Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Power Rangers Handling of Nostalgia

Since we have two series that are trying to connect to nostalgia (Power Rangers Samurai and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger), I decided to examine how both past and current incarnations of Power Rangers and Super Sentai have handled dealing with nostalgia. I'll analyze Power Rangers first and then analyze Sentai later on in the week.

Power Rangers Wild Force

The first is Power Rangers Wild Force, being Power Rangers' 10th anniversary season. Like its Sentai counterpart, Gaoranger, Wild Force didn't dig deep into the nostalgia factor. The only time it dug deep into nostalgia was with the episode, Forever Red. Forever Red essentially took a short pose of a bunch of red rangers from Gaoranger vs Super Sentai and made it into their own unique episode. While they're were many plot holes in Forever Red, there was some cool things about it. First was the fact that all of the previous red rangers as well as the current one, Cole Evans, united to defeat the remains of the Machine Empire. The fight scenes in the episode were also really awesome. It also had a new version of the Astro Megaship from In Space, as well as an Alpha robot, Alpha 7, that had the voice of Alpha 5 but the body of Alpha 6. It was also cool that many former Power Ranger actors, such as Walter Jones who played Zack, Archie Kao who played Kai, and Catherine Sutherland who played Kat, got roles as voice actors for some of the Machine Empire generals in the episode. I also liked the ending when all the other rangers try to outdo Tommy. However, for me there are two things that really bring the episode down a bit. One, Jason's cockiness. Seriously, he never acted like that during MMPR or Zeo, and suddenly in this one episode they make him look like the biggest asshole in Power Rangers history. The other is the whole Serpentera scenario. First, the CGI Serpentera is terrible, and was a whole lot smaller than the original one was back in MMPR S2. Second, how easily he was defeated by Cole on the Wild Force Rider, which is pretty dumb considering this thing was easily 10 times the size of any zord and once destroyed an entire planet. For me, while Forever Red is a good episode, it feels a bit rush and would have been better as a two parter, like it originally was planned to be.

Power Rangers Dino Thunder

Among all the Power Ranger seasons that attempted to tackle nostalgia I think Dino Thunder handles the best. The obvious was bringing Tommy back to serve as a mentor. Unlike MMPR S2, where he seemed too powerful, he wasn't given too much focus in Dino Thunder. Dino Thunder I felt did a better job of developing the characters around Tommy than MMPR S2, but that's besides the point. Besides Tommy, Dino Thunder takes advantage of MMPR nostalgia with the dinosaur theme. Abaranger was the perfect Sentai to adapt for MMPR nostalgia. The red ranger had a T-rex zord, the blue ranger a Triceratops zord, Kira, the lone female ranger, had a Pterodactyl zord, and Tommy's Brachio Zord is reminiscent of Titanus. The characters except for Tommy, are all teenagers and have to learn to bond together even though they're from different worlds. Trent was a lot like Tommy and his morphing call, White Ranger Dino Power, was a throw back to the song "White Ranger Tiger Power." There was also the episode, A Legacy of Power, which was a clip show of the entire series that I personally find to be much better than Forever Red was. So in short, Abaranger had all the elements for Power Rangers to take advantage of MMPR nostalgia and handled it quite well IMO.

Power Rangers Operation Overdrive

Like Dino Thunder, Operation Overdrive inherited a lot of nostalgia elements from its Sentai counterpart, Boukenger. First, Operation Overdrive had the same colored suits as the original 5 in MMPR did. It also inherited villains and evil mechas that were based on past Sentai mechas and bared resemblance to many past Power Ranger megazords. However, Operation Overdrive basically did nothing with these nostalgic factors. It did have the team-up Once A Ranger, which I thought was a descent team-up. It was by far the best episodes in Operation Overdrive, but it inherited and suffered from many of the flaws that Operation Overdrive already had such as terrible villains, bad acting, bad dialog, and an extreme overuse of explosions. So while Once A Ranger may be the best episodes in Operation Overdrive, that really isn't saying much for a terrible season.

Power Rangers Samurai

Samurai, IMO has handled the nostalgia even worst than Operation Overdrive has. Operation Overdrive basically did nothing with the nostalgia elements it inherited from Boukenger. Samurai, on the other hand, has tried to create its own nostalgic elements and failed miserably. First, I will give credit where credit is due. The theme song is a remix of the original Go Go Power Rangers theme song, and I admit I do like the theme song. The rest of the nostalgia has been terrible. They brought Bulk back, and while it's nice to see him back he's had nothing to do with the plots so far. Him and Spike are seemingly thrown in there as fanservice and have absolutely no interaction with the rangers themselves. They occasionally have some interaction with the MOTW, but that's rare. I also don't like the subplot with Spike having a crush on the Pink Samurai ranger. For me it was ok when Skull had a crush on Kimberly, but this subplot just creeps me out. Besides Bulk and Spike, the morphing call is just terrible (Go Go Samurai), and the show has gone overload with the cheesy puns. The cheese was fun in MMPR, but now they've taken it up to 100, even giving the Gold Ranger, Antonio, a bunch of cheesy lines.

1 comment:

  1. I would agree that PR Samurai really has a bad handling of nostalgia, really that bad. And I dunno what of Spike creeps you out about his crush on the Pink Samurai Ranger, maybe it has to do because he hasn't seen her unmasked or something? Well, I'm just glad Spike didn't get a plane ticket to Japan and fall in love with Mako instead.