Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord
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! Casey, Theo, and Lily - the newest members of the Order of the Claw- narrowly escape Dai Shi’s destruction of the grounds of their secret martial arts school. But as they hide with their new pizza parlor boss/pai zhua master R.J., Dai Shi sends Mantor (a mantis-themed fighter) to deal with the fledgling teenagers, but they surprise him when they withdraw their sunshade morphers to become Power Rangers. Though off to a rocky start, the Rangers are able to work together to manifest the physical forms of their inner wildcat Animal Spirits- the Red Tiger, Blue Jaguar, and Yellow Cheetah- to combat Mantor as he floods the city after destroying a hydroelectric dam. Working together, the Rangers merge their now-physical Spirit Zords into the huge Jungle Pride Megazord! In addition to its agility and light weight, the Megazord can spin its upper torso for the Savage Spin finisher, or spin its lower body for the alternate Super Kick finisher. And finally, the Jungle Pride Megazord can create the three-part Jungle Setsukon weapon for more close-range action.
- Red Tiger Spirit Zord (back)- the Animal Spirit of Casey Rhodes, the Red Jungle Fury Ranger. It forms the head, torso, arms, and upper legs of the Jungle Pride Megazord.
- Blue Jaguar Spirit Zord (back)- the Animal Spirit of Theo Martin, the Blue Jungle Fury Ranger. It forms the lower right leg & foot of the Jungle Pride Megazord.
- Yellow Cheetah Spirit Zord (back)- the Animal Spirit of Lily Chilman, the Yellow Jungle Fury Ranger. It forms the right lower leg & foot of the Jungle Pride Megazord.
Of the three wildcat Spirit Zords, the Red Tiger is the most-dominant in size, weight, & poseability. This marks the first time in Power Rangers’ history where the red-colored animal is still a wild cat, but is not a lion. (The Black Lion Animal Spirit, this time, actually belongs to Jarrod, who unfortunately has been possessed by Dai Shi himself, and is now the Rangers’ enemy!) Unfortunately, the proportions of the Tiger, unlike the Cheetah and Jaguar, are way out-there; clearly this Zord is a victim of the transformation process and its final form in the combination. (It kinda looks like a gorilla with feline-like features to me...) The head does resemble a tiger’s, but has stylized silver horns near the neck on either side. The jaw is light-gray ABS, and can open & close easily. (There’s even a small tongue in there!) The front half of the body is very wide compared to a tiger, though, so the front legs are spaced far apart. The paws are transparent-orange ABS, but the four claws on each have been painted. It’s kinda difficult, though, to not see them as the fists that they will become in Megazord mode, since it’s so obvious... The back legs only vaguely look animal-like, and end in very wide paws with four painted claws each; though there aren’t really any overtly machine-like details on the Tiger. The exception to this would be the giant black battery pack on the Tiger’s upper back-half. This pack obviously holds the two AA batteries, and has the On/Off switch for the electronic feature (which can only be used in Megazord mode, by the way). Instead of attaching to its butt, the ABS tail is mounted just behind the battery pack. Believe it or not, the Cheetah and Jaguar are more different from each other than they appear at first glance. Though the bodies look similar, they actually have different mold details. The Cheetah has oval-shaped spots (both painted and raised) along both the body and both sets of upper legs, but on the Jaguar, there are more square-ish spots in the same places. Jaguars- who are part of the panther family- usually also usually have pronounced spots in the wild just as cheetahs do, but here the spots are downplayed by not making them stand-out with contrasting paint coloring even though they are molded in. The Jaguar also has additional spots along both the inside and outside of all four lower legs, which the Cheetah lacks. The bodies & legs are subtly different- the Cheetah is a little thinner than the Jaguar- and the transparent-orange stripes beneath them are also number two and three respectively. Both wildcats have ratcheting shoulder joints that snap to every 45° all the way around; however, the hips on both do not turn at all. Both sets of back legs ratchet backwards every 90° as well, but the front legs only when all the way up-or-down at 180°. Both have jaws with molded-in tongues that open wide, and the black PVC tails are shaped differently, but are attached to ball-and-socket joints in more natural locations than that of the Tiger. Here’s where poseability differs: the Jaguar’s neck is bent down horizontally, while the Cheetah’s angles upwards diagonally. The Cheetah’s head can pitch up and down, while the Jaguar’s is fixed forward. However, to counter this, the Jaguar’s red-&-black PVC sunshades can be raised up to reveal its actual light blue eyes. (Ironically, in both “Power Rangers Jungle Fury” and the original Japanese series from 2007, “Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger”, the Jaguar mecha humorously never shows its true eyes, only the sunshades because- wait for it- he’s a cool cat.)
