Sunday, February 5, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 7: Ninja Quest Part 4


Monster Survives Exploding, Scientists Perplexed
Genie Powers Up Through Screaming














Last week on Power Rangers, our heroes met with the wise and powerful Ninjor. Though he doubted their purity at first, he soon relented and gave them some magical costumes for their troubles. Their new suits gave them the power to clobber Zedd's Tenga Warriors, and with their powers restored, the Rangers morphed into action and teleported back to Angel Grove. Once they arrived, they were faced with the giant Rito Revolto. Thankfully Ninjor also gave them a bunch of Ninjazords for such an occasion. Don't worry, they're not those shitty-looking ones from the movie. They're giant toys. Way cooler.

Today's episode begins with Tommy stating, "Time to save home!" Try reading that out loud a few times and see how it sounds. How on Earth do you manage to make the first thing your audience hears the worst thing that's ever been said? Did the people who write this show have conversations with human beings at any point in their lives?

The Rangers summon their Ninjazords by calling their names out to nobody in particular. The Red Ape Ninjazord, the Black Frog Ninjazord, the Yellow Bear Ninjazord, the Blue Wolf Ninjazord, the Pink Crane Ninjazord, and the White Falcon Ninjazord. Oh sorry, my mistake. Tommy calls his the "White Ninja, Falconzord." Because only Tommy is stupid enough to fuck up the name of the toy he's supposed to be selling.

Fine by me. If you can't get your Zord's name right, we need to take corrective action. From here on out, whenever there's a group shot of the Ninjazords, the Falconzord won't get to show up. Sorry it had to come to this, but you left me no option.

Kimberly got gypped this season.

Rito scoffs at the new Zords and asserts that they won't be enough to stop him. Poor guy. Seems like he doesn't understand how New Toy Day works.

The Wolf and Bear are up first to beat up on Revolto. Aisha's Zord stomps so hard that it opens a crevice in the ground, tripping up Rito. The Wolf Ninjazord slashes at him with its tail. Well I think that's what the show wants us to believe. The special effects department wanted us to know how much they hated their jobs.

Stop waving that big piece of sheet metal in front of the camera!

The Frog Ninjazord blasts Rito with a stream of flames from its mouth. Is that something that happens in ninja folklore? I'm not reading 700 chapters of Naruto to find that shit out.

The Crane Ninjazord and Ape Ninjazord are next. Crane hits Rito with some laser beams, because that's the most boring power possible we could give Kimberly's Zord. The same shit her Dinozord had from 10,000 episodes ago. The Ape Ninjazord fares much better. He gets a sweet pair of swords that he can connect together, Darth Maul style. Now we can wait with baited breath for the Ape Ninjazord to be playable in the next installment of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. 

Lord Zedd works himself into a fervor over both Rito's bumbling and the Rangers' new Ninja Zords. Rita tells him that he's worrying over nothing. Her brother may be stupid, and ugly, and smell terrible, and all around just the absolute dirt worst creature in the known galaxy, but he can probably beat up some animal robots pretty good. Not to mention that Vampirus egg he gave them at her bridal shower is hatching as they speak!

Look, Vampirus. I'm going to level with you here. I'm totally fine with you showing up and doing your thing. But if you make it so that there's a "Ninja Quest Part 5," I'm going to lose my cool real goddamn quick.

Rito Revolto continues to get utterly clowned and decides it's time to play for real. He busts out his secret weapon: A giant arm-mounted flamethrower/jetpack combo. I was fine with the skeleton-man having a sword made out of bones, but this? What in the name of piss is happening? Maybe Rito only has a few years left and wants to get real weird with it. Now watch him roast 'dem bones.

The Crane and Falcon Zords attempt to blast Rito, but his new weapon proves too powerful for them. Wait holy shit, Tommy can't do it? Okay everyone, things are way more serious than I thought. It's time to shift into high gear. This prompts the core five Rangers to combine their Ninjazords into the mighty Ninja Megazord!

