REVIEW: POWER RANGERS SUPER LEGENDS LIGHTSPEED RESCUE TITANIUM RANGER
Power Rangers may not be an action figure line that immediately leaps to mind when one thinks of "chase" or "collectible" figures, but for the past couple of years, Bandai has put some "blasts from the past" into whatever major Power Rangers concept happens to have dominance in the toy aisle at any given time.
During the run of Power Rangers Jungle Fury, they released some really nice figures of the White and Green Rangers from Mighty Morphin, the Gold Ranger from Zeo, and even Lord Zedd himself. During the course of Power Rangers RPM, there were two versions of the Green Samurai Ranger from Ninja Storm turned out, and this guy -- the TITANIUM RANGER from POWER RANGERS LIGHTSPEED RESCUE. All of these were marketed on special packaging, and carried the "Super Legends" name, which is sort of an umbrella term that Bandai uses for throwing every existing Power Rangers concept together.
You know, if memory serves, the Titanium Ranger was an elusive figure even when Lightspeed Rescue was the main concept at the time. And while most of the "chase" figures of the past couple of years were fairly readily available, the Titanium Ranger -- well, might have been a victim of bad timing, as much as anything.
Power Rangers RPM, as a concept, came to a rather abrupt halt when Bandai switched gears and brought out their new (and smaller) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line. Remaining RPM toys disappeared rather quickly, most of them being clearanced, and I tend to be of the opinion that the Titanium Ranger was part of some assortment that very nearly didn't make it out. And honestly, I'd just about given up hope.
I don't usually reference the stores in which I find merchandise, unless it's a store exclusive, but in this case, I think it's worth a mention. Ever since the most unfortunate demise of K*B Toys, certain bargain/discount stores such as Ross, Big Lots, Marshalls, and TJMaxx, have developed very interesting toy departments. You never quite know what's going to turn up, and if you see something you like, you'd better get it then and there, but some of these stores have proven quite useful recently. And it was there that I finally discovered the Titanium Ranger.
So who is the Titanium Ranger? Well, the character actually has a very interesting history. He is the "sixth Ranger" from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. By the time this particular concept rolled around, it had become customary, and even expected, that there would in any given Power Rangers storyline, be five established Rangers, and then later on a sixth one, perhaps slightly different from the others, would turn up.
There was just one problem with Lightspeed Rescue, or, more to the point, to the Japanese Super Sentai concept -- Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGoFive -- upon which it was based. There was no sixth Ranger. According to one online source, which I'll get to momentarily, there were plans for one, but it never happened. So technically speaking, the Titanium Ranger is the first strictly American-made Power Ranger! And that must've made splicing the footage together a rather interesting challenge...
Although this Titanium Ranger figure is new, the concept from which he is from dates back to 2000, so I think some background information on both Lightspeed Rescue and the Titanium Ranger is called for:
It was the first incarnation of Power Rangers to have the Rangers' identities to be known to the public from the onset, as opposed to previous incarnations where a Ranger's identity was to be kept secret, revealed only in extreme circumstances. The series is unique as it was the first where the Ranger's powers, Zords and weapons were man-made and had no mystical or extraterrestrial origin whatsoever.
Lightspeed Rescue takes place in the fictitious city of Mariner Bay, California, which was built on an ancient demon burial ground. When the demons threaten to rise again, a government organization called Lightspeed Rescue, headed by Captain William Mitchell, recruits four civilians and his own daughter to defend the city. Each of the four civilians chosen had a special area of expertise: Carter Grayson, the Red Lightspeed Ranger, was a fire fighter in the local fire department; Chad Lee, the Blue Lightspeed Ranger, worked as a lifeguard and marine animal trainer at a local aquarium and a marine amusement park; Joel Rawlings, the Green Lightspeed Ranger, was a stunt pilot; Kelsey Winslow, the Yellow Lightspeed Ranger, was an extreme sports athlete; and Dana Mitchell, the Captain's daughter, who agreed to become the Pink Lightspeed Ranger, was a nurse and practiced medical arts. The five Power Rangers were aided by a team of scientists and engineers led by Miss Angela Fairweather, and operated out of the Lightspeed Aquabase, an underwater military compound that also deters the hydrophobic demons from directly attacking the base.
The five Rangers would be joined by Captain Mitchell's (long thought to be dead) son, Ryan Mitchell, who would become the Titanium Ranger. Together, the six Rangers would prevail against the demon forces time after time, culminating in a final showdown where, in the Power Rangers tradition, much of the weapons and other equipment that was used by the Power Rangers over the series was destroyed.
In addition, Lightspeed Rescue featured a reunion reappearance of characters from Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, when the villainess Trakeena comes to Earth to destroy it and the Lightspeed Rangers team up with the Galaxy Rangers. (I love team-up episodes like that...)
As to the Titanium Ranger, Ryan Mitchell is the son to Captain Mitchell and brother to Pink Lightspeed Ranger, Dana Mitchell. He is the Titanium Ranger, portrayed by Rhett Fisher.
