Monday, December 15, 2014

Super Mega Sendoff (Good Riddance!) and Charging Up

I'll just cut to the chase and consider "LEGENDARY BATTLE" the worst finale ever. For starters, it showed how much they tried to ride Countdown to Destruction's coattails with the civilian scenes. The helmet animation was crap and saving the abandoned boy wasn't the best way to showcase White Ranger Tommy. Carter/Dana, and Cassie/TJ had decent cameos. Seeing Leo in the same clothes all these years later, and Tommy with Saba and the communicator felt very nostalgic to me. I'd like to think Tommy can just alternate between powers now. I wish we could've seen Karone/Damon/Wes helping people as well, and Mike/Emily at least be there too! Also, if they really wanted to copy the In Space finale, they could've had the Megaforce team reveal themselves with crowd reactions from Ernie and Mr. Burley.

Troy and Orion fighting Mavro on the ship was awesome and I liked the Space Ranger Legendary change to escape the crash. It was pretty bad seeing the Emporer go out like that so I was glad to see the actual final fight in the extended cut. I was surprised New Powers Blitz, Prism and Lightning were all left out (here and the Legendary War), after being kept in all those other times. I liked the action but the ADR was a mess of season names, morph calls and attacks ("Magibolt" gets the season award for the worst). Also why "Legendary Battlizers"? Troy could've said something along the lines of "Let's powerup!" and it would've been more reasonable.

Bonus point for the sweet helmetless roll call.

The X Borg army made more sense in the extended cut since they were coming for Mavro but they could've thrown in some Bruisers. The giant shot of all the teams looked really nice and I assumed they had Overdrive with Mighty Morphin since the colors matched. I thought maybe they left out the futuristic teams from the roll call on purpose but it doesn't explain leaving out Alien Rangers or Space other then to cut corners for time. I loved the shot of Astronema and the cameos putting their helmets on but man they were underused. I thought you know, we'd see them fighting and the battle would be longer.

Wow, just wow. I still can't believe they used the shot of the powers sacrifice. Way to piss off the fanbase, Seth Walther!

And there you have it. Not even a call from Gosei. I gave it a 3/5 based on the original broadcast and the extended cut really didn't help matters much. Even Samurai and the Kalish seasons had better closure. It's a shame it came to this after Megaforce opening with what would become nearly the same fight, and the excitement over the armada coming in at the end of the season last year. This was Tzachor throwing together cameos at the last minute while no one behind the show gave a crap. Now I see why he was fired after blowing the budget on this. I'd like to think they would've included the supporting cast if they hadn't ran out of money paying for underused cameos. I just hope to god everyone who did these episodes (besides the returning James W. Bates and Jason Smith, the possible Dino Charge story editor) was dismissed.


Last year I gave Megaforce an edge and ranked it slightly above Super Samurai, despite the former having a couple better episodes. But everything went wrong in Super Megaforce placing it at the dead bottom. They could've turned things around but instead the apparent difficulty working with Tzachor and his tiresome formula of only caring about the product just made things worse.

Continuing to use the Megaforce suits never bothered me too much but it got inconsistent when they'd be skipped, while the mechazords were mostly forgotten about (and ignored at the end). An even bigger wasted opportunity was spent by doing very little with the armada and underwater base sets they had around.

The Rangers never got it together and were made to look like they had won way too often. It was like production just didn't want to deal with the entire team, and only focus on Noah, Jake, Emma and Orion - so Gia was never given anything to do and Troy's backstory was dropped. For never having her own focus episode and seemingly in the background more this year, Gia still managed to be one of the most decent Rangers along with Jake. There were some bright spots along the way but still, I'll never forgive the Samurai/Megaforce era for basically having the motto "Kids are stupid." If you're a kid watching the show, we'll talk down to you and pretend our team are the ONLY active Rangers out there. And as much as I loved watching the Gokaiger footage, the show was never made for us and no real attempt was made to creatively use footage to honor PR's legacy (Of course, the show would count the Legendary War in that regard).

With Dino Charge approaching, I can only be optimistic, knowing Judd Lynn won't ever allow those kind of things to happen (unless it really is a corporate mandate) and actually cares about good written episodes and character development, which we haven't seen much of since RPM. I imagine Judd Lynn beating the Kalish seasons but not on the same level as during the golden years, which will be just fine. Also, the theme is such a nice change. I was expecting "Go Go Power Rangers/Ranger Forever" to be in yet again which is the only downside from the theme really being great. Without the lyrics, the instrumental is pretty amazing, which I haven't felt since DinoThunder.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PRSM #19 "THE WRATH": Poor Man's Countdown to Destruction

Well that got ugly... and just as it was getting good I thought.

