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Power Rangers Ninja Storm:
Prelude To A Storm
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Japanese Title: Ninpu Sentai Harikenja (“Ninja Task Force Hurricanger”)
Director: Koichi Sakamoto
Original Release Year: 2002
Running Time: 63 minutes (three 21-minute episodes)

DVD Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English 2.0
Extras: Video previews
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: English
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 3
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $19.99
UPC #: 786936223637
Catalog #: 31512
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Shane, Tori, and Dustin are three young extreme-sports enthusiasts.  They are also ninjas in training at the Wind Ninja Academy.  They arrive late for training one day to find the school under attack.  The space-faring villain Lothor (a former ninja himself) has returned to Earth after gathering an army.  He destroys the secret ninja academies that had banished him, and then plans to conquer the Earth.  He is assisted by his bumbling nieces Marah and Kapri, the armored warrior Zurgane, the bizarre alien Choobo, and a legion of foot soldiers called Kelzaks.

After seeing the Ninja Academy and all of their fellow students sucked into the heavens by Lothor’s spaceship, the three young ninjas take shelter in Ninja Ops, a high-tech underground hideout.  Their Sensei and his son Cam have also escaped, though Sensei has been transformed into a guinea pig!  In order to combat Lothor and his forces, Shane, Tori, and Dustin are given the power of the Wind Ninja Rangers.  This DVD contains their first three adventures as the newest team of Power Rangers.

“Prelude To A Storm:”  Shane becomes the Red Wind Ranger, whose element is air.  Tori becomes the Blue Wind Ranger, and her element is water.  Dustin assumes the role of the Yellow Wind Ranger, whose element is Earth.  After the destruction of the Wind Ninja Academy, they fight and win their first battle against Lothor’s warriors.

“There’s No ‘I’ In Team:”  As the leader of the team, Shane learns he has to trust and rely upon the abilities of his friends.  The ninjas use their Megazords to battle a magnetic monster.

“Beauty And The Beach:”  Determined to show she’s not just a tomboy, Tori agrees to appear in a photo spread for a sports magazine.  However, it’s all a trick!  Marah and Kapri create a clone of Tori to lead the ninja team astray.

Power Rangers Ninja Storm is the most humorous PR series to date, filled with surfer-dude dialogue, and even some self-referential parody.  On the plus side, the ninja motif is pretty cool and the main characters are likeable.  It also benefits from beautiful New Zealand scenery and catchy music.  The latter two episodes on this disk introduce some intrigue, with fleeting appearances by the Thunder Rangers, two ninja Rangers allied with Lothor.  Unfortunately, Lothor himself is an unimpressive villain.  The bad guys in general are a bunch of bumbling misfits, which hurts their credibility as a threat.  The scenario of surfer-dude ninjas trained by a rodent is lifted from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which has undergone a revival of late.  Coincidence?  Unlikely.  Ninja Storm is a fun and colorful show which kids may enjoy, but with little crossover appeal for older fans.  Grade:  C

Video: Ninja Storm is presented in the fullscreen format of its television presentation.  While the image is sharp and detailed most of the time, there are a few grainy scenes.  Oddly enough, it’s not the stock F/X scenes that exhibit this problem, which is common with older PR shows.  Anyways, it’s a minor problem.  The best thing about this transfer is the color reproduction.  The colors are bright and vibrant.  Considering all the colorful costumes, bright explosions, and energy beams on display here, that’s a great asset.  Grade:  A-

Audio: The English 2.0 audio is sharp.  All of the music, sound effects, and dialogue (even the sometimes cartoonish voices) sound good and clear.  Grade:  A-

Extras / Menus: The only extras are some video promos.  There is the standard ABC Family Channel TV commercial for Power Rangers Ninja Storm.  Next we have promotional clips for Kim Possible:  The Secret Files, Air Bud Spikes Back, The Incredible Hulk (the animated series), and the Disney direct-to-video sequel Atlantis:  Milo’s Return.  These kinds of clips count more as commercials then as extras.  They play automatically when the disk boots up, but you can skip through them manually or go right to the main menu.  They are also accessible from their own sub-menu, should you want to watch any of them again.

The menus are straightforward and easy to navigate.  Only the main menu is animated; all of the menus have background music.  A few more chapter stops (at least one at the halfway point of each episode) would have been nice. 
Grade:  D

Final Analysis: Ninja Storm is a good-looking, but shallow, action show for kids.  The audio / video presentation on this disk is nice.  However, considering only three episodes are included, with no real extras, a lower price point ($9.99 perhaps) would make this a much better deal.  If you’re interested, look for it on sale.  Final Grade:  B-
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