In 2007, the Power Rangers celebrated its 15th Anniversary in the United States, Bandai decided to commemorate this celebration with a special series of figures. The Red Ranger from each of the various concepts from throughout the years was issued as part of a special commemorative set of almost 7" tall figures. The body molds for each were the same, although the helmets and painted details were superb, and the body design was excellent.
The line went all the way from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which lasted for three years, through the subsequent annual overhauls of Zeo, to Turbo, all the way through SPD, Mystic Force, and Operation Overdrive, which was the 2007 Power Rangers concept. Every single concept's Red Rangers.
Personally, I'm hoping that it's a line that Bandai finds a way to continue. I wouldn't mind at all seeing the Jungle Fury Red Ranger added to the mix, plus whichever concepts follow.
But -- there was one, rather glaring omission in the set. In fairness, it would've been a tough one to fit in. Technically, this particular group of Rangers, which of course included a Red Ranger, were a sort of series within a series, as Mighty Morphin gradually -- well -- morphed into Zeo.
It was called, officially, MIGHTY MORPHIN ALIEN RANGERS. I remembered them, because at the time, I wondered for quite some time if Bandai would make figures of them. They did have distinctive uniform designs, that didn't look anything like the Mighty Morphin or the Zeo Rangers (or anyone else since, for that matter). Ultimately, Bandai DID release figures of them -- just barely. They were never a major influence in the toy line.
Obviously, since Bandai chose NOT to include the Alien Red Ranger in their 15th Anniversary line-up. I actually wrote a letter to them to inquire about this oversight, and Bandai was very generous in responding (something they tend to be a little better at than some other toy companies -- wasn't even a form letter).
They said that they were pleased to hear from such a longtime Power Rangers fan, that they would certainly consider adding the Red Alien Ranger to any future editions of this series of figures, but at the same time, they could hardly believe that anyone even REMEMBERED the Alien Rangers.
And so, I decided to provide this Flashback review, in the hopes of giving these near-forgotten (even by Bandai, it seems) Power Rangers their due.
We can call the Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers concept as "a Power Rangers mini-series inside the third season of the TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers." That's really not a bad description. It lasted for ten episodes. Back then, Power Rangers aired daily, so this gave the Alien Rangers all of two weeks to make their mark on the Power Rangers universe.
The storyline is, as one might expect, fairly straightforward, but a tad on the bizarre side -- not too out of place for a Power Rangers sequence. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are turned into children by Master Vile, and Zordon recruits five alien Power Rangers from the planet Aquitar, humanoids that feed on water and have awkward, watery voices, to help protect the Earth from Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa. Meanwhile, the kids seek to find the pieces of the Zeo Crystal to return them to their full adult form.
That "awkward, watery voice" description is something of an understatement. I remember THAT from seeing the original episodes. Remember what Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe sounded like? It was pretty much like that, except instead of ol' Fish-Face, it was five teenagers. Frankly, it got a little annoying. Fortunately, the Alien Rangers figures weren't talkers.
Once the Zeo Crystal was recombined, the original Rangers returned to their grown form, and the Aquitian Rangers returned to their home planet of Aquitar. However, this was not the last time they would turn up. The Aquitian Rangers are later seen and referenced in further Power Rangers series, including the first past/present Ranger team up during Power Rangers: Zeo. In particular, Billy Cranston, one of the original Rangers, goes and visits them on their home planet, therefore explaining his absence from the series from Power Rangers: Turbo onwards. Some of the Alien Rangers are also seen in the climatic montage fight between the forces of good and evil at the finale of Power Rangers In Space and the Red Aquitian Ranger is seen in the Power Rangers Wild Force episode Forever Red, which saw every previous Red Ranger united to stop the remnants of the Machine Empire in its latest scheme.
And these are the Rangers that Bandai is surprised anybody even remembers? Even I didn't know some of this. I certainly didn't know that the Red Alien Ranger had turned up as recently as Wild Force, which was the 2002 Power Rangers concept.
