Episode 31: (巨獣が立つ時) When the Mega Beast Stands
Airdate: Sunday, September 25, 2016
The Zyuohgers must track down and recruit the Cube Whale to their cause before Bungrey captures him and before Genis’ new GIFT destroys the city.
As you can tell from the long lapse in updates, it took me a while to watch this episode. It’s not I thought the last episode was bad, because I didn’t, I just lost a bit of my excitement about the show after my reflections upon episode 30. Life got busy and sort of let myself fall behind.
The scene when the Cube Whale finally comes to the Rangers aid gave me chills. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular scene on its own, or one that was something new and unique to Sentai series but I just really liked it. There’s something about Masaki Nakao’s delivery of his rousing heroic speeches that just makes me melt as a Tokusatsu fan.
I liked the conversation with Sela and Misao. A great character moment (well…mostly, more on that later).
Building intrique with Genis and his lot.
A Bungrey fight that didn’t end with a recycled memory monster! Granted, it was just an upgrade of an old foe.
I loved the location of the Cube Whale fight. As a sucker for “Earth Porn,” I thought it was beautiful.
The Cube Whale’s Spout Trident/Javelin/whatever looked comically unwieldly as Yamato was maneuvering it to beat back Bungrey.
Genis apparently being unware of Quval’s dealings with Bungrey didn’t sit right with me. Especially Quval’s nervousness at Genis finding him out. My read of Genis is that he would find it entertaining and wouldn’t see Quval’s meddling as a real threat.
I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. I was a bit worried that the episodes following the Gokaiger team-up would be total duds and I am happy to be wrong. I still have my reservations about the relative lack of developments in the story thus far (while I am mostly spoiler-free, it does look like there is some interesting stuff coming up).
I was really happy with the scene we got between Misao and Sela discussing his feelings of uselessness. I am happy that Sela was the one he had the talk with. The only other character who it could kind of work with would be Tusk, but even then he lacks the (reluctant) warmth that Sela has. It was what Misao needed – someone to seriously talk to him and address his insecurities without mocking or dismissing it (as Leo has the tendency to do).
As much as I find Misao’s tendency to mope a bit grating at times (especially as it gets exaggerated a bit for the sake of comedy), there is a lot in his sensitivity that I can relate to. So I can appreciate his character a lot more than I often admit. That being said, the stated cause of his recent bout of the mopes didn’t quite ring true to me. He felt useless because he didn’t know about Zyuland? I didn’t see anything in the episode to reflect that was something that bothered him. He seemed more upset that his powers weren’t as flashy as the Gokaigers’ than anything related to Zyuland. He also wasn’t useless at all in those episodes.
I was also happy to see some focus back on Genis and his crew too. I haven’t enjoyed Bungrey as much as I was hoping I would has he hasn’t shown himself to be the spoiler to Genis and become a bit of a spotlight hog. As I had mentioned above, I was somewhat surprised to see Genis apparently unaware of Quval’s dealings with Bungrey. He seems to be aware of most other goings-on with Bungrey, so I find it somewhat also implausible that he wouldn’t be aware of that too. Also, I don’t know how much he would care. He seems to be more interested in what makes his conquests amusing and is so confident in his strength that he wouldn’t even remotely see Quval’s machinations as a threat. He got over the Cube Whale rather quickly once he got its date, so it’s not that Quval’s dealing with Bungrey actually cost him anything.
Another thing I noticed, again, in this episode is the amount or great location shots used in this series. The nature locations used in this series are not ones that I recall seeing in Sentai before. The relative remote locations (or at least what appear to be) of these shoots, coupled with the amount of aerial shots of them, tell me that a good amount of the budget goes into these filming locations. That and with what I imagine the Gokaiger team-up cost, tell me that the Bungrey memory monsters and episode 27 clip-show were done as ways to keep the budget balanced/on schedule. Which is something I am okay with – I love the Earth Porn and it really adds to the overall feel of the series. A series centered around animals, nature and protecting Earth should have great nature shots.
