Deluxe Jungle Master 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! While Casey, Theo, and Lily have become more confident and skilled as Power Rangers through their pai zhua Master R.J., Dai Shi also has been receiving further training from the two Overlords to weed out his weaknesses and make him stronger. In Episode 13- “Ghost of a Chance, I”, he challenges the Jungle Fury Rangers, and easily defeats them both one-on-one and together! Then, when R.J. moves to defend the beaten Rangers, he willing surrenders (to give the Rangers time to recover). Thinking back to something he said earlier, the Rangers return to the temple of the Order of the Claw where Dai Shi was originally held, and there they once more encounter the spirit of Master Mao. They ask him to take them to the Spirit World to receive training from three previous Order masters despite the heavy warning that no one has ever returned from there. In Episode 14- “Ghost of a Chance, II”, after passing three short tests that challenge their fears, the three Masters- Rilla, Lope, and Guin- pass their Animal Spirits on to the Rangers to use when they realize that Dai Shi was released, and return them to the living world. But moving on to challenge Dai Shi again, the Rangers still aren’t able to successfully combat him anymore than they did earlier! Activating new Claw Booster weapons, the Rangers find that they have new Jungle Master Mode powers that enhance their armored suits, and grant them access to three more Animal Spirits- the Gorilla, Antelope, and Penguin Zords! Individually they are fast and strong, and working together, they combine into the Jungle Master Megazord! This combination can utilize the ultimate Full Fury attack- spinning both fire-emitting arms up and around at the same time- to vanquish Rinshi monsters! While the Rangers retain their Jungle Master Modes and new Animal Spirits, R.J. soon goes on to become the purple Wolf Ranger, and with his higher skill-level, he can take simultaneous control of his own Wolf Zord and the Tiger & Jaguar Zords to form the Wolf Pride Megazord which can then fight side-by-side with the Jungle Master Megazord!
Gorilla Spirit Zord (back)- the Animal Spirit of Master Rilla, which is utilized by Casey Rhodes, the Red Jungle Fury Ranger. It forms the head, torso, arms, and upper legs of the Jungle Master Megazord.
Antelope Spirit Zord (back)- the Animal Spirit of Master Lope which is utilized by Theo Martin, the Blue Jungle Fury Ranger. It forms the lower right leg & foot of the Jungle Master Megazord.
Penguin Spirit Zord (back)- the Animal Spirit Master Guin, which is utilized by of Lily Chilman, the Yellow Jungle Fury Ranger. It forms the helmet and right lower leg & foot of the Jungle Master Megazord.
Rather than having another trio of wildcats like the earlier Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord, these three- like other Spirit Zords before them- come from a more diverse range. But this time, rather than simply being dressed in the base coloring of their associated Ranger, the base coloring is used as highlights instead. The Gorilla is mostly black with red, dark gray and silver highlights, while the Penguin and Antelope are a mixture of white & black, and highlighted by yellow/blue and silver. But together, all three add some more molded-in machine-like details (springs, vents, etc.) than all previous offerings. One thing that is consistent on all three are the presence of wheels which allow them to roll around in Animal Spirit form. On the Gorilla, the six wheels are mounted roller blade-style on both feet. Because of this, the knees, elbows, and wrists all have various-sized protection pads & guards like someone who skaters would! (However, the theme seems not to carry through with a helmet for his head.) The legs cannot be posed, and are already shaped as if it were crouching down. The chest is broken up a bit with a large dark gray prow coming from the center of it (these being the folded-up panels for the Megazord’s own chest, of course), and then is flanked on either side by muscle-looking red armor pieces. Both pieces, unfortunately, are loosely attached; being part of the transformation. The arms, as is expected on a gorilla, are thick and long, ending in large dark gray fists. Because of how it transforms, the head can be twisted up-and-down (though going too far will reveal the Megazord’s incomplete face). The Gorilla also contains the motorized feature and the batteries to power it, but I’ll discuss that later. The Antelope and Penguin Zords couldn’t be more different from each other [compared to the Cheetah and Jaguar from the Jungle Pride Megazord]... The Penguin is actually composed of two parts- the Animal Spirit itself, and the flying board it attaches to. The head is cute enough, but like the Jaguar earlier, the Penguin has a bit of personality to it- she has a pair of un-removable