Lupinranger VS Patoranger – Episodes 11 + 12 Review

These two episodes, while still being enjoyable to watch, feel like a bit of a step down for the show. The unique set-up of Lupinranger VS Patoranger has kept the series fresh and exciting up to now, but these episodes felt like they could have come from any Sentai show. Episode 12 in particular had an entirely predictable plot. As soon as we were introduced to a character who wanted to go fast and a macguffin that makes people go fast, the whole episode became boring.

Every beat is hit in exactly the way you think it will be, with the boy stealing the bracelet to use in the race then feeling bad about cheating but learning the bracelet was fake and the power was inside him all along. The only thing that made this storyline a bit more bearable was that it’s the first time Lupinranger VS Patoranger has done something like this; a wholesome uplifting message episode. Lupin Blue got to be an uncomplicatedly good character rather than a morally grey criminal for good reasons like the Lupinrangers are normally. If this were any other Sentai series, it would’ve been completely unremarkable.

Episode 11 was a little better due to its bonkers premise. I’m a big fan of meta humour about stories within stories, so having a film crew making a movie about the characters within the show was fun and got to draw attention to how theatrical toku is. Episode 11 also had the sort-of twist about who was really the Gangler, but that was also quite predictable. It would’ve worked a lot better if we’d have met other members of the film crew before that point, and also if the rangers hadn’t drawn attention to the way the director was acting. Just let the behaviour of the director character speak for itself and make us suspicious without drawing attention to him in dialogue. As soon as they started talking about him, I knew he wasn’t actually going to be the Gangler.

Wow, that’s a lot of negativity. Despite the boring plots, the stuff that’s always worked about Lupinranger VS Patoranger still works in these two. The main cast is excellent and full of personality, and the fight scenes are beautifully choreographed. The first person parkour in 11 is a stand-out moment, although the parkour-ish chase in 12 was just kinda weird. You’re telling me Lupin Blue couldn’t have crawled through that hole? The kid wasn’t THAT small. I kept expecting the kid to get away by putting the bracelet on but I guess if we saw how it actually worked it would’ve ruined the “twist”. To be honest, the biggest giveaway that the bracelet didn’t actually make him faster was the lack of good old Sentai CGI when he wore it.

The Ganglers didn’t make much of an impact in either of these two stories, which is a shame given how strong their introduction to the series was. The idea of the leader retiring and wanting to hand over to someone else has a lot of potential for in-fighting and drama between factions of Ganglers, but it hasn’t been used all that much. The Ganglers are mainly part of the background, while the main fight is between the Lupinrangers and Patorangers. Especially in Episode 12, where the plot was about getting the treasure from the kid rather than the monster.

These two episodes were okay but a letdown compared to how good this show is usually.

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