Over the last few months, Hasbro has been adding more and more brands to their popular Power Rangers Lightning Collection line of figures. With this sudden increase in brand crossovers happening fans have begun voicing their concerns about the overall quality of the final products offered to them.
BACK TO THE TURTLES
The origins of these crossover figure lines began in 2021 when Hasbro released 7 Power Rangers Lightning Collection x Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. Based on the 2020 Boom Studios comic crossover of the same name the figures saw physical representations of the Turtle Ranger suits seen in the storyline. Fandom reception of these releases appeared to be quite solid, with the effort put in by Hasbro coming across clearly.
Wether it was to appease TMNT rights holders Nickelodeon or just a happy accident the figures turned out some of the best quality control seen in the line to that point, brand new unique body molds, plenty of accessories, and even bonus features such as a cloth cape for the Green Ranger Shredder figure. Released in three packs of two figures a piece fans got the entire Ninja Turtle Ranger team, an army builder in the form of a version of the extremely popular Tommy Oliver himself, and a Deluxe priced Shredder release.
Everything seen here was something from the pages, down to the combinable Power Blaster weapons, but Hasbro still made their own mark on the set with alternate swappable heads for the characters that in this case all fit quite well. Here was the first example that Hasbro would add their own little spin to these crossover releases.
STREET FIGHTER POWER RANGERS
A year later Hasbro revealed the next brand collaboration with Street Fighter. This time is based on special previous video partnerships with the brand for Power Rangers Legacy Wars and Battle for the Grid. By this point, inflation had taken quite a toll on a number of Hasbro products making all of these releases $33.99 for this second crossover. Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter joined the grid this time with special figures based on their original Ranger designs and complete with special effect pieces and figure stands to be able to recreate their attacks from the game.
However, it was at this point many fans felt that the quality had dropped for these collaborations. The TMNT and the first group of Street Fighters had their fair share of fans who were unhappy with their existence in the first place as they felt releases such as these took away slots that could’ve gone to other Rangers who haven’t had their own figure made yet. While this is somewhat understandable the truth is that releases such as these are made to appeal to both fandoms of both properties at the same time and by the way, they are released no other figure would’ve been in a so-called “slot” anyway.
A MOVE TO ORIGINAL
Where a noticeable decline has begun is with the collaboration figures since the initial Street Fighter characters. By this point everything Hasbro had made, aside from some included accessories, all had a basis in another medium first before their action figure was released. This changed with the reveal of the Morphed Ranger forms of Cammy and Ken. With these Hasbro made brand new original designs that did not appear in any video game before or since their reveal. The designs for these start with Mighty Morphin Red and Pink and add elements of their Street Fighter characters.
This didn’t work as well as the other Street Fighter designs. Those were more unique in their final look as they didn’t have to conform to a preexisting product or mold to be made where these new ones do. Hasbro still added unique effect pieces and certain interesting elements but they still give off an overall cheaper and cash-grabby vibe to them that drew many fans away.
COBRA KAI FROM NOTHING
This all Hasbro original designs comes to a head with the most recent collaboration announced, Cobra Kai. With these all Hasbro has done is take the shelf-warming and terrible quality controlled filled Ninja Ranger figures from Target and give them new swappable heads and very minor new additions. Unlike the previous crossovers there these have no basis in any other form of media and are seen largely as a major step down from the ones that have come before.
Somewhat of an exception to this is the Skeleputty that is also part of the crossover series, as that references the Halloween costume worn in the original Karate Kid movie and creates a wacky Power Rangers exclusive character that still feels like something that would exist in both worlds. If the main Ranger figures for Daniel and Samantha had more unique looks to them than just being Ninja Ranger reuses it’s likely the response would have been more positive.
Time will tell how the rest of this Cobra Kai series will go as there is more of them on the way. Who knows what the next brand to team up with Power Rangers will be and how they will look.
To stay up to date with all the news for the Power Rangers Lightning Collection fans can check out The Illuminerdi’s Josh Perry on his weekly Lightning Storm YouTube series every Saturday at 9:00 am Pacific or on Twitter at @LightningFigPR. What do you think about the quality of the crossover series figures? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media. Make sure to follow us so you don’t miss a thing, we’re always watching.