black-&-silver earmuffs! Both long wing-like flippers on the sides are poseable at the shoulders in two axes. But other than the neck and shoulders, it has no other moving parts including in its small black feet. (BTW, since when does a Zord deserve a big silver valentine on its chest....? How very unusual and out-of-character for Lily! Or perhaps it is there because of Master Guin?) The flying surf board is not aerodynamically-streamlined in any way whatsoever. About the only anything-“smooth” on it is the front, the five transparent-orange wheels beneath it, and the one yellow armored dome on the left side (the knee of the Megazord). The Penguin literally sits on top of a black peg near the back. However, the Penguin can be twisted side-to-side in 45°-increments all the way around. Though top-heavy with the unflappable bird above, the fully-assembled Zord honestly doesn’t tip over easily! The Antelope is characterized by the long transparent-orange PVC antlers on the back of its head along with thin, long PVC ears and pointed snout. The thin legs with powerful hindquarters allow it to jump high and run fast in nature- hence the molded-in springs, and wheels on the hooves! And though not a particularly defining feature, the blue & silver armor sticks out just far enough from its hollow butt to imply a small tail. (Cute, yet subtle- I like.) I also like the ribbed silver belly underneath. For posing, the head can tilt up-&-down a little, the front shoulders twist forward-and-backwards a ways (though they will bump into either the back legs or ears), but the legs- while still able to twist around a lot at the hips- don’t snap at equally-distant positions like the front ones do; there’s a lot of give in them.
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Unlike three Zords from the Jungle Pride Megazord, there is an extra action feature available when the Penguin and Antelope are separated. There is a post on the back of the flying board that can be inserted into- quite literally- the Antelope’s butt. Now in the series, the Antelope just back-kicks the Penguin forward at high speed, but since the legs on the Deluxe toy cannot do this, you just have to settle with sticking the Penguin’s board up the Antelope’s @$$ like this. Then, you press on the blue tail, and the Penguin is shot away. (Seriously- does anyone else find this at least mildly amusing? It’s disturbing to me! Oh, believe me- jokes and metaphors have been flyin’ ‘round the net in both languages 'bout these toys!)
Like the Deluxe-sized Cheetah and Jaguar Zords from the Jungle Pride Megazord, the Penguin and Antelope also have tabs on the back of them when they are combined that have to be depressed in order to separate them from the upper legs. (But this time, instead of easy-to-see transparent-orange, the tabs here are plain black ABS. Strange.)
The Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord (back) definitely has a different feel to it compared to its immediate predecessor. Whereas the Jungle Pride Megazord was agile and thin, the Jungle Master Megazord places emphasis on power and strength. But also, an odd focus on safety for the young-uns- it has a large helmet with white chin guard & transparent-yellow visor on its head (complete with a giant fiery horn above), and on the arms are multiple shoulder and smallish red elbow pads. On the other hand- and I don’t know why exactly- it almost looks like the Megazord is wearing a leather jacket with a high collar and flames on it! (The chest armor’s decals use glittery patterns in them, which is a nice change. The only thing that spoils it is those useless connection pegs in there...) Either way, this is a mecha that says it’s b-b-b-b-bad to the bone. The orange-painted flames on the lower arms are covered-up when the wrists are turned for the Gorilla form. (For a mecha this size, I really am surprised at how frickin’ big those fists are!) Though the shoulders still ratchet forward-&-backwards 45°, regrettably we lost the outward-turning shoulder joint. (Grr...!) But in return, the Gorilla’s pectoral armor has been replaced onto the outside of the shoulders, and when the arms are twisted, the new shoulder armor twists in the opposite direction at the same time! (Why? Beats me.) Though the upper legs still come from the Gorilla, there are covered circles of yellow and blue painted on to make them more consistent. As with the Jungle Pride Megazord, discreet amounts of orange are shown throughout the design to imply the fire power that courses through it. Unfortunately, the shoulders and wrists are the only posing options available. Okay, no excuse this time, Bandai- elbow & neck joints would have been most helpful here! Hip joints? Ehh- I’ll give you a minor pass there since you made up for the stupid placement of the Tiger’s paws on the Jungle Pride Megazord’s hips by placing the Gorilla’s feet behind the upper legs.