Orion leaving was easily the most unexpected start to a episode they've done. This should've been Act 3 of the finale. I do like how they've been kind of trying to pair Emma with him throughout the season. Also I liked watching Levira get tough but the Megazord fight was over too quick.

As for the New Powers, I just assume it was a mandate to make the Legendary War easier on the kids. And Tzachor must have loved trolling us. I bet only the really early sentai teams will be edited out.

I thought it was cool seeing all the zord attacks get used and I wasn't surprised to see New Powers even be included in it. Why was the Q-Rex flight mode not explained? Hard to buy Noah piloting the damn thing when we saw him with the others in the cockpit. I would've believed it more if Tensou had done it. And come on, millions more ships just appear that fast?

3/5. I had hoped for more right before the end but too many weird things and plot choices on top of no one behind the show caring.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PRSM #18 "EMPEROR MAVRO": Mavrolous

A photo of Vekar and Vrak inside the ship would've been nice but I get why they didn't do it. I was just glad Mavro said "sons."

I loved how Jake's wacky fighting was explained and the Rangers being confident about the armada not having a leader. It was fun to see the them goofing around with each other, and although they really should've morphed sooner I enjoyed the unmorphed stuff. Odd seeing Mega Blasters get used but I don't blame them if they can't decide on weapons.

Troy being helmetless but blindfolded made sense I thought since we can assume he morphed and lost quickly. It does come off as a cheap way to keep the secret identity, but if his face was shown, we wouldn't have had a crowd reaction to him anyway. Also kind of wish they had kept Green Lost Galaxy that was cut immediately before Jake's Mystic Force change.

So, this was a good climax to killing off most of the villains, and when I look back, I'll remember it as the best episode of the past two years. I'm not even gonna fault it for Antonio and Mia not being acknowledged or credited since it was a very Megaforce thing to do, and I liked the setup to it of Troy and Orion hanging out while Troy got the tickets. Plus the idea of a rock concert being foreign to Orion.

A two-parter of Gokai's episodes would've been spectacular but for a single episode they made it work, even better than I would've guessed. I'll go with just barely a 5/5 and the only episode I'll end up giving it to ("DREAM SNATCHER," which I loved, came pretty close). And as I'd expect from the show, it sounds this will end up better than the finale.

Friday, November 7, 2014

PRSM #15-17: Farewell to Megaforce's Best Characters

 "ALL HAIL PRINCE VEKAR" started out weak. Another day off? Lame excuse to get them on the ship. Why does using it have to even be such a big deal? Why aren't they allowed to just use the Sky Ship for fun? Once they got into Vekar and the flashback I didn't feel like I was watching Super Megaforce for the rest of the episode - straight Gokaiger pretty much. I wondered if they would adapt Mavro having Damaras look after him and I liked the way they set it up with a mention of Vrak. I just wish we could get an original flashback with these characters.

Morphing right to Super Mega Mode worked here I thought since they were facing Vekar and this episode was treated as a big deal. Of course, the effects beat the actual writing. I loved Noah's suit disintegrating and the group morph matching up to the Gokai shot. But "armageddon"? I really thought those scenes were from the finale. And Orion using the Wolf Warrior key was just Jason Smith screwing with us I'm sure.

4/5. The writing may be dumb at times but the footage is great and the glamor shots they did made it a bit more cooler. I'll remember Vekar as forever the best character from Megaforce period.

Despite being a Goseiger burnoff, "VRAK IS BACK" was mostly good thanks to Vrak being awesome and I enjoyed watching his plan unfold. The Rangers got what they deserved for forgetting about him. I didn't mind kidnapping Orion and draining his power as a cheap way to use Cameron Jebo.

Evil Robo Knight kicking Troy's ass was the best thing they've done this season. The fights were great - but then things went south about halfway in Part 2, as Troy wouldn't shutup, and became too much like Alata to save RK and defeat Vrak. What could've been an excellent episode was further dampened by the shows usual weird way of doing things, take the Rangers staring at RK's key and assuming he was destroyed when it stopped glowing. They couldn't even bother to have it with Megaforce or 6th Ranger keys? And I thought it was cool Vrak self-destructed the sea base - I just wish RK hadn't been blown up offscreen saving Orion.

