Power Rangers Samurai Retrofire Series
Jungle Fury Jungle Pride Megazord
By: Bandai America
Power Rangers is an institution in the United States. What started as a “port” of a Japanese superhero show or a Tokusatsu (which means “special filming” or “special effects”) has become a monumental powerhouse of entertainment. I have mentioned before that lately I’ve been smitten with Power Rangers in particular, and that the Jungle Fury series really caught my eye.
The interesting thing about Jungle Fury is that the more you watch it, the more you realize how much of it is based on Chinese culture and design—something very particular to this series and one of many things that drew me in. One thing that didn’t change as much was the idea of the Megazord.
Bandai has recently been re-imagining their Megazord designs with play in mind, altering their looks and adding much-needed articulation to make them honest-to-goodness action figures, dubbing them the Retrofire Series. Let’s see if Bandai figured out how to balance design and play with the Retrofire Jungle Pride Megazord from Jungle Fury.
Man, I thought I was out of the package reviewing business. Sheesh.
The big reason I’m showing off the box of this particular toy is that it’s pretty unique in the toy aisle. The older Super Legends Retrofire Series Megazords (Bandai, you’re killing me with these names, dude) came in a window box. Bandai decide to ditch that look with their newer figures and go for a clear plastic cylinder with a paper insert all ‘round.
It’s a pretty neat-looking box-design, but you can see from the top down that there’s a lot of wasted space inside. I suppose this is so they can fit pretty much any Retrofire Megazord (there’s a lot to choose from) in the packaging. It’s a bit wasteful, but you can cute the lid off and re-use it. Currently, Katastrophik and I are using it as a means of collecting bottle caps so my mom can stay in her MyCokeRewards club.
Love ya, Mom. Thanks for letting us watch Thundercats at your crib!
As I mentioned above, Bandai America has gone for action and poseability over gimmicks with the Retrofire Series and I have to admit that I think the Megazords have never looked better. Gone are the blocky suits designed to fit stunt men on the shows. Bandai has gone for a much more Yamaguchi Revoltech look, with skinny bodies, broad chests, and flair from head to toe.
They haven’t skimped on the details by any means, only streamlined them. The Jungle Pride Megazord is made up of three cats (red tiger, blue jaguar, yellow cheetah) and while it would have been very simple for Bandai to re-use the single leg mold, they didn’t. Each cat has its own unique curves, edges, and panel lines so that it captures the look of the show beautifully without having to be an exact representation.
The sculpted and painted details run down the side of the Megazord, almost emulating a sort of track suit. I always kind of thought of the Power Ranger designs in this show as an homage to Bruce Lee’s yellow suit from Game of Death. If you think of it that way, the Jungle Pride Megazord fits right in there sharing that same design element. I didn’t notice it so much on the show, but having a more athletic body forces those details to really jump out at you and they’re quite elegant.
While the sculpted detail does run onto the back of the figure, unfortunately the paint does not. It’s not a huge bother for me, but being that there are three very large screw holes in the back I could see it bothering others.
The Jungle Nunchuks (which are apparently made of all the cats’ tails – thanks, Wikipedia!) can be gripped tightly in either hand and are made of a much softer plastic to allow for some bend/poseability. If you look closely, those designs that are cat-specific also made their way onto the ‘chuks. While I originally thought the weapon was a three-section staff, it appears through some research that it is closer to the san-setsu-kon nunchaku. I believe the main difference is that the length of each nunchaku is shorter than the length of each section of staff. I could be wrong, so if anyone has any info I’d love to hear!
Another thing Retrofire allows Bandai to do is to experiment. The claws you see above (while beautifully ornate and well-suited to the design of the Jungle Pride) were never featured on Power Rangers Jungle Fury. They look great and add a lot of personality to the toy, but if you decide you don’t like them, Bandai also gave you the option to remove them. Sure, they leave a big, ugly H in the toy’s hands, but it’s the thought that counts. Just be mindful that the claws can be a little loose at times. I find that if you try to press them down flush against the hand they don’t make a very good connection. Pressing on the front of the hand (it will look like the back is making little-to-no contact) actually seems to make it much more secure.
Outside of painted details on the back and Jungle Nunchuks, I couldn’t really ask for more from the figure. The high-gloss paint gives it such a polished look and keeps it from looking like a cheap lump of plastic. They took a change on these re-designs, but man I’m telling you the Jungle Pride Megazord has never looked like he could pull off Kung Fu poses like he does now.