Final Grade: A
Episode 30: 伝説の巨獣 (The Legendary Great Beast)
Airdate: September 18, 2016
After wondering about the whereabouts of the Cube Whale, the ZyuOhgers investigate sightings of a giant whale at a nearby beach. The group finds themselves up against Bungrey, once more, and his surprise ally.
After the wonderful return of the Gokaigers in the last two episodes, I was not as excited for this episode. However it proved to be rather entertaining.
The search for the whale worked as a natural progression of the story and also provided a good explanation behind the whale not appearing in the previous episode, which definitely would have felt way too rushed!
I liked the reveal the Quval agreed to team-up with Bungrey after their battle all those episodes ago. I also liked Genis’ enjoying the development as an interesting twist. Genis feels like a surrogate for the viewer in some ways, his only real investment in the Rangers and the whole struggle is for it to be interesting.
Seeing Sela still be useful was good to see. Especially now that Yamato has his super powerful power-up mode.
The end of the episode had adequate tension with the debut of the Cube Whale and it attacking the Rangers, Genis & Naria hijacking Bungrey & Quval’s plans, as well as with injured/poisoned Sela & Misao washing up on shore. A good cliffhanger for the next episode.
Misao’s pouty behavior was borderline Light-esque this episode and was irritating me a bit. I get he wants to be helpful and I can appreciate his being sensitive but it’s getting a bit old for me. At least Light had the excuse of being an actual child, what’s Misao’s deal?
Two more recycled monsters? Boo. If Quval was helping out, couldn’t he have brought one of his monsters along? I guess you could argue he didn’t want to tip Genis off to his involvement and that he didn’t know that Genis knew and didn’t care. Still, I do wish we could have gotten a fresh monster. These recycled costumes are really feeling stale and lazy.
I enjoyed this episode quite a bit! Interesting development and pay-off, a tense and interesting battle that I was invested in. However, there were two things that I realized as I was watching/reflecting on this episode that are not at happy.
I realized that after 30 episodes, it still doesn’t feel like much has happened. Only a few major developments since the team’s formation - the introduction of the Birdman subplot, the introduction of The World/Misao and Bungrey. Sure the Gokaiger team-up was great candy and I loved pretty much every minute of it, the events of the episode could have easily been re-worked without them. Not that I wish the team-up didn’t happen, because I am very happy we got it.
I’ve been really enjoying ZyuOhger and each episode is a pleasure to watch, so I haven’t really had many complaints. But, now, here we are at Episode 30 and I don’t feel we have much of anything to show for it. I’m hoping that the next 17-20 Episodes (however many are left) pick up the pace and we see the story really going places. Aside from the Genis reveal two-parter and the debut of Misao/The World, it doesn’t feel like the heroes have had much true struggle. Maybe if I went back and re-watched all the episodes over, I’d feel differently.
Another thing that I realized this episode is that we really don’t know much of anything about Misao. He just appeared captured by Genis at the end of the Episode 16 and then little was done to establish who he was before that. Is there a reason for his being so sensitive/pouty? What does he do with himself when he’s not fishing or being a Ranger? I hope after all of this we get some good backstory and meaningful focus on Misao. His dynamic with the team has been well established and the writers are continuing to play with and develop that – which I do appreciate. I want to know more about him and his existence outside of the Rangers.
Final Grade: A-
Episode 29: 王者の中の王者 (The King Among Kings)
Airdate: Sunday, September 11, 2016
The Gokaigers and the ZyuOhgers team up to fight Bungrey and an army of past villains unleashed from Marvelous’ memory. Yamato takes control of the Whale Gun and unleashes its awesome power.
I was excited all week for part two of this team-up! Not much else to say beyond that.
The opening fight between Marvelous and Yamato was quite good! I liked how fairly evenly matched they were.
It was especially nice to see the rest of the Gokaiger cast unmorphed this one. It’s like they never left. I loved seeing them interact with the Zyuohgers. Luka elbowing the overly familiar Leo and Gai’s reaction to a sulking Misao particularly amused me. Then the two teams in Wild Tosai King’s cockpit was fun too!
Seeing Bungrey bring back past villains from the Gokaiger’s memories was nice. For this episode, I don’t mind the recycled costumes.
