SSvPR

SSvPR "Scary Riddle Time" AND "Stand!! DaiZyuJin" vs. "A Pressing Engagement"



It's time yet again for me to take a look at Zyuranger and Power Rangers and through very advanced mathmatics, determine which is better.  When we last left the series the score was


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                 5


Power Rangers had just taken a bit of a wallop, with Zyuranger creating a well paced two part adventure and Power Rangers... throwing a bunch of morals at the wall to see what stuck.  For the second week in a row, Power Rangers decided to take two episodes of Zyuranger and jam them into one, so hit the jump and see if they were more successful this time.


First of all, the titles.  While Power Rangers started this category strong, Zyuranger has been taking night classes.  Once more it could probably win on Scary Riddle Time alone.  Stand!! DaiZyuJin is a little confusing with its proper noun, but gets solid points for use of exclamation points and DaiZyuJin roughly translates to GreatBeastGod which is pretty good.  Meanwhile Power Rangers comes to the table with A Pressing Engagement.  Not only is that strictly amateur hour, but there is no pressing engagement in the episode.  Come on, Power Rangers, get back in the game!



Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                6


Normally I'd let Power Rangers start the recap to try and regain some ground, but as we have two episodes of Zyuranger to get through again, we'll start there.  We start off, once again, with some random kid separating himself from his friends, but before you can say "here we go again" this delightful gentleman pops up.



He introduces himself with a laugh that is so delightful I cannot represent it phonetically, but for your benefit, dear readers, I will try.  "Hoo hoo hoo!"  Then he immediately asks the kid "If a horse is facing right, which way his his tail facing?"  Before he can ask "WTF who are you? STRANGER DANGER!" the kid is overwhelmed by smug satisfaction and reveals that "A horse's tail always faces down."  "Bingo," responds the delightful gentlemen, now with a visual aid of a horse.  The only reason that this man hasn't earned Zyuranger 5 points for sheer delightfulness is that I feel sorry for Power Rangers.
The man repeats his delightful laugh and says the boy is correct and clearly fond of riddles.  Then he yells fanfare and... this happens.


Must... resist... urge... to declare Zyuranger the winner right now.  The man says the kid is now a contestant on "Ultra Riddle Fun Time" and that if he gets all the riddles correct, he'll win a trip around the world.  But he only has 10 seconds to answer each one or he loses.  The kid is pretty smart and gets two great pun based riddles right away.  However, when he's asked literally the easiest riddle ever "What walks on four legs than two than three" he answers a ghost. Maybe it's a cultural riddle?
The man makes a buzzing sound, and suddenly goes from absolutely delightful to "Failures like you don't deserve to walk the Earth," transforming into the deadly DoraSphinx!  The kid screams, but DoraSphinx flaps his wings and the kid goes flying away, causing the new monster to cackle evilly.  We then see him doing the same to a few other kids.  We all know Power Rangers can't possibly live up to this intro, but lets see what's going on over there just to be sporting.
We open on - where else? - the GymJuiceYouthCenterBarAndGrill and I promise to stop using that joke.  We hear Ernie, the establishment's owner, counting.  "989, 990, 991" and we reveal Jason is... bench pressing.  Wait 991 bench presses that..... Look.  I am a nerd.  Not just that.  I am fat and have been to Disney Land more days than I've been to a gym, but... but I am pretty sure that is not how bench pressing works.  I'm pretty sure that at some point you increase the weight you're lifting and lower the reps.  But nevermind because we cut to Kimberlee wearing this skin tight little number.


Who needs panty shots when we... wait I've just been handed a note from my editor.  I guess I'm not allowed to post unedited pictures of teenage girls in tight outfits, even if they're actually 20-something girls pretending to be teenage girls in skin tight outfits.  Let me just leave it at this readers: mmmmmm daddy like.
Anyway Jason bench pressing... somehow even though... that is right next to him.  Ernie reaches 1000 and tells Jason he just needs 10 more and he breaks the record!  Ok, so that makes a little more sense, a quick Google search reveals most bench pressing records are actually set by weight rather than number of reps, but they didn't have Google in 1993 so I'll cut them some slack.  Will he break the record?  It's not very exciting, so let's cut to Zyuranger to build suspense shall we?
Dan and Boi are out on the town, wearing their ceremonial robe things... but no one pays any attention to them.  Must be Comi-Con this week.  Dan wants to flirt with some girls, finding their modern fashion attractive, but Boi stops him because the others are expecting them.  Dan wants to live a little since they've been sleeping for 170 million years and so far have mostly beaten Bandora.  Speaking of sleeping, Geki is having a dream!  He walks through a desert waste, sweating and struggling until he falls down, begging for some one to help him.  Mei wakes him up, and he reveals he's had this dream every night when he goes to sleep.  Mei thinks he's just worried about Bandora.

Speak of the Devil, Goushi reveals that children have been disappearing and witnesses saw a monster blowing them away with its wings.  Cut to the moon where...


Bandora, her cronies and the new monster are dancing together, and it is so beyond delightful.  Can this monster please stay around forever?  "Children just can't resist riddles," exclaims Bandora with glee.  "So we'll destroy them with riddles!" she declares with even further glee... this would seem like a terrible plan if we hadn't already seen how awesome it is and how well it seems to be working.  Bandora orders a stop to the music, and declares to Great Satan that she renews her pledge to destroy all of Earth's children.  Adults are never more upset than when their children are in peril and without children, the future of humanity is doomed.
First and foremost, my editor tells me that I have to tell you that Last Time on Video Games does not condone summoning, fiddle battling, or bargaining with Satans, Greater or Lesser.  With that out of the way, let's talk about her pledge.  We've seen how she hates children before, but this actually gives Bandora a nice flavor.  When her minions ask why she hates children here, she silences them, which hints at a deeper personal reason which is cool.  Also, witches traditionally get their powers from Satan, so this is a cool call to mythology, in addition to making her a lot more interesting than her counterpart Rita, even if Power Rangers couldn't use Satan for obvious reasons.  It's not quite worth a point, since the Power Rangers are still more fleshed out and have better personalities than the Zyurangers themselves, but its very nice to see Zyuranger finally throwing some characterization into the mix.

Anyway, back to the Power Rangers.  Ernie asks Jason what number they're on, and an exasperated Jason tells him.  Jeeze, Ernie, you have one job!  Kimberlee finishes on the balance beam and comes over to watch.  She tells Jason he's awesome and going to do it.  Unfortunately, this encouragement makes Ernie forget what number Jason was on, and for some reason this means he has to start over again.

Cut to Rita: "He's not so tough when he's on his own."  The dude just did over a thousand bench presses!  It was only because Kimberlee came over that he failed to break the record; this is not a guy you want to mess with!  However, she comes up with the plan of dividing and conquering by getting Jason alone, killing him, and then finishing the Rangers off without a leader.  It's... not the worst plan, but Jason isn't a great leader and he can do 1000 bench presses.  As we're about to see, he can do this twice in a row, so maybe he's not the guy you try to take out first?  

With both evil plans established, back to Zyuranger.  Dan and Boi are staking out a park, hoping that the monster will show up... well, I guess it's a plan at least.  Dan wants to leave, though, because he has a date, and he abandons Boi to the stake out by himself.  Of course, as soon as he leaves, DoraSphinx shows up and asks Boi a riddle.  Boi refuses to answer, trying to attack the creature, but each time he strikes, the Sphinx disappears!




Boi runs out of time and DoraSphinx reveals the answer and his true form, blowing Boi away with his wings.  Dan returns just in time to see Boi being flung away, so I guess that date didn't go very well. He reports Boi's capture back to the Zyurangers, brooding about it all being his fault.  Barzza explains the myth of the sphinx.  It's kind of cool how so far all of Bandora's monsters have come from Greek mythology: a titan, minotaur, and now a sphinx.  It doesn't quite gel with the Great Satan/witches thing I mentioned earlier and I'm not sure if it will keep up, but it's a cool touch.


Dan runs off, planning to get a riddle wrong so that he can find out where DoraSphinx is sending everyone, but the other Zyurangers point out that's kind of a stupid plan.  He says since he made it wrong he has to make it right, and Goushi says that they're no team.  Geki starts running after him, but passes out, only to have the dream about the desert again. 


Back with the Power Rangers, Jason has started doing bench presses again, and with Kimberlee's encouragement is up to 1007 again!  Kimberlee chewing gum starts blowing a bubble and we also see... Zach is... for some reason skateboarding in the Gym...  It's already an arcade, juice bar, gym and youth center; it doesn't need to be a skate park, too.  Just as Jason is up to 1009, Zach crashes into Kimberlee, causing her bubble to pop all over, and distracting Jason so he drops the weights, and has to start over again.



Cut to the moon "He can't do anything right today!  This is going to be too easy."  Dude has done over 2000 bench presses.  I'm pretty sure Spider-Man calls that a good day, even the version of Spider-Man who doesn't have a giant robot to call down.  Don't mess with him!  They repeat their plan, even though they just came up with it five minutes ago, and Finster suggests he use King Sphinx to blow the others away.  It's a perfect plan!  Well it's better than Dan's anyway.

Speaking of Dan, the Zyurangers are out looking for him on their sweet motorcycles.  Since Dan's has the pink side car, Mei is in the yellow one, which, after years of watching Power Rangers and seeing their absolute devotion to keeping the colors right, seems... wrong.  They see Dan flying through the sky and chase him to a forest.  They start yelling his name, and start hearing screams for help.  Geki puts his ear up to a tree, and realizes that's where they're coming from.  Dan, Boi and the kids have been turned into trees!

DoraSphinx shows up and begins to reveal his plan, and like everything about this character, it's absolutely fantastic.  The forest is about to be cleared out in order to make a golf course.  The adults who don't care about making children places to play, and instead are building a place for their own amusement, will kill them while deforesting the place in a bout of irony.  It's dark and twisted and delightful all at once.  The Rangers try to attack him, but he pulls the disappearing trick again, then yells "Fanfare!" using a wipe cut to transport them to a game show stage.


Golems begin attacking them - and I realize that Golems are Jewish, not Greek - and the Zyurangers transform. DoraSphinx echoes Goushi's earlier statements that they aren't much of a team, so I guess that's going to be the theme again this episode.  As Mei is distracted with the fight, the monster asks her "What bird is twice as big inside?"  She doesn't know, and while fighting the golems desperately answers "An eagle?"  Only to be told its an owl, because of the double-u in the middle.  Like the others, she's blown away and turned into a tree.

