It is time for a new Ranger Review, where old friends are found to be new enemies and one finds their inner power to save their friends, in Episodes 14 and 15 of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “Long Ago” and “Inner Strength”.
Episode 14, “Long Ago” Review
“Long Ago” is a team focused episode that divides our Rangers in all sorts of directions. When the Rangers are alerted to dark magic in the forest, they arrive to find Calindor, one of the Ancient Mystics and friend of Udonna. With a jester monster attacking the city, Calindor reveals himself to be Imperious, imprisoning Udonna and Clare while he tries to steal the Xenotome. Thankfully, Madison breaks the spell of a tiny frog, transforming into Daggeron, another of the Ancient Mystics that can transform into Solaris Knight to save the day.
This episode, much like Imperious’s entrance, is packed with quite a bit of material for a single episode. Imperious’s past is revealed, opening up even more of the background of the Magic World, and introducing a whole new character and Ranger.
Imperious’s story is fascinating to me. “Good guy gone bad” is a pretty cliche story, but for some reason, when presented in the world of Mystic Force it really resonates. Calindor fought alongside Udonna, her husband Leanbow, NIella, Daggeron, and the other Mystics in the battle 19 years ago. While Daggeron and Calindor were fighting, Calindor turned on Daggeron. Calindor cursed Daggeron into being a frog, but not before Daggeron sealed them both in the cave the Rangers found Jenji in. Imperious uses this to advantage to manipulate Udonna, learning the secrets of the Rangers and the Xenotome.
There’s something great about a bad guy when he has absolutely zero heart, a stark contrast to Koragg, a villain filled with pride and honor. Imperious used to fight alongside these characters in the past. They didn’t even do anything to wrong him! He just really liked the power of dark magic. Essentially, he was evil from the start, despite fighting on the side of good. This causes quite the rivalry between Imperious and Daggeron that is really interesting to see play out on screen.
Speaking of, that little frog we have been following since the cave is actually Daggeron, another of the Mystics that fought alongside Calindor in the war. Unfortunately we don’t really learn a lot of information about Daggeron in this episode, as the information we do learn was lies spewed by Calindor to Udonna, saying that Daggeron had betrayed him. We do get to briefly see his Ancient Mystic Mode during his transformation into Solaris Knight. We also learn that Jenji and Daggeron are long time friends and partners, as the cat genie is excited to see him back.
Daggeron is one of those rare instances of an older character playing both a mentor and Ranger role, as the Rangers will now be taught magic under Daggeron’s aid. His age doesn’t stop him from kicking butt though, as we seen him take care of the jester monster single handedly on top of defending Udonna and Clare from Imperious inside Rootcore. Quite the shining entrance if I do say so myself.
“Long Ago” is a fantastic introductory episode to the sixth Ranger of the series. Not only does it introduce him, and introduce him well, it also sheds light on the current main villain, and turns the page to the next part of the story for our characters. Learning more of the past of this world is always fascinating, and “Long Ago” does a fantastic job at that too. A great episode that shouldn’t be missed.
Episode 14, “Long Ago” VS. Magiranger
“Long Ago” is an adaptation of “Stage 20” from Mahou Sentai Magiranger. Like a few episodes before it, “Long Ago” takes a lot of cues from “Stage 20” while taking a little bit of a unique spin.
“Stage 20” follows a similar plot to “Long Ago.” Memmy (Imperious) revives the Gremlin monster, the first of the Beastmen monsters that are stronger and capable of speech. During a fight with the siblings, the small frog stops them from being crushed, so they take him home and name him Hikaru. Urara (Blue) seeks to get rid of the frog, as she is afraid of it, but the frog aids her in figuring out where the Gremlin will strike next. After saving Urara, she opens her heart to the frog and kisses it, breaking the curse and transforming the frog into a Sky Saint known as Sungel (Daggeron). Sungel transforms into MagiShine (Solaris Knight) to defeat the Gremlin monster, vowing to aid the siblings and teach them magic “by the book.”
As you can see, “Long Ago” followed that plot relatively close, but added in the entire story of Calindor (known as Raigel in Magiranger) to the mix. Magiranger had already touched upon Raigel being Memmy earlier in the series, so a plot like that would not have been possible in Magiranger’s story.
Since Imperious’s identity was hidden until this point, the Mystic Force story was able to utilize that history and bring it to light in this episode instead of earlier in the arc. Considering the rivalry between Imperious and Daggeron is intense, the Mystic Force approach is certainly appreciated, and amplified thanks to the attack in Root Core.
It is worth noting the relationship between Jenji with Daggeron and Smokey with Hikaru are a fair bit different. Jenji was ecstatic for Daggeron to return, while Smokey was almost annoyed that Hikaru returned to the fray. Jenji’s scared personality is a nice way to play off of Smokey’s stubbornness and selfishness.