Also, Vrak's body surviving in the footage will make the lack of connection to the next episode even more painful. 4/5 for both parts. Pretty much what should've been the finale last year and James Bates did pretty well for what he had... For sure better than if these episodes had been in the hands of someone else.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Super Mega Roundup: "SILVER LINING" through "IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT"

Since Orion's debut, I've had the sense that everyone working on the show has pretty much given up... I can only imagine due to an ongoing battle between the staff wanting to do more originality vs Tzachor only caring about putting out the product. I thought "UNITED WE STAND" made it clear their had to be a lot of issues going on. First off, "SILVER LINING"...

It started off slow, with too much padding. Why did the Rangers never think to ask about Robo Knight?! Part 1 was pretty bland (earning a 3/5) and things got better in Part 2. It was great to see someone on this show actually have a backstory. It reminded me of Tyzonn but without all the buildup like he had. Great unmorphed scenes in this too. It was going so well... until finding out the 6th Ranger keys were on the walls all this time started to ruin it for me. The way Orion was given Q-Rex doesn't sit well with me either since we're supposed to believe it comes from Time Force. They could've done more with the dream footage and had Quantum, MM Green and DT White give Orion their power to help him decide to take on the armada, instead of just randomly having the zord modes connected to MM and DT for no reason. >_<

But I can't fault them for giving Orion an original backstory and giving the cast more to do, which helped make for one of the best episodes of Megaforce. 4/5

"POWER OF SIX" was kind of a step down, back to a 3/5. Orion living in a locker is silly and Jake blaming himself was kind of weak. RPM Gold and Silver combining wasn't written very well. Best part was Jake's line when he used New Powers Prism.

"THE PERFECT STORM" had some great civilian scenes and use of the mall. But the plot revolving around Tensou was forgettable - a waste of time we can't afford with only 20 episodes. Plus having White Ranger be separate from Dairanger, and basically namedropping sentai was just weird. 3/5

 "LOVE IS IN THE AIR" was the most ridiculous episode of Megaforce yet. Very amusing I gotta say. Probably adapted because of the Zyuranger change. I love that they did a lot of original footage around it, including recreating the armada ship. But choosing to ignore Orion felt lazy, unless it was a budget thing - and even then they didn't have to ignore him.

The one liners and attention to Jake/Gia were especially great in this. Fun use of Turbo as well. I was kind of surprised the Megazord spinout attack was overlooked, since you'd think that traffic light would've clued them in to reference Turbo and not use Super Mega. 4/5

Between the fact I love me some Christina Masterson (Have you seen her instagram?) and DinoThunder (which had one of the best original transformations they've done), I really liked parts of this episode and wanted to like it after. But reality quickly set in that the translators are just flat out giving up at this point. Plus it feels like they aren't even bothering to fill enough time anymore, which would explain the constant padding with full Megaforce morphs. :T

When Emma went to help the boy, I thought she'd, you know - talk to him, not just use the card for 2 seconds. They could've had her show up at the fight as MMPR Pink - and maybe have her defeat Desolar (since it was her focus episode) - or even just fight X Borgs. It wouldn't have had to be a big deal.

Unlocking the Megazord combination by mastering the DT powers and not making a single attempt at tying it in with the repair work felt extra cheap. It was also weird how they had to associate the Q-Rex with DT here which I'll blame on the fact Orion never should've been given the Q-Rex keys from Troy in the first place. And besides using the DT powers, I did enjoy Vekar with the cold, and Desolar's shrinking and growing being adapted here. Creating an inside for Legendary Megazord was cool. It's good enough for a 3/5 and I'm afraid things won't be much better in the homestretch.

"THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER... OR BLUER" wasn't that bad I thought. On one hand, I hate the lost potential of Gia/Jake switching. On the other hand, I liked how they made the footage work from making it Noah/Jake. The mention of Aquitar was cool and I still appreciate using morph calls as dialog filler during Legendary Ranger Mode.

Unfortunately, mindlessly "unlocking" the Ninja Storm zord (and without so much as even calling it minizord) ruined the episode for me. It wouldn't have made any more sense but they should've at least had Gosei say that Noah/Jake defeating or Noah's determination to complete the cannon unlocked the zord... somehow. I wouldn't have minded New Power Dragon so much if that wasn't clearly a mermaid. And the next minute, Troy is New Powers Blitz?! 3/5

"IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT" had some of the most all over the place ratings for an episode I think we had in awhile. Yeah, it was about as lazy as the past couple episodes have been. However, what I liked about this is how much the Gokaiger footage is fun to watch, which kind of bumps up my grade by default (to a 4/5 in the case). And Vekar has pretty much been the only Megaforce character written really well. I've seen most of Gokaiger by now and look forward to the adaptation of his final fight. :)

Every time they make it clear the Megaforce team are the ONLY protectors of Earth, it sounds like they're talking down to the kids and want them to believe there are no other Power Rangers (Obviously they aren't stupid and they'll see the finale).

