Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Rollin' 4's for Beast Morphers

Beast Morphers returned for season 2 with a kind of uneventful episode but still better than past second premieres in Dino Charge and especially Ninja Steel. The team not believing Steel's conspiracy theories was a decent enough plot and I thought it was perfectly reasonable how they thought Evox and Scrozzle were gone. We then got our only Roxy episode in a plot about beach trash harming wildlife, which I thought was pretty decent - a plot the show doesn't specifically do a lot of. I liked how human Blaze & Roxy were caught and used and to make new robot clones, though Scrozzle having a machine be able to download them into new bodies (should they get destroyed) feels rather cheap. Plus it was cool having Miriama Smith (Elsa, DinoThunder) return playing Aunt Regina.

And the show continued on a pretty steady pace. We find out Evox has taken over Mayor Daniels and it's great watching him keep up the ruse. Finally, Ravi has to confess to Commander Shaw about his love of painting in an episode with Kelson Henderson playing the goofy painter human version of  Keytron. I liked the introduction of Beast X Mode as well.

About the only downside to this block of episodes is that he show really doesn't do discipline that well so Steel taking things a little too far just didn't quite work. And Megan ends up getting redeemed which I could've done without but it was still a decent debut episode for Beast King. We also got one of the better comedic moments when Steel's legs are hit with the evil dart and start running off on their own, with everyone in peruse. It makes me think how past seasons (like Disney Era) would've probably had Steel as the only comedic relief instead of Ben & Betty's wacky slapstick. Ben sticking up for her when Juan just wanted to dance forever was I'd say their best moment in Beast Morphers to this point. Also, I liked that they did a sports special likely meant to coincide with the Summer Olympics originally (replacing the Christmas episode) and how they used it for the boxing ring Megazord battle from GoBusters.

The midseason finale was by far better than Neo Saban ones. I loved how Zoey got an unmorphed fight with a solo morph (first Yellow solo since Summer in RPM) and a cool battle with the Spin Sword. Liked how Steel tried to help getting her & Nate together, and the issue of confessing to Shaw about them being an official item. It didn't make a lot of sense Evox (as Major Daniels) staying in GB so long or why Scrozzle just couldn't teleport in some Morph X himself earlier, but it made for one of the best cliffhangers ever when he transformed in front of everyone. The Armada arrival at the end of Megaforce was also pretty good but this was easily the best cliffhanger to compliment a good season since the classic spring/fall airing format. Now it's onto the second half (which I've been waiting to air in the US) and what sounds like a pretty awesome storyarc I can't wait to talk about.

4/5's except for  

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Legendary 20 Years with Zelda + Gaming in the 2010s

9 years ago I did my original post about gaming, growing up with Super Mario and other highlights from the Nintendo game systems (Check it out here). Now is the second part and my how times have changed the past decade. For one thing, the Wii I've had since 2008 was retired in 2019 due to the disc drive no longer working which I kept using into the Switch era for Wii Fit. I have yet to replace it with most likely a used Wii off eBay but will probably do so next year.

It's still funny to me how much I used to almost never buy games until they had been out awhile, sometimes feeling late to the party or unsure if I'd get it at all. It took awhile but that changed with playing more, which I'd say (picking up from the first post) started when I was unemployed throughout 2014. With a lot more time on my hands, I purchased Super Mario Galaxy 2, a game I wasn't real sure I would get, but was glad I did leading to a LOT of time with Mario's planet hopping adventures between this and SMG1. I always enjoyed getting 100% completion when it was possible dating back to SMW, but both games did not make that easy, leading to taking measures to make it easier, and raking in the hours on them (I'd end up coming back to both to complete after initially playing through them right up until the end of the Wii era). Gradually though I was getting behind on other Mario titles that had been out quite awhile so I finally switched gears and got 2007's Super Paper Mario, which I was pretty hyped for when it was first revealed. Gotta say, at the time, I absolutely loved the Mega Star power turning the characters giant 8 bit with the Starman remix jingle. After that I enjoyed Mario Kart Wii and then finished off the year with 2010's Goldeneye 007 remake, eventually revisiting the original '97 classic as well.

