Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 23 Review

It was a pleasant surprise to have Eris back this episode considering most if not all of the good characters in this series are rangers. Even the mentor and characters who would normally be sidekicks or assistants, like Kotaro and Raptor, have their own suits, so it’s nice to have at least one helpful recurring character outside of the main circle. It was also just a good way to give everyone something to do, something that’ll become a lot harder now that we’ve reached a grand total of 12 rangers.

I said previously that I’d watch a whole show just about HououSoldier, and that’s basically what we get here. He almost becomes the red ranger to Spada and Raptor at times, creating a power struggle between him and Lucky. Now that Kotaro and Champ have returned to the series, it seems Spada and Raptor are going to be spending more time away. As well as delaying the big inevitable 12-person team-up for a few more weeks, making it much more satisfying when it does happen, having Kyurangers come and go from the Orion helps to keep all of their individual personalities and stories distinct rather than combining them all into one single unit played by 12 people, like the dwarves in The Hobbit. I’m happy to report that my initial problem with the show focusing way too much on Lucky has been solved. Not only is Lucky way less annoying and is actually starting to act more like a capable leader, but the show overall is doing a good job at managing its cast. For me, the decision to double the size of the Sentai team this year was a total success.

It was a nice twist that the new villain generals have some sort of history with HououSoldier. It makes the conflict much more personal and makes destroying the Kyurangers more worth Don Armage’s time. They aren’t just a small group of rebels any more like in Episode 1; now they’re a threat that Armage is actively trying to wipe out. We got a lot more information on HououSoldier’s backstory this week, including the revelation that he used to be immortal. Everything we learn about the character makes him more intriguing and it helps that the details of the story were clearly planned out way in advance. For instance, Sir Orion that Eris mentioned in her first episode was actually a member of HououSoldier’s team.

The lore behind this show has obviously had a lot of thought put into it and it’s genuinely satisfying when they land a reveal that fits more pieces of the puzzle together. It’s not exactly a dense Lord of the Rings-style mythology that you can spend weeks researching, but it’s just enough to show that the writers put a bit more thought into this year’s Sentai story than usual, and if nothing else that’s just really reassuring. It means all of this is going somewhere important and they aren’t just making it up as they go along (or if they are, they’re doing an amazing job of not letting it show).

There wasn’t much I can say is wrong with this episode. Yet again they insist on playing the weapon/henshin jingles at the same time as the epic music in fight scenes so they clash and ruin the flow of the beat, and yet again they insist on throwing in way too many flashbacks to things we all remember like they’re trying to pad the run time. A lot of typical Sentai flaws were present, but then again a lot of typical Sentai flaws weren’t. 23 episodes in and the story is still going strong. We’ve technically had filler but we haven’t had an episode I’d call worthless; often episodes of Kyuranger were nothing happens are required to give the series a steady sense of pace. This particular episode for example gave us some nice breathing room after the introduction of our 12th ranger for us to figure out what his place in the series is and for him to figure out what his place in the modern world is. It all makes for a much tighter series that’s so far held my attention and enthusiasm far more than a lot of recent series have.

This was a good episode of Kyuranger that answered some questions in a satisfying way while raising new ones for the show to examine. It was nice to see the full team come together a bit more in this one. To be honest, I was a little surprised that the 12-person mecha combo didn’t debut here but I like that they’re stretching it out a bit and this episode didn’t really need a new mecha combination (although the pink voyager turning into wings for Kyuren-Oh was awesome). Overall, a solid episode that made me love HououSoldier even more.

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