With Ninja Steel confirmed to follow Power Rangers Dino Super Charge, fans have already begun speculating. The summary, which you can find here, is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.
An intergalactic game show with tournament style fighting that’s broadcast throughout the universe? Throw in some ninjas and we could have the craziest season ever, but how will it all work? What different avenues can they take with adapting the Sentai? How will this intergalactic game show play into the story? Could we see any returning Rangers or characters?
Let’s take a deeper look.
Ninninger, the 39th entry in the long running Super Sentai series, was the third Sentai to feature ninjas as major motif. The team was made up of five ninjas, trained by their grandfather, to fight off an evil warlord. They were also joined by a cowboy ninja who used a guitar as a weapon, because of course they were. The footage itself is nothing to write home about, it’s your basic Super Sentai formula of morphing to battle the monster, blow up the monster, monster grows, team forms megazord, team beats monster.
The Rangers utilize shuriken, forming the main collectable of the season, and giving the team a wide variety of power ups. The zords are an odd collection, ranging from a shinobi, a dragon, a dump truck, a dog, a train, and a bison. It’s a bit hodgepodge, but nothing that requires any major reworking on the Power Rangers side of things. The villains are also fairly standard, with a main group of generals and monsters of the day that gather fear by terrorizing humans.
Ninninger is your standard Sentai to adapt. It can go in any direction you want, so long as you’ve got a great imagination. Just mention they’re ninjas and you’re solid. So what about the American side of things?
Intergalactic Game Show
No one saw this coming. How is the footage of a bunch of ninjas fighting monsters going to work for an intergalactic game show? Well, it will take a lot of original footage and Dino Charge has proved they have no problem shooting as much original footage as need be to tell their story. The villain base scenes were all original footage, we even had an original villain! If we can have a prison full of monsters, we can have a tournament arena on a distant space station or planet.
Actually, Power Rangers has done something like that before.
Yeah, Gasket’s arena from Power Rangers Zeo. In fact, why not just have it be Gasket’s arena? Just have Zircon mention they took the place over from the remnants of the Machine Empire. We could see all kinds of alien races from all over the Power Rangers universe duking it out with monsters from Ninninger for the chance to take on the Ninja Steel team.
While seeing old alien races is a stretch, they did have past monsters show up in various background shots of Dino Charge. They’ve got to fill out the monster ranks somehow. Imagine it, a Tenga warrior duking it out with a Triforian who ends up splitting into three fighters. This is the perfect opportunity for Power Rangers to do something with its own continuity and start world building again. It’s been lacking that for a long time.
Now all the fights can’t be set in this arena; they do have to use some Sentai footage of the Rangers fightng in the city. There are ways to get around this however, a very simple way in fact. The summary mentions the battles will be broadcast throughout the universe. So why not just take the footage and turn it into a play by play commentary?
Big thanks to SpeedRacerFlubber for that image.
Yeah, I’m talking ESPN style commentary from aliens. With the amount of original footage that Dino Charge would shoot, this is feasible.
Judd Lynn turned a videogame themed Sentai season into a space opera for kids. He turned a nature themed Sentai into a space colony traveling amongst the stars. A few graphics here and there is certainly cheaper than all that. Augment it with wrestling style intro music for the monsters and in universe promos?
Yeah, just like that.
Totally doable on a Power Rangers budget, especially with those sweet New Zealand tax breaks. Speaking of which, who’s going to be our obligatory Ranger from New Zealand? My money is on the Blue Ranger. In Ninninger, he was from a magic school and frequently used a wand in fights.
Maybe in Power Rangers he can be from a special magic academy in New Zealand? What if the ninja team is working out of New Zealand? Somehow they’ve got to get New Zealand in there if they want to pay for all this original footage.
What about the cowboy sixth Ranger who morphs with a burger phone? He could just be another Ninja, but why not make him a fanboy of the game show who’s become obsessed with American culture and the Rangers? He started off as an outsider to the main team in Ninninger, so the footage supports it.
Oh yeah, did I mention the team also has a UFO zord? Yeah, the whole space angle can totally work.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel is set to run on Nickelodeon until 2018, which takes us right into Power Rangers 25th anniversary.
Does that mean we could be getting some tributes to the past? Maybe a returning cast member or two? Ninninger featured appearances by the equivalents of the Red Alien Ranger, Ninja Storm Red, Ninja Storm Samurai Ranger, and Mystic Force Yellow. So in theory, this could set up appearances for Aurico, Shane, Cam, and Chip. What are the likelihood of these four coming back?
Aurico is probably a no go outside of in suit appearances. When was the last time you heard of David Bacon doing anything? He didn’t even show up for Forever Red. Shane isn’t likely. Pua Magasiva has made it clear in recent years that he’d like to keep his distance from Power Rangers, even if he did appear in interviews on the DVD boxsets. Cam could happen; Jason Chan has expressed a great love for his time on the show. Chip could happen as well, Nic Sampson has been doing monster voices for the series since Operation Overdrive, so he’s available!
After the Ranger heavy Dino Charge season, Judd Lynn might want to stay away from adding too many to the mix in Ninja Steel, but the footage is there if he wants to use it.
There’s also one another hero that could make an appearance. A ninja from a different Tokusatsu franchise made an appearance in Ninninger, Jiraiya. From Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, the seventh installment in the Metal Hero series, his appearance could lead to the geekiest team up of them all.
You see, Jiraiya shares a series with two other metal heroes. Metalder and Shaider. Also known as the heroes that became Ryan Steele in Saban’s VR Troopers. Oh yeah, I’m going there. Ryan Steele could make an appearance in Ninja Steel as the main Ninja VR Trooper! Okay, it’s a big stretch, but wouldn’t it be awesome if it did happen? Even if it isn’t Ryan Steele, it could be some other hero that adds to the lore.
If you want to know more about VR Troopers though, you can do so right here.
So where will Ninja Steel end up? All we’ve got is speculation for now, but stay tuned to Den of Geek where we’ll keep you updated on the season as it develops.
Shamus Kelley hopes we’ll see a return of Horathians to the tournament. Follow him on Twitter!