Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger – Episode 12 Review

So the team are still on the streets handing out fliers but now the fliers have a different picture on them. Clearly the previous two-parter had a huge impact on the show.

That being said, this was actually an alright episode. It was nice to see a bit more of Tusk’s backstory and we’re really made to feel like he is an outsider wanting to learn more about human life. This is the sort of episode I love to see Zyuohger doing because having a team largely comprised of characters who aren’t native to Earth is relatively rare, so this sort of plot could only really be done by a small number of Sentai series’. There are only so many different filler stories you can tell but this series is in a unique position to tell stories with themes of different culture’s colliding that other shows can’t (speaking of which, I liked the appearance of the tourist in Japan to emphasise that point further. Like Tusk, he was in that shop because he wanted to learn more about the culture too).

There really needs to be a name for the trope where a monster of the week appears minutes after the theme it is connected to has just been established. A few episodes ago we had Leo discovering human music a minute before a speaker-themed monster appeared and here we have Tusk wanting to study human culture right before a monster designed like a school professor shows up. It would make more sense for the premise of an episode if either there were some connection between the two events, like the sudden threat of the monster made Tusk care more about Earth’s culture, or if Tusk’s love of books had been strongly established before this point. And while his love of books doesn’t exactly come out of nowhere, that’s largely because Tusk fits in with the quiet book nerd Sentai character archetype. I can’t actually remember whether or not we ever saw him read before now, but he just seems like the sort of guy who reads a lot.

The villain’s actual plan was pretty cool to be fair: steal humanity’s ability to communicate with one another and watch as the world slowly breaks down. The actual execution of the plan however made it seem way more convoluted than it actually was due to the giant comical teacher’s hat and the images of the words being physically sucked into it. Like with the BBC’s Sherlock, I understand that they had to find a way to represent text in a visually interesting way by making it appear as a caption on screen, but here the writing moves as if it’s a real tangible thing that can actually get sucked away. On one hand, it makes sense why they wanted to make such an abstract idea as stealing language into something easy to visualise so a child could understand it, but on the other, it does look slightly weird and jars with the rest of Zyuohger‘s style. This has never been a particularly whimsical or magic-based Sentai in the past, so I can’t help but feel that the idea of stealing language would have worked better in a different series. It’s not a bad premise for a Super Sentai episode, it was just bizarrely executed.

The main character development this episode didn’t actually happen to Tusk but rather to the shopkeeper who he meets at the start. He underwent a definite moral arc usually reserved for the recurring cast while Tusk himself didn’t change very much by the end. I suppose you could argue that we learned he likes books, but as I’ve already said he seemed like the sort of guy who’d read books a lot anyway just based on the laws of tokusatsu cliché. The shopkeeper character was great fun to watch though, especially when he got frustrated with the game of charades and just flat out told him the answer. I did notice that he seemed to accept that Tusk wasn’t human a little too easily but then again that seems to be a running theme with single-episode human characters.

This episode wasn’t anything major in terms of the arc of the series but it did show the team still on the hunt for the Champion’s Symbol (even though they found it last episode and deliberately chose not to take it). It was an alright episode with some fun moments but overall there was nothing much to it.

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