Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the Megazord Cockpit

Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

The Might Morphin Power RangersIn the summer of 1993, a wondrous new phenomenon began with Mighy Morphin’ Power Rangers. This is a show which, in a way, continues today in vastly inferior shows also carrying the name “Power Rangers”. Here I will be discussing only “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”, which is what the show was called for it’s first 3 seasons, when the Power Rangers wore the first iconic uniforms they did. This spans the era of the Dinozords, the Thunderzords and finally the Ninja Zords, which includes the first movie. It stops when Power Rangers Zeo starts, but it’s best not to dwell on such things…

A Team of Teenagers With AttitudeThe concept of the show was simple. When the Earth is threatened, 5 teenagers are given the ability to metamorphosise or “Morph” into … well teenagers in spandex of the same colour as the only colour they have in their wardrobe, which gives them the incredible power of dinosaurs and weapons which they use to fight their enemies. They use these to protect the city of Angel Grove, which is always the target of attacks. Each week consists of them dealing with some life problem, facing off against a monster, good guys morph, bad guy is grown, good guys call giant dinosaur robots, good guys win. Rinse, repeat.

Jason Lee Scott the Red Power RangerJason, the leader, is the Red Ranger who gets his power from the Tyrannosaurus. He’s a bit of a meat head who does Karate giving the group a standard martial art around which to do all their silly stuff. If he’s seen wearing sleeves it’s probably about to snow. As the leader character he’s destined to never really do anything important, but the front and center whenever possible.

Zack Taylor the Black Power RangerZack, the black guy, is the Black Ranger who gets his power from the Mastodon, which is not a dinosaur. Not content to just wear clothes of the appropriate colour, Zack’s skin matches the part too. Going along with the stereotype, the “martial art” he performs is “Hip Hop Kido” where he does hip hop dancing, and beats people up. While dancing martial arts are not unknown in the real world, this is far from Capoeira which was developed by slaves intended to be hidden as a form of dance. Maybe this would have been a bit more appropriate for black Zack the Black Ranger… Zack fills the role of the fun loving joke cracking party guy of the group.

Billy Cranston the Blue Power RangerSuper genius Billy, the Blue Ranger, has the power of the Triceratops. He doesn’t really fight with anything. Actor David Yost is a gymnist, which is obvious in the way he reacts in a fight, but he is presented as being pretty much incapable of defending himself only hurting enemies by mistake, though his character does eventually get martial arts training. Since Billy’s a genius, he is able to make technological achievements far outside of the realm of believability which are a great benefit to the Power Rangers, which is an accomplishment considering they start out with all this amazing Power Ranger technology which should make the 1990s primitive by comparison.

Trini Kwan the Yellow Power RangerTrini, the Asian girl, is the Yellow Ranger who gets her power from the Saber Toothed Tiger, which is also not a dinosaur. Following in Zack’s footsteps she fits a colour stereotype where Asian people are referred to as yellow. Trini is hardcore Chinese, speaking fairly broken English, and she does Kung Fu, which is another real martial art which is useful. Trini doesn’t have much of a role in the group, filling in when an Asian stereotype is needed and being an adequate female when the role doesn’t call for someone girly and attractive.

Kimberly Hart the Smokin Hot Pink Power RangerKimberly… oh sweet Kimberly, the hot one, is the beautiful Pink Ranger, with the power of the Pterodactyl. Kimberly does gymnastics, which is moderately useful in fighting situations but colossally useful in giving her a fucking smoking body. She’s a mentally vacuous ditzy valley girl who is pretty much the pretty girl of the group. If I had access to a Genie in a Bottle when I was 15, my first wish would have been to fuck Amy Jo Johnson, the actress who plays Kimberly, and my second wish would probably have been to alter reality to fuck the character of Kimberly. Third wish… to do Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly, while wearing the Pink Power Ranger suit…

Tommy Oliver the Green Power RangerShortly into the first season we get introduced to Tommy, another guy who’s actually good at martial arts. He becomes the Green Ranger and he gets his powers from the Dragonzord, which is kind of like a Godzilla thing. Tommy’s the fucking daddy mac of all time because he hooks up with Kimberly and I don’t care if he just did high school making out and maybe 2nd base that’s a pretty good deal. Tommy’s kind of emo broody because he was evil for a while but all together he’s a better character than Jason.

Bulk and SkullIn addition to our main team there are other human characters. Bulk and Skull are the bullies. They cause mischief but never actually are up to snuff with real monsters and villains. The gang hang out at the Angel Grove gym and juice bar, a ridiculous fusion of two things which should never be in the same building that’s run by Ernie. They also spend a good deal of time in school, where there’s the annoying principal Kaplan, and the lovely Ms. Appleby.

