Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 22 Review

Last episode was the debut of HououSoldier in battle but this episode was the real debut of the man inside the suit. We finally got to learn more about the character himself and, like most members of the Kyuranger cast, I could see him becoming a favourite of mine. His backstory about being the first person to travel beyond the moon 300 years ago not only gives us a rough idea of where abouts in history Kyuranger is supposed to take place but it gives him something unique to make him stand out from the other rangers. As I said in my last review, the decision to make Tsurugi a red ranger works really as a way to make him seem like a lone hero who fights without the support of a team, which makes sense given that he predates every other Kyuranger. What really sells this is the performance from Keisuke Minami, who transforms the character into a charismatic leading man. Between his powers, his backstory, and the actor’s performance, I could quite easily see myself watching a show just about HououSoldier.

The opening scene on the Orion was a fun way for him to meet the team and bounce off some of the more eccentric larger-than-life characters like Naga and Raptor, but where things really livened up was when he burst into the Jark Matter University. Censoring history to remove any sense of hope from people is such a strong story idea and it plays in perfectly with my theory that Kyuranger will end with ordinary people all over the universe rising up to help fight Jark Matter. That, and the fight scene at the university was amazing. From the moment the phoenix changer flew in at the start of the fight, it was clear HououSoldier had a sense of style usually reserved for battlizer forms, and it looks as if the show is sticking with how powerful he was in Episode 21 rather than trying to nerf him. And from the sounds of things, he is fully capable of fighting off Jark Matter on his own given that he killed the Emperor before.

The episode mainly focused on Tsurugi’s interactions with Spada and Raptor, and whether or not a chef and an assistant should be allowed to fight. Once again, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger comes down on the side of ‘it’s not about who you are, it’s about whether or not you choose to make a difference’. If there’s a central moral philosophy to the show, it’s that. ‘Anyone can change the world’ isn’t a particularly deep or unique idea, but it fits with Super Sentai‘s unrelenting optimism and it’s a great message for kids. It’s also nice to have a Sentai show with a coherent theme running throughout the whole series that can be explored and discussed in different ways.

The big addition this episode was HououSoldier’s mecha, which was unveiled in a mecha battle featuring some stunning practical effect work. I like the design of the mech in its rocket form although I kinda expected the Argo to transform into it rather than the pieces just kinda phasing out of it. The combined form looks excellent though, probably my favourite Kyuranger design so far with the only real competition being RyuTeiOh. I’m a big fan of the mecha for Kyuranger in general. With 12 rangers there’s no real need for any auxiliary mecha so each one can be personalised for a specific ranger to pilot. That and the amount of possible combinations is very flexible and allows any group of characters to work together. Speaking of which, I feel a crazy 12-person combination coming on…

This episode was a nice proper introduction to HououSoldier and I’m looking forward to seeing how the character is used. I like the idea that the Argo and HououSoldier were erased from the history books which is why Xiao Longbao didn’t have any concrete information on them. Hopefully we’re be moving up the ranks of recurring villains too now that the Kyurangers have a personal tie to the Emperor. The Argo arc may be over but the show isn’t losing any steam.

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