It had to happen sooner or later. Michigan has been remarkably hospitable these last few weeks. Am unsettling phenomenon for those of us trained to battle mountains of snow & ice who were instead left with the freedom to do whatever they wanted on soul-crushingly dark snowless nights. How do you west coasters deal with that anyway? It's depressing as all fuck. Most of us knew this moderate darkness couldn't last forever. One day we would have to dig out our shovels and face old man winter. And so today we're facing a grand old ice storm. Do ya know what that means, kiddies? It means I'm stuck indoors for a while, so why not share tales of ninja before the weight of a frozen squirrel destroys some power lines?
That was all from yesterday, before I curled up for a ten hour nap “cough.” Yeah, even I think it was a bit excessive. As for the storm, it turned out to be a little underwhelming. Sure if an event like this were to occur somewhere like Atlanta there would probably be fire & chaos. Here though, it didn't amount to much more than an inconvenience. Nice to have some snow and the nighttime glow that comes with it. Would you believe another day passed after this paragraph? At this rate I'll finish by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Better get a move on.
In something of a holiday miracle we got a Kasumi focused episode that almost made her seem somewhat human. We actually start a new story arc here as the evil baby born during the last post grew up quickly and is primed for battle. Mangetsu is his name and at first childish pursuits seem to be his game. He's on the hunt for snacks and fairs quite poorly in his first confrontation with the team. Looking to continue that momentum, our ninja quickly follow one of Kasumi's plans to draw out this new baddie and finish him off. It doesn't go so well.
Turns out, Mangetsu has been watching events unfold over these many month from inside his mama,. Fucking gross, right? Anyway his first plan of attack revolves around convincing the heroes he's total pushover only to strike back with full force. What this means is while the boys are off keeping the basic goons busy, Kasumi and Fuuka draw out the beast only to get their asses severely kicked. Fuuka is sadly the primary recipient of the physical beating while Kasumi finally realizes what an overconfident twat she's been.
After that we're treated to a quick shame spiral from pinkie ninja until the others boost her mood a little and all work together to formulate a plan to strike back using some trickery of their own. The day is somewhat saved as they beat Mangetsu but fail to kill him. Things end on a dour note as most of the team celebrates while Kasumi continues to doubt herself. Great strides were made for here character in this tale but she got Fuuka hurt which is unforgivable.
During his morning exorcise, Takaharu figures it's time to start Christmas shopping. Such a spirit lifter is well needed at home where Kasumi is in a slump, crafting one useless invention after another. Taka thinks it's best to just confront her about her obvious overcompensation but the others disagree, opting instead to let her sort it out on her own time.
Strictly dealing with emotional imbalances wouldn't make for much of a sentai story so we witness the work of an evil Santa who makes promises of wealth to people in exchange for their silence about his activities. He marks them with a ring which slowly turns them into paupers and continues his cruel work.
Eventually the team has a proper powwow once Taka says it outright that Kasumi is the sole population of slump town. She fesses up, and Kinji admits that the reason he's been so absent lately is because he's been hunting Kyuuemon on his own in hope of recovering Tsumuji's powers. Everybody learns how honesty is the best policy, Kasumi gets her shit together and turns her new inventions into something useful. A truth telling machine which Mangetsu quickly snatches away from her. Still, they defeat the evil Santa while the nasty thief hunts down Kyuuemon, using the machine to make him reveal that he too may be a part of the Kibaoni family. Properly entertaining if somewhat lite affair. Not bad.
While out hunting for Kyuuemon the team once again runs afoul of Mangetsu who invites them to a ceremony declaring himself head of the clan. When they arrive it becomes a multi-part gaming challenge against a drunkard yokai.
There are two main plot points within this tale. One is how the kids have begun to ignore their elders to forge their own path. The old lion spirit guy teaches them that part of growing and leaving the nest is taking in all kinds of viewpoints from different people, it's the adult way according to him. He goes on to win the final part of their challenge for them, unwittingly being drawn into a trap. That's the second important part. The monsters breath allows it to gain control over others and it uses this ability to take control of Lion Ha-Oh and the regular ninja allies. With so much firepower on hand, the villains easily smack our heroes down.
It's finally time to finish the fight with Mangetsu and recover the ninja allies. The team disguises Tsumuji as another one of those clockcat monsters in order to go undercover and get the robots back while the kids deal with a serious ground battle. Meanwhile the old lion guy attempts to talk gramps into getting off his ass and lending a hand.
Really this episode is tons o fighting. On the ground, in giant bots, both the regular crew and the elders. When all is said and done, Mangetsu is finally defeated for good, his last moments being a final meeting with Kyuuemon who reveals himself to truly be the older Kibaoni child. The kids aren't privy to any of that info though as they're busy celebrating Christmas with the gifts Takaharu bought back in episode 40. Didn't figure those would pop up again. Color me surprised, whatever color that is. I'm thinking salmon.
It's New Years which can only mean one thing for Super Sentai, a clip show. Half of one in this case. Shurikenger (a past hero for those who don't know) has stopped by to offer the kids some winter training in the form of a game of Karuta. So we get a big spread of old fight clips & such until a yokai messes with their game and starts to trap the ninja within their old memories for rematches with upgraded foes.
From then on we get some pretty interesting fight scenes, culminating in an ant-man sized fight between Takaharu and the evil card responsible for this mess.
It would been a slightly fun yet mostly forgettable tale if not for the ending. Kyuuemon reveals the fate of Mangetsu to his mother who explodes into a fountain of fear potent enough for Mr. fox to finally revive the biggest baddie of them all, thous setting the stage for the final stretch of the series.
It seems unbelievable but I'm fully caught up with ninninger for the time being. There isn't supposed to be another new installment until the 17th of January which means this will be a shorter series than usual. It also means there should only be one or two more recap features, depending on how I decide to go about it. That's all in the future though. Speaking of the future, I hope everyone has a nice New Year. I'll probably continue my tradition of attempting to get bombed, only to piss it all out before it has a chance to take effect. That's usually about the time I settle in for a viewing of Mortal Kombat. Happy New Year, Everybody!