Transforming Fury Megazord Set
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
All those who practice pai zhua in the Order of the Claw learn to harness their inner Animal Spirit, which is unique to each individual. From this, they can harness and summon incredible personal power. And with the right training, an Animal Spirit can be drawn out of the body, and made into a physical form which stands taller than several houses on top of each other! These larger Animal Spirit forms can attack a Rinshi Beast directly, or can combine into incredible humanoid forms which a Ranger can then pass into, and fight like giant warriors! There are nine Animal Spirits included in this set:
Red Tiger Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Casey Rhodes, the Red Jungle Fury Ranger.
Blue Jaguar Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Theo Martin, the Blue Jungle Fury Ranger.
Yellow Cheetah Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Lily Chilman, the Yellow Jungle Fury Ranger.
Purple Wolf Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Robert “R.J.” James, the Wolf Jungle Fury Ranger. R.J. is also skillful enough that he can summon the Red Tiger and Blue Jaguar Spirit Zords at the same time that his Wolf Spirit Zord is active.
Green Elephant Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Master Phant, the Elephant Spirit Ranger. However, Master Phant shares this Animal Spirit with Lily so that she can use it as well.
Violet Bat Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Master Swoop, the Bat Spirit Ranger. However, Master Swoop shares this Animal Spirit with Theo so that he can use it as well.
Cyan Shark Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Master Finn, the Shark Spirit Ranger. However, Master Finn shares this Animal Spirit with Casey so that he can use it as well.
Black Lion Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within Jarrod, who is in-turn possessed by Dai Shi. Though Dai Shi is a golden dragon, the Lion Animal Spirit comes from Jarrod who was one of the most powerful students in the Order of the Claw before he was possessed. (It appears not even a handful of times towards the end of the series.)
Emerald Chameleon Spirit Zord
This is the Animal Spirit that resides within the Rinshi Camille, who is Dai Shi’s loyal servant from the Beast War thousands of years ago. (It appears not even a handful of times towards the end of the series.)
The key thing that I must impress upon you before I continue on is that this set is not a part of the normal Deluxe-class series of transformable Zords. Every single part, paint application, feature, and- most importantly- physical size is completely different from the Deluxe sets. In other words, these are completely new toys that imitate the larger & fully-featured versions... The most obvious difference- other than size- is the elimination of the one electronic feature from the Red Tiger Spirit Zord. The motorized action has been intentionally left out so the Megazord doesn’t have that stupid giant black fanny pack that holds the batteries on it. This allows a significant reduction in mass & cost. The fanny pack is, however, represented as a far smaller, non-functional, and unpainted ‘hump’ molded directly as part of the Red Tiger’s back. [If you know the toys from the originating Japanese series, “Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger” (2007), then you also know that the light-up feature was completely removed from the Deluxe-sized Tiger component anyways for its US release, but the motorized feature remained.]
