Morph into Action! – Power Morphicon 2016

Power Morphicon. The premier Power Rangers and Super Sentai convention of Southern California. Held annually in fall, 2016’s Power Morphicon 5 was my first, and the experience was much as I dreamed; a chance to introduce myself to my childhood heroes, and to learn behind-the-scenes stories and funny anecdotes from the cast members. So let’s dive right into my experience, staring with the setup.

The venue was the Pasadena Convention Center, a cozy area next to an indoor ice rink and an open-air mall. The three major ballrooms were for panels, meet-and-greets, Q&A sessions, and episode screenings. The hallway had the registration booth, next to the entrance to the Dealer’s Hall. Not huge, but definitely sufficient for the convention’s purposes; the floor space allowed the entire line for the main Mighty Morphin’ panel in with room- and seats- to spare.

So let’s go over a brief snapshot of the Power Morphicon experience. The Dealer’s Hall was crammed full of toys, gadgets, posters, comics, and so, so much more. If you’ve ever wanted a Dragon Dagger, a specific morphing device, or perhaps a print of one of your favorite rangers, this is where your dreams come true. Further back, the booths of merchandise gave way to booths of actors, where the men and women behind the masks were more than happy to meet their fans. Mighty Morphin’, Time Force, Samurai, Lightspeed Rescue– this con had a hell of a pedigree. Even several members of the cast of Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger were present! I managed to have a brief chat with them through my coworker before heading to the Zyuranger panel.

The panel was a Q&A session, where the attendee’s questions ranged from special effects, to their martial arts training. The group spent six months training for action stunts via the Japan Action Club. The men at the panel talked about loving Kamen Rider when they were young, though Reiko Chiba added that she was a girl and didn’t watch things like that. The team also mentioned the fact that the version in Japan was very different from both the american Mighty Morphin’ adaptation, and all of its’ predecessor rangers in being fantasy-like and centered on children. Even now, they are very happy and grateful that people around the world still love them and their work.

The next panel was the centerpiece of the con: the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers panel. The ballroom and stage alike were filled to the brim, with almost twenty of the original series actors and actresses in front of a live audience. Austin St. John, Walter E. Jones, and Johnny Yong Bosch were among the superstars onstage, and headed most of the Q&A. A few of the cast moseyed on by during the show and took seats after the start of the show. After the first few questions, Jason Narvy passed by the stage for a quick session of Duck Duck Goose, tagging Royce Herron before running through the back exit like a loon. Once he finally settled down later, Narvy joined in the round of questions, adding a high-energy element to the panel. He settled into a back and forth with St. John, with some gentle ribbing to each side. One thing agreed upon by all; the fact that everyone is looking forward to the Lionsgate reboot movie.

Heading out for the day, I felt pretty satisfied. The sheer number of cast members blew me away, and it was a long-held dream seen fulfilled to meet them. Not to mention the Dealer’s Hall, jam packed with anything and everything a sentai fan could want. With a couple of comic books, an Eyeshine CD, and my badge around my neck, I left for home with a full heart and an empty wallet… And the end result was completely and totally worth it. 2017’s Power Morphicon 6 is a definite must-do on the list of any sentai fan.

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