It’s Power Wednesday, where we get to talk about a bunch of teenagers with attitude – that’s right it’s the Power Rangers, a classic toy-line of both human action figures and transforming robots. No, not that one. To start us off, our spotlight will be on the Thunder Megazord. This toy may not be the classic dinosaur combiner so many of us remember from back in the day, but it’s definitely worth talking about. This was the first successor to the original Zords, and it had a lot to live up to after the previous toy had wonderfully combined dinos and robots, two of every kids’ favorite things. But, before we dive into that what made this toy great, let’s talk about out why there was such a shake up to begin with.
As pedantic geeks everywhere are aware, Power Rangers is actually a combination of American footage and Japanese Super Sentai shows. The American footage was of the Rangers in their civilian lives and time spent at the headquarters, while the Japanese footage was all the villains, fighting, and giant robot battles. Meaning that a large portion of the show was taken from another source and edited to fit a different story that was deemed more digestible to an American audience. However, the show blew up and became more popular than its creators Saban originally thought. They soon found themselves burning through the Sentai footage and had to ask Toei, the originators of the Japanese footage, if they could film more for Saban, which not only require dusting off old costumes but creating over twenty new monsters for the Rangers to fight.
It’s crazy to think of the budget this show must have had to work with, but with those constraints they came up with a new solution. They would pick a new Sentai to rip footage from, and to keep The Power Rangers from changing suits they would film the majority of the human fights and villains themselves. The new Sentai was themed around Chinese folklore and the vehicles followed suit, the giant red dragon being an obvious homage.
This toy is something special. The Dragonzord had both a dragon mode and a human mode, something the previous vehicles didn’t get. Articulation was suddenly a thing, too, allowing you to pose the Dragonzord in some fighting positions. As for the rest of the gang, they suffer a bit.
While they all look great, and contain more detail than their predecessors, you can barely tell that these guys are meant for specifically colored Rangers. Everybody has a lot of great gold accents, but black is the primary color here, and it just doesn’t do the detailing any favors. Unlike with the Dragonzord, the rest of the toys drop the ball in terms of poseability – you can’t even move the Lion’s paws. However, it all comes together when they form the new Megazord. Suddenly all that black looks amazing, and the gold accents pull the aesthetic together wonderfully, with a design based on Ancient Chinese “Mountain” Armor. Sure, you are kind of just using all the other guys as power armor for the dragon, but, it’s still good fun. Its huge sword that actually has its own sheath, as opposed to being produced from the sky, also helps a lot.
Once again, an amazing toy that started the Power Rangers trend of evolving Zords for the next season, and yes, eventually getting around to changing their costumes as well.