The three wildcat Spirit Zords controlled by the core-three Rangers are very close to their Deluxe counterparts. While some paint features are not present (one example is the Jaguar and Cheetah’s pale spots along the black stripe on either side of their bodies), almost all of the moving features remain. One common gimmick among the three is that their tails (made of stiff PVC) are mounted to their backsides on ball-&-socket joints, and can swivel around a very limited amount. Like their larger counterparts, the tails are unique to each Spirit Zord, but [again] are not painted their respective color (red, blue, yellow). The Jaguar and Cheetah, while having very similar body shapes, retain their subtle differences- the Jaguar can bow its head low and has thicker lower legs, which the Cheetah can only lower its head about half-way, and has thinner legs. The orange stripes beneath both are also different (three and two, respectively). The non-painted/raised spots of both wildcats are also different, showing that the main bodies are indeed of similar design, but retain unique characteristics. Another feature that was removed from these two is that their mouths can no longer open. And, the Blue Jaguar’s red sunshades (which humorously cover its actual blue eyes because- wait for it- he’s a cool cat) cannot be raised, being a fixed part of the head mold as well. All coloring other than yellow and blue (and black tails) is painted on, with an additional loss of the transparent-orange plastic. Both necks are fully poseable up and down on one joint- one ratcheting at the base [which will become part of the megazord’s ankle(s), and needs to be tighter], and then the Cheetah has an additional free-turning one at the back of its head which the Jaguar lacks. And all four knee joints flip up/down with friction due only to how they transform. However, they loose the use of their forward shoulder joints, which are now solidly-molded as part of the main body along with the back upper legs. As mentioned earlier, the battery fanny pack has been reduced to a red lump on the Tiger, and so a new base for its tail was created. However, for whatever reason, from a side profile its hips hang lower on this toy than they do on the regular Deluxe version. (I’m not sure why this is; perhaps they shortened the length of the thighs...?) The same flexibility is available at the ratcheting shoulders, hips, & knees, and free-turning ankles & wrists. Unlike the two smaller wildcats, however, the mouth can still open wide due to the fact that this is needed to deploy the Megazord’s face later on. Unlike the Cheetah and Jaguar in this set, the Tiger retains its transparent-orange paws; however it looses the transparent-orange plastic on its chest in favor of a painted equivalent. All plastic- save for the megazord’s face & horn, back lower legs, and front paws- are completely red with all other detail then being painted in. (Oh, BTW, the back paws are also transparent-orange; they just painted them over with red & silver.)
Jungle Pride Megazord
One of the biggest complaints I heard is that while it was cool to have the motorized spinning torso feature, one of the problems with it was that when not in use the waist twisted too easily, so getting into some poses could be tricky. That problem has been eliminated with the removal of the motor, and now there is a lot more friction in the waist joint. (Hey- the fact that this set even retains the swiveling waist joint is pretty fantastic!) But this means that you have to now put some effort into turning the waist joint for both its upper-body Savage Spin and lower-body Super Kick attacks/finishers. And because the motorized feature was removed, so too were the activating triggers along its upper back and- um... crotch. Range of motion is still the same: two ratcheting joints in each shoulder (pure awesomeness for a transformable Megazord), free-twisting wrists [and now waist] (double sweetness), and- with the feet rotated downwards- forward pitching of the hips to only 45° and backwards 90°. (Honestly, I don’t see how they could have gotten around the absolutely-moronic placement of those feet on the front of the thighs...) Officially, you cannot bend the knees with the Cheetah and Jaguars in place, but if you fiddle with it carefully, you can get it to about the 45° mark (though it won’t ratchet in place, so it’s a judgment call there). With the three tail parts, you can still make the megazord’s only hand-to-hand weapon- the Jungle Setsukon. And again, you have to attack the Red Tiger’s middle section through the clawed fist before you attach the other two tail segments. The Jungle Setsukon can be wielded in either fist, but is still not nearly as flexible as its on-screen counterpart.
The Wolf Spirit Zord is a remold of the Cheetah, but has its own unique characteristics while retaining a similar body shape. The base of the tail- and the tail itself, for that matter- have been completely worked so that it now hinges up & down. The head and neck have also been reworked, including a poseable mouth (again due to how it transforms later on). The Wolf, however, does not have any identifying spots like the Cheetah and jaguar have, opting instead for the far-larger bushy tail. All parts- save for the tail and jaw- are purple, and have all other details painted on.
