Monthly Archives: March 2011

Episode Review: A Fish Out of Water

Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
EDITORIAL

Okay, so I wanted to have this written roughly a week and a half ago, but my DVR, DVD Recorder, the weather, and ex–girlfriend’s iBook™ G4 all had other plans for me. After fixing the DVD recorder, re–recording what the whether screwed up on my HD DVR copy of A Fish Out of Water, and dealing with the iBook™ G4, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch A Fish Out of Water, uninterrupted, and in HD. My apologies to our readers for the delayed review.

A Fish Out of Water initially had me torn. On one hand, the plot was a bit weaker then usual, or rather, its execution was a bit weaker then usual, even for Power Rangers‘ standards. On the other hand though, from a purely technical standpoint, A Fish Out of Water was simply a masterpiece, and is very well one of the best, if not the best episode of Power Rangers ever—again, this is from a strictly technical standpoint.

Early on it’s established that “Fish” is going to be another Zord-themed episode, so I had some idea of what to expect based on what we had seen in Day Off, which was the previous Zord-themed episode. This time around though, Kevin is sent to recover the Swordfish Zord, armed with his Samuraizer, a power disc, and a fishing rod. While Kevin is fishing for a Zord (I’ll get to that in a moment,) the other Rangers are attacked by a Nighlok whose poisonous breathe can incapacitate humans, and which can only be neutralized with a purifying water.

Once again, Najee’s facial expressions are priceless. Recall that I mentioned that Kevin was fishing for the Swordfish Zord. This sequence starts out with the character seeming very confident in his ability, and initially ends with him collapsing from heat exhaustion. During the entire sequence though, Najee’s facial expressions really help to show the passage of time, leading to his character Kevin’s frustration before collapsing. A smile, then a look of annoyance, followed by a look of fatigue make the scene continually more believable.

After Kevin collapses, he’s rescued by a fisherman, who nurses him back to health, and ultimately helps him catch the swordfish Zord. This is one of the scenes that admittedly left me curious at the end of the episode. The fisherman seemed important—very important, but after he helped Kevin catch the fish, we never heard about him again. While this may be the result of the way this episode was adapted from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, it’s possible that the fisherman was merely left in as (pardon the pun,) a red herring—an attempt to distract viewers from more important aspects of A Fish Out of Water‘s plot. It’s also possible though that we will indeed see the fisherman again in the future, (his Japanese counterpart showed up in an episode near the end of Shinkenger,) which I certainly hope is the case. Considering what he witnessed, and how he seemed to have some minor understanding of what Kevin was doing, I’d like to know a little bit more about the fisherman, especially considering it really felt like there was a lot more to him then what we were being shown.

Another plot–point that’s worth touching on is the Nighlok itself. In Shinkenger, the Nighlok in this episode was a drug user; a close look at the costume reveals a marijuana–inspired design; as a result, I admittedly wasn’t sure what direction Power Rangers would take with this episode. One option would have been to keep a drug–using villain as part of an anti–drug campaign, while another would be to simply remove the drug references entirely. Saban Brands chose to do the latter, which was probably the better decision; the idea of a Nighlok that was created by lightning striking toxic waste was interesting to say the least, and even without the drug references, this particular Nighlok proved to be a formidable adversary for the Rangers.

The last plot–point that’s probably worth touching on is the introduction of Deker, who appeared very briefly in A Fish Out of Water. Those of you familiar with Power Rangers Wild Force should immediately recognize Deker’s voice as that of Ricardo Medina Jr. who played Cole Evans, the Red Wild Force Power Ranger back in 2002. I was admittedly surprised that the rumors of Rick Medina’s return were indeed true, especially given his past statements regarding the show, as well as the fact that his former co–workers all seemed to feel that he was difficult and annoying to work with. Throw in the fact that many fans can’t stand Mr. Medina, and you have to wonder why Saban Brands would invite him back to the show. Of course, a lot can happen in nine years, and I’m more then willing to give Mr. Medina a second chance. From what I saw in “Fish,” that second chance was certainly justified. Rick Medina does a great job of bring the villain Deker to life, and his acting skills seem to have improved a thousand fold from when we last saw him in 2002; of course, he was only on screen for a few brief moments, so it’s obviously still too early to judge Mr. Medina’s skills across the board just yet.

