Welcome dear readers to a new portion of musings from the grid—a ranking system where our colorful cohosts rank everything from mentors to villains to the rangers themselves. We decided, completely and totally on a whim, and not born out of any specific Jungle-Fury-related conversation to look at the great and not so great mentors of our time and discuss who a mentor, who’s just a leader, and who is something else entirely.
We must ask ourselves who is the best mentor. But how do we measure that? Several factors must be considered:
- Wisdom of the designated mentor figure: Do they give sage advice? Is it useful or just annoying? Is it even coherent, or only part of the lesson of the week?
- What role do they have on the team, what do they bring to the table? Why are they here?
- Do they bark out orders, and are they in the right position to do so?
- Do they help or hinder the rangers’ ability to do their job? Do they help them become better rangers, and how?
- If the “mentor” figure is removed from the season, or episode does that fundamentally change the season’s makeup? Do they help shape the season, or are they there for just lip service and lesson of the week material?
Given the criteria above, we will ask the following questions:
- Across all of Power Rangers, best fits the role of the mentor?
Ben: Okay, so Full disclosure; as of the time of writing this article, I have only seen up to the end of Jungle Fury, and I feel it unfair to judge characters that I have not seen, so my viewpoints in this article will reflect that. Now, if we distill the question, it is basically who is the best mentor, someone who actually mentors, is pivotal to the season and Aids the Rangers. My Answer to that: RJ from Jungle Fury. The Answer as to why could really get out of hand due to length, but suffice to say, when everything boils down, RJ Is by far the best mentor the show has had.
Sasha: So I think, as I often say on the show, I agree with Ben. RJ is hands down the mentor that encompasses everything. He tells them exactly what they need to do or know, when they need to know, and is a bit cryptic when the rangers need to figure things out independently. He’s never purposefully a jerk to them and has high expectations of them. He doesn’t’ always give them the answers. But that’s because, as their mentor, it’s not his job. He guides them in the right direction, sometimes with words or ways to work through their problems.
Brian: Now, it wouldn’t be fun if I were to just agree with Ben and Sasha, now would it? Therefore, the mentor I best think embodies these attributes is Anubus Cruger. Aside from his Sentai counterpart being one of my favorite characters that keep showing up in subsequent Super Sentai series and movies, the American counterpart is also worthy of being nominated for many reasons. He’s firm but fair with his B-Squad rangers, whom he tells Kat Manx are the best that he’s ever trained. He’s wise, he mentors his team without holding their hands, and he’s willing to sacrifice himself for his team and the people he’s sworn to protect if it comes to that. Put on top of that, he has one of the coolest ranger suits ever, and I think that he makes for one of the best, if not THE best mentor in all of Power Rangers.
Mike: I think Captain Mitchell from Lightspeed Rescue would get my vote here. Now I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve seen Lightspeed Rescue, but I’ve always remembered Captain Mitchell as someone that always tried his best to guide his team to do their best, not just in battles but in life. One key example that always stands out to me was the episode where Mitchell worked with Carter Grayson on being a better leader, and more importantly, knowing when you need to take a day off.
- Which mentor is the exact opposite?
Sasha: Honestly, it has to be Gosei. He was a floating tiki head with zero help to anyone and tossed out power upgrades and new weapons when he felt like it. Nobody earned anything in the show. Nobody had to learn a lesson or grow as a ranger to get a cool weapon or an upgrade. HECK, the Rangers barely even had to do any work to earn the ranger keys, with some exceptions. So yeah. I would say Gosei is the worst mentor. He was just a disembodied voice. I’ll take the guy in the tube over this nimrod any day.
Brian: I have to agree with Sasha on this one. Gosei was a JOKE. Like she said, he was a tiki face with a disembodied voice that threw out powers without discretion, including powers that “had never been seen before on Earth” (i.e., pre-Zyuranger Sentai teams that were in Gokaiger footage that just HAD to be used, I guess? I mean, it’s cool we got Dairanger, but I’m getting off track.)
Gosei was a watered-down, less impressive Zordon. That’s all he ever was.
Mike: Sorry, Gosei. Even Zordon’s mentorship can’t save you on this one.
Ben: Gonna break the Gosei hate train here (remember I’m only judging seasons I have seen) and say there are a whole lot of mentors that are frankly worthless in the overall scheme of their seasons outside of being the one to bring the team into the fold. But after that, at least mentors like Zordon or Hartford helped by providing power-ups for the rangers, so to me, the two that spring to mind for me in this category are Princess Shayla of Wild Force and Dimitria from Turbo. By process of elimination, since Princess Shayla actually brought the team together, the answer must be Dimitria. She literally shows up, replaces Zordon, spouts nonsense for half the season, does literally nothing, and then just leaves.
