This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 9
I gotta give Super Ninja Steel a point for genuinely surprising me. I really thought next week’s anniversary episode would be totally stand alone and wouldn’t tie into the main series at all. Good on that Super Ninja Steel… but not so good on the execution.
While I guess it could be explained how Wes and the others were able to give the Rangers the Blaze Zords or use the Ninja Nexus Prism I somehow doubt it’ll happen. Even if it is, is that really what we’re gonna spend time on in the anniversary episode? Exposition about the Ninja Nexus Prism? That doesn’t bode well if so.
The Ninja Nexus Prism has been the weakest element of Ninja Steel as a whole with its ability to do pretty much anything. Now it can also determine if you’re worthy of new powers, Gosei in Megaforce style? Sure, fine. At least here the Ninja Steel Rangers had to actually do something to earn their new zords, unlike last season where the Prism just gave up stars like nothing.
The lesson here, sometimes doing what’s right is more important than fighting, is not a bad one. I might actually argue it’s the best idea for a lesson Ninja Steel has had yet. Just because you’re dealing with a huge problem in your life doesn’t mean you should forget to be nice and help others. Again though, the execution is poorly handled.
The fate of the world is at stake. The Rangers wanting to put all their focus on finding a way to power their old stars or get new Zords is completely understandable. While helping their teacher find her wedding ring is nice, is that really going to matter if the city is destroyed?
It calls to mind Ninja Steel’s “Live and Learn” where Brody was chastised for ‘cheating’ during a monster battle. The problem there was that by ‘cheating’ he was able to save the team from being hurt or the city being destroyed. I get what they were trying to go for but the lesson and the actual plot didn’t match up, same with “Outfoxed.”
If this had been a more low stakes episode it could have worked but instead we’re forced to accept that when the world is about to be destroyed you should help a random new girl with a science project. Imagine “Countdown to Destruction” with that plot! Sorry Andros, I know your sister is destroying Earth and the Alliance of Evil is about to wipe out all good in the universe but SANDY NEEDS TO GET AN A!
Plus I’m not a fan of the idea you need to be selfless no matter what. I know the lessons have to be simplified in a series like Power Rangers but it’s impossible to always help others no matter what else you’re doing. It may seem noble but after awhile you’re living too much for others and neglecting your own needs.
Perhaps a better lesson for this episode could have been you have to find that balance between attending to your own needs and others’ neeeds. Maybe, in the haste to fix their old Zord stars, Preston is a super jerk to Sandy. I’m not saying he cusses her out or anything but he totally dismisses her, flat out saying, “this isn’t important. I don’t even know you! Leave me alone.”
He realizes how just because they’re in a tight jam doesn’t excuse his actions. He goes to apologize and promises that, after his current problem is resolved, he’ll help her.
Although I guess Ninja Steel can’t have Preston do that because it refuses to let its characters be anywhere close to mean. They all have to be nice to a fault (unless it’s with Victor and Monty), which seriously hampers the ability for these lessons to land. You can’t have character growth if they’re already near perfect human beings.
This problem with lessons is especially noticeable after I’ve come off weeks of reviewing another similar action adventure series for kids, the new DuckTales. That show is filled with nuance and excellent lessons which all work because it allows its characters to make mistakes and be jerks to each other. It lets them grow as actual people.
For many this episode will coast by on the appearance of Wes’ morpher and the beat you over the head obvious line of “I like these teenagers. They have attitude.” For me I wish this had been a stronger outing for the Ninja Steel characters to prime them for the anniversary episode.
That’ll be one a lot of casual fans who haven’t been watching will tune in for and possibly be their first look at the Ninja Steel characters. If they’re as bland and cookie cutter as they were this week, those casual fans won’t have a reason to come back for more.
Instead of stepping up its game Super Ninja Steel is content being the same as it’s always been.