Lupinranger VS Patoranger – Episode 20 Review

The star of this episode is clearly Noel and his two ranger forms. Lupinranger VS Patoranger has done incredibly well so far with its unique two-team premise, and the introduction of a new character who’s part of both teams takes it to a new level.

We first see him as Lupin X, which is probably my favourite form of the two. I’ve always preferred the Lupinrangers to the Patorangers, although I like the designs and personalities of both. Part of why I like his Lupinranger form so much is the team’s colour scheme. Other than red which both teams share, the usual Sentai colours have been split between both teams, and it just so happens the Lupinrangers (red, blue, yellow, silver) got a set of four I think works really well together, or at least I prefer it to the Patorangers’ palette (red, green, pink, gold).

That being said, the Patoren X suit does kick ass. I love this relatively new Shinkenger thing of putting long coats over Sentai suits (which is also why I liked the little silver cloak he wore at the start of the episode). The gold shoulder pads are maybe slightly too much as they make it look hard to move, but overall it looks amazing. Weirdly, it reminded me of the Power Rangers RPM toy exclusive dinosaur train rangers, with their high collars and the closed jacket look with the red chest stripe. It’s awesome to get something like that in live action.

Noel’s first fight scene as Patoren X is far more impressive than his fight as Lupin X, which is played mostly for laughs. Like with Xiao’s purple coat from Kyuranger, Patoren X’s coat gives his movements an extra fluid motion that works really well for kinetic tokusatsu fight scenes.

I love how immediate his introduction to the other Lupinrangers is. A girl takes a selfie with him which ends up in the paper, making him known to both reds, then he waves cheerfully at Kairi and loudly announces to everyone who he is. Noel doesn’t care at all about the established system of secret identities and hidden agendas at play in this show, and characters like that are usually my favourites; people who walk into a story and instantly turn everything upside down. The reveal that Noel is a transfer from the French branch of the Global Police, and that he was the one who built the series’ henshin devices, is a brilliant way to escalate things. We’ve seen the Lupinrangers slowly recover parts of the Lupin collection, but the Patorangers are yet to make any major steps forward. It’s good to have the Patorangers bringing on someone new in reaction to what’s been going on rather than letting the stalemate status quo go on forever.

I’m once again relieved that the show has no interest in keeping farcical “will they discover my secret identity?” plotlines going for more than a single episode. Don’t get me wrong, I love farce, but it can so easily be overplayed if it becomes the whole theme of a series. If every episode had Noel running around a corner so he could switch ranger identities without anyone knowing, it’d get really tiring really quickly, and there are only so many jokes or dramatic turns you could squeeze out of that. Thankfully, this episode burns through a few good ones then throws the others away completely by having both teams learn at once that Noel is both a Lupinranger and a Patoranger, and that the reason he’s here is for the Lupin collection pieces.

Noel’s train mecha is awesome, and I love the whole turntable design motif. The miniature shots of the silver train driving at night look stunning. It’s a little disappointing that it combines with the Lupinranger mechs by limb-swapping out blue and yellow, meaning it’s basically just sticking two trains onto Good Striker and red. I’m really not into the way combinations are handled in this show overall given that they all have the same base, but oh well. The fight was decent and I’m sure we’ll see the Patoranger combination next week.

This was a strong introduction for Noel, that not only showed off what he could do but shook up the whole premise of the series. I can already tell he’s not just going to be a new presence in fight scenes but a fresh source of intrigue and new storylines, especially given how connected he is to the established lore of the show. It feels like Lupinranger VS Patoranger, a show that was already bursting with originality, has just got a second wind.

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