Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 46 Review

From the very start, this episode had an epic scale to it. The pre-title sequence alone gives the impression that this could be the last episode of the series. It’s repeatedly emphasised, like with the final Kyulette chance from the end of the previous episode, that this is the last time we’ll see the team saying their trademark catchphrases and doing their trademark things.

It’s crazy to think that I was worried when this series was first announced about whether or not a 12-person Sentai would work. Not only have I been thoroughly proven wrong over the last year, but this final battle makes full use of the larger team. We have rangers fighting on the ground, we have rangers piloting two fully combined mecha, multiple different flavours of henchmen and monster blowing stuff up, and it’s all realised through CGI and compositing that looks obvious but is still very impressive. What I particularly love about this episode is that instead of the fight ending after a few minutes for the rangers to have some dialogue scenes in the ship like normal, the heavy character stuff is instead done during the battle, either in flashbacks or small asides. This is just a great way to keep the momentum of the fight going without the action becoming monotonous (not that I have an issue with a solid 25-minute fight scene).

This episode looked stunning. That shot at the very start of the battle, with four of the rangers transforming while running into a crowd of enemies, parts of the mecha battle that were shot looking up at the fight from ground level to emphasise the scale, the panning shots of Lucky and Tsurugi’s fight against Kuervo, it all looked amazing. Uchu Sentai Kyuranger has done a lot, particularly with drone cameras and perspective shots, to mix up the standard visual formula of Super Sentai, and it goes a long way to making the series feel more fresh and dynamic.

As much as evil illusions are an old cliché of Sentai villain plans, the hallucination world Lucky gets trapped in was surprisingly effective. I wish we hadn’t seen Lucky disappear before Hammy woke him up on the ship as without that the scene would have been way more convincing. The team watching the Earth blow up was surprisingly poignant even though it was obviously fake. Also, that was absolutely the right moment to cut back to Tsurugi and reveal what had actually happened. Even though making illusions convincing is a great way to strengthen our connection to the characters experiencing them, this is still a kids show, so they probably needed to reveal it was fake in that moment.

The final scene with Don Armage possessing Tsurugi isn’t something I saw coming but it’s been well set up given the recent discussions about killing possessed loved ones. The final stance of Kyuranger seems to be ‘don’t blow up your friends’, which is generally a good moral to have and reflects the optimism I love about the series. This was a great start to the final arc that felt dramatic and action-packed while still having some strong character moments.

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