- Is there a character or characters that you think should be considered a Mentor that isn’t? How about some that are that you think of in roles other than a mentor?
Brian: I’m sure there are plenty of better answers, but the first person to pop into my mind when I consider people that should be mentors is Ernie. Sure, he had nothing to do with the Ranger side of things, but he was always, and I mean ALWAYS, there to help out the teens if they were having a bad day or were going through something tough, or just needed someone to talk to. He would constantly give out food and drinks on the house if there were reason to celebrate or if someone needed cheering up. He coached the teens and others both in sports and in life.
There’s been a rumor going around for years that Ernie is actually Zordon in disguise as a human, which is a nice sentiment, but would kind of make the whole “trapped in a dimensional warp” thing a moot point since if he can disguise himself as Ernie, why does he need to spend any time at all in the tube? But, I can see enough similarities between the two. Ernie was always a good guy and absolutely is deserving of being an honorary mentor in the halls of Power Ranger history.
Sasha: Based on our criteria, I say Hayley from Dino Thunder. She was the one pushing the rangers sometimes and was the voice of reason. She was a confidant to them; she gave them a safe place to hang out and even let them stay late at night at her cyber cafe after it closed. She put a lot of trust in them. And she is responsible for all the tech they used; without her, they would have been lost. She wasn’t a wise old mentor, and she wasn’t always the person that threw out wisdom. But she did call them out when they were not’ focusing, and she was observant and always tried to be there for the rangers when it was a problem. Sometimes it felt like she and Tommy were on equal footing, and when Tommy wasn’t there, she filled the role of mentor.
Mike: This is a tough one as there are many choices that can fall in this, but I’m gonna have to say it’s Angela Fairweather from Lightspeed Rescue. She plays a specific role for her team, especially as someone who could be considered a second in command in some cases to the actual mentor themself. For Angela, she is the legitimate second in command to Captain Mitchell and also is the love interest of Joel the Green Ranger. However, one of the biggest things she does, and this is why I see her as someone who could be a mentor, is her selflessness. Angela is always willing to push away her happiness for the betterment of the Rangers, and she’s shown that multiple times throughout the season, especially near the end and subsequent crossover.
Ben: Rather than going into detail on one specific person, I think it would be better to highlight one character from as many seasons as possible to show just how deep the pool of possible mentors is. First up, as Brian pointed out, from MMPR and Zeo, you have Ernie. Then in Turbo, you have Lieutenant Stone. In Space had Andros, obviously. Lost Galaxy had Commander Stanton. Lightspeed Rescue had Ms. Fairweather, as Mike highlighted. Then we have Time Force, where it could be argued that Jen was the mentor. Wild Force had, surprisingly, Zen-Aku (from a certain point of view) who taught the rangers about embracing their animal powers. Ninja Storm had Kelly, the woman who runs the Bike shop and teaches Dustin about himself. Hayley, as Sasha noted, we both agree there for Dino Thunder. SPD had Kat.(who would be my pick if I HAD to pick one) Toby from Mystic Force taught the rangers the value of hard work in the real world. You also have Daggeron, who fills in a few blanks and trains the rangers in serious combat. Overdrive only had one mentor, and his name was Spencer, and Jungle Fury had three Masters. They were Master Swoop, Master Phant, and Master Finn. I have not seen any seasons beyond this yet, but I think I made my point.
- Which mentor was the sharpest dresser? Who really had a nice wardrobe?
Brian: Zordon is disqualified from this one, lol. I’m giving it to Kendall Morgan from Dino Charge. She knows how to rock a suit jacket and glasses better than I can, and she’s just always got an “I’m the boss” vibe about her whenever I see her on-screen.
Mike: I agree with Brian. Kendall definitely had an amazing touch on fashion, and it made her character feel more believable too, especially in a mentor role.
Ben: Probably the question that is the most subjective, at least some of the others we can debate on, but this is purely personal taste. None of the mentors reflect my personal style, so I’m going to make a bit of a weird call here and say; Udonna. Not because I think her outfit is the height of fashion, but because the costume design in Mystic Force is Top notch and never gets enough credit. The detail and nuance that is put into the costumes and the overall stories that the costumes themselves tell is spectacular in that season.
