Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger – Episode 40 Review

I have two things to say about that pre-title sequence. Firstly, it’s so cool to see a Super Sentai team running to the aid of a non-monster related threat. Saving that kid from the bullies is just a really nice heroic thing that doesn’t factor into any of the bigger picture stuff. Secondly, dear lord are we really going with this as a villain theme?

What even was this episode? And how long is it until the next exciting plot thing happens?

This was a Leo focus episode in the sense that Leo was the member of the main team who had the most screen time, but it didn’t actually focus on him as a character. We got dangerously close to getting some fun backstory details from him as he attempted to train Jun using the methods he was trained with as a kid, but it quickly devolved into just a generic montage. Still, it was inoffensive filler and the ‘we couldn’t licence Eye of the Tiger so here’s the next best thing’ music track that played during the montage was unintentionally funny. The really strong stuff came in the following scene, when the victim used Leo’s teachings to start acting like a bully. It was simultaneously a good lesson for kids about fighting violence with violence, a way to show that the Zyuohgers are not perfect people who have a lot to learn themselves, and a rare moment where character action dictated the plot rather than anything a big rubber monster did. Yes, Kubar then jumped in to stir things up with his illusions, but it was ultimately supernatural monster stuff being used as a background for real emotional character stuff. This is the sort of strong filler that Zyuohger did so much of in the first half but has been lacking up until now.

Unfortunately, it sort of fell apart after that. The only particularly noteworthy thing about this subplot is the way in which Kubar uses the memory powers in comparison to how Bunglay used them. Bunglay used them to create fighting opponents for the Zyuohgers that were more psychologically harrowing to fight than normal enemies. Kubar on the other hand uses his memory people to mess with situations from the shadows. Instead of resurrecting monsters, he’s so far only resurrected normal everyday people to subtly manipulate people without them knowing there is any alien interference at all. It’s nice to show that Kubar and Bunglay both have their own distinct ways of doing things even if they are using the same tools to get the job done.

Without a doubt, the scene at the end with Kubar and Green Toxica was the best part of the whole episode. Part of me hopes, once again, that Green Toxica has actually been killed off permanently. She contributes absolutely nothing to the series other than making the monsters grow big, which is a plot function rather than a character trait. The best she can hope for is to die a death that makes somebody else look cooler. I suspect she’s just unconscious though and Kubar will use his Bunglay powers to pull someone out of her memories, but if the writers aren’t going to give her anything of substance to do, what’s the point of her being around? And don’t even get me started on that blue dude who just kinda shouts at things. I couldn’t even begin to guess what his name is, if it was ever mentioned.

Episode 40 was overall pretty forgettable. Its strongest feature is its moral: a good lesson for children well told in such a way that revolves around the decisions of characters and their emotions rather than any outside influences. Next week’s trailer makes it look like Master Ginis is actually going to leave his chair. It’s pretty late in the game to try to give him any sort of menace or significance but better late than never I guess.

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