Sunday, July 31, 2016

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Episodes 18-22

Not unlike the migratory patterns of birds, there are constants within the Sentai franchise. For instance we're currently at the point where a new character is introduced to the group and has a series of adventures establishing his interactions with the rest of the team. Last year this happened a little earlier and the general effect was a show doubling down on what it already had by adding another obnoxious personality. This year the writers took a little more time and have introduced a character far different from most sixth rangers I'm accustomed too. We are getting a little ahead of ourselves though. Before we talk about the new guy's personality, first we've gotta talk about how he ends up joining the team.

As you may recall, Zyuoh The World first appeared in episode 17 and made quick work of beating the team like they owe him money. This continued into the next episode when he introduced them to his own set of giant robots and provided such a sound thrashing it left everyone more than a little gun shy about facing him again.
The villains plan for The World were to unleashed him every time a new player (AKA monster of the week) begin to have trouble with the Zyuohgers. Naturally these means he's back in action by the end of the episode, That's when Yamato institutes a plan to fly the new guy away for a one on one fight so the others could take care of the regular monster. This is where I noted an improvement in the fight choreography. This battle was fast and mean, and the series since has featured better action than earlier in the season.
During the big fight, The World powers down, allowing Yamato to see that he's actually some poor tortured soul rather than a blood-thirsty killing machine. The following tale was all about him convincing the others to try and rescue this guy from the aliens. Obviously the others are hesitant to try such a ridiculous plan but since they've also benefited from Yamoto's empathy for all living things, why not give it a shot. Long story short, success!

All the conflict out of the way we finally get to meet the man under the tights. This is where things take a turn for the odd. For his experiment in creating a new life form, Master Genis combined his own cells along with the life force of three zyumen into a human. This required a host with very little will power of his own and thus he picked Misao Mondo, the most pathetic man in all of Japan. OK, I'm exaggerating, but this guy is something wholly different from the vast swath of Sentai heroes. He's just a bundle of social anxiety, self-loathing, and overdramatics. It's actually neat to see someone like this as heroic figure for kids as there are plenty of people with these same issues. I can even see a little of my younger self in the poor guy. He basically grew up without any friends, so he goes overboard when it comes to dealing with people only to retreat when things get awkward. If all that weren't enough he also talks to the three dead zyuman who serve as his unconscious mind. Guy's a nut.

Over the following episodes we get to watch Misao integrate himself into the group. At first he has to decide if he even wants to fight since he thinks so lowly of himself. Once most of the team is captured and put in yet another bondage situation he finally decides to help out.
It must be Tuesday.

After that we set up his relationships with the other team members. Him and Yamato bond by both being gentle individuals as well as being the only humans capable of using zyuman powers.
Misao really attaches himself to Tusk with the notion of powerful friendship between awkward guys.
We haven't gotten a direct team-up of Misao and Leo yet but there is definitely conflict there as Leo can't stand what a ninny the new guy turned out to be.
As for the girls, Amu has figured out she can keep Misao on task with a little feminine encouragement. Lord knows if they'll keep that up long enough to maybe deal with him having a crush on her. Sela so far has had the least interaction with him so there's still a blank slate for how they can bounce off each other.

Overall the introduction of Zyuoh The World has helped to straighten the show out after some stumbles during the last batch of episodes. There have been some difficulties in introducing such a meek hero but I think his presence helps since he plays of the other characters quite well. The writers still need to pair him up with other characters to fully develop his place in the team. Beyond that they have to avoid the pitfall of his story not going anywhere like Kinji last year. Fingers crossed there.

It appears that a new story arc is about to begin with a new kind of villain and the return of the bird man who's been M.I.A. for sometime now. Plus it looks like Yamato's going to get another fresh set of powers. That's a post for another day though. Right now I've got my own set of animals aggressively reminding me it's dinner time.

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