In my travels across this mysterious cyber-terrain folks call the "Internet", I've stopped into many a 'net saloon -- they call 'em "forums" -- and evesdropped on the conversations going on at a number of crowded and not-so-crowded tables -- they call 'em "threads". And wouldn't you know it, many of those threads were less in the vein of civilized discussions and more akin to down-and-dirty barroom brawls, with people slugging it out in text as they argued about the answer to the following question: Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- which superhero team is tops? Members of Ranger and Turtle camps alike rack their brains to invent arguments to prove their heroes are the best, and many of these are quite compelling. For example, I've encountered threads that went something like this...
Turtle Lover: THE NINJA TURTLES ARE NINJAS!!!
Ranger Freak: SO? THE POWER RANGERS HAVE GIANT ROBOTS!!!
Turtle Lover: BUT NOT THEIR OWN CEREAL!!!
Ranger Freak: AND YET THEY LACKED THE DIVERSITY OF THE RANGERS' TEAM!!!
Turtle Lover: BUT THE TURTLES WERE SOCIOECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED!!!
Ranger Freak: LIAR! LIAR! THEY HAD A BLIMP!!!
Turtle Lover: YEAH, BUT THEY LIVED IN A SEWER!!!
Ranger Freak: OUR CAPSLOCK KEYS ARE BROKEN. :(
So it goes, not to mention the numerous arguments about what would happen if the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles actually met. Rangers would step on the Turtles with their Megazord, Turtles would go Saint like in the anime, blah blah blah. But why must there be such argument, people? Why must we fight amongst ourselves concerning the superiority of one fictional superhero team over another? If the Power Rangers and the Ninja Turtles somehow came together, would they really battle it out in a fighting game of epic proportions to determine who's best? Hey, waitasecond... they have met before! Seriously. So let's find out what happened in today's review of "Power Rangers in Space: Shell Shocked"!
As the episode begins, the Turtles appear in an abandoned alley. We've got the classic four -- Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo -- but as these are the Turtles of Saban's "Next Mutation" series, note that Venus de Milo is also in attendance for the historic meeting with the Power Rangers. We've already done the introduction thing, so I'll skip the explanation of the "Next Mutation" (if you're interested, MIKEYSTMNT.COM has a pretty good series overview), but yeah, there was a girl Turtle and she returned to the fold in NM, injecting the sewer lair with lots of gender tensions and (hetero-) sexual innuendo. Hey, they were eighteen at this point...
Anyway, after a moment, Astronema and her band of costumed freak things show up. Who's Astronema, you ask? Venus furnishes an answer -- "the princess of evil" -- at which point Michelangelo hops forward and says, "And the very hot princess!" Yep. And then one of the goofy monsters threatens him with a quivering rubber dagger. Astronema proceeds to explain that the Turtles are going to destroy the Power Rangers for her, prompting Raphael to walk forward and essentially say, "Uh, you stupid cunt, the Power Rangers aren't real." I have no idea why the Turtles should know who Astronema is and yet believe that her main enemies don't exist, nor do I have any idea what the face she makes in response is supposed to indicate. "And even if they did exist," quoth Leonardo, "why would we want to destroy them?"
Aaaand there's your answer. Astronema zaps the Turtles, their eyes glow purple, and now they're evil and shit. OH NO!
And there's the episode title, "Shell Shocked". In space, the Power Rangers are... wait. In space? Why the hell are they in space? I know the show is called "Power Rangers in Space", but this is too stupid. Here, let's go through a listing of the various Ranger shows.
"Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers"
And that's not even counting the various movies (the second of which was dubbed Power Rangers Turbo) and specials. Holy fuck! The Power Rangers have had more variations and "upgrades" than Street Fighter II. Anyway, in space, the Power Rangers are gawking at their new "galaxy gliders", which will enable them to surf through space, when suddenly the spaceship's talking computer (all spaceships have talking computers), D.E.C.A., informs them that a giant monster is attacking a power plant (all giant monsters attack power plants) down in Angel Grove. So of course the Power Rangers hop on their galaxy gliders and travel through space to stop it. And folks at home, be glad that "space" isn't today's secret word. If it were, your larynx would fucking explode.