There were five Alien Rangers. Their names and describtion are as follows:
Aurico, played by David Bacon, is the Red Aquitian Ranger and the most well known Alien Ranger. Though technically Delphine is the leader of the team, as Red Ranger, Aurico is often considered an informal field leader. He pilots the Red Battle Borg and, during his stay on Earth, the Red Shogunzord, as well. He was voiced by Christopher Glenn for his later Wild Force appearance.
Delphine, played by Rajia Baroudi, is the White Aquitian Ranger. She was the leader of the team, and was the first female to be a Power Rangers team leader, though, as Red Ranger, Aurico is sometimes considered an informal leader.Also, she is the first Power Ranger to be the only female member of her team. Delphine pilots the White Battleborg and the White Shogunzord.
Tideus, played by Jim Gray, is the Yellow Aquitian Ranger. Tideus is a very serious person who takes his duties as a Ranger extremely seriously. Tideus is physically the strongest of the Aquitians, and also is one of the healthiest. Tideus was entrusted with the power of the Yellow Battle Borg and the Yellow Shogunzord. Tideus was the first known male Yellow Ranger.
Cestro, played by Karim Prince, is the Blue Aquitian Ranger. He is entrusted with the power of the Blue Battleborg and Blue Shogunzord. Like his Mighty Morphin counterpart, Billy Cranston, Cestro is a technological genius. When Billy successfully managed to restore his own age by means of the Power Coins before they were destroyed, he and Cestro frequently worked together to find a similar cure for the other Rangers - as well as finding a means to keep the Aquitians hydrated with pure water. In this way, Cestro was the Alien Ranger who received most attention in storylines (alongside Delphine, the team leader). Cestro had a guest appearance in Power Rangers: Zeo, in which he came to Earth again, seeking Billy's help to fight off a menace on Aquitar called the hydro-contaminators. Billy's trip to Aquitar saw the beginning of the story arc in which he was permanently written out of the show.
Corcus, played by Alan Palmer, is the Black Aquitian Ranger. He is the quietest member of the team, often lurking in the background, but he fights with extreme ferocity against his enemies. He controls the Black Battle Borg and the Black Shogunzord.
As I said, I wasn't entirely certain there would ever by Alien Rangers figures. They simply weren't on the show all that long, and there seemed to be no great evidence of them as, within the toy line, Mighty Morphin morphed into Zeo and seemed to glo along its merry way. But then, at one point, and if memory serves it was in a K*B Toy Store at the time, here came a set of Alien Rangers figures!
These were the only Alien Rangers items ever produced, and both for then and now, it was pretty minimal. At the time, the Power Rangers toys were known for producing both 8" and 5" figures, and a host of assorted Zords and other equipment. To this day, Power Rangers remains one of the most highly successful action figure lines on the market, and one of the most voluminous in its vast array of items -- figures, Zords, other vehicles, assorted role-play equipment... there are not a lot of other toy lines that measure up -- and can get away with it.
But the Alien Rangers got one basic set of individually carded 5" action figures. Period. Even so, it was certainly better than nothing, which is what I thought we were going to get.
So, how are the figures? Well, compared to modern Power Rangers, they're a little on the primitive side. On the other hand, that box that I found them in also included 5" versions of their contemporaries -- Zeo and Turbo Rangers, among others, and compared to THEM, they're pretty much equal in quality, articulation, and detail. I hardly think it's entirely fair to compare a Power Ranger from over a dozen years ago to those of today.
One has to remember something about the Power Rangers figures of the time -- they weren't all that detailed as far as musculature and sculpted detail was concerned. They were pretty basic in appearance, so much so that the female Rangers used the same basic body molds as the male Rangers. And could just about get away with it. Just about... The bodies still tended towards the male as far as overall size and general appearance was concerned, and it was a little weird to see a Pink Ranger looking that -- masculine. Fortunately for the purposes of this review, the Alien Rangers didn't HAVE a Pink Ranger.
The five Alien Rangers all use exactly the same body mold, with certain attached parts being the only real difference other than the basic color. The figures each stand about 4-3/4" in height. They are well made and nicely articulated, able to pose at the head, arms (outward as well as forward and backward), an upper swivel arm, elbows, legs, and knees.
