10th anniversary season of Power Rangers, based on Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger. Pollution is destroying the earth, and thus destroying the seals on the Orgs. Naturally, they're coming back to take revenge and destroy humanity. Luckily, the pollution also disturbed the rest of Princess Shayla, and she has brought the Animarium to rest above the Colorado town of Turtle Cove. She has zords and morphers; she just needs to find the owners of their corresponding animal crystals...Meanwhile, Cole Evans is an orphan who found his way to South America. He's not sure how, but when he came of age, the natives who took him in explained this to him and sent him on a journey back to the U.S. to learn more about himself... and giving him the Lion crystal he was found with. He meets the other four Rangers in short order, and becomes their new leader, the Red Ranger. Along the way, he learns the story of how he ended up as an orphan, and his fight becomes very personal.The first season produced after the Disney buyout, Wild Force was a transitional season; the first half was aired on Fox Kids, while the second half aired on ABC Kids. Some dislike it for its lack of originality, being largely a clone of Gaoranger (some episodes are near shot for shot remakes); the teamup episodes are pretty much the only cool bits that weren't Gaoranger footage. This apparently stems from director and Ascended Fanboy Johnathan Tzachor being a bit of a Prima Donna Director and hiring Japanese directors who worked on the original Super Sentai shows... few of which spoke a word of English. What draws fans to it is mostly the technical aspects—beneath the surface is a dark story of murder and war, and also, it has lots more giant robots than usual - not only that, but the individual Wild Zords are viewed by fans as being some of the coolest-looking animal mecha in the series due to their streamlined and almost naturalistic proportions. The other thing Wild Force is notable for is not one, but two excellent team-up specials.The first one, "Reinforcements From the Future", is the traditional "Bring back last year's cast, just for kicks" episode. It's widely considered as one of the best team-up episodes in the franchise, as it doesn't just bring everyone back for a rock 'em, sock 'em battle with complete strangers — there was a serious effort towards closure of dangling plot threads of Time Force and to get as much cross-series character interaction in as possible. This included expanding on Ransik's backstory, reuniting Wes and Jen after their heartbreaking split and flirtatious behavior between the Wild ForceLancer and the Time ForceSixth Ranger. Also notable is that it was made with completely original footage; there was no Gaoranger vs. Timeranger to copy from.The second was a 10th anniversary special where Cole was recruited for a special mission with Red Rangers in every prior incarnation (Missing one Red Ranger, Rocky, who shared the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers costume with Jason. They put in the red-colored Sixth Ranger from Time Force, Eric, to make up for it). "Forever Red" is a popular episode and a shining example of non-sexual fanservice. External issues ended up shortening the team-up from a two-parter into a very swift standalone. In addition, the very nature of bringing in past characters and Ranger powers brought in many continuity issues as some powers were destroyed and villain neutralized (Bringing these issues up are a Flame Bait topic on many forums).In spite of the well received team-ups, Wild Force is generally considered one of the worst seasons due to a Red Ranger perceived as The Scrappy being the main character and the extremely heavy-handed Green Aesop, not to mention some rather poor acting overall (especially, if not mainly from Merrick and Toxica) - plus, it was following the much beloved Time Force. Animus being a massive jerk for some time didn't really help, either.Succeeded by Power Rangers Ninja Storm.
Recurring Power Rangers tropes include:
Action Girl: Taylor, who used to be in the Air Force, and Alyssa, whose father runs a dojo.
Combining Mecha: Well, it is Power Rangers. But this series has a simple, uniform combination scheme that allows for about five seasons' worth of combos. Some become arms, some become waist-and-legs, some become head-and-torsos, and any arms Zord can attach to any head and torso Zord, which can attach to any legs Zord. (Exceptions: Alligator's so big it covers head-and-torso and legs; Elephant is a set of weapons rather than a body part; Eagle is pretty much decoration and frames the lion head or wraps around the waist of a legs Zord). One episode is devoted to an The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny between the various Megazords and their nigh-infinite modes.
Leader Forms The Head: All three zords that form Megazord torsos (Lion, Gorilla, and Falcon) belong to Cole, and there's one formation where the Falcon is the torso and the Lion becomes the legs. Averted with Merrick's Predazord, where the Wolf only makes an arm.
Mecha Expansion Pack: The first season to take it to ridiculous levels (even by Power Rangers standards).
