Sunday, 27 January 2013

Its Morphin Time MuthaFucka!!


Firstly let me say sorry, I'm a day late with this. Other projects have kept me busy this week. But on to business, I was a fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when I was a kid. They were pretty much tailor made for me to be crazy about. Lets see Superheroes... Check! Bad Ass Martial Arts... Check! Freaky Alien Villains... Check! Most importantly of all... Big Frakkin DINOSAUR ROBOTS that combine to form the Voltron-like MEGAZORD! Oh hell yeah thats a CHECK!!! Those who know my comic book writing are aware of just how influential that last part has been. I was delighted when I heard that we here at Nerd Invasion were going to dedicate a week to the original incarnation of the Power Rangers. While there have been countless Rangers recruited over the course of the shows now 20 year lifespan, none have been as influential as the original team of Red Ranger Jason Lee Scott, Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart, Black Ranger Zack Taylor, Yellow Ranger Trini Kwan, Blue Ranger Billy Cranston and my personal favourite Green (and later White) Ranger Tommy Oliver.


How The Show Was Born.


The idea for Power Rangers came about in 1992 when producers Haim Saban and Shuki Levy acuired the rights to redub the popular in Japan (but unknown to rest of the word) series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. A show that basically was Power Rangers but with an entirely Japanese cast. Rather than do a straight redub they devised a plan. They would re-cut all of the action scenes from the series, where the actors faces were hidden behind the now iconic masks of the Rangers, and film new sequences using American actors to fill out the episodes. This would become the yearly method of production on Power Rangers from this point forth. Each year the Haim Saban company would recieve the Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger series which had aired the previous year in Japan. They would rewrite the stories, film new scenes with American actors and re-cut these with the action scenes already filmed for Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger and BOOM! Each year we would get a power-set change or a new set of Zords. All in all a very cost effective way to produce a multi-million dollar franchise that at its peak was viewed in over 80 countries around the world. 

The Rangers

Drawn in a group shot this week (minus Blue Ranger WTF?) by Nerd Invader Luca P.


Red Ranger


Jason portrayed by Austin St. John, is a martial artist from the fictional town of Angel Grove, California. In the beginning of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, he is selected by Zordon and Alpha 5, along with his closest friends Zack Taylor, Billy Cranston, Trini Kwan, and Kimberly Hart, as the five "teenagers with attitude" to become the original Power Rangers who defend Earth from the forces of the evil Rita Repulsa. When Zordon first confronts the teens to give them their powers, Jason is the only one who initially believes him. Jason becomes the Red Power Ranger, is given the Power Coin of the Tyrannosaurus "Dinozord" (a type of Transformer-esque robot), and is made the team leader. He leads the Rangers into many successful battles against Rita's monsters, establishing a rivalry with Rita's number one henchman, Goldar.


Black Ranger


Zack portrayed by Walter Emanuel Jones, was chosen as the Black Power Ranger, gaining the Mastodon Power Coin and the Mastodon Dinozord. Zack enjoyed martial arts just as much as he did dancing and, as a result, created his own fighting style, called Hip Hop kido. The customized art consisted of dance-like maneuvers flourished with fast and powerful strikes, much like Capoeira. This effective combination of power and prowess made Zack an incredibly formidable combatant. However, he would sometimes tone down his style and mimic the attacks of Billy to simultaneously strike opponents. He was also very resourceful.


Blue Ranger


Billy portrayed by David Yost, became the Blue Power Ranger, and was given both the Triceratops Power Coin and the Triceratops Dinozord. Billy began the series as the stereotypical "nerd". The other Rangers, especially Trini, defended him loyally, but Billy later evolved to become a stronger individual. He was one of the top members of Angel Grove High's science club and often helped its younger members with their experiments. One such example was with Willy, a young boy he helped to create a virtual reality simulator for a Science Fair. In the episode "High Five", Billy not only created the communicators, but also the interface that allowed the devices a remote access to the Command Center's teleportation unit. David Yost would go on to be the last remaining and longest serving original ranger.