Moving away from the quality of the plot to the technical quality of “Fish,” the overall quality of the episode improves dramatically. The editing in this episode was top–notch. During the scene where Kevin is heading to the beach to catch the swordfish, we were treated to a voice–over, J–cuts, L–cuts, and a slew of other visual goodies, and that was only one scene. In the same episode, we had crane–shots, a night scene, top–tier cinematography, and some of the best all–around visuals that the show has seen. “Fish” was an excellent episode from a purely technical standpoint, and the technical quality of the episode more then makes up for some of the minor plot shortcomings.

All in all A Fish Out of Water earns a low five out of five from me; its story could have used some work, but the technical aspects of this episode are so good that they make up for any shortcomings that the plot may have. Throw a story like the one we had for Sticks & Stones on top of the over–the–top technical quality of an episode like this one, and you’d have the perfect Power Rangers episode.

On a quick side–note, Joe will be reviewing There Go the Brides very shortly, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be back with more Blue Ranger goodness when I review I’ve Got a Spell on Blue, hopefully in a more timely fashion then I reviewed A Fish Out of Water.

Joe’s Rating: 4 out of 5
Alex’s Rating: 5
out of 5
Final Rating:
4.5 out of 5

How The Power Rangers Samurai Times rates episodes:

Episodes are rated on a scale of 1–5 with one being the lowest rating, and five being the highest rating, no decimal points, no fractions, no negative numbers. If multiple contributors review an episode, their individual ratings will be posted followed by the final rating, which will be an average of the aforementioned individual ratings. (Obviously averages may contain decimal points.)

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Episode Review: Sticks & Stones

Article By: Joseph Michael Sciola; Contributing Editor
EDITORIAL

I’m not going to lie. This is one of the episodes I have been waiting for the adaptation of. It was based on one of my favorite episodes of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, and really made me start to see Kotoha as a character, and not just the girl who turns into Shinkenyellow. Fortunately, I didn’t need this episode to start seeing Emily as a character as opposed to that girl who turned into the Yellow Samurai Ranger. The previous three episodes provided enough of an insight to her that I saw her as a character from the very beginning, and this one even carries over the mention of Emily being close to her sister from Deal With a Nighlok into something we get to see, and since Power Rangers is second only to Professional Wrestling in the questionably maintained continuity department, I am glad to see this.

The plot of this episode is rather straightforward. A Nighlok named Negatron (despite the closed captions’ insisting that he was called “Megatron,” Hasbro would have had a field day with that one,) has the ability to hurl insults and change mental anguish into physical anguish. That’s right. He can insult people to death. If you don’t think that is awesome, you are either a liar, or wrong, and deserve to feel wrong.

The thing I liked the most about Negatron was that he attacked people indiscriminately. It didn’t matter who the victim was, he was out to cause enough anguish to raise the Sanzu River, and nothing was going to stop him. The first fight he has with the Power Rangers was pretty one sided in his favor, managing to knock the Rangers away with a slew of insults, bringing up the fact Mike had training wheels on his bike until he was ten, calling Kevin boring, telling Mia she’s a horrible cook, and telling Jayden that he’s a liar (which had no effect) and then that he has a secret (which does). Hello, obvious future plot point, it is so nice to meet you. However, the insults he hurls at Emily have no effect, causing him to run away, after a few hits with her Samurai Sword.