Meanwhile, on Power Rangers, Zach is buying Jason and Kimberlee milkshakes to apologize for skateboarding in the gym and... man, I'm starting to think all the no skateboarding signs that were around in the 90s might have actually had a point.  Jason says he's sort of bummed about the bench press thing because he doesn't want to be known as a quitter.  Before the others can tell him that no one would ever call some one who did 2000 bench presses in one day a quitter, Bulk comes up and tells Jason that he's a quitter who will never beat his bench press record.

Wait... Bulk set the bench press record?  1010?  Look, I love the kingpin from Marvel comics, and the idea of a character who looks fat but is super strong is cool, but... Bulk?  Why does he even have to be in this episode?  Luckily, Jason tickles him until his pants rip...


Wait, did I say luckily?  I meant "uggghhhhhhh why are these characters still here?"  This humiliation isn't sufficient to defeat them though; that requires Bulk's pants falling down as he tries to pull them together, and then tripping over them.  Just as the rangers leave, their communicators beep and they run off to ask Zordon what's up.  Zordon tells them to teleport to the children's theater in the park, because Rita is at it again.  "She's sent down a team of putties and an unknown monster in an attempt to gain control of the park."  I love the idea that the park is somehow a tactically important location in Angel Grove and that by occupying it Rita will be poised to strike... somewhere.  The three Rangers teleport into the sentai footage... and apparently forgot they have two other friends who are Power Rangers with communicators. 

Sadly, the riddles have been cut completely out of the Power Rangers version, which is a crime.  King Sphinx just blows Kimberlee away... back onto the balance beam on the gym. 



DoraSphinx challenges Goushi next, asking him what you can shake without using your hands.  He successfully answers "Your head!"  His next question is "What is useless on top, but useful underneath?" He answers "Carbon Paper" unfortunately, just after time runs out, and he, too, is turned into a tree.  Zach, unfortunately, is just blown away like Kim, since DoraSphinx is in his human form in this scene when he's not using his wings.

That leaves only Jason/Geki since... apparently Zach and Kimberlee don't decide to just teleport back right away.  Geki finds the monster's first three riddles easy, exciting DoraSphinx.  He asks a fourth and final riddle: "Is there anything eternal in this world?" which gives Geki pause.  He waits until the last second to answer "Justice is eternal!  Justice always triumphs!"  Using a visual aid, DoraSphinx says he's wrong because, obviously, "Evil is eternal!"



Geki protests that the answer must be justice, and DoraSphinx transforms, saying they'll find out the answer in battle.  I think this just passed "I'm the Doctor and you're in the biggest library in the universe; look me up." as my favorite moment in all of fiction.  They fight, as do Jason and King Sphinx and, as always, it's a good scene and the red ranger's new sword gets a chance to be showcased.   They're teleported to a quarry in case the fight location was too interesting.

On Power Rangers, Alpha is freaking the [removed by editorial] out yelling that Jason's isolated and in trouble.  Thanks, Alpha, helpful as always.  Here's where the two diverge a bit though, as Bandora makes DoraSphinx grow giant, and he goes after Geki.  Geki calls on Tyranozaurus for help, and jumps to get into the cockpit, but is shot by his guardian's eye lasers and goes flying, demorphing, and landing in... the desert from his dreams!  To be continued!

Except for, two weeks in a row now, Power Rangers elected to burn through an interesting two parter as quickly as possible, so let's continue with the next episode of Zyuranger: Stand!! DaiZyuJin.  Geki wonders why instead of helping him fight a giant sphinx, his sweet dinosaur robot god sent him here. 



Off in the distance, he sees Tokyo Tower and realizes to his horror that everything under his feet is rubble from buildings.  He falls down the hill, and sees the corpses of the other Zyurangers, rotted down to skeletons but still wearing their distinctive clothes.  The guardian beasts appear on the horizon and tell him if he doesn't bring unity to his team than this future will become real.  They seem to have been pretty united thus far, but teamwork is an important lesson for the kids I guess.  He sees an impression of a giant robot and asks what it is.  The guardian beasts respond that it's their combined form, DaiZyuJin.  However, if the team can't learn to work together, the guardian beasts will never combine.  It seems like it would have been easier for them to tell him this in his dream before DoraSphinx showed up, but whatever.  

The Guardian Beasts laser him back to the forest, so that he can swear to the other Zyurangers he'll become a better leader.  Unfortunately he doesn't know how to free them or form DaiZyuJin and he asks for someone to tell him what to do.  Luckily, Barzza just happens to be standing around and tells him that in order to form DaiZyuJin he needs the five dinocrystals.  Unfortunately, Barzza doesn't know where they are, and DoraSphinx shows up yelling "SNEAK ATTACK!"

Grifforzer shows up too and Geki transforms.  We get some good two on one fight footage that Power Rangers sadly elected not to use, probably because they thought randomly teleporting to the forest and then back was a little too much.  We're quickly back in the quarry and Grifforzer shoots his laser sword at Geki, which is where Power Rangers picks up.  Goldar's appearance seems a little out of nowhere, but Rita did say she was going to send him earlier, so whatever.  Rita/Bandora make the two monsters grow, and Jason wishes that the other Power Rangers were around.  If only they had teleportation technology they used all the time!  Or the writers had bothered to throw in a line about King Sphinx teleporting Jason to the quarry so the others wouldn't be able to locate him to teleport to.  It would only take one line!

Speaking of the other rangers, they're here in Billy's...



Lab?  Garage?  Room?  Hell, I'm not even sure it's Billy's, we just get an establishing shot of a house.  Zach and Kimberlee tell Billy and Trini that Jason's in trouble and "may need his friends way more than he knows."  The dude is fighting two giant monsters and screaming about wanting help from his friends!!  We get it, team work is important, you're lucky the message is just as hamfisted in Zyuranger.  In fact...


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 1                                               5


 I feel remotely better now.  Trini remembers they have wrist communicators and tries to get Jason on the line, but no dice.  They teleport to the command center, which is something at least.  Alpha and Zordon instantly locate Jason on the viewing globe, so I guess not being able to find him isn't actually a problem, but they still can't just teleport to him because... reasons.  Have I used that one before?  4 columns in and I'm already running low on ways to explain the logic of Power Rangers.  

Trini says it seems hopeless, and Zordon says it would be if they couldn't just telepor... I mean if not for their hitherto unmentioned power crystals.  "The crystals contain the essence of [their] morphing power."  The plan is for Zordon to send them to Jason and then they can teleport there.. again, I don't know why they can't just do that now.

Meanwhile on Zyuranger, Geki swears to find the dinocrystals and reunite his team.  Unfortunately he doesn't know where they are and there are two giant monsters he has to fight.  His sword starts to glow, shooting out blue lightning blowing up a nearby rock.


Inside the rock is a pouch containing the dinocrystals.  That... may be the biggest deus ex machina I've ever seen.  I mean... one random rock in the middle of a random quarry.  It's especially disappointing after they just went on a big quest to get their weapons that the thing that makes their giant robots combine just sort of falls into their lap.  Sure, the sword that found them is established as being sapientish but...



Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 1                                              4


The plan on Power Rangers is just as stupid but it's the sort of stupid I expect from it at least.  Jason finds the power crystals in a rock nearby where Zordon teleported them and the other Rangers can finally come help him.  They summon their Zords right away and it seems like Jason should have done that already, but they're fighting giant monsters so it makes sense at least.  On Zyuranger the dinocrystals have the added bonus of un-treeing the Zyurangers, which is convenient.

We of course, get the full MegaZord/DaiZyuJin transformation sequence here, the first time for Zyurangers, and they're identical footage-wise.  The main difference is that all the Zyurangers shout "unite" as they jump in their robots, where as the rangers have their normal lines.  Except Kimberlee who gets "Let's Jinx this Sphinx."


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                              4


If Kimberlee makes a rhyme or pun every time they form the MegaZord from now on, it may just make up for what she said in the first episode.  Both versions have the crystals being inserted into the cockpits and used as joysticks for the combination process, which is cool in Zyuranger, but brings up a continuity error for Power Rangers, since its clear they had the crystals last time they formed the MegaZord.  I'm tempted to take points away from Power Rangers, but this entire scene is the same one they used in the first episode.  It just had King Sphinx completely edited out, and watching the original footage now, I'm genuinely impressed with their editing.


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 3                                              4


Power Rangers is on a roll!  The Zyuranagers get a little dialog about working as a team from now on in the cockpit, and both teams start to fight.  The Tank Mode of the MegaZord/DaiZyuJin has some pretty cool gunfire effects, and some pretty lame beam effects, but after a few projectile volleys between them and Goldar/Grifforzer's sword, they change forms.  



As always, the suit battle looks really, really good.  There is one sort of silly moment, though, where to duck an attack DaiZyuJin turns back into tank mode, then uppercuts Grifforzor as he turns back into battle mode.  It might sound like a good idea, but they really don't have the effects to pull it off, and the Power Rangers play it off as a malfunction for a second, forcing them to switch to tank mode for a moment.  It doesn't work in either show, and Power Rangers probably should have just cut it out entirely.

The Zyurangers still have some plot to deal with though, as they notice that the forest with the kids in it is starting to be cut down!  DoraSphinx shrinks back down, and challenges them to another riddle game.  Grifforzer keeps fighting for a moment, but DoraSphinx gets that villain pride and makes him stop.  The Zyurangers together are able to answer his riddles, but he's just stalling for time while the trees are cut down.  Geki comes up with a plan though, saying that the sphinx's riddles are too easy and he should ask a challenging one.  One they couldn't possibly know, like what his weak point is.

They don't know it, so he confidently makes it the next riddle.  They guess his heart, but he responds that it's not even close.  It's the snake on his head.  Before he can turn them into trees, they call forth "Dinosword God Horn" and use the Legendary Thunderslash on the snake, destroying him and freeing all the children.

The Power Rangers end their fight simply by calling the "Mega Power Sword" which got a new adjective since it was last used.  They don't give the beam slash a name, so it just looks like they were trying to cut down the violence.  Goldar bitches out again.  Grifforzer does too, but this is the second time Goldar has done this under the exact same circumstances, so he comes off as the lame one.

Power Rangers ends back at the Gym, with Jason beating that bench pressing record.  That's what we all cared about right?  But Kimberlee is back in her... outfit so that's nice.  Ernie went ahead and made Jason a celebratory cake, but Bulk falls into it and ruins the confection.  For some reason, the rangers call this a victory.  Even though he ruined the cake.  Yay!?

Zyuranger ends the only way it can: with the team swearing an oath, this time to DaiZyuJin to work as a team. 