Pink Ranger


Kimberly portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson, received the Pterodactyl Power Coin and the Pterodactyl Dinozord, thus becoming the Pink Power Ranger. Kimberly starts the series as a stereotypical valley girl, but with a heightened awareness for her friends. Throughout the series, she is the member of the team most likely to fire off a sarcastic or witty retort. However, as the series progresses, she becomes a deeper and kind-hearted person, due to experiences such as switching bodies with the nerdy Billy Cranston and being turned into a punk after Baboo administers a potion to one of Kimberly's drinks. Kimberly was a capable gymnast, and was often shown training and using her abilities in fights against Rita's forces. She fought with a blend of gymnastic maneuvers, elbows and kicks. Kimberley's Pink Ranger is drawn this week by Mansloth aka Robert Carey.


Yellow Ranger


Trini portrayed by Thuy Trang, was chosen for her compassion, quick wits and martial arts talent becoming the Yellow Power Ranger, given the Saber-Toothed Tiger Power Coin and the Saber-Toothed Tiger Dinozord.Trini is well versed in kung fu. She would later become proficient in the art of Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Trini's signature fighting style included lightning fast maneuvers, and powerful high kicks. She attempts to neutralize foes with the least amount of force. Trini is one of the intellectuals of the team, often having to translate Billy's techno talk for the other Rangers. Thuy Trang sadly passed away not long after leaving the show in its second season.


Green / White Ranger


Okay just to say this is where I am going to focus alot of this article, as Tommy Oliver is by far my favourite character and his story is also my favourite from the original run of Power Rangers. So with that said on we go. He's drawn this week by Nerd Invader Chris Duffy.

Tommy portrayed by Jason David Frank, is first introduced in the mini-saga "Green with Evil." As a new student at Angel Grove High School, Tommy faces the Red Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers, Jason Lee Scott, in a martial arts tournament. Here, he catches the attention of both the Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart and the evil witch Rita Repulsa. Tommy's fighting talent equaled that of Jason, prompting Rita to turn him into the Green Power Ranger. Rita casts an evil spell to make Tommy loyal to her. Following a battle with the Putties (Rita's endless horde of disposable minions) to test his skills, Tommy's given mission is to destroy Zordon, the Command Center, and the Power Rangers, thus leaving the world defenseless against Rita's conquest. To do this, Rita equips him with all the powers and tools of a Ranger including his own Zord: The Dragonzord.

Tommy succeeds 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. His Green Ranger powers give him an added tool not possessed by the other Rangers, the Dragon Shield. Controlled by the Dragon Dagger, the Dragon Shield promotes advanced healing and can deflect energy attacks. Added to this is the ability to generate powerful energy projections, and the Green Ranger is able to contend with all of the other Power Rangers at once, to be warded off only by the Megazord.

After the nefarious Scorpina is released from her isolated internment, she and her newly reunited mate Goldar begin wreaking havoc together. In a then never-before-seen act of malice, Rita makes the Green Ranger grow alongside her henchmen. Together, the trio easily dispatch the Megazord and send its powerless body plummeting into the Earth's lava-filled core.

Tommy's Dragon Dagger is capable of summoning and controlling his Dragonzord. Once the Rangers' Zords are gone, he summons his to raze the defenseless city of Angel Grove. Eventually, a newly resurrected Zordon returns the Rangers to their Dinozords after explaining that the Earth's lava naturally healed them. As the Megazord overcomes the Dragonzord, Jason fights Tommy alone in a final battle that sees Jason narrowly outmatch Tommy, destroying his Sword of Darkness - the weapon given to him by Rita that maintains the spell over Tommy. In order to atone for his evil deeds, Tommy agrees to Zordon's rules for being a Power Ranger, accepts a communicator from the Blue Ranger Billy Cranston, and dedicates himself and his powers to battling down the wicked Rita. He becomes more or less the second-in-command of the team behind Jason.

Tommy's fierce fighting abilities are contrasted by his nervousness around Kimberly whom he had alienated when he was evil. Kimberly forgives him for his transgressions, but it is not until he loses his powers to Rita after she uses the Green Candle, made of special wax once touched by Tommy, to sever his link to the Morphing Grid does Kimberly return his affections.

In the adventure involving the Green Candle, Goldar keeps the lit item in the Dark Dimension and holds Tommy captive there, knowing that his proximity would cause the candle's melting process to accelerate. Jason makes the attempt to get through Goldar to retrieve the candle, but Rita's succession of attacks perpetrated by a monster capable of mimicking every Zord and Zord combination, prevents him from getting to it in time. As Tommy's powers are fading he has to use the Dragonzord cockpit to keep fighting the monster. After the battle he is left with one last opportunity to keep the powers from returning to Rita: he has to give the powers over to another individual who possesses a stable link to the Morphing Grid for the Green Ranger powers to function on. He chooses Jason.