Jungle Pride Megazord with Wolf Power or Wolf Pride Megazord
These two names actually belong to the same mecha, but it all depends on who’s controlling what. When R.J. first joins the Rangers in battle, he replaces Lily in the Jungle Pride Megazord due to her earlier injuries, and this forms the Jungle Pride Megazord with Wolf Power. (Seriously, that’s what they call it in the series. I guess they got tired of calling every modification with an accessory Zord “....Mode”.) Then later, when the three Rangers upgrade to their more powerful Jungle Master forms, and create the Jungle Master Megazord, R.J is sufficiently skilled and powerful enough that he can utilize the Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar, and Purple Wolf Spirit Zords by himself in order to create a second combination on the battlefield at the same time, the Wolf Pride Megazord. In effect, this is just a limb-swap with the Cheetah; whichever way you choose name it. (Officially, this is the only limb-swap in the entire series; a nice change from the last six years, huh?) The Wolf Pride Megazord brings one new feature to the table: that bushy tail. Since the Wolf can hold its tail in its mouth in Spirit Zord mode (play fetch, anyone? He does!), the same can be done with the Wolf Pride Megazord for a powered up version of the Super Kick. So, basically the Megazord plays soccer with this boomerang. [The reason for this- which is not mentioned in “PRJF”- is that Geki Violet from “GekiRanger” uses a specialized form of kick-boxing for his fighting-style, and so most of the Geki Touja Wolf’s attacks are kick-based. Kick-boxing is also used by R.J. (aka the Wolf Ranger), but it is not identified as such or is played down as too violent for the eyes of American children...]
As opposed to all of the limb-swapping that’s been going on almost non-stop since 2002, “PRJF” goes off in a new direction with armor upgrades that each have a specializing weapon. The Elephant is the first accessory upgrade for the Jungle Pride Megazord. This particular one seems to have a fixation on soccer because it comes with its own 1½”-diameter ball. The ball attaches to the end of the trunk of the Elephant. The button on top of the Deluxe-version’s head to swing the trunk up-and-down is absent here, so you rely solely upon the flexibility of the light-gray PVC trunk and its accordion-like design. Due to how it transforms, the Elephant’s mouth is always shown a-gap. Several key areas of the paint scheme are missing- mostly additional black-painted stripes. Otherwise the entire set- minus the trunk- is molded in blue-green ABS & PVC. The legs are only poseable forward & backwards, and ratchet in either direction in approximately 45°-increments at each hip. And the PVC ears can also swing forward a bit.
Jungle Pride Megazord with Elephant Power
While the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord was balanced well-enough to activate its motorized spinning feature without problem, the upgrade with the Elephant posed a serious problem which plagued only it. And that is the large flail weapon it carries in its hand- it makes the formation very off-center when it spins. Now, while the waist can still spin, it isn’t motorized, so that it not a problem any more. However, you must still contend with the fact that the flail weapon prevent the arms from swinging outwards away from the body. There is another issue which may be a manufacturing flaw on mine, but I’m not certain. When the tusks on either side of the Megazord’s head are turned upwards, this flips its new silver-&-red face down. However, with mine [at least], the tusks can continue upwards too far, and the eyes are suddenly hidden in the- shall I say- “brim” of the of the helmet’s forehead. So, even though it can twist farther than needed, I just stop twisting by choice at the half-way point.
Of all the Spirit Zords that are provided in this set, the Bat is perhaps the most heavily modified from its original Deluxe-sized counterpart. Because the wings are smaller and made entirely of one-piece PVC, they no longer have additional joints mid-wing. The wings also cannot rotate the large silver edges up-&-down for the same reason. The all-PVC head cannot be lifted up-&-down anymore, and the tiny legs cannot pivot upwards as they, too, are now a single PVC part. The two arrow-like missiles on either side of the head remain, and are still push-fired, but they are not painted orange anymore. The only other poseability is in the one set of wing joints, which still ratchet at every 45°, can swing both forward and backwards for a total range of 180°. The purple stripe along both silver leading edges of the wings have been eliminated, and the mid-wing paint with an additional set of orange triangles has also been removed on both sides.
Jungle Pride Megazord with Bat Power
With all of the reductions in flexibility when the Bat is alone, this formation suffers because of it. Because the all-PVC wings are so limiting compared to the Deluxe-sized counterpart, the megazord no longer has the ability to grip handles (which are no longer there) like a parachute or hang glider. However, the arms can still be easily splayed to look as if they were gripping the wings... even if they come nowhere near them now. The closest you can get is to bend the wings forward 45°, then you have to bend its shoulders the same way to fit, but even then they still won’t touch unless you’re willing to stress the wings’ joints. Both missiles are still accessible in this mode. (Oddly, even though the activation bottom on the back of the Tiger was removed, there is still a space on the back of the Bat to accommodate the phantom trigger...)
