Created by Ellen Brand for her “Personality Conflicts” series, Eight-Sided Rainbow is a discussion of the Power Rangers’ Morphin’ Grid.
Eight-Sided Rainbow: An Overview of the Morphin’ Grid Edit
One of the fundamental forces in our universe is The Power, and the purest expression of the Power, at least on our plane of existence, is the Morphin’ Grid. The Grid derives its name from the multi-leveled nature of its energies, best visualized as a three-dimensional grid structure. A particular power connection can be imagined as a point plotted on a set of three axes, much as three numbers are required for coordinate navigation in space. In the case of the Grid, these three axes are shade, color, and level.
Shade is perhaps the least complicated of the defining characteristics. The Shade of the Grid that a person draws from is an indicator of general morality, alignment in terms of good and evil. Wielders who draw from the Light tend to be what most consider “good” – noble, unselfish, compassionate, honorable – or at least hold these up as an ideal to shoot for. Should a holder betray these virtues completely, he or she will find that the connection has disappeared. Dark, on the other hand, is the “evil” side, dedicated to the principles of greed, cruelty, selfishness, and dishonor. Here too, should the wielder have a change of heart, the power will become unavailable.
The third Shade is the Shadow, and it is considered a great mystery. The balance point between Light and Dark, followers of this path are bound only to the codes they hold in their own hearts. As a result, this power can not be lost in a change of allegiance, because a Shadow’s loyalty is always within him or her. Though most can be described as honorable, it is a personal honor, and not necessarily that defined by the Light.
While Shade describes morality, Level relates to method of operation. Like Shade, Level is divided into three sectors, Dino (Body,) Thunder (Mind,) and Ninja (Spirit.) Each of these levels has a different way of tackling a problem. Dino types are physical, usually preferring to bull through a problem with a minimum of fuss. Once started on a course of action, they find it hard to turn aside or change tacks. Strong and stalwart, they nevertheless possess all the subtlety of a chainsaw.
Thunder is the level of the Mind. These types prefer to use their wits to get through a crisis. Usually lighter-hearted than either of their counterparts, Thunder types will throw themselves into action, reinventing their ideas on the fly, if need be. Patience is not one of their strong suits, nor is persistence. Thunders would rather find the easiest, quickest way of resolving a problem, rather than waiting for a solution to present itself, or keeping at a seemingly unsuccessful tactic.
Last is Ninja, the level of the soul. Calm and patient, Ninja types would prefer to let a situation play itself out until a solution becomes apparent. While they possess more finesse and patience than the other types, they are not suited to quick action or hasty changes in tactics. Quieter than the other two divisions, they sometimes have a tendency to brood.
The most famous of the Grid’s defining factors, of course, is color. After all, with eight divisions instead of three, it’s much easier to use as a means of distinguishing Rangers. Color is a far more complicated type of classification than the other two, dealing as it does with the inborn personality traits of the holder. To even begin to understand the concept requires an in-depth examination of what each color represents.
The colors can be visualized along a three-dimensional plot of their own, as well. This often helps lessen the confusion of the varying qualities. The axes of the plot are: dominant/recessive (D/R), masculine/feminine (M/F), and positive/negative(P/N). In this case, negative doesn’t mean bad or evil, simply receiving, quiet, much like the Chinese concepts of yin and yang. Dominant/recessive refers to whether a color is usually in the spotlight, or in the background providing support.
Archetype: The Commander
Dino Animal: Tyrannosaurus
Thunder Animal: Serpentine Dragon
Ninja Animal: Ape
- Despite the name, Reds do not necessarily make for the best leaders of a team. As battle commanders, they are unmatched, since they tend to take charge in chaotic situations and they have a gift for issuing orders that people will obey. Left to chance, a Red will often emerge as the leader of a group by a sort of subconscious consensus. However, Reds tend to be autocratic, with little patience for any type of insubordination; this is less because of a desire for power than simply a very strong respect for the chain of command. Also, Dino and Thunder Reds rarely have the ability to inspire the troops the way a leader must; Ninja Reds tend to be far more successful at this. For the most part, however, Reds are better at leading secondary teams. They are often excellent strategists and marvelous in combat. Their greatest flaw is more than likely their tempers – Red anger burns hot and fast, and can easily run away with a person.
Archetype: The Paladin
Dino Animal: Western Dragon
Thunder Animal: Basilisk
Ninja Animal: Panther
- Two of the Green Grid Animals are reptiles, a fact which is quite fitting with the legendary Green temper. Unlike Reds, whose anger burns quickly and hot, Green anger is a cold, slow-burning flame. It’s usually a terrifying thing to behold, because it can do so much more damage. Luckily, Greens don’t get truly angry very often, and when they do, it’s a righteous rage. After all, the Green Archetype is also known as the Holy Knight. As the name would imply, Greens are usually noble and honorable, warriors who fight to uphold what they believe in and protect the innocent. Often loners to some extent, they tend to be very self-contained, rarely giving anyone a glimpse into their inner self. Their friendship is hard to obtain, but once given, is nearly impossible to lose, and most people who have put forth the effort will agree that, on the whole, the rewards are worth it.
- Greens are warriors, knights, not soldiers. As a result, they often have a hard time following orders, which leads to a lot of friction with Reds. Greens follow orders only when they respect the person giving them, and rank isn’t necessarily going to win a Green’s respect. They have little patience for bureaucracy, mindless rules, or doing things “because that’s the way it is.” Often, Greens make better leaders than followers, because they will never needlessly endanger a person under their protection; in fact, Greens often are self-sacrificing, simply because they value the lives of others much more than their own.
