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Morphed April O'Neil & Morphed Michelangelo

Power Rangers x Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by yo go re

NECA does not get enough credit for the work it did breaking Playmates' monopoly on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys. Without their efforts to open that forbidden door, we wouldn't have toys from Funko, Mondo, Super7...o... or any of the other small companies who have taken advantage of different TMNT product categories in recent years. The newest not-Playmates company to join the trend is the biggest of big-timers, Hasbro.

In 2019, Boom Studios and IDW teamed up to release a five-issue crossover miniseries between the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Startlingly titled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the story saw the teenagers with attitude blocked from accessing their Power Ranger powers, so the other teenagers with attitude (the chelonian ones) had to take over when Rita's monsters attacked.

Now, the mathematically-minded among you may have noticed that while there are five Power Rangers, there are only four Turtles, so naturally this disparity was solved by roping April O'Neil into the deal, as well. Turns out Morphing gives you instant martial arts skills in addition to a fancy suit! At a glance, this appears to be identical to the regular Lightning Collection Pink Ranger, but look again, and you'll find that something is missing: April didn't wear a skirt with her Ranger armor! I mean, she's still got pants, it's not that kind of toy, she just doesn't wear a skirt over them as well. The diamond patterns that define the Mighty Morphin suits are just painted on the figure, and the pink of the torso does not match the pink of the limbs.

So you can actually tell this is meant to be April and not Kimberly, the set includes an alternate head; pop off the Pink Ranger helmet, with its cute little pterodactyl shape on the forehead, and you can replace it with an unmasked April head. The only downside is that April O'Neil really doesn't have any features that immediately distinguish her - no glasses, no scars, no beard - so this could easily be any auburn-haired woman. The accessories help, though.

Morphed April comes with the same stuff Kimberly did, her usual Ranger weapons: a pistol that fits in the holster on her left hip, and the bow and arrow (with an alternate "energy arrow" for after she's fired it). The bow is the same mold as the existing toy's, so it could combine with the other "real" Rangers' weapons to become the Power Blaster. Finally, because this April works for Channel 6 News just like cartoon April, she gets a microphone and a video camera. Which has its own built-in microphone. Bit redundant, that. She moves at the ankles, boots, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and head, and includes two altenate hands for fighting: a left fist and a right chop.

Most of these figures are sold in two-packs, like the Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures DC Direct made (hey, there's yet another company in NECA's debt!), though there doesn't seem to be any particular reasoning between most of the pairings. I guess you could say that April O'Neil is most famous for wearing a yellow jumpsuit, and so she's sold in a set with Michelangelo, who's taken the place of the Yellow Ranger. He also does not wear a skirt.

The Power Ranger suits aren't actual costumes the wearer needs to put on - they're more like solid energy that just sort of envelops them? That's why mutant turtles could wear the "same" uniforms as young humans. Can you imagine Michelangelo trying to fit into Trini Kwan's clothes? He'd be ripping seams before he even got them over his ankles.

The plain yellow part of the suit hugs Mikey's body, while his shell (front and rear) gets turned into a metallic gold armor. The diamond shapes on his gloves and boots are raised elements, because there was no one for this mold to be reused from, and you can still make out that he only has two toes inside those boots. Again, his Ranger helmet head can be removed, revealing a turtle with an orange mask and a wildly bodacious smile. No real effort was made, however, to make this sculpt match the comic art.

Even the boys' weapons got Morphed. Instead of his usual nunchucks or the Yellow Ranger's typical Power Dagger, the two things have been combined to form Power Chucks, paired daggers connected by a length of chain. The chain here is molded plastic, which isn't the best choice, but certainly economical. Each set of daggers can plug together so they stay in his belt holsters properly, and the set includes a translucent purple energy slash that can be attached to a blade for dynamic poses.

Morphed April is a fairly mundane inclusion, since she barely looks different than the Pink Ranger ever does, but Morphed Michelangelo is a cool figure and suggests these toys are going to be a lot of fun. There are some changes we'd have made (more sculpted details on April, different weapon design on Mikey), but now I'm looking forward to the rest of the releases.

-- 03/24/22

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