I was particularly happy to see a Flashman change! Flashman is one of my absolute favorite series, so seeing that is definite perk. Then during the mech fight, I was happy to see Denjiman and Liveman’s keys get used. One of my complaints about Gokaiger was that it felt like the Showa Era Teams didn’t much love. So seeing them use older teams’ keys as opposed to newer ones is always a plus to me.
The final Mech attack with “2,000” in it was a super nice touch! Loved it.
Joe was looking extra gorgeous (I wish we got more shots of his face).
I am glad they updated “Super Sentai Getter” with the Gokai Changes for the later teams. The male version of the Shiro-Ninger costume looked so odd to me, I guess I’m just used to the female verson. I do wish we got a better view of skirted Kyoryuu Black and that Beet and Stag Buster were included for the GoBusters (I assume the Ahim would be Stag Buster).
Just like last week, I don’t have any major put downs for this week’s episode.
I was a little bothered that Yamato seemingly had no knowledge of Super Sentai. The invasion of the Zangyack in Gokaiger was presented as a pretty big deal and the existence of the Super Sentai teams was treated as common knowledge throughout the series too. I wouldn’t expect him to know the details but something sort of passing acknowledgement like “Oh…yeah…we are the latest team, huh?” would have been nice.
Don and Ahim polishing the swords and guns in the middle of the battle was odd and unnecessary. It was really out of character for them.
The Whale Charge Gun seems almost too powerful! Admittedly. It was a cool sequence admittedly but having go all the way out into space and fly around the moon the comeback? That’s definitely overkill. Though, it would seem that this weapon is the strongest one to be used in Sentai. Granted, I haven’t seen every single series but I have seen the majority of them and I can’t think of one as powerful (or at least presented to be as powerful) as the Whale Gun is. I do assume it will be downplayed a bit in future episodes but we’ll have to wait and see about that.
I don’t have too many new thoughts about this one. I said a lot of my thoughts about the team-up and anniversary episodes last week, so I won’t repeat myself (or I’ll try not too). I very much loved this episode. I didn’t quite as excited as I did last week, but I enjoyed it just as much.
Seeing the two teams interact un-morphed was the definite highlight of the episode for me. I wish we got more time with the Gokaiger cast. I’m happy we got the whole team back but I just love them so much it would have been great if we got another episode with them around. I would love an extra episode of seeing the two team’s interact. I feel like Don and Tusk interacting would particularly amusing (I did like the little bits of that we got). As much as I love the Zyuohger cast, there’s something just truly irreplaceable about the Gokaiger cast. I don’t know if any cast will ever top them (though I would welcome any cast that could).
My feelings for Bungrey are growing increasingly mixed. I was very excited about his initial appearance and how he’s mixed things up on the villain-side of things. His ability to project things from people’s memories into reality is a really clever ability, when used effectively. Outside from his using to torment the populace and Yamato in Episode 24, it hasn’t been used effectively. Having Bungrey take monsters from Marvelous’ and Gai’s memories worked for me, especially as a way to get past foes back for the Anniversary Special (though would the Gokaiger’s even have encountered Deboth? I guess it’s just assumed they know everything about the Sentai Teams now). If Bungrey hadn’t been using this ability multiple times an episode since his debut, I would have enjoyed it much more.
His Memory Projection ability needs to be much, much, much less to keep its efficacy. If the writers insist on having Bungrey use his Memory Projection every time he appears, I would just assume that Bungrey be back-burnered for a bit. Assuming, of course, he’s going to be around for a while longer. He may very well be defeated next week. To be honest, I really had assumed he would be killed this week. If he’s going to continue to be used in the same way he has been up until this point then I would just assume he had, but if he’s either back-burnered for a spell or used in a more effective way (i.e., not to just give the show excuse to have cost-saving shoehorned battle scenes) then I will continue to enjoy his presence on the canvas.
I don’t have much else to say on this one. It was an absolute delight to have the Gokaiger back. I’m happy we got this set of episodes to celebrate the 40th Anniversary and 2,000th Episode. I do hope we get more things before ZyuOhger wraps. We were able to get a nice tribute to this beloved franchise of ours and progress the story of the current installment. All in all, I call these episodes a great success!
