Thursday, December 13, 2012

Power Rangers Samurai Finale "SAMURAI FORVER"

The unmorphed fight was perfect, getting to see cast do actual stunts, then a pose.

What happened to Xandred going to kidnap Lauren? I could buy if they had stopped him before he got to the Shiba House but it wasn't even brought up. Really enjoyed the fight against Xandred and Shogun finally getting used as a battlizer, among a few refilmed parts beforehand. Awesome... And then Jayden thinks Xandred's gone for good. Oh brother.

Good zord fight and great to see the cast in the crumbling cockpit. Xandred's final speech seemed to allude to what we the fandom already know - the Nighloks and Samurai Rangers will definitely be back.

Bulk and Skull's reunion was kinda over-the-top and Skull acting like a dick was odd. Still, best moment of Samurai. I'm still wrapping my mind over the fact that Bulk BECAME Skull at some point, which completely explains his behavior now. I have a good feeling we'll see them next year but hopefully written better than Bulk and Spike, and not forgetting storylines like Spike's crush.

Lauren leaving made as much sense as when she arrived. And as far as Mentor's gift, past seasons would've tied it in with an interest shown before. Also, liked that they decided to callback Mike/Emily but it's one of the things that could've been hinted at more over Samurai's run.

This was also the first finale without any sort of attack on the Rangers headquarters. It definitely had its good, long-overdue moments but was sloppy in places as well. "THE SEALING SYMBOL" was the better of the 2 but this still earns a 4/5. A pretty fitting end to Samurai.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Catching up on Super Samurai comments

Good episode written by Amit Bhamuik and a nice end to the Serrator arc.

Antonio's moral dilemma over not finishing off Deker worked

Liked how they combined Deker with the same scene from Shinkenger since it's basically the same character.

Wish Bulk and Spike had been more involved and they had included the interaction with Antonio but for what we did have the bubblegum parts weren't bad.

Awesome zord fight and one my favorites out of all of Samurai. This episode did enough for a 4/5.

Episode started out pretty good. I really liked Fiera and how she used the fire attack against Jayden. But then things got too Japanese I thought, when the team went to battle at the park and we got mostly Shinkenger footage with the cast cut-ins. Jayden firing the bullzooka in a demorph was pretty sweet at least.

I liked Lauren's intro and how she defeated Fiera. But by the time she and Jayden had their talk it all lacked any soul and the last part was the nail in the coffin. I'm not bothered by Jayden leaving - It's just the way it was presented. :\ 3/5

Better episode this time. Jayden fighting Deker unmorphed was awesome and I enjoyed Lauren's interaction with the others, especially the training scenes. Liked seeing her lead the team in battle and that shes uses a shodophone.

The beginning and end of the episode still kept things a little painful but the rest was still good enough for a 4/5.

After suffering through almost 2 years I was happy to at last reach this point.

Dayu's "sacrifice" reminded me a bit of when Queen Bansheera absorbed Vypra. Kinda different for PR and a nice departure from the villainess-turned-human.

I had less of a problem with Jayden taking back leadership even though he never actually gave it up. All-around better scene with Lauren than when he left.

Bonus points if Xandred did send out the entire Mooger army (I always appreciate references like that). Also for no zord battle, which I liked having a break from.

Remember back when Red would USE the battlizer? It's obvious what Jayden has to do as a final attempt to defeat Xandred, since nothing else has worked.

Most of this episode worked for me and with the bonus points I'll give it a 5/5.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Looking Back: Power Rangers Zeo

Some of the earliest memories I have of being a Ranger fan come from 1996. The command center destruction to end Mighty Morphin left a lot of anticipation and imagining about how the show would continue. It was exciting - I never knew what was coming next back then as I began saving new episodes on tape.

Teasers aired alongside MMPR reruns in the break between seasons (focusing mostly on Rita & Zedd and the incoming machine army invasion) and Power Rangers Zeo kicked off April 20. The first-half (which aired Saturday mornings in the spring) was mostly filler episodes and got dull pretty quick. I still remember getting up early to watch it, while my sister and mom would be out shopping.

The second-half aired weekdays in the fall and things really picked up with the debut of the Gold Ranger (what I still consider one of the greatest storylines in 19 seasons), as well as other creative episodes.

A slow start, but some great storylines & episodes later on and still kind of the beginning of me being a big Ranger fan. Check out my tribute to the story, and characters, complete with a Gold Ranger music video:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mega Morphicon Weekend

Saban Brands is already overdoing it on the word MEGA with Power Rangers Megaforce coming next year and really, it's how I'd sum up this years convention for me. I went into the weekend figuring the new location at the Pasadena Convention Center would be nicer and I probably wouldn't spend as much on autographs, at least not from the actors and voice talents I've met before. And beforehand, I'd get to spend overnight in L.A. with my sister, Sarah.

