Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 21 Review
I love that this episode started with resolution rather than a pre-titles cliffhanger like normal. Starting with a problem to be solved works well to get the audience hooked but it’s nice to mix up the formula every now and then, and opening with the return of a character who apparently died is just as much of a hook. Because of the way Episode 21 starts, you could almost edit this together with 20 to create one seamless 45 minute story, and I can’t decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. On one hand, various events and revelations are paced as if this was supposed to be viewed as one 45 minute story, meaning it feels less dramatic when it plays out in 2 pieces a week apart. But on the other, I liked being able to get straight back to the action and not have to do the typical Sentai thing where a fight-based cliffhanger is instantly resolved so the team can go back to base and regroup for whatever the plot throws at them this week. Regardless, it was a nice change of rhythm to have such a tightly-nit two-parter.
The fight between Stinger and Scorpio felt really satisfying, mainly because there was no question over whether or not Stinger wanted to kill his brother. All that ‘will he, won’t he’ drama ended a long time ago and he’s now ready to just kill him. I’m glad the question was asked when the arc started because if Stinger just jumped in to kill Scorpio without giving him a chance to redeem himself, it would sort of clash with Super Sentai‘s unrelenting optimism. However, Scorpio was given a chance and continued to be a big ol’ meanie anyway, so now he can be killed off with no problems. I’m not sure how I feel about him being given a hero’s death but at least he was given a death. I’m glad Stinger was the one who got to do it, and that he did it with Champ’s weapon and with Lucky and Kotoro as witnesses. All the characters who needed to be involved at the end of this arc were present, which brought things to a nice resolution.
At last, the Argo arc has reached its end, and we also have an explanation for why the Jark Matter presence on Earth is so strong: they knew it was hidden there. I quite liked the detail that Lucky and Kotoro, the one who’s the most childlike and the one who’s the most child, are the ones who rush to press the button and open the capsule. The church interior of the Argo is also an amazing design choice that makes the ship so much more unique and interesting than a standard ship or spaceship with wooden or metal corridors.
Of course the big main addition to the series from this episode is HououSoldier, the team’s 12th ranger. I love that not only has the series had 12 rangers but that each one is allowed to have full ranger status. Unlike Zyuohger, which treated Bard as an extra hero who didn’t even get to participate in the finale battle, all 12 of the Kyurangers get equal presence in the show, making the team feel like a real team and cutting down on the amount of filler episodes. Now that he’s made his first appearance, HououSoldier will be able to provide some extra momentum and mysteries to fuel future arcs. There isn’t much I can say about the character himself based on this episode, other than his catchphrase is significantly less annoying than Lucky’s and he seems like he could have a lot of genuine comic potential.
What I can comment on though is his design, which is wonderful. It was a good decision to make him another red ranger given that he was apparently the earliest ranger and that he acts mainly as a unit on his own, able to take out space fleets singlehandedly. Making him his own red means he doesn’t look like he was designed with a team in mind, instead being his own standalone hero. By the way, being able to take out space fleets singlehandedly might be the most powerful a new ranger has ever been in their debut, which means it’ll obviously be toned down significantly later in the series so he’s just another Kyuranger. I hope not, because it’s not as if Jark Matter has a limited supply of space fleets they could throw at HououSoldier so the ease with which he can destroy them is no big deal, but still.
This was a really strong episode, that concluded both Scorpio’s story and the search for the Argo nicely while setting up arcs to come. The Emperor has finally had some minimal interactions with the team so it looks like we’re going to finally be getting further up the chain of command as far as the villains are concerned. Kyuranger continues to be a really fun Sentai that manages its large cast well and keeps the story moving forward.
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