn’t even get to transform into a humanoid and just sort of spins around.
While Lewis maintains a mild interest in Transformers I maintain one similar to his love of Power Rangers and when your morphing sequence includes a phone turning into a robot version of your morphing pose (which is the same kind when you call your friends to go “where you at?”, and why does Merrick make that pose, too?), you lose points with me. This guy is a better looking transforming cell phone.
The Zen-Aku arc: soccer ball attack aside, I’d rate this up there with Tommy’s introduction, if not better. Merrick has a stronger connection, thanks to the romantic connection between Merrick and Shayla, that isn’t resolved as quickly since Merrick has to come to terms with his time as Zen-Aku. This wouldn’t be the last time a Sixth Ranger would start out evil, but it may be the best done. We’ll see what Power Rangers Samurai offers with Decker.
I’m sad to report that we will hear that song again, but next time the annual team-up and the worst friend the Rangers could ever have. Return next week or see the whole thing now and just come back for my thoughts.