Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 11 Review
Just because this show has given us 11 rangers in 10 episodes, that doesn’t mean it has any plans of slowing down apparently. At the start of this episode we’re immediately introduced to the team’s new objective: finding the Argo, a legendary ship that takes three Kyutama to summon. I’ve come to really love the bits at the start of every episode where the team is on the ship figuring out what their next mission is going to be. It adds to the notion that the Kyurangers are an organisation with plans and goals, who actually talk things out rather than just going with the flow. Speaking of the opening, I know that when Lucky was staring dramatically at the Kyulette, we were all supposed to be hoping he’d get picked for the away team but, like always, I had my fingers crossed that I’d get a week off from him. Oh well, at least we got to see more of Xiao Longbao and Kotaro this week.
Speaking of which, Xiao Longbao is quickly rising through the ranks of my all-time favourite rangers. In terms of design alone, he’s probably my favourite already. Kotaro on the other hand is gonna need a while to grow on me. The fact that he’s a kid isn’t bothering me as much as I thought it would. The actor who plays him is actually competent and isn’t at all as obnoxious as some kids in TV shows and movies can be. When you compare him to Lucky, he looks like he has the nuance of an Oscar winner. My problem with him is actually how his ranger form looks in combat. I get that he’s supposed to be acting childishly in this episode, but swinging around his scarf like a windmill isn’t nearly as cool as the choreographer thought it was. Still, the initial fight scene was made quite enjoyable by the sheer amount of character stuff was going on. Kotaro was acting like a child and getting caught up in how cool being a Kyuranger is, Stinger was getting annoyed that Kotaro wasn’t taking his new responsibilities seriously, Xiao Longbao had his personal connection to Ikagen and Madako, and Lucky had his unlucky streak (featuring the worst fake blood I’ve ever seen).
The deathworm was a cool design for a creature and I was looking forward to seeing how the team would take down this unique threat…until it transformed into a normal monster with arms and legs. It was a really disappointing moment because I wanted to see this group of heroes from all across the universe tackle a threat that was truly alien. Instead of twisting the typical structure of fight scenes in ways that Kyuranger was already done in lots of ways before now, the cool alien design was squashed into a more human shape just so it’d be easier to kill in the traditional Super Sentai way. I suppose if nothing else it was fun to have a villain who wasn’t a member of Jark Matter but was just a mindless alien who’s natural instinct is to kill stuff.
The giant worm form of the deathworm was thankfully used a bit for the mecha fight, although it was a rare moment of the already meh-looking CGI of Sentai looking particularly bad. The practical effects used when the dragon first shows up still looks wonderful though. Ryutei-Oh made its first appearance in this fight and of the two main combinations it’s by far my favourite. Because it’s made up of three mecha rather than five, the colour scheme is much more uniform, and the gold accents work really well with the purple. Also, it’s owned by Xiao Longbao, and anything he touches is amazing.
Ikagen getting the Kyutama at the end was a good way to tie the search for the Argo in to the main threat of the current arc. Unfortunately, it’s hard to feel as shocked about it because I’m not as emotionally attached to Lucky as the episode clearly wants me to be. His failure to defeat Ikagen and his unlucky streak are basically the same as what happens to all Sentai characters occasionally, but here a big deal is made out of it because Lucky isn’t supposed to lose. And it’s because he isn’t supposed to ever lose that I find myself unable to muster any excitement about him. His luck isn’t just a background trait that forms parts of a running joke, it’s actually something that changes the outcome of stories. No matter how they try to explain it, it’s a really annoying character trait that makes him an important part of stories he should be the focus of.
Despite the episode’s failed attempt to make me care about Lucky, I did enjoy it overall. The deathworm was a fairly original idea and it’s good to have villains who are outside of the main villain faction. This episode was also an effective start to the Argo arc now that we have all 11 rangers and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.
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