Final Grade: A
Episode 28: 帰ってきた宇宙戦隊! (The Space Pirates Return!)
Airdate: Sunday, September 4, 2016
The Gokaiger return to Earth in search of the Link Cube which reveals the secret history of Zyuland.
As I assume is the case with pretty much everyone in the fandom, as soon as I heard this team-up episode was happening I was beyond excited.
Pretty much the whole damn episode is one big put up. But let’s take a look at what exactly I liked the most…
I am glad they didn’t waste time and we got Captain Marvelous right away in the cold open. It was amazing to see him again. He morphed right away and got into it with Bungrey.
The fight scene between the 4 Zyuman ZyuOhgers and the 4 Gokaigers was friggin’ awesome. One of the best Sentai fight scenes that I can think of (the final battles from Gingaman and Gokaiger are the other two best scenes that come to mind). I loved seeing how the various teams fighting styles interacted and I also loved that finally the 4 Zyuman were doing well in a fight! Usually they’re just there to be beat up before Yamato and/or Misao come to clean up.
We didn’t see much of it but the mid-air battle between Marvelous (in a wisely used Jetman Change) and Yamato in his Eagle Mode was awesome too. Mid-air battles are not something we see too often in Sentai, so it was nice to see something fresh.
Amu tickling Marvelous to get the Whale Cube. The look on his face. Priceless.
Nice touch showing Gai going around getting the Ranger Keys. Even if it was just a quick scene with him and body doubles of the ToQger kids, it was nice to see that base covered. It made me miss ToQger a bit, actually. I adored 5/6 of that cast.
We got Gokai Changes for Go Busters, Kyoryuger, ToQger and NinNinger!!!!!
They updated Super Sentai Getter! Loved it! GoRanger through CarRanger this week. MegaRanger through ZyuOhger next week! That was such a nice touch too! I’m glad it wasn’t just “Let’s ZyuOh Dance” or whatever.
There wasn’t anything truly major that I didn’t like but there were a few minor things…
While necessary to the plot and exposition and all that, the flashback with Cetus explaining the Whale Charge Gun and the establishment bored me. In any other episode, I would have been completely fine with it but with the Gokaigers around?! No1Curr.
Another shoe-horned Zord fight with a re-used monster. Boo. At least it was as short as possible and really just gave Misao an excuse to be absent for the awesome fight scene between the 4 Zyumans and the rest of the Gokaigers.
As awesome as the fight scenes between the two teams were, the fact that they were happening bothered me. It was what always seems to happen when the Gokaigers return for anything – they immediately fight the current team.
Bungrey was just searching for the Whale Cube. I mean it’s not something that was a surprise. He was introduced as a Giant Beast Hunter and, naturally, that is what he’d be looking for. Even so, it still seemed like a let-down to me – “Oh. That’s it?” I guess I was hoping that a character that brings as much to the canvas as Bungrey would have a more interesting goal.
Misao getting all sulky when Marvelous did his fourth Gokai change was pathetic. It’s in character for Misao, sure, but…really guy? Really?
A totally minor shallow complaint – Gai needs a haircut. His long hair is not a good look.
I pretty much loved almost every second of this episode (the Cetus flashback being the only bit where I lost interest). It felt like a Gokaiger tribute episode! I’m sure this series’ head writer having written over a dozen episodes of Gokaiger and Akibaranger helped with that. The Gokaiger cast is one of my all-time favorite casts, so I am ecstatic to have them back for bit.
As much as thought the Cetus flashback was the least interesting part of the episode in comparison to the excitement of the Gokaigers return, I am glad it was there. This episode isn’t just a disconnected lark to celebrate the anniversary (which I wouldn’t completely mind) but it’s actually being used to further ZyuOhger’s plot. It’s also what I liked about this year’s Sentai/Kamen Rider crossover episodes. They were two normal episodes that progressed the plot of both shows instead of the throwaway special we got with ToQger/Gaim and NinNinger/Drive.