When Rita kidnaps the parents of all the students at Angel Grove High School, the Rangers are forced to acquiesce to Goldar's ransom of their parents for their five Power Coins. After making the personal decision to make the trade, Goldar's deception is revealed when he refuses to return the parents, or the Dragon Dagger Rita has brainwashed Billy into stealing for her. As Goldar commands the Dragonzord to demolish the defenseless Angel Grove, Jason reveals his own deception: his gambit of defecting his Power Coin to Goldar leads to the oversight that he still possesses the Dragon Coin.

The Rangers recruit Tommy to reclaim his powers and he is assisted by an energy boost from Zordon. This temporarily energizes him replacing his missing direct link to the Morphing Grid. However, his powers are very unstable and now have to be recharged several times by Zordon. In using the depleting powers to retrieve the missing items, Tommy reaches into a force-field and appears to have been lethally affected. Eventually, it is learned that the electrocution he underwent by the force-field, while wearing the Green Ranger powers, revitalizes its power source substantially. Tommy could once again reclaim his powers, provided that he periodically seek regeneration by a donation of Zordon's own energies. Even with this knowledge, Tommy still chooses to be a Ranger.

In Season 2, Lord Zedd arrives and banishes Rita for her continuing failures to exterminate the Power Rangers. In order for the Rangers to compete with Zedd's powerful monsters, the Dinozords are upgraded into the Thunderzords. However, Tommy's powers are too weak to support a new Zord, though he is able to continue morphing and call upon the Dragonzord. Lord Zedd eventually begins to create monsters for the sole purpose of depleting Tommy of his Green Ranger powers. After unleashing energy stealing monsters such as the Octophantom and the Stag Beetle, Tommy's powers drain further and Zordon himself could not energize them any longer. The next battle becomes the last for Green Ranger.

Upon learning this, Zedd sends down Turbanshell to attack the city to lure Tommy out, as part of his master plan to siphon off the remaining Green Ranger energies into an evil crystal to power his evil "Dark Rangers". Zedd is successful, and with the Green Ranger in such a weak state, Turbanshell is able to send all of the Power Rangers to the "Otherworld", a dark dimension ruled by Zedd. In this dimension, Tommy becomes separated from the others and his remaining powers are drained. Zedd sends Goldar to crush Tommy's spirits by telling Tommy that now he is nothing. Tommy disagrees, stating that his confidence and fighting spirit are what made him a Power Ranger, and he uses his remaining powers to destroy the Dark Rangers' crystal and help the other Power Rangers to destroy Turbanshell.


As the White Ranger 

For a short time, Tommy is absent from helping the other Rangers defeat Zedd's henchmen. Distraught by the loss of the powers he did not originally seek out, Tommy retreats into isolation at a distant lake, residing in a cabin his uncle owns. However, when Lord Zedd unleashes his maniacal Nimrod monster, which in turn spawns other monsters AC and DC, Alpha and Zordon decide it is time to take matters into their own hands.

Luckily for the Rangers, Zordon and Alpha are able to create new powers for Tommy, making him the White Power Ranger - a Ranger with powers that have been created from the Light of Goodness and cannot be taken away by the forces of evil. Upon becoming the White Ranger, Tommy also becomes the new leader of the Power Rangers. His new powers come with the enchanted talking saber Saba with which he summons the Tigerzord. He is at first overconfident with his new powers so much so that he loses control of the Tigerzord the first time he summons it. After that, he is much more careful.


The End of An Era

After Jason, Zack and Trini are chosen to attend a peace conference in Switzerland (due to a pay dispute between the actors and the producers), replacement Rangers had to be found. These Rangers are Rocky DeSantos, Adam Park, and Aisha Campbell (I didnt like them... I dont think anyone did). The Sword of Light is the power source used to transfer the powers. Tommy is the one who activated the power transfer using the sword. Unfortunately I never felt that Power Rangers was the same after the original rangers left the Command Centre for the last time. It also coincided with me becoming old enough (13 or 14 maybe) that I realised not many girls were fans of Power Rangers, and from then on I didnt really follow the show. Millions of others did though, as it is reinvented year to year and still turning out new material to this day. It seems there really is no stoping those Power Rangers.

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