Speaking of which…
I am happy to tell you that Bandai really nailed the articulation on this figure. The Retrofire Series so far seems to have articulation issues across the board. Basically, Bandai doesn’t have a “set” idea of how the Megazords should move. Some have great inward elbow articulation but no biceps swivels, for instance. Generally, the articulation seems to be designed around particular weapon finishing moves the Megazords do so that fans can replicate them. Luckily, Jungle Pride Megazord never relied greatly on its weapon, so it gets the best of the lot!
From top to bottom, we have a ball and socket neck, swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, swivel-hinge-swivel hips (a la Revoltech joints), hinged knees, and hinges ankles. The shoulder pads are floating and actually clip onto the bar going into the body from the hinge, so they won’t hinder rotation at all. The neck has a decent range of motion, and from my experience is much better than most Bandai America releases. Not perfect, but good. The skirt is made from a softer, rubbery plastic that allows for great rotation in the hips, which have a great range including perfect splits. The best joints by far are the knees, which are single pin but designed in conjunction with the thigh to allow for almost double-hinged ranges. It’s design on the level of the original Play Arts figures, who didn’t need double joints to reach extreme poses.
I could go on an on about how poseable this guy is, but my pictures can do most of the work themselves. Part of the allure is that none of the joints seem hindered by the sculpt. While they aren’t anything special by today’s standards, their design allows for excellent range. The other half of the allure is that I have never seen a Megazord who could move like this. Even being slimmed down, I never feel like he is anything less than a Titan in my hands and the excitement brought forth from that makes me feel like a kid again. I literally cannot keep myself from posing this guy.
If you have any flight/aerial stands around, the fun gets exponents behind it. While the Jungle Pride Megazord doesn’t necessarily fly on the show, he does spend a lot of time doing complex aerial attacks that stands really help with.
Honestly, there are only two things more I could have hoped for at this price point: a ball-jointed torso and side-to-side swivels in the ankles. The ball torso would be perfect for tweaking your Kung Fu poses to perfection, while the foot swivels would allow for balanced side-kicks. The feet are set on a bit of a slant so that he’s flat-footed when his legs are spread. It’s not a huge deal until you try to kick and realize he can’t balance on one foot. Not the end of the world, but swivels would have made him much more versatile here. But that’s wishful thinking. Understand that these are the only two things I would add to make this toy PERFECT. I really love it that much.
Unfortunately, I believe both of those joints are present in that SDCC Voltron that Newt reviewed and now I want one more than ever. Where did they go, by the way? Anyone notice that all the SDCC stuff is suddenly sold out now? Could have sworn a lot was still available just last night.
I’ll leave you with one last shot, because it’s awesome:
Value naturally will depend on whether or not you’re familiar with the series, but I think the design and play of the toy is strong enough that if you like giant robots, cool designs, or fun action toys then you will be pleased with this figure.
Jungle Pride Megazord scales in about the 5” range, which is cool because it not only makes him fit in with standard 5” Power Rangers villains (who seem to grow to 200 feet about every episode), but also because it makes him slightly shorter than your 6” and 7” monsters for fun fighting. I kinda like it when my robot hero is the little guy.
I believe the original Retrofire Megazords were widely available, but I’ve only been seeing this series at Toys R Us so far. The price tag is $10.99 and I honestly think it’s worth it, but I’m way biased here.
For most people, your target price for this guy would be closer to $8.99, but with 4” toys climbing up to that price at an alarming rate I don’t think 11 bucks is so unbelievable given the new sculpt and design.
Aesthetics: Adults: 9, Kids: 10
Articulation: Adults: 9, Kids: 10
Value: Adults: 8, Kids: 7
Overall: Adults: 8.7, Kids: 9
The Retrofire Series Jungle Pride Megazord is an incredibly fun figure to pose and play with, and I have a blast with him every time I see him. He’s skinny and cool and looks like he can really pull off all those cool poses you can put him in. The only reason I knocked the value down for kids is that this Megazord is an action figure, which may conflict with their ideas about what a Megazord is supposed to be. Personally, I think it’s one of the coolest designs I’ve seen since the original MMPR Megazord and don’t have much use for combiners who can’t be posed for their gimmicks. Your mileage, of course, will vary
Jungle Pride Megazord is sure to please robot fans and Power Rangers fans alike. If you see him at the store and can’t make up your mind, give me a call. You can come over and play with mine.
But just for a second.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.