I do with that Toei was doing a little more for Sentai’s 40th. I think all the fanfare and excitement that we got with Gokaiger in 2011 for the 35th Anniversary spoiled me. I wish we could get another All Sentai Team-Up movie the way Kamen Rider gets those fairly regularly (I know Kamen Rider is the bigger money maker and there are far less Riders than there are Rangers but still *whines*). Regardless, I am happy that we are getting these episodes.
I am even more excited for next week than I was for this week’s episode. I can’t wait!!!!!
Final Grade: A
Episode 27: 本物はどっちだ? (Which is the Real One?)
Air Date: Sunday, August 28, 2016
Bungrey creates copies of Sela and Tusk from their memories and attached bombs to both the real Sela and Tusk and their memory-made imposters. The team has 30 minutes to figure out which set is the real Sela and Tusk before the bombs explode!
Looks like Bungrey is going to put his powers to more interesting uses. As much as I enjoy him and what he adds to the show…I am worried that they’re overusing him and he’ll be gone soon. I wish they’d put him on the back burner a bit.
For a clip-show, it was at least an interesting clip show. The idea of having to find out the impostors is not particularly original but I enjoyed the effort. I also like how they figured the impostors – they were made from memories so it makes sense that their recollections would be too perfect. It’s natural to forget things and minute details.
That scene at the beginning with Azald and Quval was rather intriguing. The writers are definitely building up to something, or else I don’t think they’d be making such an issue of Quval’s behavior since Bungrey showed up. I hope the pay-off is good.
I did like the team getting irritated by Misao’s sulking and almost not wanting to get him involved because of it.
They flashed back to some Zord footage but there was no shoe-horned Zord battle!!
The cast looked adorable in their Quiz Show outfits. I really do adore this cast, there's not a single member that bothers me (which hasn't been the case will all the recent teams).
Even though it was a fairly interesting clip show, it was still a clip-show.
I assume that this episode was made to save money and because I assume this upcoming Gokaiger cross-over episode needed extra time to film or they needed to save money to make this cross-over happen (which also explains why they’ve been re-using monster suits so much lately). I do hope that having a clip show now means we won’t get one for New Year’s like is usually the case.
As I said in my put-down section – it was an interesting clip show but it was still a clip show. And while it was good for a clip-show, I don’t particularly enjoy clip shows.
Final Grade: C-
Episode 26: 大切な日を守りたい (I want to protect the important day)
Aired: Sunday, August 21, 2016
A college friend of Yamato invites him to his wedding which Bungrey is intent on ruining.
Sentai is full of wedding themed episodes and monsters crashing weddings but this episode looks like it might have a somewhat fresh twist on this trope.
There was a lot that I liked about this episode. Where to start?
Bungrey once again proved to be very interesting. I wonder if what he’s searching for will tie into the Gokaiger’s upcoming appearance. His motivation for crashing the wedding was interesting for me, as well. It wasn’t just “oh, the mean ol’ meanie wants to be mean” he wants to completely destroy Yamato’s psyche. Which I guess is “an ol’ meanie being mean” but it’s much more interesting when the motives are more personal. He doesn’t just want to beat Yamato he wants to completely destroy him.
Daichi was able to figure out Yamato is the ZyuOh Ealge from just one line. Love it. There are far too many instances in Sentai where our heroes’ friends fail to recognize their voices when they are morphed in front of them. I am glad that this was not one of those times and that it was Yamato’s cheesy hero speak talk that gave him away.
Misao was so jealous when Daichi showed up but that all seemed to subside when he found out that Daichi was getting married. Perhaps he was relieved to find out that Daichi wasn’t competition? (/SlashTrash).
The little scene we got at the beginning with Genis and Naria was great. Genis is seemingly aware of Quval’s ulterior motives and doesn’t care about them. An unpredictable pawn is more interesting to him. He’s also clearly not even remotely concerned that anything Bungrey or Quval does could harm him in the slightest. I assume that cockiness will be sure to lead to his downfall in the end.
It was seeing Larry and the Birdman (apparently named Bud - which while it is a fun katakana pun but not a name I’m practically fond of). I am looking forward to learning more about these two and finding out what Bud’s up to.