The show actually showed some restraint. According to Gaoranger canon, there are one hundred potential combining Zords. Only thirty or so actually have what they turn into written out, and that includes the ones seen on the show. However, it's still an impressive number: if sticking to what the show tells, three Zords per Ranger plus five Animus components make 23 Zords - a record.
Meta Mecha: The Soul Bird rides in the other megazords as an alternate cockpit.
Rookie Red Ranger: Cole. Again, the Lion Zord's chosen Ranger is leader by default...even if he just arrived this morning and is clueless.
She's a Man in Japan: For the fifth (and so far last) time in PR history (this being the fourth consecutive season of a male Yellow Sentai Ranger turning into a female Yellow Ranger, to boot): Taylor occupying Gaku's (GaoYellow) spot.
Calling Your Attacks: Due to sticking to Sentai more than usual. Most series have the Rangers name the weapon they're using, but Wild Force feels almost like Digimon when the Rangers are using their Zords. "[Name of formation here] Saber!" is abandoned in favor of things like "Predator Wave", "Pachyderm Crusher", "Revolver Phantom", "Isis Stare", and "Wings of Animaria". Not that that's a bad thing.
"Blazing Lion!" "Noble Tiger!" "Iron Bison!" "Surging Shark!" "Soaring Eagle!" "Howling Wolf!" "Guardians of the Earth, united... we ROAR! Power Rangers Wild Force!"
This subseries contains examples of:
Ambiguous Syntax / Exact Words: While giving the backstory of the Animarium, Princess Shayla refers to the five ancient warriors who fought in the battle of Animaria to defend her and says that she escaped with her protector during the fight. The flashback shows that there are indeed six warriors but, from the way she recounts the story to the Rangers, it sounds like she's referring to "The five ancient warriors, one of whom was my protector," as opposed to, "The five ancient warriors, in addition to my protector."
Arbitrary Skepticism: They assume Max got hurt because he was scared, while Max claims it was because an Org was there.
Bash Brothers: Some of the zords work in pairs, specifically the Black Bear and Polar Bear and the Rhino and Armadillo.
Becoming the Mask: Originally, the Master Org the rangers had been fighting turned out to be a human who was once friends with Cole's parents. However, after being abandoned by the Orgs when they realized he wasn't their real master, his transformation continued and he actually became an Org. By the end, he's talking about three thousand years ago as if it's yesterday, despite everyone knowing who he is now.
It's implied that the reason he became an actual Org was because the original Master Org was influencing him to the point where the two of them became one and the same.
Continuity Snarl: The only thing that people don't like about "Forever Red" is the continuity problems that result from it, mostly of the account of the Machine Empire's defeat not lining up with the events of Zeo or Space at all. "Where did the powers come from", though, is more of fans not doing the research. Nothing was ever shown happening to the Zeo Crystal and a big question in Turbo was "where'd all the Zeo stuff go?" Though the Turbo Powers were destroyed alongside the Power Chamber, "True Blue to the Rescue" reveals that Storm Blaster was able to provide Justin with a spare morpher, so Lightning Cruiser was obviously able to do the same for TJ. Adam was able to use his Mastodon Power Coin in Space, though it still had issues.
Word Of God provided an answer for the MMPR powers, Jason beat up a Dark Red Ranger (inspired by the comic) and stole that coin.
Cycle of Revenge: Cole refuses to finish off Dr. Adler and ultimately forgives him to break this, realizing that Adler's desire for revenge was what turned him into what he ultimately became.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: In a surprising display of intelligence, one episode has Toxica make a point of attacking Alyssa (who is by herself) before she can finish morphing.
Darker and Edgier: While the acting makes most episodes much cornier than the PR baseline by far, uh, see Disney Death. "The Master's Last Stand" and the episodes hinting toward it can chill. Also, there's a Monster of the Week casually executing some construction workers, and while the Zords get better, Animus was in human child form during his onscreen death.
Disney Death: Ironically subverted—the show was the last Power Rangers on Fox and the first on Disney. When it was on Fox, Cole's parents are shown to be rather nightmarishly invaded by vines—something that Fox only let the producers do because they were assured that it the parents would be shown as being still alive as the Brainwashed Jindrax and Toxica. When it wound up on Disney, that particular plot point got forgotten or ignored... resulting in a literalDisneyDeath. Many fans agree that this was for the best, as the deaths add a lot to the show and Cole's character that would have been lost without it.
Played straight with the Wild Zords (Which makes it an awesome reversal of PR's usual Never Say "Die" methods. Zords? They get better. Humans? Die horribly and permanently).