Two of my favorite scenes occur at the Rangers’ base after the first fight, while they are trying to come up with a course of action. In the first scene, everyone except for Jayden brings up the things that Negatron said to them, which hurt them. Mike said he had the training wheels, but didn’t need them. Kevin asks if the others think he’s boring, and Jayden placates him by telling him he is organized and disciplined, which are good qualities for a Samurai. Mia asks if they think she’s a bad cook, which is followed by a brief moment of awkward silence before they tell her she’s a good cook.

The other scene I really liked was a great character moment between Mike and Emily where we find out via flashback and voice over narration that as a child, Emily was always teased by bullies, and her older sister Serena helped her to feel better, and got her to just ignore the bullies. It is also here that we learn that it was Serena who was supposed to be the Yellow Samurai Ranger, before she came down with an unnamed illness that left her bedridden, and fearful for Emily’s safety now that she has to be the Yellow Samurai Ranger. Brittany Anne Pirtle, who plays Emily is not the greatest actor to appear on Power Rangers, she is by no means the worst (I seriously doubt anyone will ever wrest that title away from Jennifer L. Yen), but she did a great job in this scene, and I see some serious potential in her. People grow as actors over time. Compare the David Boreanaz of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s first season to the David Boreanaz of the current season of Bones, and it’s amazing to believe that it’s the same person. Also, when they said Emily was from the country, I guess they meant New Zealand, because the actress playing Serena either didn’t even try to hide her accent, or was just terrible at it.

The dynamic between the villains is continuing to get more and more interesting with each passing episode. Negatron tests his ability out on Dayu (of which we only see the aftermath and not what he said. Hmmmm….) to see if his ability still works. Naturally, Dayu is less than thrilled by being used as a guinea pig and is about to snap when Xandred shoves his sheathed sword under her throat, and tells her to calm down, and when that doesn’t work, he tells her that “even you can make me mad” and slightly removes the sword from the sheath. I can’t recall any previous Power Rangers villain threatening a subordinate with decapitation before. It was both a tense scene and did a great job of showing Xandred is a force to be reckoned with, even if you are on his side.

As I go through this, I am trying to find things about the episode I didn’t care for, and to be perfectly honest, I’m having a hard time. The closest I can come up with is after the good showing he had last week, Jii is back to being rather useless. When the best explanation he has for why Negatron’s insults didn’t affect Emily is “Perhaps she has some sort of special power”, it may be time to reconsider your career path. Even Bulk and Spike, who I had been pretty hard on in the Deal With A Nighlok review didn’t bother me, because they actually ran into Negatron. They were a part of the important part of the episode. More of this please.

All in all, I absolutely loved this episode. The moral is somewhat topical due to number of stories about the effects of bullying that have been showing up in the news, the characters are getting more and more interesting, and at this point, it seems the villains are actually winning, with how the Nighlok attacks are raising the Sanzu River’s water bit by bit.

In a little while, Alex will be reviewing A Fish Out of Water, but I will be back after that to take a look at There Go the Brides, which is easily the best episode title I have come across since Supernatural’s fourth season had an episode called Jump the Shark.

Joe’s Rating: 5 out of 5
Alex’s Rating: 5
out of 5
Final Rating:
5 out of 5

How The Power Rangers Samurai Times rates episodes:

Episodes are rated on a scale of 1–5 with one being the lowest rating, and five being the highest rating, no decimal points, no fractions, no negative numbers. If multiple contributors review an episode, their individual ratings will be posted followed by the final rating, which will be an average of the aforementioned individual ratings. (Obviously averages may contain decimal points.)

“Power Rangers Samurai” Fall Toyline Revealed

Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
NEWS

For better or for worse, toys are the life–blood of Power Rangers, and Power Rangers Samurai is no exception. While the toys themselves were unveiled at Toyfair, some things such as what each case of figures would include were not. Thanks to Big Bad Toy Store though, we have a tentative list of what will be available in every case of four–inch action figures.