Oh!!! I also loved the team’s wedding outfits.
While I’m glad that Bungrey brought up the reunion with Yamato’s mother and he mentioned how it didn’t ultimately have a deep effect on Yamato. It still bothers me that it didn’t. He was depressed for a bit at the beginning of last episode but it really hasn’t had a lasting effect on him (or at least not that we’ve seen yet). I don’t want him to moping around all the time about it but I do wish we would see him clearly affected by the events. His dead mother coming back to him for a day and then being struck down in front him is traumatic and I wish we saw more immediate fall-out from it. I am hoping we get something more dealing with it in future episodes.
I didn’t like seeing the other Rangers so easily tossed aside by Bungrey. Especially Misao. When The World was first introduced he gave the rangers a run for their money. I know that Red is King in Sentai but seeing the other Rangers get easily beat just to make the Red Ranger look more special. While that’s more of a franchise wide complaint than one exclusive to this episode – it still bothers me when it happens.
The Zord fight felt extremely shoehorned and forced. I know it’s the nature of the beast as Sentai is very much designed to sell toys but I wish we didn’t always need to have a Zord fight somewhere. Bungrey summoning a past monster to make his first getaway to crash the wedding worked for me. Him doing it again in the same episode just to make a zord fight “happen” did not work for me.
Yamato playing dumb about Daichi figuring out his Ranger identity. I never really liked the secret identity trope. It’s something is different in each Sentai series. Some heroes’ identities are public, some are private, some are revealed and bad things happen, some are revealed and no one really cares. Speaking to ZyuOhher, I wish a reason was given to the secret identities beyond “just because” (take for example MegaRanger – the high school heroes didn’t want to risk exposure and have the Nejirejia attack their friends and families).
This series continues to impress me. This last string of episodes has been solid and nicely building up the story. There’s been hiccups along the way, of course, but I’m excited to see how the rest of the show plays out. This episode especially has planted quite a few seeds that I hope will sprout into some truly interesting things. I do worry that all the developments will come to a head in the next couple episodes and things will fall into a lull after they quickly dry up, but I don’t think they will.
With all the focus Bungrey has been getting, I’m growing more convinced that he’ll be offed in a few episodes. Which I am not happy about as I have been enjoying the drama and twists he brings to the canvas. I think he’s mostly been brought in to set up the Gokaiger cross-over (this based completely on my conjecture and not actual spoiler knowledge, since I try to stay as unspoiled as possible for future episodes which Tumblr doesn’t always make easy, lol).
My complaints about the episode were truly minor and while they seem a lot great once typed out they didn’t detract from what I enjoyed about the episode.
Final Grade: A-
Episode 25: アンハッピー・カメラ (Unhappy Camera)
Airdate: Sunday, August 14, 2016
I wasn’t the most thrilled about this episode when I saw the preview last week, perhaps it was the clunky katakana English title. I was expecting a largely filler episode with maybe a character moment or two to nibble on. I’m happy that we got more than that!
It was nice to see fall-out from the events of last week – with Yamato still being depressed after his encounter with his mother last episode. I appreciate the way Yamato processes his emotions. He is understandably morose but tries to put on a happy face to ease his friends’ worries. In and of itself, it’s nothing particularly special but when I think back to last few Reds we’ve had (who had the tendency to be consistently obnoxious and over-the-top), I find Yamato’s character so refreshing. I haven’t enjoyed a Red this much since Hiromu in Go-Busters.
The trashy slash pairing fan in me was particularly tickled so see Misao so deeply concerned about Yamato’s ill-mood. Misao’s general emotional nature is an aspect of his character that I mostly like and I thought it worked well in this episode. I was also pleased to see his friendship with Leo strengthened in this episode. Leo has been the most vocal about his irritation with Misao’s moodiness and sulking. Leo was instantly critical of Misao but once he started becoming friendly with the other Zyumans he seemed to tacitly accept Misao as a teammate but was still largely irritated by who he is as a person. Having them largely overcome their differences and work together was nice to see.