Sasha: I’m going to go against the grain and actually say they’re both wrong and say the sharpest dresser was Hayley from Dino Thunder. She had her own unique sense of style that really worked for her, and it wasn’t’ all business jackets, or lab coats, or a uniform. She wore various colors, earth tones, etc. But it was the way everything blended with her personality and character that made those fashion choices stand out. Also, isn’t it interesting that our sharpest dressers are all female characters? I guess male mentors just didn’t have the right passion for fashion. And Ben’s point about Udonna is so valid. The costume design that season was fantastic.
- Which mentor was the smartest? Not necessarily in terms of what they knew about the evil, but in general. Who is the most intelligent?
Sasha: While Dr. K is truly the most intelligent of the bunch, I wouldn’t classify her as a mentor. She and Kendall were more boss than mentor. This is why, once again, I have to go with Hayley from Dino Thunder. She built tech and was the one that was making a lot of the devices that the rangers used. Without her, the rangers never would have gotten those cool dino bikes to rescue Tommy. She was the one designing all the power-ups and upgrades to their tech.
Brian: So, who else not only created the Ranger’s gear, zords, and arsenal, but was also responsible for the big bad’s creation, as WELL as a computer virus capable of destroying the world? That’s right; I’m going with Doctor K. She’s by far the most genius of the bunch, if not a little cold and not capable of empathy, at least not right away. She’s since grown smarter and more receptive to people and their feelings as of Beast Morphers, too!
Ben: this one really is a toss-up. The gimme answer that a lot of people are going to offer is Dr. K of RPM. I’ve not seen RPM, but judging by Brian and Sasha’s answers, she seems pretty smart. But she’s also not the only Mentor to build the team’s tech. If we are using our own definition of mentors, Miss F, Hayley, and Kat Manx all also built the team’s tech. RJ Built his team’s Morphers and Claw Cannon. For RJ, Miss F, and Hayley this was arguably even harder as they weren’t operating with Future Technology like Kat and Dr. K. Of Those I’m going to Back Sasha up on this one and say Hayley Ziktor of Dino Thunder, mainly because she is the only one of those I mentioned with a measurable level of education as it is mentioned she graduated from MIT. Some of the others I mentioned may be smarter overall, but at least with Hayley, there is a metric with which to judge her.
Mike: I thought for a really long time how I was going to write this answer. And if I’m completely honest, I think the others summed it up well. Anything I add will probably just be repeating what they’ve already said.
- Which mentor is likely to die first in a horror movie?
Brian: Hard to say. Probably Mick Canick. I can see him getting flustered and cornered in a horror scenario; Keeper is kind of an easy target as well, but Zordon from the 1995 movie was the closest to ever come to death, and that was KIND of horror movie-ish?
Mike: Princess Shayla from Wild Force. She keeps getting kidnapped! I mean, come on! If I got kidnapped that many times, I’d be the first to die in a horror film too.
Ben: It’s almost like Mike’s directly quoting my Wild Force column. Oh, wait…HE IS! As such, I have made my thoughts on Princess “You could replace me with a piece of inanimate furniture, and the season would be better,” Shayla clear. But I’m not going to make that my answer here. Rather I’m going to take a different track and say the first mentor to die in a zombie invasion would be; Captain Mitchell of Lightspeed Rescue. Not through any lack of training or fault, but because he’s the kind of person who would be on the front lines fighting the hordes and would be at the greatest risk.
Sasha: GOSEI!!!! Ok, I sounded way too excited; there are other options, though. I want to say Mentor JI. He wasn’t much of a mentor, and he was likely barely competent when he was. Sure he can fight. But what else can he do? Mentor Ji can become a talking goldfish, and nothing would change. Princess Shayla, sweet as a gumdrop, with some fighting skills that were only ever used once and a perpetual damsel in distress. She was just there to give out sage wisdom and be an alarm system to danger. So I gotta give this one to Mike.
- Which mentors would you swap seasons with, and why? (i.e., swapping Anubis Kruger and Zordon in their respective seasons)
Brian: I would love to see Captain Mitchell and Kruger team up, possibly mentor each other’s teams as well. This might have to do with growing up on an Army base and visiting rival naval bases for little league baseball games as a kid, but I’ve always loved the idea of “what if they swapped places for a day?” I’d love to see how Anubis and the Lightspeed Rescue Rangers interact, and what Captain Mitchell would think of the SPD Rangers. There’s the potential there to see things from different perspectives that I think would be fun to watch.
