Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 18 Review
It was pretty obvious that this episode was thrown in at the last minute rather than being planned from the start. Episode 17 ended with the search for the Argo being about to continue, with the Kyutama recharged and the rangers eager to get back to it. Then, immediately as this episode starts, they’re chasing Madako through space to get the Kyutama back. It was a really jarring opening. Then again, I suppose it got the job done. On the one hand, I’d have liked an explanation as to how Madako stole the Kyutama, but on the other, it was a nice way of quickly launching us into an action-packed opening. With a crossover episode, I think everyone basically wants to get to the first meeting between the teams as quickly as possible, so in that sense it served its purpose. Regardless, the pre-title sequence was just an excuse to get the Kyurangers into the Dekaranger branch of the toku universe and to put their mission to find the Argo on pause for an episode.
This episode was a fairly unique crossover in that it split the Kyurangers into two groups two crossed over with two different shows at once, cutting back and forth between the two. Tokusatsu crossovers have a well-established formula by now, but being able to cut between two crossovers happening at the same time kept things fresh, meaning comic relief moments like the Dekaranger interrogation scene could be followed up by more serious moments like when Space Sherriff Gavan is told about the Kyuranger‘s universe. Because of that, this team-up has a strong sense of momentum to it. There’s never a dull moment in this episode and it all leads perfectly to the final fight against Madako.
Unfortunately, the final fight is weirdly lacking. Not only is this episode limited to five Kyurangers due to the away team being the only ones sucked into the black hole, but only Lucky, Naga, and Deka Red show up to the big battle at the end with Gavan. Instead of joining the fight, the other Kyurangers and Dekarangers are pre-occupied with keeping the black hole open in space. Also, the particularly low-quality cockpit shot of the Dekarangers made it obvious that they were just reusing old footage. Not that I’m saying they should have shot all new footage for a single shot during the mecha battle, but if the shot they reused hadn’t been so grainy, I might have been convinced. A three-way team-up ending in only four heroes fighting together is a bit of a letdown but hey, at least two silvers and two reds is a cool colour scheme.
Apparently deathworms are Kyuranger‘s go-to secondary monster to keep more than one group of rangers busy (and apparently the Dekaranger universe has them too). Not that I’m complaining; recurring alien species are a cool way to flesh out the setting. The fight was pretty entertaining, with some nice choreography and great music choices, especially the Dekaranger theme. Also, the sort-of semi-mecha fight sequence at the end with the two dragons as a nice touch.
This episode was a pretty strong crossover that showed a surprising amount of restraint for tokusatsu, but then again ending a normal twenty-minute Sentai episode with a huge battle between all of the Kyurangers, the Dekarangers, and Gavan might have felt like overkill. Overall, it was a pleasant
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