Branded foods like Power Rangers Samurai pasta really digs into the play acting part. Your fleshy character is the big bad of the episode as you chomp down the heads of the Power Rangers. The scale of your teeth against their helmets seems about right. They're powerless, silently screaming on your plate as you defeat those pesky Rangers once and for all.
Taste is as you would expect of dubious station, of settling in for who knows how long in how ever many pallets and back rooms before taking shelf here in a discount end-of-line store. Inside and outside the al dente 10 minute boil mark and the texture takes you back to watching the show seven seasons outside your designated time. You can still watch it for the nostalgia but it won't seat you back warmly unless you spend time apart. After which you embrace it once more unabashedly, willfully and without ironic distance.
Never fear though. Expiration dates are merely guidelines for a lot of food items. Pasta tastes the same whether it be a month or season "past due".
On a few cooks, it comes out as chewy globs and this both with and without the sweaty sneaker cheese everyone calls parmesan. After several tastings the helmet-shaped pasta works better with simple tomato juice, not sauce, as the juice's viscosity shyly coats the chunks enough to taste the bite without marshing it.
After you're done eating, it's time for play. Flip the box and on the back is the chance for you to "build your own action figure".
Keep your morphers stowed. It's just cardboard.
The cutting out is like you would expect anything for a child to struggle with. Easy enough on the outer edge, but once you near the armpit and thigh crack you have to plan out how to cut dexterously enough that you don't warp the cardboard so much it's popped its shoulder. That may involve cutting backward blind, with the dotted line on the other side of the scissors, or resorting to a Stanley knife. No mean feat.
The range in motion for the cardboard action figure is limited to "barely standing" and "flat on his face". You can't do anything with this other than throw it against a nighlok and hoping to slash it with paper cuts.
It is a lonely game of fighting the roid rage monster of the week when your lone Power Ranger cannot stand for himself and you must prop him up like that friend who makes your clothes smell of sick.
A return to the store and another scan of the dozen or so soon-to-expire boxes on the sad dusty shelf reveals only more packages with the Gold Ranger. The note on the back goads:
Collect the other 5 Samurai Power Rangers from the Power Rangers Macaroni and Cheese boxes to make a complete set!
This is all wrong. The Gold Ranger is the extra player. The one who comes after the initial five (or three as in the case of Jungle Fury) have banded together. The plain macaroni box should feature one of those. It's the macaroni and cheese variant that should have Gold Ranger on the back. Hell, even the Gold Ranger's costume is nothing more than Blue Ranger's with a shiny gold dickey.
Does "special edition" mean "subverted expectations" here? Yes, apparently so.
Who really likes that funky cheese powder in macaroni and cheese mix enough to group the whole team together? Someone else maybe. The lure of Power Rangers fandom can only go so far. At least where dollar boxes of pasta is concerned. (An extra 40 cents if you want the whole grain variety.)
A passable serving for the stomach, but woefully deflated for playtime.
Reviewed on Monday, 23 December 2013