So the Rangers touch down on Earth to find
THE TURTLES SHOW UP AND DEFLECT IT! The monster gives it another try, which results in Raphael catching the blast and passing it around to the others as if they're the Harlem Globetrotters. Finally, Mikey uses his head as a tee for the energy ball and sets Donnie up for a hit... which Venus then kicks in mid-air, sending it straight at the monster and delivering the fatal blow. WOO-HOO! They done did it, folks! The Turtles have saved the day!
The Rangers rush forward and thank the Turtles for their assistance, prompting Mikey to step up and do what he does best -- hit on women. Go ahead, roll your mouse cursor over the picture above. And note that creepy look on his face.
So yeah, despite the Power Rangers wondering out loud where the Turtles came from (at that moment) and how they knew that the Rangers were in trouble, they're all happy to see the Turtles and immediately trust them. Everyone except Andros, the Red Ranger, anyway. He's suspicious. As well he should be. If five mutant turtles save you from impending doom in the nick of time with powers over and above those of "regular" mutant turtles -- like traveling through the sky in green beams of light, for one -- you should be suspicious, too. Anyway, the Turtles need a ride back to New York, so the Rangers offer them a ride in their Astro Megazord spaceship. Andros is against it, but the others point out that the Turtles just saved their lives and that he should stop being an asshole. So he sulks.
Aboard the Astro Megazord (rhymey!), the Rangers give the Turtles the grand tour and answer their many questions about the workings of the ship. Andros, still shunning our reptilian pals, angrily wonders why the hell the Turtles want to know so much about the ship -- yep, he's pissed because they actually want to learn something -- but none of the other Rangers think it's all that odd. I mean the guys live in a fucking sewer; they don't see spaceships every day. Or at least they won't until Donatello figures out how to build one. Besides, it's not like they actually needed the tour, since everything is conveniently labeled for any clueless saboteurs who need a few extra hints. So yeah, while the Rangers are entertaining Raph and Venus, the other three Turtles slip away and make a few modifications to the main controls.
Sensing that something is amiss, Andros races out to find the Turtles laughing about their successful infiltration of the Rangers' ship. Andros cries out to D.E.C.A., but the computer's manic response only drives home the gravity of the situation: "I'M CERTIFIED TURTLEFIED!!!!" I have no idea how cutting a few wires could completely reprogram the ship to serve the Turtles, but whatever, there you go. With the ship firmly in the grip of the forces of EVIL, Astronema and her freaks beam on board. The Power Rangers are no match for the combined might of the Ninja Turtles and Astronema's Storm Troopers, so they get their asses kicked and captured... except for Andros, who hides in a ventilation shaft and resists the urge to give away his location by shrieking, "I TOLDJA SO!!!" This guy oozes willpower.
So, having taken full control of the ship, Astronema calls up some magma fish creature and tells him that she's bringing him the Power Rangers and their ship, which can transform into a giant robot and be used to crush the heroes. Magma Fishman is pretty pleased about it, but I think I'd be pissed off -- he calls killing the Rangers with their own ship "poetic"; I call it stupid. They're unarmed, they're tied up (for the moment) -- NOW is the time to kill them, not when the ship arrives in some distant galaxy of magma fishpeople seven or however many hours from now. That's seven hours for the Rangers to escape, not to mention that the Red Ranger is still on the loose. But Magma Fishman doesn't seem too bright, so he's got no bones to pick with the plan. I guess he's a magma fillet! HA!
And see, this all could've been avoided if they'd just offed the captured Power Rangers when they had the chance. Instead, the Storm Troopers stand around wiggling their fingers and gloating in the Rangers' faces while Andros, hiding behind some junk, uses his telepathic powers -- yes, apparently he has telepathic powers -- to levitate a cutter and snip the plastic cord keeping the Rangers out of action. Thus freed, they make a mad dash to escape the conquered ship. The Turtles give chase, but lose the Power Rangers down
Astronema won't be thwarted so easily, however, and she orders the Turtles to chase down AND DESTROY the tiny shuttle that's just launched from the docking bay. The Rangers, of course, are inside, and lament when they see that they're being pursued by the mighty Astro Megazord, as there's no way their lowly ship can outfly it... unless, of course, there happens to be a reverse polarized magnetic field ahead, which would temporarily jam the Astro Megazord's sensors while allowing the shuttle to pass through without effect. And what luck, there's one now!
