Original Title: “Call of the Red Ranger”
Our narrator explains that “Gaps are an entrance and exit between the netherworld and ours. Do not peek in.”
And so what does the little Kiwi kid do? Peek in of course. And out pop the Nighlok from the other side (or Moogers as we’ll come to know them). A man in a brown and black robe appears and next to him, someone in a red-colored spandex suit. (Sorry Dr. K.)
The man proclaims… “Look before you Moogers! This is the 18th leader of the Samurai Power Rangers. Descendant of the man who destroyed your master yeaarrss ago. You have two choices. Retreat now, or become rust on his blade.”
“Don’t bother,” the red-suited man says. He wants to “take them for a spin.” Cue the theme song as the Red Ranger fights off the Moogers. He finishes them off and cue the theme music again.
The Red Ranger demorphs and the robed man says how proud he is of the boy he’s devoted his life to training. And that he’s ready to lead others into battle. The Red Ranger has been fighting alone all this time and doesn’t want to put anyone else in danger. But the man says a team is better than one, and four others have been training, waiting for this day.
Through the gap, some tentacle-face OOs and AHs and starts rhyming as a boat comes up from the dark waters. He enters the boat and addresses a female named Dayu. And we learn tentacle-face is named Octoroo. Octoroo wonders where their leader is, Xandred.
Xandred pops in and declares he has a splitting headache and the Moogers give him some
sake “medicine.” Good thing he destroyed all those Samurai Power Rangers back then, he says.
A face-skirted thing comes into the boat, Tooya, and Octoroo tells him to go through a gap and freak out some humans.
“That mouth on your skirt is as ugly as Master Xandred’s mood.”
“Hey, if anybody here got hit with the ugly stick it would be you.”
We go to an Olympic-sized swimming pool where a blue Speedo’d young man gets out of the water. His father tells him that Ji, the mentor to the Red Ranger, has notified him that the time is near. He hands his son something with a symbol on it and tells him his training has led up to this. His destiny is to join the Power Rangers and face the challenge.
The father says there are others who also await the call and we see a pink-clothed young woman playing with kids at a playground, a green-clothed young man at an arcade and a yellow-clothed young woman playing a flute on a farm; all of them with similar boxes with symbols on them.
Just then, Tooya and a horde of Moogers come squeezing through a Gap and tripping a sensor. At home, Ji comes running out and tells the Red Ranger, Jayden, that a new kind of Nighlok, more powerful than Moogers, has arrived and it is time to call on the other Rangers.
“One Samurai is strong, but a team is unbeatable!” Yahoo!
Jayden flashes back to when he was a child. His father, as the Red Samurai Ranger, entrusts him with the power of the Red Ranger before going out to his final battle.
“Remember, protect the world from evil. Stand by your allies. Never run from a battle.”
I’ll never forget his last words, Jayden says and Ji tells him it is time to fulfill his destiny. Ji sends out arrows to the four other Rangers, all of whom know what those arrows mean. Ji hands Jayden four morphers (I’ll assume) and they run outside.
Jayden uses his morpher to draw the Japanese character for horse and poof, one appears in front of them. He hops on and takes off.
Tooya and the Moogers are terrorizing the city. The Blue Ranger comes running and sees an SUV with the Samurai emblem on it and waves at it to stop. He expects it to be the Red Ranger and bows (what, is the Red Ranger some kind of prince or lord or something?) but it is the Pink Ranger and she says so as the Blue Ranger zips his jacket to cover up his abs.
She introduces herself as Mia just as the Yellow Ranger comes walking up, also thinking they’re the Red Ranger. Oh. Here comes “Mighty Green” and they’re all together. Jayden arrives on his horse.
“Yes, I AM the Red Ranger.”
He takes out the morphers and says he’ll only give them to those who are committed to the mission and ready to go all the way. Sure, they say and he hurls the morphers at them.
While Tooya and the Moogers continue rolling people down stairs, the Rangers appear in Samurai training uniforms and they morph.
They fight off the army of Moogers and Jayden finishes off Tooya. But it’s not over yet. Jayden tells them about the 2nd form, the Mega Monster. No worries though. The Blue Ranger reminds them about their training. They all have folding zords (those symbol’d boxes they had) and they can use their symbol power to morph into Mega Mode.
They each take their turns taking a shot at Tooya with their folding zords and somehow they all know each other’s names now. And Jayden finishes him off.
Jayden brings the four others home. He introduces Ji to them and Ji welcomes them. And they share a happy cheer.
See, that wasn’t so hard right? Airing the real first episode that not only introduces us to the Rangers, but also important aspects of the story such what in the world Nighloks are, why they get killed yet grow huge, what’s with the Gaps and red boat and how these American teens know Kanji.
Really, I don’t see any excuse why this episode (and next week’s episode) weren’t shown first. “The Team Unites” was a horrible first episode to start any series, let alone this supposedly revitalized, resuscitated franchise. These “Origins” episodes would’ve been perfect to introduce Power Rangers to a new audience and to re-introduce Power Rangers to those who are rediscovering it.
I don’t buy the “post-production problems” excuse since if Nickelodeon and/or Saban really wanted to have these two episodes be the premiere, they could have easily delayed the premiere a week or two. It’s not like they had to reshoot anything. There wasn’t really any special effects work to do.
So it would seem they intentionally held off on it to air later on (now). Which doesn’t make any sense either. With it airing now, 18 episodes into the season, it illicits more of a “Who cares?” or “Too late” kind of reaction.
Again, the episode would’ve been a great premiere and eased some of the violent reactions after the premiere episode we got. The episode airing now also highlights that, however little, the acting has improved since they started. Not much, but any improvement is noticeable.
How Much Better Was Sentai Than Power Rangers?
Corresponding Shinkenger Episode: Act 1 – The Gallant Appearance of the Five Samurai
Of course, another word for word, scene for scene translation. Even the theme song playing over Jayden’s first fight. Only difference though was in Shinkenger, the opening credits played as Takeru was fighting. So the repetition was all Samurai.
But there were other changes too. For Power Rangers wanting to infuse unnecessary amounts of comedy, they went and removed the part where Kotoha/Emily gets hit in the head with one of Jii/Ji’s arrows. I wanted to see that translated.
And of course, Kevin is not a Kabuki performer, but a swimmer. Plus the ending of the Samurai episode was much cheesier than the broody, more “epic” [/overusedword] closing scene of Shinkenger.
The Shinkenger episode of course had a couple of deeper points though such as Takeru’s seemingly cold personality (and inference of him keeping something to himself) and the darker flashback to Takeru and his father. But as we already know, that’ll be the case for the rest of the episodes as well.
Overall, it just doesn’t make sense to have held off on airing these origin episodes since it (they) would’ve been just fine in airing in their rightful/correct order.