Wolf Pride Megazord with Bat Power
This was a one-time combo, used in a tag-team effort between R.J. and Theo. Nothing special happens here- just a leg-swap with the Wolf, and an unnamed flying version of the Super Kick. (It was the Rhino Steel Megazord that was credited with the final blow, however.)
The biggest change for the Shark is that the electronic light-up feature was removed. So, the three slits of the gills have been painted in their respective red, yellow, and blue. Mostly, a lot of black stripes were neglected to be painted in here, as was the dark blue areas along the top of the head. The three wheels are still present along the bottom of the body and single extended ventral fin, making the Shark the only rolling-capable Spirit Zord in the set. The two side fins still turn around 360° because of how it transforms, but they cannot tilt up-&-down anymore because the extra joint has been eliminated. (Oh, BTW- those two PVC fins were really hard to get onto those pegs! I fought them for about two minutes each!)
Jungle Pride Megazord with Shark Power
Of the three accessory Zords provided in the set, this one gives me the most problems (which- all things considered- it a relief in this set). And this is mostly concentrated in how it combines with the megazord. Gone are the handles along the two halves of the Shark’s tail. So, the only thing holding these tail parts to the arms are two rotating parts which slip over pegs under the forearms. This is most likely a minor & unavoidable manufacturing flaw, but the hole that fits over that right peg is really difficult to fit on there! They don’t show it in the instructions, but the two halves of the tail are held together- in addition to a snapping tab- by five pegs around the periphery, so splitting it apart the first time is tricky. (Truthfully, I thought they could have gotten rid of about three of those pegs; some of them seemed excessive for what they’re meant to do.) In any case, getting those tail parts/arm blades to stay on there while moving the arms about it tricky because they shift about, and the very connector points that hold the tail together in Shark form are more hindrances when combined with the megazord! Also, whereas the tailfin could tilt up-&-down during the transformation, that is no longer possible, as the joint has been removed, and the fins are now molded as part of the tail itself. Oh, and it’s really tricky the first few times to re-insert the tail back into the body.
As of the posting of this review, this last one has not appeared in the series yet, so I have no idea what the combo will be called... (I've read, unreliably, that it will be the "Ultimate Megazord".) In “GekiRanger”, the combo is seen twice- once about 2/3rds of the way through the series, but it made its debut in the non-cannon movie, “Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger: Nei-Nei! Hou-Hou! Hong Kong Decisive Battle” (2007). It is called the Goetsu Doushu Jyuken Gattai Geki-Rin Touja (trnslt: “United Foes Beast-Fist Fusion Geki-Rin Touja”). In both cases, the [bad guys] merged with the GekiRanger’s mecha only because they were offended by a common enemy; not because they were willing to end the war between the two martial arts factions. In both cases, as soon as the common enemy was destroyed, the [bad guys] thanked the GekiRanger for their help, and then in the next episode they were fighting each other again. How this will play out in “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”, no one knows yet (obviously except for the PR production team).
. . .
The only change on the Lion that I have found is that some of the painted gold stripes along the front & back of the belly were removed... and that’s it! The level of paint applications and the detail involved is spot-on. The mouth is still poseable (which- considering how many other times they were removed in this set- is surprising), and the legs & ankles still ratchet up & down and their various angles. The tail is the only PVC part on the entire Lion; even the stylistic extended mane streamers above are hardened ABS, though they cannot be removed from the head. The small green Chameleon has a little black paint missing from the curled tail, and that’s it. But here’s the part that I like: on the original version, the small black tongue would shoot forward when the button behind the head was pressed, but it couldn’t shoot out like a projectile (more like an extendable spike). But here, the tongue is now a real spring-powered missile! (That is an awesome change, and greatly appreciated too!)
[Ultimate Megazord ???]
