Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 40 Review
From completing trials to taking part in a LARP to playing baseball, this arc of Kyuranger is basically using collecting another set of Kyutama as an excuse to go to different themed planets for gimmick-based filler episodes. For me, Kyuranger‘s filler has been better than most Sentai‘s due to how many characters and subplots there are weaving in and out of the show’s main focus. Even if it looks like nothing substantial is happening on paper, the team is always moving closer to their goal of liberating the universe and we’re continually learning new things about the characters. Unfortunately, this latest trilogy of episodes seems like the most blatant filler yet due to the gimmicky nature of what the team need to do for the new Kyutamas.
It just feels a little strange to be doing this when we’d just learned some big new information about the main villain and tracked him down to his base of operations. Things should theoretically be getting more serious at this point as we head into the endgame, but instead they seem to be getting more and more disconnected from the plot. Completing a series of ancient trials, as fun and silly as those trials ended up being, was a much more believable way to get a Kyutama than playing a game of baseball is. That being said, these episodes haven’t actually been as bad as they sound on paper (or in a ‘next episode’ trailer). While Episode 38 had wacky trials to complete it was ultimately an episode about Xiao Longbao. Episode 39 made fun of RPGs but it was ultimately a very personal Champ/Stinger story about the return of Professor Anton. Here, Episode 40 is an excuse to get the nine core Kyurangers playing baseball but it’s also about giving some focus to Spada. In other words, we’re in 100% filler territory but it’s still filler that’s ultimately worth doing.
Of the three episodes in this filler arc, this is the one that’s most dedicated to its wacky premise. We get a surprising amount of superpowered baseball in this episode (never thought I’d get to say that again). In fact we basically see a whole game where the heroes and villains have to play fairly against each other rather than just blow each other up. I kinda expected it to devolve into fighting, or at least have some dialogue scenes spliced in, but nope: most of it is just baseball. There aren’t even that many gags after the first five minutes. It’s just a really tense baseball episode, which as someone who knows nothing about sports I probably wasn’t the best audience for.
When there was eventually a break in the game, it only lasted for about a minute before things started up again, and after the game ended the fight scene was still baseball-themed with the homage to the Goranger finisher. I’d say Episode 39 and its revelations about Professor Anton was more entertaining overall but in terms of having a more focused story, Episode 40 is superior. Spada’s lesson about not giving up and being dedicated to a task was pretty standard Super Sentai optimism that didn’t exactly revolutionise his character or anything but it fits his personality, compliments the main themes of Kyuranger, and fits in with the standard tropes of an underdog sports film. Unlike RPGs + evil zombie scientists from Episode 39, everything in Episode 40 clicks together much more neatly. This was an alright episode but it was ultimately pretty forgettable and now that we’re moving back towards the main plot any impact this one had is about to be eclipsed.
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