Not too long ago, I finished watching Mahou Sentai Magiranger and I enjoyed it a lot. Now its time to see how it stacks up against its Power Rangers counterpart: Mystic Force. Since I can't add the asthetics of suit and mecha designs into this comparison due to those being stock footage, I'll have to throw those two out the window. Its not going to be too in-depth though, just going to go over the basic aspects.
I'm not going to include this bit in the judging because it doesn't need to be said: Magiranger has the better theme song. The Mystic Force theme song is mostly garbled lyrics, totally uninspired, and fails to get you pumped up. A theme song is supposed to get you pumped for the show but I found it un-motivating and very boring. I found myself unable to skip Magiranger's opening and ending themes.
Courage vs Belief: In terms of how the magic and its source were handled, I have to give this point to Magiranger. The concept of courage works so much better for the idea of magic than simply believing in magic does. Conquering your fears, admitting your mistakes, doing what is right for your family, etc all play into the concept of courage. Courage is much better grounds for character development and it really shows in Magiranger. While belief in magic sounds good on paper, it doesn't explain why it was just Nick and the others who could become rangers. If belief in magic was all it took then there would have been hundreds of rangers. Granted its been said that they were the only ones who could become rangers because they had the wands to channel their magic, but that doesn't explain it enough as anyone who believed in magic could likely use the wands. Magiranger explains exactly why its just Kai and his family who could become rangers and it really helps build up the world of Magiranger.
Civillian Uniforms: I have to give this point to Mystic Force. While the jackets in Magiranger are nice, I like the leather vest/cape combo with wristbands from Mystic Force more. It was a very nice look.
Character Development: As I stated above, the concept of courage works so much better for character development than belief in magic. It shines through in Magiranger. Out of the two, Magiranger has the most developed characters. Just about every episode of Magiranger is character growth for the main five with a bit of MagiShine and Blagel thrown in as well as some slight development for Nai and Mea later on. Even what would be deemed filler episodes lead to some sort of development for the characters. Normally when it comes to the family dynamic in a show, the older brother type tends to be my favorite character (in this case Makito/MagiGreen), but for Magiranger I had a really difficult time choosing a favorite out of the siblings. The Legend Mode arc in Magiranger worked better than Mystic Force's movie because Magiranger actually built up them getting Legend Mode with nice bits of character development. The character development for Mystic Force was there but it usually didn't carry on past a few episodes. This point goes to Magiranger.
The use of family: I'm a sucker for the family dynamic in a show. While Mystic Force did have a bit of the family aspect thrown into it, its just not up to snuff with the family aspect of Magiranger. Even with Nick being Udonna and Leanbow's son, with Claire his cousin and Maddie and Vida being sisters, they just don't feel like family most of the time and they tend to come off as just being really close friends (especially in Maddie and Vida's case, I actually had to remind myself that they were sisters a few times). Granted that's because neither Nick nor Udonna knew he was her son until really late in the series, but even after that reveal it still felt more like a close friendship than a familial bond. The family aspect in Magiranger works better because you have all the flashbacks of the siblings as children, plus their interactions while dealing with the supposed death of their mother. You really feel the family connection in Magiranger, while its kind of lacking in Mystic Force. Personally what I would've done in Mystic Force is make the main five the children of the wizards who died in the war and have them all have been adopted by Udonna and raised as a family. Magiranger wins this point.
The love story: Dissecting love stories isn't my specialty so this might not make sense. In Mystic Force, the love story involved Nick and Maddie while Magiranger included three love stories: Kai and Yamazaki, Makito and Eriko, and Hikaru and Urara, though the main two were Kai and Yamazaki and Hikaru and Urara. Eriko only shows up in two episodes and is only mentioned by name afterwards. The Hikaru and Urara one paid off decently despite being forced in at the last minute. It was sweet despite the irony of what happened afterwards. The Kai and Yamazaki one was sweet as well and they made a cute couple plus it didn't seem forced. It was fun to see Kai be so awkward and a bit goofy around her (nice bit of awkward teen romance). The Nick and Maddie thing was hinted at in the beginning of Mystic Force but was never brought up much. This point goes to Magiranger.
Wolzard's/Blagel's use vs Korrag's/Leanbow's use: This plays more into the family aspect, and plays out really well in Magiranger. Wolzard's true identity is hinted at from close to the beginning of the series while Korrag's identity seems to come out of nowhwere and isn't even hinted at until near the end of Mystic Force. Wolzard's true identity is a heart-wrenching discovery in Magiranger with Kai not knowing if he should save his father or try to destroy him. Wolzard's relationship with the entire team made it all the more emotional as opposed to Mystic Force where only Nick, Udonna, and Dagoron have any connection to him. The emotional reaction to Korrag's identity in Mystic Force was nowhere near as emotional as it was in Magiranger. In Mystic Force Korrag's identity is revealed and he joins the team almost immediately. This point goes to Magiranger.
The Worlds: Magiranger wins this point since it has a far more detailed world than Mystic Force. It explains more about how its non-Earth worlds (Magitopia and Infershia) came into being and even goes so far as to explain the purposes of its gods. It even includes sub-worlds/pocket dimensions called Marudeyona Worlds. The Heavenly Saints provide much better insight into Magiranger's source of magic than Mystic Force does. Magiranger has the most detailed world I've seen in sentai at the moment.
Now this next part isn't meant to be included in the judging criteria, its just something I thought I'd throw out there. I absolutely love the design of Mystic Force's battelizer. Its a shame it only got used once. Its my favorite battlizer out of the Power Rangers franchise.
Overall Magiranger is the better series and handles its magical aspect better than Mystic Force. Its more memorable than its counter-part and in this case, the old "The original is better than the adaptation" argument certainly holds true. Its not better because its the original but rather because its more impactful than its counter-part.