Rather than being a repaint of the way the Elephant attached to the Megazord, the Lion acts in a similar manner- still forming large shoulder armor with the main body & legs- but does it in its own way. And rather than forming a new mask/helmet like the Elephant, Bat, & Shark do when they’re combined, the Lion’s head attaches to the chest, which explains the need for those long gold-painted streamers above the head- they attach to the same points on either side of the megazord’s head that the Shark does. One big thing that was changed was how the sword’s handle works. On the original, there was a peg about halfway up the blade that would mount to the shoulder armor, and that was the only thing that would keep it in the hands of the megazord. And then, if you wanted it to actually hold the sword, you had to attach a separate accessory handle that could fit into the fist. Here, however, the handle is already incorporated in the weapon, so there’s no need to attach an extra part! So it will always hold the sword... like a sword. (For some strange reason, though, the holes in the shoulder armor are still present even though there is now nothing to fit into them...) The Chameleon still attaches to the left fist via a fold-down peg, but the peg is located in the curled-up tail now rather than the underbelly.
[Ultimate Megazord with Wolf Power ???]
Like the Wolf Pride Megazord with Bat Power, this is a one-time combo that appears towards the end of the series. No big deal- just swapping out the megazord’s right leg for the Wolf Spirit Zord. Done. (In “GekiRanger”, this combo was called the Geki-Rin Touja Wolf.)
Now, here’s the interesting thing: this is not the first time during the 2008 season that all of these have appeared on the shelves! With the help of CDX-member Gareth Infinity, I have been able to find and isolate all of the sets (yes, plural- “sets”) that have been released thus-far which are linked directly to the Transforming Fury Megazord Set reviewed here:
- Transforming Jungle Fury Megazord- contains the Tiger, Jaguar, and Cheetah
- Transforming Roar Max Megazord- contains the Elephant, Bat, and Shark
- Transforming Battle Megazord- contains the Wolf, Lion, Chameleon, and Claw Cannon-hybrid remold
In all three cases, these are still not Deluxe-sized sets- they are all the same completely-original designs which are featured within this article save for one. So far as I can tell, only the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord and Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord are the same fully-functional and –sized sets which originated from Japan in the “GekiRanger” line (the DX Jyuken Gattai Geki Touja and DX Jyuken Gattai Geki Fire, respectively). All of the accessory mecha from the “GekiRanger” line, however, did not make the transition to PR audiences. Which means, the three sets above, and the Transforming Fury Megazord Set, were the only ways to acquire the accessory mecha through the “Power Rangers Jungle Fury” brand in 2008. Also included in the Transforming Battle Megazord set is an original figure based on the Rangers’ hand-held Claw Cannon finishing weapon. The toy could act as a shoulder cannon for the Jungle Pride Megazord, but- of course- did not appear in the series as such, even though the Claw Cannon itself did.
. . .
It was actually the absence of the Claw Cannon-hybrid Zord which helped to clue me into the reason why Bandai of America may have created this alternate toy series of transforming Zords... Looking at the underbelly of the Wolf, Cheetah, and Jaguar figures in this set, there is a new hole in each between their back legs. The Deluxe versions lack these, as do their original Japanese counterparts’ The only function these three ever served was as leg components for the Jungle Pride Megazord. So, why are they there? The title of this Set was the answer. There are, as I stated above, four Sets- including this one- which use the term “Transforming ----” rather than the traditional term “Deluxe”. There are, also two additional sets with the phrase ”Transforming” in the title:
- Transforming Beast Master Megazord
- Transforming Jungle King Megazord
While the latter (albeit with a new head design) is just a repaint of the former, they both share one thing in common- they both limb-swap, and they are both original Zord designs from Bandai Creation which do not appear in the series. The White Puma and Black Leopard Spirit Zords with the Beast Master Megazord are very similar to the Cheetah, Jaguar, and Wolf seen in the series. And, the two new Zord figures have shoulder connection joints in exactly the same place as the Cheetah, Jaguar, and Wolf figures... I have determined that the entire “Transforming -----“ Zord system is designed to limb-swap within itself even though the original Deluxe-sized sets could not! This adds a new level of play to the system, so that you can take the legs of the Transforming Jungle Pride Megazord and use them as arms with the Transforming Beast Master Megazord set! But, I wonder... If this is a completely original system of Zords... and they’re designed to be compatible with each other... then is it possible-? Yes-! Yes it is possible! The arms of this version of the Jungle Pride Megazord can be separated from the torso- which reveals a joint system identical to the one on the Beast Master Megazord! The way I see it- the Wolf and Claw Cannon-hybrid are supposed to serve as the arms for a new version of the Jungle Pride Megazord which is only possible in toy-form. The reason I say this is because, even though the Cheetah and Jaguar are just as compatible, the Claw Cannon-hybrid cannot transform into a leg component for the Megazord. And unfortunately, BoA left one key thing out of this set- the Claw Cannon-hybrid itself! It is not mentioned in the instructions for this set; and from instructions I found online of the Beast Master Megazord, the limb-swapping option is not discussed there either. So this remains a completely original feature which is not addressed by the very company that makes the toys! The only way I could have missed this surprising feature is if BoA had not included a picture of the Claw Cannon-hybrid on the back of the box for this Set...
