As Power Rangers enters its 17th year in the United States (it's on the high side of thirty in Japan!), there has been enough material, and enough kids who are now adults with fond memories of their Ranger-filled childhood, to warrant a growing number of toys and other items within the Power Rangers universe taking advantage of this nostalgia. Some of this is marketed under the umbrella name of POWER RANGERS SUPER LEGENDS, which clearly means basically anything that's ever been associated with the Power Rangers.
A new product has turned up under this name, that I found myself interested in when I saw it in early 2009. It's a series of medium-scale action figures based on the Megazords from the various series.
So, what's a Megazord? As a rule, it's the combined form of the Zords, or primary vehicles, utilized by the Power Rangers of any given concept. Generally speaking the climactic battle in most Power Rangers episodes, regardless of the concept, involves the combined Megazord going up against some massive monster conjured up by the bad guys in a free-for-all battle in a landscape rented from Godzilla Leftovers Incorporated.
Of course, the Zords and Megazords comprise a fair portion of the toy supply from any of the Power Rangers concepts over the years. But I've never much been in the habit of collecting them. I tend to stick to the basic figures. There have been occasions where the basic figures have come with a vehicle. Power Rangers Wild Force's figures all came with motorcycles. But usually, the basic figures in most Power Rangers concepts are single-carded figures, sometimes with some special built-in special effect, and with a few accessories. And I am content with those.
That's not to malign the other toys in any sense. The various Zords, Megazords, and whatever else Bandai chooses to offer during any given run of a Power Rangers concept are all very well-made and impressive toys that certainly have a generous amount of play value, they look cool, and they're of very high quality. I just simply don't have the money or the physical space for them. I wish I did, but I don't.
But, an assortment of 5-1/2" tall action figures representing the various Megazords? THAT is another matter entirely. That's something I can bring into my collection a little more agreeably on both the financial and space considerations. So I was very pleased to discover this new series of Power Rangers Super Legends Megazords, marketed under the name "Retrofire", and representing -- so far, anyway -- the Megazords from three different Power Rangers concepts.
I decided to start with the one from the very first Power Rangers series -- the Mighty Morphin Megazord. So here's the information I found about the Mighty Morphin Megazord:
The Mighty Morphin Megazord is comprised of the five Dinozords used by the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. These include:
Tyrannosaurus Dinozord: Piloted by the Red Power Ranger Jason Lee Scott, it is hidden underground and rises up through a fissure. The only bipedal Dinozord, it occasionally fights on its own and is capable of defeating an opponent on its own. Independently, its capabilities include a prehensile tail that can swipe at enemies or allow it to gain a height advantage and sweep in. It also has a cannon in its throat that can be fired into the ground and cause a huge tornado and its eyes can fire powerful laser beams.
Mastodon Dinozord: Piloted by the Black Power Ranger Zack Taylor, it is hidden beneath a glacier of ice. The Mastodon can shoot a cold blast from its trunk which was capable of freezing some enemies.
Triceratops Dinozord: Piloted by the Blue Power Ranger Billy Cranston, it rests in a desert, and rolls into battle on a set of treads rather than feet or legs. It features a double laser cannon on its tail, and a set of horns that can launch and serve as grappling devices.
Saber-Toothed Tiger Dinozord: Piloted by the Yellow Power Ranger Trini Kwan, its hiding place is deep within a jungle, and it shows off its speed and dexterity by leaping over tall jungle trees each time it charges into battle. Its tail can rotate up and fire an energy beam, and it occasionally attacks enemies directly as a biological tiger would.
Pterodactyl Dinozord: Piloted by the Pink Power Ranger Kimberly Hart, it sleeps inside a presumably active volcano, and causes a minor eruption each time it departs. It is the only Dinozord capable of flight, and can fire strafing energy beams from its shoulders.
In forming the original Megazord, the Dinozords almost always join into tank mode first, even if only temporarily before switching to battle mode. The Tyrannosaurus represents the tank's core, with the Saber-Toothed Tiger and Triceratops attaching to form the left and right treads, respectively. The Mastodon attaches to the Tyrannosaurus's back and created a set of forward-facing cannons, while the Pterodactyl clips onto the Tyrannosaurus's back. Once joined, the Megazord can emit a set of energy blasts from the eyes of the individual Zords, as well as the Mastodon's cannons.