Sorry Rocky, shitty Reds don't get to be the Megazord body

Holy shit I love this Megazord. There's so much cool stuff going on about it.  The adorable frog pelvis, the crane turning into a helmet, the ape and wolf Zords forming two different types of punches, the bear's teeth biting down on a grip for some reason? It's so slick. Its movements actually come across as being really sleek, befitting of a Megazord named Ninja. I love this fucking thing.

Sorry. There's still an episode going on isn't there?

Rito boasts that he's happy to deal with one target instead of five, but the Ninja Megazord quickly makes him eat his words. The Rangers' new mech effortlessly waltzes past Rito's flamethrower attacks, prompting the bone daddy to panic. And wouldn't you? Look how little of a shit this thing gives.

I love how the Ninja Megazord's face makes it look like it's always sucking on lemons.

After making Rito look a fool, The Ninja Megazord uses its Wolf arm punch to break his flamethrower weapon. Rito tries to protest, but gets his mouth shut when the Megazord uses its Ape arm punch to send him flying backwards.

Remember when Rito demolished the Thunderzords? When he annihilated the Rangers' powers? How utterly helpless they were against him? Well now the tables are turned. This is the culmination of all the Ranger's tedious questing in the desert.  It's the most glorious fucking thing to watch. Unlike Season 2's answer to this episode, "The Mutiny Part 3", "Ninja Quest Part 4" provides a much more satisfying Zord battle to avenge the loss of the previous season's Zords. This is the proper way to build up the new Zord fleet. Have them do things individually against a new major villain. Don't have them launch some piss-awful fireballs at a dominatrix lipstick lady a third of the way into your season.

I'm sorry everyone. I'm just so happy to be rid of those goddamned Thunderzords.

The beatdown isn't over yet though! The Ninja Megazord combines with Tommy's Zord to form the Ninja Megafalconzord. Which is basically the same thing as the Ninja Megazord, only now it has wings? Almost like the Falconzord was a second thought and its inclusion is only present here in order to sell toys. A Zord that only exists to sell toys? Sorry, I must sound like I'm spewing some Alex Jones-ian conspiracies right now.

Rito refuses to be defeated by a flying zoo and ignites his jetpack. He launches himself into the air, but he's immediately frog-kicked back down to the dirt. Donkey-brained idiot got beaten up by a frog kid from the nitwit school. You'd think that this would be the most painful experience for Mr. Revolto. But you would be wrong. Get a taste of how the Ninja Megafalconzord finishes fights.

Oh my god, hook this finisher up to my veins. 

MMM that's what I like. No fancy sword flinging this time. The Ninja Megafalconzord beats enemies by flying fist-first into them. It's easily one of my favorite finishing moves in this entire franchise. Just try to put yourself in the shoes of anyone fighting this thing. You look in the sky and see a gigantic crane-faced ninja hurtling towards you at the speed of sound. Before you can even think about escaping, you see the image of a howling wolf and roaring ape aimed right for your ugly mug. Just as you get ready to write up your last will and testament, BAM! You get clocked by a winged robot wearing frog pants.

After the Ninja Megafalconzord bashes Rito good, something very odd happens. Yeah, something weird happens in the scene where the zombie man gets hit by the robot with a bear sticking out of its chest.

Rito falls to the ground after enduring the Ninja Megazord's attack. As you might expect from Power Rangers, Rito explodes after falling over. The problem is that after he explodes, Rito gives some weird voiceover saying "he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day." But…he fucking exploded. How did he survive that? Nobody but nobody in this series has ever survived getting exploded. The scene even concludes with Rito's explosed (explosioned?) corpse turning into a symbol which clearly expresses finality.

I think my stepdad has this tattooed on his back.

Back at Zedd's compound, the evil overlord chews out every single underling within his sight. Including the inexplicably still alive Revolto. Instead of asking Rito how he managed to survive all that blowing up he just did, Zedd chooses to bitch at him for not living up to his promise of destroying the Power Rangers. Yeah! What kind of limp-dicked idiot would fail to kill a bunch of high-school students? Possibly for 50 consecutive weeks in a row? He'd have to be a real dumbshit to bungle his plans that badly.

But all isn't lost for the villains! Did you forget about that Vampirus egg that Rito planted? So did everybody else. Well now it matters again because the episode's only half over. Sorry!