I find it interesting that the figures have an upper swivel arm movement. This is a range of motion that most Power Rangers in recent years, including the 15th Anniversary Red Ranger series, have distinctly lacked. And sometimes, it's a bit of a problem. Granted, on the whole, they tend to be decidedly more articulated than their predecessors, with wrist movement, often waist movement, some sort of upper leg swivel, and occasionally even a lower leg swivel or ankle movement, but when one considers that one of the main forms of combat of ANY Power Ranger tends to be martial arts fighting -- sometimes, an upper-arm swivel would be a real boon in trying to get the figures to simulate some of those poses.
The main differences between the five Alien Rangers, other than their respective individual colors, is the shape of their visors, which are painted onto an otherwise common head sculpt, and the embossed shape molded into a chrome gold headband that each of them wears. Clearly, these were molded as separate parts and attached to an indented section of the figure.
The shapes are geometric in design, and are clearly intended to follow a numerical pattern -- not unusual for any number of Power Rangers groups. The Red Ranger's headband has a circle in it. The White Ranger's has what looks like a Classic Star Trek shirt's emblem, sideways. The Yellow Ranger has a triangle, the Blue Ranger has a square, and the Black Ranger has a pentagon.
If one looks at this numerically, the circle is arguably the one-sided shape. The triangle, square, and pentagon are self-explanatory. The odd shape on the White Ranger's headband is, I suspect, intended to represent two sides, but it's still ranger strange. It would also seem to lend credence to the fact that while the White Ranger is this team's leader, the Red Ranger is pretty well up in the ranks, as well.
Beyond that, the uniforms are ALMOST identical, except for the color and a certain variance in the visor shapes. It's a fairly simple uniform design. It was certainly a considerable difference from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers uniforms, which were the only previous Power Rangers known at the time, with their large white diamond shapes on their uniforms, gloves, and boots, and their ornate helmets.
The only real detailing on the Alien Rangers' uniforms were black bands, outlined in white, around the wrists and ankles, and a thick white "V" shape around the neck, with an interior black area, and a gold triangle (black on the White and Yellow Rangers) at the base of the "V", although a picture I called up online of the characters in the show indicates that this "V" is gold at least on the White Ranger.
Everyone has a gold belt except the Yellow Ranger, who has a black belt with a gold buckly. Each figure has a holster to the left, and each Alien Ranger came with a small pistol, which fit into this holster, and a small sword, which clipped to a hole in their back, which was also used for an assembly screw (hardly an uncommon practice in certain other toy lines).
Each Alien Ranger also had an insignia on the upper left of their uniform, a sort of thick lightning bolt with a star and two small triangles in it. This lightning bolt was also the logo for the show at the time. For all but the Black Ranger, this insignia was black. His was white.
If memory serves, the White Ranger, to denote the fact that she was female, had a small strip of white vinyl plastic wrapped around her waist, and taped in the back. This piece has since gone missing, but if I recall, it looked pretty cheap anyway. And it's not as though the figure doesn't look fully dressed without it. Honestly, given that all the way through to Jungle Fury, the female Rangers have all had skirts as part of their uniforms, one has to wonder to what degree sexism is still alive and well in Japan.
So what's my final word here? Well, it's not as though I can recommend that you go out and buy these figures. They haven't been around for over a decade. I did see a couple of auctions online, but not a lot even there. One thing you should be aware of if you go "shopping" for them. The palm of each hand should have a small peg in it. This is how they hold their weapons, and based on the eBay auctions I surveyed, it's fairly common for this to break off.
A current recommendation was not my intention of this review. It was intended as a Flashback, but also to give a little attention and respect to a segment of the Power Rangers lengthy and ongoing history that, based on the reply I got from Bandai, and the distinct lack of this group of Rangers' Red representative in the 15th Anniversary line, needed a little attention and respect. I hope this article has accomplished that, at least.
The MIGHTY MORPHIN ALIEN RANGERS -- let them not be forgotten in either
the history shows -- or the action figures!