WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY…OBVIOUSLY.
As promised, here’s a little piece I put together to help those still on the fence about the Power Rangers Samurai Zord line. Below are comparison photos of each individual Zord and official Megazord configuration. On the left is the Power Rangers Samurai version from Bandai of America, and on the right is the Samurai Sentai Shinkenger version from Bandai of Japan. This guide is not based on opinion, but is simply my way of giving people a helpful look at the differences between the two. My opinions can be found in the reviews for each item, but I’ll give my thoughts on the two lines at the end of this article. Let’s begin!
Samurai Megazord & Shinkenoh
LionZord & Shishi Origami
DragonZord & Ryuu Origami
BearZord & Kuma Origami
ApeZord & Saru Origami
TurtleZord & Kame Origami
Samurai Megazord & Shinkenoh
Despite all of the Zords being smaller than their Shinkenger counterparts, the Samurai Megazord’s sleeker design gives it just as much height as Shinkenoh. Aside from the TurtleZord, all the Samurai Zords do not have the portable Emblem Mode the Shinkenger mecha do (sans the TurtleZord, who can change to Emblem Mode because of its transformation). All of the Samurai Zords are new molds, with design differences compared to the Japanese release. Due to the lack of Emblem Mode, the LionZord is a bit sleeker, which shows in the combined form. As you can see, the DragonZord took the biggest hit, and is clearly on a lower scale compared to the Ryuu Origami. The Samurai Megazord also doesn’t include the Hiden Disk Shield that Shinkenoh comes with. Outside of the molding differences and lack of Emblem Mode, other differences are fairly minimal.
BeetleZord & Kabuto Origami
Beetle Blaster Megazord & Kabuto Shinkenoh
To begin, the BeetleZord lacks the removable Power Disk compared to the removable Hiden Disk in the Kabuto Origami. Outside of that, size is the biggest difference. Other differences include new legs, the lack of moveable beak on the horn, pegs for a figure to stand on, and the lack of a lock to prevent the BeetleZord’s head from spinning as you roll it around. The BBM is vastly different than Kabuto Shinkenoh. Instead of the body dangling off the back of his head, the body now detaches from the helmet and forms a shield. The legs also do not attach to the arms like in Kabuto Shinkenoh. This also prevents the BBM’s helmet from spinning like in the show.
SwordfishZord & Kajiki Origami
Swordfish Fencer Megazord & Kajiki Shinkenoh
The biggest differences remain the lack of removable disk, and the size. The SwordfishZord also has a big design difference, particularly in the tail region, now featuring a sleek fin instead of the angular one on Kajiki. When the SwordfishZord rolls, the tail flaps. When Kajiki rolls, the nose will bounce. The SwordfishZord also doesn’t have firing missiles. Like the BeetleZord, this one also has pegs for a figure to stand on. The combined mode also has a huge amount of differences. The sword can not plug into the SFM’s head like in the show for starters. Also, instead of the body becoming a backpack, it instead replaces the ApeZord as a left arm, with the sword attached.
TigerZord & Tora Origami
Tiger Drill Megazord & Tora Shinkenoh
This one actually features the least amount of changes. Outside of the size and lack of disk, the only key difference between the two is the lack of moveable tail piece, no crank, and different back legs. The new back legs have pegs for a figure to stand on, along with two pronged feet that serve a purpose later. All key features are the same. Sadly only the front drills spin when he rolls instead of all four like the Tora Origami. The Tiger Drill Megazord’s head crest can’t close, and is obviously much smaller, but that is the only major difference. Again, not all four drills spin.
Samurai Battlewing & Daitenkuu
Differences are minimal and obvious. Base formation is the same. Outside of the Battlewing losing all the features (besides the spinning beetle head, something that’s actually sort of obnoxious) this formation doesn’t do as much as Daitenkuu does. It’s mostly a matter of size.
Battlewing Megazord & Tenkuu Shinkenoh
Size and proportions are the biggest difference in this form. Daitenkuu looks menacing strapped to Shinkenoh compared to the fairly even proportioned Battlewing on the Samurai Megazord. The other key difference is that the other two drills don’t become a drill bra like Tenkuu Shinkenoh. Instead, they peg into the BearZord and DragonZord. This is why these drills have two prongs instead of three, so that they can sit flush against the Zords.
