Friday, May 20, 2011

The Thunder Rangers, Power Rangers Ninja Storm

After writing my previous post on the Goraijers, Sean Akizuki requested for me to do a similar post on their Power Rangers counterpart, the Thunder Rangers. So, here's the Thunder Rangers story.


The Thunder Rangers' backstory is somewhat similar to their Hurricanger counterparts, the Goraijers. Yet it's much different as well. Like in Hurricanger, the Thunder Rangers are from a different ninja school, who's ninja school was destroyed by Lothor's invasion. Also, like Dustin, they had dirt bike racing hobbies. They're also brothers like the Goraijers, but unlike the Goraijers they're foster brothers. It seems this was used as a plot convenience since the actors have different ethnicities. Anyways, like the Goraijers they were dealing with family issues, but instead of having a coldblooded manipulative father, they were dealing with the death of their foster parents. Lothor destroyed the Thunder Ninja Academy, captured Blake and Hunter and their sensei. Lothor blamed the death of Blake and Hunter's parents on the Wind Ranger's sensei, Kanoi. They made a deal with Lothor, battled the Wind rangers, and eventually captured Sensei Kanoi. However, when they took him to the Cavern of Spirits. It was here that the truth was revealed, that Lothor had killed their parents.

After this debacle they left town before returning a few episodes later. Here they got a second story arc in which Chuubo tricked them and put them under mind control. Chuubo used them to fight the wind rangers. However, Blake snapped out of Chuubo's mind control first. He told the wind rangers the truth about what happened. Together with the wind rangers, Blake was able to bring his brother Hunter to his senses. Because of this humiliating defeat, Chuubo was exiled from Lothor's ship. Chuubo went after the Thunder Rangers and captured them in a box. They were eventually freed by the Wind Rangers and joined the Wind Rangers permamently in their fight against Lothor.

The Thunder Rangers backstory doesn't go any deeper than this. Personally, I thought the first arc involving their foster parents was ok, but it wasn't mind blowing like the Goraijers story with their father. The second story arc with them being manipulated by Chuubo comes off to me as an outright Evil Green Ranger rip-off. It's not nearly as intense and the dialog during this arc tends to be hit or miss. It's either funny at times or overly cheesy. Their development also isn't as strong as the Goraijers, who gradually bonded with the Hurricangers and became friends. There may have been some limitations placed on the writers by Disney, which Disney is known for much softer story telling. There are some reports that during Dino Thunder the writers wanted to have Trent be the Evil White Ranger just as long as Mikoto was evil during Abaranger. I will say that unlike in Hurricanger when Isshu and Nanami have a ship-tease and nothing is done with it until Hurricanger, they do go a little farther with the hints of Blake and Tori. It's evident early on that Tori likes Blake and the writers seem to want to hook them up, but like the Isshu-Nanami relationship it really goes nowhere. As for the characters themselves, I find Hunter to be really bland. He's not the worst power ranger character I've seen but I think he's just a boring character. I do kinda like Blake. He's charming, somewhat cool, and somewhat interesting. Still, neither character really compares to either Ikkou or Isshu from Hurricanger. In fact, I don't think they're even the best part of Ninja Storm. Personally, I think the best part of Ninja Storm is the story surrounding Cam who later becomes the Green Samurai Ranger (Shurikenger's counterpart), the story surrounding his family, his father (Sensei Kanoi), and his uncle (who happens to be Lothor the main villain). Also, Lothor who's kinda funny I think is also more interesting than either the Thunder Rangers are.

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