Friday, February 14, 2014

Power Rangers Costume Commentary Part 5 (RPM - Super Megaforce)

Power Rangers RPM (2009)

Busy, yet it balances. Ambitious design but more successful than Ninja Storm. 

Here we have another "car" theme, but this time they really rub it in your face. Headlights and tires on the helmets, a racing number, seatbelt sashes, tire cuffs, and guns shaped like gas pumps. The primary three even have road stripes running done the sleeves. Not to mention, that the helmets and racing numbers not only have the car motif, but also are shaped like their power animals. How they were able to cram in so much and still make it legible is beyond me. 

Once again these characters were released in phases allowing for more differences between then and yet it still feels uniform. The three primaries have their rubber tire cuffs while green and black who were introduced later in the season have their gold gear cuffs and silhouette breaking helmet fins. Then we have two shiny Sixth Rangers. Adding gold and silver to the mix makes the shimmering suits feel less out of place than if there had just been one.

Power Rangers Samurai (2011-2012)

It was a good move to follow up the such busy suits with something simpler in appearance. The torso is minimal, meant to resemble a traditional gi. Though with the gold insignia on the side, it kind of looks like the uniforms from classic Star Trek. 

The future of the franchise?

Their visors as stylized representations of Japanese kanji, meant to indicate their power elements; fire, water, air, forest and rock. They may not be instantly recognizable like the Zeo helmets, but I found they really grew on me after a while. The Red Ranger's especially, those eyes remind me of Spider-Man!

I especially love how their belts are actually functional. The buckle houses the power discs for their swords, theres a sword hilt on one side, and other side actually has a pouch pocket to hold their cell phones!  Wow, thats something much comic book superheroes don't even have today! 

Power Rangers Megaforce (2013)

The most notable thing about these suits is the abundance of white, but unlike other seasons such as Lost Galaxy or Overdrive, I think this works were they failed. Keeping their individual colors in the torso era and arms makes for easy identification. Unlike Lost Galaxy, the gold trim around their vests makes it feel like this part is supposed to end above the navel. Since the sleeves are colored, it does make sense to make sure the stomach has some white in it to keep the ratio at least 50-50. Plus the tops are styled to showcase the ribcage of their heroic builds!

The rangers also has big golden crests representing their power elements of air, earth or water. Each symbol is one part of the team insignia that graces their helmets, which has that unifying theme that shows each ranger is just one part of a greater whole, until you realize that blue is the odd one out, as he doesn't have a counterpart with the water symbol.

The helmets are unique as well. Rather than sculpting the front in the shape of an animal head, instead we have a black and white animal decal on either side. Since it doesn't overcrowd their forefront visage, I'm going to mark this unique style choice in the win column. 

Robo Knight reminds me a lot of Solaris Knight from Mystic Force. Not only because of the name, but because they look like they shop for codpieces at the same place. Though much like Solaris he is wearing a great deal more body armor so each though he wears the team symbol quite prominently, he feels like an outsider in the group shots. Though to be fair that is in keeping with his character.

I do like how the his power animal in incorporated into the whole body rather than just confined to the helmet, I imagine that was tough to pull off. The spiked shoulders also make for a very distinct silhouette. 

Power Rangers Super Megaforce (2014)

Yes, Super Megaforce, because calling it Super Mega Ultra Awesome Force, would have just sounded silly. 

Very direct, probably because they knew these suits would be sharing just as much screentime with the previous costumes so there was an effort to keep them from being complicated or too different from one another.

Theres a clear pirate motif with the jolly roger style insignia even if that theme goes without mention in the actual show. These easily contain the most black of any design we've seen. 

Personally I'm amused by how much the shape of the visors is clearly inspired by the visors from the 1970s superhero series "GoRanger", which started the whole Super Sentai franchise that this show is based on. 


  1. I missed the whole Power Ranger thing when I was a kid. Think I was just outside the age for its target audience. But this was a cool read.

  2. I really enjoyed reading all of this Erik! I learned a lot while also getting the chance to reminisce on some of the things I really liked about PR. I also really liked reading your thoughts on the design and artistic nature of the various seasons. Really fun and beyond cool! I see the new PR toy line in stores and I instantly think of you every time! Hope you are doing well.

    1. Writing about what I like and dislike about design helps me get a better feel of how I can use it in my own work, and if I can bring other people along for the ride, all the better! Thanks.


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