Alpha 5The super hero team that is the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, is helped by Zordon and Alpha. Zordon is kind of this giant hologram head in a tube. His excuse is that he’s caught in a time warp. Alpha 5 is a robot who is pretty bad at his job. He is quick to panic. It’s not entirely clear what Zordon and Alpha did during the considerable 10,000 year time span since they were last working, but I imagine it’s the same as what they do when the Power Rangers aren’t in their home base, the command center.

Squat Baboo Rita Repulsa and GoldarOn the more Japanese side of things, we have the villains up on their base on the moon. Rita Repulsa is the leader of the pack. She’s been in a giant dumpster on the moon for 10,000 years and now that she’s back she sends monsters to Angel Grove to wreak havoc. Rita’s right hand man is Goldar. He’s a big blue lion type guy in gold armour who sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t have wings. Finster makes monsters out of clay which is a pretty handy trick. Meanwhile Squatt and Baboo are generally useless at anything but comic relief. Another girl named Scorpina eventually shows up, but she comes and goes before eventually disappearing without a trace.

Dinozord MegazordThe Power Rangers, when faced with a super sized foe, call on the power of their Dinozords, which are massive mechanical dinosaurs. At first the Mastodon, Pterodactyl, Triceratops, Saber Toothed Tiger and Tyrannosaurus join together to form the Megazord. Once the Green Ranger shows up with his Dragonzord, it can combine is more cool ways. When the Dragonzord combines with the Mastodon, Triceratops and Saber-Toothed Tiger it forms the Dragonzord in Battle Mode. The Dragonzord can also join the full on Megazord to form the Mega Dragonzord. Finally, a zord not associated with any Power Ranger, Titanus the Carrierzord, joins the fold. This can join with the Mega Dragonzord to form the Ultrazord. Of course, all these combinations can be done with toys which can be purchased for a nominal price…

The Zyurangers Before TransformingNow something that needs mentioning, this show is a retool of a Japanese show. Not a dub or a remake, but something in between. Basically all the scenes in suits or in zords are from a Sentai show Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Any scenes with people not in costume, are not. Zyuranger is a drastically different show than Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, despite the shared clips.

BarzaThis is not simply a case of them just getting Americans to act out the same scenes as their Japanese counterparts did. In Zyuranger, the teenagers aren’t just average people, but rather people who lived in ancient tribes some 170 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth alongside humans, and these people aren’t plucked from every day lives to go fight, instead they sit around in their base waiting to fight. When faced with enemies they fight with weapons while still in their untransformed forms, and then eventually go into the standard morph, call zords routine that we’re all used to.

Zyuranger BoiThe villains are still the same, though with different names. Not much in their role is changed. Zordon and Alpha are not around, instead a weird guy named Barza is their leader. A big change in the original episode is that Rita, or Bandora as it is here, is not released from the Moon but instead from the mysterious planet Nemesis. This explains the blue sky on the Moon. In fact, most inconsistencies with the show can usually be attributed to something lost in translation.

Zyuranger MeiWhy doesn’t Trini have a skirt like Kimberly when she Morphs? Because the Yellow Ranger is a guy in Zyuranger… Still the Pink Ranger, Mei, keeps the tradition strong by being totally hot. The rest of the guys all occupy similar roles of ancient warriors, so it makes some sense that they can all fight, as opposed to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers where they all have drastically different fighting styles but all fight completely differently when suited up. They eventually ran out of Zyurangers episodes, but they still kept making the show, and things got a little tricky at that point.

The White Power RangerThe second season brought on a number of cast changes as new characters and villains joined the fold. Lord Zedd shows up and kicks out Rita. Tommy loses his Green Ranger powers, and in time returns as the White Ranger, who’s pretty cool. Conveniently, three new martial arts trained friends show up as Jason, Zack and Trini go off to a World Peace Conference in Switzerland. They are quickly replaced by these new characters Rocky, Adam and Aisha. I hated all three of these characters and attribute the ensuing suckiness of the show to them. Oh yeah… Rita comes back and marries Lord Zedd. We also see the Dinozords replaced with the Thunderzords, which are from another show Dairangers. This means the Power Rangers, who don’t use the Dairanger suits, are never seen in a Japanese clip their Zords are seen in, though the White Ranger suit and Zord are both from the show, making it almost manageable.

Ninjor and the Ninja MegazordThe third season is when the show really goes down the toilet. You probably shouldn’t watch it, but in a nutshell… Rita’s brother Rito, who is super annoying, shows up and beats down the Power Rangers destroying their Zords and Power Coins. Then they go find this annoying guy Ninjor who gives them Ninja Power, which sucks. In the most bull shit annoying thing ever the amazingly hot Kimberly leaves to go do gymnastics and is replaced by a not at all as hot Katherine leaving only Billy from the original cast.Rita’s father Master Vile shows up, the Power Rangers get turned to kids, and then there’s a whole thing with these Alien Rangers who fight instead of the guys the show’s actually named after. Another batch of zords, the Ninjazords, are all based on stupid animals. There’s the Ape, Frog, Wolf, Bear, Crane and Falcon. Like in other seasons no one has the right suits so they need to mess around with clips.

