Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 42 Review
This episode mainly revolved about Lucky’s big trolley problem: his father or the universe? Unfortunately there was never any real tension in this question because it was being asked in an episode of Super Sentai, a show that routinely solves trolley problems with “Why not both?” The thing is, I’m not entirely convinced that’s a bad thing. It’s bad in the sense that conflict is at the heart of all stories so a story without conflict is kinda boring, but at the same time Super Sentai‘s ability to let the main heroes have their cake and eat it is kinda part of its charm for me. I’m not the sort of person who thinks a story needs a minimum level of sadness to be good; I love a nice happy ending where everyone lives. I’m glad that I have Super Sentai as a reliably upbeat show to look forward to every week. However, that expectation that everything in Sentai will always turn out okay does put a limit on the sorts of stories that can be told and how serious the threats can be.
One thing I really liked about the solution to the trolley problem is that it takes a while before Lucky arrives at “Why not both?” At first, he says he’s totally willing to kill his father to save the universe. If this were any other show, that would be considered the right thing to do, but because this is Sentai, everyone starts shouting at Lucky for making the wrong decision. In the end, the big moral of the episode is “Trolley problems are silly and you should always save everyone.” It might not be the most interesting or dramatic conclusion to make, but it’s certainly the most Super Sentai one.
The enemy planet had a really cool aesthetic that reminded me of the Nethersphere from Doctor Who, with the city skyline bent backwards into a ball. The night time mecha fights in this episode look great too, with some nice practical effect work. That being said, the starry background on the miniature city set was a little too close to the action, giving it no sense of depth and making the fight a little claustrophobic at times. The giant monster made of all the Vice Shoguns spliced together was very cool and creepy, and overall I liked having a main episode villain who was mecha scale, instead of starting at human scale and growing later. This episode had more mecha action than human scale action which made for a nice change.
It’s rare that we see villains invading the rangers’ command center, which added a lot of weight to the fight between Lucky and his father. Aslan smashing the Orion globe was a pretty cool idea, and Tsurugi throwing him out the window into space was an inventive way to get rid of him. I always like it when shows set in space actually acknowledge that they’re in spaceships rather than just in a series of high-tech buildings; the difference being that going outside a spaceship is deadly. If nothing else, actually using gravity and the vacuum of space allows for more options in fight scenes. After the fight was over, I didn’t fully understand why Tsurugi had a problem with Lucky. I know Lucky was still conflicted at that point about having to fight his father but that conflict didn’t really play a part in the fight scene. Lucky’s hesitation didn’t put anyone in unnecessary danger; Raptor and Naga got hurt but they would have got hurt anyway when Aslan attacked them. The dilemma itself was fine, I just think it was handled a little clumsily in that scene.
I’m so glad Champ acknowledged the standard flaw in the ‘blow up the universe’ plan: if Don Armage blows up everything, it would include blowing up himself. Hopefully this means there’s a justification for it that we’ll find out about soon. Overall, this was a strong episode. Yes, it waved away a major character dilemma for Lucky but it did it in an entertaining way, so I guess that’s fine. I’d expect nothing less from a show as optimistic as this.
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