Mike: I’d love to see Zordon and Gosei swap seasons. In Megaforce/Super Megaforce, Gosei goes on to say that Zordon was a mentor to him. What would happen if that were reversed? That could be a unique spin to have Gosei mentor the original Rangers while claiming to be a student of Zordon’s, and then years later, Zordon appears with the Megaforce Rangers. Maybe a better 20th Anniversary season?
Sasha: I would switch Dr. K and Kruger for a bit. But I would want to see Captain Mitchell or Kruger, you know, the military type mentors deal with the Overdrive team. They really could have used some character building, boot camp kind of training. But also, Imagine Dr. K in the future, she’s a genius from a dystopian world, and Kruger has been through a lot. Dr. K would clash with Kat for a while, but they’d both work well at the end, while Kruger comes up with some epic battle plan for defeating Venjix. Similarly, it would be cool if Sensei Watanabe took on the Ninja Steel Rangers, who aren’t actual ninjas. They just have ninja uniforms.
Ben: Okay, so Captain Mitchell/Doggie Kruger and Zordon/Gosei are cop-out answers. Why? Because they are just the same person in different timelines. That doesn’t really change anything about the respective series. The point of this question is to make something that fundamentally changes either the season or the person. For example; What if RJ got swapped with Tommy? The fact is all three Jungle Fury Rangers are probably better Martial Artists than Tommy, a side of his character that we have never seen tested; he’s always been the best fighter in his seasons. How would RJ react to working with Hayley? What if Princess Shayla got swapped with Doggie? How would Princess Shayla deal with a technologically advanced future, and how would Doggie deal with being around a team of rangers he can’t just order around and has no direct authority over. How would the respective Teams of rangers react if the Mighty Morphin’ rangers were being trained by a Guinea Pig and the Ninja Storm Rangers were dealing with a head in a tube?
- Is there a mentor that got too much attention or maybe not enough attention?
Brian: Ironically, Zordon got the most attention while also not getting much about his backstory aired out on the show. We’ve had to hypothesize about his upbringing, his war with Rita 10,000 years ago, what he was like when he lived on Eltar. While he had the most screen time, we know VERY little about him. We are currently learning quite a bit about him from the Boom! Comics, but even then, is that canon?
Mike: This is going to sound weird, but Tommy Oliver. He had so much attention on him before he was a mentor that when he finally does become a mentor years later, you have this very weird flux of attention that he does and doesn’t have. Part of it being his filming schedule during Dino Thunder, but then also because it’s Tommy Freaking Oliver. Was he a great mentor? Not really, but he is one of the biggest names in all of Power Rangers.
Sasha: I’m sure Ben will mention this in his Dino Thunder column, but Tommy for sure. I would even say, at times Udonna. Not as a character, but so much of the story of Mystic Force focused on the great battle between good and evil and all the players involved, and the past, that sometimes it kind of felt like it left certain rangers a bit sidelined at times. But someone who doesn’t get enough attention is possibly Andros or even Wes. They fit a role where they had to help their ranger team adjust to life in space or life in the late ’90s. They end up being leaders, true (though less in Wes’s case cause Jen was the leader in that season).
Ben: My colleagues have all gone for Mentors that got too much attention and rightfully named Tommy and Zordon as the main culprits, so I’m going to go for a mentor that doesn’t get enough credit, and this should come as ZERO surprise. It’s RJ. RJ Deserves way more credit than he is given as an excellent mentor, but a lot of the issue with this is I very, VERY rarely see people Discussing ANYTHING about Jungle Fury, which is an absolute travesty. I can see how people might have tuned out after Overdrive. But do yourself a favor and give jungle Fury a viewing, especially to see a mentor, unlike anything you’ve seen in other episodes. RJ really does deserve more of a spotlight. There was an early draft of this article where I was just gonna answer every question with a GIF of RJ, but, alas, I never got to do that. Also an honorable mention to Andros. He’s not a mentor, but he’s definitely the authority figure in the IN SPACE season, and he really does bring together the team to take on overwhelming odds. Oh, and his tears cure death, so that’s a bonus.
So, what did you think of our picks? Our Reasonings? We’d love to hear your opinions on the questions above coe discuss them with us over on Twitter where you can find us @VftG_PR and make sure to mention which Member of our team you are talking about. If you somehow found your way here without having heard our podcast pop on over to TXHThockey.com/VFTG which is the hub page for all things Power Rangers we do. Until next time…
Grab your Morphers and may the Power protect you!