|Its obvious why you want people to watch when this is the first scene you show.|
|I will give them credit for this.|
Theme song: This is barely worth mentioning but I'll go over it anyway. Its one of the more unimaginative theme songs in the franchise. Like the Samurai theme song its just a cover of the MMPR theme but with the words "MegaForce Altogether" spliced into it at various points. This doesn't really help the case that Saban Brands isn't trying to recapture MMPR now that it has the reigns again and it sort of helps reinforce my belief that they're just trying to cash in on nostalgia. It fails to get you hyped up which kind of misses the point of a theme song.
|This face says "I'm happy!"...at least I think it does.|
Writing: The writing has been sadly sub-par for this half and on occasion it has been downright painful. It hasn't changed much from Samurai's level of writing. The lowest point would have to be two episodes in the Mutant arc: Roboknight's premier (which was really bland for a sixth ranger's premier) and the end of the mutant arc. In those episodes they basically spell out the underlying environmental message of this arc by basically having the villains say "Humans are lazy for not cleaning up the planet" or "Its humanity's fault we exist so we're gonna make you suffer". Not to mention that they kept bringing up the Mutants origin every episode. Did they seriously think kids would forget that in-between episodes? The whole thing about Jake being love-struck by Gia and her not picking up on it makes Jake come off as slightly stalker-ish and his crush on her honestly feels kind of forced on the audience. This is definitely not how you celebrate 20 years. There is no excuse for this when you have 19 other seasons as a guide to help your writing. At certain points, it feels like it is talking down to its audience or even insulting their intelligence like Emma's over-done obsession with the environment and the Mutants' motivation. The writers feel the need to spell everything out for the audience for some reason. Just because your target audience is children doesn't mean you should spell it all out for them.
Its also really weird when the better one-liners are given to the villains and occasionally random extras instead of the rangers. For some reason it seems like they have a lot of trouble writing Emma's focus episodes and they just feel off to me. The only passable focus episode for her in this half is the episode Dream Snatcher. The humor is just par for the course consisting of cheesy jokes and one-liners without the show having enough cheese to make it work. I'm not asking for gold here, I'm just asking for decent/tolerable writing. Another issue I have with the writing is Troy's logic behind why the wild sword rebelled against Vrak, his whole line about how the sword "wanted to protect the Earth" was really just speculation on his part. That line might have worked better if they had done some build up to the sword's appearance but the sword comes out of nowhere and it kind of felt forced. Had this not been a combined season, its appearance would've most likely been a two-parter since it lead to the ultra mode power-up. On a semi-positive note, Jason Smith (Jungle Fury Red) is going to be doing some of the writing for Super MegaForce, including his own tribute episode and I've heard he has some decent writing experience. While I don't much care for the thought of Casey returning as the Jungle Fury representative (he was the most boring character in JF and RJ would've been a better choice) I can only hope he helps the writing get better. He can't possibly make it any worse.
|This is how I feel when I think of what Roboknight could have been.|
They could've helped push his whole "robot learning to be human" plot-line in a more positive direction by giving him a sort of hologram projector to give him a human form so he could blend in with humanity more thus make him learning from the rangers feel more impactful. With a boring tone to his voice you just don't feel for the character and the hologram projector could've helped balance that out more. If they wanted him to feel like a ranger or that he actually mattered much, they should've come up with a better plot-line for him. The fact that he is a temporary character was even more of a reason why they shouldn't have wasted him.When you give a temporary character the title of "ranger" or whatever title is equivalent to a ranger, you should make him/her as memorable as possible simply because they won't be around for long. You should want to make sure the character has as big an impact as possible on the audience. Take the Phantom ranger from Turbo for example, he was a temporary character but he still had some sense of importance during his short time on the show, even if he did get written out of In Space before they could close his plot-line. Under no circumstances do you relegate a character to place-holder status just because they won't be in the footage you're planning to use in the latter half of the season. Sadly, it seems Roboknight was just reduced to being a bland, boring character that neither Saban Brands nor the writers cared much for in the first place.
Villains: Since this half was based off Goseiger, they decided use all three villain groups that were present in the Sentai. The Warstar were just boring with really weird plans and they were just used as standard fodder for minor very character development for pretty much only Jake, Emma, and Noah during the first arc. The second group were the Mutants. They are my least favorite group of this half since the writing gets worse than it already was during this arc . They had weirder plans than the Warstar did, such as stealing people's shadows or sealing them away when they laugh. Their constant need to bring up their origin started to aggravate me very quickly and the blatantly obvious environmental message of their arc didn't help much.
