Deluxe Samurai Star Lightning Megazord
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The illusion-creating monster Madtropolis has drained the Wind and Thunder Rangers of their powers, leaving them severely weakened and nearly defenseless. In a desperate plan, Cam- against his guinea pig father’s wishes- uses the risky Scroll of Time to travel into the past to seek out a new power. There, he encounters his father- a young man named Kanoi who is just a student in the Wind Ninja Academy himself- and his mother for the first time in his life (having died shortly after Cam was born). Both do not recognize him because he comes from the future. But Cam also learns of the existence of Kanoi’s twin brother, a dark figure named Kiya who likes to use his ninja skills to play dirty tricks on the other students. With time running out for Cam, he discovers that the amulet that his future-mother is wearing seems to contain mystical powers that someone in the future is fated to own. When Kiya tries to steal it for himself and frames Cam, the time traveler is held before the administration of the Academy. Kanoi learns of this and exposes Kiya as the real culprit, and then Kiya engages Cam in a fight for revenge. During this time, the Samurai Amulet finally expresses its hidden power, allowing Cam to get the upper hand. Seeing Kiya for what he really is, the administration banishes Kiya into space forever. But as the ex-student is being thrown into the air, he swears revenge on them all, and announces that he is changing his name to that of the ancient warrior of evil... Lothor! Returning to 2003, Cam then uses the powers of the Samurai Morpher amulet to become the Green Samurai Ranger, additionally gaining access to the agile and versatile Samurai Star Megazord.
. . .
The term “Lightning” in the name does not carry over into the series. Bandai America put it in there to imply that the Deluxe version of the Samurai Star Megazord is in a made-up class similar to the Deluxe Storm Lightning Megazord, which does appear with that name in the series. The Storm Lightning Megazord is a reduced-armored version of the Storm Megazord, and thus is thinner than expected, so by adding the term “lightning” to this toy (since it is also smaller/thinner than expected), this is an attempt to put it into a special Deluxe-class sub-category. The Deluxe Ninjakon repaint also is considered a “Lightning”-type Megazord, but it is not listed specifically. The way these three Deluxe “Lightning”-class sets were released is so that you can obtain more than one Power Sphere at a time. (That’s BA’s marketing strategists for ya...) The Samurai Star Chopper (back) is the first real helicopter Zord to appear in a Power Rangers series, and it mixes that up with a touch of falcon. (The Aero Rescue-3 Rescuezord from “PR Lightspeed Rescue” (2000) may have been the first V-TOL-capable Zord, but it used jet engines for flight, not the rotors of a ‘copter, ‘kay?) Around and below the cockpit are a beak & eyes, and on either side are small talon-like shapes. Behind the nose section on either side are paired sets of laser cannons (nine per). Because of different TV regulations here in the US, the original Japanese footage of the Samurai Star Chopper was modified to shoot lasers, as opposed to the original's missile launchers. Above are the large rotor blades, each with an angled red tip. The rotor assembly may be thicker than need-be, but that’s because it incorporates a button & latch system within (which I’ll get into later). Stretching out behind are two long booms ending in paired turbofan engines for forward motion. Beneath the nose and turbofans are small landing wheels; the front two able to retract. Other than the landing gear, the two red turbofans in back can spin freely, and are actually slightly tilted individually to the point that they actually spin if you blow on them! But the larger feature is the main rotor. The rotor tips are PVC and they are also jointed, so if it hits something, they’ll fold backwards a bit to prevent/reduce damage to themselves or anything else. The rotor can spin freely counter-clockwise. However, if you turn it clockwise, an internal spring mechanism inside the chassis of the Samurai Star Chopper will begin to wind up. And then when it clicks loudly, you can press the gold-painted button at the center of the rotor, and it’ll spin all by itself for a few moments! (With mine, I’ve found that the rotor mechanism can be rather troublesome when you want to use that wind-up feature. To understand what I mean, please watch the video at the end of this review.)
The Samurai Star Megazord (back) seems a little disjointed in this form, but there are a few reasons for this. In the series, the megazord can remove the rotor from its torso, and then throw it like a giant boomerang or shuriken [aka a ‘throwing star’]. (Unlike the series, however, the Deluxe toy is not designed to grip the rotor; it’s too heavy.) The head has a black and gold visor not unlike the one on Green Ranger’s own helmet. (That giant cowlick sticking out of its forehead is strictly used as filler for when the chest armor is in place. I know it looks bad, but...what can ya do?) Without the chest armor/rotor in place, additional stars can be seen on its torso and on the shoulder armor. The arms snap at every 45º all the way around. However, because of how it transforms, the arms can also point outwards a bit, and when pointed forwards, they can also point inwards a little; mostly due to how it transforms. In the series, the gauntlet-like forearm shields can be used at melee-range for both cutting & blocking. Even though the legs always angle away from each other because of spring joints in the hips, the ankles also have joints that allow them to lock in a certain position in order to let them lay flat on the ground. (Great!) Yeah- there is a knee joint, but that’s only used for later combinations with other sets, and it only just balances when one is bent. With the main rotor/giant shuriken/chest armor removed, you have full access to the arms’ range of motion. However, once it goes back on, you can only twist them backwards and side-to-side. (If, like me, you find this entirely unacceptable and even kinda old school, you can carefully nudge the armor one-way-or-the-other and slip an arm up one notch. However, to do this, you have to also adjust the light gray arms that connect the chest armor to that jester’s hat it has...)
