Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 29 Review

This episode got off to a strong start with the team in the present exploring the 300-year-old wreckage of the Orion. The destroyed control room was a simple but effective image that made for a memorable pre-title sequence with a genuine cliffhanger rather than just the promise of a fight. It’s nice to see Sentai attempting a more complicated storyline, and for the most part it works.

As far as villain introductions go, it doesn’t get much better than Don Armage’s entrance at the end of this episode. There are two big reasons why I think it worked so well. The first is that Don Armage has built up a reputation over the previous 28 episodes that’ve made him so much more than just another monster. When it comes to final bosses, I keep remembering back to Zyuohger and the absolutely disaster of its final boss, who sat on a throne looking bored, his head literally resting on his hand, for a majority of the series. Then, when they tried to make him seem threatening, of course it didn’t work. With Kyuranger, we’ve only had tiny glimpses of our main antagonist before now, so his first proper appearance is automatically a big event.

The other reason I love his introduction is the bullet he flicks through Lucky’s chest. I can’t remember such a deadly blow being delivered so casually in Sentai before. It was a moment that completely went against usual Super Sentai displays of power. Usually power in Sentai is shown in huge bombastic explosions and CGI swirly effects. Because of that, the sight of a single bullet going through the chest of one of our heroes caught me completely off guard and is infinitely more shocking and visceral than a big CGI explosion ever could be. Don Armage doesn’t need fancy CGI to kill you, he just flicks a bullet through your chest. THAT is how you introduce a final boss.

Another surprising moment subtlety is the revelation that Lucky is a descendant of Orion. It was conveyed during a quiet moment that made it obvious but didn’t spell it out too much. It’s nice to see Kyuranger taking full advantage of this time travel subplot, delivering revelations about the characters and creative set pieces, like the previously mentioned crashed ship. This could’ve so easily been a single-episode gimmick but instead it’s been used very thoroughly. If there’s one issue I have with this arc it’s that having drama in the past as well as drama in the present with Naga is kinda jarring given the two strands don’t really have anything to do with one another yet, either in terms of plot or theme. Still, at least having two stories at once keeps things exciting.

This episode had some memorable new pieces of music, like the heavy guitar riff when the team left to help Lucky, the epic orchestral piece when Lucky started fighting, and the song during the final fight. The soundtrack for Kyuranger overall is okay but nothing other than the opening and ending songs really stick out for me, so it was nice to have music with a bit of impact for once. The first-person camera during fight scenes returns briefly for a sequence with Xiao Longbao which was nice to see, but the main star of the fight scenes was Orion with his massive blue club. It was nice to finally meet this character and I look forward to seeing how he’s used.

This arc is really going places and the mystery surrounding Don Armage is a good hook that I actually want the solution to. My only fear at this stage is whether or not all of the puzzle pieces, like the henchmen Tsurugi remembers fighting, will line up perfectly when everything is fully explained, but the previous 28 episodes of Kyuranger have taught me to expect quality from this show, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

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