The Vampirus egg has hatched, and a sinister monster has emerged from within. He doesn't really look much like a vampire. More like a melted California Raisin in witch doctor clothes with Freddy Kruger gloves.

And he's a Happy Happyist too!

Now that the Rangers have passed their test to become true heroes or whatever, Bulk and Skull must do the same. Lt. Stone has the gruesome twosome participate in his devious obstacle course. Well, it's devious in the sense that it requires you to be physically fit in order to pass it. So it would be devious if you're an exaggerated bully stereotype or a Power Rangers blogger or something like that. 

But obstacle courses take a long time to get through. How can we get through one of those with 12 minutes left in the episode?

Sounds like it's time for a comedic musical montage!

Okay, enough being petty. I fucking love this scene. You ever want to see Bulk desperately attempt to scale a wall? This is the episode for you my friends. He and Skull run through a field of cacti, attempt pull-ups from a comically-short pull-up bar, hide from Lt. Stone while sipping fruity drinks. It's beautiful. It's exactly what I'd been missing about Bulk and Skull during Season 2. All I want is to see these two act like clowns. This episode gives me a whole bunch of it in a short amount of time. It's exactly where you want to be with these two. Succinct and stupid.

Now that the Ranger Teens have reclaimed their powers, they get to work repairing the Command Center. Personally I think they should make Tommy do the whole thing, since he was the idiot who got their Zords blown up in the first place. Thankfully all the other Ranger Teens are total doormats, so they help out too. They're alerted to some sort of danger when the alarm goes off, but Zordon is unable to locate where the danger is. Possibly because Vampirus hatched all the way out in the Desert of Despair. A location that's at least 3000 inches away from the Command Center.

It's worth noting that the montage of Bulk and Skull clowning around continues a bit more here. I'd love to be a big snarky dork and complain about how it runs too long, but I don't feel that way at all. I'm actually enjoying myself quite a bit. The gags are varied enough that I don't get annoyed that this is basically a highlight reel of Bulk and Skull being stupid. Look, I'm just trying to explain myself to you good readers, myself, and whatever poor therapist ends up reading this when I end up in a nuthouse discussing why it's okay to laugh at the comic relief characters from the rainbow costume show.

Before we move on from the montage, I have to mention the music. It's the silliest and most situational song I've ever heard. It's just Ron Wasserman singing in an authoritative tone about how to be a cop and telling Bulk and Skull to "shape it up." I'm not saying that he's speaking hypothetically, the chorus is literally "Shape it up, Bulk and Skull!" It's fucking amazing. Why did they spend money making this song that could be used for one single scene ever? This show is such a beautiful mess.

Okay, one more thing. I'm sorry. I promise this is the last thing about this montage. There's a moment where Bulk manages to clumsily hoist himself over the wall, complete with goofy sound effects. Skull stands in the foreground applauding him and cheering him on, which is funny enough on its own. The best part comes in when Bulk manages to clear the wall. Skull says to Lt. Stone in absolute sincere admiration, "He's so athletic." It's a line that puts a big stupid-ass grin on my face every single time. I could watch these two fuck up this obstacle course for hours.

Okay, I promise I'm done now. Let's get back to talking about that egg monster from Mars.

Vampirus lands in front of Ninjor's Temple and asks for entry. The monster is blasted by Ninjor who claims he's not getting a goddamned thing. Wait was that Vampirus' evil plan? To ask Ninjor to let him into the temple so he could destroy it? Is that why he's asking for entrance? Because he's a vampire? No, I'd bet every cent I own that the writers of this show did that on accident.

I know that the heroes in this show are pretty stupid, but something must be said about how fuck-off dumb the villains are. Did they think that Ninjor, the arbiter of all that's good and just in this universe, was going to believe that this hideous mutant bat freak was the long lost 7th Power Ranger?

Zedd realizes that maybe his half-cocked plan could have used some more oomph, so he says fuck it and makes Vampirus grow. The giant Vampirus threatens Ninjor with more vague plans that might matter more if there were more than 6 minutes left in the episode.Yolks on him I guess.