I'm used to the Rangers not giving real people responses to anything but a bigger deal should've been made about the wormhole - even simply asking Gosei if it'd be safe. I always love seeing the cast in helmetless scenes and I liked the original footage while trying to capture Turbo Falcon. I'm glad they at least paid enough attention to know RPM zords don't talk but boy, they really started to push it.

Correct attack names would be nice but I look at it as some information simply isn't downloaded to the Rangers when they're using the powers... so I'm fine with letting things like "RPM Grand Prix" and "Dino Rampage" slide. And sure they could've used the Sky Ship but the end scene was still cute I thought.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

ShyRanger's Top 10 Red Rangers

10. Jack (S.P.D.)
He was kind of a jerk, bringing character and personality to a good, diverse cast.

9. Eric (Time Force)
Eric still has one of best 6th Ranger story arcs to date and rightfully deserves to be counted as a Red Ranger.

8. Rocky (MMPR)
He just wants to have fun and knows how to do it while still kicking butt.

7. Tommy (Zeo)
Way back when Tommy was still my favorite Ranger and I enjoyed the arrowhead storyline.

6. Scott (RPM)
Taking orders from Dr. K and his father, while facing the death of his brother and the apocalypse - Scott had a lot going for him.

5. TJ (Turbo)
He was only a leader for a short time but TJ took on the position with a fun attitude and will forever be the true Red Turbo Ranger. (And who else can say they got baked into a giant pizza?)

4. Leo (Lost Galaxy)
Leo saved Earth and Mirinoi, and basically self destructed the battlizer to defeat Trakeena. And to think he started out as a stowaway on Terra Venture.

3. Jason (MMPR)
Besides being the original - putting up with Rita and fighting Goldar in the Dark Dimension gets my vote any day.

2. Andros (In Space)
He was the original Space Ranger with a huge Megaship and would have some of the best storylines ever. HELL YES.

1. Wes (Time Force)
Fighting to save the future and let go of his fathers wishes while a relationship bloomed, Wes is the man at #1.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

PMC Week Recap

The convention happening every two years offers plenty of time to keep things fresh and exciting, depending on what's going on with Power Rangers and the fandom at the time. With this PMC I looked forward to switching things up a bit by driving down and back with Batz and Ryland, and having the hotel room one less night. Though there weren't as many people from Mutant Chat I'd know, there'd be folks going I've gotten to know within the last 2 years I'd want to chat with, or had seen at a previous PMC I had yet to talk to.

The trip to Los Angeles began Tuesday evening after Batz and I ran a few errands and got dinner. It was getting late by the time we picked up Ryland in Olympia so we didn't really stop for more than 2 hours overnight. After Batz had to had to take care of a few things it was midnight Thursday by the time I was dropped off at my sisters place, while the guys headed to the Pasadena Sheraton Hotel.

Thursday, my sister and her boyfriend took me around Little Tokyo followed by Central Market for a very late lunch. Later, while they were busy, I caught up on Twitter and Facebook as people were getting ready for the convention, and hungout in Mutant Chat almost as if I was home.

Friday we had lunch at Beachwood Cafe on the way to Pasadena and it was about 3:30 by the time I checked into the hotel. As the doors officially opened at 4:00, I got my badge and swag bag, dropped it off in the room, grabbed by holder for autographs, and ventured out onto the convention floor. I took in the sights of the Bandai Booth and tables upon tables of dealers toys for sale, and I got underway with meeting first-timers to PMC - Danny Slavin (Leo, Lost Galaxy), Kevin Duhaney (Ethan, DinoThunder), Ari Boyland (Flynn, RPM) and Melody Perkins (Astronema/Karone, In Space and Lost Galaxy). At 7:00 I saw a small Turbo/Space Panel, followed by one with various villains from the show. At 9:00 was "The Night Zero Show with Eric Francisco" - a fun, intimate chat with folks from the fandom - and featuring Ron Rogge (Captain Mitchell, Lightspeed Rescue) and Richard Brancatisano (Xander, Mystic Force). Pretty much anyone with a podcast and/or popular web site in the fandom was in the room, usually with their posse. It was interesting all being in the same room, sort of reminding me of the RangerBoard party from the original PMC in 2007 (but under different circumstances of course). Afterwards, Batz and some of the guys prepared to head over to the local theater for a comedy thing Ryland was doing. I had yet to even have dinner, so I stayed behind, grabbed a smoothie and bagel, and caught up on social media for the day.