- Bad things tend to happen to Greens, and no one knows quite why. Many of them are orphans, and most hide at least one painful secret in their pasts, usually more. Perhaps because of this, Greens tend to be the ones who walk the line between the darkness and light more often than the other colors. To balance this out, Greens tend to latch onto a quest, something to focus on, a service higher than themselves. Whether it’s Scott Summers and his devotion to Charles Xavier’s dream, Dinobot and his honor, or Tommy Oliver’s desire to be the perfect Ranger, every Green has a dream that means far more than life itself.
Archetype: The Inventor
Dino Animal: Triceratops
Thunder Animal: Unicorn
Ninja Animal: Wolf
- Blue is the color of creative genius. They have an innate thirst for knowledge and love to make something out of nothing. Unlike the creativity of artists and musicians, however, it is a logical, scientific creativity, building structures based on logic and science. Usually cheerful and good-natured, they are often easily absorbed in a new project. Many Blues get so wound up in a project that they forget to eat or drink. Blues are the characters often referred to by the colloquialism “Brains.”
Archetype: The Nurturer
Dino Animal: Pterodactyl
Thunder Animal: Firebird
Ninja Animal: Crane
- Pinks are one of three colors generally referred to as “healers.” In fact, Pink is the color of most people we consider healers, such as doctors and nurses. Pinks are nurturers, with a desperate desire to relieve pain, whether it be mental or emotional. Often very maternal, they can sometimes come across as “mother hens,” and even seem a bit smothering. Pinks, with their desire to relieve pain, are often drawn to Greens; some of these relationships do work out, but most are doomed to failure.
Archetype: The Fixer
Dino Animal: Saber-Toothed Tiger
Thunder Animal: Griffin
Ninja Animal: Bear
- Yellows are also considered healers. Unlike Pinks, though, they don’t so much want to relieve pain as fix what’s broken. This is an important difference, as it explains why Yellows are more able to let people hurt, to deal with the pain and grow from the experience. Not that Yellows aren’t compassionate – they are, they don’t like seeing people hurt – but they tend to be more concerned with fixing the damage than simply relieving the pain, and they know that sometimes, without pain, nothing is going to get fixed. Yellows are often healers of mind and spirit, and also of rifts between friends. Whatever a Yellow sees as broken, he or she will desperately try to fix.
- For many Yellows, this desire to fix things spills over into a fascination with machines and mechanical equipment. Many Yellows are what is known as “techs” – people with mechanical skill, but no creative, inventive streak.
Archetype: The Bard
Dino Animal: Mastodon
Thunder Animal: Lion
Ninja Animal: Frog
- Reliable, calm, and supportive, Blacks serve as the perfect second-in-command for a team or a squadron. No matter what burdens are placed on their shoulders, Blacks stand up under them, never shying away from their duties. Many Blacks are singers or storytellers, hence the name of the archetype. Even those without much artistic talent, however, are mediators and peacemakers, just like the bards of old.
Archetype: The Trickster
Dino Animal: Wyvern
Thunder Animal: Medusa
Ninja Animal: Chameleon
- The Trickster is a commonly known archetype. Most people are familiar with at least one of his mythological incarnations: Coyote, Raven, Anansi, Loki, Fox…the variations are endless, but one thing remains the same – Trickster is everywhere.
- Purples are the Tricksters of the Grid. Deception is their stock in trade, and they practice it often. Purples live by no rules but their own, and follow their own code of honor. They most especially love deflating the pompous and watching the bad guys fall into their own traps. Fiercely loyal to those they deem worthy, the best protection one can have from their schemes is to earn their respect. Unfortunately, that’s something much easier said than done.
Archetype: The Mystic
Dino Animal: Velociraptor
Thunder Animal: White Tiger
Ninja Animal: Falcon
- White is the third of the “healer” colors. Unlike the other two, Whites are more along the lines of “purifiers” than “fixers” or “nurses.” Spiritual, often psychic, Whites seem almost ethereal to those around them. Whites rarely have much acquaintance with internal darkness; they tend to be quite pure. Contrary to what one might suppose, however, they are not stiff prigs nor incredibly naïve …at least, not most of them. They are simply Good, a condition which often awes those around them.
In addition to these eight colors, there sometimes occur combinations, although these are very rare. As of yet, only two types of combination are known to exist: streaks and helices.
Streaks are the more common of the two. In streaking, characteristics of a second color appear, but are not as apparent as those of the primary color. Adam Park is predominantly a Black, being a writer and a calm, reliable person; however, he has some obvious elements of the “fixer” in him, far beyond normal personality drift. This makes Adam Black, with Yellow streaks.
Helices are far more rare than even streaks. In a helix, two colors have equal dominance in the personality – neither is more obvious than the other. Ray Stantz is a pure, innocent type, and quite spiritual in some ways. While not naïve, he is remarkably free of the darker emotions people can be prey to. However, he is also a fixer, a tech of considerable skill. He also has a strong desire to make people whole again. Neither color is overwhelming, making him a Yellow/White helix.
This is a very brief overview of Grid theory. An in-depth study of the subject has taken the College of Morphin’ Masters several lifetimes, and is far from done yet. Hopefully, however, this piece will contribute to your understanding of the way the Grid functions. May the Power protect you.