Turboranger Makes Me No Longer Want To Rewatch MMPR
I always felt like Turboranger is unfairly maligned by some fans and that Mighty Morphin' is just overrated! With the dawn of Beast Morphers -- I'm already thinking about rewriting and rescheduling an old post in order to further celebrate Turboranger's 30th anniversary this year. Now I could come up with good reasons to why Turboranger is actually better than Mighty Morphin -- in fact watching pre-Zyuranger Super Sentai even makes me dislike Power Rangers all the more. Let's get started, shall we?
Let's start with the Turborangers as heroes
I won't use the whole there's no Zordon or Alpha Five to ruin the spot thing. Instead, I would actually focus on how the characters were actually better used than the Mighty Morphin' cast. What's with the characters? I thought about how Turboranger actually has better characters than Mighty Morphin'. Now for a bit of a start of the characters -- they aren't perfect, they're flawed but they do get developed along the way better than Mighty Morphin'. It's quality over quantity in this one!
So how are the characters better developed? The idea of teenagers with attitude getting selected to become a team of superheroes seems pretty weird and random. They all get dragged into it in their senior high years -- a time where they ought to be preparing for college! Why Seelon chose teenagers felt random, there are possibly many more who got exposed to fairy power? Though it feels weird and somewhat unexplained why Seelon would do it but there's still that explanation over fairy power! It's because they have fairy power unlike how Zordon just randomly chose teenagers to do his work of saving the planet!
So how are the characters developed? It may not be the best in Hirohisa Soda's era (and Megaranger does a better job with characters) but it's still more developed. Riki is someone who's not in good graces after the day he became a Turboranger. Daichi may be the smartest guy in the team but he's not without his flaws. Youhei is a slacker but he eventually develops into a better character. Shunsuke gets some backstory with his younger brother and later knowing Kirika. Haruna may be eye candy but I found her more badass and developed than the hotter Kimberly -- remember that episode when she fooled Zulten and when she actually fought as the lone Turboranger who could morph?
Another thing worth noticing is Miss Yamaguchi. Remember Miss Appleby? I felt like she was more treated like comic relief whenever she appeared. But no -- NOT Misa! Their mathematics homeroom teacher is one tough teacher with a soft side. She doesn't show up often either but when she does -- there's some plot relevance. She also gets personal with Dr. Dazai since she doesn't know that the five students are indeed the Turborangers! Funny she never knew seeing the five always stuck together and usually wore civilian colors that matched their spandex colors!
How does she own Miss Appleby as a character in terms of being utilized? The third episode had her questioning Riki's sudden drop in grades and requested him to stop going for baseball until his grades improved. She does seldom get caught in villain hijinks but not for comic relief. Who can remember the time she got so upset at Yamimaru dropping out just like that? She even had a heartfelt speech to Riki about how she lost a student to a motorcycle accident. She really plays an important role in the episode she's in. Bulk and Skull would have probably dropped out if they were exchange students
The villains and how they were handled in both halves
Okay, you may go ahead and tell me to cut it some slack because Turboranger is already not the first in line Super Sentai and Mighty Morphin' was the first Power Rangers series. It's legal but lazy if you ask me -- Saban using plenty of Zyuranger footage and relying on it too much then mixing it with his costumes. WTF?! It just feels weird to have Mighty Morphin's original fight scenes (including the out-of-suit) to suddenly blend in to Zyuranger fight footage! Then there's some original fight scenes with spandex and villain costumes yet it doesn't really work!
So what's with the first half? Turboranger's villains are basically like, "After 20,000 years we're finally free and it's time to conquer Earth!" The first trio appears and then Zulten (who's used as most convenient scapegoat and court jester) with their half-brained plans for world domination such as stealing love, turning Tokyo back into the samurai times or some rather deadly plans such as Rehda's pollution zombies, Zulten's rare brilliance of double-crossing Ruffian Bouma or Zimba's assault on Riki which could have defeated the Turborangers -- it just reflects how stupid Ragorn can get as the first half ends!
The first half concluded with Ragorn practically wasting his best generals demanding them to destroy the Turborangers or never return! Now, Ragorn may be stupid but I thought about a lot of stuff that would make you think why their villains own the MMPR villains...
So what's the best part of it? An enlarged Zimba does what Goldar could never do -- destroy the enemy Megazord! In this case, Zimba who's now enlarged by Yamimaru defeats the Turbo Robo! Remember how Goldar was easily forced to retreat by the Dino Megazord while Griforther caused trouble Here, Zimba causes Turbo Robo to separate with one final attack. What does it take to defeat Zimba once and for all? Turbo Builder appears and practically beats Zimba into total submission! It's better for him end in a high note because of his stupid master than Goldar who ended up becoming even more of a bad joke after Mighty Morphin's overextension!
Sidenote, I also thought how it's a shame that while the Mighty Morphin' team fought against putties out-of-suit as a team but not against Goldar! I also thought Tommy's out-of-suit fight with Goldar was pathetic compared to Riki's desperate battle with Zimba when they lost their powers!
