Go, Go Power Rangers!
In 1993 a phenomenon began on US television: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Based on Japan’s Super Sentai series, the Power Rangers show and associated merchandise were so successful that the Power Rangers were catapulted almost immediately to fame and became 1990s icons!
The premise was that the world was under threat by Rita Repulsa and her Evil Space Aliens. Five teenagers were selected as elite resistance fighters, and with Power Morphers, they were able to draw on the powers of spirits of prehistoric creatures (represented on Power Coins bestowed on each teen).
This transformed them into Power Rangers, which enabled them to call upon Power Zords (Dinozords), prehistoric-creature-like battle machines. The Dinozords were able to physically combine into larger fighting machines.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS FIGURES
Bandai produced a range of figures and toys from the Power Rangers television series. They made the five Power Rangers figures to an eight-inch scale, and packaged them in boldly-coloured, distinctive triangular window boxes.
The Red Power Ranger, Jason Lee Scott, was the group’s commander. His main personality trait was calmness, even if the bullies Bulk and Skull harassed him. He was always there for his friends and willing to give them a hand (especially Billy). Because Jason was ‘old and powerful’, he was chosen to command the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord. He was given a Power Sword with which to fight the evil forces.
Zack Taylor was the Black Power Ranger, and was second in command. Zack was energetic, charismatic and confident. He developed his own fighting technique, combining the two things he loved the most: martial arts and dancing. He was given power over the Mastodon Dinozord for being clever and brave. His weapon was the Power Axe.
Trini Kwan was chosen to be the Yellow Power Ranger because she was compassionate, witty and having a knowledge of martial arts (her specialty was Kung-Fu). She commanded the Sabre-toothed Tiger Dinozord due to being fearless and agile. She had a strong belief in personal honour and didn’t hesitate to put herself in danger to save others. An environmentalist, she was one of two intellectuals in the group, the other being Billy. Her weapons were Power Daggers.
The Pink Power Ranger was Kimberly Hart. She was very fond of gymnastics and taught dance at the Angel Grove’s Youth Center. She was best friends with Trini. Kimberly was awarded the Pterodactyl Coin because she was graceful and smart. Her weapon was the Power Bow.
Billy Cranston, the Blue Power Ranger, was portrayed as the nerd of the group. Despite his occasional clumsiness, he was later shown to have great potential, and grew into a much stronger individual. He was assigned the Triceratops Power Coin for being patient and wise. Billy’s weapon was the Power Lance.
The great Megazord was a monstrous Zord made up of several Dinozords. These were the Triceratops, Pterodactyl, Mastodon, Sabre-toothed Tiger, and the Tyrannosaurus. Bandai produced two versions of the Megazord for 1993. The standard Megazord had attachable Sabre-toothed Tiger and Triceratops Zords, while the Deluxe Megazord could be disassembled into the five separate Dinozords.
Bandai made a Dragonzord with Green Ranger. Tommy (the Green Ranger, introduced later in the first series) could summon the Dragonzord and control its movements remotely thanks to his Dragon Dagger. These actions were versatile and included being able to shoot missiles from its fingertips or use its tail as a drill!
Titanus, ’the Carrier Zord’, was a giant brachiosaurus who could fire blasts out of his mouth. He was armed with several cannons on his chest and his tail could be formed into two more shoulder cannons! You could combine Bandai’s Titanus with other Zords to create the Ultrazord.
EVIL SPACE ALIENS FIGURES
Bandai produced four Evil Space Aliens figures: Goldar, King Sphinx, Squatt and Baboo.
Goldar was a humanoid lion with fearsome red eyes. As the name indicates, he wore golden armour. He was one of the most powerful allies of Rita Repulsa.
King Sphinx was created from Egyptian sand by the evil Finster. He was made in order to destroy Jason, the leader of the Power Rangers. His wings could blow people miles away when they flapped! He also carried a sceptre or crook with a golden question mark at the end which was able to emit flaming question marks.
Squatt, one of Rita’s servants, mainly acted as a spy in the series. He could be defined as a mixture of a blueberry and a hobgoblin! He was usually cowardly and generally fled from battles.
Baboo was a cross between a monkey and a vampire bat. He was highly creative and was able to invent potions or devices which Rita could use for her evil purposes.
BATTLE BIKES AND MORE
Bandai’s Tyrannosaurus Battle Bike was Jason’s motorcycle. It featured a firing Side Power Cannon, and included a Red Ranger figure. Zack’s Mammoth Battle Bike had a Sabre-toothed Tiger Sidecar and Black Ranger figure. The Triceratops Battle Bike, with Pterodactyl Side Car, was Billy’s motorbike and included a Blue Ranger figure. The Battle Bikes didn’t appear in MMPR, but were from the Japanese TV series which the American show was based on.
Bandai also made the full-sized MMPR Power Gun/Sword, a dual weapon as the name implies. It was sold in a set which included the Power Morpher and coins.
COLLECTING AND LEGACY
In collecting the original Bandai 1993 line-up of MMPR items, considering only mint-in-box examples, a single figure might go for £40, while a lot of five could run £80. You might find the Megazord for £25, but be prepared for £200 for the Megazord Deluxe. The Dragonzord and Titanus can each fetch £160. If you are after a Power Gun/Sword, brace yourself for a price of £230! The market for the Evil Space Aliens and the Battle Bikes appears to be limited.
The Power Rangers’ popularity has continued unabated. The Power Rangers Megaforce series premiered on US TV in February 2013, and Bandai and Saban Brands released a new Power Rangers toy line to celebrate MMPR’s 20th anniversary. Bandai still offers a huge range of MMPR action figures and toys, and Power Rangers Ninja Steel, the 24th season of the Power Rangers TV series, is scheduled to air in 2017. There is also a third Power Rangers feature film, due to be released later this month.