Sunday, May 1, 2016

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Episodes 6-11

Continuing with my new physically draining job has shifted my downtime into a constant influx of spirit boosters. No I don't mean booze and coffee, though I've been going through plenty of that. I mean lighthearted entertainment to serve as a reminder of the simple pleasures in booze...and coffee. Yeah.... anyway my point is that Zyuohger has been one of the best shows for maintaining my sanity and I think it's time to give you all a round up of what's been happening.

The main plot line has received a nice dose of depth from this second batch of episodes. Something I find very exciting is that the main villain has already started to make his own moves against our heroes rather than relying solely on his underlings. With that, the threat level has gone through the roof with the team actually suffering their first defeat by episode 10. Not to mention the previous episode where the entire world was nearly destroyed by a giant man-eating plant. After the entirety of Ninninger where it felt like there wasn't much of a challenge for the good guys it's great to see them struggling for their victories.
A new character has arrived, the birdman who helped Yamato when he was just a wee lad. This guy has the champion symbol that will allow the Zyumen to return to their world but he won't let them have it since he thinks of Zyuland as some horrid place that should be locked away. It seems like birdie is going to be the sixth ranger whose already been showcased in magazine previews as Zyuworld. He's got a multicolored scheme with the abilities of at least three different animals. This could be a sinister development as we found during the two part tale where Yamato got his Gorilla powers that a Zyuman sharing their abilities must sacrifice some of their life force. If the new ranger goes around collecting life from other critters he could prove to be quite the rival.

Speaking of special abilities, I neglected to say much about the teams enhanced senses last time as I wasn't sure if it was an important detail or just some novelty that would quickly fade away. The series has proved itself to have a brain and provided pros and cons for each these unique gifts. Sela for instance has fantastic hearing which has allowed Yamato to contact her from across town simply by yelling, or let Sela track down survivors in rubble. On the flip side, while fighting a monster that brainwashed people with noise, she proved to be weakest to his attacks. Out of all them, Amu got short changed in this department as the writers have yet to come up with a good use for her sense of taste.

The group has continued to develop as well. There have been hints about Yamato's parents (seems like they're probably dead), his uncle finally got a moment to showcase himself as something of an artistic philosopher. We learned of Sela's devotion to her family who she misses greatly. That was paced out over a few episodes as well so we're not getting shafted with the typical one episode emotional arcs anymore.
Possibly the best development for the team came in episode 11 when Yamato lies to his friends and goes off to fight the baddies by himself so the others can try to reclaim the champions symbol from the bird dude. After learning what he'd done, the four Zyuman gave up on the symbol and made the decision not to simply defend the human world because they're stuck there but because they chose save people and help their friend. That's a very important detail as unwilling heroes soon become tiresome. Having them all make the decision to work for the common good is something that sets this apart from the past several series where characters were driven by selfish desire or a lack of anything better to do.

What good would these spandex clad warriors be without equally nasty villains? Not much, I'd say. Thankfully the Deathgaliens are proving to be quite a fine batch of asshole. So far we have two main generals who make up most of the evil schemes. One is the freaky cube man with the ability to rebuild his body. His plans are more straight-forward physical affairs with large monsters and attack power. The other guy likes deception and trickery. He came very close to wining in episode 9 with the aforementioned man-eating plant that tied up the zyuohgers and tortured them until a mole robot saved their asses. The big boss, Master Ginis takes a balanced approach to his evil games, mixing tricks and raw destruction together for good measure. So far the lady of the group has yet to do much of anything other than providing light support and giving monsters a coin to reach gianthood.

While the majority of the show is working out quite nicely, there are still a few hiccups to work out. One is the aforementioned lady villains doesn't have much to set her apart other than a pair of metallic boobs. Likewise, Tusk continues to be the least developed member of the main cast. Also, this years Kamen Rider crossover was something of a bust as it ended up being more of a glorified cameo.

This show continues to rekindle my passion for Sentai. It's actually gotten to the point where it makes flaws from the past few seasons even more apparent. It's a good time to be a Sentai fan and since I'm positive I'll be keeping up with this show, the format for these recaps will probably change soon so I can mix in a little more detail. For now, I've gotta get back to work on an article for another website and dread the upcoming work week.

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