It's Been a Year, 'Bro!

At some point in time I had to unplug from everything pop culture. The new norm is to blow everything the fuck out until only the brain-deadiest are left to drool over the remains of a thing that was created to entertain with all of the best intentions. BRANDS! Every fucking lenticular Marty McFly hat I see makes me think back to my fascination as a kid with Back To The Future for reassurance that a good film is buried under the overbearing commerce. Fans are the worst. There is a difference between blindly buying up the masses of crap that come out versus a dude out there converting a junkyard Dodge Monaco into a Bluesmobile. There is a right way and a wrong way to show your love for something.

I really try not to involve myself in the constant news feedbag from brands and both their paid and notice-me-senpai shills. When it comes to the topic at hand today, it was kinda hard to ignore. First it was the Power Rangers and Bandai divorce and later the Power Rangers and Saban split. When I first wrote about the break-up back in 2018, I honestly had a feeling of cautious optimism. Bandai America was doing fuck-all with the brand on the toy side. It's hard to say how the shows were received because there never seems to be a consensus about Power Rangers series post-In Space. Or at least I've never noticed. Whatever the case, the 2017 Lionsgate Power Rangers movie seemed to be the final chance the franchise had with the old regime...and we all know how that story went.

Now that it's been a calendar year since Hasbro took on the Power Rangers franchise, I wanted to take a look at some of the little things I managed to notice without following too closely.

The most obvious place to look first is the only thing I've dropped some shekels on--The Lightning Collection. I've purchased exactly one (1) figure and am completely ambivalent toward it. The figure in question is the debut figure, in fact, MMPR White Ranger. This figure debuted after the pre-order and before the release of the SHFiguarts version. It almost seemed like a big ole' 'Fuck You' to Bandai, but I want to think it was a weird coincidence. Who knows.

I haven't bothered to open the figure, but I just want to say that you paid extra for Figuarts for a reason. Figuarts are collector figures through and through. Even if you don't dig the JDF sculpt that came with the set, the Figuarts White Ranger/Kiba Ranger is the ultimate figure for that design and pearlescent paintjob. Accuracy and quality were really perfected for that figure. The Hasbro Lightning Collection version...is a $20 toy masquerading as a collectible. The pretentiously crap packaging does a great job of warning you about what you're about to buy. The inconsistency between figures really leaves so much to be desired. I managed to find a pretty clean example of LC White Ranger at the store. Yeah, the paint quality seemed to vary between figures.

If the choice of debut figure *was* in fact a deliberate shot at Bandai, maybe they should have made it a loss leader to establish themselves as the new overlords. Or maybe they did and I just haven't realized it since I never bothered with subsequent figures. I wasn't impressed with what I bought, but I didn't mind the $20 hit I took.
...killll meeeee...

Since then, the Lightning Collection has grown quite a bit. Where I can applaud Hasbro is their seemingly random mix of characters brought into the fold. It isn't all just MMPR and Red Rangers. I would say that this is a pretty bold move, but they must have a rhyme and reason behind all of their choices. We're on the cusp of seeing the fifth wave release in addition to a proper Rita Repulsa figure. I'm looking forward to seeing how that one turns out. It may be a second purchase for me...but I'm sure something about it will put me off.

The regular Power Rangers toy line seems to be a different story. Again, I'm unplugged from the going-on's, so I only have some observations. The Power Rangers Beast Morphers line seems at least a little more cohesive than anything Bandai has put out for a long while. The trouble is...every time I go to the store, the same toys are there largely untouched from my last visit. I went to Wal Mart for some groceries during the weekend after Thanksgiving. The toy aisle was virtually destroyed save for the Power Rangers toys. Some nerd out there is probably thinking "*snort* The power protected them" but I couldn't help but feel weirded out at how crisp the PR toys looked during the Holiday shopping season.
Probably never gift-wrapped...

Outside of the assorted action figures, I don't see the appeal to any of the toys. It could be that I didn't see much appeal to the Go-Busters stuff either, but the Beast Morphers toys just seem to be cheap duds. The only one I think looks great is the only one you can't see in person--The Amazon-Exclusive Beast-X Ultrazord. Those foam looking zords they sell in the store don't cut it.

Enough of that horseshit, though. This is what I really wanted to talk about...

It was a little over a year ago that we got what is probably our final Super Sentai release on DVD from Shout!Factory. I know I protested greatly, but I did end up buying Hurricaneger to continue to support the releases even though that means I'm going to have to re-watch that turd eventually.

One could argue that Shout! has caved to consumer apathy and discontinued the licensing and physical releases of Tokusatsu. However...they have been quite vocal about just the opposite happening. When prodded enough on Twitter, they will say that they'd love to release more Super Sentai DVDs if the license to do so ever becomes available. Considering when the last set was released, it's pretty clear that Hasbro is the wet blanket that put an end to our fun. 

Think of it this way... When the Power Rangers franchise was under Saban's control, what did they have to lose by granting us budget Super Sentai DVDs? It was an untapped market (i.e. my wallet) to work with Toei to make it all happen. When you're a juggernaut like Hasbro, what does it matter when you have Star Wars, Transformers, etc. and Power Rangers is probably now the sixteenth biggest franchise under the umbrella versus being the crown jewel that it once was? 

In a time where Tokusatsu is finally getting it's fair shake in North America, it seems bizarre that we're being cut off from the franchise that, without a doubt, started the trend. The possibility is still there for Hasbro to pick up the reigns, but as time drifts on it feels less and less likely. I really hope I'm wrong on this, but it wouldn't surprise me if Hasbro just doesn't feel like dealing with Toei when there is a recently unearthed test photo of an unused Princess Leia costume that needs a figure NOW. 

I thought I was going to be an impartial observer to this whole acquisition, but I guess I thought there would be a decent chance that any Saban-taintedlicensed series would have a chance of getting the Shout! DVD treatment. Alas, the one thing I cared about seems to be sailing away...

Fuck you, Hasbro. 




No comments:

Post a Comment