Before I get to the Switch, it's time for my history with Zelda. August 1999 through June 2000 was when I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, my very first experience with the franchise. I can't say why I didn't get into it sooner, other than growing up pretty much with Mario, any ads/commercials I saw for A Link to the Past on SNES, I probably didn't think much of. I do remember seeing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link at a friends and probably thought it looked weird compared to SMB. Even in the 90s I'm not sure how much I knew that the hero you play as was NOT Zelda. One day my sister gave me a copy of Ocarina of Time she had been given and I soon worked by way into Hyrule Field. It was an awesome time playing through the adventure, experiencing the revolutionary time mechanic of switching between young Link/older Link, capped off with my first game ending battle with Ganon. Of course the graphics are dated now but I still fondly look back and consider Kokiri Forest one of my favorite starting locations ever. I was so satisfied, I decided to pass on 2001's Majora's Mask sequel, party due to not being interested in the 3 day clock in-game mechanic. While I was busy with Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo took Zelda in a completely different direction, releasing the cartoon style Wind Waker. Loved it or hate it, I was happy to finally purchase a Zelda game and enjoyed playing through it in 2004. That year also saw the greatest Zelda reveal of all time, when a trailer for a not-yet titled Twilight Princess was shown at the annual E3 press conference - what felt like a true Ocarina of Time adult Link sequel. The game would come out in 2006, but as I was looking to spend time on my new Nintendo DS handheld, I decided to get Wind Waker's sequel, Phantom Hourglass in 2008 after it had only been out a few months, as sort of a companion while I played Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii.

By 2012, it was finally time to start catching up on Zelda after playing through Super Mario Galaxy. 1993's A Link to the Past was a fun nostalgic trip back to what I had missed in simpler gaming times and then I brokeout the GameCube again for Twilight Princess. I still kind of wish I had gotten it first instead of Phantom Hourglass, especially with it going back to adult Link and how misleading the title turned out to be. I was mind blown finding out that Midna, Link's imp-like guide in the game was the Twilight Princess in her true form. I then got Skyward Sword in 2015, more colorful and another great story in the series really getting into the lore of it all, though it wasn't quite as revolutionary and the Wiimote motion controls got annoying.

When I got the Switch in July 2017, Breath of the Wild of course had to be first with its wonderful new open world and game mechanics. I'd spend a satisfying year with it, taking occasional breaks to enjoy Mario Kart 8 (which I thought I'd have to skip entirely but was thankfully ported over from Wii U). Trying to conquer 200cc and get gold trophies wore me out so after a few months (and finishing BOTW) it was time for something else. Long overdue to get back into Donkey Kong Country, I decided to try Tropical Freeze, which turned out to be not really my thing even with an easy mode, likely marking the end of ever owning another DKC title. So it was time for Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, the all-star Zelda hack n' slash loaded with all the content you could ask for (combining the Wii U/3DS versions), with an amazing story mode and cut scenes beating anything from the main Zelda series. 

Summer 2019 it was time for a break so I picked up Super Smash Bros Ultimate - loaded with EVERY fighter and stage in Smash history. I enjoyed playing through the games World of Light story, but quickly realized the replay value of smash battles Melee & Brawl had is gone, and it's not something I'd be interested in playing online with random people. Plus, I realized just how forever special Melee is to me because it was completely new concept (after skipping 1999's original Smash Bros), and I loved having an all-star Nintendo lineup to play with, going on to spend hours and hours fighting NPCs. Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid also ended up being rather short lived (something I'd much rather play with friends, like Fortnite), so it was back to Hyrule Warriors while I figured out something I'd stick with.

I got Super Mario Maker 2 - originally debuting in 2015 on Wii U - so skipping Wii U I knew I had to get in on the second version. And man, did I get a whole new respect for classic Mario, especially (as I talked about before) having fond memories in the days of the SNES with Super Mario All-Stars being the first time I really experienced playing through Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World being the first flagship Mario title I completed 100%  (I'd still pretty much consider my favorite) and Mario Kart being an entirely new concept. Now I can  play and create courses all I want, from the original SMB to the recent 3D World. Making your own courses and what mine would look like is something I never thought about before but is fun to work with, a bit of a successor to Mario Paint of yesteryear. I especially love Mario Maker giving the games a night mode and new themes not in the original games. Playing competitively against random people is also pretty fun - something I'm not that great at but always satisfying to be the first one at the goal. The concept of making your own version of Super Mario World is not a new concept thanks to Lunar Magic, the program that allows you to edit the game on PC - something I thought about trying myself over the years - but to be able to do it officially is pretty special.