Saturday I got going around 9:00 to check out the line for the exclusive Ranger Key Pack and get a shirt they had ran out of on Friday (but to no avail, which instead is supposed to be getting mailed). I said hi to Richard Brancatisano before settling into the 10:00 Mighty Morphin/Zeo Panel, followed by the Samurai Panel at 11:30. As the crowd grew (and with it, the line at the concession stand), I hustled back to my room for a high protein bar, to get back in time for Saban's Super Megaforce Panel at 1:00. Judd Lynn, returning as Executive Producer after previously stepping in to finish RPM (who's also best known some amazing classic seasons way back 13-15 years ago) hosted a Q&A with the current cast, which was followed by a trailer for Dino Charge in 2016 and the cast reveal everyone had been waiting for.

Later, I met first-timers Sean Cw Johnson and Keith Robinson (Carter and Joel, Lightspeed Rescue) and snapped a quick photo of the Super Megaforce limited cast autograph signing, I missed out on. I checked out a panel with a couple of longtime writers making their PMC debuts at 3:30, then caught Jason Narvy (Skull, seasons 1-7, 10, 19) entertaining the crowd at his panel with Felix Ryan (Spike, Samurai/Super Samurai). I then met Valerie Landon (Kendrix, Lost Galaxy), first-timer and sweetheart Kimberley Crossman (Lauren, Super Samurai), as well as Matt Mullins (Len/Wing Knight, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight). I saw the S.P.D. Panel at 6:30 and then metup with Batz as he got preparations underway for Ranger Bar's Pink Dolphin Party. I enjoyed a much needed iced latte and sandwich in our room before we went back to the convention for Night 2 of The Night Zero Show. Back at our room, the party eventually got going and the night took a very interesting turn after reports came out of Hector David Jr (Mike, Samurai/Super Samurai) getting into an altercation with PMC staff... and it was all downhill from there. Eventually, Ryland and Evan (who came to stay in our room overnight) and I got some sleep, while Batz was busy keeping an eye on the action.

Sunday morning we tried to use free passes for the gold membership breakfast but couldn't get in. Meanwhile, Hector was passed out outside our door, having likely crashed on the carpet on the way down the hall to his room a few hours prior. I killed time on the convention floor, meeting first-timers Jeff Parazzo (Trent, DinoThunder), Rhett Fisher (Ryan, Lightspeed Rescue) and Brad Hawkins (Ryan, VR Troopers and Gold Ranger voice in Zeo). I grabbed a hot dog and frappuccino before checking out the Lost Galaxy/Lightspeed Rescue Panel at noon, followed by Time Force/Wild Force. In between panels I said hi to two of my favorite cast members - Jason Faunt and Erin Cahill (Wes/Alex and Jen), as well as first-timer Michael Copon (Lucas), all from Time Force. Crunch time was on for final autographs/photos, as I met first-timers Alison MacInnis (Dana, Lightspeed Rescue), Steven Skyler (Antonio, Samurai/Super Samurai), and in a surprise, Erika Fong (Mia, Samurai/Super Samurai), who had come in for the last 2 hours of the convention after I missed her on Saturday. As the weekend was reaching the end, the line for Austin St. John (Jason, the original Red Ranger and Gold Ranger in Zeo), dwindled down (after being pretty extensive throughout the weekend), so I took the opportunity to meet him and I saw a Goldar cosplayer having some fun with him, Walter Jones ("The Original Black Ranger!") and Kerrighan Mahan (the voice of Goldar). At 4:30 was the Closing Ceremony and announcement of Power Morphicon 2016.

This years PMC was a wrap, and Batz, Ryland and I soon headed over to Barney's Beanery for Brad Hawkins After Party. We ran into others along the way as we walked a couple blocks, and eventually the three of us sat down for some food. Brad held an auction for charity and we pretty much hung out for a few hours. Back at our room, the night was way less eventful and more chilled than the night before. We left Pasadena Monday afternoon and the trip back went smoother I thought, since we didn't need to run any errands before or after (other than food for the road), so It didn't feel as dragged out and we stopped to rest in a car for a good couple hours. My favorite part was stopping by Voodoo Doughtnuts in Portland I had never been to. And checking out the beautiful west was pretty cool too. ^_^

One thing I expect to improve on next time is go to the panels on Friday and Saturday that have full or near-full casts, rather than wait until the second panel when more of the cast is likely to have left already. The  panels with a variety of cast (all villains, all females, all Blue Rangers, etc) can be watched online at home after. I don't think I made the best decision with that this year. Also I'll consider ordering breakfast during registration in a year from now and skipping the t-shirts (may not be a bad idea after how I was nearly skipping meals at this PMC). If the convention floor concessions got busy, I was expecting to run across to the grocery store, but turns out it was gone.

