Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger – Episode 29 Review

Part two kicked off with some pretty intense one-on-one battles between the Zyuohgers and Gokaigers. This opening was full of fun little moments, like Misao being upset that he had nobody to fight, or Aka Ranger fighting Zyuoh Eagle. Speaking of which, I’ve never seen Sentai do suit damage before, but Zyuoh Eagle looked pretty wrecked by the end. My favourite moment though had to be when Captain Marvelous raised his gun, paused, then fired. Any other Sentai red would have launched into some big speech before pulling the trigger but that just isn’t who Marvelous is at all. Actually, I take back my previous comments around Yamato being my favourite Sentai red; Marvelous is my favourite. For me, the thing that gave Gokaiger the edge over just being a self-obsessed Sentai series is that the lead character, despite being able to turn into every other ranger, has no respect for any of them. I hope we see more characters like him in the future, who are ultimately fighting for good but who would still pull that trigger before talking.

It was fun to see the other Gokaigers out of their suits this week and just hanging out at the Zyuohgers’ place, something that the structure of a two-episode story arc lets you do a lot easier than a standard toku movie. This episode largely followed the formula of a typical Sentai episode, including the casual down time at the start, the civilian battle later on, and the mecha fight to finish. The only different here was that there were twice as many rangers to work with.

Just like with last week there were a lot of nostalgic elements in this episode but none of it felt too out of place. For example, when Bunglay pulled old Sentai villains out of Marvelous’ memory. Sure, it was just an excuse to see them all again, but Bunglay’s memory abilities have been well established by now. And even if it wasn’t, 2000th episodes only come around once so I think they’ve earned the right to indulge themselves a little. If anything, this episode actually showed a little more restraint than I was expecting. We didn’t see any of the Gokaiger mecha for example, other than the galleon at the very end, and we never saw Yamato actually summon Cube Whale. Also, we never saw any returning characters outside of the Gokaigers (other than the brief shot of the ToQger kids last week). I’m not saying these are bad things, I’m saying this episode didn’t go as overboard as tokusatsu usually does, which is actually a refreshing change of pace. It makes the moments when they do go overboard that little bit more exciting.

Of course the big moment that everyone’s waiting for in a tokusatsu crossover is the part where they all line up in a desert, dramatically transform, and start fighting each other, and this episode didn’t disappoint. The big new addition during the finale was Yamato’s new form, Zyuoh Whale, which is spectacular. Not only does the suit look great but the finisher was so fantastically bombastic and ridiculous, flying into space, smashing the moon, and curving back down again. It was the exact mix of cheesy, camp, and amazing that keeps me watching Super Sentai. The Back to the Future trail of fire just made it perfect. Even the choreography for Zyuoh Whale looked cool. Yamato in the suit had a dance-like weightlessness to him that worked really well with the flapping coat. It was a brilliant new form and it allowed this episode to have an impact in the series. Usually team-ups aren’t really talked about in-universe after they happen, but here we have a team-up that actually gives the Zyuohgers a useful new power-up which I’m sure we’ll see used many times in the future.

Judging this arc as a whole, it was a really strong team-up that celebrated 40 years of Super Sentai while still showing a surprising amount of restraint. Due to the focus of the story being mainly on the Zyuohgers, the Gokaigers felt more like cameos, in that they were present but they didn’t really affect the plot much. Still, it was nice to see an old team come back and it felt like a fitting way to mark such a huge TV milestone. Oh, and I can’t wait for the 3000th episode to see whether or not they’ll actually follow up on what happened to Navi. See you all in 20 years!

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