Final Thoughts 
DoraSphinx is my new favorite villain of all time, and I am devastated knowing he never shows up again.  Other than that though, both episodes were a little rough.  After that great quest last time, I can see why Zyuranger didn't want another one, but maybe they should have put off introducing DaiZyuJin instead of introducing the dinocrystals in such a half ass way.

It's still way better than Power Rangers though.  They took out every riddle, the entire idea of it, and the episode feels really unfocused, with way too much Bulk and Skull and a tacked on moral that's forgotten by the end.  I'd take a shot every time the Power Rangers or Zyurangers learned a lesson about team work, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't survive.

Still, DoraSphinx, man.  His first two minutes alone win the battle for Zyuranger.


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 3                                             5


Power Rangers is starting to catch up, though.  And the Zyurangers have introduced everything for a while, so we'll see if they can keep it up in two weeks when  I See You, I See You takes on Different Drum.  Only one episode of each next time, thankfully.

SSvPR: "Fight in the Land of Despair" AND "Revive, Legendary Weapons" vs. "Teamwork"


Man that's a mouthful of a title.  It's time once more for Zyuranger to take on its American counterpart Power Rangers, this time with not one episode but two.  For those of you who havn't been reading my articles thus far, Zyuranger is the Japanese show that was raided for footage in order to create the first season of Mighty Morhpin' Power Rangers.  However, Zyuranger is 50 episodes, and Power Rangers condensed that down into a mere 40 episodes.  As such, a number of times through out this series, two episodes of Zyuranger will go up against a single episode of Power Rangers, starting with this week.  When last we left the series, a poor episode of Zyuranger left things all tied up. 


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                    2

Can a two part adventure return Zyuranger to the lead?  Or will faster pacing and rock n' roll catapult Power Rangers into the lead?  Hit the jump to find out.






First off, the episode titles.  It's a little tricky to compare these since there are two of them for Zyuranger, but honestly, either title could take on its MMPR counterpart.  I've been complaining about the Zyuranger titles for a while now, meanwhile, in the past, they finally heard me and gave us a pair of good ones.  Fight in the Land of Despair is just about perfect.  Revive, Legendary Weapons is a little lazier, especially when the last episode was Revival, but they're both way better than Teamwork.


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                   3

Since we've got two episodes to get through, let's jump right into Zyuranger.  The Zyurangers are sparring, but their weapons keep breaking.  Mei seems to think there's a Zechs Merquise thing going on and their weapons can't keep up with them, but Geki blames it on them breaking in the last fight, and declares they need new weapons!  Cut to Barza, who's returned to his janitor garb and is watering some flowers.  A kid named Hiroshi runs up to him on his way home from school, and I have a feeling lots of troubled kids are going to be introduced this way before the series is over.

Hirooshi goes to his apartment, and tells his mom he's going to hang out with his friends.  His mom tells him he failed his last test, though, and sentences him to his room to study all day.  He wishes his mom would just disappear forever... and Bandora is watching because of course she is.  She decides to grant his wish... by sucking his mother into some sort of black hole.  Hiroshi tries to save her, but is sucked in as well.

Meanwhile, the Zyurangers and Barza, now back in his wizard gear, are in their underground base, discussing the legendary weapons.  According to DM Barza, 1000 years before any of them were born - so 170.001 million years ago - there was a deadly five headed dragon that lived in the Land of Despair.  When he was killed, from each of his heads sprouted a legendary weapon.  Luckily, these are the same weapons that each of the Zyurangers use!  Also, they can totally combine to unleash legendary power.  The Zyurangers are appropriately psyched about their DM placing character appropriate treasure for them and ask where the Land of Despair is.  It's in the underworld, but luckily, Geki's invincible Tyrano-door from the first episode can take them right there!





Before they can go on a sweet adventure though, Barza warns them that while many warriors have tried to obtain the weapons, none have returned from the Land of Despair.  Instead, they were turned to stone.  Anyone who gives into despair or gives up in the Land of Despair turns to stone forever!  As if this thematic challenge wasn't enough, anyone who spends more than 24 hours there also turns to stone!  Rather than go to the shop to stock up on softs, the Zyurangers declare that it's a test to see if they're worthy of the weapons and swear to get them no matter what.  Barza tells them the weapons are in the castle, and wishes them good luck.

Before adventure can begin though, Bandora appears in... well... it's like a floating image, like a TV appeared.  I feel like there should be a word for that.  Anyway, she tells them they'll never get the legendary weapons, and shows them that she's trapped Hiroshi in the Land of Despair, and they must save the boy and get the weapons in just one day.  Not wanting to waste any more time, they all jump into the door, Mei and Boi going to save Hiroshi, while Geki, Dan and Goushi go to find the weapons.  Bandora is elated, and has her minions get out their evil cuckoo clock so they can track how long the Zyurangers have left, and create a new monster, DoraMinotaur, to "give them a good wallop."

Now that the stakes for the Zyurangers have been established, let's see what the Power Rangers are up to.  The first of many changes this episode, we don't open on the YouthCenterGymJuiceBar.  In fact, spoiler, the YouthCenterGymJuiceBar doesn't even appear in this episode.  Instead we open at Angel Grove High School, where Trini and Kimberlee are out in the halls with a staggering number of visual aids trying to get students to sign a petition. 



Rather than wanting to get a working Death Star built though, the girls are trying to shut down a waste dump. Their principal or teacher or... some one comes out to tell them what a good job they're doing, but wants to play devil's advocate and wonders whether the dump site is really as bad as they say.  Rather than educating the kids on the complex issue of landfills and what we should do with our non-recyclable goods and how to live a life that produces less waste, they just say yes.  "Who could stand to pollute the Earth like that?" asks Kimberlee.  We cut immediately to Rita on her moon palace laughing evilly before saying "My pollution will ruin the whole planet!"  The person dubbing Rita is so good at so bad it's good.


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 3                                                   3

Before getting to the logistics of how Rita is responsible for any sort of pollution at all we cut back to the high school.... for a Bulk and Skull scene.  So, um, let's see what the Zyurangers are doing instead, ok?

Geki, Goushi and Dan are running to the castle where the legendary weapons are, but stop when they see a number of warriors turned into statues.  They climb up a cliff, but find the exact same group of statues.  Dan nearly gives up due to thirst, but the others remind him about the whole turning to stone thing and he thinks better of it.  Dan sees a waterfall and runs for it, but it's just a mirage and he falls down a cliff.  The others go to help him, but are attacked by DoraMinotaur, who is acting like... like um... some sort of land shark?

 
It's incredibly effective whatever it's doing, and the Zyurangers try to run, only for him to pop out for a more traditional fight scene.  The Zyurangers are thrown off yet another cliff, and we're half way through the first episode.... guess we better check on the Power Rangers and... Bulk and Skull.

Kimberlee and Trini are still asking for signatures, when the other Rangers come over and ask what they're doing... apparently the girl's best friends aren't the first people they asked to sign.  They ask them to come drop off the petition at the dump with them after school, but the boys all make excuses.  At least the music and acting sell it off as them making excuses.  They're actually rather reasonable, with the exception of Zach's "I'd love to ladies but um... Alpha!  He said there was something super important he wanted to talk about."  We actually see Zach talking to Alpha, though, so.. the scene comes off as really odd.  Trini says it's ok but they should learn to work as a team.  I don't really see how that applies to this situation, since the Rangers have seemed pretty good with team work, but I guess they felt bad about missing the shuttle scene and Zyuranger's aesop last episode.

As soon as the guys leave, Bulk and Skull show up, just like I promised.  Bulk, in his pettiest act yet, drops a soda can on the ground in front of them and says "Recycle that."  This is a show for five year olds, so the "bitch" is implied.   Some kid walks by and in an act of OCD grabs the can and throws it in the recycle.  Not wanting their point to be undercut, Bulk and Skull grab him and like the TV bullies they are, dump the recycle bin on top of him.

  Kimberlee and Trini call Bulk and Skull out on their shenanigans, and Bulk and Skull's unnamed female friend, who I don't think appears in any other episodes, kicks the recycling bin at them.  Kimberlee flips over it, between Bulk and Skull, who both run at her.  Kimberlee uses the Ranger's given power of stepping our of the way, and Bulk and Skull hug each other.  The powers of homophobia take over, and Bulk and Skull are defeated.  Let's go back to Zyuranger, maybe they can tell us what the point of that scene was.

Mei and Boi are looking for Hiroshi, when they're attacked by the putties, which are apparently called Golems in this version.  It's a very cool fight scene that involves them using their morphers as weapons since their regular weapons are broken.  Grifforzor flies in and we cut back to the other rangers and DoraMinotaur.  He uses some sweet flame breath.



The rangers decide to transform.  Boi and Mei do the same, and fight more Golems.  Mei sees Hiroshi falling into some quick sand and runs to save him, but she's attacked by Grifforzer.  It's kind of brutal, but Boi attacks him from behind and holds him off long enough for Mei to save Hiroshi, though he's clearly not able to take Griffy mano-a-winged-lion-o. Bandora's minions show up to throw rocks at Geki and company while they fight the minotaur, and deciding not to let up, Bandora calls on the spirit of the Earth to bestow DoraMinotaur with power.  This is the footage that pretty much every episode of Power Rangers uses when Rita screams "Magic Wand... Make my monster.... GROW!" and I wonder if we'll see as much of it in Zyuranger.  DoraMinotaur grows giant, meeting the expectations of Power Rangers fans.

DM Barza shouts from their base to call forth their Guradian Beasts, and Tyranozaurus shows up... along with Zyumammoth, Triceratops, Sabertiger and Pteranodon.  Man, after the first two they sort of gave up on the names there.  Not even a Trizyutops or anything.  It's also sort of disappointing that they all just show up when called after the build up.  Sure, the Red Ranger is special and his gets to fight on its own first - I wasn't expecting them to be introduced to us one per episode - but there's no fanfare at all here.  Let's check in with the Power Rangers.  I'm more used to disappointment there.

"Oh, this is sweet.  Kimberlee and Trini are about to walk into my waste dump."  I'm so tempted to give Power Rangers another point for this but... but how is this Rita's waste dump?  Did she take it over some how?  Did she build it?  How did she get the permits?  None of this is ever touched on, so no point for Power Rangers.  What we are told is that Rita is going to attack them with putties then send a monster to finish them before the other Rangers can come to help.  Given that the Rangers have two way communication and can teleport, this seems like a poor plan, but it's better than what Rita usually comes up with.

We cut to Kimberlee and Trini walking around the "Angel Grove Industrial Waste Site" with ominous music playing in the background.




