Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 14 Review
I really dig how the Kyulette is being used not just as a way to split the team up into a manageable group for story purposes, but also in the way its randomness provides a starting point for stories. Like with Lucky’s unlucky streak, this week sees Garu having an ungaru (?) streak after constantly missing out on making the away team. The Kyulette could have so easily been a lazy plot device used to make writing episodes easier by creating teams with less members to deal with, but instead the way it works and picks people randomly is being acknowledged by the characters. Instead of using it to choose which characters will be the focus, Lucky and Garu managed to get focus episodes specifically because they weren’t getting picked. It’s actually kinda clever.
Even though Lucky did it before it was cool, I cared much more about Garu’s frustration at never being picked, mainly because he’s a character who has legitimately been ignored for most of Kyuranger so far. Lucky’s disappointment at suddenly not being the centre of attention anymore and not being able to get by on sheer luck was deeply frustrating to watch. Garu’s disappointment on the other hand actually seems justified. He started out with a lot of potential in Episode 1 but has since been buried under all the other characters and plot developments the series has had since then. His story in this episode was okay, although it was painfully obvious that the blue button on the remote was going to open the door. They really should have made it red or something for a last-minute twist, but it wasn’t that big of an issue.
The Space Ryugu Palace was a really fresh and imaginative setting. Not only was it fun to finally be getting away from Earth for a bit, but the very controlled design aesthetic, with its greys and reds and golds, looked stunning. It’s been a while since we’ve had such good-looking location filming, mainly because we’ve been stuck on normal Earth streets for the last few episodes. The Palace was mainly used as a backdrop for some slapstick comedy stuff, which was okay but nothing particularly interesting. Honestly, after 13 episodes of consistent action and plot, Kyuranger has earned a bit of filler. And it’s not as if this was a bad episode. A bit of filler can be good as long as it isn’t the majority of the series. The only glaring flaw in the episode is the tone problem that came up when Garu mentioned being the last of his species. It’s a good character trait to have that can lead to some dramatic moments and engaging storylines if used well, but an episode like this was just the wrong time to bring it up, especially sandwiched between two funny moments.
Other than Xiao Longbao being Xiao Longbao, the only real standout moment was the ballroom dancing that was spliced together with the fight scene, which was a fun idea. From the moment I found out the evil space empire had a giant ball they’d constructed in space, I was waiting to see it get Starkiller Base-d, but when it finally happened at the conclusion of the mecha fight it was really underwhelming. 0 out of 10, least satisfying superweapon destruction ever. Out of all the Death Stars, the Space Ryugu Palace from Kyuranger is at the bottom of my list.
This was a pretty disposable episode that probably had the least to do with the overall story than any Kyuranger episode so far, but after 14 weeks the show has earned a little down time. The primary location was memorable and the cast was used well (although Hammy just sort of vanishes at one point and doesn’t reappear until the very end). If nothing else, this episode made me realise how much I miss visiting other planets in the series and I hope we get back to cruising around the universe soon.
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