Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 1: Return of the Prism

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When POWER RANGERS: DINO SUPER CHARGE ended, I wasn't quite sure how well my kids would take it.  They love the POWER RANGERS franchise in all of its iterations, but for the most part they watch them on Netflix.  DINO CHARGE/DINO SUPER CHARGE was the first POWER RANGERS series they watched week by week as they aired.  But, when the last episode aired, Nickelodeon aired a commercial for POWER RANGERS: NINJA STEEL, and my kids were all excited about the new series.  My six-year old son and I sat down to watch the premiere as it aired, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

NINJA STEEL starts about ten years ago.  A powerful artifact called the Ninja Nexus Prism crash lands on Earth.  It is found by a ninja master who has two sons, Brady and Aiden.  The Prism is covered in a mysterious metal that the ninja master names Ninja Steel.  He scrapes off the metal and finds a Ninja Steel Star inside.  An alien named Galvanax arrives to recover the Prism.  The ninja master sends Aiden into hiding with the Ninja Steel.  The Prism turns the master into the Red Ranger, but Galvanax strikes him down.  The Star is split into six individual Ninja Stars and sealed inside the Prism.  Galvanax takes the Prism and Brody and returns to space.

Ten years later, Galvanax is running an intergalactic fighting competition to find someone who can penetrate the Prism and get the Ninja Stars.  So far, this has been a bust.  One of his lieutenants finds out when the Prism had originally crashed to Earth it was covered in Ninja Steel.  Galvanax decides to go to Earth to find this Ninja Steel, planning on using it to make new Stars.  When Brody hears this, he recruits his friends Redbot and the shapeshifter Mick to escape with him down to Earth, knowing that his brother Aiden is the only way to find the Ninja Steel.  They manage to make it down to Earth with the Prism, though they get separated from Mick. 

Two students from a nearby school see the crash, Preston an amateur magician and Sarah, the new girl at school who seems to be an inventor.  Preston and Sarah head over to check it out.  Brody is attacked by one of Galvanax's Lieutenants.  The Ninja Steel Stars start to glow.  Brody, Preston, and Sarah are able to reach into the Prism pulling out three of the stars and are transformed into the Red, Blue, and Pink Power Rangers.  They defeat the Lieutenant with their new powers.  Moments later, the Prism suddenly comes to life and speeds off to find three more Power Rangers.  To Be Continued.

Like DINO CHARGE, they decided to only introduce part of the cast in the first episode.  I think that is a good choice as it allows each character to stand out a bit more than just "here are five teenagers (with attitude)."  We do get a glimpse of the characters that will become the Yellow and White Rangers, but it's just in passing. 

There was a lot going on in this one.  We get a lengthy flashback to set the stage to start the episode.  Alien shapeshifters and robots, not to mention what seems to be alien reality TV. We also got comic relief characters again in the school jock and his whiny little assistant. But considering how much was going on, I thought it was all balanced pretty well and a solid first episode.  

There was so much packed into this episode, we didn't get to see any Zords or a Morphing Sequence.  It's sort of odd to have an episode of Power Rangers where no one yelled "It's Morphin Time!" They also made it seem like this was a world that had never had Power Rangers before, which I thought was interesting in itself.

As for the cast, I thought they did a good job showing who these characters are.  Brody (played by William Shewfelt), Preston (played by Peter Sudarso), and Sarah (played by Chrystiane Lopes)  all had pretty defined personalities in just the quick time we saw them. I also loved that they made Sarah an inventor, building her own hoverboard...a real hovering skateboard.  In most of the POWER RANGERS series I've seen, the team's inventor was a guy.  DINO CHARGE also had the two smart members of the team being female. 

I also really liked the costume design this year.  Though I am still real curious what's going on with the strange assortment of Zords (not seen in this episode other than in the opening).  I had mentioned this in a column a few weeks ago.  Robot, dragon, bear, dump truck, and train. At first this seemed pretty random.  But I think Brody's friend RedBot would have some connection to the Robot Zord.  Plus, when we first see Preston, he is doing a magic trick that turns him into a dragon (well, a guy in a dragon costume).  And Sarah refers to her hoverboard as a "train" on two different occassions in the opening episode.   Not sure if this is just an Easter Egg, or hinting at the Zords' forms being chosen by the Power Rangers.

I also thought Galvanax has a pretty cool look to him.  Though we didn't get much  of a sense of what his end goals were here beyond "looking for power."  Hopefully, they will give him a little more development as the series goes one.

I'm also real curious how the "reality show" aspect ties into the series.  This was hyped up quite a bit in the previews for NINJA STEEL.  I have no idea what to expect from that...

But hey, we have a new Power Rangers series, and my son and I found the first episode pretty entertaining.  I did think the first episode of DINO CHARGE was a little stronger, but NINJA STEEL is still off to a good start.  

OH!  Two last minute additions to this review:

  • I am assuming Aiden will be the sixth ranger (I think it's Gold again this season).  
  • Nick really needs to update their commercial bumps.  They kept saying Dino Super Charge, which was annoying.  
4.0 / 5.0