Not knowing what the hell that grey cloudy expanse is, Astronema asks Michelangelo, resulting in probably the best line of the entire episode: "You're asking a turtle, who lives in a sewer, to explain a cosmic event?" And then the look on his face adds, "You dumb skank." But not to worry; the CERTIFIED TURTLEFIED D.E.C.A. gives the evil crew the 411 on the reverse polarized magnetic field, adding a "dude" at the end of its warning statement to emphasize its radical beneath-the-street creds. Knowing the effect that the field's polarizing effects will have on the ship, Astronema cries, "Veer away!" Donatello does his best to oblige...
...but alas, it's no good, and the ship passes through the field, shakes uncontrollably, and goes dead for a moment. When it comes back online and everyone wakes up, Astronema commands the Turtles to use the sensors to locate the Rangers' shuttle... but there's one slight problem. See, the RPMF also reversed the effects of Astronema's purple lightning brainwashing technique, turning the Turtles back into their old good selves! I don't see why Astronema didn't just zap them back into doing her bidding -- after all, they just came right out and announced that they were good again; in a better show they would've at least pretended to be evil a little while longer -- but she and her freaks turn tail and beam off of the ship. Before she goes, however, Astronema orders the ship to self-destruct...
...which prompts the Turtles to scream and flail their arms and run around the ship bouncing off of walls a la the cast of Scooby-Doo every time they find a dude covered in flour hiding in a closet. I don't know how the fuck that's supposed to help in this situation, but maybe it's an ancient ninja technique for releasing tension. Or maybe they're just idiots.
In the course of their moronic out-of-control dance, however, they pass by that panel conveniently marked "Main Computer Control". This being their only shot, Donatello pops open the box... and, of course, it comes down to a choice between reattaching two wires. He fiddles with it as the seconds tick down, and fucking cliché-of-clichés at THE VERY LAST SECOND he chooses the correct wire and stops the countdown. And which wire was it? The GREEN wire, of course! Because the Turtles are green! This is really lame.
Meanwhile, on Earth/Namek/no matter where in the universe you go it's always that same damned deserted area where every single epic battle in Dragon Ball Z took place, Astronema and her evil forces engage the Power Rangers in battle. The heroes are horribly outnumbered, but even so the fight is taking too long for Astronema's tastes and she joins in by tossing a sparky boomerang that sideswipes every single one of the Rangers before scoring a direct hit on the Red Ranger's torso. Given the amount of sparkage and the fact that he's only wearing a thin layer of spandex, you'd expect this to be a killing blow, but it only knocks Andros down and makes him drop his sword. He's reaching for it...
When suddenly another hand gets there first. Yep, it's Leonardo -- the Turtles are here too! The other four approach the Rangers, who hold up their hands and back away in fear, but ol' Red stands up and prepares to take Leonardo on even without his beloved drill sword. But to his surprise, Leo turns the sword and offers it to him. And when Andros questions this turn of events, Leonardo proudly responds, "THE GREEN MACHINE HAS GONE CLEAN!!!"
Well, that's good enough for Andros. He takes the sword, and thus begins an amazing team-up of mammoth proportions: the Power Rangers and the Ninja Turtles... fighting side-by-side! SUGOI! You villains don't stand a chance.
What follows is mainly a bunch of spots designed to play up the teamwork of the heroes -- a Power Ranger or a Turtle will be in trouble, and one member from the other team will come in, save him/her and then the two of them will proceed to take on all surrounding enemies in tag-team or back-to-back fashion. It's tempting to try to describe the blow-by-blow to you, but it's really like wrestling -- if you've seen one battle along these lines, you've seen them all, and I swear this setup happens like five times: Michelangelo does the same move where he falls onto his back and does a split kick, nailing enemies above his head on either side, and then one of the female rangers flies between his spread legs and jumpkicks the enemies in the center. Given Mikey's amorousness this episode, I'm sure someone could make something of the fact that female ninjas are flying between his legs like footballs over goalposts and "scoring" hits on the bad guys (who, remember, are the successors of the putties, which were pretty much generic enemy soldiers made of sperm), but it's not going to be me. Also, oddly enough, the Turtles don't use their trademark weapons at all, though Raphael's "Shell Quake" -- which has him leaping off of a rock onto a downed opponent, shellfirst -- is pretty reminiscent of a pro wrestling signature move. I guess the Power Rangers don't do hardcore matches. :(
Anyway, long story short, the above image sums up the fight pretty well. Again, make with the mouseover gimmick.
