Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger – Episode 45 Review

Buckle up everyone: it’s endgame time. This episode kicked off the final arc of the series just about as well as it could. We had some strong character stuff examining Yamato’s family situation, some world-building stuff with the origin of Misao’s powers and Azald’s backstory, and some strong action stuff, including the first time all seven Zyuohgers have fought together. It’s interesting that this henshin had Yamato going into Zyuoh Gorilla mode rather than his default Zyuoh Eagle form, but I guess that’s so we can have a ‘proper’ all seven henshin in the finale.

This all-seven fight was the highlight of the episode for me. The Zyuohger suits are some of my favourite Sentai designs and seeing them all work together felt like something the show had earned rather than throwing them all together as soon as Zyuoh Bird was introduced. Bard’s ranger status in the second half of the series is probably one of the best things Zyuohger has going for it. His side story has allowed for some nice background stuff to wake the series up after its slow descent into mindless filler episodes. If only we had more of Bard more often, as well as a whole faction of interesting villain characters with their own subplots, we could have avoided a lot of the filler altogether.

The mecha fight at the start of the episode was very entertaining and it made use of a lot of mecha combinations that we’re probably never going to see again. It was a good final battle for Zyuoh King and Zyuoh Wild, and I personally loved the use of old-school practical effect explosions when the spaceships were being shot down. Super Sentai CGI is okay considering they have to stretch the budget across 50 episodes every year, but nothing looks more realistic than something that’s actually real, and those explosions looked excellent. That being said, the use of spaceships in the mecha fight was kinda odd. In fact, spaceships in the mecha fights have always been odd in Zyuohger. If this was Gokaiger it would have been fine, but Zyuohger doesn’t give me the sense that Earth is being attacked by an entire fleet of aliens. Due to how underdeveloped the villains are and how often they overuse that shot of the enemy ship in orbit, I was under the impression that Earth was being attacked by three people who spend all their time in a single room looking bored. Master Ginis doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who could lead a mighty space empire with the resources to build triangular TIE fighters.

Speaking of which, once again Zyuohger gives us a villain who is way more interesting and worthy of being a final boss than Master Ginis. The reveal of who Azald is was well done, although I wish we knew a little more about the monster the whale bloke fought so it was a little more guessable. I didn’t want it to be predictable, it’s a good twist, but if the monster he turned out to be had more significance to the overall lore, or was at least mentioned more than once, it would have been even more effective. The villains in this show have been an absolute shambles, with only one villain getting focus at a time (first Zyuoh TheWorld, then Bunglay, then Kubar, then Azald) instead of having an entire group of dynamic and interesting characters playing off each other. As for Ginis and Green Toxica, there’s no time left in the series to make me in any way care about them. The villains are by far Zyuohger‘s biggest failure. Boring villains means a simple and uninteresting conflict with no drama and a tendency to rely on cheap gimmicky filler.

I do have some concerns about the ending of the series overall from this episode, mainly involving the whole ‘power of the Earth’ thing. To me, this sounds like ‘darkness’ from ToQger all over again; a vague indefinable power source that’s never really explained and has the potential to be used for a wishy-washy ‘power of love’ ending. Weird conceptual power sources needs to have restrictions or else they can completely undermine any drama or tension. Still, I’m optimistic that the series can at least end well and I won’t judge the finale before I see it.

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