Can he really be the Dogged Nice Guy when he's too shy to be all that dogged?
Dramatic Necklace Removal: Shayla wears a necklace given to her by Merrick which she uses to communicate with the Rangers. Master Org snatches it from around her neck near the end of the series.
Dub Name Change: Both played straight andaverted. Notably, Animaria is pretty much similar to Gaoranger's Animalia, and many of the Orgs retain their original names (in fact, the term "Org" is directly taken from Gaoranger). Also, the Wild Zords are sometimes called by their Sentai names, the Power Animals.
Expy: Zen-Aku/Merrick is pretty much a copy of Tommy from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Actually a good guy under an evil spell, long hair, summons his zords via playing a tune on his flute/dagger, has a multi-episode arc devoted to his arrival and redemption in the middle of a bunch of stand-alone episodes, and is often late to the fight.
Probably unintentional but Master Org is almost a carbon copy of Typhus, Host Of The Destroyer Plague except the deaths caused by him are alot less gruesome and horrible.
Fake Shemp: Aurico in "Forever Red", never demorphing and voiced by a new actor. (You'd think with the headgear and ability to use the original Aurico's stock morph scene, not demorphing wouldn't have been necessary). Leo Corbett infamously came close to this too, but production convinced a reluctant Danny Slavin to act on a where Leo arrives in morph, and then demorphs for about five seconds, just so he can be part of the big morphing sequence with everyone else.
Foreshadowing: "Ancient Awakening" has Alyssa showing off some cycling moves, before the Savage Cycles are revealed and she does even more.
In "Reinforcements From the Future" part one, Cole makes the comment to Wes that he didn't know there were other Power Rangers in addition to the Wild Force team, and Wes explains that are several other teams of Rangers, all fighting for the same goal. Noteworthy, because the scene has no other purpose than making a Continuity Nod to the numerous teams before the Time Force Rangers, with "Forever Red" coming nine episodes later in the season.
Green Aesop: Subtle for most of the episodes, with it being a borderline Fantastic Aesop that "If people keep polluting, the Orgs will keep attacking." However, the Animus Arc was Anvilicious. How so? Well, Animus takes away the Rangers' powers and Zords because of the fact that "humans shouldn't save the Earth if they keep polluting it."
It's just a bit hypocritical because Animus is going on about the evils of man polluting the Earth, bemoaning it's pains and blah, blah, blah and then basically says he's taking the zords away to another planet...so he's ditching the Earth because he can't be arsed to do something about it's issues?
It makes even less sense when you consider that he's been watching the Rangers fight to protect the Earth the entire time.
Makes even less sense than that when you take into account that the Rangers and the Zords (you know, the things he just took away) are the only thing at the moment stopping the Orgs from making the pollution and environmental destruction worse.
Good Costume Switch: A minor one involving Merrick's Predazord. While he's Zen-Aku, the visor of its helmet is down so it appears to have a snarling wolf's face and it has an Org-like horn atop the helmet. When he is saved, in his first use of the Predazord as the Lunar Wolf Ranger, the horn retracts and the wolf head opens up, allowing a more blank, human/robot face to emerge, symbolizing his change from animal to human.
Also counts for Zen-Aku, who appears alive in the final episode (with no explanation) and decides to join Merrick on a road to redemption.
Heroic Sacrifice: Ransik post-Heel-Face Turn during the Wild Force/Time Force crossover. He sacrifices himself to destroy the mutant half of the Mutorgs. Amazingly, he survives and is purged of his mutant half, making him completely human. It was that day that Ransik finally found his true redemption.
Andros spies on the Machine Empire generals in his iconic cloak in "Forever Red"
In Medias Res: All Power Rangers seasons have some level of hero/villain backstory before the season begins, but this season opens with Cole joining the team after the other four Rangers have been fighting the Orcs for a time and we find out about their "calling" later in the season.
Last Villain Stand: Inverted to the extreme. Despite having no more monsters, the Nexus being destroyed, and Jindrax and Toxica abandoning him, after completing his transformation into an Org, Master Org successfully managed to strip the rangers of their powers, destroy all the Wild Zords (including Animus, the King of the Wild Zords), knock the Animarium out of the sky, and nearly conquered the entire planet all on his own. It was only through a Deus ex Machina that the rangers won. Still, it would be a long time before anyone else would top that.
Taylor Earhardt, Air Force pilot and Soaring Eagle Ranger, as a nod to Amelia Earhart. Considering the fact that she also (from the perspective of the rest of the world) mysteriously vanishes during a flight and is presumed dead, her name is practically prophetic.