Ninjor counters by making himself grow gigantic. You could say this comes out of nowhere if you want to pick nits. Honestly, if a guy can make magical ninja animal robots for a bunch of snot-nosed punk kids, I'll buy that he can make himself a little taller when he's feeling saucy.

Vampirus and the giant Ninjor duke it out, and the bat gets utterly clowned. Ninjor dodges all of his attacks, he slashes him with a big katana, and even summons a giant cloud to fly around on. All is going according to plan until Vampirus uses some kind of voodoo who-do magic to teleport himself and Ninjor into an ill-defined alternate dimension tinted red. Ah fuck, didn't we spend an entire trilogy of episodes on a red-tinted planet? "Ninja Quest Part 4", you had best stick this landing or you're going to be out in the garbage right next to Masked Rider.

Back at the Command Center, Zordon finally manages to locate the disturbance from earlier. Turns out it's that Vampirus guy we've been talking about for the last three episodes. Shock of all shocks. Zordon declares a state of emergency when he announces that Ninjor's safety is critical to maintaining their new powers. If Zedd captures him or that temple, they're shit out of luck. If I were Zordon, I might just nab that Ninjor fella and keep him locked up in the Command Center's basement. Sorry Zedd, don't know where he went. Ignore all that screaming. It's none of your business what's down there.

The Rangers figure it'll be a short season unless they help Ninjor out, so they morph and teleport to the Desert of Despair. They summon their Ninjazords, which inexplicably spend a whole bunch of time dicking around instead of forming the Ninja Megazord. Why? Because there's six minutes left in the episode and we don't have enough footage of Ninjor fighting to pad that runtime.

Speaking of which, Vampirus has got Ninjor dead to rights inside his evil dimension. He didn't really seem to do anything, but Ninjor is inexplicably writhing on the ground. Whoever edited this episode probably could have done the smarter thing and cut from Vampirus and Ninjor inside of his dimension to the Rangers summoning their Ninjazords. Then when we cut back, Ninjor could be in pain. It's a bit of a cheat, but it makes more sense than having Ninjor standing around confused in one shot and then cutting back to him laying on the ground in the next.

Ninjor is pissed at the quality of this editing as well. Also I guess he's mad about the forces of evil and how they're total jerks or something of the sort? I don't really know. Whatever the case, he stands back up and exclaims that bad gets him real fucking salty. It gets him so mad that he turns into a goddamned Transformer.

Was that leg armor shifting down entirely necessary?

This is Ninjor Battle Mode, and he's not putting up with any more sass from no backwater bat shaman. Ninjor BM slashes Vampirus repeatedly which causes the monster's evil dimension to disappear. Because Power Rangers is a show that will come up with the craziest shit possible, only to get rid of it when a blue ninja genie slashes his sword hard enough.

The Rangers finish taking their 20 minute piss break and finally form the Ninja Megafalconzord to assist Ninjor. The wounded Vampirus flounders around for a bit before Ninjor puts the hurt on him with a massive fireball launched from his chest. The Rangers finish off Vampirus using the Ninja Megafalconzord's Ape/Wolf punch, and that's the end of the guy we built up for four episodes. He got clowned 20 times harder than Rito did. Rito "I don't know what direction forward is" Revolto. Way to go you big purple fuck. Why don't you use those bat wings to go take a flying leap?

Speaking of the bone daddy, Rito is busy cowering in front of a rampaging Lord Zedd. He informs "Ed" that they'll beat the Rangers next time. Zedd responds in kind by yelling at his insipid brother in law, "ZEDD! Z-E-D-D! MY NAME IS LORD ZEDD!" Rito responds "Oh, it's Zedd! I got it Ed!"

Does that play in text? Not even in the slightest. Now try watching the scene itself. Because I'll be damned if I don't smirk every single time. I can't possibly emphasize enough how much heavy lifting the voice actors in this show do. Do you know why I care about Ninjor? Because his voice actor makes him sound like a catty Dudley Do-Right. Do you know why I love Rito? Because his voice actor makes him sound like a perpetually-confused old man. Do you know why I love Squatt and Baboo? Trick question. Those two can rot in the goddamned ground.

