It is time for a new Ranger Review, where a soul is in danger and a friend could fade away, in Episode 16 and 17 of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “Soul Specter” and “Ranger Down”.
Episode 16, “Soul Specter” Review
“Soul Specter” is a Chip-focused episode that suffers from the usual fate of a Sentai two-parter being condensed into one episode of Power Rangers. At first, the Rangers must defend the city against a monster and her spider minion that can steal their souls. Then, Chip finds a bottle placed by Necrolai that unleashes a Soul Specter onto Chip, opening a black hole on his stomach that will devour his soul in due time. Now, Chip and Daggeron must travel to break the curse while the Rangers try to retrieve the lost souls.
If that sounds a bit jam packed, it was. The episode takes a two-part Sentai story and combines them, making them run side-by-side at a rather sped up pace. The journey of Chip and Daggeron was supposed to be perilous and dangerous, but it felt rather lackluster and rushed until Koragg attacked at the end. The only good that came out of the entire plot was giving Chip the motivation to train under Daggeron to become a knight.
The main plot revolving around the monster stealing souls so that the spider monster could make a big fireworks bomb was just as rushed. I feel as though this episode would have benefitted from being one or the other. Either focus on the Soul Specter story, or focus on the monster and spider soul-stealing story. There was no benefit from running both other than giving the other Rangers something to do while Chip and Daggeron went on adventures.
There was no new Megazord modes, no new Ranger modes, or anything like that. This is the first time Chip uses the Mystic Force Fighters, if that is something to be excited about. As mentioned, outside of the motivation for Chip training to become a knight, the episode was overall pointless.
With that in mind, this was probably one of the least enjoyable Mystic Force episodes to date. If you can keep in mind that Chip wants to be a knight, it is very much a skippable experience.
Episode 16, “Soul Specter” VS. Magiranger
“Soul Specter” is an adaptation of “Stage 23” and “Stage 24” from Mahou Sentai Magiranger. If “Soul Specter” felt rushed to you, it is because it crammed both plots of these episodes into one singular adventure.
In “Stage 23” the Incubus monster is stealing the souls of individuals. One of the victims is Kouta, a young boy Tsubasa (Yellow) was teaching in the ways of boxing. To learn what happened, Tsubasa uses a Reverse Magic spell from Chronogel’s book of forbidden magic, finding out there is a second Infershian monster assisting in the capturing of souls. The siblings fight off the spider monster and Incubus monster, but the duo escape with the souls. Tsubasa collapses, as the use of the Reverse Magic has opened a black hole curse on his chest.
In “Stage 24” Hikaru (Daggeron) feels responsible for Tsubasa’s current condition. He passes along rings to the five siblings, so they can always remember what he has taught them. The four remaining siblings go off to battle the Incubus and the spider, who have gathered enough souls to create a bomb they plan on detonating to destroy the souls forever. Hikaru ventures to Chronogel’s Mirror World, where a staff can reverse the curse of forbidden magic. Unknowing to Hikaru, Tsubasa has stowed away on Travelion and follows him with the aid of Hikaru’s Skarpet. Unfortunately, Wolzard (Koragg) steals the staff after Hikaru’s passion for Tsubasa loosens it free. Hikaru retrieves the staff and saves Tsubasa, who joins with the others and foils the Infershian plan.
I have to say, switching the secondary plot here to Chip being cursed because of curiosity of the bottle as opposed to something fairly noble like saving a friend is a rather odd decision. Chip is a very noble person, so it wouldn’t be out of character for him to do something negative to save someone important to him. That being said, I believe the only fault the Mystic Force episode really have is the fact that the episode was crammed into one story that ultimately felt rushed. The Magiranger episodes were one cohesive story that was split up into two smaller arcs for the tale, and cramming them into one 22-minute session lost a lot of the feeling the Magiranger episodes had.
Episode 17, “Ranger Down” Review
“Ranger Down” is an episode that actually focuses on Jenji rather than a Ranger. In this episode, we learn that Jenji was banished from his homeward because the King was jealous of him for being the best cat ever. When Jenji was about to open a cursed box, Daggeron was forced to use his magic to force Jenji into a lamp, turning him into a genie in the process. Jealous of Fire Heart, Jenji hides Fire Heart and flees, returning only once Madison makes him realize how much they love him. He must return to the lamp before it is too late.
Like the previous episode, “Ranger Down” doesn’t do a whole lot to progress the story. Unlike the previous episode though, this episode does a lot in terms of developing Jenji’s character, and highlight how loving of a character Madison is.