I usually don’t bring up transformation details unless something really sticks-out. Two things do here:
- On the Jaguar, there is an additional position that the shoulders ratchet to that the Cheetah’s do not. When standing straight, the front legs on the Jaguar hang downwards as expected; however, the black stripe along the upper legs does not match the stripe along the body. But then, when transformed, the shoulders must be readjusted to fit when the front legs are folded up- thus, the stripes now line-up correctly! Be cause they are thinner, the Cheetah’s legs do not have this issue. The instructions also address this, but they don’t really explain why it happens. (Yet another subtle difference between them that is not a detraction; very good!)
- Though it does not need to be worried about when combining the three Spirit Zords, on the back of both the Cheetah and Jaguar are tiny transparent-orange tabs that need to be depressed in order to separate them again. The reason that these are here is to prevent the Cheetah and Jaguar from flying-off accidentally when using the electronic Super Kick feature!
The Jungle Pride Megazord (back)- while still a powerful giant mecha in the series- has an air about it that is different from past designs: an emphasis on agility, speed, and it is proportionately slimmed-down, though this may not be immediately apparent at a casual glance. There is also a definite change in style- the head has more of a helmet-like look, it has black straps implied along the arms, small orange sections in certain areas which give a hint as to the mystical power that flows within it, and it has a giant black fanny pack. There is no elbow joint (dang it all!), but the arms do have a slight bend at the elbow, which is a nice break in tradition even if it doesn’t actually move. The fists, due to how they- well, “transform”- can turn with light resistance all the way through 360°. However, here’s the cool part that doesn’t happen very much to Deluxe-sized Megazords: the shoulders are double-jointed. This means they can pitch forward/backward... and ratchet outwards to 90° away from the body! This is great- we haven’t had shoulders that both turn outwards since the Deluxe Thunder Power Megazord from the previous martial arts-themed “Power Rangers Ninja Storm” (2003). Despite how the hips and knees on the Tiger move, these two pairs of joints are, unfortunately, rendered completely useless in Megazord mode. (Damn it-! They made the same mistake with the legs on the Deluxe Thundersaurus Megazord from 2004’s “Power Rangers Dino Thunder”- another good opportunity missed there as well!) For whatever strange reason, they put the Tiger’s back paws right in front of the hip joint, which effectively shuts-down their poseability. (They don’t exactly look all that fantastic there, either! Stupid place to put those...) However, there is a way around this which is not addressed in the instructions: you can fold the paws forward, and then this frees up the joint enough so that the upper body can now pitch forward 45°. So, there is some redemption there; it’s just stupid that they put them there in the first place. (I thought the thighs could have been reworked to place them outside the hips...)
This set has two weapon features at its disposal... The Jungle Setsukon is a cleaver combination of the tails from all three wildcat Spirit Zords. While it, too, is made of three parts, it is not flexible at all like in the series. It can fit into either fist, though the Jaguar’s tail must be attached after the Tiger’s is already in the fist. Unlike in the series, however, all three parts of the Jungle Setsukon are not painted their respective red, blue, and yellow. (A sanjiegun, or “three-section staff”, is a real melee-range flail weapon originating from China. It could be compared to the two-part Japanese nunchaku, but they are unrelated in both use and origin, and the sanjiegun is generally the less-well-known of the two in popular media. “Sansetsukon” is the Japanese term for the sanjiegun.)
. . .
The other more-interactive weapon is the electronic feature of the set. The Jungle Pride Megazord, surprisingly, has two activation buttons for the same feature- a light-gray one on the, um... crotch, and the other red one on its back above the battery fanny pack. To use this feature, either way you must raise the arms outwards away from the body. (Yes- that is the only reason why they can spread apart like that.)
- For the Savage Spin attack, hold the lower body, and press on the crotch button. (*sigh* I know, I know...) This will activate the internal motor, and the entire upper body & arms will spin counter-clockwise!
- For the Super Kick, hold the upper body, and keep it away from the ground. Then press the button on its back, and then the lower body will spin clockwise! (Be sure to keep your fingers away from the battery fanny pack when you activate the Super Kick!)
In both cases, the instructions recommend that you hold the Jungle Pride Megazord with both hands; for the Savage Spin, this is not needed, but I would suggest it for the Super Kick. Balance is not an issue with either attack, but the toy becomes a bit awkward when suspending it for the Super Kick. Additionally, the arms & head are not meant to hold the full weight of the toy, so hold it only by the upper torso and/or legs! Something else I notice that is not addressed with the Super Kick is that, when held straight up, the motor actually jerks a tiny bit. At first I thought the motor was struggling or had an error in it, but trust me when I say that this is normal. To prevent this slight jerking, it is best to hold the toy horizontally (like it appears in the series, BTW) for the Super Kick, and then you will not notice it anymore. (I suspect this slight jerking is merely due to the electrical wiring connection inside.)