I never got into using the Wii's Mii service with friends, so I'm glad to finally be in the age of connecting with friends on the Switch and having a Nintendo online service, which I've used a lot for Mario Maker and sometimes playing Fortnite with my homies. Lots of NES/SNES titles are available for instant play on the Switch as well, which is nice as the original cartridges gradually wear out. Eventually I started to hit a creative wall as working on the same courses in the editor got old, so I had to think about getting something else. Despite missing out on Super Mario Odyssey, I didn't want to just keep playing all Mario all the time (like on the Wii), so I decided it was time for something brand new and gave Animal Crossing: New Horizons a shot, which has turned out to be a very nice life simulator, especially in a time when escaping reality sounds pretty good. Plus I intend to keep playing Mario Maker occasionally to make use of the online service and finish off all the courses I started working on. And with a lot of my shows off until next year there's plenty of time for the ACNH daily routines and working on creating/shaping the island. I also gotta give a quick honorable mention to Mega Man, whose classic games I've always been a fan of, they're just not for me (though I couldn't pass up on getting 2008's Mega Man 9 throwback before the Switch came out).

Here's to the next decade with more revolutionary moments, the Mario Movie on the way, not to mention what's in store for Breath of the Wild 2, sure to be as much of a must-buy as the first keeping the Legend alive well into its 35th year and beyond.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Beast Morphers first-half wrap-up

Aside from a few missteps, the first-half continued to improve from the Neo Saban years. Kid focus episodes usually don't turn out that good but "TUBA TRIUMPH" pulled it off pretty well with Joey jumping in the battle to help stop Tubatron with the soundwave. The Rangers believing the were the characters they dressed up as, and Devon (not being into Halloween) snapping them out of it via some clips, made for a pretty fun Halloween episode. Plus Jackie Scislowski totally nailed overplaying the viking which I thought was great.

"SOUND AND FURY" was one of the most surprising episodes PR has ever done with GB employee Megan going so far as to blackmail Zoey to get a new position as Nate's lab assistant. Past seasons would never have a character like that who is just a bad person. The Nate/Zoey crush was cute even though it never went anywhere. This was also when we got the debut of the battlizer with Devon using Fury Mode on Tubatron 2.0. He soon starts acting like a jerk as the fury cells slowly turn him evil. Of course they take the easy way out with the last cell depleted, quickly changing Devon back, but it was pretty awesome how close he got to killing Ravi. This was a pretty good, different take on the battlizer from older seasons, being a two-episode plotline.

"GORILLA ART" was a decent Ravi/Smash focus adapted around the GoBusters episode counterpart - the kind of episode I hope we see more of this year. I liked the focus of Zoey and her mom but it felt like something we get about every year with the Rangers identities nearly being exposed. This wasn't the best execution of it, plus how that memory card was able to be fixed was pretty silly.  

"REWRITING HISTORY" wasn't quite what I hoped for when the memory pulsator made everyone but Steel think Blaze and Roxy were Rangers. Aside from a nice callback to the premiere, I really wanted to see more of them in GB, not just getting a device. Also, the memory pulsator continuously sending waves to keep up the ruse was a weird way to go about it and kind of gave me Neo Saban flashbacks. Aside from that, this was still a good start of a three-part finale, plus Steel with his plant was great. His comedic personality and learning to adapt to society really makes Ben & Betty's slapstick feel unneeded.

I liked how Ravi destroyed avatar Roxy for good and the real on woke up and told the team Evox's plan. I would've liked more foreshadowing to Scrozzle making a new body for him. Major Daniels going to the Cyber Dimension with the Rangers and having the heart-to-heart with Devon was pretty cool. Loved the helmetless scene and including Steel with his robot head. Avatar Blaze defeat wasn't nearly as good as Roxy's and the line about the zords being destroyed felt cheap. Evox's monster form barely even got much use but I'll let that slide since it'll be back this season. Despite the flaws, this was easily a better first-half finale than anything from Samurai-Ninja Steel. The Cyber Dimension was destroyed and everyone thinks Evox is gone but things were left open enough like not taking their powers, while somethings up with Major Daniels. I expect this year will stay around the same level with potential for some well earned 5's. It'll be interesting to see how some of these plotlines develop (like Blaze & Roxy getting evil new powers), how the dino teamup turns out and RPM somehow being brought into the fold.


Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Crisis and End of Arrow

Crisis on Infinite Earths got off to good, fast-paced start - a roundup of different Earths around the multiverse with a few quick special cameos. I enjoyed how the Supergirl episode kicked things off and how involved the supporting cast was, with the anti-matter wave catching the DEO off guard and hitting too close to home for Kara when Argo was erased. And with the Superman & Lois spinoff on the way I thought this felt like a small teaser of that.

Part 2 (Batwoman), focused a lot on Kate and Kara going to Earth-96 and meeting that Earths Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy). I don't watch animated Batman but having Kevin do a disgruntled, live-action Bruce was pretty cool. I loved that Earth-96 Superman was a Ray Palmer doppleganger, Lex turning him evil, and trying to kill the Supermen from across the multiverse, including Earth-167 Smallville Clark! Absolutely wonderful tribute with it being revealed Clark gave up his powers after he had daughters with Lois. Also liked how they were able to work in a version of Leonard Snart as a Gideon. Very heartfelt moment of Oliver running out of arrows and "dying" soon after but I knew that couldn't be the end of him this early.

Black Lightning surprisingly had their own connection to Crisis with that Earth and everyone being erased as Jefferson is transported, who we then see appear in Part 3's Flash episode. Nice to see Ralph, Caitlin/Frost and Cisco get involved. Besides the Kara/Kate bonding, I liked how Jefferson got to know Barry. Very heroic sacrifice for John Wesley Shipp's Earth-90 Flash, complete with a brief flashback to the 90s TV series. I liked how they did the Paragons as well with Lex making a small modification so he took the place of Earth-96 Superman just as they were transported to the Vanishing Point, a safe zone as the ENTIRE multiverse and everyone else are wiped out.

Barry having to navigate through the Speed Force, revisiting key moments to order for the Paragons to be able to get out of the Vanishing Point got a bit confusing like it was there to pad time before the final hour. By far most surprising/unexpected moment ever was getting Ezra Miller for a cameo and keeping it under wraps. At last Oliver (now the Specter) makes the heroic sacrifice defeating the Anti-Monitor (or so it seems), creating a new universe in the only place it could happen - Crisis Arrow episode.

With Supergirl having been on Earth-38 until this point, it was only fittingly the final hour (Legends of Tomorrow episode) would actually start out feeling like an episode of her show, as Kara's world is now part of the rest of the heroes. This plays into all sorts of fun ideas such as her and Barry finding out they teamup occasionally with Kate and a Green Arrow in the new Earth. I liked how Oliver did a narration as we see a new multiverse which included CW's upcoming Stargirl on Earth-2. I flipped over Earth-96 Superman, now in a suit paying homage to Returns and the Donner films.

A giant Beebo on the street meant to be a distraction while a bank was being robbed was a perfect way to get in some of the wacky Legends of Tomorrow feel. Nice to see Nate and Ava on the Waverider, kind of thought we'd see the rest of the Legends. Turns out Anti-Monitor is still alive and grows huge. For a minute I thought we might get some sort of Megazord battle before a shrink bomb is created to stop him for good. Though Caitlin was around, it felt odd Iris was left out of this episode and Cisco was not around to help with the bomb. Everything is wrapped up nicely as the heroes paid tribute to Oliver and Barry unveiled a new round table as a new league of heroes is formed. I especially loved how involved Lex was throughout the crossover and how it appears he'll continue to be for now on Supergirl as head of the DEO. While that and Batwoman have played into the new world aftermath, Black Lightning really hasn't changed (rightfully so with the current heavy plotlines going on there). It will be interesting to see if they find a reason to bring over Barry or someone sometime or if Jefferson primarily goes to other shows. The Flash also had a great post-Crisis episode, paid respects to Arrow and is in for it's own aftermath I look forward to.

With Oliver long gone, it was time to say goodbye and reflect/celebrate his legacy in what I thought was an awesome final episode. I liked how they had him and a final big action sequence in it by going back to Arrow's old formula of flashbacks but making them unseen from season 1 - intended to pay homage to OTA but Emily Bett Rickards on limited time making her unavailable for the scenes. I was surprised by the amount of surprise cameos (credited at the closing) with Slade as the only real omission, as well as Ben Turner who I'm surprised didn't appear at all this season.

