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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season One, Volume One

Score: 70%
Rating: TV-Y7
Publisher: Shout! Factory
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 10 Hrs.
Genre: Action/Martial Arts/TV Series
Audio: English
Subtitles: Closed Captioned (not on DVD)

In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season One, Volume 1, the formula that the show will follow for years is set in stone. The Rangers are ordinary (hah, yes, completely ordinary) teenagers that go about their daily lives of going to school, having no parents, and hanging out at the juice bar / gym. Jason has a completely ordinary teenage occupation of Karate instructor, and the team is filled out with Kimberly, a gymnast; Zack, a dancer; Billy, a nerd; and Trini, another kind of, um, Karate person. The main villain for this season is Rita, and she sends a monster each episode to kidnap, destroy, or otherwise cause mayhem. The Rangers morph into their suits, fight a bit and get a bit beat up for a while. Rita then makes the monster grow to gigantic size, the Rangers follow suit by jumping into their giant robotic Dino Zords, struggle a bit depending on how much time needs to be filled, and then defeat the monster with the Power Sword. Ritaís grating voice in the opening credits set the tone for how aggravating the villains will be during the show.

Look, this show doesnít age well, thereís no getting around that. I might be a bit hard on the show, even though I watched it when I was younger. I apologize in advance. As much fun as the show was then, it isnít easy to watch now. The thing is, the series never really grows up either, even after this first Might Morphin incarnation. The acting is as corny as the music, with Zack getting a silly (and a little stereotypically offensive?) pop/hip-hop track frequently added to his fights, and the bullies of the show, Skull and Bulk, getting an equally silly cartoon track. Itís really a time capsule of programming for young adults during the 90ís, as there wasnít much more intelligent fare available at the time either. With that in mind, this DVD is missing the little moral lessons that were tacked on to the end of each episode in the US. Oh sure, they were annoying, but it would have been nice to keep that in this little time capsule of just how annoying cartoons and TV shows aimed at kids could be. Any show back then with a hint of violence would have to have an accompanying moral lesson segment tacked on to the end. I suppose it was an effort to make wholesome programming out of what was just simply entertainment, but more likely it was just there to satisfy some suits in the legal department.

There are a few twists and turns to keep it from being absolutely identical from episode to episode, with an evil Green Ranger showing up mid-season and quite effectively messing up the Rangersí world from the inside. With multi-episode story arcs like these, there actually is a plot to follow and provide some entertainment value as well. Even with drama like an evil Ranger stalking amongst them, the excitement never seems to elevate, and the cast is stuck to a bubblegum sweet script and simplistic character development.

This is the first ever incarnation of Power Rangers, so there are some interesting aspects to the show. When the Rangers morph into their suits, often theyíre "transported" to Japan. A lot of the major stunts just werenít duplicated for the American show, so youíll see Zordon making up an excuse like, "Oh, Rita just sent down another bad guy in this other part of the city." Then the footage switches to the Japanese show. Youíll notice a change in the lighting and filming techniques, and you can also see some differences in body types when the footage switches. Iím not sure if the American actors did any of their local suit footage at all, but another interesting tidbit is that the Yellow Ranger is gender-swapped in the Japanese version. So there was either a male actor, or some other sort of undergarment modification made to get the Yellow Ranger to match up with her Japanese counterpart while in the suit. You can even tell an obvious difference between the construction material on the American Green Rangerís suit and the Japanese one.

The show is still in its original 4:3 format, so there are bars on the left and right sides of the screen to allow it to play on modern 16:9 TVs. There arenít any special features to speak of, which is a pretty big shame. At this point, Iíd assume the biggest audience for this DVD are the fans of the original series. Fans like features, so itís strange to not see any extras. If you just want the original first season of Power Rangers, this will definitely do the trick.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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