Monday, July 13, 2015

X-men Days of Future Past The Rogue Cut May Just Become Your Primary Cut

X-men Days of Future Past is arguably the best of the franchise. DOFP answered questions and tied together events of nearly 15 years of X-men movies together into a mostly coherent storyline, even canonizing the events of the much-decried X-men The Last Stand and X-men Origins: Wolverine. This time not many minded that those films were set in stone, either because, with DOFP, the stories were threaded into each other so neatly, or because after DOFP it doesn't matter anymore as the X-men universe has been "re-queled" into a fresh new universe. The movie was amazing. But fans learned that a certain figure has been cut in the process - Rogue.

When The Rogue Cut was announced, it was revealed that Rogue's scenes would once again inter-splice with the movie. It was certainly good news to have Rogue back and even better to have her expand the film a bit more because of the impact of her scenes to the latter part of the film, but a lot of fans have also wondered if The Rogue Cut would be that much different simply because of the inclusion of the character.

The good news is, The Rogue Cut, named after Rogue, IS a rogue cut itself. It takes some concepts from the previous films and fleshes them out to add color previously left unseen in the original film. The new scenes make a great movie even better. A couple of missions from characters are added. Speaking lines are given to everybody in the film and things that occur in the original are explained with "moments before" in the new film. Also the movie allows the emotions to linger in such a way that the original did not, spending a little more time on reaction shots and moments devoid of dialogue. All in all it may not be the same movie experience you had with DOFP. And that's great!

Now let's talk about those changes. SPOILERS FOLLOW.


OKAY, I WARNED YOU. Now here goes:

Brian Singer didn't add Rogue back simply because he wanted Rogue back. He did it so he could have Ian McKellen's Magneto and Patrick Stewart's Xavier on one last mission together. In order to get Rogue in the team, Iceman informs them that they'll have to get Rogue from Cerebro where she is being held and experimented on (which explains the mutating Sentinels more as well). The three rescue her, Magneto gets to show off more metal-bending and Xavier proves he's a pretty badass pilot. Also Iceman dies very differently and in the X-Mansion.

Ian McKellen's Magneto's rescue of Rogue was intercut perfectly with how he retrieved his helmet(as Michael Fassbender) in the past. Seamlessly in-sync, down to the metal spheres and the parts where they retrieve the objects of their rescue. Rogue on the other hand lets us know that the Magneto/Xavier alliance is relatively new as she is visibly alarmed at seeing Magneto. When Rogue takes Kitty's power, it is apparent that she's much more in control than she ever used to be. It was also nice to see her acknowledge Logan, who she'd been anchored to in the first few X-films.

Bringing Rogue back also brings the Kitty-Bobby-Rogue love triangle to a head. It is more apparent in the new version that Kitty is in a relationship with Bobby, as opposed to how it was implied in the original. Kitty asks that Bobby bring himself back, only for Rogue to tell Kitty herself that Bobby did not make it.

The Rogue Cut also fleshes out the romance between Beast and Mystique. Instead of Raven/Mystique going off the grid after her encounter with Charles, she goes to the mansion and has quite the moment  with Hank. This resolves the awkwardness in First Class where Hank basically tells her that no one will accept her the way she looks. It also fleshes out how Hank's serum works.

By extension, the real reason Raven goes to the mansion is to destroy Cerebro and prevent Xavier from tracking her. This is something that becomes a defining point that informs all the rest of the X-men films as Xavier says "she has cut ties".

Trask's motivations are further explained as well. He doesn't hate mutants, as he explains to Stryker. On the contrary, he admires them. However, they are, to him, the definite cause of our extinction, and the sole cause that can bring all man together. Trask also figures in the all-new mid-credits scene. We also get a lot more from President Nixon than being the decorative, obligatory President. Speaking of additional lines, Blink, Bishop, Sunspot, Warpath, Storm, and of course, Iceman and Kitty get more lines.

Big easter egg: It turns out that there are three children in Peter's house. We've already met the little sister. Another sister is upstairs. That makes it Peter and most likely- Wanda and Lorna. There's also a cute scene wherein Logan gets to talk to "Lorna".

