(Stop here if you don’t want anything to be spoiled! Because these series have been out for years now, I will write up full descriptions on both episodes and compare and contrast them. If you dislike/hate spoilers, I recommend that you stop here.)
Mahou Sentai Magiranger Episode 1 Description:
The episode opens up with a little girl with her mother buying a balloon. As they leave the shop and begin walking down the street, the girl bumps into a man and her balloon goes flying up into the air. The man apologizes to the girl and tries to figure out what he can do to get her balloon back. In the meantime, humans are being spied upon by strange creatures that are living in a hellish underground land. These creatures are plotting to take control of/destroy the earth (as most evil creatures do).
Cut to a scene of a family at home. Two brothers, two sisters and their mother. They have a third brother, but he had said that he was leaving early for soccer practice. They’re all sitting around eating and chatting when one of the sisters (Houka) asks her mother (Miyuki) if she believes in magic. Miyuki smiles and denies believing in “such childish things”. Houka then asks her sister (Urara) if she can turn on the TV. A newscast is on and the journalist is frantically reporting about how there is a man climbing high up on a flagpole. The family scoff at this man before they realize that this man is their brother (Kai). It turns out he’s just trying to get the balloon back for the little girl. After a short brush with danger, Kai’s two older brothers (Tsubasa and Makito) drag him away from the cameras for him to be scolded about how reckless he was being.
While the family walks home a strange light circle (think a more detailed version of the transmutation circles in FullMetal Alchemist) opens up on the ground and a large beast appears from it. The siblings are clearly shocked while the mother utters a soft “Well I knew this day would come…”. They all run for it, except Miyuki who faces the beast head on. She takes out a device (the MagiPhone) and says an incantation and transforms into a magical warrior. With the power of ice/snow, she defeats this beast while her children watch on, eyes wide and mouth agape.
Well when they get back to their home, she tells her children that she’s a magician and she was bestowed with powers from the Heavenly Saints. Her children have magic abilities as well and to aid her in this war against evil, she bestows four of her five children with different outfits (matching their respective elements) and MagiPhones to give them the power to transform into the Mahou Sentai (Magic Task Force/Squadron) Magiranger. They’re sent out on their first mission when Miyuki feels a dark presence nearby. The four who have been given magical abilities go off on their mission while the fifth, Kai, argues with his mother about why he did not recieve a MagiPhone. She recalls his recklessness earlier in the day and says that he did not display the maturity enough to be a Magiranger just yet. Once he learns the difference between recklessness and courage, then he will receive magic. Angered, Kai storms out the door.
Cut again to the four other siblings in the forest facing down with a group of evil creatures. Knowing what they have to do, the repeat the same incantation that they hear their mother using earlier in the day and transform in to the Magirangers. They fight the creatures and defeat them in large groups using their respective abilities. Meanwhile, Kai is watching on from behind a tree, in awe of the abilities that his brothers and sisters have been given. But in front of him a stronger power emerges. Dark Magic Knight Wolzard appears in front of him, stares him down for a few seconds (sending fear through Kai’s heart) then heading towards the Magirangers. Wolzard attacks them and injures them. Kai wants to save them but is too frightened to move. As Wolzard begins to strike his sword at the Magirangers, Kai gains the courage to intercept the attack by kicking a can at him to distract him. Kai then runs in front of the Magirangers and tries to protect him. This redirects Wolzard’s rage at him and Wolzard strikes his sword down at Kai. Before the sword can make contact, a bright light and object appear in front of the sword’s path and protects Kai from it. It’s a MagiPhone and Kai uses it to transform into MagiRed. With the power of fire, he’s able to defeat the drones that Wolzard summons. With the drones defeated, Wolzard summons his dark horse Barikion and transforms into WolKentarous, a giant centaur creature. The Magirangers stare upwards at WolKentaurous, wondering how to defeat it.
Power Rangers Mystic Force Episode 1 Description:
The episode opens with a view of a dark battlefield and a narrator relaying the story of the past to the audience. A story of a war between good and evil and the battle so save the earth from this evil influence that was trying to enter the earth. The warriors of the past, the Power Rangers Mystic Force, sacrificed themselves to seal off the evil influence underground. And thus, the earth was saved, but humanity never knew of this close brush with danger that they almost had, nor do they know of the danger which is to come…
In the present day, a boy on a motorcycle almost arrives at the town he’s supposed to go to. He’s staring off in the distance and grins and continues on his way. Cut to a couple of teens working together at some sort of shop. Having fun, and cleaning up the shop when all of a sudden an earthquake hits. Each person goes for shelter and cover from falling items. In a short matter of time the earthquake is over with, but it seems this earthquake has some sort of effect on the magical barrier that keeps evil sealed off from the rest of the world. It causes a crack that releases evil back into the universe. One creature is seen spying on the human race and reports that the human world is everything they imagined and more.