Landed in Burbank about 6:00 and metup with Sarah, who took the scenic route on the way to her boyfriend Peter's place, where Tyler and I would spend the night. On the way I took in the sights and via my phone, caught a video recap of Felix Hernandez perfect game for the Mariners that afternoon.

We got settled and I got some gifts from their trip to Japan (The DX Go-Buster Ace would later be a hit with my friends). After going out to eat at Leafy Greens, we mostly plaved Wii Sports games and I enjoyed my new toys. Tyler and I took an after-midnight walk outside as well.

Got up after 10:00 and the 4 of us had brunch at Alcove Cafe. We then drove around to a few places, getting supplies and snacks for the weekend. Upon heading over to Pasadena, we swung by Sarah's place and the local dog park, where we met her dog Jazmine and said goodbye to Peter.

About 3:30 we arrived at the hotel and already friends were hanging out in the lobby, including Sean, who'd be rooming with us. I got settled, washed-up and soon metup with the guys and Evan. By now it was after 4:30 and time for the tradition of the chat room group helping with setup. Over an hour was spent moving boxes and merchandise to the main room and setting up tables, chairs, etc. Before the convention staff needed to start getting the bags ready, there was a break to hang out back at the hotel. Then it was crunch time to get 1,000s of posters (5 different ones) rolled up, which is mostly what we did, while the staff got bags ready. It wasn't quite as fun as in 2010 - with the staff trying to move fast-paced and get the posters done to complete the bags - but I liked getting the preview of what the attendees would receive and we were treated to cake and cookies.

After 10:00 we ventured around trying to find a place to eat, but everything was closed (except for one that was too expensive for some) so we came back to the hotel and ordered pizza.

Got up at 10:00 and eventually headed out wearing my black SPD t-shirt which got a few compliments from passerby's throughout the day. I got in line for registration, while Tyler and Tom weren't feeling it and ran off. About 45 minutes later I got my badge and swag bag - the 5 posters, Convention Power Coin, a mega blok toy, t-shirt and various printout and incentives for gold membership attendees. By now it was around 1:00, as I came back to the room and literally crossed paths with Tyler. Now that the pizza and snack-and-drink fest from the other night had worn off, it was time for lunch - so I grabbed a sandwich from the supermarket, while Tyler and others got more stuff for later.

At 3:00 the doors of the convention opened for folks with gold membership and I was immediately awe-struck at the vendors and toy dealers lining the walls. Right away the layout looked bigger and better than the previous Morphicon. I spent a lot of time wandering around and picked up a Go-Buster Blue Ranger to go with the Red Ranger Sarah gave me. An hour turned into two after the opening ceremony was cancelled again and the convention was officially underway. It never got too crowded as I lost track of time and got autographs and pics with Jessica Rey (Alyssa, Wild Force) and Johnny Bosch (Adam, seasons 2-6, 15), who was there with his band Eyeshine.

At 6:00 I saw the Design and Development Panel, which had some interesting background about the design process of Samurai/Super Samurai, rejected toy releases and an upcoming look at next year. Afterwards I sat in on a panel with part of the cast from the Turbo season, followed by the Power Rangers After Dark Panel. This was a no-holds-barred chance for cast and crew to say whatever they want and share uncensored stories without any cameras. It was quite something, some of what was shared.

At 10:00 many of us went to a MiSTing of the first 2 episodes of Operation Overdrive. I stuck around after to watch a few episodes of the fan series 21 Jump Street Rangers, while most others left. Metup with Sean and Tyler at our room and we got ready for the official Ranger Bar party at Alek's room. Lots more pizza and hijinks were had and I finally met Steve (BurgundyRanger), webmaster of Power Rangers On-Air Central and an older fan I've been in contact with online for a good 10 years or so. And like pretty much every night over the weekend, it was around 3:00 by the time I went to bed.

Headed out early for the gold attendee breakfast at 9:00. It was nice getting to hangout with Catherine Sutherland (Kat, seasons 3-5), who was at the table I was and answered questions/comments, but I was disappointed the actors didn't rotate like last time. Oh well, I'm glad I gave it a shot and won't sign up for it next time.

At 10:00 was the so-called Zordon era panel with cast and voice-actors from the first 6 years. Later I met Mike Ginn - a cool dude and great to meet someone from 2009's RPM cast. Meanwhile, the front hall of the convention center quickly got SWARMED with people, as a mass line formed for the Samurai/Super Samurai cast autograph signing.