Alyssa is given the Caplan Award - named for Angel Grove High's principal from Mighty Morphin' - Turbo.
The Rangers first confront the Mut-Orgs at Cranston Plaza - a nod to Billy Cranston, the original Blue Power Ranger.
Some people posted on a forum that it was initially supposed to be Herndon Plaza (another PR fanboy ref, this time to Sir Stack, who currently has a visual guide from Sentai-to-PR, a blog related to PR scripts, and some others amongst his projects), but legal found that there really is a Herndon Plaza, and they had to change it.
Noble Demon: When Alyssa was injured, Zen-Aku nursed her back to health instead of attacking her.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Zen-Aku could be considered a werewolf. The only real difference is that Merrick is in that form not just during a full moon, but during all the moon's phases and only reverts to his human self during a new moon.
Orcus on His Throne: Despite killing Cole's parents pre-series and nearly taking over the world in the end, your average episode has Master Org appearing only briefly, and doing very little. As monsters are just wandering Org spirits finding host objects and being pointed in the direction of the Rangers by Toxica and Jindrax as opposed to the muscle behind some evil plot of the week, there are perhaps eight episodes Master Org isn't superfluous to, and it's painfully clear.
Hell, Toxica and Jindrax themselves realize that Master Org really isn't doing much of anything which is one of the reasons (among others) why the end up deposing him in favor of Mandilok.
Paper-Thin Disguise: More even than most series. The Rangers walk around in public with their Ranger names and animals on the back of their jackets, although at least they have the benefit of not having so many fights in the city as some of their other counterparts and of living on the Animarium for pretty much the whole series. In human form, Jindrax also has the same unnatural mouth he has as an Org.
Ramming Always Works: Shayla saves Merrick and Kite in the finale by hitting Master Org with the Animarium. She doesn't even drop it on him, she skims skyline and smacks him with the edge of the island.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Instead of being destroyed or turned human like other Power Ranger villains (although Toxica was technically destroyed for a brief amount of time until she was revived thanks to Jindrax), the Evil Duo actually gave up fighting and left to travel the world. This is another rare moment in Power Ranger history.
Secret Test of Character: Animus tries to justify that this is the reason for why he took away the powers from the rangers instead of his little tirade stating that Humans Are Bastards and wanted to see how decticated the rangers are to protecting the earth... despite the fact that he witnessed some of their battles and probably knew this to begin with, not to mention that he doesn't take back his tirade about humanity. One wonders if Animus never intended to give the Wild Zords back, and something (The Wild Zords, maybe?) changed his mind.
Series Fauxnale: Disney was planning to cancel the series after this season before being talked into moving production to New Zealand. The two-part season finale is even called, "The End of the Power Rangers".
Setting Update: In Gaoranger, the Gao Warriors were a clan of samurai. In Wild Force, the Legendary Warriors (and Animaria as a whole) are given a more European flavor. While the Orgs are inspired by Oni, this is never alluded to.
Speaks Fluent Animal: Cole. Merrick can do it too, though he rarely uses it with anything other than his own Zords. The other rangers are shown on a few occasions to be able to understand their own main Zords (Danny can understand the Bison, for example), but never anything else.
Space Does Not Work That Way: In "Forever Red", there are horses and Rangers unmorphed, except for Aurico, on the moon, which somehow has (earth-normal) air and gravity. Which is entirely consistent with Rangers' previous trips to the moon, incidentally, as shown in MMPR, Zeo, and Lost Galaxy.
Besides that, during Cole's "fight" with Serpentera, he manages to hit the brakes and skid into a drifting slide, complete with actual glowing skid marks. In space.
Team Mom: Alyssa, who goes so far as to read bedtime stories to her teammates.
This Is a Drill: The Predazord's Lunar Phantom finisher involves the Alligator Zord's tail being used as this.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Jason in "Forever Red" was a lot more arrogant and generally 'angry' than he ever was previously and original dialogue indicates he was supposed to be even more cocky: "Back aside kid, I'll show you how the original Red Ranger gets it done." The reason is that apparently Austin St. John wanted to add some "bite" to the character as compensation for returning to the franchise, and this can be seen as early as Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie where (while Brainwashed and Crazy) he seemed to have anger issues towards Tommy.
Tribal Face Paint: Worn by the tribe that Cole is an adoptive member of at the beginning of the series.