A Morpher is a device used by an unpowered individual to transform (from Greek: Morphos; in English: "Morph"/"Form"/"Shape") into a Power Ranger or similar superhuman form. Morphing will also transform a child or non-human into the size and shape of an adult human.
Morphers are often seen as wrist-mounted gadgets but appear in a wide variety of forms, deriving their power from futuristic technology or magic or sometimes a combination of both. They can incorporate other functions such as communication or weapons.
Talisman objects such as swords, coins, staffs or crystals can also be used to transform, but are seen in conjunction with morphers as well (for example the Power Morphers and Power Coins). It also can be used as a weapon and a communication device. Recurring types of morphers are Bracelets, Phones, Weapons, Belt Buckles, and others.
All Rangers use a morphing call, a short phrase or sequence of words spoken just before or simultaneously with the morph. The nature of the call varies from team to team but it is sometimes stated that the call must be spoken in order to successfully morph. Most Rangers however have demonstrated the ability to transform with or without using their call, suggesting that the words may serve as a kind of vocal affirmation or battle cry.
Before a team morph, a leading Ranger may call on their teammates to Power Up! or Ranger Up!. Conversely, morphed Rangers may cancel their transformation by announcing Power Down!, or involuntarily when assaulted by an opponent.
Though some villains have demonstrated morphing-like transformation powers, the only villain known to possess a morpher was Koragg, but he was never seen in any other form.
On at least one occasion Troy Burrows morphed without the use of his morpher and without saying a morphing command.
Although not formally named, De-Morphing (or UnMorphing) is the opposite process to Morphing, wherein a ranger loses their morph state and returns to a "civilian" state. This loss of morph state occurs in one of two ways: the ranger themselves deactivates their morph state, or, the morpher will force the rangers to De-Morph after they have taken too much damage or been knocked out.
Typically the latter scenario is the universal method to represent when the rangers are overpowered and/or defeated by an enemy. It is most likely a built-in morpher mechanism to avoid further damage to the power suit and its weaponry.Samurai Surprise This mechanism is not always flawless, however, as power suits have been badly damaged before deactivation, such as Leo Corbett and Wesley Collins getting their helmets partially shattered. It should be mentioned, though, that the power suits in those instances were not forced to deactivate after such damage, indicating the morphing mechanism most likely follows the ranger's will and commands until further damage forces its deactivation.
When de-morphing voluntarily, the Rangers often shouts "Power Down!" with a few exceptions, such as the Zeo Rangers saying "Zeo (number) Power Down" King for a Day or the Wind Rangers saying, "Ninja Form!".
Behind the Scenes
Most of the Power Rangers morphers are adapted directly from the designs seen in Super Sentai. The first morpher not to have a Super Sentai counterpart was the White Ranger morpher used by Tommy from the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. As the Green Ranger, he had used a gold Power Morpher with the Dragon Coin, but since the Power Morphers and Coins were lifted from Zyuranger, the White Ranger (being a character from Dairanger) used a different transformation device and so the gold morpher was reused with a specially created Tiger Coin. The seldom seen Ninja Coins given to the Rangers in the third season were an entirely American addition.
The Dairanger morphers were known as Aura Changers and were not used in MMPR. However a modified version appeared in Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy as the Magna Defender Morpher, since Black Knight, the Gingaman character on which the Magna Defender was based, didn’t have a traditional transformation device, using instead his sword to transform.
The Titanium Ranger seen in Lightspeed Rescue was the first wholly original Ranger created for the series, having no Sentai analogue, and thus his Titanium Morpher was an all new design as well. Though the Gold Ranger had his own morpher, a variant Zeonizer, in Ohranger, it wasn’t used in Power Rangers: Zeo, although a toy version was produced. This, along with the Kiba Changer (a variant Aura Changer used by the Japanese White Ranger), the Mystic Morpher used by Udonna's Sentai counterpart, and the Doronchangers from Kakuranger (from which the Alien Rangers were derived) are the only post-Zyuranger morpher designs not to have appeared in the series in some capacity.
The GekiChangers seen in Gekiranger, though not used for morphing purposes, were integrated into Jungle Fury as Battle Claws seen on the suits of all the Rangers except the Wolf Ranger.
The Solar Morphers of Jungle Fury are actually the first morphers that are not wrist-worn or handheld, being sunglasses.
Some morphers were never specifically named onscreen, with their titles instead found in publicity materials and on merchandise. The Astro Morphers, for example, were only ever called “morphers” within the series, the name being used for the toy line. The name was finally made canon when Tommy used it in Legacy of Power.
Power Morpher Parodies and References
In the videogame Viewtiful Joe, the main character, Joe, uses a V-Watch to transform into his "Viewtiful" counterpart. He does this by shouting out "Henshin-A-Go-Go Baby!" (Henshin is a Japanese term for transformation). The Viewtiful Joe counterpart is modeled after an almagation of a Red Ranger and Kamen Rider with a long pink scarf and open faceplate which closes during a boss fight.