Jenji was always this weird mix between a power source and a side-character. This episode did a lot to bring him to the spotlight and turn him into a fully dimensional character. His backstory, while not necessarily tragic, was enough to tug at a string or two. We are also introduced to how Jenji and Daggeron met, and how Jenji is more or less indebted to Daggeron for saving his life.
The episode’s message is also something that can easily hit home with a lot of viewers. Most people have been in that situation where a new sibling or new friend in the circle is getting more attention that used to be yours. It can be a lot to deal with, and I’m sure many kids would react just like Jenji. We can’t all be a cute newborn dragon after all.
Speaking of, this episode also focuses on Fire Heart, or rather, the growth of Fire Heart. It’s mentioned that dragons age quickly, and this is certainly true as Fire Heart goes from being a small baby dragon to a full grown dragon almost overnight, like some sort of rushed Pokémon evolution. Fire Heart actually ends up saving the day by picking up Daggeron and getting him to Jenji in no time flat. We also get some highlights of Phineas as he tries to take care of the baby Fire Heart after Jenji abandons him.
Finally, I want to make highlight of a special cameo from Piggy from Power Rangers S.P.D. during the scene where Jenji hides out near the garbage lot. Piggy pops out of the garbage and makes note of the fact that it’s okay to be alone, but in years, this place will be swarming with aliens, and that he dreams of opening a diner, small, with wheels. This is a direct nod to Piggy’s Diner, as well as Newtech City’s alien population from S.P.D.. Barnie Duncan, the actor that voiced and portrayed Piggy in Power Rangers S.P.D. plays Toby in Power Rangers Mystic Force, making the cameo appearance incredibly easy to pull off. As a hardcore fan of S.P.D., I absolutely love this.
The main Ranger story involved the four Rangers (minus Madison) fighting a harpy monster that could turn people into feathers. After the Rangers get turned into feathers, Madison has to leave Jenji to save them. Jenji saves Madison before vanishing, only to be saved by Daggeron and the lamp at the last moment, defeating the monster and restoring the Rangers. A touching story indeed.
In the realm of the villains, Imperious openly mocks Koragg, implying that he relies to heavily on magic, as seen in his last battle with Chip and Daggeron. In response, Koragg gives up his magic to Imperious to prove he can beat the Rangers with nothing but his skill as a warrior. Imperious, in turn, gives his magic to Necrolai in the form of a purple “Wolf Knight’ branded Mystic Morpher, finally giving Necrolai the ability to use magic.
“Ranger Down” was nothing phenomenal, but has enough of an emotional message for me to think it is a worthwhile episode to watch. It was a great episode to learn Jenji’s backstory, watch Fire Heart grow, all while the other Rangers wasted time. The small bit of story with Koragg is interesting, but didn’t really play a huge factor in the progression of this episode.
Episode 17, “Ranger Down” VS. Magiranger
“Ranger Down” is an adaptation of “Stage 26” of Mahou Sentai Magiranger. Both episodes are very similar, but each have their own twist.
In “Stage 26”, Wolzard (Koragg) surrenders his magic to Memmy (Imperious) after he pressures that the sorcerer is relying too much on his magic and now his skills as a warrior. Now armed with Wolzard’s magic, Nai and Mae (Necrolai) take to the city to cause mischief. After a mishap at a sushi restaurant, Smokey (Jenji) is blamed for the event due to his mischievous nature. He runs away.
We learn that Smokey was a powerful magical cat who’s greed made him open a cursed box. Hikaru (Daggeron) saved him with a spell. Smokey can only roam free for three hours before he turns into smoke. The group, minus Urara (Blue) who went after Smokey, learns that Smokey is innocent, but are attacked by Vancuria (Necrolai).
Urara convinces Smokey to return to the lamp, but he decides to be a hero and chases after the Harpy monster that is giving civilians a stomach parasite with its cry. While on the offensive, Smokey damages the Harpy and saves Urara, but starts to turn into smoke. Hikaru arrives in time to save him though, and together the group defeats the Harpy and saves the day.
The episodes are very cut and paste from one another, with the exception of the Harpy monster’s method of attack being changed to turning people into feathers. I guess that stomach parasite was too gruesome for US television. Jenji’s past was also tweaked from Smokey’s to explain their difference in personality, since Jenji is less greedy and more of a cowardly jokester. Obviously, since Fire Heart isn’t a character or concept in Magiranger, the motivation for Jenji or Smokey to run away was different as well. Both episodes highlight how kind the Blue Ranger is, and sheds some light on the backstory of our little genie cat.
In the next Ranger Review, five legends rise up to defeat the growing darkness in a three-part series with episodes 18, 19, and 20, “Dark Wish”.