Seeing as Linkara is already up to Mystic Force and I need something relatively easy this week, it’s time to steal more History Of Power Rangers even thought the risk is higher. For the next three videos Lewis Lovhaug (and in the article phase, me) will be hanging out with Space Patrol Delta. Prepare to be judged by a badge, it’s time for Power Rangers SPD!
- If I”m understanding my research correctly the biggest difference between SPD and its Sentai origin, Investigation Squadron Dekaranger, (the Deka part can be a translation of “10” or the slang for “detective”, both of which fitting as the show goes on) is that there isn’t any “big bad” in this story. It looks like Agent Abuera, the counterpart for Broodwing, wants to make Earth a safe haven for crime, but he more or less just acts as a black marketer for the criminal underworld. Although I’m sure you guessed that Emperor Gruumm doesn’t have a Japanese counterpart. Also of note is that Gruumm’s portrayer, Rene Naufahu, would later become Master Ji on Power Rangers Samurai.
- Speaking of the original Sentai, Doggie Kruger has the same name in both series, although I think (and this is rare) the Saban suit actually looks better, and the anamatroics for the head just seems to work better based on some clips and reviews I’ve seen of Dekaranger. So when he shows up in Sentai footage it looks like his stunt double. 😀 As for his morphed form, if Justin can suddenly gain an adult body why can’t Kruger’s head change as well. Then again since this one is on the Sentai I wonder why they went with the more human head. Did Bandai think the toy would be harder to either produce or sell?
- And let me say this about Boom and Kat right now. The way she treated him sometimes was just kind of mean. I don’t know if that was her way of pushing him or if she honestly didn’t like him (although he has plenty of respect for her and not just as his boss but also her place in SPD) but there were times I wanted to scold her for how she treated the lovable goof.
- The morphing sequence is pretty good. If I haven’t stated it yet, my theory is that what we see is actually what the Ranger sees as he or she morphs, each style morpher accessing the Morphing Grid differently. I think some kind of suiting up sequence similar to getting dress to go on patrol would have worked better than what appears to be doing cartwheels on a moving train. Make it look like they’re getting gear from a locker if they can make it look more police and less gymnasium.
- One thing I disagree with Lewis on is his complaint that some things aren’t resolved in the first story. True Jack & Z are criminals but they were relatively good people and we see their bond grow through the course of the series as the character also grow as individuals. I like that they aren’t the best of friends early off like so many other teams and while they accept Jack and Z as teammate a bit quicker than Lewis would like they won’t be friends later on. Heck, the next story featured the position of red ranger going to Jack’s head.
- Moira is an interesting character. If anybody remembers Beetleborgs Metallix, the second season of Beetleborgs, she takes some cues from Les Fortunes in the fact that she draws the monsters for Gruumm to send to Earth. The odd thing is that they’re arrested as ordinary criminals, which my research says they actually were in Dekaranger. I think that’s what they should have went with since SPD is a law enforcement group much like Time Force. Also, we have a kid villain played by an actual kid and she’s kind of cute in an evil sort of way.
- I’m not going to defend the “Kalisplosions” but I would like to add a bit of my insight. It look like they’re going for an “action movie” effect and that the force of the explosion is knocking the Rangers around. It still doesn’t look good and you wonder if they were going for huge explosions but worried about burning the suit actors, but I think that’s what they were trying to accomplish. As far as the “wire-fu” it works (and does look cool) when they’re morphed or if they have a “civilian power” that allows them to make that kind of leap but in un-powered civilian form it looks wrong. Civilian powers aside, they don’t have superpowers unless they’re morphed and it should reflect that. It would be like Billy Batson or Prince Adam lifting a heavy boulder. They shouldn’t be able to even though Captain Marvel and He-Man could without straining themselves.
- Speaking of the civilian powers, I’m actually not happy with the origin of the Ranger’s powers. It just feels like a forced way to explain them and to give B-Squad a combined backstory. I’m sure some other explanation could have been come up, perhaps something similar to the “bang babies” of the Milestone universe and the Static Shock cartoon, or some future abnormality similar to the mutants in Time Force. Perhaps Ransik’s reform paved the way for better human/mutant relations, especially after we started getting more alien visitors who weren’t trying to conquer or destroy us.
- The SPD Base: As someone who grew up with Metroplex, Trypticon, and their Headmaster counterpart (although never having either toy) I have no problem with this. And Tom Hanks tried to tell us nobody wanted a transforming building.
- Another disagreement with Lewis. If you’re the head of an evil empire, why NOT have a motorcycle? Gruumm at least at one point was a hands-on general and everybody else was on motorcycles. Not everybody has to be like Lord Zedd and just stand there firing at you.
Next time: A new Ranger debuts and I believe the first of two team-up stories with the Dino Thunder team.