The Rangers return to the Command Center where Zordon congratulates them on a job well done. He also thanks them for managing to find someone else to provide new Zords, because he wasn’t paying for new ones after that Thunderzord botch job.

Zordon announces that someone is trying to communicate with the Rangers via the Viewing Globe. Would you believe me if I told you that the only other time the Viewing Globe was used to communicate was in that piece of shit "Alpha's Magical Christmas?" Well I'd hope you do, because I'm not sure if that's true or not. I'm not going back to check.

The communication has come from the Rangers' new pal Ninjor. There's some unfunny business where he responds to the Viewing Globe facing backwards. Let me put that into context for you. The guy who finds a skeleton mispronouncing someone's name a laugh riot found this bit of shtick particularly lame. Boom. Roasted. Take that 50 year old children's television program. Some 20-something on the internet got you good.

Ninjor promises the Rangers that he'll be at their beck and call if they ever need him again. So long as he shows up in whatever Sentai footage they're using that week. He also congratulates them on a job well done learning how to use their ninja powers. Way to go guys, you closed your eyes really hard and slapped a bunch of purple pigeons around until they ran away. Truly you have become ninja masters.

The city may be safe from monsters, but who's going to protect it from petty criminals and suspicious-looking minorities? None other than the new recruits of the Angel Grove police department of course! Lt. Stone hosts a commencement ceremony thanking the friends and families of the new police recruits for attending, and the Ranger Teens sit in attendance to congratulate Bulk and Skull.

Obviously the Ranger Teens are only here because they're the namesake of this goofy show, but I'd like to believe it runs a little deeper than that. Despite all of the dumbass shenanigans that Bulk and Skull pull, I think the Ranger Teens do really view them as friends. They're as dumb as dinosaur shit, but the Rangers have some kind of begrudging respect for them. That or the Ranger Teens had nothing else to do this afternoon.

The new police recruits, Bulk and Skull included, march forward to the applause of the crowd. When Lt. Stone lines them up, he asks for an about face. Bulk and Skull overdo it, and end up knocking all the other recruits over due to their cosmic dumbassery. Lt. Stone thanks the boys for their idiocy by presenting their badges into their hands. Pin first.

You know what? I like this feeling. I don't remember much of what Season 3 has to offer, but I'm left with this strange, warm feeling inside of me. Like things in the future aren't going to be that bad. Maybe Season 3 is finally going to be where Power Rangers impresses me!

Saban could piss on my face and I'd still believe it's raining.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Skeleton Flamethrowers




Personal Thoughts


This episode. Holy moly this is what I need. I absolutely adore this one. The Ninja Megazord debut is absolutely gorgeous, the Bulk and Skull material is absolutely excellent, and the Vampirus fight was a nice little cherry on top. I'll admit that the fight between Ninjor and Vampirus wasn't necessary by any means, but I'm always a fan of two unique giant fights in one episode. This was an episode I had taped on VHS for a long time, and I remember watching the Ninja Megazord fight repeatedly when I was a kid. That scene of the Ninja Megazord walking through Rito's flamethrower beams has always tickled my fancy, and holy smokes it still stands up. This episode certainly isn't perfect, but I love it to pieces.

This episode also debuts some new opening credits for Season 3. All the old footage from Season 2 has naturally been dumped for Season 3 clips, and Ninjazord footage is strewn about here and there to sell some more toys. Though there's one clip at the very end of these new credits that confused me.


What the fuck is Titanus doing here?! Well...we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The Ninjazord battle scenes originate from the series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. What's interesting to note about the Ninjazords is that they didn't appear in Kakuranger until about midway through the season. Kakuranger had another group of Zords they used in the first 20-some episodes, but gained the Ninjazords around episode 30. This means that Kakuranger footage is basically being adapted in reverse. With later episodes being adapted first, and earlier episodes being adapted mid-season.

This sounds like it's a nonsensical and arbitrary decision, but it's actually incredibly smart. Kakuranger only had five Rangers from the beginning. Naturally, the Power Rangers have Tommy bebopping and scatting around, so that causes a problem. How are we going to adapt footage of five Zords when we have six Rangers? 