Having been to my fair share of dumps, it doesn't look that bad.  Their aren't even any landfills.  In fact, it looks more like a scarp yard with some silos or a lot where they're going to build houses than a dump, but the girls assure us it's gross.  They walk around the dump for two minutes before they realize there's no one there to give the petitions to when putties jump out and attack them!  Finally something Power Rangers is good at.  The fight isn't bad, and it would have been super easy to have the girls be captured and make this about rescuing them, so it's good Power Rangers avoided that.  Still, for some reason the putty costumes look a lot cheaper and more like costumes here than in the sentai footage. 

As promised earlier, we now cut to the command center, to see what important business Alpha called Zach for.  Alpha wants to learn to dance because... I don't know, I still don't know why I typed that sentence at all, and Zach has agreed to teach him his "Hip-Hopkido." As soon as his demonstration is done, the red alert comes on and Zordon tells Zach that Trini and Kimberlee are outnumbered and need help.  Alpha helpfully adds "Dudettes in trouble, dudettes in trouble."


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                   3


Thanks, Alpha. Let's see how the Zyurangers are doing.  Geki yells "Time to unite!" and I thought the MegaZord was going to appear with as little fanfare as the other Zords, but it's just the way the Zyurangers refer to piloting their Guardian Beasts since they're sapientish.  Boi and Mei are still having trouble with Grifforzer so they call in an air strike.



It's super-effective.  If you don't like that joke, you and I can't be friends and you should probably stop reading these now.  We get a show case of the individual Guardian Beast's powers and it's pretty cool.  There are a few times you can tell that they're models and there are a lot of laser effects, but they work for the most part.  Mei runs away with Hiroshi who demands to know where his mom is and insists she must be dead.  Mei tells him not to give up hope but it's too late, and he's turned into a cheap stat... I mean to stone.  Will the same fate befall the Zyurangers?  Find out next time!  Or since Power Rangers didn't bother waiting, you can find out after we revisit the Rangers and see what's going on with them.

Oh, yes, dudet... Kimberlee and Trini are in trouble.  Zordon summons Jason and Billy to help who respond with a casual "'sup?"  I don't think that's how you're supposed to greet your wizard mentor who's trapped in a time warp, but whatever.  Zordon says there's no time to waste... then Rita sends down a monster and he's all like "Wait, nevermind, the girl's are probably fine, go fight him instead."  The monster is, of course, "The Menacing Minotaur" as dubbed by Billy.  Not nearly as effective as the subtitles the Japanese version gets.  How can Power Rangers be worse at marketing than, well... anything.  Everything I know is wrong.

The boys morph right into the sentai footage, and start getting their butts kicked.  The sentai built up to this much better, so it doesn't work quite as well here.  We cut to the girls, who, despite being in deadly danger only seconds ago, have now dealt with all but two of the putties.  They remember all the times they've humiliated Bulk and Skull and decide to apply that knowledge practically, stepping out of the way and leading the putties into trash cans, apparently one of their many weaknesses.



Zordon sees that Goldar is in the sentai foot... I mean on the way so he tells the girls to morph and "Try to hook up with the others.  Working together as a team is their only hope now."  Thanks for those inspiring words Zordon.  The Sentai footage of them fighting putties is really good and works quite well here, except for all the shots of Kimberlee looking off in the distance because Hiroshi was there in the original.  Still, the Goldar-Trini fight is almost completely unedited and really makes her look like a badass, despite being a girl, which is quite cool.

In the command center, Alpha is still panicking about how bad things are, and Zordon muses that "Perhaps it is time to reveal to them the ancient secrets of the power weapons."  Dude, why would you not just give them said power weapons?  I mean they're Power Rangers, it seems like it should be their thing.  Oh yeah, because in the sentai they had to go on a sweet quest.  Man, GM Zordon is starting to seem super lazy.  "Yeah, cool, guys, good job beating those putties now here's some treasure.  Oh, I rolled a 100 that means you get a Power Sword." Sheesh.

Rita makes her monster grow to finish the Rangers off, and we see the first bit of footage ever shot for Power Rangers that makes use of the costumes.  It's not much, just Kimberlee and Trini talking to Jason on the communicator and being told to summon their Zords, but it's something.  It stands out if you're watching both series at once, since Trini talks into her wrist where the Ranger's communicators are, but it'd be seamless otherwise.  The footage loses some of its luster right after, when everyone but Kimberlee summons their Zords and hers just sort of shows up.  The reason is because in the sentai footage, Mei is holding Hiroshi when she summons her Guardian Beast, but... why couldn't they just shoot five seconds of her calling her Zord?  Clearly they had the costume, it was in the previous shot.  Just lazy.

Speaking of lazy, we're treated to the exact same cockpit scene as in the pilot, since the girls didn't get in their cockpits in the Zyuranger footage.  They use the same lines too.... except, mercifully, Kimberlee, who's had her line changed.  I'm tempted to give Power Rangers a point just for that, but I want to take one away for them being lazy.  Let's call it a wash.

We  get  the same footage of the Zords fighting the minotaur as in the sentai and it's just as good here, maybe even better with the rock music behind it.  They even address the problem of the Rangers having formed the MegaZord before here, having them come together.  They do this by recycling footage of the pilot from the MegaZord tank mode and cutting to the Minotaur taking a hit. 



Again, it's an obvious cut job if you've watched the original, but it looks just fine if you haven't.  Before the Power Rangers can try switching to battle mode, Zordon tells them to come back, an order they don't question at all.  Rita says they've obviously surrendered and now nothing can stop them.  Apparently they didn't have heroic dramas 10,000 years ago.

We still have another full episode of Zyuranger to work though though, so let's jump over there.  Bandora's cuckoo clock of doom reveals the Zyurangers only have 12 hours left before they turn to stone.  But first they must survive the night!  She continues her revelations with the fact that at night, the Land of Despair becomes bitterly cold and most give in and turn to stone.  Even though she's winning, she recalls DoraMinotaur in the hopes that some of them will give up and the fight will be easier in the morning.

Dan suggests they drive their Guardian Beasts over to the castle and take the weapons, but they're thrown out of the cockpits.  Goushi says it's because they want the Zyurangers to prove they're worthy of the weapons without them, and Triceratops sort of nods.  It starts to snow and the Zyurangers each set up camp.  Mei promises the statue of Hiroshi that after getting the weapons, she'll be back to save him... and then it's day again.  So much for Bandora's plan.

The boys run off, but find themselves back at their campsite, and realize they're trapped in some sort of illusion.  Dan kicks a rock in frustration and it bounces off an invisible wall, showing them the way.  Boi and Mei meanwhile are being attacked by lightning.



Like everything in Super Sentai, by lightning they mean explosions.  The lightning hits some brick in front of them and reveals a secret door with two knobs.  They open one, but fire shoots out, so they very carefully open the other which leads to.... space.  They jump in, and fall right in front of the others, as though the DM was tired of the party being split.  Geki says it's good timing because they only have an hour left!  Luckily they've also reached the cave of the last trial, where their hardest challenge awaits.

The Zyurangers find a sword in a stone.  Boi gets excited, thinking it's a legendary weapon, but Goushi tells him to be careful since there are supposed to be five.  Mei finds an inscription that says the final trial is to remove the evil sword from its bonds, and Dan decides to just grab it.  He's shocked with evil lightning - actual lightning not explosions - and is turned into




I'm pretty sure that's supposed to be an oni, but your guess is as good as mine.  Geki grabs him and tries to get him to let go of the sword, which leaves him all sweaty.  He says that when he grabbed the sword he was overcome with evil.  Boi declares this trial to be BS on the DM's part, but Geki gets a determined look and says he'll do it.  He, too, is hit with evil lightning, but pulls it out before he can be oni-ized, swinging it around.  Goushi tells him to throw it away, and he does, causing it to explode, because of course.  The explosion knocks out a wall, revealing a hidden passage.  What could be in there?

Meanwhile, since we can't put off checking in with the Power Rangers forever, they've returned to the command center.  This is the first time the Rangers have been morphed inside the command center, proving Saban had all the suits and could have filmed anything they wanted.  Sure they probably have budget issues, but shot Kimberlee waving her hand and yelling "Pterodactyl" would have been easy. 

Zordon starts handing out weapons to everyone.  All of them are "Power (Weapon)" which is boring, but he's sure to say them all, and give each two adjectives.  Despite having two episodes of sentai footage to work with, guess they still needed to fill time.  They seem way worse than Zords and certainly aren't as cool, but the Power Rangers charge errr... teleport back into battle.

Meanwhile, the Zyurangers have found the legendary weapons they were looking for too!  Unfortunately, Bandora has beat them to the stash.




She can't take the weapons because she's evil, but apparently she can just bypass all the trials.  She casts hold person on the Zyurangers, and summons her clock, showing them that in just minutes, they'll be turned into statues.  Geki says that's cheating, but, being evil, she doesn't care.  The Zyurangers start turning to stone, and Bandora taunts them.  Believing in the heart of the cards, Geki appeals to the weapons saying they've overcome the trials and are worthy of them.  A Kaibaist, Bandora taunts him for this, but he insists he believes they came to the world to smite evil, and that he wants to help them do that, starting with Bandora.  The weapons seem to consider this a valid point and fly into the Zyuranger's hands, who unturn to stone.  Queue triumphant music.

Bandora jumpcuts in some putties and sends DoraMinotaur to help them and we get a really cool fight scene with the Zyurangers using their new weapons.  The legendary weapons seem to be like their old ones, but with more explosions.  Bandora, upset her plan didn't work, decides to just grow giant and crush the Land of Despair.



While perhaps a little short sighted, the plan seems like it'll be effective, and the temple the weapons were in starts crumbling around them.  Very conveniently, this opens another wall hole, leading to Hiroshi's mother, who they escape with.  DoraMinotaur jumps out to block their progress, and the Zyurangers transform. Their new weapons transform along with them, which is cool, and get names.  Unlike the Rangers and their lame "Power Sword" here we get "Dragonstrike Sword", "Moth Breaker", "Trice Lance", "Saber Dagger" and "Ptera Arrow".  While there's still a pattern, it's a lot more interesting.


Speaking of the Power Rangers, they teleport right into the sentai footage here and we get the same fight scene.  There's no reason for the minotaur to be small in Power Rangers, but the reason in Zyuranger isn't much better so I'll give them that.  The Weapons transforming are left in, but instead of naming them, we get really lame 90s lines from the Power Rangers that even their theme song can't save.  The fight itself is pretty good in both versions, with the new weapons being more than enough to beat DoraMinotaur.  Still, Geki/Zordon say they should combine the weapons.  Jason says they'll give the beast "a blast of their megapower" which... bleh.  Geki on the other hand declares "Form Howling Cannon!"


Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                  4


If I ever stop thinking the phrase "Form Howling Cannon" is awesome I don't want to live with myself.  Both sets of Rangers yell the names of their weapons as they combine them, proving that the Zyuranger's names are just way cooler.  The Rangers fire their new weapon.


And the minotaur is destroyed.  The Zyurangers, however, still have to deal with Bandora shaking the planetoid they're on.  They run to the statue of Hiroshi, and his mother starts crying.  Hiroshi is returned to normal, because of course he is, and they remember the whole Bandora shaking everything problem and run off.  Just as she decides to stop this shaking and just blast it with her laser wand, the Zyurangers escape arriving on... some random bridge.

Geki tells Hiroshi to study hard and listen to his mom and then says he and his friends must go... though Hiroshi and his mom are the ones who walk off.  The moral comes out of nowhere but isn't forced, and the Zyurangers do a sweet weapon high five and pledge once more to defeat Bandora. 

Speaking of studying, the Power Rangers end the episode by... going back to school for some reason.  I mean, they were all off doing things so school must be over but... I guess the GymJuiceBarYouth is closed for remodeling or something after Bulk pulled the ceiling out last week.  They say things work out better when they work as a team but... but they always work as a team.  Team work didn't save them, Zordon's fancy new communist weapons that you don't even have to go on a quest for did.  What they should be saying is "Things always work better when a giant head in a tube gives you new more powerful Power Weapons, right, guys?" 

Even more perplexing, the hall way is still trashed from Bulk and Skull pouring things out earlier... does this school not have a janitor?  The teacher from earlier comes by and blames them for things not having been cleaned up yet... even though they're pretty much just walking by.  Luckily, the loudspeaker calls him away and he tells them not to go anywhere.  Jason says they should use team work to clean up, and we're treated to a fast forward scene of the Power Rangers cleaning up a mess.  Clearly it's fast forward because cleaning up trash is boring, but I distinctly remember as a kid thinking that fast forwarding time to do chores was one of the Power Rangers' powers.

The teacher returns, and asks them what happened to the mess.  The Power Rangers, being dicks, tell him there never was a mess and he walks off questioning his own sanity.  The communicator beeps, and Zordon apologizes, saying that it's Alpha practicing his dancing and bumping the controls.  Zach tells him he's a robot and he should stop trying to practice dancing and focus solely on keeping the controls working for his human overlords.  So I guess we know who to blame when the robots start killing all of us.

Final Thoughts

Oh boy.  After last week, I was thinking Power Rangers and Zyuranger might actually be about even in quality, but this week's showing wasn't even close.  Power Rangers was over quick, I'll give it that, but even though Zyuranger had two episodes, they seemed to go quickly as well.  It wasn't Shakespeare or anything, but it'd make a pretty good D&D module with some sweet treasure at the end.

Power Rangers however still has the problem of introducing the MegaZord too early, and this week it makes it look like a bunch of weapons Zordon just gave them are way stronger.  I give them props for including the MegaZord at all, but watching the two versions side by side, the Zyurangers earn their weapons which make them seem really cool.  The Rangers just get theirs in a deus ex machina.



Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                 5

Well, Power Rangers didn't gain any ground this week, and next week we have yet another two parter, and it's one I'm rather excited for for reasons I don't want to spoil.  So tune in next time when Scary Riddle Time and Stand!! DaiZyuJin take on A Pressing Engagement.

SSvPR: Episode 2: Revival vs. High Five

 

Hello, and welcome to another installment of Super Sentai vs. Power Rangers.  When we left off, the score was:

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     -2                                                 1

Power Rangers being penalized heavily for "Nice".... for Kimberlee's terribly written 90s valley girl dialog.  While Zyuranger took some hits for terrible, terrible science, its ability to build up suspense and be slightly more violent granted it victory.

Last time on Zyuranger, the evil witch Bandora was freed, and hijacked a space shuttle with two children on it.  The Zyurangers, recently awoken from 170 million years of slumber, tried to rescue them.  Unfortunately, they were stopped by the giant DoraTitan, who vanished into thin air, along with Bandora's palace.  Meanwhile, on Power Rangers, the evil witch Rita Repulsa was freed.  She sent her minion Goldar down to take over Earth, but Zordon, "an interdimensional being stuck in a time-warp", summoned five teenagers with remarkably little attitude to become the Power Rangers.  They summoned the MegaZord and Goldar bitched out.  Can the Power Rangers and their rockin' theme win back some points?  Hit the jump to find out.

Before we get on to this week's episodes, lets talk about the series opening themes.  On the off chance you havn't seen it, here's the opening sequence for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:


Now for something you probably haven't seen, the opening to Zyuranger.


Both are fantastic.  Seriously, I'm pumped after watching either one of those and just want to watch it again.  You can't not be jazzed after the Power Rangers theme; it could make doing your taxes exciting.  And Power Rangers relies on that, using it almost like a crutch in every fight scene.  The Zyuranger theme, on the other hand, just sounds really hopeful and optimistic.  Like the Zyurangers are going to show up and save the day and everything will be great.  The theme gets used over a few fights as well, but to be honest, Zyuranger has a lot more music than Power Rangers to work with.

The opening sequences are both good too.  Both start with a quick recap of the plot, and are mostly action.  I prefer the Zyuranger one, as it has more dynamic action and more explosions, but both are great.  The Power Rangers theme, however, really helps cover up the transition from American to Sentai footage, even when they chop the Sentai footage to bits.  I'm going to have to give better theme to Power Rangers, but I'm going to give Zyuranger a single point as well for effort.

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     0                                                 2

Overarching things like this will normally be worth two points, like each individual episode.  Now onto the titles.  Zyuranger disappoints once again with Revival.  It continues to be sort of bland, and it doesn't seem like anything was really revived in this episode.  Maybe if it had been Rise From the Earth Tyranozaurus, Revival of the Guardian Beast but it's just Revival.  Meanwhile in Power Rangers we have High Five.  I'm fairly certain no high fives are given in the episode, but there are five Rangers and high places are a major factor.  Plus high fives are cool.  Power Rangers wins episode title two weeks in a row.

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     1                                                 2

Since Power Rangers is rapidly catching up, let's start the recap with Zyuranger.  We open up with a news program, with two different Japanese gentlemen arguing about what's causing all the recent weirdness.  One of them is convinced it's aliens, but the other accuses him of saying that about everything, and points out anyone with a brain can tell it's a public test of some new and terrible weapon to strike fear into the populace.  A third man is commenting on the other two like this is some sort of boxing match.


Can you imagine if Fox News was like this? It would actually be worth watching!

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     1                                                3

The news cast devolves into a full on brawl afterwards, with people rushing from off screen to separate the two master passionate debaters.  The Power Rangers open up at the JuiceCenterYouthGym, with Jason climbing a rope.  Zach and Kimberlee encourage him, but Trini starts to freak out telling him he'll really hurt himself if he falls, and that he must be crazy for climbing a climbing rope in a gym.  To be fair, it's also a YouthJuiceCenter.  Billy comes in to tell them something but then... I don't even know what happens, guys, but it looks like this.  


Before Trini can tell them she told him so, Bulk and Skull show up.  Yay.  Bulk's first line is "The circus don't take geek-clowns", but I feel like that's exactly the sort of talent that gets you a job at a circus.  Jason all but calls Bulk fat and challenges Bulk to climb the rope.  Not only can he not, but somehow, Bulk manages to pull the entire ceiling down with the rope.  The Power Rangers treat this like it's hysterical, rather than like some one may have been seriously injured and they may be responsible for property damage.


What a bunch of dicks!  The Zyurangers, meanwhile, are hanging out in their Paradise Island underneath Tokyo base.  It's a little disappointing seeing them goof off like the Power Rangers are, especially after last week seemed to end on a cliffhanger.  Sure, DoraTitan and Bandora vanished into thin air, but it still seems abrupt.  Dan, the Blue Zyuranger, wants to read a comic book, but Boi throws knives at him, telling him they should come up with a plan to beat DoraTitan, and Mei agrees, reminding us he kidnapped some children. 

Meanwhile, Geki, the Red Zyuranger, and Goushi, the Black Zyuranger, are in another room reading a book and explaining their back story.  170 million years ago: we think of it as the time of the dinosaurs, but humans that evolved from dinosaurs were there, too, apparently.  Look, Zyuranger, I'm on board for humans being around with dinosaurs because it's awesome and thinking of Fred Flinstone as some sort of Proto-Power Ranger is fun, but that's not how evolution works.  Everyone knows the dinosaurs evolved into the Silurians!  I guess I shouldn't expect much from the nation that gave us Pokemon, but I have to dock another point for bad science.


 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 1                                                 2

Humanity was divided into five clans, each with its own dinosaur guardian.  Ignoring that Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers weren't dinosaurs.  People lived in peace until one day Bandora appeared, waging war on all humans.  Geki's father, mother and sister all died in the war.  However, they were saved by their guardian beasts, which are the Zords in Power Rangers, and sealed Bandora on Planet Nemesis... somehow.  The clans each chose their strongest warrior to be put into an age long slumber in case Bandora returned. 

Meanwhile, on Power Rangers, Billy has invented a two way radio that can fit in a watch.  In this world of cell phones they seem pretty useless, but back in 1993 those things were awesome.  Kimberlee describes them as "Morphinominal" and I will award Power Rangers 10 points if they dump Kimberlee.  The Rangers try them, but instead of working, it teleports them to the command center.  Billy somehow messed up making a two-way radio and invented fu freaking teleportation instead!  For some reason he's disappointed by this.  Alpha asks "What brings you to the 'hood?".  It's probably racist, and it's definitely stupid.

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 0                                                    2

All the good titles in the world won't save you with this writing, Power Rangers.  Zordon tells Billy he should be proud since, you know, he invented teleportation, and Alpha can fix the communicators so they both teleport them to the command center and act as two-way radios.  For some reason he does this by running around for about a minute with Benny Hill music playing.  It makes no sense.  Oh wait, the episode needed to be a minute longer, it makes perfect sense.

Back over in Zyuranger, Bandora has moved her palace to the moon.  How and why aren't really established, but unlike Power Rangers, at least we saw her making the palace in the first place.   Bandora has rigged the model space shuttle to somehow allow her minions to control it like an RC car.  She's going to send it to Earth and use it as bait for the Zyurangers.  Rita's version of the plan is... slightly more thought out and also completely insane.  She's going to send a missile (that looks like a model space shuttle for no reason) to Earth where it will open a portal in time.  Their new monster will trap the Power Rangers inside and they'll be stuck in a time warp like Zordon.

