An Enemy? The Third Godmaster, Ranger is the seventeenth episode of Transformers: Super-God Masterforce. It first aired in Japan on August 16, 1988 on Nippon TV.
Attempting to track down new leads on the location of the remaining Godmasters, the Autobots venture into the Rocky Mountains, where they cross paths with a forest patrolman named Ranger, but Minerva suspects that he is working with the Decepticons!
At the Decepticon base, Giga and Mega are incensed that another Godmaster has joined with the Autobots. As they chew out Hydra and Buster and the Pretenders, Devil Z silences them all by issuing one of his rare vocal orders, instructing them to scan the memories of Hydra and Buster's Transtectors to try and find some lead to the location of the remaining ones. Performing this task, they are rewarded with a map of North America, and plan a widespread search of the continent.
Meanwhile, the Autobot Pretenders and Headmaster Juniors have all gathered at the Ocean Research Institute of California, where Ginrai introduces them to Lightfoot. Lightfoot has suggested that they search the Rocky Mountains for leads on the remaining Godmaster Transtectors, since the raw materials that his father used to build his Transtector were mined there. Diver and Phoenix are unable to accompany them, but Lander offers to put his geological skills to use in the search, and the Juniors are just happy to get a vacation.
Time passes, and the Autobots make their way to Canada. Setting up camp at the base of the Rockies, Cab decides to go fishing for their dinner while Ginrai, Lightfoot, Lander and Metalhawk head off to investigate the mines. At the entrance of the mine that contained the ore used in the construction of Lightfoot's Transtector, the group is warned not to enter by a forest patrolman, who cautions them that there have been a lot of cave-ins lately. He is somewhat bemused that they completely ignore his warning and head on into the mine.
As the Autobots' bad luck would have it, Canada is also where the Decepticons have begun their search, with their Headmaster Juniors searching the woods around the Rockies. While picking mushrooms, Minerva spots Bullhorn talking with the forest patrolman and immediately suspects him of being a Decepticon. She returns to camp to alert Cab and Shūta (who have turned up nothing but a log in their attempts to catch dinner), but the patrolman soon appears on the shore alongside them, out to catch his own meal. When he succeeds in seconds, he offers the boys some of his special home-made bait, and Cab soon catches a huge king salmon. The patrolman introduces himself as Ranger, and tells the boys that if their party needs anything, to drop in on his log cabin.
That evening, after dinner has been eaten, Cab is somewhat on the miffed side that Minerva's cooking skills are being more highly praised than his fishing. The Autobots' venture in the mine, meanwhile, has turned up nothing but ordinary iron ore. Soon, a ferocious storm kicks up, and the Autobots are unable to stay in their tent, so Cab suggests that they go to Ranger's cabin; Minerva is unable to voice her concerns before he has already told everyone his idea. They quickly make their way there, and Minerva is able to tell Cab and Shūta what she saw while Ranger tells the other Autobots his life story. Lander notices a large number of paintings that Ranger has made of one particular mountain, and with a bit of prodding to explain his fascination with it, Ranger tells them of how he found a strange, glowing black rock on it one day. After revealing that he brought the rock back to his cabin and stored it in his barn, the Autobots all ask Ranger to show it to them. Entering the barn, Ginrai and Lightfoot's Master-Braces begin to glow, as does the rock, confirming their suspicion that it is a Transtector. Wasting no time, they slap a pair of bracelets on Ranger, who finds that he cannot remove them. There's no doubt about it – Ranger is the newest Godmaster! But Ranger is a man who thinks that "Trasformers" are a circus group, and finds the Autobots' tales of people becoming robots very hard to believe. They talk all through the night, but their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of the Decepticon Headmaster Juniors, who have been spying on them, and who steal the Transtector-rock. Stunning Ranger as they transform to robot mode, Ginrai, Lightfoot, Metalhawk and Lander pursue the punks, while the Autobot Juniors see to the damage to Ranger's cabin and injuries inflicted on his horse. In the midst of the ensuing struggle, Ginrai and Wilder tumble into a river, but Hydra and Buster soon arrive on the scene and depth-charge them out, confronting the injured Ginrai on the river bank. Just then, a fighting-mad Ranger appears atop the hill overlooking this scene, shotgun in hand, and opens fire on Hydra. Buster simply shoots the hill out from under him, but as Ranger falls, Ginrai tells him the necessary command phrases that allow him to combine with his Transtector. Following the instructions, Ranger dons his armor, and the black rock glows and transforms into a dune buggy, with which he combines, assuming his robot mode for the first time. Ginrai becomes Super Ginrai, but even that is not enough to dissuade Hydra and Buster from attacking... until the other Autobots all arrive as well. Across the river, Bullhorn and Cancer meet up with Wilder as he hauls himself out of the river – furious that the Godmaster brothers had indiscriminately dropped depth-charges on both him and Ginrai, he has the Juniors retreat, leaving Buster and Hydra to their fate. Badly outnumbered, the two Godmasters pull out and return to base, where an enraged Devil Z tortures them for their failure.
As the sun sets over the Rockies, Minerva explains to Ranger that she had thought he was a Decepticon. Ranger laughs, asking if he actually looks that evil – Cab and Shūta remark that they could have believed it if it was Ginrai, and he chases the two boys around as Ranger accepts Hawk's offer to join the Autobots.
In the episode
English dub changes
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Animation and/or technical glitches
- What exactly occurs when a human becomes a Godmaster is woefully inconsistent. When Ginrai first donned his bracelets (in "A Hero is Chosen - His Name is Ginrai"), they had to touch accidentally before his powers activated, and he didn't have to say "Masterforce!" Conversely, when Lightfoot first put on his bracelets (in "Lightfoot: A Dramatic Encounter"), they were automatically pulled together (though he still didn't have to say the command phrase). Now, when Ranger puts on his bracelets, he has to manually cross them and say "Masterforce" before his armor appears.
- On top of that, why do Ginrai and Lightfoot's Master-Braces glow in response to Ranger's Transtector when Ginrai's didn't react to Lightfoot's? Was it because it was still in its rock form, while Lightfoot's was in a car form? Who knows?
- Ginrai found the new Master-Braces indicating the existence of other Godmasters in his glove compartment in "A Strange Friendship: Cancer and Minerva." Although he has only one set left after this episode, it is reaffirmed that there are, in fact, TWO more Godmasters out there.
- Ranger's Transtector appearing in the form of a rock calls to mind the similar state of Ginrai's trailer before he found it in "Friend or Foe!? The True Form of the Monster!!" This would appear to be the "default" form of the Transtectors when they arrived on Earth, although in most cases, when found by their human partners, they have already adopted vehicular form through unexplained means.
- Tying in with this, the previous episode did not explain how a car built by his father could be Lightfoot's Transtector – based on this episode, we can safely presume that a rock-form Transtector was mined and used as ore in the construction of the car, thereby making it a Transtector itself.