2019/04/01

Power Rangers: The Hasbro Era


A little over a year ago I penned something of a eulogy to the Bandai America Power Rangers toy license. It began as a ten-year retrospect of my poor relationship with Engine Sentai Go-onger and moved into a somewhat truncated history lesson of the Power Rangers toy line. As I was assembling some materials for my post, the curve ball of all curve balls was thrown. What if...Bandai really was losing the Power Rangers license? Unthinkable.

Here we are a little more than a year later. That little blurb in my previous article about Hasbro gaining control of the entire franchise? Totally happened. We're already a few episodes into the Hasbro-produced Tokumei Sentai Go-Buster adaptation, Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Today, April 1st, the entire transaction is complete. Power Rangers Beast Morphers merchandise is free from it's embargo and available for purchase at Toys R...WalMart...I guess?

Kidding aside, I am holding steadfast to the "cautious optimism" outlook that I admitted to having last year. I may not be a Power Rangers fan, but I am certainly curious to see what the franchise manages to accomplish in the next few years.

Hasbro has taken advantage of the momentum that has steadily been building over the past year. The Beast Morphers announcement was quite a shock, and their enormous presence at Power Morphicon was full of excitement. The first all-new action figure was previewed, the new cast made an appearance, and everything seemed to be heading into a energetic new direction.

Here is where I'm kinda getting hung-up, however.

For starters, the delightful Jason Bischoff has been released from his position as Global Franchise Creative Director for the Power Rangers brand. I honestly can't remember the last name that I bothered to learn in regards to Power Rangers, but he deserves all the credit in the world for reaching my cold, dead heart. Oh, and for, you know...completely revitalizing the brand. This transition from Saban Brands to Hasbro wouldn't have been possible without him...and now it feels like Dad just got left in the dust once the training wheels were off. This is a truly baffling move...and I truly wish Mr. Bischoff all the best.

A lot of fans seem to be enjoying the new toys, but I don't know if I can get into any of them. Obviously I'm not going to be into the disposable role-playing toys, but I can always get behind a good action figure. They look decent, but they don't really do anything for me. Maybe a steady stream of really good SHFiguarts these last few years have ruined me, but I really think there is more to a figure than a good sculpt. I really can't give a final verdict since I haven't handled a Hasbro Power Rangers toy yet, so we'll see when I have something to compare it to in the Lightning Collection White Ranger next month...

The last thing I can do today is to take a look back at the Bandai America legacy. No matter what Hasbro manages to accomplish with the Power Rangers franchise, it will never, ever be 1993/1994 Bandai Power Rangers. Besides the market being in tatters, throw a stone in your instagram account and I am willing to bet you'll find photos and video of those crisp green and black packages flying off of the shelves in Toys R Us. How about those scans of flyers that were posted apologizing for the shortage of stock? We can never, ever deny them that. No matter how bad thing got.

As much as I knock Bandai America for the watered-down Power Rangers toys they sold basically the duration of their control of the franchise, I'm quite fond of the numerous golden nuggets that managed to creep out. Plus the memories...sigh...

Goodnight.

-CC

P.S. 

REIWA

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