Saturday, September 3, 2016

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohranger Episodes 23-27

In what feels like record time we've arrived at the halfway mark of Zyuohger. It's hard to imagine this show has gotten this far already, then again this whole year has been passing at hyperspeed. Still, this is a big moment for the series which has marked the occasion not only with the appearance of a new villain but by adding some major emotional content to the story. We're talking dead-parents, murder, self-loathing, heady stuff for a show about people in animal print tights who battle space aliens.

It all kicks off with the arrival of Bangley, yet another ill-tempered space alien causing trouble across the galaxy for his own amusement. What separates him from the other villains is his distaste for a structured environment or teamwork. This guy wants fun all for himself tough he does give Bloodgame a try before going back to his old ways. His brief time with the other villains kick starts a rivalry with Kubar after Bangley reads his mind. Apparently Kubar is the last of his kind, his home planet having been destroyed possibly in an earlier Bloodgame. It stands to reason he may have some hidden intent towards Master Genis and the others that he doesn't wish revealed just yet.

Episode 23 was primary an introduction for Bangley, and an action heavy one at that. As you might expect he's a strong dude which makes the team into easy pickings. Eventually, Yamato faces him in solo combats armed with platitudes about all life being connected and what not. This sort of happy horseshit doesn't settle very well with Earth's newest visitor so he makes it his mission to crush the red rangers spirit. How does he plan to go about? I'm glad you asked.
Fairly early we're introduced to Bangley's ability to read minds and recreate things from memories. Most frequently he uses this skill to revive old monsters but on his second outing he begins making copies of peoples lost loved ones, chief among them Yamato's mother who died from an undisclosed sickness when he was a child. He let's the kid reunite with his mommy for a little bit before striking her down again in what is absolutely one of the biggest dick move ever. The plan backfires with our little eagle scout reassured of the power of interpersonal connections.
Imagine that if you will, on a television show primarily aimed at children, we not only saw flashbacks to the main character losing his mother, we then saw her temporally revived before being murdered by a space goon. I mean damn is that ever cold.

Shifting focus to a different feud for episode 25, another story of Mondo attempting to bond with a teammate, in this instance Leo. Mondo picks up a camera said to bestow happiness to anyone whose picture is taken with it. Guy wants to use it in order to cheer up Yamato after the whole dead mother incident. Of course the camera is a scheme on the part of this weeks monster who captures most of the team in photographs. This leaves Mondo and Leo to work together and save the day.
The absolute highlight for me is the scene where both guys confront each other about their general disdain for one another. Leo hates Mondo's whiny, overemotional, soft spoken nonsense while Mondo hates Leo not only because he's an overbearing blowhard but because Mondo can never be that kind of person and hates himself. We're talking about a character whose role is to spawn more toys for the producers to sell and not only is he a total social basketcase but he admits to the audience that he hates himself for it. Brilliant!
By episode's end the pair learns to work together with a sort of friendly hatred. This is also very different for this kind of show. Usually the worst relationships within the team are rivalry,but here we have two people admitting they hate each other while still working towards a common goal.

This emotional roller coaster ain't over yet. In another attempt to break the red ranger, Bangley targets Yamato's old friend from college on the guys wedding day. Yeah, that's his plan for the episode, straight up murder some newlyweds. It may not be imaginative but Christ is it ever effective. Naturally his scheme doesn't work out. In fact it only boosts Yamato even more, to the point of becoming a true match in a fight.

The final piece of business is the oh so dreaded clip show. Boy do I ever wish this franchise would just give up on these things. This one isn't even that bad, but why waste one of maybe 50 episodes on clips?
Anyway, Bangley decides to make copies of Sela and Tusk, then straps bombs onto both pairs. The team has 30 minutes to figure out which pair are copies and kill them before all four blow up in spectacular fashion.
The episode isn't completely without merit. There are some nice jokes and the ending is pretty decent. Once the team figures out which pair is real, they try to find a way to save the duplicates since even a copy of a friend is still a friend. The copies are so touched by this display they chose to willingly fade away to save the originals. Having seen themselves essentially die, Sela and Tusk agree with everyone else that Bangley has got to go.

With all the neat stuff going on, I totally forgot to mention the Bird guy is back again, and he's bumped into Lahri the gorilla. Both characters had slipped my mind of late so it'll be interesting to see what they'll bring to the series with their return. Speaking of returns, the old Gokaiger team will be showing up for an anniversary team-up over the next few weeks. It's gonna be a while before we talk about any of that stuff cause the Halloween features are starting soon. See ya then.

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