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...







  1. I originally wanted to post comment on last year “Lost Property” topic, but since I have very little to say, I decided to post that response here as well.

    Interesting history regarding Bandai of America, that I didn’t know about. Quite amount of time you put on research.

    I don’t have much memory regarding toys, since I really didn’t own that much as a kid; I was more into watching TV shows and video games, rather than collecting/playing with toys. The only toys I have fond memories are some of the Power Rangers, Ohranger Robo (gift from friend), some Beast Wars toys and that’s about it. I wasn’t much into the toys until recently (1~2 years ago), that I decided to invest on Transformers toys due to my liking of BumbleBee (Transformers live action prequel/reboot movie) and that’s the only memory I have with Hasbro (along with Beast Wars).
    I think 25 years is a pretty good length for company that produces toys for toku. It was good timing to let it go before it gotten worse (last year Ninja Steel~Super Ninja Steel toys were dreadful). Thank you, Bandai.

    Hasbro has been doing pretty well in terms of toy selling compare to other company as Mattel, but loss of major retailer like Toys R Us is somewhat affecting their sale. I can see Hasbro could last same amount of year as Bandai depending on how long franchise would last. I’ve seen toys at shelf at Target and it looks pretty decent; much better than what Bandai have given us.

    Lastly, this may sound off-topic, but what is your thought on name of upcoming new era “Reiwa”? I know you don’t discuss politics, but I didn’t expect the word “-wa” to use in title, since it was used in Showa which was before Heisei.
    Showa, Heisei, Reiwa… interesting pattern. I expect next one after is going to have “-sei” at the end (“Koshinsei”?). lol
    Personally, I really like the title, since it blends well with tokusatsu; Reiwa Rangers (Sentai) and Reiwa Rider!

    Peace and prosperity to Reiwa Era.

    1. Whenever something fails, I always feel the need to look back and see what made it so great to begin with. Bandai losing the Power Rangers toy license was almost too easy when you think about how terrible the toys have been since Disney tapped out. I really felt the need to go back to the beginning, though. The launch was an utter madness that I think only parents at the time might have a vague memory of now...but the videos are out there of what it was like to shop for those toys in 1993 and 1994. Madness!

      The immediate reaction I had was "I'm going to have to remember Reiwa now...". Then I really thought about it and was like "Wait...this is only the third era in my lifetime. How hard can it be?" Haha. Naturally I'm curious to see what the Reiwa era has in store.