Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 15 Review
After a brief trip to Jark Matter’s luxury Death Star last week, this episode sees the team leaving Earth properly to find one of the Argo’s Kyutama on an alien world. Rather than the usual solid blocks of filler we’re use to from Sentai shows, it’s very reassuring to be back on the main story after just a one-week diversion. I’m loving the pace of the show so far and how it manages to keep its focus in the right place instead of constantly going on tangents.
Although the alien world was obviously just a normal beach with no attempt made to make it look alien, the local characters completely sold it. Having one of the Jark Matter monsters pose as a sea god and demand a child sacrifice was a wonderfully dark premise that created real stakes without making things too serious. Unfortunately this part of the episode was held back a bit by Martha, who was a weirdly-written character and a cringe-worthy actor, even for toku. She’s exactly what I was worried Kotaro might be. I mean, she did okay, and I’m sure the young actor playing her will have a much more successful career than I ever will, but still. If nothing else, the character gave us an excuse for some of Hammy’s backstory and a nice message about speaking up to grown-ups when you see something wrong.
Unfortunately, this message isn’t as strong as it could have been. The way the episode presents it makes it seem that the thing stopping Martha is her shyness, but that doesn’t seem enough to stop her warning her people about a monster attack. There needed to be some sort of real threat, like people being put in prison for speaking out against the saviour. That would have created a better message about self-sacrifice. Instead, Martha comes across like a pretty stupid character who’d rather be sacrificed to a monster because she’s nervous.
I wasn’t expecting to see more of Champ and Stinger’s story in the same week as a new Argo Kyutama, but it was a welcome surprise. We didn’t get much, but there was a nice moment in the cliffhanger where Stinger realises that his brother now looks like a monster. Part of me thinks they could have drawn a whole episode out of Stinger not knowing the monster was actually his brother, but I quickly realised it was a good call to have his brother reveal himself so quickly. Everyone watching already knows that the monster is really his brother, and stories based on mistaken identities or miscommunication always end up either being frustrating or making the hero look like an idiot for not figuring out the true identity sooner. By having the reveal at the end of this episode, we get the big dramatic moment without it dragging itself out for too long.
With two Kyutama down and one still to go, the team is very quickly progressing in their quest to find the Argo. The big question I have at this point is whether or not the pay-off to this arc will be worth it. We don’t know exactly what the Argo is and does, and Xiao Longbao admitted he doesn’t actually know if it’ll help them defeat Jark Matter, so it’s possible the Argo could be a big let-down. Hopefully the resolution of this arc will actually be something game-changing instead of a single fireworks display of an action scene. Still, this was a very strong episode with a decent message for kids at its core. It could have been stronger if there was any real consequence to speaking out against the saviour, but overall, a solid adventure.
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