The Megazord in battle mode almost always follows the tank mode, but on rare occasions the Rangers skip the tank mode entirely. The Tyrannosaurus forms the upper torso and head, the Mastodon forms the shoulders, arms and back, the Triceratops forms the left leg and the Saber-Toothed Tiger forms the right leg and the Pterodactyl forms the chest plate. The Megazord's head is then enfolded in a spiked helmet of sorts to complete the formation. Notably during the formation into battle mode, a computerized voice says "Megazord sequence has been initiated" at the beginning and "Megazord activated" at the end. This formation is bipedal and moves very much like a human, with a broad range of motion and use of its arms and legs. This is because Super Sentai mecha are portrayed by costumes. When piloting the Megazord, the Rangers sit inside the cockpit located inside its head. The Megazord is able to switch between battle mode and tank mode instantly to suit the situation.
When desired, the Red Ranger can summon the Power Sword, which lances through the skies and lands either in the ground or in the Megazord's right hand. It can also provide the Megazord a boost in energy when it was low on power. The Power Sword is capable of finishing off most enemies with an energized slash. The Megazord also has armaments it uses somewhat less often; it could fire a powerful laser beam from the tip of its head. The Mastodon's detached head can be attached to the Megazord's left hand to form the Mammoth Shield which can deflect (or reflect) enemy attacks. Also to note, whenever the Megazord transforms from tank mode to battle mode, the Mastodon's head would mysteriously vanish until summoned for use as a shield.
While it owes its existence to the Morphing Grid and Power Coins, the Megazord derives its day-to-day energy from the sun. In the episode "Green With Evil, Part 4" Rita takes advantage of this and causes a solar eclipse to strip the Megazord of its energy. After Goldar, Scorpina and the Evil Green Ranger deliver massive damage to the Megazord, the Rangers are forced to evacuate and the Megazord falls into a massive pit of molten lava created by Rita. However the lava actually heals the damaged Dinozords and they are later revived by Zordon. Later, in the episode "Doomsday, Part 2" Zordon creates an automatic self-preservation system for the Megazord, which causes it to instantly separate and return the Dinozords to their hiding places to recharge when they are in critical danger during the battle against Goldar's Zord Cyclopsis and the monster Lokar.
Most fans of the series often dub it as the "Dino Megazord" as a way to differentiate it from later named Megazords.
Interestingly, the Megazord can further combine into two additional forms. When the Green Dragonzord was introduced into the series, it was eventually discovered that it could combine with the Megazord to form what was called the Mega Dragonzord. In this formation, the Dragonzord turns into armor that attaches to the top of the Megazord, turning its finger cannons into shoulder cannons. This formation is also a type of Megazord. The Mega Dragonzord is very powerful, physically stronger than even the Dragonzord in Battle Mode, but also significantly slower because its composition made it top-heavy due to a higher centre of gravity. Its primary attack consists of a energy sphere formed by the Dragonzord symbols on the arms and the Megazord's chestplate, which is generally powerful enough to finish most enemies.
Also, the Megazord could combine with a unit called Titanus the Carrierzord, a white-and-black brachiosaurus Zord. In times of peril, all six Zords (as the Mega Dragonzord), along with Titanus, can come together to form Ultrazord, the most powerful combination of season one. The Ultrazord attacks with a devastating array of projectile weapons, almost always destroying whatever enemy it faces.
Boy, no wonder parents went broke buying all this stuff for their kids.
However, this particular action figure is "just" the Megazord. No Dragon or Titanus elements involved. It can still kick some serious butt, though. no question about that.
I was confident in buying this toy. One doesn't need to look at the massive standard Zords of the Power Rangers toy line to know that Bandai is capable of making impressive robots. Besides, this Megazord figure isn't that massive. It's no taller, if as tall, as some of the "human" figures.