At 12:30 the highlight of the weekend arrived - Saban's Mega Power Panel. Paul Schrier (Bulk, seasons 1-7, 10, 18-19) headed the panel as the Samurai/Super Samurai cast answered Q&A. We saw a trailer for Power Rangers Megaforce and in a Power Morphicon first, the new cast came out on stage - in the spandex! It was one of the times I was happy to jump on twitter via my phone and I enjoyed doing real-times updates off-and-on throughout the weekend.

Paul was joined by Jason Narvy (Skull, seasons 1-7, 10) for their panel which was mostly a comedic pie throwing demonstration. Even Tyler and Rangercast's Tyler Waldman got in on it. But the PMC staff got in trouble for the mess and pie stains that wouldn't come off the walls, despite Paul and the staffs best efforts. Whoops! Afterwards I retreated back to my room for cold pizza and got in a pic with the morphed Megaforce Rangers. Saban Brands had their own Rangers roaming around throughout the weekend, alternating between Mighty Morphin, Samurai and Megaforce, so I was glad to get my pic taken with at least one of the teams. There were several fan cosplayers as well, some in full Rangers suits and others, like the Mega Voyager I got a pic with.

I met Ron Rogge (Captain Mitchell, Lightspeed Rescue) and saw a special Q&A with David Yost (Billy, season 1-4), who had never been to a convention like this. Later, while a big line formed (again) for David's autograph signing, I roamed around some more and met Walter Jones ("The Original Black Ranger!") and Najee De-Tiege (Kevin, Samurai/Super Samurai). Eventually I metup with the gang and we went to a hamburger place across the street. Tyler and I later popped in on Paul Schrier's band, the Ice Cream Truckers, as they were finishing up their concert.

After 9:30 was a small very casual wedding between Chris Funaro and his wife in the video room downstairs at the convention center, which hardly got used. For me it was nice to really feel like part of the group (not always the case before), as everyone from the chat room was present. Afterwards we hung out and watched a premade DVD which included the first episode of the awesome Bioman english dub and an episode of a horrible parody dub of Dynaman. I was one of the last to leave and joined the gang at Alek's room about midnight.

Slept in until almost 10:30, washed up and hustled out to catch a panel with various cast/crew from Lost Galaxy/Lightspeed Rescue. That was followed by the Time Force/Wild Force Panel (almost the entire WF cast!) and an all-villains panel. Then it was crunch time to get last-minute autographs and pics, as I made sure to say hi to the always-lovely Rajia Baroudi (Dephine, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers), as well as Nakia Burrise (Tanya, Zeo/Turbo), Brittnay Pirtle (Emily, Samurai/Super Samurai) and Wild Force cast making first time appearances - Ricardo Medina, Phillip Jean-Marie and Jack Guzman.

At 4:30 was a 10 minute closing ceremony and I was about to join Tyler out the door... until I saw some actors were still signing, including Samurai/Super Samurai's Hector David Jr, who had a line not going anywhere, so I quickly got in and was there for about an hour, while the convention shutdown. I metup with the others after and we took a shuttle to In-and-Out Burger. Besides seeing the Megaforce cast, the other big highlight for me was the ride back to the hotel that definitely makes me excited for next year. We then spent about 2 hours at the pool and moved the party to Chris and Renee's room for more wild hijinks and leftover wedding cake.

Monday I got going about 9:30, arrived at LAX about 2 hours later and got home before 5:00.

It was clear from the start this PMC would be bigger and better than in the past. The main level of the con center worked out better than downstairs of the opposite building and it felt like there were more vendors and everyone had their space. There was practically everything including several display cases with upcoming or classic toys, Bandai's Mega Mode Samurai Red Ranger statue, a row of monster suits and Big Red in the front entrance. There were more people than in the past too, especially kids.

Everyone I talked to and got autographs/pics with were great. Most wanted to make sure the pic taken was good and it was especially nice meeting Samurai/Super Samurai cast, who offered to take 2 pics with you (normal and battle pose). This kinda felt like PMC 2007 as far as having the freedom to go up to the actor and have your pic taken, unlike 2010 which had scheduled photo-ops and a strict barrier between you and them. It caught me off-guard and multiple times I nearly walked off without my stuff after coming back around the table from getting my pic taken.

Aside from those close calls and the awkward party games with the gang, I'm pretty happy with the weekend and would say it was the best one yet. Thanks to Tyler, Sean, Evan, Waldman, Alek, Chris, Burg and others I hungout with. The only thing I'd improve on is my system for carrying around autographs so I can be sure not to lose anything.