Like the Deluxe Storm Power Megazord and Deluxe Thunder Power Megazord before it, each hand on the Deluxe Samurai Star Lightning Megazord can also open and close to accept most of the weapons found in Power Spheres. The hands will easily accept-
- Power Sphere #02 - Ram Hammer
- Power Sphere #09 - (not named or released in the PRNS line)
- Power Sphere #10 - Bee Spinner
- Power Sphere #12 - (not named or released in the PRNS line)
To accommodate the others that clip on, there is a tab on the outside of either forearm shield which can then accept-
- Power Sphere #06 - Lion Laser
- Power Sphere #11 - Sting Blaster
One thing that is different, though, is that since the Samurai Star Megazord is smaller than either the Storm Megazord or Thunder Megazord, it cannot deploy Power Spheres from an internal compartment. (In the series, when summoned, Power Spheres materialize out of thin air from between its hands... kinda like this.)
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the DX Samurai Star Lightning Megazord from “Power Rangers Ninja Storm” (2003), and its original Japanese counterpart- the DX Hishou Henkei Tenkujin from “Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger” (2002)- there are few, but noticeable:
- The Tenkujin originally came with Karakuri Ball #10- Spin Bee, but it was not included in the Samurai Star Megazord. However, it is included in the Special Edition DX Storm Lighting Megazord set, and is renamed Power Sphere #10- Bee Spinner. (Power Sphere #09- Sting Blaster is also included in that set.)
- Karakuri Ball Set #03- Tri-Condor, originally sold as a separate set in Japan, is included in this set; now called the Ninja Firebird. However, the individual Balls have no names, unlike their Japanese counterparts.
- The arm-attachment joint on the back of the Megazord has not been painted silver, and retains the normal plastic’s green color.
Other than that attachment joint on the back not being painted silver, and accessory weapons aside, the Samurai Star Megazord is perfectly identical to the Tenkujin! Even though there is considerate amounts of die-cast metal in the DX Ninpuu Gattai Senpuujin (Chogokin #GD-42) and DX Ikazuchi Gattai Gouraijin (Chogokin #GD-43) but not in their PRNS-counterparts (Deluxe Storm Power Megazord and Deluxe Thunder Power Megazord, respectively), there was no die-cast metal included in the DX Tenkujin, so there is also none in the Samurai Star Megazord. This is a toy that has a lot asked of it, so going in, you kinda expect that some sacrifices will need to be made. The torso is very short and barely large enough to accommodate the rotor-spinning feature and the limbs’ joint points; even the head is spun in half when in vehicle mode to make room. (I also thought that weird forehead projection could also have been shorter. Bleech!) Since Shurikenger (the sixth Hurricanger, aka the Green Samurai Ranger) was a lighthearted master of disguise but equally a very-skilled fighter, it would make a little bit of sense for the Tenkujin to have that pointed jester’s hat, and then have an ridiculously-huge shuriken that it could throw around. But during the Americanization process which changes a Super Sentai series into a season of Power Rangers, most of that meaning gets lost, so it ends up just looking strange here. But what is universally understood and agreed upon is that it is really annoying when you put shoulder joints on a toy, and then promptly can’t use them because that toy gets in the way of itself! It is nice, however, that it can accept a good share of the Power Sphere weapons. But, again, that chest armor just gets in the way so you can’t pose with any of them! Additionally, the hands are hard to work because of the position of those forearm shields wrapped around them. In Chopper mode, I found the joints for the two front wheels really hard to turn, almost breaking fingernails on them when they suddenly snap! But my biggest gripe is how that rotor system frequently- umm... ‘misfires’. Now whether this is a problem with the Japanese version, or just mine by chance, I don’t know. (To see what I mean by that, you’ll just have to watch the video review below to find out!) By itself it’s a little clumsy, but you can see the aesthetics trying to push their way through the toy. But its greatest value lies in when you put it together with the other Deluxe-sized Megazords in the line. Additionally, it is the same toy as the original Japanese DX Tenkujin, but about $30 cheaper! And so, I recommend getting the Deluxe Samurai Star Lighting Megazord; it is definitely worth it.
The three Power Spheres included in this set that make up the Ninja Firebird are reviewed separately here also on CollectionDX!
[Author’s Note: I will be covering the Hurricane Megazord - or rather the original Japanese version from “Hurricanger”, the Gingachouetsu Sanjin Gattai Tenrai-Senpuujin (trnslt: “Galactic-transcendental Three-god Combination Tenrai-Senpuujin”) – at a later time.]
|Posted 2 June, 2008 - 03:58 by EVA_Unit_4A|