Thread: Power Rangers
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Old March 22 2014, 05:04 PM   #1052
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Re: Power Rangers

Well, "Spirit of the Tiger" was probably the best Megaforce/Super Megaforce episode yet -- and a fairly faithful adaptation of the Gokaiger episode it's based on. They didn't even change the name of the monster (although they left out the part that it was the "son" -- aka recycled costume -- from a Gekiranger monster that apparently wasn't used in Jungle Fury). The returning Ranger, Casey, was integrated much better into the story than Jayden and Ji were last week, and Jason Smith is one of the best actors in the PR franchise, so it was good to see him again. We even got a trace of conflict for once, with Troy insisting on the need to retain their weapons while Emma and Jake were investigating unarmed combat styles, but of course they didn't really do anything interesting with it. But it's about as close as Troy has ever come to displaying any kind of personality.

Meanwhile, over in Super Sentai, I'd been planning to watch Kakuranger next, but I noticed just in time that its YouTube playlist is missing the last seven episodes. So I decided instead to watch the earliest of the four series from that particular uploader, Choujin Sentai Jetman -- the last pre-Power Rangers Sentai, and regarded as a "masterpiece" according to RangerWiki. Apparently it pioneered the use of increased drama and conflict within the heroes, and among the villains as well. The characters are certainly much more richly drawn than the Dairanger characters two seasons later, and they're a diverse bunch -- the powers were accidentally bestowed on four random people as well as the Red Ranger, so most of them are unlikely heroes and don't fit well on the same team. Although the bulk of the emphasis is on the soapy stuff involving various unrequited loves among the team.

The villains, the Vyram, are quite interesting. They have interdimensional technology which is weird and creepy and lets them watch everything or materialize anywhere, and they confront the heroes frequently and directly. Also, the four main villains are treating the invasion of Earth as a game, a competition against one another with the prize of ruling their empire going to whoever defeats the Jetmen, and that approach helps justify some of the more convoluted and bizarre tactics that Sentai villains tend to use, like sending just one monster per week or spending more time messing with the heroes' heads than launching a mass invasion.

Anyway, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. The writing is a lot of fun even through translation, and the cast is pretty effective as well. I like the Jetman costumes and their flight powers, and even the incidental music is pretty good. (Unfortunately I can't seem to find any composer credits online.)

I suppose after Jetman I'll continue with the other complete series on that part of YouTube, Zyuranger, and see how it compares to Mighty Morphin' season 1. At first I was more interested in Sentais that were farther removed from their PR equivalents, and Jetman is interesting because it's a "pure" Sentai with no PR counterpart to color my impressions, but I am becoming curious about the source for the original PR.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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