The fact that its a combined season really hurts these villains and it barely gives them any time to shine. Due to it being paced so badly, they would've been better off ditching the three separate groups concept and just combining them all into one custom villain group. They really could've done more to make the Mutants and robots feel connected to the Warstar other than just showing scenes with them and Vrak together. The Warstar could've acted as the first wave of the invasion and when Malkor got destroyed Vrak could've summoned the Mutants to Earth to begin their onslaught and they would act as the second wave. The robots could've acted as the third wave after the Mutants were crushed and still have kept their "beacon" status as a signal for the Zangyack's counterpart to takeover the invasion. It would've worked nicely given how diverse the alien populace is within the Zangyack Empire in Gokaiger and given that Vrak is going to be the brother of the leader of the Zangyack invasion it would make sense that he has access to all three factions if they were apart of the same overall force. They could've made them seem more like one large interconnected military force that way and it might have helped give the impression that the Warstar and the Mutants were actually a threat or that they amounted to something at all. Otherwise, the only connecting factor with these three groups is Vrak which just seems like a misstep because as I said they didn't build up his importance much and they even make him seem more important than he actually was. Just because they had to work with the stock footage that was provided doesn't mean that they had to have all the groups feel so disjointed like that and they definitely didn't have to follow the Goseiger concept of having them be separate groups. All they had to do was take a few liberties with the script and this disjointed feeling they give off would've never been a problem. Sadly the villains in this half other than Metal Alice just seem like filler villains with none of their plots being interesting to me and even in Metal Alice's case the only notable thing about her is her ruthlessness.
Worst episode: As for the worst episode in this half, well that award goes to the fake ranger episode "Stranger Ranger". You have no idea how mad this episode made me. This episode was insanely stupid and its the dumbest episode I've seen in this half. What aggravates me the most is how stupid the extra character for this episode was. He almost dies and runs back to the fight to get a better seat. I understand the need to teach kids' to be themselves but you do not do it with such a stupid character.
|The idiot on the the far left is the one I'm referring to.|
The Halloween clip show: While this is technically a bonus episode and not actually part of the first half, I'm bringing up this episode specifically because the monster of the week could've been used for an interesting episode. He was a monster that could mess with technology. They could've used him to show just how dependent humanity has become on technology and shown how devastating the grid going down could potentially be. Sadly they decided to go the lazy route and just waste him as a filler/clip show villain. Its really a shame, for the first time in this season, they ignored the obvious yet far more interesting and thought provoking route for the sake of writing filler. I will never understand why they chose to do that. It also had a rather out of character moment for Gia. While viewing the images in the crystal ball she gets scared and grabs onto Jake despite having already seen the images once before when she was fighting the actual monsters. Seriously the big tough girl Gia is afraid of things she has already seen and is the only one of the rangers sitting at the table to react like that. It felt like it done was just to push the Gia/Jake thing the writers seem to be going for on us. Even if it was a clip show but they should've at least kept her character consistent with that they've shown so far.
The pacing: The show has been moving at break-neck speed for the power-ups and Megazords for this half. They've left us with virtually no room to breath. Granted this can be partially attributed to Nick's ridiculous 20 episodes a year limit. That is the main reason why I don't think Saban Brands should've renewed their contract with them. That combined with their contract with Toei not allowing them to skip seasons pretty much forced them to combine Goseiger and Gokaiger into one season. However, they could've completely avoided that by simply saying the remastered MMPR 2010 season doesn't count but thats beside the point. This is first time since MMPR that they've combined Sentai seasons and it hasn't helped the pacing one bit. The main reason it worked for MMPR is because each season was still at least 50 episodes long. I'm predicting major pacing problems with Super MegaForce. When you have such a slim time-frame like Nick requires, it becomes that much harder to write because you have to whittle it all down to less than half of each season of the source material and you still have to try and come up with some sort of coherent and interesting story when you're combining seasons like this. Proper pacing becomes all the more important when you're doing something like that. Unfortunately, it also meant that they had to rush the development of the place-holder Roboknight.
Final Thoughts: I'm not even going to bother giving this half a rating. The show has been pretty underwhelming so far and I can only hope it gets better in Super MegaForce. The show was promoted as a "Mega celebration of 20 years" but it hasn't even come close to living up to that title. Its more of a disappointment than anything else. It just feels like they aren't even trying with this half and that they're intending to make their money off of the nostalgia value of the second half, Super MegaForce. Contrary to what my past rants about MegaForce might have you believe, I didn't want to dislike this season and yeah if this was a regular season then I'd let some of the writing issues slide but this is supposed to be an anniversary season meaning its supposed to celebrate everything the franchise has done until now and how far it has come in terms of storytelling, but it just doesn't feel up to par with even the regular seasons. I've really tried to let some of my criticisms go this season but I just can't seem to do it. Its really weird when I can only pick 2 or 3 episodes out of the first 20 that I can honestly say I've semi-enjoyed. This is not a good way to start an anniversary season or to even lead up to one. I've had people explain to me that its bland because they're saving everything for the second half. My questions are: Why should the half with the veterans take priority while the first half suffers? Are they just trying to bank off of the nostalgia of the older fans and hoping they'll stick around for the second half? That harkens back to my MMPR fanboy rant so I'm not going to repeat myself here. I've also had people tell me that its Super MegaForce that will be the true anniversary for this season. If that is Saban Brands actual logic then that makes me think that due to Nick's 20 episode per year limit they decided to cheap out on this half simply because they can make more money off of the veterans in the second half. If you're going to promote something as a mega celebration then your best bet is to go full force right out of the gate. That is how you repay the fans for their loyalty all these years. Its very bad when half a season makes a loyal fan like me question why they stuck with the series for its entire run. I don't like being made to doubt my place in this fandom. Will things get better in Super MegaForce? I sure hope so.
|Really hoping this makes up for the first half|