The solution comes in with Kakuranger's auxiliary mech: the Falconzord. In Kakuranger, the Falconzord wasn't piloted by any particular Ranger. It simply showed up in episode 23 to combine with their Megazord. That's the reason that the Falconzord is never shown in any group shots with the rest of the Ninjazords. It isn't really one of them. But if we pretend that it is, that means we can give Tommy a Zord of his own while freeing up the five Ninjazords for the primary five Rangers.

No matter how much shit I give Saban brands for putting together such a slapdash production, I can't deny that this decision was fucking flawless. The Falconzord wouldn't be an established Zord in Kakuranger until nearly halfway through. So instead of puttering around with the early season Zords, let's adapt the back half of Kaku first so we can put Tommy in the extra Zord. It's even a predominantly white-colored Zord! How much more perfect could it have gotten? Saban Brands got pretty lucky with their source material lining up with their Ranger colors, but it took some creativity to adapt Season 3 the way they did.

Speaking of Kakuranger footage, Rito Revolto's battle with the Ninja Megazord is worth mention too. Rito acted as the main villain of Kakuranger for the first half of the series. His battle with the Ninjazords in the Sentai series was actually their debut. Since it was the first time new toys were shown in a Tokusatsu show, that naturally meant that they were invincible and any enemy going up against them was destined to die horribly. So Rito's explosion you see up there? That was originally his character dying. Power Rangers did a smart thing in keeping him around to be part of Zedd's rogues gallery. Mostly because he's a much more satisfying version of Squatt and Baboo. He's stupid, but he can also do things other than express how stupid he is in every goddamned scene he's in.

Holy smokes I forgot about Ninjor! He's another character who debuted around the midpoint of Kakuranger. He wasn't a mentor in that series as much as he was a rambunctious ninja disciple who was a student to the Ninja Megazord.

...It makes more sense in context.

Ninjor's battle with Vampirus was his debut battle in Kakuranger. Even though I mentioned that the Vampirus fight felt kind of tacked on, I think it makes sense to include it here. It serves to show off all the Rangers' arsenal for the beginning of Season 3. I think it makes the most sense to have Ninjor show off his growing ability now so that all the cards are on the table. The Rangers have new Zords, and a giant ninja buddy who can grow. Boom. Let's go.

Oh yeah, that scene of Ninjor laying on the ground for no reason? There's a reason for that in the Sentai material! Vampirus' ability in Kaku is creating illusions. When he transported Ninjor to that illusion dimension in Kaku, he turned himself into a group of ninjas that attacked Ninjor. Since they were visibly Japanese actors in costumes, the scene was scrapped so that Ninjor was inexplicably weakened by the fact that Vampirus growled really hard at him. 

And before we go, I just wanted to say how much I love the design of Vampirus. I was being a little shit when I mentioned his Freddy Kruger glove, but that was actually the designer's intention. Since Vampirus was based on a Japanese demon who gave people nightmares, they incorporated a more modern nightmare-giver into his design. That's pretty damn cool. 

As a matter of fact, Kakuranger's monster design in general is really fucking good. All the monsters are based off of Japanese demons, but with a modernized twist on their ancient origins. Like a monster made of eyeballs is put in a flashers' trench coat. I'm excited to show off more of the monsters as Season 3 goes on! I hope everyone else is ready too. 

And thanks a bunch for the week off. I'm feeling a whole shitload better now! 




4 comments:

  1. I love the ninja megazord too only the thunder and shogun top it for me speaking of the shogun megazord.... ;D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rito's flame-thrower/jet pack combo is awesome. If you can accept a transforming giant Ninja it's not much of a stretch to accept a flame-thrower being touted by a giant skeleton.

    Other than my minor nitpick, great review. It's one of my favourite episodes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Ninja Megazord debut is absolutely gorgeous, the Bulk and Skull material is absolutely excellent, and the Vampirus fight was a nice little cherry on top.
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  4. Oh wow, your image title just made me realize, did they actually lose the bar that goes in the Bearzord's mouth, or was that just to show how "Ultra" it was?

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