Every single year for over a decade now, Power Rangers has become a marketing nightmare- on the shelves, you very rarely get to buy what you see on the screen; and even then, it is modified in some fashion, or is a repaint from an earlier season. And almost every single year, you see the previous year’s unsold & shunned leftovers heaped in with the newest offerings, which just encourages the degrading cycle. Fortunately, while the Deluxe-sized Zord sets have remained largely oblivious (amen!) to heavy alterations (missing paint apps notwithstanding), there have never been any completely original, fully-transformable sets of equal standing. The 15th Anniversary of the franchise, “Power Rangers Operation Overdrive” (2007), saw the first venture to break this barrier, and try to provide parents & collectors with a cheaper original alternative to the average-$50 Deluxe sets: the highly-controversial and very-disappointing Deluxe Drive-Max Megazord. So now, Bandai Creation has come forward with their newest offering. Considering how poorly they performed with the DMM the previous year, I swore never to buy products in the Power Rangers franchise ever again pending extenuating circumstances; that disaster having been the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. I was enraged, confused, bewildered, and frustrated with the direction Bandai was taking a childhood favorite of mine in bringing it to future children & collectors. In addition, I was rather let-down with the mecha offering from “GekiRanger”, and planned not to import any of the transformable sets like I usually do (but that’s a whole different issue for another review). And so, you must understand that I took an enormous risk and leap-of-faith when, by chance, I found this set on the shelves and decided to get it to see what it was about with no prior research on the matter. You know what? This set is absolutely fantastic! No question about it- significant changes were made, and Bandai Creation pulled an absolutely wonderful bouquet of flowers out of their hat. None of the joints are too tight or too loose, things come apart and go back together with far more ease & consistency, paint applications and molded surface details are not lacking & remain very consistent with the original toys, I am not afraid of dropping it and breaking or accidentally detaching something, the elimination of the electronic features is not missed in any way in favor of the new limb-swapping option, and- most importantly- the figures remain completely faithful in spirit to their full-sized counterparts both in English-speaking countries and their Japanese predecessors. Hell- they even improved on previous problems! That alone is noteworthy! And, I’ll even go so far as to say this: if an equivalent-scaled version of the Jungle Master Megazord comes out before the series ends, I’m gonna go and get it too for exactly the same reasons. To Bandai of America, consider this an apology for my earlier harsh words about your competency. You heard what the fans said, you heard what the parents & kids also said, you wisely considered your options, and you completely turned it around to deliver a fantastic toy. Even though I balked at the designs from the original series, what you presented and delivered convinced me to buy your product; I can think of no higher compliment than to say that you convinced me to buy something I was not interested in getting in the first place! Therefore, I give my full and highest recommendation for the Transforming Fury Megazord Set. It’s cheap, and it’s right on target.
... And, if you can make any more sets just like this, I may have to change my mind about getting them too.
|Posted 28 November, 2008 - 14:34 by EVA_Unit_4A|