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord from “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”, and its Japanese-speaking counterpart- the DX Jyuken Gattai GekiTouja from the 2007 Super Sentai Series, “Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger”- it’s actually quite a pleasant transition... In short, nothing has been changed! Because of its simplistic design & function, all paint applications, features, molds, and materials remain the same! There is, however, one alteration... internally. The DX GekiTouja had one orange LED built into each fist that would then glow for the Dai Gan Gan Ken (the Savage Spin) and Dai Gan Gan Kyaku & Dai Bun Bun Kyaku (the Super Kick) finishers. The Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord lacks only these. Consider, however, the significant reduction in the original price because of this: the DX GekiTouja cost JPY ¥6900 (about USD $69.00) off-the-shelf, while the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord costs only $39.99, so this was clearly a significant deduction in price, but nothing else overwhelmingly-significant was lost. I call that impressive!
Considering the highly unusual & controversial offering we got for the first combining robot in 2007 for the 15th Anniversary of the Power Rangers franchise- the Deluxe Drive-Max Megazord- this one is a thankful return to the status quo, with consistency in materials, features, and- most importantly- good quality of the final product for the price we pay. This time, however, while the style of the components is rather refreshing, it’s too simple. I don’t like how the Red Tiger completely overwhelms the combination; there was no justifiable reason for that. Are you telling me that the Jaguar and Cheetah couldn’t have completely formed the legs!? I mean, come on-! If this had been a five-part combo, I wouldn’t have complained about how little space the lower leg components take up. But my biggest complaint is that damned fanny pack. I mean, it’s sooooo obviously shaped like a battery pack that it’s insulting to think that the real robot would have had it- which it does in the series, BTW! I understand that space was needed for the motor inside; I get that. But this- this is just... bad. As for the motorized feature itself, it’s new and interesting- never before has the first lead robot had such a motorized action. However, I can see that, in this case, the need to make this megazord look like a fit warrior is completely spoiled by the fanny pack hanging off its butt. The Cheetah and Jaguar are very well sculpted, and I can’t think of any notes that were hit wrong with either one. It’s the Tiger, however, that becomes a- forgive the pun- beast of burden for the special feature. The flexibility in the arms- great! I wanted poseable elbows, but at the very least they flexed them a little, which was a nice touch even if not very satisfying. I also thought that having a limited amount of the transparent-orange plastic was nice and, while giving a hint as to the internal power of the components, don’t overshadow the design. Would I have liked to see the LEDs kept in? Sure. But I can also see the obvious advantage of keeping them out! And I am especially glad that the fists remained transparent rather than just being painted over; that helped compensate for the lost lights! And so, even though I have some personal-taste issues with it, I cannot say that the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord is a bad toy. Therefore, I recommend getting it.
(This is the first time I am editing a video together by myself! Editing done using Windows MovieMaker. Special thanks to JoshB for helping me through this!)
The Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord was also included in a special-edition, late-release Ultimate Megazord Set along with Deluxe-sized versions of the Black Lion and Emerald Chameleon!
This last part here is new territory, but an alternative exists that has never been available until now... Bandai Creation has successfully designed and built a scaled-down copy of the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord that stands about an inch shorter in Megazord mode. The set is called the Transforming Jungle Pride Megazord, and it sells for $29.99. The amazing thing is, in the scale-down process, the Trans. Megazord set manages to very-faithfully recreate all features of the larger version, save for one- it has no battery-powered electronic feature. The torso can still turn, but you have to manually spin it. And the fists remain transparent-orange. (All other orange is painted on, though.) Transformation, flexibility, and materials are near-perfectly recreated. Even the individual Spirit Zords are spot-on accurate. The only exception is that the smaller Cheetah and Jaguar do not have poseable shoulder joints, but still have the flexible elbows. Their jaws, and the Jaguar’s sunshades, also cannot move. Some very minor paint applications are also missing from all three, but it is nothing that is jarringly-apparent.
The Transforming Jungle Pride Megazord set is teamed up with two other sets- the Transforming Roar Max Megazord and the Transforming Battle Megazord- produced at the same scale and quality as their original Japanese DX-sized counterparts, and they contain all of the other Spirit Zords that can link up with the Jungle Pride Megazord throughout the series. Here is the catch, though: these three sets- and the similar-sized Transforming Rhino Steel Megazord- are the only way that “PRJF” audiences will be able to obtain the other accessory Spirit Zords! In other words, the Deluxe-sized accessory Zords will not be appearing in any English-speaking countries at any time during the run of “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”. And so, even though the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord (and later Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord) are going still to be released in these countries as normal, all of the accessory Zords will not except in these smaller-scaled sets. I can personally assure you, though, that your experience with the smaller-scaled sets will be just as satisfying as if the larger versions had come out in the US. As a bonus, the Transforming-sized Jungle Pride, Roar Max, and Battle Megazord sets are also sold as part of a larger but cheaper nine-part boxed set sold exclusively through Toys-R-Us for $45.99- called the Transforming Fury Megazord Set.
|Posted 20 November, 2008 - 20:42 by EVA_Unit_4A|