Series two of the Power Rangers Samurai toy line will feature 12 action figures to a case, with different quantities of different figures. Three red “Fire” Samurai Rangers, as well as three of the upcoming gold “Light” Samurai Rangers will be included in series two cases. Next up are two blue “Water” Samurai Rangers, and two green “Forest” Samurai Rangers; rounding out the series is one evil Deker figure, and due to popular demand, one Rita Repulsa action figure from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

Series three will contain three red “Fire” Samurai Rangers, just like series two, as well as three blue “Water” Samurai Rangers, and three gold “Light” Mega Rangers. Two green “Forest” Samurai Rangers are also included, and rounding out the case is one pink “Sky” Mega Ranger.

Series four will contain another three red “Fire” Samurai Rangers, as well as another three gold “Light” Mega Rangers, just like series three. Series four will also contain two blue “Water” Samurai Rangers, one evil Deker figure, and one Rita Repulsa figure, much like series two. In addition, one green “Forest” Samurai Ranger is included, and the wave is rounded out with one yellow “Earth” Mega Ranger.

Series five contains another three red “Fire” and gold “Light” Samurai Rangers, as well as two blue “Water” and green “Forest” Samurai Rangers; the series is rounded out with one red “Fire” and blue “Water” Mega Ranger per case.

Notably absent from series two–five are yellow “Earth,” and pink “Sky” Samurai Rangers, as well as any green “Forest” Mega Rangers. According to a Bandai America Inc. representative at Toyfair, the yellow “Earth” and pink “Sky” Samurai Rangers will be released “at some point in the future,” and were not ready to be shown in time for Toyfair. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it’s quite possible that a green “Forest” Mega Ranger will wind up in the same case as the yellow “Earth” and pink “Sky” Samurai Rangers, along with figures that have yet to be determined.

In addition to the aforementioned figures, it’s also worth noting that a Gold Ranger’s version of the Samuraizer Morpher will be released, as well as another deluxe Megazord, and another 12″ Red Ranger figure, this time featuring Battlizer capabilities. The fall line of Power Rangers Samurai toys is expected to make its way into stores around July of this year.

Ricardo Medina Jr. Returns to “Power Rangers”

Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
NEWS

Those who’ve watched the two most recent episodes of Power Rangers Samurai may have noticed a familiar voice behind one of the villains. Ricardo Medina Jr., (A.K.A. Rick Medina Jr.,) best known to Power Rangers fans for his role as Cole Evans, the Red Wild Force Power Ranger, has returned to voice the evil Nighlok Deker.

Last year, what were reportedly leaked photos of behind the scenes footage from Power Rangers Samurai surfaced on the internet. Some of these photos appeared to depict a person who might have been Mr. Medina. However, after carefully examining the photos, it was determined that they might have been doctored. Similarly, a Facebook page reportedly belonging to Mr. Medina, also had its validity called into question. As a result of these two events, and Mr. Medina’s past comments regarding Power Rangers as a whole, The Power Rangers Samurai Times chose to avoid all rumors pertaining to Mr. Medina’s return.

As noted above, Mr. Medina has not always been on good terms with the Power Rangers franchise; after Power Rangers Wild Force concluded in 2002, Mr. Medina attempted to distance himself from his role as the Red Ranger. Tensions between Mr. Medina and his former co-workers have been well documented as well, with many of the aforementioned cast and crew–members describing him as difficult to work with. Given Mr. Medina’s prior experience with the Power Rangers franchise, his return may come as somewhat of a surprise to many older fans.

Mr. Medina’s new role on Power Rangers Samurai is quite different from his previous role on Power Rangers Wild Force; Cole Evans was the lead protagonist in “Wild Force,” while Deker is one of the major antagonists in “Samurai.” Ricardo Medina Jr. isn’t the only actor to return to Power Rangers this season in a different capacity then in the past; Rene Naufahu who previously portrayed super-villain Emperor Grumm in Power Rangers S.P.D. also returned to the show to portray Ranger ally Mentor–Ji in “Samurai.”