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By Thomas Wheeler

One of the hallmarks of any Power Rangers concept -- besides, of course, a group of five or six young martial artists dressed up as color-coded super-heroes -- are the fact that these young heroes all drive or pilot Zords. These are fancy, futuristic vehicles that reflect the theme of the individual Rangers to whom they belong.

Additionally, these vehicles can typically combine into what is commonly known as a MegaZord. This is a giant humanoid robot that is called into action whenever one of the bad guys unleashes one of his super-sized monsters on some hapless city in order to re-enact a level of urban damage of the type usually seen in the average Godzilla movie.

No great surprise, these Zords also sell more Power Rangers toys. While they're not generally manufactured to scale with the Ranger figures, even though the Rangers have been reduced to a four-inch height in recent years, it would still make for a prohibitively large and expensive MegaZord, the average MegaZord is still a very large toy, and I simply don't have money or room for the things. They're very impressive and well made, and if you're a Power Rangers fan with the capability to add them to your collection, I certainly recommend them, but they're not really on my shopping list.

In recent years, Bandai has found a way to accommodate those of us who like the designs of the MegaZords, but simply don't have the resources to buy and display the big ones. They have produced a series of action figures based on the MegaZords that are not battery operated.

They're very reasonably priced, and nicely articulated, and I've brought a number of them into my Power Rangers collection, although I don't have the complete series. When Bandai first started producing them, they released quite a number of them, based not only on the then-current Rangers concept, but several from previous Rangers series. These proved rather elusive. I even turned one up years later, which I had never seen before, at a clearance store, of all places. So, for the most part, I've tended to stick with the current concept.

As of this writing, the current Power Rangers concept is known as POWER RANGERS MEGAFORCE, and there are two distinct MegaZords which have been released in this action figure format. This review will take a look at the GOSEI GREAT MEGAZORD. This is the MegaZord that represents the combined form of the five smaller Zords that the individual Rangers utilize.

Let's consider the backstory of Power Rangers MegaForce, and, briefly, the five young Rangers that pilot the Gosei Grand MegaZord, and then have a look at the MegaZord's history itself.

Power Rangers Megaforce is the 20th season of Power Rangers, as such celebrating the concept's 20th Anniversary. The series is primarily based on Tensou Sentai Goseiger. This is the Japanese series from which Megaforce is based, and it originally aired in 2010 in Japan.

Megaforce features Gosei, hence part of the name of the MegaZord, obviously, a supernatural being who has protected the earth for centuries with his robotic assistant, Tensou. But when the evil Warstar aliens begin their massive invasion, Gosei calls upon "five teenagers with attitude" to form the ultimate team -- the Power Rangers Megaforce!

When the teens morph into Power Rangers, they gain superhuman strength, agility, and mastery over martial arts. In addition to defending earth against the Warstar aliens, other monstrous factions emerge to challenge the Megaforce Rangers. Under the leadership of a malevolent alien, toxic beasts rise from their slimy underground lair to attack the Earth and a ruthless robot army launches an offensive from their deep sea compound. In order to face these new threats, the Power Rangers Megaforce unlock powerful battle modes to fight their adversaries. The main villain is named Vrak, and his rather generic minions are called, of all things, Loogies.

Anyway, it should be noted that the individual Rangers are often referred to as "Megaforce" - followed by their respective color. Thus the Red Ranger would be known as "Megaforce Red", and so forth.

The Red Ranger is named Troy Burrows. Before becoming a Power Ranger, Troy was a martial artist. During his teenage years, he receives visions about the Legend War - an armada of Power Rangers battling an unknown force, and among them, a mysterious new warrior. One day before school, he receives another dream of the Legend War. He then wakes up to find out he is late for his first day of school. Later that day, Gosei summons him. He notes how the Rangers lining the walls resemble those from his dreams. Gosei gives him the power of the Red Ranger and soon he leads the new Power Rangers into battle. He succeeds in the battle and takes kindly to his role as defender of Earth.

Troy Burrows is a born leader, though he may not know it yet. His tough upbringing made him responsible and focused, and it shows in his incredible martial arts skills. As the new kid in town, he's kind of a loner at the start, but makes fast friends when he joins up with the Megaforce. Troy is compassionate and loyal, and a true champion of the underdog. But mess with the Red Ranger's friends, and you're in for a fierce fight with his Dragon Zord!

The Black Ranger is Jake Holling. Jake has a crush on Gia, the Yellow Ranger. One day after school, Jake went to Ernie's Brainfreeze to order two ice creams for Gia and himself. At the same time, Jake, along with four other teenagers, were chosen by Gosei to defend Earth from the Warstar Aliens.

Jake Holling is outgoing, optimistic, fun-loving, proud, and fearless when it comes to both the battlefield and social situations. He loves being the Black Ranger and saving the world with the help of his Snake Zord, but sometimes he wishes he could make his superhero identity public. His one weak spot is his huge crush on the Yellow Ranger, but he's determined to make her fall for him one day.