Ultimately, Oliver brought back Quentin, Moira, Tommy and Emiko in the new Earth, choosing to not bring back Earth-1 Laurel (with Earth-2 Laurel well on her way to redemption having filled her place), or his dad which would've resulted in him never becoming Green Arrow. Of course it doesn't quite feel like a goodbye with plenty of room on the other shows for cameos. Mia, Laurel and Dinah in Green Arrow & the Canaries going to series would offer even more opportunity, perhaps revealing who Green Arrow in the present Arrowverse time. Plus you've got John, with his newly discovered Green Lantern ring moving to Metropolis (of all places) with Lyla & kids. The Arrowverse will be alive & well for years to come but no other show will have the best choreographed action sequences from one of the most awesome and coolest dudes in the multiverse.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Beast Morphers #01-10 Roundup

The pre-season hype for Beast Morphers paid off with the best premiere (and the first premiere I've given a 5/5 to) since RPM, easily killing most of Neo Saban (aside from Dino Charge). Best premiere from Chip Lynn since Time Force. I got a couple different vibes... The opening karate scene felt Ninja Storm-ish, while Grid Battleforce and the B-Squad-like team felt reminiscent of SPD. Plus the obvious comparisons with having another virus and starting with three Rangers. It also had the start of some great unmorphed fighting. I like how different the villains were setup than a lot of other seasons when we'd see them in space or be awoken. Having Blaze be an evil Ranger is a great use of the suit (not used nearly as much in GoBusters) and I really like how Roxy's Ranger form was changed to yellow, really playing into the avatars being corrupt versions of Red and Yellow Rangers especially with how they were the original candidates in GB. Blaze is more generic lacky, but I gotta say Liana Ramierez does Roxy very well, quickly becoming one of my favorite humanoid villains since Tenaya 7.

I liked how they explained the Rangers weaknesses being tied into their animal DNA in "EVOX'S REVENGE," a solid 4/5 continuing to get the season rolling. Zoey needs carrots to refuel, Devon has a fear of dogs and like GoBuster Blue, Ravi overheats. The way the giant robots for zord battles are done is also pretty cool - a different take from past seasons with Scrozzle able to combine the Gigadrone model with the Robotron data the Rangers are fighting or was defeated. It makes for more interesting fights as well being able to have a Megazord battle before the ground battle finishes. Of course no longer having a cockpit powerup mode is the best part and while the Cheetah Blaster powering up a slash finishing move is rather silly, at least it's a lot quicker than what we had before.

After that, I felt like the show started to shift back to feeling like Neo Saban again. I really kind of hoped they'd copy GoBusters and do more insta-morphs, instead we got a sequence pretty similar to Dino Charge and Ninja Steel. Plus it turns out even the morph call is now prerecorded. Meanwhile, I'd say the comedic element is better with Ben & Betty, and I like how involved they often are, but they've gotten into some familiar unrealistic antics a few times. I really liked Zoey going into the season but she ended up with the worst episode of the first 10 in "END OF THE ROAD," which felt a little too much like a plot we would've had a year or two ago with trying to save the forest from a new road being built, going so far as to have the Beast Bots help save critters and bugs which I thought was dumb. Also one of the most strangest ways of creating a Robotron when Needletron was created from a bike pump. The whole X-Bike plot felt very 2019 (especially living somewhere with a lot of pay-to-ride bikes) - I just wish it had been a better episode. 3/5

I like how Ravi has a relationship with the real Roxy but as we saw in the beginning of the season, he ended it because of the GB rules about Rangers dating Rangers. So it was fun seeing her avatar toy with him and make him think she was trying to be good. I enjoyed "TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS" as well, showing real consequences for Devon missing work for his secret Ranger duties. 4/5 both episodes. Keeping the secret from Mayor Daniels though is pretty ridiculous and will hopefully pay off when his dad finds out. Devon then acting out of character in "HANGAR HEIST" kind of spoiled what was an otherwise good episode centered on the formation of the Megazord, a plot we don't normally get. It was kind of hard to buy how much the Rangers were taking advantage of the Beast Bots in "A FRIEND INDEED," with how underused they've been. 3/5 for both.

