Sunday 31 January 2016

First Impressions: Power Rangers Dino Supercharge

Power Rangers Dino Supercharge

Although technically this site won't be featuring a review for Power Rangers Dino Charge until the end of the year (despite it being split into two seasons, it covers one Super Sentai adaptation as such my preference is to treat it as one), the premiere of its second half - Power Rangers Dino Supercharge, isn't something that should go unnoticed. While Samurai's second half simply felt like a continuation and Super Megaforce moved onto an entirely new set of powers, Dino Supercharge sits comfortably between those - introducing a brand new villain and new rangers as the team continue their search for the final two Energems. Welcome to When Evil Stirs...

Weeks after the Power Rangers defeated Sledge and went their separate ways, a new threat emerges from the bounty hunter's crashed spaceship. This threat goes by the name of Heckyl - a flamboyant but destructive humanoid alien with a more bad-tempered side that goes by the name of Snide. Quickly bringing the remnants of Sledge's forces under their command, Heckyl/Snide set about their own plans to take the Energems in a bid for power and conquest. As the rangers are slowly captured one by one by the monster Ice Age, Koda must face his fears in order to help save his friends.

The loss of Sledge in the first half of Dino Charge came as something of a surprise given that he was a character completely unique to Power Rangers, however the arrival of Heckyl/Snide also presents the show with a wide variety of interesting possibilities. Though the Snide suit is not an original Power Rangers creation, its only appearance in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger is in the Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters movie where he appeared as a revived version of the BakuryĆ« Sentai Abaranger villain Geildon (Zeltrax in Power Rangers Dino Thunder). Not only has the relation to Geildon/Zeltrax been seemingly dropped, but it also means that there's very little Sentai footage to use as well - which will make him pretty original to Power Rangers despite the suit reuse. The obvious Jekyll and Hyde characteristics also worked well in this episode, with Heckyl provide a suitable amount of campiness to balance Snide's more generic villainy. This episode also dropped the idea that we might not be quite done with Sledge yet either - provided Poisandra and co can find something to help restore him.

The arrival of a new villain wasn't the only thing that helped Dino Supercharge feel like something of a new beginning either. The end of the previous season all saw the rangers go their separate ways, and it wasn't until the very end of this episode that we saw them reunited properly. In their heads it may have only been a few weeks, but the time spent apart makes a lot of difference. The premiere also delved into Koda's origin a bit more - his fear of ice making sense given his backstory and a nice focus for the story. Usually episodes like these are ones to have a overly red focus, and though in some respects Dino Charge has had that throughout the development its had of the other rangers compared to Samurai and Megaforce never fails to impress.

When Evil Stirs... offered a good amount of original footage, along with the hope that the purple ranger might be more prevalent in the series than Kyoryu Violet ever was in Kyoryuger (even though her in-suit appearance here is primary Japanese footage). That said this episode wasn't without a few flaws, both plot and production-wise. Despite weeks having passed since Sledge's defeat it seems like nothing at all has gone on in his crashed spaceship, nor do the rangers seem particularly bothered that there's a clearly visible crashed spaceship nearby. Meanwhile Kendall finally joining the main cast as the purple ranger is a very welcome addition, but Claire Blackwelder's ADR definitely needs some work.

All in all this was a great premiere for Power Rangers Dino Supercharge - welcoming in the new while at the same time maintaining everything that's worked well for the series so far. Despite a few minor hiccups toward the end Power Rangers Dino Charge has presented itself as an exceptionally strong Power Rangers series and this episode feels like a good indication that Supercharge will be able to continue that.

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