In both versions we get to see how monsters are created and it's got a simple charm to it.  Finster, (he has a different name in Zyuranger but I'm going to use English names for Rita/Bandora's minions since they serve basically the same purpose in each) sculpts a monster out of clay and puts it in a kiln, then it comes out alive.  It's simple and childish in Zyurangers, but Power Rangers tries to science it up by calling the kiln "The Monstermatic".  The product is a monster named DoraSkeleton/Bones.  No points for guessing which name belongs to which series.  

Rita/Bandora launches the Space Shuttle/Time Device, and we get a way too long scene of it going through the streets causing havoc.  Somehow the Japanese news knows right away that it's the real space shuttle that's been miniaturized and not... a model or something, and the Zyurangers rush to their motorcycles to save the children.  By causing chaos, I mostly just mean driving around in the street, but in Zyuranger the shuttle does whiz by some school girls to lift their skirts.



Stay classy, Japan. The Power Rangers version is much shorter and has fewer panties, but ends with the space shuttle shooting some sort of prismatic beam at the city.  The Power Rangers didn't fool around at the juice bar long enough for the Sentai footage to carry the rest of the episode, so Zordon sends the Power Rangers out to the forest to find out what some Putties are up to while he "analyzes the time trap".

The Power Rangers arrive and immediately fail their stealth check.  Kimberlee says they've got to morph, but Captain Jason belays that order, since the rules say they have to try to fight on their own first.  It's a good thing the Power Rangers have never faced, say... a nuclear bomb.  All the Rangers' time at the GymCenterJuiceYouth must be paying off, because they're much better at fighting putties than last week.  Jason tells Billy and Trini to run off into the distance to try and draw some off, while he, Zach and Kimberlee fight the remaining ones.  He must have read the Fred Jones guide to leadership.

Meanwhile, the Zyurangers are cruising around on their motorcycles and Bandora spots them, and teleports DoraSkeleton directly on top of them.


It's very efficient.  DoraSkeleton continues the bad guys new reign of efficiency by teleporting Geki and himself away from the other Rangers.  Speaking of other Rangers, Billy and Trini continue to make their leader proud by splitting up further.  Trini manages to lose them, but that means they all chase Billy, who starts climbing a cliff to get away, which is definitely efficient.  Trini yells at him to stop because it's too tall, but he's doing a really good job for a huge nerd.  Unfortunately, once he gets to the top, the putties, by which I mean one putty, corners him against the ledge, and starts moving towards him very, very slowly!  Tension!

Billy takes out his morpher to transform, but the script remembers he's the biggest nerd ever and he fumbles and drops it down the cliff.  Trini tells us she's afraid, in case we forgot the terrible rope debacle earlier, but says she has to climb the cliff to save Billy!

Speaking of saving people, Geki and DoraSkeleton appear at an amusement park.  DoraSkeleton keeps appearing and disappearing around Geki, but before they can have a sweet sword fight, the other Zyurangers appear so... I guess they didn't go far?  Man, the Power Rangers are better at dividing and conquering themselves than Bandora's monsters are.  The Zyurangers destroy him, but his bones reform, and he shoots "eye lasers" at them.


They are no doubt the best eye lasers to have ever existed, and they're even effective, destroying the Zyurangers' weapons.  Except Geki's sword of course, and we get a very cool sword fight scene between Geki and DoraSkeleton on a roller coaster track.  Unfortunately, Geki is no match for the evil skeleton, and he's punched off, his sword broken in two.  It's a little disappointing honestly, because the Zyurangers using weapons in their civilian identities was something cool that separated them from the Power Rangers and made them feel more like ancient warriors.

The Zyurangers decide they've had enough, and it's time to transform.  Back to that Power Rangers cliffhanger, though, Trini is freaking out, hallucinating that the cliff is way bigger than it actually is, but saying she has to do it!  It's... cheesy writing that isn't acted super well either. Billy trips... but doesn't fall down the cliff as the putty continues to approach very, very slowly.  Trini manages to get up in time, and tells the putty to leave Billy alone.  For some reason, he does.  Using the age old tactic of "stepping out of the way", they defeat the putty who goes rolling down the cliff.

Before they can celebrate their victory however, they use their vantage point to see the putties are... group hugging the rest of the rangers, and run down to help.  Now that the other Rangers are here, Jason, Zach and Kimberlee can... do this.


It... works and the putties are defeated.  More Benny Hill music for some reason.  This defeat causes Rita to send Bones down the Earth.  Zordon gives Trini bonus XP for RPing her fear of heights, but says they have to deal with Bones.  Using the Sentai footage, Zordon reveals Bones can shoot eye lasers and disappear... things he won't do for the rest of the episode.  He warns the Power Rangers about the time trap, even though he was supposed to be analyzing it and tells them to morph so they can appear at the amusement park the Zyurangers have been at the whole time.

They're not there for long, though.  DoraSkeleton/Bones throws off his head, which spins around, making the Rangers dizzy and bringing the Power Rangers into the time trap and the Zyurangers.... somewhere.  The Space Shuttle is there though, so... mission accomplished?  Before they can get to it, though, DoraSkeleton attacks them.  He makes some skeleton minions for the Rangers to fight, and we get a pretty decent action scene where both sets of rangers fight skeletons with their gunswords. 

While they're distracted, Rita/Bandora's minions sneak in and set a bomb that will kill the Zyurangers/trap the Power Rangers in the time warp forever.  In both cases, it's a classic cartoon bomb with a huge fuse.  It's conveniently right next to the shuttle, so while the Zyurangers are concerned about saving it and the kids, the Power Rangers can play it off as wanting to stop the bomb.

DoraSkeleton/Bones opens a huge chasm to stop them from reaching it, but Geki/Jason jumps over it to swordfight him while the other Rangers change their gunswords into gun mode to blast him.  Unfortunately, he just reforms again, the one thing he did at the amusement park that Zordon didn't warn them about.  Luckily Billy/Dan jumps the chasm, grabbing the monster's head before it can reattach.  Billy declares they need to destroy the head for... some reason.  He's smart, maybe he has a class ability that lets him learn monster weaknesses.  He passes the head to Trini/Boi, who throws it down a giant chasm causing it to explode.


A line about Trini's fear of heights being resolved here might have been nice as a through line, but either way, the monster is dealt with.  Now there's just the matter of that bomb.  Geki grabs the shuttle, and throws it to Dan, but before they can escape, a giant hand grabs them!  DoraTitan is back and has somehow grabbed into... wherever they are.  Since the Power Rangers don't care about the shuttle, there's a throwaway line about Rita sending a giant to Earth, and for some reason they show him punching through Rita's palace from last episode, trying to play it off as the time warp they're in.  It.... really doesn't work.  However both versions have the Red Ranger in their grasp and are now in the middle of a mountain range.  The bomb explodes throwing the rest of the Rangers out as well.

Wait... wasn't that bomb supposed to trap the Power Rangers in a time warp forever?  And straight up kill the Zyurangers?  I guess Bandora/Rita needs to invest in some sort of explosives expert, because that bomb was useless.  She has DoraTitan/a giant though, and it's got their leader!  Luckily he manages to reach his gun and shoot the giant beast in the eye, causing him to drop the team's leader.  There are some pretty good forced perspective shots of the giant stomping at the Rangers and attacking with his sword.

Luckily for the Zyurangers, a deus ex machina appears in the form of the ground splitting open, and Geki's Guradian Beast: Tyrannozaurus (sic) appearing.  The Power Rangers, having already introduced the MegaZord, just yell that they need Dinozord power, summoning Jason's Zord.  The Zyuranger's version is more dramatic and has better music, but the Power Rangers feel more like they're using the tools available to them to combat a threat.

Jason/Geki jump into their giant robot and battle is joined.  The giant has a sword, but the Dinosaur uses Tail Whip, and it's super effective



I know they're just dudes in suits, but I really am a sucker for the Zord vs. Giant Monster battles; both versions make me feel just like a kid watching this for the first time.  The Power Rangers version is a lot choppier; they cut down impacts to make the scene less violent, but as always, the Power Rangers theme does an admirable job of holding it all together and making every moment seem awesome.

The Zyurangers version of the scene is a lot more involved though.  While Geki fights DoraTitan, the other rangers save the kids from the shuttle.  There's even some characterization, with Goushi demanding the kids do as he say, and Mei telling him you can't treat kids that way, and taking a much more comforting approach.  It's very gender conventional, but since we know almost nothing about the Zyuranger's at this point, it's a nice touch.  Mei convinced the kids to hit the launch button on the shuttle, and then jump out, which returns them to normal size because the episode is almost over.

Then the Zyurangers aim the shuttle at DoraTitan's face like a missile, giving Geki the opening to jump kick him.


It's awesome, and is a nice, subtle teamwork message for the kids.  It makes the other Power Rangers look especially lazy, since their Zords had already been introduced, and the only real reason they don't do anything is there's no footage to use.  I'd have at least tried to get the shuttle missile thing in still calling it a time device, maybe by having super nerd Billy make it into a missile, but I guess Power Rangers spent too much time with the Trini plot.  Once DoraTitan/Giant is down for the count via jumpkick, Jason/Geki finish him off with some sort of sonic blast that just sort of... disintegrates him.  It's kind of lame after all that fighting, but it gets the job done. 

The Zyurangers celebrate their victory by talking about how great team work is.  It's slightly more preachy than if they'd just let the shuttle missile stunt speak for itself, but its not too bad.  Meanwhile, the Power Rangers go back to the juice bar, talk about how their communicators are now 100% functional, and Trini is forced to climb the rope to put a coda on her whole fear of heights thing.... by Zach wearing a dumb Halloween mask and making scary noises at her near the rope.  Sigh.

Final Thoughts

Man, this one is hard to call.  I was really looking forward to Zyuranger after the cliffhanger last week, but that's just sort of dropped.  DoraTitan shows up again at the last second, but it all feels really rushed, and while the Tyrannozaurus showing up is awesome, it's also really deus ex machina.

Power Rangers, on the other hand, has this choppy rushed plot to deal with and they almost ignore it.  The Zyuranger episode focuses mostly on Geki, the Red Ranger, while the focus in Power Rangers is put on Trini the Yellow Ranger.  She does get to destroy the first monster in the Sentai footage, so it makes some sense, but it's an odd choice.  Also, the fight at the end is a little underwhelming since Power Rangers has already unveiled the MegaZord.

