Welcome back to our journey through the two-decade long history of the Power Rangers. Diving right in…
Power Rangers: Ninja Storm (2003)
So there’s all these ninja schools hidden deep in the jungles of California. I have no clue how one applies to get in, or their acceptance standards, but apparently this one school has pretty low expectations because the main characters of Ninja Storm are students there, but they’re kind of underachievers. They also have names that sound like a Disney Channel band: Tori, Dustin and Shane.
One fine day Lothor, a ninja master who turned evil and was banished, decides to destroy all the ninja school with his army of foam rubber bad guys. All the other ninja schools disappear, leaving only- you guessed it- Tori, Dustin, and Shane still around to fight him. There is also their strict sensei, who for some reason has been turned into a guinea pig (I’m not even kidding) and his studious son Cam. They all go into this massive underground complex beneath the ruins of their school, and guinea pig sensei gives them Wind Morphers so they can protect the town of Blue Bay Harbor, which is apparently near the jungles of California, from Lothor’s naughty schemes.
Not only can Lothor make his evil army grow into giants, he also has his own evil Power Rangers to fight the Wind Rangers. Blake and Hunter (good Lord, seriously?) are the Thunder Rangers. You can tell they’re different from regular Power Rangers because they aren’t primary-colored; they’re navy and maroon. Blake and Hunter have a good reason to work for Lothor- they think the Wind Rangers’ sensei killed their parents, but of course they’re wrong, and a visit from the ghosts of their dead parents lets them know it was actually Lothor who killed them and then he lied about it. Bet you didn’t see that coming!
So the Thunder Rangers defect to the good guys’ side and they can all combine their Zords to make the Thunderstorm Megazord (thunder + wind, get it?).
There’s some more shit with time traveling and an amulet and Cam becomes the bonus Green Samurai Ranger, and then Lothor opens the Abyss of Evil (duh-duh-DUH!) to destroy everything. He ends up stealing the Rangers’ powers, but they still have their awesome ninja skills to fall back on (even though they were the worst students before, 20-odd episodes of practicing apparently help a lot) and defeat him. Then they all become teachers at the guinea pig sensei’s rebuilt ninja academy.
Ninja Storm isn’t very good, honestly. The characters are particularly lame stereotypes, the fights are just OK and even the bad guys aren’t visually inspired- it’s like watching a bunch of ravers with a few freaks thrown in. Except for Choobo. Choobo is Lothor’s bumbling second-in-command, and he looks like a Thai traditional dancer, but he’s green and swollen-looking and has steampunk goggles.
Power Rangers: Dino Thunder (2004)
There is something about the Dino Thunder costumes that I find incredibly irritating. Maybe it’s all the white triangles, or the stupid-ass visors on the helmets. I don’t know. They’re just really annoying to look at.
So Tommy from the original show (Jason David Frank apparently had nothing better to do) has become a paleontologist/professor. He has to supervise three students at detention- and Connor, Ethan and Kira help him find the Dino Gems, and they become the Dino Rangers. Connor is the Tyrannosaur, Ethan is the Triceratops and Kira gets to be the Pteranodon, which I call bullshit on because pteranodons are flying repiles, NOT dinosaurs, so she can’t even really be a Dino Ranger. But anyway. Old Tommy is the Black Dino Ranger- I have to admit he is still totally ripped- and there’s a White Ranger who shows up later. They have to fight this guy named Mesogog, who looks like a weirdly human-ish pachycephalosaurus. The White Ranger has some inner conflict and shit because he got his powers from a Dino Gem he found in Mesogog’s lab. Because Mesogog is actually the White Ranger’s dad, a nerdy scientist who had some lab experiment blow up in his face and now he’s an evil dinosaur-person.
These Dino Rangers acquire a buttload of new Zords, including a Zord carrier called a Brachizord. But the joy of having a million Zords is short-lived because (gasp!) they’re all destroyed in the final battle with Mesogog and his minion Zeltrax (who looks awesome. Like Karas-level awesome).
Dino Thunder is…not great. The association of Power Rangers with prehistoric creatures has been there since the beginning, so I guess it was natural to take it further, but it just looks kind of goofy. And Tommy…really, dude? Get a life outside Power Ranger-dom.
Power Rangers: S.P.D (2005)
So, it’s the year 2025. Aliens have made contact and Earth was all like, “Come on down and hang for a while.” so humans and aliens have a really solid relationship. Except for the aliens who want to conquer Earth (I mean, really? Just…why? Earth is nice and all, don’t get me wrong, but why does every alien race in the entire universe want to conquer us?). This time it’s the Troobian Empire, led by bony old Emperor Gruumm. Gruum has kidnapped a 10-year-old girl (at least, she looks human) who can draw monsters that come to life, so he can use them in his army. This kid is SO FREAKING ANNOYING. I can’t even explain. At least Gruumm seems to find her as insufferable as I do.
Anyway, our Power Rangers this time are actually the second string, because the first set of Power Rangers mysteriously vanished, so the B-listers are up. Their commander is this alien from Sirius who looks like an aquatic dog (get it, Sirius = the dog star) and is named…Anubis. But the Rangers, in a stunning display of disrespect, call him “Doggie” even though he turns out to be the bonus Shadow Rangers and kicks major ass later in the series.
There’s a lot of teenage bickering and whining; to me it seemed that there was a lot more of it. Blue Ranger’s dad is a former Red Ranger so he’s pissed he can’t be the Red Ranger too; the girl members are polar opposites but have to share a room, etc. Wah wah wah, your predecessors disappeared without a trace and you’re going to bitch about petty stuff? Maybe you guys should be more worried about your own butts.
Anyway, it turns out the A-Squad was actually evil. Or maybe they turned evil. Whatever. The B-Squad eventually stops being a pain and joins forces and learns to cooperate and fight the evil Troobian Empire in time to save Earth. Emperor Gruumm gets arrested; in this universe when you get arrested this machine instantly judges you and you get stuck in a little card to go in the Card Catalog of Naughty People or something.
At least, that’s what I figure happens since I didn’t watch the end of the show.
Oh yeah, and S.P.D. Stands for Space Patrol Delta.
Power Rangers: Mystic Force (2006)
So, two nice things about Power Rangers: Mystic Force:
The costumes have capes.
One of the bad guys has a Horse Zord and he can morph with it to become a Centaur Megazord.
I like centaurs. There’s a crapload of them in my green/white hippie Magic deck.
This one takes place in some parallel universe to our own where people use magic a lot. At some point decades ago this evil guy and his foam rubber army tried to take over the universe and the Good Magical Realm, but these wizards called Mystics drove them back and stuck them in the Evil Magical Realm. Nobody has any idea this happened though for some reason. They’re pretty surprised when an earthquake breaks the seal keeping the naughty guys locked up and they emerge all pissed off (why would you put the seal in this parallel universe equivalent of California? Tectonics, people).
Anyway, this sorceress called Udonna finds five teens with attitude to become the Mystic Power Rangers. They have vehicles that turn into brooms when they’re not being used, and they can power up to become Mystic Titans with names like the Phoenix Titan, the Minotaur Titan, and for the girls the Sprite Titan and the Mermaid Titan, which is completely lame.
“Mermaid Titan! Heehee!”
They combine to become a Mystic Dragon which the Phoenix Titan rides. All their powers are elemental, and they also know kung fu. The Solaris Knight is the bonus Ranger in this series.The Solaris Knight has a train Megazord.
And I think that’s about all you need to know about Power Rangers: Mystic Force.
Check back next week for the thrilling conclusion of my history of the Power Rangers!
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