Zyuranger opens with an old man sweeping, and thus begins the setup for the first season of Power Rangers. Well, there’s that, and there’s a space shuttle carrying two children and a couple of astronauts toward Nemesis, a planet whose orbit is bringing it close to earth. After landing, the astronauts find a can and remove the lid, releasing Witch Bandora and her gang from their weird, vacuum-sealed captivity. With a big middle finger to the Japanese space program, Bandora kills her liberators by flinging them into space.
She then drops right in the middle of a town on Earth, announcing that she will destroy the planet and kill everybody. Good thing the old man from earlier is actually a wizard named Barza, and Bandora chose to land within earshot of his obsessive cleaning. Eh, maybe it wasn’t just good fortune, since she confronts the old coot to tell him her devious plan: She’s shrunk the shuttle containing the two children, and she’s is going to kill them in one hour.
The old bastard decides to save the children and defeat Bandora, a task which will require him to awaken the Zyurangers from their slumber. Awakening each of these super awesome fighters requires an appropriately-colored key, and since the old man is incompetent and pissed off about the interruption in his spring cleaning, he manages to break the Red key. This imagery is probably a hidden jab against communism and locksmiths.
Since the Red Zyuranger is trapped in deus ex machina standby mode for the time being, the other four go off to fight. Early 90’s-style fighting ensues, and the Zyurangers are caught, beaten, and likely defiled. No worries, because the old man called Pop-A-Lock, so Red is released just in time to save his comrades. They all transform. More fighting ensues, largely to show off their powers and sweet gear. Red then sends Pink and Blue to rescue the children when a giant fist bursts through the wall and takes the shuttle. This is possibly the gayest thing ever to happen involving a giant fist, and that’s saying something.
We start the second episode with a bit of backstory, thrown in right where it belongs: after I stopped caring. It involves those humans that lived in the time of the dinosaurs and started the Paleo diet craze. At that time, the population was divided into five tribes. Everyone lived in harmony until Bandora appeared and we establish that this witch has had a billion-year erection for destroying the Earth. A Great War explodes across the landscape as everyone fights against this witch, but the war is ended by the guardian beasts (robotic-looking giant toy dinosaurs). That’s when we learn that these dinobots were the ones who canned her ass and then exiled her to the Planet Nemesis. After getting rid of the witch, the tribes each chose a warrior to go into suspended animation in case she returned. (The Zyurangers!) Finally, we see that she used this time in exile to plan a way to defeat the Zyurangers, even though it was the robosauruses that delivered the terrestrial beat-down, so whatever.
Her plan involves shrinking the shuttle (now we’re back to the timeline of the first episode; are you keeping up?) and cruising it around the city as bait for the Zyrurangers. Once they’re lured out, Dora Skeleton attacks . . . and his attack destroys their weapons. Oh shit, right? Then Skeleton sends them to a pocket dimension, wherein everyone fights and some skeleton warriors get down. (This is happening within eye-shot of the shuttle full of miniaturized children that’s about to be blown up. Tensions are high, people.)
Blue takes Skeleton’s head and throws it down a crevice, destroying him. Geki uses this opportunity to make a move for the shuttle, but is snatched up by a giant breaking through the barrier. He gives it a money shot to the eye to escape, and just when they seem defeated, the Tyrannosaurs guardian beast attacks the giant during the fight and proves that the dinosaurs really had everything covered and choosing those five warriors was really just a waste of time. Anyway, this allows the rest of the team to get the kids out of the shuttle, returning them to normal size. Then they use the shuttle as a missile, invoking the distinctly-Japanese power of hurling a toy vehicle at a dude in a monster suit to blow him up.
Ok. Let’s get a few things out of the way. I love the opening and ending themes. They perfectly show how zany and action-packed this show is. The first episode throws you into the thick of things . . . but the second one begins with the backstory. I guess this was so they could hook kids with the action, leaving unimportant crap like “a story” for after their brains have already seized up. As long as they have toys to sell, right? I’d rather have backstory dumped on my lap at the very beginning of the series; it’s really the only safe way to know just how big of a steaming pile I’m stepping into.
Other than that, I liked the action and I felt actual concern for the safety of the kids stuck in the space shuttle. We didn’t get much characterization for anyone except the crucial “Zyurangers are good and Bandora is bad” lineup. The destruction of the weapons was a nice touch, showing the monsters are more powerful than they thought and/or that hundred-million-year-old weapon technology probably sucks ass and that they need to upgrade. The preview for the next episode shows them going after new ones, so I’m hoping it turns into the pawn shop scene from “Pulp Fiction” by the end. Fingers crossed. It’s never explained why Dora Skeleton sends them to another dimension, which makes no sense. But then this is a show about people from 170 million years ago fighting a witch who makes monsters out of clay, so my disbelief is already suspended. Over all, these episodes are like popcorn, light fluffy and easy to get through, but not a full meal.
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!