This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 19
Super Ninja Steel is a broken series. Nearly every element of it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Perhaps the biggest contributor to this is its hilariously low stakes. Of course we all know the Rangers will win in the end but there isn’t a single moment I can at least pretend they wont’ be okay.
When Brody’s ninja star was broken I didn’t think, “oh no, how will they win without him?” I just thought, “They have a magical prism that can fix anything in however long the plot demands. He’ll be okay.”
Maybe if the show stopped for a moment to let these plot developments settle in we could build up some tension but no, Ninja Steel is also cursed with some of Power Rangers‘ worst pacing issues ever. There’s never a second to breathe. The characters are just endlessly delivering dialogue to move the plot forward and we never get a sense of how they feel. Drama is introduced and solved within a few minutes. Preston never stops to learn anything here, things just happen to him.
The A and B plots exist in separate universes from one another. Look at today’s episode. Preston’s plot has absolutely nothing to do with the monster battles. In a better series the A and B stories are at least thematically tied together. Here Tynamon is randomly super important cause the footage said so. Side note, who the hell is this guy? Where did he come from? He’s been a glorified monster of the day for the last chunk of episodes but the series acts as if he’s important. Why do we care?
The central story with Preston and his teacher also has some serious logic holes. So Preston accidentally makes him fall asleep on the job and he gets fired by the principal. Okay, Preston feels bad and he can’t exactly explain what happened. That’s fine, but his solution is… strange.
He decides that he can get the teacher rehired if he casts a spell on her to make her fall asleep so she realizes people can make mistakes and she’ll rehire the teacher. I… Writing that out made me realize just how nonsensical it is. What’s the lesson here, since this show is meant for children? Is it when you hurt someone you should… hurt someone else so everyone knows what it’s like to feel bad? Ninja Steel’s horrific moral lessons continue!
On top of all that, Preston learns nothing. If the lesson was supposed to be “don’t judge someone for making a mistake”, why does Preston never fess up to this in some form? I know he can’t tell anyone about his magic but didn’t he just tell the principal, “I used a magic trick on our teacher to put him asleep.” Preston never has to answer for his mistake, they’re more focused on blaming the principal. Is the principal the one who was supposed to learn the lesson here?
What do we learn about Preston in this episode? He’s the main focus character but it’s just a bunch of plot moves happening to him. He doesn’t grow or change. We don’t learn anything new or interesting. As much as ‘The Ranger Ribbon’ was also nonsensical at least I learned more about Preston’s back-story (short as it was).
Let’s also not forget this somehow all takes place in the span of one day. Do uh, the Rangers EVER go to class?
Oh yeah, there’s also only two more episodes to go (not counting the Christmas episode) this season. Could you tell? Very little has changed from the start of the season. This could honestly function as Preston’s first or, if I’m being generous, second focus episode. The status quo has barely shifted. I’m fine with standalone episodes but you’re two episodes away from the finale. You can’t wait till now, in the last few seconds of your episode, to reveal the big endgame plan. Which is to brainwash Mick and have him augment a piece of technology. That’s… really low stakes.
Super Ninja Steel, and just Ninja Steel as a whole, doesn’t work. Even if the mandate is to have mostly standalone episodes they mostly fail because the very building blocks of the show are faulty. Things that should be very basic, such as pacing, character development, or stakes, don’t work. This makes the entire whole fall apart. Episodes are set up to fail from the moment they begin and have to actively work to overcome the issues that are cemented into the core of what Ninja Steel is.
Also, don’t forget, the lesson of this episode was if you hurt someone just hurt someone else in the exact same way so it seems not as bad by comparison. Also it involves forcing someone to fall asleep against their will. That’s inexcusable.