That said, Trini's height thing is done well enough, and we still know almost nothing about the Zyurangers.  While I'm sure this development will never be mentioned again and Trini will have some new problem in six episodes or so, I'm going to award this one to Power Rangers. 

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
 2                                                    2

Well, it's all tied up.  Power Rangers made a lot of ground this week, mostly due to my expectations for Zyuranger being perhaps a little too high.  Let's see if Zyuranger can redeem itself next week, or if Power Rangers continues to climb ahead when Fight in the Land of Despair and Revive, Legendary Weapons team up to take on Teamwork

SSvPR: Birth vs. Day of the Dumpster

 

Because you demanded it (and I really really want to), here comes a new series: Super Sentai vs. Power Rangers.  I was a huge fan of Power Rangers as a kid, and somehow I never noticed how choppy the footage was, how much it cut to random places and how the Rangers seemed to be everywhere.  It wasn't until much later that I learned Power Rangers was based on a Japanese television show, not until long after I'd abandoned Power Rangers and other American entertainment for Japanese anime, primarily because of the continuity and the way episodes would flow into one another.  I never actually got around the watching Super Sentai though. 

That's all about to change though.  As cultural interest in Power Rangers (at least in my circles) is starting to ramp up, I've decided to take a look at Zyuranger, the show that became the first episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.  And just to make things interesting, I've also decided to rewatch every episode of Power Rangers, and compare them to the source material.  I've also decided to give points to each arbitrarily throughout, plus give the better episode 2 points at the end.  Once I'm done, we can see if American cultural appropriation has prevailed, or if Japan, like Elves, just makes everything better.  Hit the jump and join me on my journey through the pilot episodes, The Birth and Day of the Dumpster!

Both episodes start things off with the opening sequence, and both are balls to the wall awesome.  I'll go into full detail on them in another episode, when I don't have as much to cover, but I recommend looking both of them up on Youtube and seeing them for yourselves.

Then we get the episode titles.  Both actually come a little way into the episode, but let's discuss them now.  Zyuranger's first episode is titled "Birth".  It's about as generic as you can get for first episode titles, and incredibly disappointing if you're at all familiar with Japanese title conventions.  For example, in Japan, The Empire Strikes Back would be called "Majestic City Hidden in the Clouds: The Secret of Luke's Father Revealed!" and "Birth" just doesn't stack up.  Meanwhile, over in Power Rangers, we have "Day of the Dumpster".  Is that a stupid name?  Yes.  Does it have anything, anything, to do with the episode?  No.  Do I love it anyway?  Hell. Yes.  Power Rangers draws first blood!


 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger

     1                                                   0

Zyuranger begins with an old man sweeping in front of some apartments, and telling the kids going by to be good at school.   We cut to a news broadcast that helpfully exposits that the Japanese Space Program has launched a shuttle into space to explore the nearby Planet Nemesis which has an orbit that places it near Earth's orbit every 23 Million years.  Like Haley's Commet only with an obviously evil name.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but Zyuranger is the first series I'm going to have to dock for bad science.

                             

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     1                                                  -1

Better get in the game Zyuranger.  It's also revealed that on the Space Shuttle are two child astronauts who were specially selected to join the mission and.... what the hell Japan?  Not only is your Space Program apparently secretly light years ahead of the rest of the world, you're willing to send kids on space shuttle launches... and to PLANET NEMESIS no less.  I mean, presumably it's name after Doctor Charles Nemesis or something, but sheesh.  Or maybe the astronauts just knew they were going to get in trouble on the planet, and figured as long as they were protecting a kid, they'd be immune from harm.  They approach the planet, and we cut to the old man, who gets on top of the apartment building, and grows a giant ear in order to listen in on the astronauts' communications.



It's later established that this dude is totally a wizard, so I'm not going to dock Zyuranger a second time for bad science, but I'm tempted.  Only Superman can hear in the vacuum of space after all.  The astronauts explore the planet, and find a glowing red silo, which they run to.  The wizard yells at them not to open it, but he doesn't grow a giant mouth, so they can't hear him in space.  If only he had Superman's super ventriloquism!  Unable to hear the warning of the friendly janitor wizard, they open it, releasing Bandora and her gang.  Helpful subtitles tell us their names, so that kids know what the toys are called when they ask their parents for them.  The only important ones are Bandora herself, who Power Rangers fans will know as Rita Repulsa, and Grifforzer, who's Goldar in MMPR.

Bandora asks how long they've been sleeping, and her minions need a calculator to tell her... not sure how that helps, but they say it's 170 million years.  That means they were around in the middle of the Jurassic Period... Humans weren't around back then, but I'll allow it on the grounds that humans teaming up with dinosaurs to fight a witch and seal her on another planet is awesome.  Bandora blasts the astronauts who saved her into space.

Speaking of space, that's where Power Rangers begins: a shot of the space shuttle going... somewhere.  Power Rangers has no time for context!  The unaired pilot and fannon say it's the moon, but the space shuttle clearly goes past the moon so... yeah.  Pretty much the exact same scene happens as Zyuranger, except that the astronauts call it a giant space dumpster... it's not very big nor does it look like a dumpster.  They open it and Rita Repulsa and her minions come spilling out... Man, it is not that dumpster's day.  It's pretty much the same scene, except Rita doesn't do anything to the astronauts.  Also, Rita was only imprisoned for 10,000 years so humans were just getting around to that whole agriculture thing, but they were totally around.  H... how is Power Rangers better at science than Super Sentai?  How is it better at science than anything!?  I'm so confused!

Back in Zyuranger, Bandora is attacking the planet by... sliding a bunch of skyscrapers around and launching one into space.  It seems rather effective, even if I don't have any idea how that works.  She slides a bunch of buildings into a fortress, then drops the one she lifted up in the center, now with her palace on top.  She even has a sweet neon sign.


It seems like a pretty effective fortification, honestly.  Meanwhile, in Power Rangers we cut to.... the Angel Grove Youth Center, Gym and Juice Bar in order to introduce the characters.  We start with Zach and Jason, who are doing martial arts at each other in the middle of the Gym.  Kimberlee is on a balance beam and Trini is.... um... doing martial arts by herself.  She's Asian; sometimes they just do that I guess.  Last is Billy, who's signed up for Karate 101 with Jason as his teacher.

Wait.  I meant I wish Billy was last.  Next we're introduced to Bulk and Skull and... Look: Bulk and Skull are going to go on to be great.  But here... ughhh.  They come in to comedy relief music and the girls deride them like they're the cool kids and Bulk and Skull aren't cool enough to hang out at the YouthGymJuiceBar.  They ask the girls out and they say no.... and Bulk threatens them with physical violence.  Evil Space Witch attacking astronauts, not cool in a children's show.  Threatening women with violence though is fine.  Fortunately, the girls know Bulk n' Skull's weakness... stepping slowly to the side.  Thus, the day is saved.


Yeah.... let's go back to Zyuranger.  Bandora and her sidekick Grifforzer fly down, with Bandora on a bike, to tell the people of Earth she's going to kill them all and to prove she means business she blows up a skyscraper.  Then she bikes over to the old man and reveals he's the Wizard Barza, who then transforms into his wizarding clothes.  Despite his magic girl transformation, Bandora reveals she took all of his magic when she defeated him 170 million years ago, and they have a bad special effects wizard duel.  Turning garden hoses into snakes seems to be their primary method of battle.

Barza tells Bandora everything is cool now and humans are awesome and she should leave, but she reveals that she's turned the space shuttle into a model, and the kids are still on board.  Her minions have rigged it so that in one hour, the sun will burn through a rope, dropping a rubber mace on the model shuttle and smashing the kids!  Then she disappears with a space witch cackle.
 


Barza runs into the elevator, presses the buttons in a cool spy sequence, and goes down to floor 2000. Meanwhile in Power Rangers, Rita has found a moon castle.... remember when NASA sent a bunch of masons to the moon to make that?   All the moon-larpers were super happy.  Power Rangers has ADD, though, and quickly cuts to Jason teaching karate.  Billy thinks he sucks, even though he's doing just fine... it's a remarkably realistic version of a karate class, where they're just sort of punching the air, so I don't even know how you would suck at that.  Bulk and Skull interrupt the class... because we haven't yet had enough of them and demand that Jason teach them how to beat people up.  Jason gives a speil about Martial Arts not being developed to hurt people, but Bulk points out that's totally not true, and Jason agrees to teach him some cool moves.  Bulk is defeated by his inability to do a Hurricane kick.  Man, these hyjinks sure are fun, but can we please do anything else?  Like watch Zyuranger?

Floor 2000 is a sweet paradise island looking temple with a bunch of statues of dinosaurs... and a statue of a Mammoth and Tiger.  Barza prays to the guardian beasts, then runs to a bunch of stone doors with more statues of said Dinosaurs and Mammals, and starts unlocking them.  Inside are....



Some really bad special effects.  Oh, and the Zyurangers: Goushi, Boi, Mei and Dan, who all have various royal titles.  However, when he goes to open the sweet door with the Tyrannosaurus on it, the key breaks.  The Zyurangers start beating on the door with their weapons, but a conveniently placed hourglass reminds Barza that the kids are in danger, and he says he'll get it open and they should go take care of that before Bandora finds where she left her real mace.

Meanwhile, on Power Rangers - a phrase I desperately hope I never get tired of - Jason is telling Billy he's great at karate, but Billy isn't so sure.  Lying to your friends about how cool they are is going to be a running theme in the show.  Suddenly, someone starts shaking the camera and the Gymjuiceyouthbar's only employee declares its an earthquake, dumping a whole bunch of drinks on Bulk... because he's still in this episode.  He tells everyone to stay calm, which seems to be code for running into the streets and panicking.

The unaired version of the pilot cut in footage of Bandora sliding buildings around here, and I don't know why the final version doesn't.  It feels less like Rita is attacking the city and more like... well, a low budget earthquake.  Billy says something tells him it's not an earthquake, which would have made a lot more sense if we had any evidence that it wasn't. I guess he's just prescient.

We cut to the command center, where we're introduced to the Power Rangers' annoying robot sidekick Alpha 5, and their mentor Zordon.  Alpha manages to be annoying and screeching before he even shows up on screen, so that's sort of impressive.  Zordon tells Alpha that the earthquake is Rita attacking the planet and come on Power Rangers.  Show don't tell!  You have perfectly usable footage of Rita attacking the planet, use it!  Zordon tells Alpha to teleport to him some teenagers.  He flips some switches, and viola, the cast is teleported to the command center.  The special effect is mediocre, but the theme song kicks in, which makes it look retro and awesome.