The monster-of-the-week plot organically tied into the Ranger plot. Misao is the closest to Yamato (and I’m not just saying that a slasher trash) and it makes sense he would want to cheer him up. He’s made decent friendships with the other Rangers, so of course he’d be naturally inclined to take their pictures and not Leo’s. It wasn’t a big moment but the set-up worked well for me.
The scenes with Quval and Bungrey were a highlight as well. Villains not getting along with each other and plotting against each other is fairly standard in Sentai shows. So while it’s nothing new and isn’t often done well, I very much enjoyed it here. I like BungreyI’m glad they’re giving Quval his own agenda. I’m going to guess that Quval wants revenge against Genus for destroying his home planet. While that might not be the most exciting motivation, it gives Quval some extra character and adds a potentially interesting aspect to the villain side.
Master Genis’ general no-fucks-given attitude unless he’s entertained continues to amuse me. No tired big bad rage about Bungrey daring to leave his team or Quval’s attacking Bungrey – just enjoyment. So long as it’s interesting to him, he likes it. It’s not a ground-breaking trait for a villain, of course, but it works well here.
While I’m glad that we saw some emotional fall-out with Yamato from the previous episode and I like that Misao’s desire to cheer him up was used to draw the Rangers into the monster-of-the-week plot, I don’t like that it was dropped after that. Yeah…Misao and Leo’s relationship was the main character thread of the episode but I still wish we got some acknowledgment of Yamato’s sadness at the end of the episode. Even if it was a quick line from Sela or Amu asking if he’s feeling better now and Yamato could have laughed at Misao & Leo’s fishing antics and said how his funny friends helped keep his mind of things and raise his spirits…or something like that.
I’m glad that they waited until now before giving an episode that focused on Leo and Misao’s relationship. One of my issues with this show is pacing and plotting – plots that I wish were more developed were rushed through and not given the attention they deserved (like Misao quickly going from villain to new teammate). However this is one aspect that I think they did just right. I’m glad they didn’t rush and make the two friends right away. They let the relationship play out this way through the right amount episodes and brought the two closer together before the dynamic got stale. It makes sense to me that it would take these two characters a while to warm up to each other since they are rather different but their differences aren’t so great that it would have made sense that it would have taken them much longer to get over it.
The nugget they dropped about Quval’s ulterior motives was particularly enjoyable. I’m still enjoying Bungrey’s addition to the canvas but am worried that he’ll be offed soon. I want him to stay around for a while. Assuming he continues to be as interesting as he is, I would love him to stay around until well into the 40’s (like Sir Cowler from Flashman). But I have a feeling he’ll burn too many bridges with the villains and be offed in the early 30’s (similar to Gurail from MegaRanger).
While this episode was, at its core, a Monster-of-the-Week episode the writers managed to do a lot of interesting things with it! They explored the dynamics of two of the Rangers’ friendship and managed to allude to some potentially interesting developments on the villain sides.
Final Grade: B
Next episode looks like another good character episode for Yamato. Perhaps his desire to protect his friends’ wedding will be used to further explore the emotional fall-out from the events of last episode?
Episode 24: よみがえる記憶 (Revived Memories)
Airdate: Sunday, August 7, 2016
Impressed by Bungrey, Lord Genus allows Bungrey to play a Blood Game, much to the chagrin of Quval and Azald. Once on Earth, Bungrey torments the people of Earth by bringing forth people from their memories – including Yamato’s own deceased mother!
The preview from last week left me quite intrigued. I was excited to get more insight into Yamato’s character.
When used wisely, I really like Bungrey’s ability to read people’s memories. I think it’s a very interesting ability and had a lot of potential. I am really enjoying what Bungrey brings to the canvas. I really want him to stay around for the long haul. I liked Azald’s and Quval’s dissatisfaction with Bungrey’s appearance. Bungrey’s addition is really making villain side so much more interesting. I like the characters having their own separate motivations beyond “let’s destroy Earth” which is more-or-less all we’ve gotten from this set of villains thus far.