The moment Jarmin is written off had me thinking about how Scorpina just disappeared without explanation (because they didn't bother to secure an American actress for the part). Jarmin herself is the next to be sentenced to a Do or Die Mission after Ragorn felt their pride was crushed when Yamimaru's efforts defeated the Turbo Robo. She goes out on a total rampage and what does she do? She does everything to defeat the Turborangers -- including revealing her hidden monster called Kuroko Bouma. Sidenote, I wish she mutated into that serpentine monster instead and have Zulten enlarge her after she's defeated by the Turborangers!
Episode 30 has to be the most intense of the first half. Rehda knows that he must destroy the Turborangers or never return! Why Ragorn never sentenced Zulten to a Do-or-Die Mission is funny and stupid -- it cements how incompetent Ragorn is as a leader yet he's still more developed and threatening than Rita Repulsa! Yamimaru kidnaps Dr. Dazai and Rehda shows his final tactics -- unleash the strongest Bouma Beast available known as the Chomajin Bouma because he knows that he must succeed or else he must NEVER return to Ragorn's side!
Now what's the next best thing about it? The part where Red Turbo shows he's really one of the best red rangers. He confronts Rehda head on in one badass battle to the max. Rehda throws everything he can such as getting Turbo Robo stuck, Turbo Rugger buried and how the Chomajin Bouma could have had the victory. He also traps Red Turbo in some ghost dimension. Red Turbo ends up discovering the source of the pocket dimension, slashes it and proceeds to finally destroy Rehda. Imagine, destroying Ragorn's right hand man when you're still in high schoo! That has got to be one crazy experience as a teenager!
The introduction of the second half has a villain in the first half getting elevated. What Yamimaru and Tommy have in common is that they're the "new kid" in school but the difference lies in how they were written. Okay, Yamimaru is not a sixth ranger and I'd rather derail overrated Tommy with Burai, Gorou Hoshino, Kyousuke Jinnai and Asuka. Tommy starts off as this Dr. Evil type villain an that laugh is HARDLY SCARY compared to what Burai did. Burai's laugh is more than enough to make you realize that he's not someone you should mess with! Yamimaru also has his evil laugh and not to mention -- the Turborangers themselves tried to reach out to him after discovering his peculiar state of being Bouma yet bleeding red blood!
The second half brings forth Kirika who was only a vision in the first half. Yamimaru shows himself to be more utilized as a villain than Tommy was as a hero after the Green with Evil Arc in Mighty Morphin'. They both get inaugurated into Ragorn's ranks all because the stupid emperor sentenced all his best generals to Do or Die Missions while leaving Zulten behind. The two go as far as to be a source of conflict as the Turborangers themselves try to redeem them. They are also interesting because their being half-human and half-Bouma makes them outcasts to both sides.
Best interesting part of the second half? It's Riki who can once again have a more impressive resume than Jason, Rocky or Tommy in the world of henshin! It's all about him defeating Ragorn in a desperate battle. They are stuck in a mystical web that will force them to fight. One of them must come out alive. It's all part of Yamimaru's and Kirika's plan to collide Ragorn's palace with the Turbobuilder -- a plan that could have caused the end of the world as revealed in the finale.
Turboranger had its definite finale in contrast to Mighty Morphin's overextension
One of the many reasons why I don't like Power Rangers is also related to the Mighty Morphin' overextension -- that time when Toei created 25 sets of Zyu2 footage for Haim Saban to use. Now Turboranger's finale isn't perfect and there's still some issues such as a giant Neo-Ragorn getting too easily defeated by Super Turbo Robo on his second battle with the Turborangers. But I'd say that having Turboranger's finale is better than what Mighty Morphin' did with deciding to overextend and Toei giving in to that greed!
Mighty Morphin's finale was supposed to be that Rita Repulsa and her goons were going to be resealed. Instead, Doomsday Part 1 and 2 is somewhat of a contradiction -- they retreated to the Moonbase with very little powers! So why didn't the Mighty Morphin' team decide to pursue them and END the conflict once and for all? They had the opportunity to do so! Then again you know American shows and their love for overextensions, right? The episode after Doomsday Part 2 just proceeded like as if the former never happened! WTF!
Turboranger's Doomsday episodes where Ragorn seeks to undo the 108 Bouma Seal (which turned out to be located under the Turbo Builder) isn't much either but at least we got better sense. The Turboranger team decide to go into Ragorn's base Mighty Morphin' style -- Mighty Morphin' totally ripped it off from Turboranger! They confront Neo-Ragorn head on once and for all. As I mentioned earlier -- you have Misa encouraging them head on to never give up until the last fight!
I don't really care if Power Rangers got more popular than Super Sentai or how often it overshadows it -- without Super Sentai now Power Rangers wouldn't exist now would it huh Power Rangers snob? Turboranger may be the beginning of Soda's decline (and Chikyu Sentai Fiveman really suffered the worst) but it's still better than Mighty Morphin' even when it's not perfect. So really, what's the excuse now?