Both shows do their own thing, and I can always appreciate that.
Episode 15, “Inner Strength” Review
“Inner Focus” is yet another Xander focus episode in which Xander must once again realize the world doesn’t revolve around him, but this time, it has a bit of a realistic twist. With the arrival of Daggeron, the Rangers are now training constantly, with Xander struggling to keep up due to his lack of practice. When the other Rangers are captured during a training exercise, Xander must use his magic to save them and find his inner strength.
The “Ranger X feels sidelined thanks to the arrival of the Sixth Ranger” episode is something that happens in nearly every episode, this time to Xander, the most realistic choice for something like this (even though it was purely for footage reasons). Unable to complete training, Daggeron scolds Xander for potentially putting his friends in harms way. As punishment, Xander must use his inner magic (without the aid of his Morpher) to grow a small tree from an acorn.
As a viewer, I have to feel slightly bad for Xander. His character has been the target of nearly every “Ranger X has bad quality trait” storyline possible in this series, yet he still has an abundance of flaws. While I feel bad, that’s actually okay. Characters shouldn’t grow over night, unlike Xander’s acorn tree, so seeing he still has some vanity problems is okay. Daggeron was being hard on him, but only because he was the only one failing, and as Daggeron put it, potentially putting his friends in harms way if it wasn’t a training exercise.
Stories like these are always more enjoyable to me than simple “monster arrives, fight monster” stories we occasionally get with Power Rangers and Super Sentai. Masking that basic premise with the growth of a character is something I love seeing, and this is no exception. I’ll even ignore the fact that the ticket to calming the giant in the other realm just HAPPENED to involve using his magic to grow fruit. Man, coincidence is a magical thing.
To be truthful, I’m not really sure what the thought process was behind sending the entire team into another realm full of danger just to prove a point to Xander was, but at the end of the day, it certainly worked. You almost have to wonder if that world was controlled by Daggeron. Considering Jenji’s reaction to them going there, it’s safe to say it isn’t, but that coincidence thing again.
Xander, finding his inner strength, is granted a new spell code in the form of “Galwit Neramax”, granting him the Mystic Muscles, a new power that bulks Xander up beyond belief to bring the pounding to the behemoth monster.
This episode also introduces us to the Solar Streak Megazord, the main Megazord of Solaris Knight. Solar Streak, though you wouldn’t be able to tell with a name like that, is a train based robot. The body and limbs to form a long train that is capable of traveling the magical realms. Naturally, being a Megazord, it is capable of uniting to form a big blocky Megazord that defeats the monster in no time flat.
“Inner Strength” is by no means a fantastic episode, but it’s not really a bad one either. It introduces us to Daggeron’s more focused, mentor roll on the team, as well as introducing yet another inner stepping stone for Xander. Despite the introduction of Solar Streak, not a whole lot happened here unfortunately.
Episode 15, “Inner Strength” VS. Magiranger
“Inner Strength” is an adaptation of “Stage 21” of Mahou Sentai Magiranger. Where as “Long Ago” took a lot of interesting spins on the story, “Inner Strength” is a pretty straight adaptation.
“Stage 21” features Makito (Green) having to deal with the fact that he wasn’t capable of completing a training exercise. Being the eldest, the other siblings always depended on him, but with Hikaru (Solaris) around, he feels like his roll in the family was stolen. Hikaru decides to take them on a trip, introducing them to the Travelion Express (Solar Streak Megazord), whisking them away to a primitive world. After traveling for hours and getting attacked by a mammoth, Urara (Blue) collapses. Fearing her death, Makito steps up to find and make some food and water to save his sister. He also befriends the mammoth by yelling, finding the ticket in its fur to take the train back home, to mildly help Hikaru defeat a monster with the help of a new spell granting him the body of a body builder.
While the plot of “Inner Strength” followed “Stage 21” to the letter, the portrayal of Daggeron’s attitude toward Xander was far different than Hikaru’s attitude toward Makito. In “Stage 21” Hikaru notices Makito sulking after his failure, setting up the trip to the primitive world as a means of Makito regaining his “big brother spirit”. In “Inner Strength”, the situation is presented in a more teacher-student dynamic, with Daggeron verbally scolding Xander for not training enough and putting other people in danger.
It is worth noting that the additional training scene, with the Mystic Force Rangers hunting the flags, was new to Mystic Force. Because of this, the lack of severity in Makito’s failure to complete the exercise was certainly less of importance compared to Xander’s lack of focus possibly hurting someone that trusted him.
While the change was minimal, Mystic Force spun the episode just enough to suit there Xander growing needs, and enough to show the dedication of Daggeron to their training.
In the next Ranger Review, one must go to great lengths to save the soul of a friend, in Episode 16, “Soul Specter” and help bring confidence in others in Episode 17, “Ranger Down”.