Since PMC 2010, the past 2 years haven't been all that great, with Samurai rushed into production and Super Samurai following it, both with a mere 20 episodes + holiday specials, spread over a year each on Nickelodeon. But I'm more optimistic now that the show has had more time to properly prepare for the next season, as they'll celebrate the shows 20th anniversary alongside specials collectors editions of toys, including a new Power Morpher and season 1 Megazord. Now if the cast can actually act and episode plots aren't ripped from the Japanese episodes, than next year might just be MEGA.

2012 Gallery
My Videos (Includes 2010 and 2007 flashbacks)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Powered up for PMC and unboxing the DVDs!

It's been 2 years since the last Power Rangers fan convention and now the 3rd is upon us. There's plenty of excitement in the air, with the DVD boxset of the first 7 seasons out now through TimeLife and Saban starting his own Saturday morning block on The CW August 25 (though new episodes stay on Nickelodeon for now). The vibe for this Power Morphicon is kinda different as well, as Saban Brands will have much more of a presence this time around and some big announcements are planned for Saturday.

 I look forward to meeting the cast of the current season (Super Samurai), getting to hangout with my usual gang and meet people I know from the fandom making first time appearances. I also expect more of a social-media presence and will probably be doing real-time updates @starman311 and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Megaforce thoughts and Super Samurai update

Rarely does Power Ranger news leave me speechless -- But that's what happened on the 11th when I clicked a link to the Megaforce press release on Facebook and was quickly shocked to see the word "Goseiger." Thinking back on the week, it reminded me of around this time 9 years ago, when the DinoThunder news came out that announced Tommy would be back -- and was shot down by Doug Sloan for being a bit premature.

I've watched some episodes of Gosei to see what it's like before I start Gokaiger and I see a lot of potential with Warstar. I'm generally optimistic but not so much that Megaforce won't follow Samurai and end "season 1" just before the team powerup is introduced. And it'd be nice to see PR Legend War used next year, though wouldn't be surprised to see it saved 2 years to transition to PR's Gokai. I like the concept of going back to "5 teenagers with attitude" with Master Head/Datas in Zordon/Alpha roles -- I just hope they can make it work and maybe change some of the names. I'm glad they at least won't be following Gosei's story so closely or using any kind of angel theme. Hopefully Saban gets out of the 2 year thing by 2015.

Super Samurai, I thought has gotten somewhat better thanks to focus episodes we should've had early in Samurai. "THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MUNCHIES" was easily the most original and I'd say best episode we'll get, with "HE AIN'T HEAVY MENTAL, HE'S MY BROTHER" behind it, plus decent focus on Kevin, Mike, Mia/Spike and the crush on Pink. "THE MASTER RETURNS" was a good episode to go out on. I was surprised and liked Xandred getting angry enough to cross over, while Serrator showed his true motives and the Rangers got beat pretty bad. Though Dayu's sudden temper felt really forced and I wish Serrator had gotton Octoroo to shutup. Yeah, it's all pretty much straight Shinkenger and this is why I haven't seen much of it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

PRS #35 "TRUST ME": New era? Not so much...

Mostly liked this one. Serrator's evil agenda and attitude is a welcome change from Xandred (who clearly would've been better off as another unseen overlord or something... bah).

The action was good and I liked how the Rangers were grouped up and fought the villains. The whole "era of the laser blaster" felt strangely outta left field. It worked OK for me (and the Mooger army was awesome) but the big deal about the new era and spin swords being out could've been handled better.

Jayden having the others pilot Bullzord was a nice change... woul'dve been great if we hadn't had Gigazord/Shogun/Papyrex thrown in after. Also, Jayden's secret weighing on him and the exchange with Mia didn't seem very believable without much backing (otherwise Samurai's lack of character development generally doesn't bother me most of of the time).

Nice job mashing two Shinkenger eps together and not slowing things down with morphing or Bulk and Spike in an episode that was pretty packed enough. 4/5

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PRS #31 "KEVIN'S CHOICE": Blue to the Test

Another good episode that should've happened say, about 20 eps ago. Enjoyed the focus on Kevin's past as a swimmer and how he's sorta become the teams zord tech expert. Najee wasn't bad in this I thought and it helped it was almost all him and Alex.

Action wise, the episode was great. Awesome job by the editors in the first fight. Since Kevin went Super in "SHELL GAME" I didn't mind Jayden using it here, plus I liked Deker and Dayu defeating Skarf to "unlock his true power." Deker's return itself was pretty meh - oh, he's back. Now will he be back in the credits?