After the earthquake, all the teens continue doing what they want to do. Either eating, listening to music or goofing off, when they see an old man asking for help. He claims that his friend has been taken by a creature into the woods. None of the people in the town want to help him. They all look at him with cold expressions when finally one person chimes in that he’ll help. It’s the boy who was on the motorcycle (Nick). As he’s new to the town, they assume that he doesn’t know about all the rumors about the forest, but he does. He just doesn’t believe in them like the other people do. He just sees that there’s an old man who needs help finding his friend and wants to offer his help. Eventually one girl (Vida) offers her help and another boy (Charlie) enthusiastically offers his help. They’re about to enter the forest when a car drives up. In the car are Vida’s sister, Madison, and another boy (Xander). They decide they’re going to go with them as well. So the five of them enter the forest and pass through some sort of barrier. Only one of them seems to notice it. The old man that was with them mutters “So now there’s five…” and his body is enveloped in this white light.
The five teens keep walking only to realize that they’ve lost the old man. Instead they run into a person that’s cloaked in black and seems menacing. They flee from this person only to be attacked by some other creatures. The person in black saves them from the creatures by conjuring brooms that fly them away from danger. The brooms drop them near a large tree and the person in black appears before them again. This time they duck inside the mouth of a dragon-looking root and the mouth closes. They turn around to realize they’re inside some sort of secret base. The person in black finally takes off their cloak to show that she’s a beautiful woman clad in white. She explains that this is some sort of alternate dimension to the human world and they were brought there because they were chose to be the Power Rangers Mystic Force. The Mystic Force is needed to battle an ancient evil that was unsealed via the earthquake in the human world. The only one who believes her is Charlie, who’s into magical things.
The woman who introduces herself as Udonna gives the teens magic wands and tells them to keep them on them at all times. Then a sorcerer in training, Claire, walks in and she’s a bit of a klutz. Her spells fail and she trips over herself and is bumbling, but she happily greets the teens as a new evil appears in the land. Udonna tells the teens not to leave there until she gets back. Of course they don’t listen to her. Not only do they leave, but they leave the wands inside the base. Udonna figured that they would leave, and when they leave they see that a village is destroyed. A group of weaker evil monsters appear before them. Udonna tells them to take out their wands, but they tell her that they left them in the base. Udonna has no choice but to transform to into her ranger form and fight off the stronger of the beasts. She tells the others that they still have magic within them. They just have to believe that magic is real. Charlie is gung ho for this and completely believes magic is real. In this instant, electricity appears and defeats the creatures in front of him. He excitedly relays to his friends that all they have to do is believe in magic and they’ll have the power to defeat the creatures. Each of them believe and they use their respective elemental abilities to defeat the creatures. Nick however tries to believe in magic, but it just doesn’t work for him.
Udonna defeats the last and strongest of the creatures and commends the teens for their help. Charlie, Xander, Vida and Madison all agree to be Power Rangers, but Nick refuses. Sad to see him refuse, Udonna has no choice but to let him leave. She calls Claire (who’s turned herself into a ewe via a spell gone wrong) to show him back through the forest. As their backs are turned, watching Nick leave with Claire, Udonna and the rest of the teens are attacked from behind by Koragg the Knight Wolf and this is where the episode cuts off.
Compare and Contrast:
The first thing I noticed…the one thing I could actually look past was the fact that Mystic Force caters heavily towards those who are into the stereotypes of witchcraft/magic. The brooms, magic wands, and mystical lands. There is a strong distinction between what is real worldly and what is from this mystical land. While that distinction exists in Magiranger (the MagiPhones are from the Heavenly Saints), the gap is a lot smaller. Looking at a preview for a future episode, I did notice the phones in Mystic Force as well, so via my usual curiosity I sought out information on the phones in relation to Mystic Force and learned that the wands are later transformed into phones. Which is interesting.
In terms of Magiranger, the series seems more down to earth. It’s family centered. Where the mother is passing down her power from herself to her children. And there is a family bond there. The characters in Mystic Force are predominantly either unknown to one another or they’re just friends. The only family element comes from the sisters Madison and Vida.
Magic is also used differently between the series. In Magiranger, courage is the fuel that makes magic work and Kai cannot use magic because he does not fight with courage initially. Rather he fights with recklessness that he mistakes for courage. Once he learns what true courage is, his abilities are fueled and he is able to transform into MagiRed. Whereas in Mystic Force, magic can only be used once the user fully believes in magic. Nick claims he believes in magic, though his inability to use magic proves that he does not believe in magic. I can only assume that eventually he believes in magic wholeheartedly and is able to help defend the other teens.
But the main thing that sticks out to me between the two series is the pacing of the episodes. Magiranger gets right in there and hastily explains the back story a little bit. It goes from the family being a regular family to all of a sudden being attacked by a creature and Miyuki revealing that she has been bestowed with powers from the Heavenly Saints and her children have magical abilities as well. And the children all mystically know how to use these abilities before being taught anything. In Mystic Force, we are introduced to the past battle and are told that this evil power existed in the past and previous tried to take over earth. But were sealed away. This gives the audience a basic idea of where the series is going an allows for a steadier pacing.
So which series comes out on top so far? Surprisingly Mystic Force. While the dialogue in Magiranger was ten times more manageable, I can’t over look the fact that I was hit over the head so quickly with all this information. Some easily digestible, some not so much. The characters in Mystic Force might be over the top and a bit cheesy as is the dialogue, but the pacing of the episode was steady and even. I wasn’t hit quickly with too much information in a short period of time. Plus the narrated introduction did wonders for setting up the story. So far, story wise Power Rangers Mystic Force comes out on top.