Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger – Episode 24 Review

It was nice to learn a little more about Yamato’s family situation this week in a way that nicely tied in with Bunglay’s powers. We’ve had the occasional line here and there about Yamato’s parents and specifically mother (I still think the eagle zyuman is the father but that’s another story). Here though we finally get to learn about her.

The initial scene of people reacting to ghosts was incredibly dark, not necessarily because of what we saw or what was said, but by what was implied, like the woman crying while hugging a little girl. The transformation of “all life is connected” from a cheesy line that a typical Sentai hero would say to something a mother would say to their child while dying was incredibly effective and adds so much to Yamato as a character. This line, along with his mother’s job as a vet, basically explains his interest in animals which is such a fundamental part of his personality. It also built on Mario’s character too, who’s never really had any focus before beyond being a comic relief stand-in for the lack of a mentor figure this series. It was good to get some serious moments with him for once. After all, while Yamato lost a mother, he lost a sister. This was a great episode for the two of them and it handled themes of death in a mature way without shying away from the darker ideas and without doing anything inappropriate for children. There was still an optimistic tone throughout that Sentai is known for.

This was also an excellent episode for Bunglay, who must be the most properly evil villain we’ve had in a long time. Often tokusatsu villains are effective because of how strong they are or how cool their design is, but here Bunglay is threatening because he’s just pure evil. He isn’t like the Dethgaliens, who treat Earth and humanity as an irrelevant backdrop to their game. Bunglay actively hates Yamato and laughs at his upbeat optimistic philosophy (That scene in particular did lead to some top-notch hero/villain banter. “These bonds you’re talking about can be cut so easily” is a great line). It was also interesting to note that Bunglay has his own reasons for coming to Earth and isn’t fully working with the Dethgaliens all of the time, so there’s still a rogue element to him. The fight between him and Yamato towards the end was excellent because after all he’d done throughout the episode, the conflict felt personal. Bunglay had not only established himself as a strong fighter but also, by messing with Yamato’s memories and attacking his outlook, a proper arch-nemesis. I’m looking forward to seeing their relationship grow over the series because so far, after just two episodes, Bunglay feels way more like a final boss that Master Ginis, would just sits on a throne looking bored every episode. Unlike Master Ginis, Bunglay actually knows Yamato’s name.

Bunglay’s ability to bring back visions of dead characters was a good excuse to reuse some old Monsters of the Week, again adding a personal touch to the villain encounters by pulling them out of specific people’s memories. It was also a lot better than throwing in a brand new Monster of the Week just to have an original mecha fight, which would have distracted focus from the excellent drama going on between the characters. It also looks as if his memory-reading ability will cause tension within the Dethgaliens after he read the memory of my personal favourite villain design: That One Guy With a Light For a Face. It looks like things are just starting to get interesting with the bad guys and I can’t wait to see what direction it’s heading in.

This episode was just excellent. It had cool, intimidating villains, it explored the backstories of the characters in a meaningful and satisfying way, it built on their personalities, and above all kept the story of the series moving forward by raising more questions than it answered. What is Bunglay’s mission on Earth? What memories does That One Guy With a Light For a Face have that he’d rather were kept secret? IS the eagle zyuman Yamato’s father? Is Rey a Skywalker? All of these questions will be revealed over the course of the series and as long as the resolution to these questions is more satisfying that the resolution to the whole “we need to find the Champion’s Symbol!” thing, I’m sure we’ll be in for a good series.

Seriously though, have they totally forgotten about that?

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