Shuriken Sentai Ninninger – Episode 43 Review

After Drive, Ninja Red and Hurricane Red, and Jiraiya, you know what Ninninger could really do with? More crossovers.

This episode stars Shurikenger in the role of a powerful ninja master who gets the team to reflect on what they’ve learned, which basically equates to a clip show. I’ve always praised the way in which Ninninger has portrayed the characters’ development from students to masters but this episode just seemed a little too on the nose for my liking. This very same idea has been done before much better than this, but here it just seems lazy. Instead of previous recap episodes which made you realise how strong the team has grown, this one was basically them all sitting around going “Hey, remember when that one thing happened? Yeah, good times.” Clip shows are largely forgivable when they’re in a series of around 50 episodes, but I can’t pretend I wasn’t bored by this one. If anything, it serves to devalue the idea of a crossover episode. It became clear early on that Shurikenger was only here so there’d be something memorable about it, but it so easily could have been rewritten so that the Last Ninja was the wise and quirky master instead. I barely counts as a crossover when the crossover character does nothing. Or at least, nothing that couldn’t be done by a different established character.

At the midpoint, the episode got slightly more interesting by having the Ninningers actually be sucked into the cards to fight against the old enemies instead of just talking about them. As the saying goes, show don’t tell, so actually seeing how strong they’d become by pitting them against upgraded versions of old monsters was a much more effective way of doing things. That being said, it still wasn’t very interesting to watch because, as StarNinger makes explicitly clear, they’re just illusions so there’s no real dramatic tension. In the end, Shurikenger did nothing, we got a final fight that lacked any weight, and nothing was achieved. Although, something interesting to note is that we didn’t actually get a mecha fight in this episode. I guess that deserves bonus points for breaking away from the classic formula.

The most exciting thing about this episode actually happened in the last three minutes when Kibaoni Gengetsu was revived. Just like with the previous cliffhanger and many other Ninninger cliffhangers before it, it seemed to come completely out of nowhere and this whole episode would have been way better if it was spent building up to it. That being said, I am sort of excited to see how the show ends. I want to remain optimistic because overall I have enjoyed what Ninninger was aiming to do despite not liking particular episodes. Part of that is down to there not being enough plot to fill almost 50 weekly instalments. If all of the filler episodes like this were cut out to give us a tighter, more focused story about a team of ninjas trying to be the very best like no one ever was, it’d be a significantly better show. That being said, a Sentai series without filler is sort of like a car without…most of what makes a car.

There really isn’t much to say about this episode given that it’s mainly a retread of old villains and episode ideas without providing enough of a new spin on things to be interesting. There were a few good moments, like the villains trying to keep the death of Mangetsu away from Ariake No Kata, which reminded me a lot of the excellent villain relationships in ToQger. Also, the Ant-Man-esque fight scene in the dojo was fun, particularly Fuuka pouring the glass of water to extinguish the tiny explosion. I wonder if they did a miniature fight purposely to make up for the lack of a giant one…? Anyway, this week’s episode wasn’t really anything special but I have high hopes for the endgame. At the very least, this is probably the last major filler episode in the series. I’m expecting it to be all plot from here to the finale.

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