The Blue Ranger is Noah Carver. Before becoming a Ranger, Noah was interested in science. During his teenage years, Noah, along with four teenagers, were chosen by Gosei to protect the Earth from the Warstar Aliens. He first fought with his team against Scaraba, whom they eventually defeat.

One day in school when Jake asked Noah to fix his Snake Ax, Noah couldn't lift it, making him doubt his abilities. Then Jake told him that "If you believe in yourself, you can do anything". After school, when Virox (a monster sent by Vrak and Admiral Malkor) attacked the city, Noah and Jake decided to deal with him personally while the other Rangers quarantine the humans who got infected by Virox. Remembering what Jake told him about believing himself, Noah lifted the Snake Ax and defeated Virox. When Virox enlarged, the other Rangers helped Noah and Jake defeat him. As a result Noah gained the ability to summon the Sea Brothers Zord. The next day, Noah fixed the Snake Ax, making it lighter, and gave it back to Jake. When Jake said he won't get used to the Snake Ax being lighter, Noah told him to believe in himself just like Jake told Noah.

Noah Carver may be a tech geek, but his wits make a fierce weapon against Earth's alien invaders.

The Yellow Ranger is Gia Morgan. Gia is labeled as "Miss Perfect", and it's hard to argue with that. Pretty, personable, strict, and a powerful martial arts fighter, Gia is as intelligent as she is confident. She's been best friends with Emma, the Pink Ranger, since they were little, and that's not going to stop just because they're in different social cliques now. The Yellow Ranger's constant success can be frustrating to her teammates, but she and her Tiger Zord are dependable to the end!

Finally, the Pink Ranger is Emma Goodall. Emma was taking photos of butterflies and insect life when she came upon Creepox at the edge of a forest. To her surprise (as if she hadn't had enough of one right there...!), she was teleported to meet Gosei and asked to become the new Pink Ranger.

In the episode "Harmony and Dizchord", it is revealed that she has a beautiful singing voice that she gets from her mom and when she sings, the song reminds her of her mom and then nature around her. With the help of Troy, she uses her singing to counteract Dizchord's attack.

Emma is totally in tune with nature, and always on the lookout to protect the environment. So when aliens start attacking her home planet, she takes it personally. Well, really, who wouldn't, in tune with nature or not!?

As to the Gosei Great MegaZord, this is the first Megazord used by the Megaforce Rangers, a combination of the five individual Mechazords.

The Rangers ready their Gosei Mechazord cards that read, "Gosei (whatever their zord is called)". The Rangers activate them, summoning their Mechazords. The Rangers lock their morphers onto the Zords' dashboards once entering the cockpits. When combined the Rangers teleport to a more central cockpit using the same teleportation technology Gosei uses for transport.

The Gosei Great MegaZord is able to fire its Zord component heads like projectiles, and control to execute the Mega Punch and the Mega Kick. It is also armed with a large sword that it uses to execute the Mega Strike slash attack.

The Gosei Great Megazord was always part of the Mega Rangers battle system. However, they didn't use their Mechazords until their encounter with Yuffo. They had defeated Yuffo, but Vrak's Zombats arrived and made him giant-sized. With his power to separate into saucer sections, Gosei told the Rangers to call on their Mechazords for battle.

As to the individual components, the Gosei Dragon Power Card summons the Red Ranger's Gosei Dragon Mechazord's head from the Command Center. It fully forms by combining with an airliner body and uses its fire breath and missile in combat. It forms the upper body and head of Gosei Great Megazord and the waist of Gosei Great Grand Megazord. It's tail also becomes a sword to the Gosei Great Megazord and lower staff to the Gosei Great Grand Megazord.

The Gosei Phoenix Power Card summons the Pink Panger's Gosei Phoenix Mechazord's head from the Command Center. It fully forms by combining with an F-15 fighter jet as a body, which can fire a beam from its mouth. It forms Gosei Great MegaZord's left arm and Gosei Great Grand Megazord's left shoulder.

The Gosei Snake Power Card summons the Black Ranger's Gosei Snake Mechazord's head from the Command Center. It fully forms by combining with a train as a body. It forms the waist, right leg, and upper left leg of the Gosei Great MegaZord.

The Gosei Tiger Power Card summons the Yellow Ranger's Gosei Tiger Mechazord's head from the Command Center. It fully forms by combining with a bulldozer as a body and It forms the lower left leg of Gosei Great MegaZord.

The Gosei Shark Power Card summons the Blue Ranger's Gosei Shark Mechazord's head from the Command Center. It fully forms by combining with a submarine as a body, which can attack with torpedoes. It forms Gosei Great Megazord's right arm and Gosei Great Grand Megazord's right shoulder.

So, how's the figure? Extremely impressive. In some respects, I am reminded of another line, long since discontinued, sadly, that Bandai produced, based upon another hugely popular Japanese anime concept known as GUNDAM. For a number of years, Gundam had an American presence on the Cartoon Network, and in the toy stores. Although many Gundam toys were model kits, there was a line of straightforward action figures (known in Japan as "Mobile Suit in Action"). These were amazingly well-detailed and superbly articulated action figures, and I still miss them.

