You know, some action figure lines you expect to see special limited editions, collectibles, "chase" figures from. It's no great surprise when Marvel Legends offers some sort of variant -- an angrier-faced Hydra Soldier, the black-costumed, red-headed Spider-Woman, whatever. It's no surprise when Star Wars comes out with limited editions and store exclusives. These are toy lines that appeal to adults as much as to kids, and the toy companies, while they have to conduct most of their business for the younger set, realize that increasingly there are adults that are interested in their products, and such special editions, they hope, will keep their interest up.
Which it probably would if some of this stuff were easier to find, but that's an issue for another time.
Thus said, however, pretty much the absolute last action figure line I EVER expected to see limited edition "chase" figures from was -- Power Rangers!?
Don't get me wrong. I like the Rangers, or at least their toys. Bandai does good work. And one certainly cannot deny the massive success that the Power Rangers have enjoyed now for over a decade and a half in the United States, and for far longer than that in their origin country of Japan. Power Rangers are a legitimate pop-culture phenomenon.
But generally speaking, when you hear toy collectors discussing what's new and what they're looking for, Power Rangers doesn't enter the conversation. They'll talk Star Wars, they'll talk Transformers, they'll talk Super-Heroes, they'll talk G.I. Joe -- try to mention Power Rangers in that crowd and you're likely to get laughed out of the room.
This is no doubt due to the television shows. "Campy", in most respects, would be polite. Clearly aimed at the younger crowd, the shows over the years have tended to be over the top in both acting and action. What the heck, it's a formula that's worked, even if the shows are generally hard to watch for anyone used to more sophisticated fare -- like Star Trek and Star Wars. But you can't argue the success, and the producers have been understandably reluctant to mess with it, and have little reason to do so.
So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that Power Rangers was going to be doing limited edition "chase" figures, which would be randomly and obviously sparsely packed in assortments of their current Power Rangers Jungle Fury line. I mean -- why?
I thought about that for a while. Power Rangers is entering its 16th year. People who were little kids when it started out, are now in their early to mid 20's. Starting lives of their own. And maybe just a little nostalgic for the things they grew up on. It could certainly be argued that this has helped the longevity of other concepts. No young child surveying the racks of toys of Transformers, or G.I. Joe, or Star Wars, has any memory of the first incarnations of these toys. But their parents do. And the same can now be said of Power Rangers. It's been around long enough, and the first two "chase" figures in this series are from the earliest days of the Power Rangers.
The are the Mighty Morphin Green Ranger, and Lord Zedd. This review will take a look at the Green Ranger.
These days, people expect there to be a sixth Ranger at some point (sometimes more than that). But when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers got started, no one really knew what to expect. Here were these five Rangers -- Red, Black, Blue, Yellow, and Pink, and that seemed to be about it. Then along came a sixth Ranger, a Green Ranger, even if his start in the series was a rather ignominious one.
His real name is Tommy Oliver, portrayed by actor Jason David Frank. Tommy was first introduced in the Mighty Morphin incarnation as the Green Power Ranger in the mini-saga "Green with Evil". As a new student at Angel Grove High School, Tommy faced Jason (the Red Ranger) in a Martial Arts Tournament, catching both Kimberly and Rita Repulsa's attention.
Tommy's fighting talent equated that of Jason, prompting Rita to grant him with the Green Ranger powers. Rita cast an evil spell to make Tommy loyal to her, granting him limited magic-based powers on top of the Dragon Power Coin. The reason for this was because his Ranger powers were fueled by Rita's dark magic rather than the Morphing Grid, like the other Rangers.
Following a battle to test his skills, Tommy's given mission was to destroy Zordon, the Command Center, and the Power Rangers, leaving the world defenseless against Rita's conquest. Tommy succeeded with the majority of his mission, discarding Zordon, demolishing the Command Center, and infecting Alpha with a virus while ejecting the Power Rangers from their own Megazord.
Tommy's Dragon Dagger was capable of summoning and controlling his own Zord, the Dragonzord. Once the Rangers' Zords were gone, he summoned his to raze the defenseless city of Angel Grove.
Eventually, a newly resurrected Zordon would return the Rangers to their Dinozords after explaining that the Earth's lava naturally healed them. As the Megazord overcame the Dragonzord, Jason would fight Tommy alone in a final battle that saw Jason destroying Tommy's Sword of Darkness, a weapon given to Tommy by Rita that would maintain the spell over Tommy.
In order to make amends for his evil deeds, Tommy agreed to Zordon's rules for Rangerdom, accepted a communicator from Billy, and dedicated himself and his powers to battling down the wicked Rita Repulsa.
Ultimately, Tommy would lose the powers of the Green Ranger, and be brought back sometime later as the White Ranger. But that's a story for another time -- like when the White Ranger figure is released and when I've tracked one down for my collection.
Tommy would continue to play a significant role in the subsequent adventures of the Power Rangers through additional incarnations, including Zeo, where he became the Red Ranger, and although technically retiring as an active Ranger not long after Turbo got started, the character of Tommy Oliver would appear in Wild Force, Dino Thunder, and was mentioned in SPD and even Operation Overdrive.