Here's hoping you get to catch X-men Days of Future Past The Rogue Cut. You won't regret it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sorta-sequels:Expanding the Material.

Both the television and movie industries are well-known for adapting various types of source material and eventually re-adapting them - in essence rebooting them - to fit the sensibilities of newer generations. There is such a thing as 'headcanon', wherein a fan takes what they can from a franchise's various universes and reconstructs them to better fit their own stakes in the adventures of their favorite characters.

A lot of times this has been used to remove certain elements from a series to make it more palatable, such as the Machete Order, which rearranges Star Wars movies and removes parts, or the acceptance of the removal of Superman III and IV from the original saga and replacing it with Superman Returns at the suggestion of the studios. Some even go as far as chucking X-men The Last Stand and X-men Origins:Wolverine entirely from the X-men saga despite creator insistence on piecing everything together. This also happens in the world of Super Sentai (or Japanese Power Rangers, if you will) where despite all efforts by Toei to create a larger universe, fans insist on splitting each team into their own little worlds.

I, on the other hand, have usually been all for the addition of new material in order to expand my viewing experience. Here are some franchises that I've come to realize work together fantastically well.

Justice League Unlimited 

Bruce Timm's legendary animated universe, which began with Batman The Animated Series and expanded onto other series. All the expanded material eventually converged into the groundbreaking animated series Justice League. Justice League then expanded into the all-out fan favorite Justice League Unlimited.

But there are a few unexplained things in between. Justice League ends with the betrayal of Hawkgirl and the destruction of the Watchtower. Justice League Unlimited shows a bigger watchtower with a rotating leadership and expanded roster of close to 80 individuals.

The direct-to-video hit Justice League Crisis on Two Earths, while marketed as a self-contained story, began life as a JLU film. The script is retained and  introduces new elements found in JLU as well as explains the additional roster as an idea borrowed from a world-jumping villain team. It also sidelines John Stewart who was injured and ringless by end of JL and replaces him with Hal Jordan, as well as features repairs on the Watchtower and introducing the invisible jet.

Viewing order:
- Justice League
- Justice League Crisis on Two Earths
- Justice League Unlimited

Ju-On and The Grudge

What the Ring did not do and what Ju-On excelled in is to completely transplant the original Japanese characters from Ju-On and involve them in a Western setting. The fun bit is, if you ignore the information on paper in the police desks and newspapers, which if you don't know Japanese, you won't even be able to read, the entire franchise, including the American versions, works as a cohesive whole.

In the TV movies, we learn of Kayako's obsession with her son's school teacher. This causes her husband to go crazy and murder the family, including the cat. This develops a rage in Kayako that engulfs the house and everyone who enters. This 'grudge' spills over to the Japanese theatrical releases, more as a legend that affects people who come into contact with the house.

If you went ahead and watched the American versions though, you'd then learn that Kayako was also obsessed with another man- her American college professor. This could lead one to wonder - just what else is in that diary of hers? Through the American version, we see Kayako's curse eventually make its way to San Francisco where it takes even more people with it.

Viewing order:
- Ju-On (V-Cinema) 1 and 2
- Ju-On The Grudge (Theatrical) 1 and 2
- The Grudge 1, 2 and 3

Black Butler

Black Butler fans will caution you to watch the film as a standalone piece, as it is quite enjoyable by itself and not bogged down by the original version's continuity. The reason for this is, to make the film plausible enough in a Japanese setting, the character of Sebastian is supplanted into the future. All the characters are changed, with the lead now a girl masquerading as the male master of the house. Despite that, many scenes mirror the first few episodes.

However, the creators of the film do enough to actually integrate the theatrical version into the universe of the original. It is revealed that the Genpo family of the theatrical film are actually descendants of the Phantomfive family of the manga/anime and that Sebastian had already made contact with previous masters of the house. Lin, the housemaid is descendant of Mae Rine and is revealed to be part of a long-standing familial contract to protect the masters of the house. many other tidbits in the film connect both iterations of the franchise.

Viewing order
- Black Butler (anime)
- Black Butler (movie)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Before being rebooted into Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a fresh start for the franchise, all the 'live' and 'theatrical' versions of the films seemed to follow a cohesive thread.

The Henson Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as seen in the first and second movies, which are later adapted into a third film later made it onto TV by way of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. This iteration 'clarified' that the brothers were not true brothers by blood. However, the TV version is generally disregarded now as part of canon as many elements in it clashed with both the creators and the fanbase. Collateral damage is Venus de Milo, a female turtle, who after the series ended was never seen or heard from again.

However, in 2009 a new movie was released. The story is set far enough into the future of the Turtles that it may take on the guise of a sequel to any of the previous iterations (except Next Mutation). In the new version, the brothers are actual brothers again, and lead different lives before coming back together for an entirely new adventure. The movie functions as a glimpse into the future of the Turtles and may be viewed as a sequel to the original films. Some fans also suggest that it may be a universal sequel that can even connect to any of the three animated TV series.

Special Mention: The Hulk

The Hulk is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by way of The Incredible Hulk. However, if you want an expanded experience, including Ang Lee's The Hulk may give you better perspective on the character. The only true hindrances to considering them as part of a cohesive storyline are the few minutes of origin scenes presented in both films. However, the progression from Ang Lee's Hulk to The Incredible Hulk is an example of great character development, and the second film is the natural consequence of the first. Personally, while not as seamless as the rest of the mentions here, every time I do a Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon leading into The Avengers, I make sure to include Ang Lee's Hulk.

What do you guys think? Any movies/shows that you watch together even if they may not be meant for that?

Power Rangers Dino Charge cast announced. Returning Ranger a possibility.

At the 2014 Power Morphicon, the cast of the new show Power Rangers Dino Charge has been announced. Dino Charge is the 22nd season of the long running show and is the first show after the major anniversary series Power Rangers Super Megaforce.

Brennan Mejia, model and actor, will be playing the Dino Charge Red Ranger. Early casting scripts refer to him as Lucas, the 18-year old leader of the Dino Charge Rangers. At times childlike, he can be serious when he needs to be. Red has the power of the Tyrannosaurus. Brennan has been in several productions, including American Horror Story.

Yoshi Sudarso, model and online sensation is the Blue Dino Charge Ranger. Early casting scripts refer to him as Koda, a caveman. A survivor who is out of his own time, he is fiercely loyal. Red has the power of the Stegosaurus. Yoshi is a major Power Rangers fan and has been trying out for Power Rangers for quite some time. He has a strong online following.

Camille Hyde is the Dino Charge Pink Ranger. Early casting scripts refer to her as Shelby. She is generally disinterested in anything that doesn't involve Rangers or dinosaurs. Pink has the power of the Triceratops.  Camille has the distinction of being the first African-American Pink Ranger in the 22 year history of the show.

James Davies is Dino Charge Black Ranger. He is referred to as Chase in early casting scripts, and is described as being a cool, laid-back guy who enjoys skateboarding and talking to girls. Black has the power of the Parasaurolophus. 

Michael Taber is Dino Charge Green Ranger. Early scripts refer to him as Ryan, brother to Matt, who will eventually be the Dino Charge Gray Ranger. Ryan fits the intellectual type and prefers logic to violence. He also has the distinction of looking younger than he actually is. Green has the power of the Velociraptor. 

Austin St. John, who portrayed Jason in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Power Rangers Zeo, Turbo a Power Rangers Movie and Power Rangers Wild Force:Forever Red has also revealed that he is in talks to return to Power Rangers via Dino Charge. It has yet to be revealed whether he will return as Jason or as another character. However, it is of note that his last Ranger status is as Mighty Morphin Red Ranger and that there is source footage for an encounter between the Japanese originators of the Mighty Morphin team, the Zyurangers and the originators of the Dino Charge team, the Kyoryugers. Thus, the possibility of Jason returning for a movie event or special is likely. 

It is also possible that Jason might take on the role of a Master Ranger, in the same vein as Tommy Oliver in Dino Thunder, as well as Shadow Ranger from SPD and the Jungle Master Spirit Rangers in Jungle Fury by way of the yet unrevealed Silver Ranger.

Power Rangers Dino Charge is adapted from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, part of the long running meta-series Super Sentai.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A fantastic love letter to fans- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly the kind of movie it should be at this day and age. The movie respects Turtle tradition and furthers the legend along by making it accurately current. The result is an amazing hodgepodge of classic tidbits and modern elements that is truly worthy of being a blockbuster hit.

There are so many things about this film that hearkens to past Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles versions. So many visual cues like the pizza-laden sewer, that jump-shot giving us a great view of the moon (ala the original TV series), and the tunnel surfing as seen in the second Turtles series and the TMNT CGI film. Here are some other things that made it awesome for me:
Megan Fox as April O'Neil: Like Man of Steel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has somewhat of a prologue that mainly centers on the reporter covering the protagonists. And just like the original cartoon, the curvaceous and very eye-candy April O' Neil is tough to take seriously. Megan Fox plays this to a T and dares to break through whatever stereotypes she's been given to come into the character of who she wants to be - a serious reporter who goes after the story, There's a lot of Lois Lane in her as she dives straight into whatever people are literally running away from. 

Another interesting thing about this version of April O'Neil is it borrows from the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon (CGI) by linking April directly to the Turtles by way of her father and his involvement with their origins. Some people have complained that this is an unnecessary addition but what it really is is the live version of the very latest version of April O'Neil personified. As a bonus we even get a younger April O'Neil, only a few years shy of being as old as the one from that series.

Unique Characterizations showing through:
Whoever said the Turtles' characterizations were interchangeable must've been drunk. Just like ANY TMNT incarnation, Leo is the responsible leader-type, Raph is the hot-head, Mikey is the surfer dude with the carefree attitude and Donnie is the shy, introverted nerd. Those personality traits are still there. What's even better is that their personas shine through THROUGH their character designs. Raphael is a total bodybuilder with tattered wraps and a bandana, with basically an "I don't give a..." look. Donnie's got solar panels for a warrior skirt and a plethora of gadgets, which in hindsight should probably have always been a thing. Leonardo's get up is the most Japanese warrioresque with the wooden chest weave and all the appropriate trimmings which recall his TMNT Adventures 'wrestler' duds, and Mikey's got his beads and a chill, zen wannabe vibe going. And all their garments are sewer-acquired. No clean wraps here. This isn't Super Sentai after all.

The Shredder is an ACTUAL shredder. The moment I saw Shredder in the big screen I thought two things. One, we all thought Shredder's multiple cutters back then were overkill, but they're pretty tame now. THIS - this new Shredder IS what Shredder would look like in the new century. A perfect mix of ancient Japanese armor and modern hand-held weapon warfare. Two, Super Shredder, anyone? He is a genuine threat to the big hulking Turtles that intimidated the puny Foot Soldiers, who as always, are basically cannon fodder. Progression from gang-war to super-villainy: I've read complaints about how the film's villain, Sacks (William Fitchner), is more of a super villain than who the Turtles usually fight which are gangs. I'm left to wonder if these reviewers went through their share of TMNT material before saying that. The Turtles have always been both about street-level battles AND city-wide threats initiated by super villains. We all remember Krang yes? And even that tower scene recalls one of the better action scenes of the latest version of the show.

Both light AND dark: If you thought Ninja Turtles have to be fun and light hearted all the time, then I'd humbly ask you refer back to Eastman and Laird's original comics. Or at least take an hour and a half to watch Turtles Forever, which introduces the Ninja Turtles of the first and second TV series to their darker original versions. There's enough dark and grit here to show respect to the original work AND appeal to fans who want a little darker version because they feel it's a natural progression as they grow up with a franchise. However, the film doesn't shy away from light moments, and not just ones that highlight Michaelangelo as how most of the newer versions have been like, but with all four Turtles joining in for a little levity. So was there anything I didn't like? There was the fact that Splinter basically learned martial arts from a book and taught it to his students. Good thing they didn't make him Asian this time. But thinking about it a little more, it does make Shredder's point when he says "Your master didn't teach you well." and adds weight to the fact that Mutagen had made these guys stronger, so it's more brute force and some skill, as opposed to being entirely Japanese Martial Arts, which in the sewers of New York makes more sense.

All in all, I REALLY enjoyed this movie and would love to see it again. It isn't often that you see a movie that takes everything that came before it and molds it into this one great version that both reminds you of the old and makes you look forward to what comes next.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Does X hate S.H.Figuarts?

A lot of people had asked me these questions before I started spazzing over the awesomeness of the new Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers sets. I think it's time I explained myself.

Do I hate S.H. Figuarts? No I don't. Are there parts of it I don't like? Yes there are.

ChinaRed and Sailormoon SH Figuarts

The thing with me is, I prefer the LOOK of the figure a lot of times over the articulation. This is precisely why I'm not a fan of the higher-articulated Justice League Unlimited figures even when I started actively collecting.

When I moved on to what I consider the second stage of my adult collection, the six-inch lines, I collected two brands, the Mattel six-inch line (now more collectively fan-recognized as DC Universe Classics) and X-men from the Marvel Legends line. Both lines have their pros and cons, but if I were to talk about look over articulation, DC Universe Classics figures take the win. Casually drop a figure from either line and you'll see an obvious difference. Most DC Universe figures retain the body's form, while Marvel Legends (many of them) tend to look like an awkward pile of parts. Several figures suffer from this awkward, lanky look, favoring articulation- the Jim Lee Cyclops, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, and to me, the worst of which is Iceman (in Ice form). This is not to say there aren't wins like most Wolverine figures and Astonishing Cyclops.

One of the least well-designed MLs was Jim Lee's Cyclops.

This formed my base opinion of what I thought about S.H. Figuarts. I became aware of the line when they started producing Super Sentai figures. The Gokaiger set is tempting sure, but they suffer from the same problem Iceman and co. do, they tend to be lanky because of articulation engineering. The details and paint are all there but because S.H. Figuarts Sentai use the basest of bodies (to depict spandex), there's nothing to hide the joints or pad the look. However, check out the Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts. As Riders are typically lightly-armored, the looks are spot-on!

Kamen Rider OOO Figuarts are on the top of my list of awesome Rider figures.

Another SH line, Sentai Heroes, has barely-articulated vinyl figures but retain the look of spandex-wearing heroes better.
S.H. Figuarts, actual Gokai Green suit guy and Sentai Hero vinyl

But why am I spazzing over Sailor Moon and Power Rangers then? I spazz for two very different reasons. Remember when I said S.H. Figuarts are lanky? Well so are Sailor Moon characters. The slim design favoring articulation (even slimmer than Sentai bodies) works fantastic for the Sailor Scouts. It translates the long-legged fanciful "magical girl" art as seen on-screen really well.

Just like the cartoon!

As for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, it's less of an appreciation of how the figures are as they are (like the Sailor Moon and Rider figures) and more of the fact that given the choices we've had over the years,  these are the best looking full set of figures so far. When the 90's toys first came about I had four choices- the collectible figures, the die-cast uniform figures (too thin), the flip-head auto-morphin figures (too wide), and the 8" figures (too blocky). I ended up with a full set of completely unarticulated collectible figures cuz they all looked more like the characters from the show. Slightly muscular, sure, but again the best of the choices. Years later, the Super Legends figures became the best of the bunch with a more moderately-muscled body type. However, only two Mighty Morphin figures were released- the Green and White Rangers. Thus the new Ranger figures courtesy of S.H. Figuarts blow all the other figures out of the water with accurate detailing and a complete set of accessories. As an added bonus, they are releasing a female-bodied Yellow Ranger for the series.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Figuarts

Now given all this, while I'm certain I'll be getting the Sailor Scouts as they come, I'm still iffy about actively collecting the Power Rangers series. I do think that S.H. Figuarts being released is a great thing for collectors, especially for those looking to build full teams. Happy collecting!

Lobo VS Lobo in The New 52, a consequence of the Stormwatch min-reboot?

Big news has been circulating in the internet today regarding "The Main Man" himself. Lobo will be making an appearance in The New 52 crossover event Forever Evil by way of Justice League 23.2. But that's not all. He's sporting what's being called by DC an "amazing" new look!

The New 52 Lobos On the left is the version from Stormwatch, and on the right, from Forever Evil.

For those who haven't been keeping up with Stormwatch, and I really don't blame you. Lobo already WAS introduced into The New 52 looking a lot like his old self in issue 20. He also gets an origin story, which he narrates (tsk tsk...) Apparently New 52 Lobo lived in Czarnia as a 14 year old boy and was witness to a horrific slip-up in their centralized med-system that jacked up everyone's testosterone levels, resulting in a killing spree of epic proportions. Realizing his scrawny little self had no chance, he decided to kill everyone in the world via a toxin in the atmosphere that he'd innoculated himself against. However, with everyone dead all the medical upgrades overloaded him and turned him into what he is today - but to be honest given Stormwatch's current writing scenario, it's more tell than show.

Enter the new Twilight-esque Forever Evil Lobo, as presented today in What's New in The New 52. If we're to believe DC (and not Stormwatch's narrative) then this guy really IS a cold-blooded killer with a reputation of badassery to maintain. The trade-off, he isn't the same brawny, black-haired powerhouse we saw in previous incarnations and even in Stormwatch.

But how did we get two Lobos in the first place? Is it a case of identity theft? Given that Stormwatch Lobo narrated to a member of the Kollektive his life story, with their deity-like powers, it's safe to say this Lobo believes he's real as well. Let's go back a few issues and recall, Stormwatch ITSELF was rebooted, removing the established versions of Apollo, Midnighter, The Engineer, Jenny Quantum and more, along with Zealot, a Wildcats character, with only the Martian Manhunter escaping, having left several issues prior. The team was 'rebooted' into a new timeline. It's possible Stormwatch Lobo is from the new timeline, and Forever Evil Lobo is a survivor of the original The New 52 timeline.

Of course this is all speculation. While fans are up in arms with the new look of Lobo in The New 52, it is interesting to note that they haven't really done a lot to praise with the version who actually looks like Lobo. While his apperance in Stormwatch left me with much to desire, I'm curious what the new Lobo will do to the apparent poser.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Crap "true fans" say...

"You're not a true fan of Doctor Who because you watched the new series from the start but choose to end it because you don't find Peter Capaldi attractive."

"You're not a true fan of Doctor Who because you only watched Seasons 1-7 and don't wanna watch the old series because you have a problem watching anything dated."

"You're not a true fan of Star Trek because you only watched TNG onwards because you have a problem watching anything dated."

"You're not a true fan of Teen Wolf because you didn't watch Michael J. Fox's version."

"You're not a true fan of Sherlock Holmes because you didn't read the original books."

"You're not a true fan of DC Comics because you hate the New 52"

"You're not a true fan of DC Comics because you love the New 52."

"You're not a true fan of X-men because you didn't like the New X-men era."

"You're not a true fan of X-men because you Avengers VS X-men/Marvel Now turned you off."

"You're not a true fan of Sailormoon because you only caught the Filipino episodes every Saturday and didn't watch the original dub and the movies."

"You're not a true fan of Superman because you hate Man of Steel."

"You're not a true fan of Superman because you love his New 52 suit."

"You're not a true fan of Power Rangers because you only watched the Zordon era."

"You're not a true fan of Super Sentai because you only watched Gokaiger and seasons surrounding it but never tried watching the "classic" series like, say, Sun Vulcan."

"You're not a true fan of Super Sentai because you watch Power Rangers."

All this and more, are crap. Fans can watch whatever they want to watch, read whatever they want to read. They can skip whatever they want to in a franchise if it doesn't suit their tastes, for any reason. And no one has the right to call them any less of a fan.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Kyoryuger HG Figure set. 20 of 25 revealed!

Kyoryuger HG figures are available in a set for order at the Bandai Premium site. So far these inarticulate figures look fantastic with show-accurate paint jobs and sculpts. They're a bit pricy though at 26,250 Yen (PhP 11,500, $600)

So far what we know are that we have 12 Kyoryugers (including the not-pictured Kyoryu Silver) as well as alternate figures for Red (Carnival) and Deathryuger (unmasked, how very DCUC). We also know that we'll be getting all five generals as well as Endolf (not pictured), along with Torin and Kyoryuzin. Three more figures are yet to be announced.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Just how different are the Super Megaforce Ranger Keys?

In celebration of Power Rangers’ 20th anniversary, Power Rangers Super Megaforce is coming. The new show, premiering in 2014 is the direct sequel of Power Rangers Megaforce, in which the Megaforce team gain the Legendary Morphers, which with the use of special keys allow them to transform into past Ranger teams. Super Megaforce is an adaptation of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, which is also the Super Sentai series 35th anniversary.  In line with this, Power Rangers Super Megaforce will feature a new gimmick – a release of the keys. However, as the show is an adaptation, there are also Japanese versions of the aforementioned keys, called Ranger Keys.

But what are the differences between the Ranger Keys and the yet unnamed keys from the upcoming Super Megaforce toyline? (From here on in I’ll refer to them as Gokaiger and Super Megaforce keys)


The Gokaiger toy, the prop version (middle) and the Super Megaforce toy.

The Gokaiger keys are show-accurate in terms of sculpt. They retain nearly 100% the look of the keys in the show. (With a minor exception for Capsule toys, which we’ll get to in a bit.) Here’s where the Super Megaforce keys fall short. While the Super Megaforce keys seem to have retained much of the upper body sculpt of its predecessors, the arms and legs are relatively ‘scrunched’-looking, leaving the figures looking rather top-heavy. The Gokaiger keys take this round.


The Super Megaforce Keys are a couple of heads smaller than the Gokai Keys. 

But note the front distance of the Gokai Key. ©MMPR Toys

 It’s not new that toys are resized to be smaller than the props for kid use. Thus the Super Megaforce keys are, not surprisingly between ½ to 2/3 smaller than their predecessors. For play that’s okay. However, for show-accuracy, the Gokaiger keys win.


Just hold your finger 2cm over the Ranger Key and watch the paint magically disappear!

 Bandai Japan role-play toys are notorious for chipping with use, unlike Bandai America products that last longer paint-wise. While silver, gold and Neptune-painted toys from Bandai Japan already have the tendency to have paint come off, the Gokaiger keys proved to be worse with paint sometimes wearing from simple touching. The incredibly brittle paint caused die-hard collectors to come up with better ways to store their stuff. However, given Bandai America has a better history with paint, it’s safe to say that the Bandai America keys will be longer-lasting.


World-weary Gashapon Gokaiger keys can't stand up to prolonged handling, let alone, play.

Gokaiger Keys were released in different ways. Buying the versions with Ramyune candies, you will receive Gokaiger Keys painted with the exception of the black space between their legs. Buying Capsule (Gashapon) versions means you basically have to place stickers on your Gokaiger keys for the torso designs. The problem with stickers is that you may apply them wrongly or they wear over time.  It looks, however that the Super Megaforce Keys will be all-painted- each and every key. So wrinkled paper stickers are a thing of the past.


The "best" Gokaiger MagiShine has an orange base while the Super Megaforce one has Solaris Knight in gold.
The Gokaiger Go-On Silver has a gray base while the Super Megaforce version has Ranger Silver in silver.

One thing that had many disappointed with Gokaiger keys is the fact that they skimped on metallic plastic, leaving their gold keys with a light orange base and their silvers with a pale grey. They did, however, release a VERY small number of metallic Ranger Keys as well, but nowhere near enough to complete a collection. It does, however, look like the Super Megaforce keys WILL be carrying true-blue (ehem) gold and silver keys! So far the only exception seems to be Shadow Ranger, who will be in a flat color.

The prop key was metallic. The Gokaiger version had a near-lilac/indigo hue.


