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Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Episode 14 & 15 Review

This past fortnight’s Power Rangers Ninja Steel has been a royal double-bill. In these episodes, we’re introduced to a new character as well as a new Zord! Here is Toku Toy Store’s review of episode 14, The Royal Rival, and episode 15, The Royal Rumble.

The Royal Rival

The programme opens at school with Sarah showing off her latest business class project: Sarah’s Cookie Creator. Despite the uninspiring name, the device itself is pretty cool as it will create delicious cookies out of any and all ingredients. In case we weren’t convinced, resident morons, Victor and Monty, test out the machines capabilities with sardines, liver and broccoli. The irritating pair themselves, of course, have no project prepared and are given an ultimatum by the teacher to prepare it by tomorrow.

Up on Galvanax’s ship, we’re introduced to Princess Viera and her companion monster Lord Drillion. Galvanax and Madame Odius are not convinced by the Princess’ ability to take care of the Power Rangers but they are reassured that Drillion accompanies her, as he can take care of business in the event of her failure.

In the park, Sarah’s invention is creating massive lines of people hoping to sample her products. Victor and Monty are arrested for stealing a cow… mehville. As Preston attempts to use his magic to speed along the cookie making process, the team are contacted by Redbot, who has detected Buzzcam activity nearby. The Rangers leave Mick in charge of the stall and run off to investigate. In a more urban area, Princess Viera commands Drillion to cause chaos and destruction in an effort to draw out the Power Rangers. Her plan succeeds and Drillion makes light work of our heroes. During the battle, an errant energy blast collapses the balcony Princess Viera is watching from. Oblivious to the fact the falling woman is their enemy, Sarah cushions Viera’s fall with vines and Viera calls off her monster.

The pair returns to Galvanax’s ship where they are confronted by Galvanax. He accuses Viera of being weak but Viera, outraged, denies this, claiming she is smart and studies her enemies before destroying them. Galvanax and Drillion formulate a plan that would see Drillion take out Viera and the Rangers in exchange for rule of the Lion Galaxy.

Back at the park, Viera watches the Rangers from afar. They finish up making cookies until Viera approaches Sarah. Sarah offers Viera a cookie from her last batch but they are promptly stolen by a teenager. Viera pursues and captures the youth but Sarah insists she let him go. In conversation with the boy, he reveals that he was stealing the cookies to feed himself and his hungry sister. Sarah is understanding and compassionate but Viera can only look on, confused with what has just transpired. To compound that confusion, Sarah gifts her cookie maker to the teen so that he can sell cookies and buy food for himself and his sister. In a less than unexpected move, Princess Viera has an epiphany and waxes lyrical about how she always believed her galaxy’s ‘might makes right’ attitude was the wrong one. In the process, Viera inadvertently reveals her identity before the two are confronted by Drillion. Drillion attacks the Sarah but Viera jumps in front of the energy blast, saving her.

The whole team arrive and morph. Drillion easily handles the Rangers, breaking their Element Power Stars and bending or snapping their swords. Viera emplores the team to hold out as long as possible and teleports away. The Princess returns to Galvanax’s ship and steals back her lion ship. Frustrated with her escape, Galvanax orders the immediate gigantification of Drillion. The team take him on in the Ninja Fusion Zord but struggle as much as they did on the ground. The Fusion Zord is broken apart and the Rangers appear doomed. From out of nowhere, Princess Viera arrives in her lion ship. Drawing power from the atmosphere, she quickly scares Drillion away before flying off herself. As she flees the scene, she is shot down by Galvanax and crashes in the mountains.

Back in the business class, Sarah is about to fail for failing to complete her project but she is rescued by the teenage boy, who explains the situation to the teacher. Sarah receives an A as the episode closes.

The Royal Rumble

The next episode starts with a quick recap of Princess Viera being shot down before Drillion returns to Galvanax’s ship. Galvanax believes the Rangers will be defeated easily without the assistance of Princess Viera and commands Drillion to go back to Earth and check that her ship is fully destroyed. Before he leaves, Madame Odius takes him aside to give him a little upgrade.

On Earth, Viera is walking away from her downed ship when she discovers its anti-gravity crystal which, unfortunately, is damaged. We cut to the hidden base where Mick and Redbot are pleased to declare that all of their weapons have been repaired. As the team begin to strategise about how they’re going to defeat Drillion, Hayley finds a lion pin on her satchel. As she picks it off, it begins to glow and soon turns into Princess Viera. The team are startled but quickly come around to the idea of fixing her lion ship so that they can use it to stop Drillion. The Rangers ask Mick to help repair the anti-gravity crystal but he refuses, stating that they shouldn’t be helping someone that helped to enslave the Lion Galaxy. As she persuades them by professing her new found goodness, the Nexus Prism shows us a vision of the lion ship in battle. This convinces the team to use the last of the Ninja Steel to turn the lion ship into a zord. Mick and Redbot quickly get to work.

