Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 28 Review

Wow, they really want to make sure we understand the whole ‘two teams: one in the past, one in the present’ thing, huh? They’re even doing on-screen diagrams now.

Something else I want to mention about the opening is that Lucky introduced the whole group as the Kyurangers rather than just saying his own name. Since the start of the series Lucky has steadily grown more and more competent as a leader and I can’t tell if it’s an intentional character arc or a side-effect of the show having gained so many major characters. I hope it’s intentional because Lucky’s growth from a character who annoyed me in Episode 1 to a leader I actually like watching in Episode 28 has been so well handled that the change has been basically invisible. He used to rely on his luck to get him through but ever since his unlucky spell earlier in the series he’s been relying more on genuine skill and intelligence. I don’t think any Super Sentai series will handle the ‘student to master’ transition more skilfully than Ninninger did, but Lucky might come close if they keep doing what they’re doing with him.

Naga makes for a surprisingly strong villain in this episode, particularly with the change in performance. It would’ve been a little more interesting if Emotional Naga had a bit more to work with than just ‘chew the scenery’, but chewing the scenery after about 25 episodes of being the most rigid member of the team is still something fresh. I liked that not wanting to hurt an ally when they’ve turned evil ended up being the main conflict of the episode. It made Naga’s transformation and the team’s response to it more connected to their characters than to some random macguffin or plot device. Instead of breaking the spell by destroying the monster, they were told to break the spell by hurting Naga, which is much more effective as a dilemma.

Meeting another member of Naga’s species was a nice twist, as was her need to kill him for having emotions. Also, the actor’s performance and the lip-sync was surprisingly good, especially considering the bad lip-sync job with Lucky, Kotaro, and Big Bear earlier in the series. I love that we have an alien species where everyone looks the same but their basic form is humanoid, rather than something like a Dalek in Doctor Who or a Rodian in Star Wars. Having the whole species played by the same person is a fresh spin on an old sci-fi trope.

This episode was full of fun little moments, like the ‘long take’ when Naga first started attacking, or the Kyutama that turned Balance into Alolan Balance, or Xiao Longbao’s back continuity. The use of the Gemini Kyutama to double the amount of mecha limbs was also a nice gimmick for the final battle, and the old destroyed Orion was a brilliant final image. My issues with this episode aren’t really any bigger than nitpicks. Once again, Super Sentai relies way too much on flashbacks during emotional moments, and not only did Balance’s weapon jingle conflict with the music but it actually conflicted with the sad tone as well, which is a brand new reason for me to dislike weapon jingles. Regardless, Kyuranger continues to be a strong Super Sentai show. I’ve generally liked the last few years of Sentai but few have engaged me as much as Kyuranger. I highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone. 28 episodes in and there’s no sign of it running out of ideas.

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