I enjoyed the scenes with Yamato and his mother too. It gave him some nice development and interesting character moments. I’m happy that his rivalry with Bungrey has some real beef to it now. Yamato has a personal grudge against him now – beyond “he’s a meanie who’s just mean.”
The acting with Yamato and his mother did not wow me. They weren’t badly performed, the scenes were perfectly serviceable but I didn’t get really drawn into them the way I should have been. I didn’t feel Yamato’s joy and pain. I sympathized with the situation but I didn’t feel it at all. I wanted to be completely pulled into the moment.
I still really don’t like Bungrey’s design at all. As the character becomes more intriguing and spices the canvas up more, I really do wish he had a sleaker, “sexier” design…or wasn’t just a suit.
Bungrey’s ability to summon people from memories when used right is a wonderful plot device – however it’s use to constantly bring past previously defeated monsters is less impressive. It shoehorns Zord Fights into the episode and feels like a lazy cost-cutting move to recycle old monster suits.
I definitely enjoyed this episode. It set up some really interesting plot threads for the coming episodes. The ideas explored were very interesting but ultimately brought down by lackluster acting. Two defeated monsters being resurrected in this episode felt lazy.
Final Grade: B-
Episode 23: Mega-Beast Hunter (巨獣ハンター)
Aired: Sunday, July 31st, 2016
Synopsis: As the ZyuOhger plan for a fireworks display that night, a new threat lands on Earth – Bungrey the MegaBeast Hunter. Trying to appease a bored Genus, the Deathgaliens send Cruiser down to start a new Blood Game.
As soon as I saw the title of this episode, I was excited. It immediately reminded me of Flashman’s Alien Hunters as lead by Sir Cowler (who remains one of my absolute favorite Sentai villains). Then the cynic in me was immediately wary of how it will actually turn out. Ultimately, I was rather pleased with the outcome.
Genus getting bored with the blood games is a nice touch. After all his failed schemes, it feels natural that he would be disappointed and fed up with the failures. He doesn’t have much vested interest in Earth other than destroying it for kicks, so instead of getting angry his getting bored seems more fitting.
Bungrey being a call-back to Sir Cowler is something I am very happy about! I’m also very curious about how he summoned forth Noborizon (from Episode 13) from Leo’s mind. I have high hopes for him! I hope he ends up being just as devious and great as Sir Cowler!
The Zyumans in yukata! I’m happy to see them in different outfits.
The rest of the team is calling Misao “Micchan”
I really wish that Bungrey either had a different design or was played by a human actor. He looked too much like a generic monster-of-the-week design. I was hoping for a sleeker or somehow more intimidating design. As I said in my first impression, I had images of Sir Cowler in my head – a silent badass type. Bungrey just seemed a little too generic to me – another rough and gruff larger villain.
Misao’s shtick is already wearing a bit thin with him. Luckily he only got super mopey for a bit at the end of the episode. I hope that this marks a toning down of that aspect of his character.
The episode itself lacked tension. The addition of a new villain should be something big and exciting whereas in this episode made it seem like something that just happened. I think having Bungrey easily defeat Cruiser beyond hope of revival would have been a nice touch. Yes, showing him beat the Rangers is definitely important but having it happen so soon after The World completely demolished them in his debut takes away the punch from that it was meant to have. As I mentioned above, I didn’t like Bungrey’s design and I think also really took a lot of the effect out of his scenes for me.
The addition of a new player into the game is a welcome development. I really do hope Bungrey is around for a while. I didn’t like how quick they wrapped up The World’s debut arc, that arc had a few more beats left to it before they hurried into setting up the new status quo. So, I really want Bungrey to a long-term addition to the cast and messes with both our heroes and the villians.
Finale Grade: B+
My New Blog
I have been a fan of “Power Rangers” since late 1993 and then after a few years of kinda knowing it came from Japan, I got heavy into Sentai some-time around Gingaman. I grew away from the franchise during the mid-2000s but got back into hardcore again around 2013 or so.
I truly love this genre and the Sentai franchise in particular. I thought it would be fun to start a blog of my reviews and opinions. I’ll start with weekly episode reviews of Zyuohger and expand from there.
Keep your eyes on this space! Good stuff on the horizon.
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