Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Puzzler (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

 

Puzzler

Ah, Mighty Morphin power Rangers.  By now, I’m sure everybody reading this knows that the footage was cobbled together from a bunch of Japanese shows, then combined with re-filmed scenes at Angel Valley, and then mutated a little more into the show that nineties kids grew up with.  But the important thing is: Monsters.  Whether it’s a Kaiju series like Ultraman or a sentai series like any of the dozen or so used for Power Rangers, the shows will feature a new rubber suit every week!  In times long past, the Power Rangers toy lines included plenty of such awesome beasties, but for the last decade or so… nada.  That has changed this year.  We’ve got monsters!  FINALLY!  And one of the most striking ones is Puzzler.

Puzzler-Packaged

Puzzler was an enemy in Power Rangers Dino…Charge…Thunder…Ninja…Turbo…Storm… one of those shows (ed. Dino Charge).  His original Japanese name was Debo Kokokendo, and he fought with mazes, chess games, and by smacking people with a flag.  So he’s not even a super-current bad guy, but he’s clearly memorable enough to warrant a toy.  Yay!

Puzzler-Back

This is a bright, garish creature, and until you realize the maze aesthetic, he almost looks like a weird electric tribal mashup.  Although the paint is one of his big drawing points, it isn’t perfect.  He’s practically unpainted in the back, as well as on his legs – it’s sadly lazy, because you can see so many details just left out!

Puzzler-BellyFace

Sculpturally, Puzzler has a lot going for him.  It isn’t ust a general maze design, you can actually spot the “START” and “END” points on his body, as well as a “DEAD END” in one leg (unpainted).  Notably, he has an extra face on his torso – is that his true face?  It’s hard to tell.

Puzzler-DeadEnd

The thing is, even in spite of the unpaitned parts, his sculpt is quite detailed. The maze can even be solved, if you feel like spending your time that way.

Puzzler-Frog

The articulation, however, is criminal.  It’s so bad that I couldn’t realistically get the usual twenty photos of this figure.  He has swivel arms (which barely move, and have frozen elbows), ball-jointed hips, and hinged knees, but everything feels stiff and constricted.  Puzzler can stand, or he can stand at kind of a crouch.  He can hold his flag up, or down.

Puzzler-Goal

The flag is a nice accessory.  It reads “GOAL” on both sides of the banner, which makes sense since the exit to his maze is in his wrist.  It’s also show-accurate.

Puzzler-FlagDown

Overall, despite the lacking paint and cheap articulation, this figure’s visual design is good enough to make hi worth it. I can’t think of any other toys on the market that look like this, though his face is somewhat reminiscent of those Tiki toys from about a decade ago, maybe.

Puzzler-Face

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