Another hideous ultrazord, made worse by using an additional powerup. >_<

I almost thought Kevin was gonna use symbol power to heal the leg. Also wish there had been a situation where he was forced to morph to save the swim team, instead of keeping it from them. 4/5

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The Moogers in the school would've worked better if they had been sent to kidnap kids and the Nighloks obviously aren't aware of the school schedule. But it was like they just threw the fight scene in there and didn't think much of it. Didn't occur to me until the end that were wasn't a MoTD in this episode either. Also I liked they destroyed Papyrex quickly, leaving plenty of time for the concert and to wrap-up the episode after.

Bulk and Spike were genuinely funny. Great episode for them and being part of the main plot for once. It kinda felt like a situation Bulk would be in during MMPR, which further makes him seem "dumb-downed." Something about the way he wanted to hire the tough guys for security - they do seem to be writing him as if this was MMPR Bulk. Loved the practice bit and the rap was fun. Bonus points for what looks like a spoof of Daft Punk:

No doubt a lot happened in this episode that should've happened much earlier in Samurai's run. It got random in places but there was more than enough to make up for points taken off. Jaever Santos fit the role pretty well and the concert was nicely done. A pretty good episode for Mia and great way to utilize Super Pink. 5/5


Friday, March 16, 2012

Ranger Bar Episode 25

BatZilla98 and I go over breaking PR news, share varied opinions about PRS #26 "SOMETHING FISHY" and I have some fun with Najee De-Tiege's horrible grammar on twitter.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"SUPER SAMURAI": Stronger Than Before, Powered Up For More

This was pretty much what I was expecting - a good start to the "season" with a mostly original episode (For me I'm going with this being Samurai's 23th episode, skipping "CLASH OF THE RED RANGERS").

The Rangers out being active before the river pools were discovered was a nice start to the episode. I like the updated opening and I wasn't surprised they kept the same logo with the slight modification. The cast looks good in their credit shots.

Antonio's crazy as ever, but I thought it did work once we got to the Shinkenger fight.

Octoroo setting up a barrier to block the morphing was pretty sneaky. The unmorphed action was great and the blend with the Shinkenger fight looked nice, though it was weird when it was suddenly just Jayden. After so many years of team power up finishers, one Ranger at a time using Super Mode will be a bit different. 4/5

500 episodes of The Simpsons

Tonight was a major milestone episode for the Simpsons, which involved the family getting kicked out of Springfield by the locals and finding a new home in the Outlands. It was a good plot for the occasion and I enjoyed the one-liners about Fox and Homer's original voice from early on. And boy oh boy, those days seem so long ago now. I still remember watching the show on its original Thursday night in the early '90s (I was about 10 when it started) and I never got why it premiered with a Christmas special, which didn't really introduce the characters (The actual produced first episode ended up held back and was an old favorite my sister and I liked, with a plot that had the devious "Babysitter Bandit").

I've only missed a few episodes in the 22 years since and the rest I've seen about every way possible - DVR'd, taped, downloaded, on Fox Sunday and months later in some cases when I was never home Sunday evening. There's been a lot of funny moments, many brilliant pop culture references, great episodes I have in a collection - and some weird ones as well. And though I've never been a big fan of merchandise, I did have a Bart Simpson poster on my wall for over 10 years and still have a few other things.

It's safe to say there's almost no way they'll make it for another 500 in this day and age, but I still get laughs out of the Simpsons adventures and will continue to do so until it does come to an end someday.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Closing up 2011

Looking back on the year, it's easy to say part of it belonged to Smallville. But once summer came, it became easier to move on and 2011 pretty much became a mix of reboots and old school meets new favorites - gradually making it feel like we really were back in the '90s...

This was the first year for Power Rangers under Saban since 2002, trying to recapture the glory of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. As great as it is to have the Rangers again, its failed on some levels between bad acting and forced translations of the Japanese series. Not the same originally from 10 years ago, that's for sure.

Beavis and Butthead returned after its last episode in 1997, making it feel like the boys never went away (and they kinda didn't with a cameo on MTV here and there over the years). Plus the new Thundercats is still pretty awesome.

2011 also brought a fresh new spin on music competitions and was a good time to get back into classic '90s Nickelodeon. Though The '90s Are All That block has proven to be not all that - focusing more on Nicktoons as of late and not completing Hey Dude's run - it's still great to see the classic shows return, especially Hey Dude, Secret World of Alex Mack, Salute You Shorts and Are You Afraid of the Dark.

I'll also remember the year for playing Super Mario Galaxy, very reminiscent of Super Mario 64 which I first played through back in my last year of high school.

More awesome songs from 2011:
"Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster the People
"The Ghost Inside" - Broken Bells
"My Body" - Young the Giant
"Tonight is the Night" - Outasight