Despite being transported magically to what seems to be an alien space ship, the Power Rangers seem... really unconcerned.  Billy keeps talking about how awesome it looks, using words even the nerdiest of nerds wouldn't use.  Alpha 5 jumps out... and manages to trip uselessly.  Again, despite finding a SENTIENT ROBOT, the Power Rangers act like they've seen an antique car rather than like they've been transported to an alien ship and a robot popped out!  Then a giant head in a tube appears, and they nonchalantly ask "So who are you?" like they're on the Vegas strip and don't recognize these characters.  Let's... go back to Zyuranger for a moment, where they act sane.

The four Zyurangers get in their motorcycles and drive to Bandora's Palace.  Despite being in cryosleep for 170 million years they drive like they've always had motorcycles, and I sincerely hope we get some flashbacks to dinosaur times with them doing jumps off T-Rexes and the like.  Bandora sees them coming, and gleefully exposits that they must have been sealed away in case she returned.  The Zyurangers go up to Bandora's front door, and reuse their tactic of hitting it with their weapons.  Maybe that's how doors worked back in dinosaur times, because it yields and opens up onto... a beach.  This isn't explained, but Bandora is a witch, so I'll allow it.

The Zuyrangers assume a fighting pose, all back to back and trying to look bad ass, but abandon it when they see some little clay dolls on the beach.  They kneel down to see what's up, when the dolls suddenly grow to full size and sucker punch them.  While they're down, Bandora green screens in and... attacks them with special effects that makes Power Rangers look Emmy worthy.


Speaking of the Power Rangers, Zordon explains to them that Rita is attacking the planet, and he has chosen them to save it.  Zach says "Yeah, right" to which Zordon responds "Awww.... a nonbeliever" like he's about to sacrifice him in the name of his sweet head-in-tube cult, but instead he directs them to the "viewing globe".  Zordon's got some sweet clips from Super Sentai of Rita riding her bike through the sky, and explains that she trapped him in a time warp 10,000 years ago.  Again, Power Rangers, show, don't tell.  We saw Barza fight Bandora in Zyuranger, but we're just supposed to take Zordon's word on this.

The Power Rangers still don't believe any of this, so Zordon gives them their morphers and explains that they'll give them sweet dinosaur powers, which includes giant robots that will combine into a sweet Mega Zord!  Jesus, Zordon, spoilers.  Jason seems totally into this, but the other Power Rangers act like Zordon is their DM trying to get them to play some hippy game they've never heard of, and peer pressure him into leaving with them.  Zordon takes this super well, continuing his culting with "Very well, let the power protect you!" which I kind of wish had become a Power Rangers tag line.

Back on the beach in the castle on the skyscraper in Japan, the Zyurangers fall into a pit, get zapped by lightning, trapped in a cage, then have a door shut on them.  That's why you always bring 50 feet of rope into the dungeon!  They try to break the cage, but Bandora's minions respond by setting the room on fire with a very nonthreatening effect.  Mei remembers she has a bow, and tries to shoot them, but misses, and the cage starts spinning to make it harder for her to shoot.  The rope with the mace starts to break, getting closer to the kids.  It's all very tense.  Barza attempts to open the Tyrano-door with a very small cannon.


But it's no use.The Zuyrangers are doomed!  The Power Rangers, on the other hand, exit the command center into the dessert.  Kimberlee reacts to this like she's been told she can't go out because she has to babysit her sister, rather than like she has been stranded in the middle of the desert.  Before they can be attacked by Kirk and a Gorn though, Rita sends her Putties down to beat them up.  Kimberlee's is instantly defeated by being grabbed on the shoulder.  Zach tries to dance fight a few, Billy while uses his nerd style kung-fu to try and Jackie Chan them into each other, but neither works.  Trini and Jason last longer using their real martial arts, but they are all soundly defeated.  The Power Rangers kind of suck.  At least the Zyurangers had green screen lightning as an excuse.  Jason suggests they try the Power Morphers Zordon gave them, and the theme kicks in.

They must have heard it over in Zyuranger, because deus ex machina kicks in.  Just as Barza is giving up, a T-Rex statue shoots laser eyes at the T-Rex door.  We cut to the door that Bandora shut, suddenly opening, and someone in a red suit jumping in to free his comrades with his sweet sword.  For some reason, Bandora doesn't know who he is, letting him introduce himself as "Prince of the Yamato clan, Geki!"  In Japanese it sounds pretty bad ass and is a good heroic moment.  Before the Zyurangers can celebrate though, Grifforzer flies down and a bunch of putties appear, filling the room with smoke.  Technically, Bandora's grunts haven't been named yet, but since they're putties in Power Rangers, I'll call them that until the show corrects me.

We get a pretty cool fight scene.  Geki sword fights Grifforzer while the other Zyurangers fight putties, making me wonder why the Power Rangers never got to use their weapons while they weren't transformed.  It would have made those Juice Bar scenes way better.  Barza tells them to transform, and throws them their medals, each of which have the face of their dinosaur on it... why he didn't just give them to Geki or all of them before they left I don't know.  They all grab their belt buckles, and grab Power Morphers, identical to the ones the Power Rangers have, and insert the coins, transforming.

The Power Rangers' transformation scene involves them sounding off, shouting the name of their dinosaur in front of a green screen with some cool effects behind it (cool for the 90s anyway) then they're transformed, the theme song playing the entire time.  The Zyurangers transform instantly, then they pose, shouting a portmanteau of their dinosaur and their name, superimposed over an absolutely terrible image of their dinosaur.  Also their theme doesn't kick in until afterwards.  Going to have to give a point to Power Rangers here for the cooler transformation sequence. 

                                
 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     2                                                   -1

Zordon, happy that the Rangers transformed, teleports them to the city so... well, let's be honest, so they can be in the same fight the Zyurangers are in.  It's one thing to get beat up by minions to show you suck then use your cool new powers to beat them, but the Power Rangers just bitch out.  I'm going to need that point back, Power Rangers.

                               
 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     1                                                  -1

Grifforzer/Goldar jump cuts some putties in on top of the building, and the Power Rangers/Zyurangers go at it, both to their respective theme songs.  I still can't decide which I like better since they're both awesome.  It's worth noting that Power Rangers cuts out the end of the fight, the Yellow Ranger pulling a gun and shooting at the putties, and it's a cool shot.  They kept it in the unaired pilot, but they probably wanted to appease moms or something.  Zyuranger also has a further scene of Geki getting in a sword fight with Grifforzer (their guns are also swords) while the other Rangers save the kids in the model space shuttle.  It's a brief but really cool fight, and it's a shame that Power Rangers didn't reuse it.

The shows go pretty different directions from here.  Mei manages to save the model space shuttle, but before she can escape with it, a giant hand punches into Bandora's palace, punching her and grabbing it off the ground.



They run after it, but the hand belongs to a giant Roman centurion which the helpful subtitles label "DoraTitan".  The Zyurangers react to it, wondering what it is, and Bandora laughs menacingly.  DoraTitan vanishes, space shuttle in hand, and the narrator declares it "the greatest crisis in history!".  To be continued....

Meanwhile, on Power Rangers, Rita is complaining about how much the putties suck now.  One of her minions suggests she use her magic wand to make Goldar grow, and she does.  There's actually some pretty decent editing of the Zyurangers reacting to DoraTitan here, as giant Goldar destroys the town.  The Power Rangers call their Zords, the aforementioned giant robots, and jump in.  They get "cool" lines when they take the pilot seat, except Kimberlee who declares "Nice Stereo."...

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     0                                                  -1

They jump right from "Nice Stereo"

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
    -1                                                  -1

to forming the Megazord.  No attempts to fight giant Goldar with their normal Zords, which seems like a violation of the Power Rangers rules, but they haven't been established yet, and again the theme song kicks in, making it awesome.  There's even a throwaway line about about them knowing how to pilot it thanks to their powers.  The Power Rangers use the Megazord's rarely featured tank mode to blast Goldar onto his ass before switching to battle mode.  Despite being unarmed and provoking attacks of opportunity all over the place, the Megazord seems to do pretty well against Goldar.  But even when they knock Goldar down on his ass, again, Billy says they aren't even phasing him.  Jason has a plan though and yells "Power Sword!"


Because... um... reasons, a giant sword falls from the sky and the MegaZord picks it up.  As if the GM suddenly realized Goldar was way too strong for them, he bitches out before they can even swing the sword.  We cut to the command center, where the Power Rangers are celebrating.  Zordon lays down the law, and tells them there are three rules to being a Power Ranger.

1. Never use your power for personal gain.  Fair enough, we don't want any of their uncles to die, cursing them to a life full of rambling about responsibility.

2. Never escalate a battle unless Rita forces you.  This one doesn't make any real sense in the context of the show, but explains why they don't stop everything with the MegaZord.  More of a rule to increase the drama than anything else, but OK.

3. Keep your identity secret.  This will maximize drama but serve no other point.  Seriously, Rita already knows who they are, she knew before they even morphed the first time!  This will only make people close to them suspicious and hurt them.  Even in the 90s, the secret identity trope had been mostly played out.

Zach points out they just won because they were lucky, but like all good GMs, Zordon lies and tells them they're awesome.


This placates Zach,and they all agree to be Power Rangers.  Except Kimberlee.  She doesn't think she can do it.  "NOT!"

 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     -2                                                  -1

Final Thoughts

I hate Kimberlee so much.  She could not be more annoying and 90s.  Knowing that she has the second longest run of any of these characters makes me pray she'll get better.  Knowing Bulk and Skull outlast all of them makes my soul die a little.

The Juice Bar scenes are annoying and take up too much time, but they do help establish the characters.  Zach is cool and hip, Billy is a supernerd, Kimberlee is the worst.  The Zyurangers get no time for personality at all beyond Mei is the girl and Geki is the leader.

That said, Zyuranger left off on a cliffhanger that genuinely has me excited.  I want to know what happens next.  Meanwhile, Power Rangers blew all the big stuff.  The Zyurangers transform at the end of the episode, there's still a lot to look forward to.  The Power Rangers already showed off their MegaZord and it'll be hard to top that.  Zyuranger has the better episode, getting it 2 points.


 Power Rangers                                   Zyuranger
     -2                                                 1

Power Rangers really seemed like it had the edge, but ughhhh Kimberlee.  Well, that's episode one.  Tune in next week for Revival vs. High Five!  Will the Zyurangers save the model space shuttle and the kids on board?  Will Kimberlee become less annoying?  Tune in in two weeks to find out!