But it is as the Mighty Morphin Green Ranger that Tommy first appeared, and is probably best known. Certainly this first-ever "sixth Ranger" has garnered a considerable amount of popularity over the years.
Although I don't normally discuss the packaging of action figures, in this case, it is appropriate. The packaging for the Green Ranger -- as well as Lord Zedd -- is significantly different than for the Jungle Fury Rangers. Which is a polite way of saying it sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. Small wonder that these special collectible figures have been hard to locate. Unlike other lines, such as Marvel Legends, which makes no real packaging distinction between its "standard" and "chase" figures in any given assortment, Power Rangers makes a whopping one.
The typical packaging for a current Jungle Fury Power Ranger figure is a reddish orange card with black stripes and rather jagged edges to it. The card for the collectible figures is black tapering into green, with more straight edges. The dimensions are roughly the same -- they'd have to be to put them in the same case lots -- but they're vastly different in appearance. They even have the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers logo on them, followed by the words "Collectible Figures".
Interestingly, the specific character notation on the package bubble starts out with the words "Super Legends" -- in this case, "Super Legends Green Power Ranger". While an interesting and, one could say, complimentary term, it also is an indirect reference to a video game released last year, commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Power Rangers. Called "Power Rangers Super Legends", the video game was notable for basically throwing as many Power Rangers from as many concepts as possible into the mix. The game was available for the PS2, PC, and Nintendo DS.
The storyline -- at least for the PS2 and PC, involved the return of Lord Zedd, who had in mind a plan to wipe out every Power Ranger that ever existed. A future Omega Ranger gathered Power Rangers from all time and space to stop him. There are no less than sixteen playable characters in the game, representing Mighty Morphin, Time Force, Wild Force, Ninja Storm, Lost Galaxy, SPD, and Operation Overdrive. While there's no reason to assume a direct connection between the figures and the video game, one can hardly blame Bandai for even an indirect plug.
As to the figure, it's extremely cool, extremely well-made, and much more compatible with modern Power Rangers figures than previous incarnations of the character. Standing about 5-3/4" in height, the Green Ranger has a good amount of physical detailing, without being musclebound. It's worth noting that with the arrival of Jungle Fury, the physical musculature of Power Rangers figures has been toned down somewhat from the almost comically super-heroic of Overdrive and some of its predecessors. The Green Ranger fits into this new motif very nicely.
The uniform design is excellent, with the white diamond pattern on the chest and back neatly sculpted into the figure, and neatly painted. The jagged patterning on the gloves and boots is a little less precise, but still looks good. No complaints there, really. The helmet is very neatly sculpted, detailed, and painted.
Articulation is superb. The Green Ranger moves at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, legs (with a superb range of motion thanks to a sort of ball-and-socket design), and knees. I might have lived ankle articulation, since the feet stand just a little unevenly, but not severely, so again, this is not a complaint, merely an observation.
The Green Ranger, unlike the other Mighty Morphins, wears a gold "collar" of sorts, that gives him ridged gold shoulder pads and a chestplate. This is actually a separate piece, molded from flexible green plastic and spray painted gold (an odd decision if you ask me), and can be attached to the figure by fitting it over his front and snapping it into two peg-holes in the back. The collar is a snug and good fit.
But it does make me wonder just a bit. The basic uniform design of the Green Ranger is identical to the other Mighty Morphins. It wouldn't take much to use this same set of molds to at least turn out the other male Rangers in the line -- the Red, Black, and Blue Rangers. Now, I suspect that these olds will be used for at least the White Ranger, but if Bandai wants to continue to use them, I won't complain.
The Green Ranger comes with his Dragon Sword, a small ornate dagger-like item, which fits into a small holster on his left side. It's not a snug fit, however. For display purposes, I would recommend either having the figure hold the sword, or finding a safe place to store it. It's not so big that a vacuum cleaner couldn't get it.
One additional note -- the green color used for this figure is distinctly darker than for most "standard" Green Rangers from other Power Rangers lines. Bandai has kept a fairly consistent color palette over the years. This Green Ranger is a bit darker, and there's just the barest hint of a metallic sheen in his costume. Probably done to make the figure look a bit more classy for the collector.
I honestly have no idea what the production run or availability of the Green Ranger -- or Lord Zedd -- might be. I've heard they were limited to 20,000 apiece -- which is pretty sparse for a line like Power Rangers -- but that number is completely unconfirmed. I know I haven't seen them all that much.
So what's my final word here? However unusual I may find it that Bandai is doing collectible "chase" figures for Power Rangers, there's no question that this is an impressive and cool figure, that will be a fun reminder of the over the top adventure of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for anyone who was a fan of that show when it first aired, and who is now old enough to have a bit of nostalgic interest in it.
The figure, as I said at the start, is well-made, well-detailed, and
a really nice rendition of the character for modern times. Assuming
you can find one, the MIGHTY MORPHIN GREEN RANGER from the new Collectible
Series definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!