Evox nearly passing through the gate was cool as was almost using what would become Steel's body. I liked the foreshadowing of his head being shown a few times and Nate talking about wanting a brother, but with how quickly these additional Ranger debuts happen - not to mention I didn't care for how fast Steel was built - the result wasn't quite what I had hoped for, making me give "THE CYBERGATE OPENS" a 3/5 . They could've even started the hiatus with Nate being in danger, giving more buffer before he morphs for the first time an episode later. Steel coming online and morphing as well was showhorned in there but I guess you could chalk that up to energy runoff from Nate morphing.

With all that out of the way, I really enjoyed "SILVER SACRIFICE" and thought it was the best episode besides the premiere. I liked how the gate got fixed and Evox nearly succeeded again at taking Steel's body, only to discover it's not compatible due to Nate's human DNA in Steel. Pretty cool plot point. Gotta say I love his attitude to match the footage and look forward to what they do with the character. I can forgive Ben and Betty's continued overly wacky hijinks to give the episode a 5/5. "THRILLS AND DRILLS" felt like a pretty standard PR plot with Ravi having to face his fear of going to the dentist with some of the best comedic bits all year, like when the silhouette of the worker with the drill was mistaken for the dentist drill. 4/5 

It sounds like there are more good episode plots coming up, I just hope they don't stray off and go back following Neo Saban's way too closely, while giving us more more story like the Ravi/Roxy relationship, Devon & his dad and Devon eventually getting to test a battlizer mode before Powered Custom from GoBusters makes its debut. Perhaps ending the season with more of a cliffhanger and not acting like it's the LAST EPISODE would also be a welcome change.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Week of RangerBar 4: Pumping It Up

I got to Tacoma around 9:30 PM as Batz worked on getting the place ready. I checked out the new Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid console game and after a few hours, we picked up Tron getting in late from New Orleans. MrDire arrived from Kentucky Monday afternoon and Me0w from North Kansas City later in the evening.

The history making Week of RangerBar 4 officially got underway with the Day 1 staple of video games. I brought my Switch and we mostly played Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Battle For The Grid and had the "Fortnite Pacifists Class," with Lil Sorbo and Batz' girlfriend eventually joining us. Afterwards, we dressed up for the forth "Master Vile Villain Ball" and had pizza.

We ventured out to Des Moines to play around at Waterland Arcade and got Chinese food next door at Dragon Gate - in the midst of a downpour and nasty traffic unfortunately. Afterwards, we headed over to Uncle Cecil's for liquor tasting (Batz, Sorbo & I had previously been to), and then pretty much chilled at the Airbnb, while Batz picked up some special guests flying in from Toronto and took them to their hotel for the night. Since tacos was on the schedule, we eventually metup for a late dinner at Red Star Taco Bar around the block from RangerBar.

Tron fixed us breakfast sandwiches as we got up, Batz swung by, and along with Me0w - Tron, Batz and myself walked over to Safeway so Tron could get ready for the evening and grab whatever else was needed for RangerBar and the Airbnb (which we had Tuesday evening through Friday morning). Tron and Sorbo got busy getting food ready and I tried to help at RangerBar as Batz setup the hallway. His sister was the first to arrive and we put on The Princess Bride until the rest of the group started to trickle in. Soon our special guests - Jeff Parazzo and Kevin Duhaney (The White & Blue DinoThunder Power Rangers) arrived and were amazed at the RangerBar. Two really cool dudes who enjoyed getting to just hangout, chat, eat and have drinks - without all the normal convention stuff they're so used to. After a few hours, the food arrived for the nights event - the "Fred Dryer Dinner" - a tribute to the former football star, turned actor. Master Chef Tron served us all up about half a dozen courses while Dryer's show Hunter played on TV. After Jeff and Kevin left, the night kept going as we headed around the block to a bar/nightclub and then hungout at the Airbnb.

Around noon I took a nice walk (about an hour) from the Airbnb over to RangerBar and took a nap while Batz and his girlfriend ran errands and got ready for the evening. It was a great night with the group including Batz' sister joining us again and Shock Top Steve stopping by. Jeff and Kevin again hungout for a couple hours and Batz even arranged for a friends band to perform. There were fireworks as well. Around midnight, Jeff and Kevin said their goodbyes and got in some pics before flying out Friday morning.