Thus the Ranger-Turtle alliance defeats the Storm Trooper Army and sends the hot princess Astronema packing. Everybody's happy, Mikey once again hits on the female Rangers, and Leo extends his hand to Andros in friendship. But despite that great teamwork they just displayed, despite the fact that the Turtles helped turn the tide of what would have been a losing battle, Andros is suspicious. After all, the Turtles have tricked him before... and even though we just went through this whole thing above, where he wondered whether he should trust Leonardo with the sword, he's still skeptical. But I guess that's why he's the leader!
Andros leaves Leonardo hanging for quite a while, so he starts to get pretty fucking nervous. As for Andros, he just stares at Leonardo's hand like there's shit smeared on it -- I'm not sure whether he means to dis Leo or whether he's trying to calculate the odds of contracting salmonella poisoning from a handshake. We can't see his facial expression underneath that helmet, but I'd bet that it's a healthy mix between suspicion and utter disgust.
A year later, Andros finally bites the bullet and shakes Leonardo's hand, affirming the friendship between Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles and forgiving all past transgressions. The Rangers offer the Turtles a ride back to New York in the Astro Megazord, and the Blue Ranger links arms with Venus in a show of celebration and mutual affection. And somewhere far, far away, an Australian Ninja Turtle needs to wash his underwear -- he just shat himself with envy.
Back in space on the Astro Megazord, the Rangers and Turtles pat each other on the back and fondly relive their epic experience. And because Andros's trust isn't an easy thing to gain, nor is it guaranteed that one will keep it, we're again treated to the sight of him shaking hands with Leonardo -- clearly, this was a friendship meant to be. And look, even Alpha's there! I was never a fan of the old Rangers show, but I admit to finding Alpha attractive in the few episodes I watched... granted, the character is pretty annoying ("AYE-YI-YI!"), but every now and then you caught a glimps of some really nice curves. Given that ol'
And speaking of D.E.C.A., she hasn't quite forgiven Donatello for his reprogramming job, so she gives his green ass a red electric shock. Yeah, it's meant to be a joking and good-natured slap on the wrist, but Donatello's expression suggests that he enjoyed it a little too much... and suddenly I wonder of the old theme song was trying to tell us something else when it said, "Donatello does machines." Maybe he got a charge out of turning them on. Maybe a discharge too. Ugh. I think we'll drop this line of joking right now...
...which is going to be pretty fucking hard to do with Michelangelo asking if he can make one last request before the Rangers drop them off in New York. Given that he's been spreading his legs and kissing every female in sight (except Venus; good to know that he's not into incest too), I fully expected him to say something downright freaky, but no -- Mikey just wants to ride the galaxy gliders. So he gets his wish, and the Turtles soar through outer space and somehow fail to implode or suffocate despite their apparent lack of spacesuits. THE END.
Thus concludes the historic Power Rangers/TMNT crossover that saw two marketing juggernauts of the 1990s united in one of the most clichéd episode scripts I've ever seen. Still, it did feature the Turtles and Rangers side-by-side... and that's all we cared about. (The writers, knowing it, probably figured they'd save their valuable creative talents for coming up with new names for future Rangers series and put the script for this one on autopilot.) Yet much to the chagrin of those rabid fans arguing that the Rangers are superior to the Turtles, or vice versa, there was no clear winner here -- it's true, the Turtles did upstage and defeat the Rangers to the point where the Rangers were actually scared of them, but it's also true that when they performed their amazing antagonistic actions they were under the power of Astronema, which possibly gave them an added boost of strength. Then again, it didn't alter their personalities much -- yeah, they served Astronema, but Mikey's wit and sex drive remained intact, so I dunno. The point, however, is that it doesn't matter. In the end, the good guys weren't at each other's throats battling for the title of best color-coded five-member hero team, they were fighting together to defeat the forces of evil. And if they wouldn't listen to Rodney King, perhaps at least loyal fans of Rangers and Turtles alike can learn something from their heroes' example. <3
Just click the image above! Simple, no? ;)