Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 36 Review
Totally called it! The overall theme of Kyuranger has been that ordinary people can make a difference, so it makes sense that the endgame we’re building to involves the universe rising up to overthrow Jark Matter. Using the pop star from the last episode as a catalyst for the uprising was an unexpected twist but it makes a lot of sense given his role in inspiring Hammy and how his numerous appearances throughout previous episodes have already established him as a well-known and influential figure in the universe. Having him broadcast a message of hope to everyone like something out of Star Wars Rebels is just a very elegant way to tying things together and setting up the final part of the series. Speaking of Rebels, ‘Luth’ kinda reminds me of ‘Lothal’. Huh. And don’t even get me started on the main character’s father secretly being part of the evil space empire…
It was so nice to be on an alien planet again this episode. I’m glad the show is getting away from Earth more and showing us some imaginative locations and cultures. I know it’s a small detail but I like that this planet has houses and towns rather than just being another forest. I really got the feeling that this was a place where people actually lived and had hobbies other than something space war or Kyutama related. Getting some more backstory for Lucky is welcome but I would have preferred it if we already knew a lot of this before now. Obviously his dad working for the enemy works best as a twist at this point in the series, but other stuff, like learning about his childhood and how important the loss of his dad was to him, would have made Lucky a much deeper character and it would have made me care about him more in the early stages of the show. It also would have made the twist of his dad being evil a lot more effective if we’d already had the image of his dad as a perfect hero for longer, sort of like what they did with Professor Anton.
Moving on, this episode’s monster of the week has one of the most memorable designs the show has done. It’s basically the same thing as the Ninninger mecha, where there’s a small dude piloting a much bigger dude, but here it’s done on human scale and the small dude is an octopus rather than a humanoid. It’s great because it’s not only just a funny image but it gives us an alien enemy who isn’t human shaped, even if the suit they’re riding around in is. Honestly, I’d loved to have seen this design be used on a recurring villain. It’s a look that’s memorable and has an instant sense of personality to it. Not that the normal monsters of the week look bad, but when you need to come up with so many every year, of course most of them are going to be forgettable.
Speaking of good designs, Super Kyuren-Oh is one of the rare upgrade combinations for a base mecha that actually makes the base mecha look more coherent. It’s basically just Kyuren-Oh with a big gun, but the added red and silver gives it a more uniform look that brings all the pieces together better. The mecha battle was pretty standard though. It’s a shame they didn’t do more interesting things with the monster of the week being a big octopus, like maybe just the octopus grew big and they could fight it like it was some sort of kaiju thing. Anything to mix up the formula would have been welcome.
There were a lot of little touches that I loved about this episode. The first-person view during fight scenes returns once again in probably its most effective use yet with the view of the monster flying through the forest after Caesar. The drone shot across the bridge was also pretty badass. The twist that Caesar was actually the legendary beast and not its child was pretty obvious, and the CGI used for Caesar running around was even more obvious (more obvious than usual Sentai CGI), but the unique planet location, memorable monster, and much needed backstory for Lucky made this a strong episode.
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