There will definitely be certain cast members I'll want to see first thing at PMC5 who I've missed out on and I'll except to go back to flying down and settling in the hotel room on Thursday to get a head start Friday that I'm more accustomed to doing. As I told almost everyone I got an autograph from, the convention just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It was clear the moment I stepped in on Friday when it was already getting busy, and unless there was a big panel going on, the floor pretty much stayed busy. With the big Power Rangers movie coming July 22, 2016, PMC will get only bigger and it's sure to coincide at or near the movie premiere. They'll probably have the Dino Charge cast for a limited time (like they did with Megaforce this year), and I look forward to what they do with the currently unknown movie cast.

Thanks to Batz, Quispy, Evan, Dan, Shamus and everyone else I chilled with/talked to for a great weekend! Check out my photos here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Countdown to a Morphinominal Morphicon

As the countdown to Power Morphicon 4 winds down this has been a very enjoyable couple of months with guest updates almost every Monday (a system I hope continues in 2016), in addition to the pretty big news like details on next season, and the 2016 movie - making this a pretty awesome time to be a Ranger fan. The last convention was huge and this will for sure be even bigger, with 120+ guests, a bigger space and apparently three panel rooms going. Do I get autographs? Go to panels? Studying the schedule (once it's finally online) will make a difference more than ever, plus figuring out who I must see and who I've met before (and would like to again). Carrying an old zip up leather holder I've never used should make autographs transportation easy, which always gets difficult amongst the chaos running around.

Times have changed in two years and there aren't as many from the chat room going this time. Tyler (BatZilla98) and I will be doing a lot more with Ranger Bar for the first time, with After Hours events pretty much set, and plans for the video room and fanfilm contest. Having press passes should also be a lot a fun and result in lots of great photos. But first the road to get there begins Tuesday afternoon when the drive down from Seattle gets underway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PRSM #04-#05: Wild Access and Blitzing New Powers

More beautiful shots on the SkyShip. The team just looks so much better without Troy. Awesome hearing James Gaylyn return as the monster. It made sense the Rangers would favor the Wild Force suits, and Red Lion would shove off imposters of his friends. I just wish they had put in enough care to not have the random TurboPink appear after a team that didn't even have a Pink Ranger. Plus the change in pronouncing "Animaria" was weird but then we all know no ones really bothering to watch the old episodes anyway.

This was also one of the most decent earning of a zord we'll have and felt like more of a real tribute than future episode probably will. The Rangers using Wild Force fit well and helped make for a solid 4/5.

"SAMURAI SURPRISE" was just full of surprises. The use of YellowMask and PinkFlash didn't totally ruin the episode for me as it did for others - I was just in disbelief when Gia's part of the fight started and at first I heard "Legendary Blip" which I thought was a cheap way to cover YellowMask. I had more of a problem with the amount of Megaforce/SMM switching in this and morph sequence padding. I don't mind when they get powered-down to Megaforce (since SMM is supposed to be over the suits anyway), but morphing from civilian to Megaforce to begin with is just too much.

Was a staff notice put out not to give any "names" to anything not seen in PR? Otherwise, come on, Jason Smith. I did like Troy saying "It's Morphin' Time" over DaiRed. And the rest of the episode pretty good. I loved Vekar's introduction and the Rangers being cocky about it for the little whiner he is. It was rough seeing the first use of Mighty Morphin be this, but we all know Saban doesn't care when it's sentai footage. Mentor was a surprise (Great scene in the beginning) and I liked the scenes with him and Jayden - Just wish the girls could've met him. The end with the Rangers in the cockpit was one of the better uses of morphed footage. Plus I liked the in-fight roll call get used.

Even with the can of worms this opened, having cameos to help unofficially tribute Samurai (though not as much as Wild Force) helped keep it at a 4/5.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

PRSM #02 "EARTH FIGHTS BACK": Forced From the Future

Great episode. I enjoyed the sweet unmorphed fighting, how the plot was adapted and Troy being separated from the others. While morphing into Megaforce first is still stupid, it does force them to do more of their own stuff which I like.

The season intro is actually pretty good this year. Great shots of Samurai, the Wind Rangers, original Mighty  Morphin and Wild Force teams.

As usual the Rangers are on their own and report to Tensou and Gosei who is shown not saying a word. Geez.