These new Ninja Powers and Zords are actually acquired twice. The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie was released in 1995, between seasons 2 and 3, and rather than just accept that as canon, the events of the movie are retold in a completely separate way as they reacquire their Zords and powers. The movie isn’t really good. It focuses around Ivan Ooze, who makes annoying jokes. Squat and Baboo aren’t in it, but somehow this new pig guy Mordant is around who may be Goldar’s cousin. It’s not clear. The movie is obviously shot in Australia, which looks nothing like the Los Angeles Angel Grove, but does actually look a bit more like Tokyo as seen in various clips from Japanese shows in TV series. At least it’s better than the second movie, which is out of scope of this article so I won’t dwell on it…

Mighty Morphin Power Ranger: The Movie

Video games! There are plenty of them. I only have 3 myself, all of which are standard beat ’em up type games. The Gameboy Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers game isn’t too great because it’s a Gameboy game and it’s old and ghetto. The SNES Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers game is a bit better, and fun enough to play, but it has some silly things like all of the characters having the same model when in suits making Kimberly look completely manish. The Genesis Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie game looks way better, but plays horribly. Levels consist of an endless string of the exact same bad guy over and over followed by annoying Zord fights. There’s also a 2D fighting game which may have been good. I can’t really remember much about it.

Might Morphin Power Rangers for Gameboy

Might Morphin Power Rangers for Gameboy

MIghty Morphin Power Rangers for the Super Nintendo

MIghty Morphin Power Rangers for the Super Nintendo

MIghty Morphin Power Ranger: The Movie for the Sega Genesis

MIghty Morphin Power Ranger: The Movie for the Sega Genesis

Trini from an Alternate DimensionLong after the show stopped being good, when the 300th episode was celebrated, Fox aired the unaired Might Morphin’ Power Rangers pilot! I find these kind of alternate realities fascinating. This had a ton of differences from what we finally saw. Most notably, the Yellow Ranger was played by another actress, Audri DuBois. The gang hung out in a bowling alley and Bulk and Skull were more mean punk looking than harmlessly goofy. Alpha looks ridiculous and Zordon is called Zoltar. Goldar is named Flygar and in some weird confusion becomes the Sphynx at one point. There’s also a scene when the Zords are coming out where you clearly hear Thuy Trang’s voice say “Trini here ready to rock”, though she’s not in the episode. Scenes from the pilot can be seen in the first episode “Day of the Dumpster” as long shots of the gang leaving the command center show them all wearing different coloured clothes than they are in the rest of the episode.

Check out the full pilot special:

Raping Your Childhood One Kick at a TimeSo you’re looking to watch more Power Rangers? Well you’re in luck, because it’s playing on TV right now… sort of. Earlier this year ABC started airing a “reversioning” of the show. Basically it’s the same old show but butchered just a little. So random new video effects, usually in the form of giant words overlaid on the screen, remind us that our childhood is being raped. They randomly do stuff like include the scene where Rita’s dumpster is opened as part of the intro, or put spoiler bits for later in the episode before the commercial break. I generally frown on any change to an already created show or movie, so I am opposed to this, but the changes are minimal so it is a decent way to watch the show.

Amy Jo Johnson in FlashpointSo what happened to all these guys? Power Rangers was so popular in the day, so they must have done something awesome, right? Not really… Austin St. John, who played Jason, came back as the gold ranger in Power Rangers Zeo and hasn’t really worked since. David Yost, who played Billy, stuck around for some Power Rangers Zeo as well. Walter Jones, who played Zack, has been trying to get work since leaving the show. Jason David Frank, who played Tommy, came back in a number of Power Rangers series and did an MMA fight a while back. Johnny Yong Bosch, who played Adam, was Hot Man Chowder and does a lot of voice acting. Amy Jo Johnson is the only one who really had a decent career after the show. She was in Felicity for a while, then she did a movie where she took her clothes off, and now she’s in Flashpoint.

Rita RepulsaSadly, many of the stars have passed away since the show first aired. Bob Manahan, who voiced Zordon, died of a heart aneurysm in 2000. Thuy Trang, who played Trini, died in a car accident in 2001. Machiko Soga, who was the Japanese actress who portrayed Rita Repulsa, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2006. Richard Genelle, who played Ernie, died from a heart attack in 2008.

So what should you do if you didn’t have the foresight to tape all those episodes off TV in the 90s? Well there is no full domestic release of the show, and any that might come out may just be the reversioning, but there are German DVD sets that are out for all 3 seasons of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Note that these are PAL, so you may not be able to play them, but they do have English audio so it’s a good way to get that fix.