Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 47 Review

This episode opened with some small quiet scenes of the crew discussing how far they’ve come. We hear about how Hammy and Garu have warmed to Lucky and how Naga has learned about emotions by being around the others. It’s such a nice way of showing the team’s progress now that things are wrapping up and it makes me appreciate how well these characters have developed. I, like Hammy and Garu, used to be really annoyed by Lucky when the show started but I’ve slowly learned to like him, not because I’m got used to him but because he’s genuinely become a better character. I also liked Stinger’s reference to Scorpio and Champ finally acknowledging the death of Professor Anton, although I would have preferred it to happen last episode when RoboAnton was destroyed.

What made this episode so memorable for me is that this is the closest I’ve ever seen Super Sentai get to doing a proper war story (and considering this show is for kids, it’s the closest it should ever get). A muddy field covered in fog is basically the same as a generic quarry we’ve seen hundreds of times in toku, but there’s something weirdly heavy about seeing a colourful Sentai team fighting fun rubber monsters in a location that looks like the standard TV version of a warzone. With the slo-mo shots of day changing into night to imply the fight went on for days and scenes of the fun rubber monsters ducking up from muddy cover to snipe colourful lasers at the heroes, the whole thing was full of visual shorthand to war films, which made things weirdly dark without actually showing anything that would be inappropriate for children. It’s kinda genius really. Fill the fight with war imagery so it feels like what we’re seeing is epic and dark without actually showing any blood or gore or anything Sentai doesn’t do.

The war imagery added so much to the emotion of the episode, particularly the scenes of the small groups of rangers being overwhelmed. I honestly wasn’t sure how this dark tone was going to be sustained through two more episodes, but this episode did it perfectly by ramping up the tension to the most extreme thing that could possibly happen: every ranger except Lucky was absorbed by Don Armage. Of course, this made it even more obvious that there was a way to save everyone, including Xiao, but still. The moment itself with Lucky remembering Tsurugi was powerful, mostly because of the completely black sky and fire sparking around them combined with one of the few times in Super Sentai when flashbacks are used well instead of being used to remember something that happened a few seconds ago twenty times.

Obviously Tsurugi and the others were going to break free of Don Armage because this is Super Sentai and that’s what this show is about. After all, there’s nothing fun or clever about everyone dying horribly at the end after 47 episodes of fighting. It was also much more skilfully done than usual ‘power of love’ endings because it wasn’t love that did it, it was the 12 Kyutama. The idea of them all meeting up was foreshadowed and the whole thing was part of Lucky’s plan that was mentioned at the start of the episode and explained in detail at the end. The whole thing felt way more satisfying than, say, the ToQger finale where everything suddenly started glowing and then the day was saved out of nowhere. However, choosing that exact moment to do one of those advert break cutaway things kinda ruined the moment a little but oh well, I assume the channel made them do it.

Episode 47 was a good penultimate episode for the series that gave us a Super Sentai ‘power of love’ ending done well and did really interesting things with the imagery. With only one episode to go, I’m going to miss Kyuranger when it’s gone.

Side note: as the endings of these episodes get more and more intense, the hard cut into the fun happy dance during the end credits is getting weirder and weirder.

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