Back in the land of Galvanax, Drillion’s new arm monstrosity upgrade is complete. Galvanax sends Drillion to the forest to look for the lion ship and the Rangers. The team are alerted to Drillion’s proximity to the ship and enter battle. As before, our heroes struggle against the beast but Mick has completed the Ninja Star and throws it into the Nexus Prism. The Prism fires out a new Power Star but it is absorbed by Princess Viera’s armour. To everyone’s surprise, a new Power Star appears on Brody, the Red Ranger’s, wrist. He spins it and is transformed into the Red Lion Fire Ranger. Using his new abilities, Brody and the others make light work of Drillion.

Freshly gigantified, Drillion is confronted by the Lion Fire Zord  (I guess Mick had a little more Ninja Steel lying around after all). Brody forms the Lion Fire Megazord and uses all of its power to send Drillion into oblivion once and for all. Back in the Ranger’s base, Viera thanks the team for showing her the light. She vows to make the Lion Galaxy a better place and heads home to make changes to her kingdom. On her way out, she gives Mick a parting gift, establishing communication with his parents for the first time in twenty years. Mick tells them that he will come home after completing his business helping the Rangers to defeat Galvanax.

This was a pretty good two-parter. The disappointment of the pre-hiatus Ninja Steel seems to be behind us and the episodes seem to be consistently watchable at this point. As usual, the Victor and Monty segments are unnecessary but I’m sure the kids love them, or at least love to hate them. The addition of the Lion Armour was introduced properly, over two episodes, rather than just being gifted to them for no reason. This is a rarity in modern PR, so kudos to Chip Lynn and the team for that. Next, we head into the end of the first half of the series. Thanks to France, that’s already been spoiled but I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Did you enjoy The Royal Rival and The Royal Rumble? Let us know your thoughts on all things Ninja Steel in the comment section below or on Toku Toy Store’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Episode 13 Review

To most of the fandom’s disappointment, Power Rangers Ninja Steel had an inauspicious start to the season. It arrived with very little hype or fanfare and, regrettably, the content of the show did little to enthuse even the most forgiving viewer. The story was thrown together haphazardly with little attention paid to integrating some of the eccentricities of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger (Ninja Steel’s parent series) and many balked at the repetition of the ‘Daddy issues’ used so regularly in recent memory. In short, the series just wasn’t much good. That’s all changed within the last few episodes, though, and the quality of the show has drastically improved. Episode 13, Ace and the Race, is no exception to that and builds upon the good work we’ve seen as of late.

The episode opens with the Mayor of Summer Cove welcoming us to the Lake Sunshine Fun-athalon, and the Rangers are preparing to compete in a relay race. As the race calls for three person teams, the team split in half with Preston, Hayley and Sarah comprising one team and Brody, Levi and Calvin making up the other. Moments before the start of the race, Calvin is distracted by a guy named Ace and his beautifully detailed car. Calvin goes to speak with Ace and his crew but promises to return in time for the race.

Meanwhile, on Galvanax’s ship, Cosmo Royale is introducing his newest contestant, Shoespike. The monster of the week bursts on to the stage with two Basherbots trailing behind him and rejoices at the fact he won the race. The peril our Rangers will face this week becomes clear as Shoespike exclaims, “You know what happens when you lose a race to me!” and the Basherbots are turned into trophies. Shoespike – whose Arnie-impersonator voice is reminiscent of Mighty Morphin’s Lizzinator – takes human form, declaring that once the Rangers touch his baton (careful) they will not be able to resist racing him.

Back on Earth, Calvin is taking a look under the hood of Ace’s car. He notices an oil leak and is talked into repairing it, but not before he pushes the car and its three occupants back to the school workshop. With Calvin missing, Brody and Levi are down a teammate. Enter Bob Shoespike, who volunteers to join the team. The pair touch Shoespike’s baton and are instantly transformed into douchebags, calling Sarah a loser before heading to the start line. During the course of the race, Brody shoulder barges Preston into the bushes and Levi launches a random competitor into the lake. Preston, obviously, takes exception to their behaviour and confronts them. Brody and Levi give Preston, Sarah and Hayley a hard time, again calling them losers. Bob Shoespike looks directly into the camera and adds “and you know what happens to losers…” before the three are turned into trophies before Levi and Brody’s eyes. The other competitors are also turned into trophies including Victor, who gets taken away by a stray dog. Shoespike reveals himself to be a monster and challenges the Ranger brothers to a three-legged race. The Rangers gladly accept.