Summary of Wave 01:
The first batch of toys for Power Rangers Samurai gave us a Megazord with three smaller Zords that could all form together and interact with one another. At $30 for the Megazord, and $15 for each smaller Zord, they were much more affordable than importing, especially given the high cost for Shinkenger items on the aftermarket now. The Samurai toys were ridiculed for their lack of Emblem Mode, lack of removable disks, and most arguably their design differences. The fact that their designs were different than the show in the end formation was inexcusable for some, which lead to a lot of initial hate in the fandom. I would like to have everyone be reminded that Bandai began making the first wave of Samurai toys with the thought that there WAS NO SHOW TO BE ACCURATE TOO. Like the Mega Mode suits, there’s a good chance the Zords were designed with no show to be accurate too, so Bandai took liberties in the combined mode to what they deemed was more fun than the Japanese combinations. Whether that was a wise choice or not is up to opinion. Despite that, the toys are still fun to play with, and a pretty decent deal for your price, even if I personally believe the secondary Zords to be a tiny bit overpriced.
My short opinion: They aren’t as bad as people make them out to be, even with the lack of Emblem Mode.
OctoZord & Ika Origami
Octo Spear Megazord & Ika Shinkenoh
The OctoZord is much, much smaller than Ika, and doesn’t feature the removable (and foldable) disk on the Ika Origami. OctoZord also doesn’t feature the button on his head to extend the point. Other than that, consider the OctoZord a nice miniature Ika. OctoZord, as an added feature, has pegs to stand a figure on, as well as a tentacle spinning gimmick when you roll him around. The combination is almost identical. The Samurai Megazord can’t hold the shield straight due to the way the tab is designed, and obviously everything is much smaller than Ika Shinkenoh.
ClawZord & Ebi Origami
Claw Battlezord & Daikaioh
The ClawZord is easily the most accurate Zord released in this line compared to the Shinkenger releases. Aside from size and a few paint applications, all functionality is virtually identical. The Ebi Origami features a removable disk, plus some electronics in the chest area that the ClawZord doesn’t have. Besides that, everything is spot on perfect.
Claw Battlezord North & Daikaioh North
While it looks close in the aesthetics department, there are a few differences here. Because of how small the OctoZord is, the spear looks more like a stick. There’s also no way for the Claw Battlezord to actually hold it properly. One way is to spread the OctoZord’s tentacles open, and use the middle connector as a handle. This makes it look more like a sword. Another method is to bend down the connector panel, and use the small clip as a mini handle and balance it out. This looks more accurate, but has little friction and is reliant mostly on balance. Small bit of a design flaw there.
Samurai Battle Cannon & IkaTenkuu Buster
The same differences from the Battlewing apply here. It’s a lot smaller, and all the gimmicks from the Japanese release are removed. While all the gimmicks in the Japanese release operate when the dial is spun, that gimmick doesn’t exist in the Samurai toys. Again, size is the biggest factor, as you can see above. As you can see below, the small size of the Cannon ends up being a drawback when posed with it’s user, the Claw Armor Megazord.
Claw Armor Megazord & DaikaiShinkenoh
The Claw Armor Megazord is a great representation of DaikaiShinkenoh. Because of the ClawZord’s mirrored engineering, everything is intact and looks great on display. The only real difference is the ApeZord. Because of the lack of Emblem Mode, the ApeZord can’t fold up like the Saru Origami can. As seen in the show, the Saru Origami folds up and sits on the back of the combination. Since the ApeZord can’t fold up, you’re stuck with an arm dangling on the back. You can even out the combination by keeping the TurtleZord as an arm.
Summary of Wave 02:
Where as the first set features a lot of differences between the two, OctoZord and ClawZord remain very true to the Japanese releases. OctoZord has some questionable design choices for his combinations, but the ClawZord remains incredibly close to the Japanese release and is a great standalone toy. Unfrotunately the Battle Cannon proves that scaling down toys for price doesn’t always end in a decent product.
My short opinion: Even better than the first few releases. ClawZord is spectacular.