Tensou must've done some serious morphing grid hacking to create the database. I loved it when they used RPM and finished off with SPD. "Mastering" the power and earning the zord for it is pretty reasonable to me now that we're past that these aren't season tributes. I'd take this over when they "earned" the cards last year. And I was relived "Carzord" was just a dumb nickname, not official.

As I expected, Vekar throwing a hissy fit all season has begun. Plus the use of the mall and extras was great. This would've been near perfect if it wasn't for the awkward DaiRanger part and replacing a name with Gia's "Bring on the new powers!" (or much explanation). But this episode did set Megaforce records, so it still gets a good 4/5.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Super Mega Dino Charged Weekend

What a double-whammy THAT was - the Dino Charge press release breaking the same day uploaded the Super Megaforce premiere. My reaction to the news was similar to when word originally broke that Goseiger was being adapted, but this was heightened by the fact we had never had a new season announcement quite so early or that a sentai would be skipped over (though of course the Go-Buster suits could still get used).

I've never liked the suits on the core 5 Kyoryugers, the samba theme or goofy looking villains, so I hope Saban does put in some originality as is implied (but we all know how much Tzachor's prefers ripping the sentai). I do like the name and the logo is a welcome change after the bland (Super) Megaforce. Also I wonder if they'd consider adapting the teamup for MMPR nostalgia and since DinoThunder is specifically mentioned in the press release.

Now onto the premiere...

Knowing that we were gonna have "real" villains this year, I was excited when the episode started with Vekar and gang inside the ship. I miss the dragon symbol as a segue into the opening, otherwise it looks good with some sweet unmorphed fighting in the cast shots. I like that they spaced it out more and put the girls back-to-back. Nice touch having White Ranger start the helmet animation.

I hoped the Rangers would still be out there when we'd see them again, instead of just cutting to Emma in the mall. Noah finding Mr. Burley and then Burley thinking back to what Blue Ranger said to get inspiration to teach again at the end of the episode would've made more sense to me than how they did it. It left the callback to "MEGA MISSION" kinda empty without seeing Burley prior to it and so little of the school. I did like the Rangers coming in the command center after one another - I just wish we had seen more beforehand and helping civilians.

I loved the way they did the ADR for the weapons swapping, so it didn't come off as weird to me that they're suddenly gonna be switching all the time (plus the Gokai footage is always fun to watch). But it got outta hand with rushing through all the mode changes. They could've done more to show they were having trouble controlling the powers or had a quick line to setup how powerful using Super Mega Mode would be. Also I like that they say the morph call and I see why they might sometimes skip it mid-battle (or in the case of Ninja Storm not doing the Ninja Storm/Thunder Storm calls).

Despite the how much "Super Mega" will be thrown around I'm just glad we don't have to put up with the cards and sentai weapon/zord names being used anymore. Using Gokaiger will automatically make the episodes better so I'll probably lean more on the generous side this year, however it's still Megaforce so I doubt the Rangers have learned much or Gosei will stop leaving them on their own most of the time. But to start the season this gets a good 4/5.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Megaforce Mega Wrap-up

As the season winded down I kept hoping for something excellent (and I realize with "DREAM SNATCHER" I was really pushing it, giving it a 5), but the episodes just continued to be below the mark for one reason or another...

"THE HUMAN CONDITION" was a good intro to Metal Alice and Vrak's underwater base. I loved the footage matching later in the episode. 4/5. I just wish the robots had come sooner.

In "RICO THE ROBOT" I was glad they finally gave Malkor something to do and verification he was waiting for "the others." I really liked the spot on ship recreation when he entered the cocoon. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. Going back to In Space, I've never liked episodes where the monster (or robot) of the day turns good. The message in this was confusing, no thanks to a couple questionable lines and I cringed everytime Rico spoke, and him being treated like a child. Not even a comment from Tensou. 2/5

"STAYING ON TRACK" was on track for most of the episode, despite some superfluous. Great scenes with the Rangers in the beginning and Robo Knight trying to learn. In PR's world I can buy that trains are relied on more. I just thought it was funny - the NZ kid with the American-speaking parents, and RK wrapping his head around the concept of "missing someone."

Vrak and Metal Alice make a much better team than the mutants and Insectoids, plus it's nice having more originality with him still in his normal form. And I didn't mind the Rangers wasting time staring at their cards with the train coming so much as another case of the U.S. name not matching the card. 4/5

"THE HUMAN FACTOR" started out pretty good. I enjoyed the last few original scenes on the ship, while RK went around to the Rangers. The people being afraid of him was kind of lame but I liked how he went to the school and the library. It was about the most decent plot RK's had and following cell phone procedures as a means for him to not have his morpher worked well.