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The way the Zords all combine remains the same between the Jungle Master and Jungle Pride Megazords. And so, there are connection positions on the shoulders, upper arms, and upper back to accommodate the full-sized Green Elephant, Violet Bat, and Cyan Shark Spirit Zords. (Only difference is, the Jungle Master Megazord with Bat Power and ...with Elephant Power do not have new faces attached, only the ...with Shark Power still does that.) The other thing- which is never done in the series- is that the legs from both Deluxe-sized Megazords can limb-swap with each other! And the Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord was also fully compatible with the later limited-release Deluxe Rhino Steel Megazord.
The Jungle Master Megazord also utilizes a motorized action feature- as its only provided weapon, by the way. But instead of buttons placed in weird places, it’s a simple black On/Off switch below the battery compartment on its back. (Thankfully, the batteries are stored internally rather than as a stupid and poorly-disguised hanging fanny pack). This time, instead of the entire torso spinning, just the arms spin back up-and-over. And as mentioned earlier, when the shoulders turn, the red armor on the outside of them spin the opposite direction! Now, here’s the interesting thing- when the Gorilla is alone, you can use the electronic feature on it. Two cool things can happen: 1) it will ‘walk’ along the ground by dragging its fists across the floor and skating at the same tine; and 2) if it has fallen over, the internal motor is strong enough that it can right the Gorilla from a fallen position! (The only stipulation is that the Gorilla can’t skate across carpet with the motorized feature, only hard flat flooring.) However, the design is not sufficient enough to do this with the fully-assembled Megazord.
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord from “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”, and its Japanese-speaking counterpart- the DX Jyuken Gattai GekiFire from the 2007 Super Sentai Series, “Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger”- it’s actually quite a pleasant transition... In short, absolutely nothing has been changed! Because of its simplistic design & function, all paint applications, features, molds, and materials remain the same! Unlike the earlier DX Jyuken Gattai GekiTouja, the GekiFire had no built-in lights, so there was nothing to remove in the transition to Jungle Master Megazord. Consider, however, the significant reduction in the original price because of this: the DX GekiFire cost JPY ¥6900 (about USD $69.00) off-the-shelf, while the Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord costs only $49.99, so this was clearly a significant deduction in price, but nothing was lost. I call that impressive!
Again, while it incorporates more details and a different motorized action feature, this set remains very simple to play with and in build. But to me, perhaps it is the less simple details and coloring scheme which makes it more appealing to me than the Deluxe Jungle Pride Megazord was. Unfortunately, this came at the cost of losing some more-flexible posing options which the earlier Megazord had. (One of the big things for me was that stupid fanny pack on the Jungle Pride Megazord!) The separate Spirit Zords aren’t quite as fluid as the previous three wildcats, but I feel that they are more dynamic in appearance, and it’s nice to see more varied animals being used when having three wildcats in the same mecha early on violates the theme of everything that comes afterwards. I also thought having a more-prominent bicycle helmet topped off with a fiery horn was a cool touch; as was the glittery decal(s) on the chest. If they were all-mechanical Zords instead of being conjured spirits-made-physical as they are in the series, the details like vents, servos, wheels, and springs might have been placed continuity-wise (even though I like those details here). For the individual Zords, the Gorilla was cool because it could walk/skate with its arms & pick itself up! The flying board was ‘meh’, but the Penguin was sufficiently cute and functional. The Antelope was nicely-sculpted, and poses well (all things considered), but that spring-powered butt-shooting action was just too weird to be taken lightly for me. (You’re telling me that kicking legs couldn’t have been designed for the toy instead...?) So despite its simple transformation and functions, I like the Deluxe Jungle Master Megazord best of all the mecha from “Power Rangers Jungle Fury”. In fact, I will be saving this instead of looking for a replacement DX GekiFire since it’s the exact same toy, only cheaper but of the same quality! My only regret is that they didn’t make a scaled-down version of this Megazord to match the Transforming... series of toys originally made by Bandai Creation (which I would gladly have bought too!). Why? None of the Deluxe-sized accessory Spirit Zords were brought across from Japan, so you couldn’t make the full-sized versions of the Jungle Master Megazord With Elephant Power & “etc etc etc”...
|Posted 19 December, 2008 - 15:40 by EVA_Unit_4A|