The last few releases of Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai and Super Samurai from Lionsgate have found me complaining here, at length, about a release schedule so broken that it seemed like Lionsgate may have been actively trying to discourage the Power Rangers fan base from purchasing their product. But for the first time since their release of the first two volumes of Samurai on DVD, they’ve given us cause to rejoice. After all, today they release the complete, 20-episode season of Super Samurai on DVD and Blu-ray!
The 1080p high definition transfer of the series on the Blu-ray release is gorgeous, with appropriately rich colors, crystal clear picture, and a terrifically dynamic sound mix. At times, the realism of the special effects suffers from this added clarity, but that’s to be expected, I suppose. Still, this is really the only way to watch and own the season, as I see it. Moreover, the set comes packaged in a standard-thickness Blu-ray case, so it’s also an incredible space-saver, when compared to the full-sized DVD cases housing the individual volumes Lionsgate’s been slowly releasing. My only significant complaint about this release is not even a about this release specifically, but about Lionsgate’s release schedule once again. Although Super Samurai is now being made available in its entirety on home video, we still have yet to see the release of the remainder of Samurai, the season that preceded it!
Still, being finally able to view the remainder of this season (that I’ve admittedly only had access to through the Lionsgate DVDs) before the remainder of Samurai has its benefits. You can see here that Bulk and Spike (Skull’s son), the Samurai seasons’ comic relief, are actually incorporated into the narrative of the series in this season. Throughout every episode I had seen from Samurai and Super Samurai previously, there had been an striking rift between the hijinks of Bulk and Spike and the rest of the action. Thus, the characters’ efforts to become samurai themselves, while certainly relevant to the overall theme of the Samurai seasons, seemed a general waste of time. However, once Spike meets and falls for Pink Ranger Mia in episode nine of Super Samurai, their presence in the series begins to make sense. Are they immediately fully integrated thereafter? No, not as such. Still, better late than never, I suppose! And there’s a terrific payoff for their story in the finale, even if they aren’t fully integrated.
Additionally, the Samurai saga develops, in its later stages, a rather compelling and constant throughline, creating a sharp contrast between the series latter half and its highly-episodic former. The various narrative threads developed throughout result in a half dozen, massive, big-baddy standoffs in the final five episodes or so that put all previous battles in the Samurai seasons to shame! And on a side note, an interesting storyline also develops in this season in which the Samurai Rangers’ spin swords are made obsolete by Nighlok blasters, forcing the Rangers to resort to occasional laser blaster battles with the Nighloks where they had always preferred melee weaponry before. This nicely mirrors the historic rendering of the samurai obsolete when firearm came on the scene in Japan, although to a far less dramatic extent here.
Special features on this collection are limited to those previously featured on Lionsgate Samurai releases. These include the “Train Like a Ranger” fitness videos, the bizarre “Swarm Flash Mob” video promoting some Power Rangers video game at a convention, and the “Everyday Fun” music video. “Everyday Fun” is performed in the episode “He Ain’t Heavy Metal, He’s My Brother” by a band the Rebel Rockers, a band fronted by Gold Ranger Antonio with Mia’s estranged brother on lead guitar. However, I assure you that neither the Rebel Rockers nor this episode as a whole are in any way heavy metal. The Power Rangers are often incredibly cool, and more so in Super Samurai than in many of the previous seasons, but this is not one of those instances.