Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 33 Review

Last week we skipped over the narrated intro and had a weirdly epic build-up to the opening title sequence. This week, we’re straight into the title sequence with no intro at all. Strange that they’re mixing it up but I supposed it’s to create something like a new start mid-series. The Naga is evil/going back in time arc spanned a lot of weeks so now that we’re back to something resembling status quo it seems the show is trying to give itself a push for the second half. Either that or it’s just a random style choice.

In the same way the search for the Argo was spread out over twice as many weeks because the Kyutama needed to recharge, now the Kyurangers know roughly where Don Armage is but they don’t have a ship to take them there. I was thinking back recently about how the series started and I have to say I’m kinda disappointed by how long we’ve spent on Earth. The first few episodes of the series promised unique planets and locations every week but all we’ve done since is hang around Earth. Any Super Sentai series could set an episode on Earth but only Uchu Sentai Kyuranger can take us to other worlds, so why wouldn’t they do that? Why not drop us in the middle of a quarry like always but just say it’s Mars or something so there’s at least a unique flavour to it. I’ve loved Kyuranger so far but the setting has really let me down. Anyway, it’s not long before the team are on the hunt for their new ship. I like how the time travel stuff is being used, with Xiao Longbao leaving a message with Eris in the past telling them to go find the ship in the present. I’m also glad the search for the ship wasn’t too complicated given that Xiao would be able to lead them there directly and we’ve already spent quite a few episodes searching for a lost ship with the Argo.

Speaking of Kyuranger‘s kinda boring settings, I wish the fight in the tunnels stayed in the tunnels for more than 5 seconds rather than doing the predictable thing of cutting to the battle being moved to a new place with completely different topography. We’ve done fights in forests loads of times, but tunnels would be something fresh, especially with the cool lighting that set had. Once again, that big bad villain from last week walked into the middle of the fight for 5 seconds and disappeared for no reason. We still haven’t been given a proper reason for us to care about or be intimidated by him, but oh well; he looks cool I guess.

The return of Xiao was wonderful, and gave me a lot of Doctor Who: Before the Flood vibes as well as being a nice callback to Tsurugi debut, the show acknowledging that this is the second legendary ship the team has had to search for. Xiao Longbao is just such a delight to have on screen. He’s definitely one of my favourite Sentai characters in recent years. Naga moving over to the camera to say he didn’t believe a word of his stories was great too. I’ll admit: I was very disappointed that the inside of the new ship looks exactly like the inside of the old one, but I understand why it looks that way, both from an in-universe point of view of them both being Rebellion ships and an out-of-universe point of view of it being a way to save money. I was looking forward to something the same-but-different, like whenever the Doctor gets a new TARDIS (how many Doctor Who references can we get in this review???). It would’ve been a nice way to mix up the status quo if the rangers’ new HQ looked radically different, but I guess if it isn’t broken don’t fix it, right?

The Orion Battler might be one of my favourite mecha designs this year. I love the blue and silver colour scheme and the way that the design is asymmetrical, with the cockpit actually being on the shoulder rather than in the head. The fight taking place in a wrestling ring made of telegraph wires was a nice twist on the giant fight theme that actually explained for once how they avoid damaging a whole city with their mecha fights (not that I needed an explanation but still). I love the style of the Kyuranger mecha. Generally I like my mecha designs to be more complex but of all the more simplistic parts-forming combinations we’ve had in the last few years, Kyuranger has been my favourite. They’re a lot more visually interesting than the Zyuohger cubes or the ToQger trains and their overall aesthetic is more organised than Ninninger, which tried to put a train and a dump truck and a dog and a dragon into the same mecha.

This was a fun episode. There was some memorable music, like the 80s Doctor Who synth (oops, there we go again!) that played when Lucky and Tsurugi found Orion’s grave, or the theme when the new ship launched for the first time. There were also some nice little bits of direction, like the camera flipping over to follow the bullets as they arched overhead and hit Naga. Seeing Balance, Spada, and Hammy get the chance to play around with their characters was nice and a bit less traditional than a standard body swap, although I don’t fully understand how their new personalities related to their old ones, if at all. Still, this was a good episode and I look forward to seeing where the story with Don Armage is heading.

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