Uchu Sentai Kyuranger – Episode 48 (Finale) Review
And so, we arrive at the end. This was a strong ending for the series that like the previous episode managed to do the ‘power of love’ ending in a way that made sense and was heavily foreshadowed. One of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed Uchu Sentai Kyuranger so much is that its central message, that anyone and everyone can make a difference, has been clearly expressed and explored throughout all 48 episodes. It’s a simple message that’s not exactly groundbreaking, but having that sort of strong thematic core gives all the individual stories, as well as the big overall arcs, something to revolve around, and it can lead to extremely satisfying moments like the end of this finale.
Kyuranger has slowly been building up the idea of ordinary people taking the universe back from the very beginning, so having Don Armage absorb all life only for all life to reject him feels right and inevitable. It made me realise not all ‘power of love’ endings have to be cheap. Usually, ‘power of love’ endings are bad because they rely on vague poorly-defined rules like Nintality from Ninninger or Imagination from ToQger that are treated like some finite resource like electricity but are just too nebulous and conceptual to understand. Because they’re never really explained, no drama or stakes can be built upon them. However, people revolting against evil is a very easy to understand concept, so it’s a strong hook to hang this finale and the whole show on.
That being said, there were some things about this finale that were vague and poorly-defined, like the ‘reveal’ that Don Armage was created by unluckiness and misery. It reminded me of the reveal from the end of Zyuohger of the main evil dude being made of a bunch of smaller evil dudes or whatever. Both reveals came out of nowhere and add nothing to the characters or the series. The Don Armage reveal comes close to being interesting, because having an evil force who feeds on the negativity of ordinary people could have had something to do with the overall story and theme. For a children’s show like Super Sentai that has a lot of moral lessons, it could’ve been used to comment on the ways normal people can be nasty to one another, like playground bullying, and it might be a good lesson for kids that evil isn’t just ‘attacking people in a rubber monster costume’.
The issue is that unlike ‘ordinary people saving the day with hope’, ‘ordinary people creating a monster with misery’ doesn’t have much impact because that wasn’t a focus of the series until now. There’s no indication that fear or hatred is what caused the universe to be ruled by an evil empire. As far as we know, the universe is ruled by an evil empire because the evil empire has lots of robots and guns with which to rule. Don Armage being created by the evil thoughts of ordinary people doesn’t add to the drama of the show because ordinary people in the world of Uchu Sentai Kyuranger have only ever been shown as good people. Only the monsters have been evil. To make this reveal work, we would have needed to see ordinary human people who loved the evil empire because working for them made them rich or something. It’s an okay idea, it just needed an extra kick to have any impact beyond “Huh, there’s some exposition I guess.”
Which brings me back to the good stuff. Immediately after that non-reveal, we get the Kyurangers giving a speech to inspire everyone to rise up against Don Armage, and they each talk about what they learned over the last 48 episodes. That moment actually meant something and had some impact, because we actually saw them learn those things. The final fight was cool and all, but the dialogue was what brought it all together for me. If there’s one line that sums up this entire show, start to finish, “The universe belongs to everyone!” is probably it.
But the final fight definitely was cool. The final henshin and roll call was cool, and I like that each of the 12 got a big moment in the fight. And that explosion visible from space after the mecha fight was just epic. In fact I got so into the final fight and all the pay-off with the series’ overarching themes that I actually kinda got #thefeels when Lucky was saved by the meteors with the theme tune playing in the background.
The Two Years Later wrap-up was really effective and a nice way to bring it to an end, showing that the life continues and the universe moves on. It was a nice way to tie back to the conversation on the ship of the team talking about what they want to do once the universe is safe. I like the detail that Hammy isn’t a teacher yet but she’s studying to be a teacher. I know it’s a small thing, but I kinda like that she isn’t a teacher yet. The ending of Kyuranger isn’t the end of their lives, it’s a reassurance that their lives go on. Hammy will definitely be a teacher one day, and Lucky will eventually go to the edge of the universe like he said he would, but for now they’re working towards their goals which is the most important thing.
I’ve loved watching Kyuranger every week. This was a really fun show that shook up the Super Sentai formula just enough to get me excited about all the possibilities of the future. The 12-person team definitely worked, the idea of the heroes having to liberate a universe that had already been taken over was a unique premise that was just Star Wars enough for me to instantly love, and the main cast really grew on me. Xiao Longbao is still one of my favourite Sentai characters in recent memory and I’m very impressed with how the show handled Kotaro. Having a kid ranger could have been cringeworthy and insulting to the kids watching the show, but Kotaro was given the same level of respect that all the adult rangers were given and he gave a lot to Champ and Stinger’s arcs. This was just a wonderful show. Talk about lucky!
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