For the first event of the day (what would end up being the final one at RangerBar), Batz fixed us a "Boujee Brunch" as we watched Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Later, we headed over to his girlfriends place and he put on the RangerBar "Cajun Country Music & Movie Festival," along with getting us pizza in addition to some exotic foods to go with the theme. Afterwards, we had a fun cupcake bake off event Me0w and Tron won.

We stopped at RangerBar, a tavern and got in a visit to the B&I Shopping Center. Then it was off to Montesano for the nights event - the "My Two Dads Murder Mystery," which we did at Gepetto's Italian Restaurant & Sports Bar. Afterwards, we got more drinks & hungout at Charlie's Sports Bar and then settled in our hotel room.

Left Montesano and hungout at Batz' girlfriends place. Later that evening, we had a quick "SlutRanger Smokedown," immediately followed by "The Tower 4D Experience" and then the "Michael Pare Ice Cream Parade" which I won easily having the most ice cream. The night wrapped up with watching Power Rangers Ninja Storm by candlelight to pay tribute to Shane the Red Ranger whose actor sadly passed away. Tron flew out early Monday morning, followed by Me0w and MrDire. Batz took me back to RangerBar so I could gather all my stuff and I left Tacoma at 4:30.

It was an awesome week with the largest out of state turnout and you couldn't have asked for better guests in Jeff and Kevin, as RangerBar celebrates 10 years with the very first event happening August 15, 2009 (My first event would come about 2 years later). Though the Airbnb situation got kind of dicey with 4 of us and really only 3 places to sleep it worked out having a place not too far. Definitely look forward to trying to get another Ranger for Week of RangerBar 5 and whatever other surprises happen by then.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Looking Back: Power Rangers Operation Overdrive

Like Mystic Force, I enjoyed watching Overdrive again a lot more than when it aired in 2007. Unlike the other Disney seasons however, it got off to a bit of a rocky start with one of weakest two-part premieres, bogged down with an emphasis on civilian powers and how easily the Mansion was discovered. I still kind of hate having Andrew Hartford as a mentor, and as annoying as Rose was a few times alongside Dax being way over-the-top all season, this group of Rangers would become one of my favorites, with Spencer and his quips/one-liners as a great supporting character. Also I realize I forgot how much of a good Red Ranger Mack was, one of my favorite Disney Reds along with Connor.

I really liked how Boukenger was adapted and still think Tyzonn's storyarc of working for Moltor, transforming and becoming the 6th Ranger, was pretty good, though not necessarily the best episodes of the season like I called it back then. I miss the days of having solid episode plots and a season long storyarc like tracking down all the jewels. Among the big plotlines, there were a couple of fillers I thought were excellent as well. For the most part, the way the different villain groups were handled, went pretty well. I especially liked Miratrix & Kamdor and their rivalry with Will (until their final battle anyway). Plus this cast really helped kickoff Power Morphicon and were some of the first Rangers some of us in the fandom (like myself) ever met. Gotta say it is a little weird looking back knowing that Samuell Benta would steal the signed banner and never be heard from again. We also got the last good anniversary season teamup episode to date in "ONCE A RANGER," one of the best returning groups of Rangers that would be hard to ever top. As far as the anniversary seasons go, I'd call Wild Force the best, followed by Overdrive, Megaforce and Ninja Steel.

Until Neo Saban, Overdrive was always the worst season but I can look back now and appreciate the heart & care Jackie Marchand and co. put into it. We would eventually come to find out they were given a smaller budget, preventing more of an Indiana Jones-style story they wanted but for what they had, with Bruce Kalish at the helm, it wasn't all that bad.

Ranking the episodes favorite to least favorite (Updated):
Both Sides Now
One Gets Away
Once a Ranger I-II
Pirate in Pink
Face to Face I-II
Man of Mercury I-II
Nothing to Lose
Things Not Said
Behind the Scenes
Red Ranger Unplugged
Home and Away I-II
Follow the Ranger  
Crown and Punishment 
Heart of Blue 
Ronny on Empty I-II
Kick Into Overdrive I-II
At All Cost
Weather or Not
The Underwater World 
Out of Luck 
Two Fallen Foes
Just Like Me
It's Hammer Time
One Fine Day
Lights, Camera, DAX
Way Back When

Original Wrap-up post