The one thing that went through my mind when I first saw this figure was "From the same people that make GUNDAM. Okay, this should be cool." For those who don't know, Gundam is a massively popular Japanese concept, a wide number of assorted anime series that involve large piloted robot suits, more often than not involved in some sort of space-based war. A number of these series were run on Cartoon Network from 2000-2004, and Bandai marketed a wide-ranging toy line in the United States, consisting of action figures and figural model kits. Unfortunately, they tried to emphasize the kits a little too much, when most fans preferred the figures, and that, combined with some other issues, resulted in the American demise of the toys, although they do continue in various forms overseas in and near their homeland.
Nevertheless, for anyone who's ever seen a Gundam action figure, sometimes known as "Mobile Suit in Action", it leaves absolutely no question that Bandai is abundantly capable of producing amazingly detailed and just as amazingly articulated robotic action figures. So I had no hesitation in purchasing one of these Zords.
The Mighty Morphin Megazord is an interesting design. The most apparent aspect that it is a combination of other elements is the lower legs. One is yellow and has a "foot" that is clearly derived from the saber-tooth tiger, and the other leg is blue and has a triceratops face and horns on it. In fact, the only Zord not in apparent evidence is the pink Pterodactyl Zord. It's noted in the description that this mounts on the Megazord's back and isn't necessarily a direct part of the physical structure of the Megazord, and indeed, there isn't a bit of pink paint on this toy.
In fairness, though, as with many of the "human" figures in the Power Rangers line, certain details on the back of this figure have been sculpted, but not painted. I really wish Bandai would find another way to save a few pennies on these toys instead of stiffing the paint detailing. Heck, I'd be willing to pay another 50 cents per figure if they'd just finish the job.
The sculpted detail is excellent, as is the paint detailing, despite the omissions. The head is neatly sculpted and detailed very finely, including the small eyes, and white lines running up the side pieces. The paint detailing on the body of the Megazord stays well within the sculpted detail lines. Particularly highly detailed are the legs and feet, since they comprise the heads of two of the separate Zords.
Articulation is -- well, honestly, not all I'd hoped it would be. The photos on the packaging are a little deceptive. They show the Zord in several action poses, but you have to notice carefully that some parts move more than others. The place where the Megazord is most off is the arms. They not only could use a bit more articulation, they're not even articulated consistently. Both arms are articulated at the shoulders, although the left arm turns at a slight angle. The right arm moves outward at the shoulder, underneath the huge "shoulder pad", the left arm does not. The left arm rotates at the shoulder at this point, the right arm does not. The left arm is poseable at the elbow, the right arm is not. The right wrist swivels, the left does not.
The Megazord is otherwise nicely articulated, and is poseable at the head, waist, legs, and knees. The feet are posed in such a way that the figure has to stand in a sort of "action pose" to look right, but this isn't too bad.
Ultimately, this is a cool toy, but if you're expecting Gundam levels of articulation on it -- forget it. It's not only not very close to those, but it has its own weirdness issues.
The Mighty Morphin Megazord comes with several cool accessories. First up, and giving very apparent evidence of a third Zord, is its mastodon-head shield. This is molded in black with some grey and gold detailing. It also comes with the aforementioned Power Sword, an impressive item roughly 4 inches in length. There is also a display base which consists of the Power Rangers "lightning bolt" insignia, and a curved post which can be inserted into the base and into the back of the Megazord to make it look as though it's airborne or in the middle of a jump or some such.
There are, as of this writing, three of these Megazords in the Super Legends Retrofire collection, the other two representing the Megazords from Wild Force and the newest Power Rangers concept, RPM. I do expect I'll be getting and reviewing these at an appropriate time. Bandai's plans beyond that are unknown to me, but certainly there's no shortage of Megazords out there!
So what's my final word here? This is a cool toy. I do wish it were more completely painted, and a little more extensively, or at least consistently as far as the arms are concerned, articulated. I suppose I was expecting something a little more Gundam-ish in that regard, but now I know more what to expect, and it's still a cool toy.
Additionally, it allows those of us who have neither the money nor physical space to bring in the larger Zord and Megazord toys from the Power Rangers collections to finally have some representation of these cool Power Rangers machines in our collections, and they're very capable representations, really.
With all of that, the POWER RANGERS SUPER LEGENDS RETROFIRE MIGHTY MORPHIN MEGAZORD (that's got to be one of the longer titles I've typed in a while) definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!