Also I loved how only Gosei knew who Malkor was. The fight could've been awesome if they had done a new shot of the Rangers briefly using Ultra Mode or if he had taken it offline with an attack (which is something a Kalish season wouldn't have overlooked). But no. Not even a demorph?! And he's supposed to be all-powerful? 3.5/5. I wouldn't call it a bad episode, just a poor choice to directly translate the fight with Malkor, when they knew it was an earlier Goseiger episode.

"THE MESSENGER" was weakened early by Troy's usual brooding over his dreams, excessive dialogue and the Rangers (as usual) looking like they don't know anything. Gosei shoud've warned them Alice could still be a threat instead of them just writing her off. I felt like the little celebration in the command center (with the team recalling some of the villains) and freaking out when Cyborg Vrak appeared could've gone differently.

The episode did pick up. I liked how Vrak regained his alien voice once he remembered who he was, though I kind of wish it hadn't been resolved so fast. Just dismissing the Rangers to clear the armada to come in was great. This is why he's awesome. Also I thought it was cool they (much like the Rangers) thought Vrak had perished. I hope we'll see Veker's reaction, assuming they had planned on going on without him. Half of this was pretty standard Megaforce, but the rest was pretty good. 4/5 

I went into "END GAME" wondering if it'd be rushed but it was pretty much what I expected. I loved how the Messenger came out and parted the sea and I liked how RK used himself to powerup the morphers (which I thought was a nice end for the character this year), but eh... Messenger was restored pretty fast and the sky vortex was odd.

The final morph was one of my favorites in 20 years. I enjoyed the creative shots for the end of the season, as well as the explosions throughout. And almost thought Metal Alice would live to see another day, and though it was quick I did like that her death showed how cold-hearted Vrak is.

Since PR is normally a toy commercial, I'm glad the zords weren't shown for the last 2 episodes. Now I just hope they bother to explain the Super Mega zords being more powerful, since they should still be able to use the Mechazords. Also, very nice transition of footage at the end. I wonder how long they'll be out there before they get the new powers. It probably won't happen but original footage of an armada general telling Troy to stop looking for RK would be rad.

Last but not least, Gosei yelling at the Rangers to morph was awesome, though they really should've had a command center scene earlier in the episode (and there was enough they could've spared to include it). The fact they left the invasion as something Troy (and presumably Gosei) knew about but never shared is the biggest problem. But as for the episode, it raised the stakes for the season premiere (which will probably default back to Megaforce-level after) and was definitely one of the better episodes. 4/5

After dealing with two years of Samurai, I honestly didn't think it could get worse - even after being so sure Gokaiger was being adapted suddenly vanished when news of the change to Goseiger first came out. While some aspects were improved on, the season introduced new problems. The team has a much weaker foundation in the underused Gosei, and Troy (who doesn't count), than Mentor and Jayden. On multiple occasions they've looked incompetent and the writers totally blew it with Troy - dropping his background from script and keeping the dreams. But the rest of the cast has shown they can actually act and there were several fun unmorphed scenes, especially at Ernie's. They could've done a lot more with Mr. Burley and the school as well but at least having him, and Ernie, was an improvement.

Although Samurai was closer to the sentai, there were more creative moments making for some great episodes that stood out. Here, it didn't happen. I did enjoy a lot of the footage matching, set recreations, repurposing Goseiger's robots footage and the armada arrival, but most of the originality was limited to the Halloween and Christmas specials. "THE ROBO KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS" did a great job of focusing on an original story for RK and made the season look better than it even was. The rest was pretty much long fights and plots pulled from Goseiger, which weren't adapted as closely but didn't always look that good either. The toxic mutant arc was tough to get through at times and Robo Knight's journey of becoming a decent "RoboCop" 6th Ranger was long and pretty rocky early on. And I didn't care that Malkor never did much since this wasn't another Xandred - just holding down the fort for the armada. Vrak meanwhile, kept things interesting and was one of the few savings graces.

I'll give Megaforce a slight grade above Samurai/Super Samurai but in terms of individual episodes it would be on the bottom. And it's doubtful that'll change much as Super Megaforce is looking like it'll have the same problems with dialog over everything and directly adapting scenes instead of reshooting or editing. The footage will at least be fun to watch and I'm looking forward to Silver Ranger's extended intro and the final episode mega war, which I'm sure will continue to be leaked by JDF in the coming months. I'll remain optimistic that a few tribute episodes won't be bad and I'll trust Jason Smith's writing ability over most others.

Ranger Bar's finale discussion: