This Power Rangers Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 3
Morals and Power Rangers go hand in hand. Arguably Power Rangers central premise is to be short morality plays for children with lots of action and humor. Some will disagree with that of course, but you can’t deny that from Power Rangers earliest days moral lessons have been part of its DNA. Some morals are shockingly well handled, like Carter’s first focus episode “Trial By Fire” or even the Dino Charge episode “True Black” that featured Chase admitting he was an asshole. Other episode’s morals are a little too preachy (nearly every generic TEAMWORK episode) or just confused, like this week.
So was the lesson supposed to be about relying on your friends over technology or shortcuts? Okay, I can see the general idea there. There’s just one problem with that. The technology Brody was relying on had valuable information about the monsters that are threatening the world. In his first fight he was able to quickly take care of the monster with little effort. What’s so wrong with that?
This Ninja Steel episode implies that friendship and teamwork can solve every conflict but that just isn’t the case when you’re going up against an unknown force like Galvanax’s troops. You need as much info as quickly as possible or people might be hurt without it. As nice as it is to say, “We can just rely on teamwork” it doesn’t hold water here. Brody was right when he said, “if you have a tool you should use it.”
While you’re teamworking it up and trying to figure out a monsters weakness, someone could get attacked. So yeah, a shortcut would be really helpful to have in this situation and shouldn’t be so quickly denounced.
It also calls into question the use of technology in a learning situation. I remember in middle school especially where there was this huge emphasis on learning how to do the problem yourself before learning how to do it on a calculator. To this day I think that’s complete and utter nonsense. Yes, you should be taught to think critically but if the technology is there? Use it!
“Well what if you don’t have your calculator?”
Then an EM Pulse wiped out all technology cause guess what, we’re always gonna have it. This isn’t like learning to read a map in case you get lost. I know it’s now a moot point since the DataComm was cut off at the end of the episode, but it still confuses the rather generic moral the episode was trying to go for.
It’s a shame Ninja Steel just makes Brody a generic teenager right off the bat instead of playing into the unique back story behind the character. The guy was basically a slave for ten years. He missed ten years of schooling. He wouldn’t know how to answer these hilariously simple questions in high school. Why not play that up? That he doesn’t want to admit how far behind he is so he uses the DataComm to, not just get easy answers, but avoid seeming inferior to the other Rangers.
That is something I could get behind because right now I’m having trouble getting invested in Brody. I don’t think it’s the actors fault, he’s just being given a lot of awkward dialogue to work with. Let him actually be a little alien! His answer of, “Thirty three earth minutes!” is the kind of direction they should be going in. He’s been gone for so long. Play that up!
Far more successful this episode is the Victor and Monty B plot. Yes, the comedic side characters are actually engaging. Maybe it’s because Victor’s desire to be popular seems more human than anything Brody has been given so far. Maybe it’s because I seriously believe Monty has a giant crush on Victor. Whatever it is, these two are quickly becoming my favorite characters (after Mick, of course). Come on, Victor goes up to a monster with no fear!
I would love it if these two became accidental stars of Galaxy Warriors. That would certainly inflate Victors ego, to know the whole galaxy loved him. No one in the school would believe it and you could milk a lot of comedy out of that. Let these guys become the unwitting heroes of Ninja Steel, please! Also, let them kiss already. What video could Victor have made that only Monty would watch? Hmmm, hopefully that’ll be coming out soon.
Bonus points for the villain’s not just gigantifying the monster but having a different monster attack the Rangers Zords. Zord battles in Power Rangers aren’t exactly known for their variety, so I’ll take what I can get. The Ninja Master Mode suits and cockpit are okay but the weapon Brody had was downright astounding. A chainsaw sword? That’s one of the most anime things Power Rangers has ever done and I love it.
I was shocked to find the music during Brody’s first fight was actually pretty damn decent. I remember reading that another composer had joined Noam Kaniel in working on this season so I hope this is a good sign of things to come.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel continues to struggle with Brody’s character and that’s keeping the show from being grounded in relateable emotions. When your wacky side character are more relatable, that’s a problem.
– Wow, the Ninja Nexus prism is kind all giving. At least when Kendall made Dino Chargers last season it was rooted in her being super smart. Here we’ve got a magic star that will give the Rangers whatever they need.
– So is their training area just outside the school? Is no one going to notice that?
– “Your hair looks spectacular today.” Things straight guys totally say to each other. Yep.
– WHAT SCHOOL HAS A POOL TABLE? Is the county the Rangers live in THAT well off? I mean that auto shop class was already off the charts amazing, so are all these Rangers super well off? Also, WHERE IS BRODY LIVING?
Shamus Kelley is living on the edge of tomorrow. Follow him on Twitter!