It is time for a new Ranger Review, where one must learn to follow, in Episode 07 of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “Fire Heart”.
“Fire Heart” begins with a strange man who stumbled upon a mysterious map. On his way back to the museum, the taxi driver turns out to be a monster, and he runs screaming, leaving the map in the hands of the taxi monster and Necrolai. The map leads to information on Fire Heart, a strong magical source deep in the forest. Managing to copy an image of the map from security footage, the Rangers must journey through the forest to retrieve the information before Necrolai can.
Despite most of the fight footage being focused on Nick and Vida working together, the episode actually takes a focus on Xander instead. In the episode, Toby compliments Xander on his leadership abilities in the store, which goes straight to his head. With his ego high, he takes the lead through the forest, ultimately getting them lost. Phineas offers to help, splitting Nick and Vida with Phineas, while Chip and Madison go with Xander. After getting lost yet again, and almost eaten by a giant spider, Phineas saves the group as Xander learns that a true leader must know when to follow.
Xander is an interesting character to focus an episode on. He cares deeply about his friends, but his self-absorbed ego often lands him in trouble. Of course, when this happens, chances are his friends get in trouble too, as evident here in “Fire Heart”. While he learns his lesson by the end of the episode, the lesson might not actually stick with him. Regardless, it is great to see characters realize their flaws and try to grow off of them.
Speaking of characters, this was a fantastic episode for Phineas. Phineas has kept popping up episode after episode proving that he can be the Ranger’s eyes and ears in the forest. Not only that, he’s proven time and time again that he knows the forest inside and out, and can essentially be their guide. Being what is essentially a comedic side-character, I think it is great that Phineas can have moments like these to show both the Rangers and the audience that he is more than just a soft chuckle.
This episode gives our first hints at this power known as Fire Heart. While this episode doesn’t give us any information on what Fire Heart actually is, we know it is truly a powerful source of magic, as both the Underworld and the Rangers want it. Unfortunately the map only leads to yet another map. Each side only gets half of the map after a feud between Vida and Necrolai. Thus, the path to Fire Heart has only just begun.
One thing that bothers me about this episode is a really small detail. Nick and Vida find the taxi monster and transform. This, along with the entire battle, as well as a good shot of Necrolai’s map, is captured on the parking garage’s security footage. The episode more or less implies that the Rangers used their magic to steal the security footage. Udonna scolds them for not protecting their identities, but the episode doesn’t particularly make it clear what happened, and just seemed like a poor plot device so the Rangers could get the map too.
Overall, Fire Heart was a pretty decent outing for Mystic Force. It wasn’t the best the series has done, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. It gives nice character moments for both Xander and Phineas, as well as giving Vida a chance to kick some butt.
Backtracking a bit, “Fire Heart” is an adaptation of Magiranger’s “Stage 05.” “Fire Heart” is a terrific example of a Power Rangers episode that takes some footage from a Sentai episode, and just doesn’t follow the plot whatsoever.
“Stage 05” is all about Kai (Red) trying to get the courage to admit his crush on his classmate, Yamazaki, Houka (Pink) notices Kai’s feelings, and tries to help her brother get the girl. Meanwhile, the remaining three siblings catch wind of a monster in the city, disguised to abduct humans. When Yamasaki is attacked by the taxi monster, Kai and Houka rescues her. The other siblings arrive to help. Houka figures out a way to lure the monster by using shapeshifting as well, and the group ultimately defeat the monster with MagiKing. Unfortunately for Kai, despite Yamasaki having feelings for Kai, she is in love with MagiRed instead!
While “Fire Heart” used some fight footage, “Fire Heart” and “Stage 05” are absolutely nothing alike. “Fire Heart” took the episode and spun it to be a Xander focus episode as opposed to a Nick focus episode, and turned it into a pivotal plot episode for the series, as Fire Heart will grow to be a powerful thing in the world of Mystic Force.
That’s not to say either episode is better than the other, but I have to give credit to the Mystic Force creative team when it comes to episodes like these. It’s one things to change some tiny elements, but to take an episode and completely spinning it is always impressive to see.
In the next Weekly Ranger Review, the hunt for a legendary source of magic begins in Episodes 08 and 09, “Stranger Within”.