When Ryan was very young, he was involved in an accident along with his father, Captain Mitchell, and his sister, Dana, and all three were suspended over a cliff. Captain Mitchell had a secure grasp of Dana, but Ryan was hanging on by Mitchell's shoe. The spirit of Diabolico appeared and offered a deal to captain Mitchell: Diabolico would save the child, but in payment he would raise the child himself, and Captain Mitchell would not see him again until his 20th birthday. Captain Mitchell at first refused, but relented when Ryan began to fall. Mitchell later said that it was the hardest decision he had ever made.
Ryan was thus raised by the demon Diabolico, and taught him that his father had rejected him, favoring Dana. Diabolico instructed Ryan to steal the prototype Titanium Morpher from the Lightspeed Base and destroy the other Power Rangers (including his sister Dana) with the Titanium Ranger power. He nearly succeeded, but Ms. Fairweather brought out the V-Lancers, which overpowered Ryan. Just as the Power Rangers were about to destroy Ryan, however, Captain Mitchell (recognizing Ryan's visible eyes) called them back and told them the back story. After some soul-searching, Ryan rejects Diabolico and joins the Lightspeed Rescue team. In response, Diabolico placed a cobra tattoo on his back, which would inch up if he morphed and kill him when it reached Ryan's neck. Ryan manages to find the original cobra and destroy the curse.
After a while, Ryan left to find more information about the demons and find a way to defeat them. This was because of the lack of a storyline in the Sentai footage.
Ryan shows up again to help the Lightspeed and Time Force Rangers to battle Vypra.
Originally the Titanium Ranger suit was going to be used in GoGoFive as Go Silver, but was cut because of budget problems. This makes him the first non-Super Sentai Ranger.
He was the fourth ranger who had once been evil and fought against the rangers after Tommy Oliver, Katherine Hillard and Karone. However, he is the second to be evil and fight the others at first in his Ranger form, the first being Tommy.
So, how's the figure? Very cool. The basic construction design follows that of the RPM Rangers, much as the Green Samurai Ranger also did. In the same way, the "chase" figures from the previous year were designed along the same lines as the Jungle Fury Rangers. Granted, there's never really been a consistent figure design from year to year. The closest that has ever been seen in that regard were the 15th Anniversary Red Rangers.
The Titanium Ranger stands about 5-3/4" in height. This is a little short relative to some Ranger lines over the years, but it was pretty much with RPM that a sort of "shrinkage" began. The figure has a good overall design, and excellent articulation. The Titanium Ranger is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, glove tops (substituting for wrists), legs, knees, and boot tops (substituting for an ankle rotation).
If one looks at the other Lightspeed Rangers, one takes note immediately of how different the Titanium Ranger's uniform is. Granted, the similarity of "additional" Rangers to the core group has varied over the years. The main team of Lightspeed Rangers wore uniforms that featured, of course, their primary color (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, or Pink), with a bold pattern on the front of the shirt that looked, as best as I can describe it, like four rays of white emanating from the center of the chest, outward in a wide pattern. Somewhat curiously, the pattern was not duplicated on the back of the costumes. The faceplates of their helmets had fairly basic shapes, and were black.
The Titanium Ranger's helmet visor is a black "V" shape, which is reportedly a nod to the Super Sentai concept from which the Lightspeed Rescue Rangers hail, which while written in English is "GoGoFive", is also known as "GoGoV", substituting a Roman numeral. The Titanium Ranger's visor reportedly looks very much like the "V" that was used in the Japanese concept's logo.
The Titanium Ranger does not have the radiating white "rays" on his shirt. Rather, his uniform is mostly silver, with a gold "T" shape on the front. The combination of silver and gold is really quite striking. The Titanium Ranger also has gold flared shoulder details, something not shared by the other Lightspeed Rescue Rangers, as well as gold details on his helmet, and around his boots and gloves. He has a gold belt with a complex buckle design that is similar to that of the other Lightspeed Rescue Rangers. His gloves and boots are white, which is in keeping with the other Lightspeed Rescue Rangers. Credit to Bandai, they did paint the figure's details on the back, something they don't always do. Granted, there wasn't a lot to be painted, since the "T" shape doesn't carry over, but at least they painted the back of the belt.
The Titanium Ranger comes with two accessories -- a fancy, futuristic, high-tech looking axe (of all things!), and a similarly fancy, futuristic, high-tech looking blaster gun of some sort -- which at least makes a little more sense. Okay, the Power Rangers over the years have used a variety of weapons -- but an axe!?
So, what's my final word here? How about a sigh of relief, mixed with a certain amount of personal satisfaction? I'd been trying to find this guy for months when I finally encountered him, and even then I nearly missed him. It was literally, "Hey, wait a second, that Power Ranger has a SILVER uniform...!" As such, I'm not going to say that this particular Ranger is going to be easy to find. Poor guy just can't catch a break. He was tough to find even when Lightspeed Rescue was the dominant Power Rangers concept on the shelves, and he's no easier now that he's a "chase" figure. But, if I can find him, you can find him, and if you're any sort of Power Rangers fan and collector, you'll certainly want to add him to your collection.
The POWER RANGERS SUPER LEGENDS LIGHTSPEED RESCUE TITANIUM RANGER definitely has my highest recommendation!