The episode begins with Poisandra and Curio doing their usual prison duties when a prisoner uses his giant scissors to cut their bond of friendship. Sledge sees this and is enraged, but recruits the monster to attack the Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are out on a dig, but Riley is depressed because his mom hasn’t called him on his birthday. The group has fun on a sand dune but Shelby looses her phone. As the Rangers look for it, the monster cuts their friendship until his scissors break trying to destroy Koda’s friendship with Riley.
In an effort to rekindle their friendships, Koda and Riley have the team do trust exercises, which ultimately end with the group bickering and deciding to part ways. Keeper tells them the Energems are starting to lose their bond with the Rangers, and their friendships must be back before they connection is gone for good. Kendall says she can develop a Charger that can restore their friendship, but she needs a piece of the monster’s scissors in order to finish it.
To trap the monster, Koda and Riley swap clothes. When the monster tries to cut Riley’s bond with Koda (knowing that one would break), he is actually trying to cut Koda’s with Riley, and his scissors break once again. They grab the broken piece of scissor and escape.
They catch the Rangers arguing at the bus station, and blast them with the new Charger to restore their friendship. Riley and Ivan team up to take down the monster with a new combination attack, while the enlarged monster is then taken out by the Ptera Charge Megazord Para-Raptor Formation.
Back at Sledge’s ship, Sledge is furious with Wrench for letting the monster be defeated. Fury runs in to state he thinks he found the Purple Energem, setting the stage for our next episode. Back at the base, Riley is still depressed about not receiving any birthday messages when the group surprises him for a party, complete with a message from his mother, brother, and most importantly, his dog.
“No Matter How You Slice It” falls into that really gray area in that it was really typical, but also entertaining. As a whole, it didn’t do a lot to continue the established narrative, or even advance much in the way of character growth, but that didn’t stop the episode from having some great moments.
Getting the nitpicks out of the way, the behavior of the Rangers in this episode was really off-putting, especially after just sitting through episodes like “Sync or Swim” and “True Black” a few weeks ago. Ranger feuds are something we’re used to in a long franchise like Power Rangers, but this marks the third episode in about a month that focus on some sort of Ranger-on-Ranger feud that highlights the importance of friendship. If this had happened earlier or later in the season, I don’t think it would have had nearly the same sort of stale aura that it had being placed so close to similar episodes.
When affected by the lack of friendship, the Rangers brush each other off completely and more or less turn into complete jerks to one another, implying that not only does the monster cut friendships, it also has the ability to turn your personality around to become a total jerk to anyone you’re not friends with. Must be an unspoken ability, sort of like Puzzler’s magical ice powers in “When Logic Fails”.
I wish this was touched upon just a little better, since it was odd to see such personality shifts in the characters just because they aren’t friends with each other. The first thing they do after a big fight is decide to skip town and not be Rangers anymore, which honestly just seems silly.
Unexplained personality shifts aside, we learn that if you start to lose the traits that made the Energem bond with you (in most cases being courage, passion, or friendship), the Energem’s bond begins to break. This, in turn, could result in the loss of that person’s Ranger powers, which I suppose was Sledge’s plan all along. It’s a good fact to know, I suppose.
Koda in this episode was really fun, and as always, Yoshi Sudarso did an amazing job in his portrayal. In his first scene with Riley, it was cute to see the character try his best to try to hide the fact that he knew it was Riley’s birthday. The fact that Koda’s relationships couldn’t be cut was an interesting thing to do that added a bit of a bump to Sledge’s plan. I also like how it reinforced the concept of “friends as family” that so many people live with from day to day. I also really enjoy how it was spun because of his “tribe” mentality. To him, he couldn’t survive without his friends, so that bond can never be broken.
Riley getting some focus is always nice, though nothing was really done to his character here to expand on him, which is a little bit of a shame. Like I said previously, the episode didn’t do a whole lot to build the world of Dino Charge besides gives us a little more insights on the workings of the Energems, and how Amber Beach is apparently a place the Rangers wouldn’t want to be if they hated each other. The final scene on Sledge’s ship did tease the Purple Energem, a sign of what’s in store next time. That’s always cool I suppose.
The one thing this episode did introduce is the Ptera Charge Para-Raptor Formation, which isn’t all that exciting, but a cool formation nonetheless. Given how the episode was focused on Koda and Riley, Koda more or less being tossed aside so Riley could be best buds with Chase and Ivan for a new Megazord formation. I suppose the concept of being best friends again was so empowering that they wanted to share power. Yeah, that’s it.
Overall, “No Matter How You Slice It” was a pretty typical friendship focus episode of Power Rangers that doesn’t really stand out on its own in the sea of similar episodes. If this had popped up at a different time, my thoughts might be different, but coming close on the heels of two very similar premises of friendship, this one doesn’t offer a whole lot.
“No Matter How You Slice It” is a loose adaptation of “Brave 13” from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. Like several episodes before it, “No Matter How You Slice It” takes some loose concepts from the Kyoryuger episode, but added an original flare.
In ‘Brave 13”, Souji (Green) introduces his friends to his the manager of his kendo club, Rin. Rin drags Souji for morning practice, and drops what Ian believes to be a love letter meant for Souji. Utsusemimaru and Ian return the letter to Rin, and vow to help her in their romance. The Debo Monster, Debo Jakushiin has the ability to cut off people’s love and friendship, cutting off half of the connection to cause sorrow. He snips Kyoryu Red’s friendship, but it returns when Kyoryu Blue damages his scissors. When he returns and snips Rin’s affection for Souji, they must defeat the monster to return her to normal.
The Kyoryuger episode in itself was pretty hard to directly adapt, to the point where we completely ditched the concept of the monster being able to cut affectionate ties. In this episode, when the monster cut affection, it turned the affected person into a stereotypical “yandere” personality in which the person will do anything, even physical altercations, to “keep” the person they love. Given that’s not a typical character trope in US culture, much less something to show on US kids’ television, it’s easy to see why it was cut.
That being said, the plot of “Brave 13” had very little to do with the monster affecting the Kyoryugers, and more the monster affecting the citizens. Dino Charge took a more direct approach by having a majority of the Rangers be affected by the monster. I also like how the Dino Charge episode took a focus on Riley and Koda, Green and Blue respectively, instead of tossing Tyler into the mix like Kyoryuger did with KyoryuRed. Both shows took a completely different approach, and both pulled it off in their own way.
Next time, a sighting of Sledge’s spacecrafts in New Zealand takes the Rangers on a road trip for the Purple Energem in Episode 17, “World Famous (in New Zealand)”.