Subsequently, at the school workshop, Calvin is finishing off the work to Ace’s car. Ace misnames Calvin as Malvin and Marvin during the course of the ensuing argument, caused by Calvin’s realisation that Ace is a fraud and that he hasn’t completed a single piece of work on his own car as he claimed. Calvin feels let down by his supposed friend, Ace, but Mick reminds Calvin of his own failures in friendship, having bailed on Brody and Levi in the relay race. He concedes and dashes off to rejoin his teammates. Trophy Victor is shotput into a fish tank, meh. Victor and Monty continue to be one of the main problems with this series but I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

Calvin happens upon Brody, Levi and Shoespike warming up for their race. He discovers the three Ranger trophies and they catch him up with the story so far. Calvin confronts Shoespike and joins the team. The Rangers struggle to run cohesively at first before noticing that Shoespike is cheating; his Basherbot teammates are in face dummies and Shoespike is running alone. Despite the booby-traps set by Shoespike, the Rangers win the race in a photo finish. A Basherbot delivers the Ranger trophies, for no reason other than they needed the Rangers present to match the Sentai footage, and the team morph to fight Shoespike. The battle itself, in fact, is a carbon copy of its Ninninger counterpart and culminates in Levi and Brody working together to destroy the monster.

Brody and Levi summon Robo Red and Bull Rider but Shoespike runs rings around them. Calvin arrives in his Tonka Truck and slows the monster down with makibishi. The team form the Ninja Fusion Zord and make quick work of destroying Shoespike once and for all.

Back at the race, Calvin apologises to his friends and, of course, they forgive him in the usual sickly sweet, saccharin fashion. Victor’s trophy is finally turned back into human form, whilst still in the fish tank, and the episode closes with Victor standing in the tank with seaweed in his mouth.

All in all, this was a solid episode. The Saban team made good use of what was a difficult Ninninger episode to adapt to construct a cohesive story. The highlight of the episode, for me, was Shoespike, who got far more screen time here than in the Sentai. His design was neat and the actor who played his human form did a great job, especially during the fourth wall breaking moments. Here’s hoping that Ninja Steel continues to trend upwards as it has in the last few episodes.

Did you enjoy Ace and the Race? Let us know your thoughts on all things Ninja Steel in the comment section below or on Toku Toy Store’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Pro wrestler John Morrison shares his honest opinion on Jason David Frank (JDF)

In a recent interview, professional wrestler John Morrison (also known as John Hennigan, Johnny Impact, Johnny Mundo and others) was asked what it was like working with Power Rangers legend, Jason David Frank on the the upcoming Ninjak vs. Valiant Universe and the pro wrestling sensation did not hold back.

Ninjak vs. Valiant Universe is the story of Ninjak, a mighty warrior thrust into a gauntlet of Valiant’s most formidable heroes for a bloodstained battle royale torn from the pages of the largest independent superhero universe in comics. Those that have continued to follow the work of JDF since Power Rangers will know about Frank’s work with Valiant Comics, portraying their character, Bloodshot. Frank’s Bloodshot character is due to face off with Morrison’s Eternal Warrior in Valiant’s live-action webseries, due for release later this year.

When asked, Morrison stated that he was “really excited for Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe” and expected a trailer release for the series soon. Having been asked for his opinion on the legendary Power Rangers actor, Morrison spoke very kindly of Jason David Frank, gushing that he was “super talented” and that the pair had become “become legitimate bros” since filming together.

Later in the interview, Morrison was also asked about JDF’s professional wrestling aspirations. He replied that Frank was “a fan of pro wrestling, he loves the business and he’d like to be a part of it.” Morrison went on to say that they were planning a Tag Team Match for JDF’s wrestling debut, either for Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling promotion or for Global Force Wrestling, John Morrison’s current employer. To conclude, Morrison put to bed the idea that JDF had WWE Championship aspirations, noting that he didn’t think he “wants to be a full time pro wrestler by any means” but that as a life-long entertaininer, JDF would find it “fun to do a match.”

You can listen to John Morrison’s complete comments about Jason David Frank here:

Are you excited for Jason David Frank as Bloodshot in Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe? What do you think of Morrison’s comments? Let us know in the comment section below.

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