The original Gokaiger deluxe and candy toy keys retain the prop keys' simple hinges.
The Gokaiger capsule toy keys snap on and break off whenever you like. The Super
Megaforce key hinges are constructed differently with a spring barb in the middle.
 The Gokaiger keys, when bought with Candy or in deluxe sets, have show-accurate hinges. These hinges are a simple metal bar through the mid-section. They’re less show-accurate though, when bought through capsule machines, as they have snap-lock hinges as opposed to true working hinges. However, the Super Megaforce keys have a different hinge system, not at all show-accurate BUT functional. These hinges have a single barb that allow the keys to be “flipped open” like they are in the show. While it takes a lot of training and strong fingers to flip Gokaiger keys, Super Megaforce keys promise to do the work for you, easy as pie!

Note: Gokaiger has a limited set called the One-Click Ranger Key Set that also flips. However, there’s a huge button on one side of each that you need to click to open it. Most people aren’t a fan of the fact that it’s a premium-ish set and yet you have to use stickers on it and that there’s a ginormous thing sticking out of the sides of the keys.


The Super Megaforce keys have one other change to the original keys, in that they have flat stands. The flat stands, of course will allow kids and collectors to stand their keys without fear of the domino effect that accompanies standing Gokaiger ranger keys. But of course, this is a matter of preference, as it also affects the look of the sculpt. 


The Gokaiger keys (left) and the Super Megaforce keys (right). The show props mostly have key blades like the red Gokaiger key shown.

 We have yet to see what the functionality is of each Super Megaforce key. Will it be like the Gokaiger keys which call out the team names once inserted in the morpher and the color in the blaster? Or will it be like the Action Card Game cards that announce the team and the color at once (individual rangers)? However, the key blades have cuts that are wider than in the original key blade. So if it’s sculpt your after, Gokaiger keys take this round.


If you're familiar with Justice League Unlimited by Mattel, then you'll have some idea of how the Gokaiger keys are packed and sold. There will be sets of deluxe keys and some of them with overlap with what you have. Some of those keys will also be available as singles, or perhaps some are ONLY available as singles. What's worse, if you're in Japan or anywhere there's a capsule machine, there's a gamble with how you can acquire said singles in a random system. Like JLU, the final pieces for the collection were also released in a web-exclusive premium set. Needless to say there are so many challenging ways to get a Ranger Key and if you're not from Japan, you can compound that with the effort and cost of auctions, surplus shops and middle men. The Super Megaforce keys will more likely be easier to find. We can speculate, based on the Action Card Game, that they might put a key or two in with every toy purchase. Or they may go the mini-figure/Mega Bloks route and blind pack some of them for trade-and-collect. If you're not in Japan, these may be easier to collect. Also the treasure chest that they'll be selling looks like it may hold more keys than the Gokaiger version.


There are 199 Basic characters in the Gokaiger key series, barring subsequent additional Rangers, Kamen Riders and Megazords. There are approximately 119 Basic characters in the Super Megaforce key series, barring any surprise new teams (Dairanger?)

Here's a quick overview of what's different with what version.

Base Color
Show props
Grey Resin
Entirely painted
Bow sticker
Metal bar
Exact size
Ranger color
Bow sticker
Metal Bar
Exact size
Ranger color
Details except for leg space
Bow sticker and leg space sticker
Metal bar
Exact size
Ranger color
Painted details except for chest
Bow sticker and chest sticker
Snap lock
Exact size
Ranger color
Painted details except for chest
Bow sticker and chest sticker
Metal bar
Exact size
Megaforce show prop maquettes
Unknown, likely resin
Entirely painted
None. “belt color” instead of hinge
None but
mounted on acrylic stands
Double or triple the original size
Super Megaforce toy keys
Ranger color
Painted details
Bow sticker
Hinge bar
Flat stand
½ - 2/3 less

There you have it, folks! It’s quite a quandary for some which of the versions is better, but without a doubt Ranger Key collecting is STILL great fun for all and will continue for a couple more years thanks to the new versions for Power Rangers Super Megaforce.

Super Megaforce Ranger Keys courtesy of MegaforceCast