SharkZord & Kyouryuu Origami
Shark Megazord & Kyouryuu Shinkenoh
The most obvious change is that the Kyoryuu Origami is a dinosaur, not a shark. To make it more shark like, Bandai of America added pegs for a figure to stand on, a tail fin to the handle, and a dorsal fin to the blade of the Zord. Because of the much smaller size, only the front legs of the SharkZord come off to form the helmet (the back legs of Kyoryuu formed a stand for the giant sword). Kyoryuu Origami was based off the Shinkenmaru (Spin Sword) toy, and thus features the spinning lens gimmick, as well as sounds. Since the SharkZord is a small Zord, all of that was obviously removed. Easily the biggest differentiation in versions thus far. The combined form is pretty much the same, just with a much smaller sword of course.
More comparison pictures of the BullZord and all related formations can be found in the review HERE.
BullZord & Ushi Origami
Bull Megazord & Mougyuudaioh
Another massive shrinkage, and for good reason, considering Mogyuudaioh’s over $100 price tag. In Bull Mode, the BullZord loses the essence of the cart being pulled by an ox that’s more prevalent in the Japanese release. It also loses the motorized gimmick. Thankfully, the BullZord still has two Power Disks included. Both toys allow a Megazord/Mecha to ride in the “cart.” The split in the BullZord’s cart caused by the new leg mold obviously hinders balance a tad, but the functionality is still present and noted. In Megazord mode, the Bull Megazord features a sleeker look that is more accurate to the show than Mougyuudaioh’s blockyness can portray. The motorized gimmick is (surprise) still missing from the Bull Megazord. All base functionality remains however.
Gigazord & Samurai Haoh
When you cram this much crap into one robot, it’s really hard to “mess up” the toy, as most Japanese toy purists like to say. As mentioned before, the motor is stripped from the BullZord, so your Gigazord will do no motoring around the local mall like Samurai Haoh could. Considering this creature is put together from all 11 Zords, the same differences that applied to them are applied here as well. The end results gives you a combination that’s much smaller and sleeker than the Japanese release, and retains most of the same functionality that makes it such a beast. Base changes are the placement of the OctoZord legs and the TigerZord head, as well as the fact that the Gigazord basically stands on little skis instead of a platform.
The ApeZord also brings in another problem to the Samurai release. Because it can’t fold into the Emblem Mode, the official BoA instructions gives you the TurtleZord (in an Emblem Mode, since it’s the only one that can) on one side, and an arm on the other side. While it’s not detrimental from the formation or make it suck, it’s still an issue to be pointed out. The ApeZord is literally one hinge away from being able to fold, and I a hard time believing that one hinge would have costed them. I think it has more to do with end planning on Bandai’s part. You can remedy the design in multiple different ways, so find the one that works for you, or just leave it how it is.
Shark Gigazord & Kyouryuu Samurai Haoh
Same size differences as the SharkZord versus the Kyouryuu Origami. The Kyouryuu Origami still looks goofy big and the SharkZord still looks goofy small, especially in the Gigazord’s hands.
Summary of Wave 03:
The last wave raps up our comparisons between the Samurai and Shinkenger items in terms of the main Megazord/Mecha. Both the Kyouryuu Origami and Mougyuudaioh were huge hulks of toys that were shrunk considerably for the overseas markets. That might upset some people, but credit has to be given when due for being able to sleek things down, make them affordable for this economy, while still being able to pull off something like the Gigazord. While the two in this set don’t have the same accuracy Wave 02 did, they retain their base functions and still act as really great toys for their price.
My short opinion: Being able to turn Mougyuudaioh into that while still being able to form the Gigazord is astounding. Bravo.
Final Thoughts and Opinions:
At the end of the day, besides the ApeZord problems caused in the final product, the toys are toys, and are still really great. You’re looking at around $175 for the Gigazord compared to well over $500 for the Samurai Haoh. Sure, the BoA versions of the toys aren’t as detailed, aren’t as high quality, and aren’t as accurate as the Japanese versions. However, people have to remember that the product here is intended to be sold at nearly half the cost to an economy who’s already incredibly stingy when it comes to buying toys. Some design choices were questionable, I’ll give them that, but at the end of the day toys are toys, and for the price, what you get isn’t bad, especially when you compare the Gigazord to Samurai Haoh. If the changes made are that detrimental, get the Japanese versions, but I have to say that the Samurai Zord line isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, and are actually pretty solid toys that any Ranger Kid is going to love. They actually impressed me.