In these, the thirteenth through sixteenth episodes of Power Rangers Samurai (which is itself the eighteenth season in Saban’s Power Rangers franchise), we at last meet the energetic but conspicuously long-absent Antonio of the series’ title sequence. Although a close childhood friend of Red Ranger Jayden, Antonio is fundamentally not like the others. Aside from being an oddly obsessive fisherman, he’s not actually a samurai by birth as the others are. In fact, he really hasn’t even a right to the powers he possesses, having seemingly uncovered the powers to morph himself by tinkering with a broken cell phone and the OctoZord given to him by Jayden years earlier.
Lionsgate’s release of these four episodes in Power Rangers Samurai: The Sixth Ranger (Vol. 4) achieves a cohesiveness unseen in the previous three standalone volumes of this series. The first three episodes find the team encountering the Gold Ranger Antonio for the first time (in “Unexpected Arrival”), determining whether to allow him into their fold (in “Room for One More”), and finally, coming to terms with his lack of hereditary rights to the powers at his disposal (in “The Blue and the Gold” (although the only one who still seems to mind at this point is Blue Ranger Kevin)). Here, the focus is unequivocally on Antonio and his relationship to the group as a whole. In episode sixteen, “Team Spirit,” we find Antonio at last serving as a functioning and accepted member of the team, contributing to Yellow Ranger Emily’s birthday party by catching her a sweet bass. Thus his cycle is complete, having gone from total outsider to official Samurai Ranger in four episodes, and the volume reaches a satisfying conclusion unmatched by that of any other single volume in this line of releases.
This is significant because, while I have voiced my distaste in previous reviews about Lionsgate’s odd release schedule of the Samurai/Super Samurai franchise, this is honestly the first time I have been wholly pleased by and without reservations about one of these standalone volumes. This in no small part stems from the fact that Antonio is actually a really likable and considerably more complex character than many of the other Samurai Rangers. Sure, he’s often rather flaky, but that’s only because he’s a dreamer. Still, in some ways he’s worked harder to become a Samurai Ranger than the others, having to become self-taught in the use of power symbols. So proficient is he in this in fact that he ultimately becomes the tech guru of the squad, in charge of repairing and restoring any broken Zords or weaponry. We (and by “we” I mean folks who give a damn about Power Rangers in the first place) actually care about him and that makes his journey herein all the more rewarding for us as viewers.
The special features on Vol. 4 (available May 14th, 2013) are again recycled from previous volumes and include the “Ask a Ranger” featurette, the “Train like a Ranger” video, and a blooper real (in which I swear to God we hear Mentor Ji say “f**k” off screen!).