At the very least, they certainly proved that Bandai knows how to do extremely cool Japanese robot action figures, and while the Power Rangers' MegaZords are, perhaps, a little less serious in appearance than the average Gundam, some of the same basic principles apply.

The figure stands 5-1/2" to the top of its head. The very flared shoulders give it a little more height, to about 5-3/4". As one might expect the Gosei Great MegaZord has a very Japanese anime design to it, and since it's comprised of the five individual Zords from the series, it's just a little -- asymmetrical in some respects, but honestly, it's not as peculiar in this regard as some MegaZord's I've seen over the years.

The head and chest, being the central part, are of course based on the Red Ranger's Zord. The head, not unusually for an anime robot, has a silver face, with blue eyes, bordered in black, and appears to be wearing a red helmet. An ornate gold emblem that appears on the Rangers' helmets also appears on the helmet of the MegaZord. There's a low silver fin that goes over the top of the head, and there are rather prominent silver wings out to the sides.

The torso of the Gosei Great MegaZord is very prominent, and juts out with the head of the Dragon MechaZord becoming the chest. It looks like it would be rather inconvenient in combat, but one also should recall that the armored forms of some of the Rangers themselves also feature this strangely prominent, jutting armor.

Perched on the shoulders of the Gosei Great MegaZord are two long, angled, flat wings, red in color with gold trim. The abdomen and lower torso of the Gosei Great MegaZord are mostly black, with a gold "buckle" that also duplicates the ornate design of the emblem on the helmet.

The arms are derived from the Blue Shark MechaZord and the Pink Phoenix MechaZord. Interestingly, the upper arms are identical in shape except for their colors. The lower arms really reflect the respective animals, with the lower arm showcasing the body, and the hand being derived from the head, and especially the mouth, of the respective MechaZord. Additionally, the left arm, based on the Phoenix MechaZord, is actually mostly white, not pink, although there is some pink trim on the back of the lower arm.

The legs are based on the Black Snake MechaZord and the Yellow Tiger MechaZord. While the upper legs are silver, the lower legs are reflective of their respective colors, and yet, as with the arms, they are structurally identical to each other, with massive knees and rather fancy -- kneecaps, for lack of a better term. It is the feet that reflect the specific animal types of the respective Zords which comprise them.

As a result, although the Gosei Great MegaZord has a somewhat asymmetrical look to it, as many MegaZords do, it's not as extreme as some, because of the identical configurations of the upper arms, and lower legs. Really, it's only in color where these differ, with the real differences being restricted to the lower arms, and the feet.

Paint work on the figure is extensive and very precise. This is something that Bandai specializes in. I've often said that they're better at "coloring within the lines" than anybody else, when they're really paying attention, and that's certainly the case here. The worst thing I can say about Bandai is that occasionally they have a nasty habit of not fully painting all the details on the backs of their action figures, but if they missed anything on the Gosei Great MegaZord, I'm not seeing it.

I'm reasonably certain that the arms were molded in their respective colors -- no small feat in and of itself these days -- so they are mostly either white or blue, with appropriate detail painted on in silver, pink, and gold. The shoulders, and I believe the head, were molded in red, while the torso was molded in black, with the chest painted in red, with silver, gold, and a bit of green trim. Very impressively done.

The lower legs were both molded in black -- appropriate for the right leg, but obviously a lot of yellow paint had to be applied to the left leg, and I'm impressed that this was done so well. In my experience, painting yellow over black is one of the toughest paint jobs to achieve on an action figure.

Let's discuss articulation. One thing that impressed me greatly about this particular MegaZord action figure was that it was very consistently articulated. This has not always been the case with these MegaZord figures, especially with regard to the arms. I've picked up some of these, and maybe one arm moves outward and the other doesn't, or one has a swivel arm and other other doesn't, or one moves at the elbow and the other doesn't. I'll admit that the reasons for any of these unequal distributions of articulation has always eluded me. And annoyed me just a bit sometimes, too.

Fortunately, the Gosei Great MegaZord is both extensively and consistently articulated. It is poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, upper leg swivels, knees, and -- not so much ankles but the fronts of the feet.

The Gosei Great MegaZord also comes with its sword, a very fancy, futuristic, and mean-looking thing that's mostly red with a bit of black trim. There's also a card included with the figure that can be used with the Power Rangers Action Card Game.

So, what's my final word? The MegaZords are just as significant a part of any Power Rangers concept as the Rangers themselves. But for some of us, for one reason or another, it's just not feasible to buy the really massive MegaZord toys. Fortunately, Bandai has provided these excellent action figure alternatives, and they're really great figures in their own right, even if you can add the big ones to your collection.

Certainly the Gosei Great MegaZord is one of the most impressive ones I've encountered to date. It's superbly well-detailed -- check out all of the carefully sculpted lines, ridges, emblems, and much more! It's consistently articulated, something I especially appreciate, and the paintwork is colorful and neatly done. If you're a fan of Power Rangers MegaForce, or just the Power Rangers in general, this is definitely a cool addition to the line.

The GOSEI GREAT MEGAZORD action figure from POWER RANGERS MEGAFORCE definitely has my highest recommendation!