Monday, February 27, 2017

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger Episodes 2-3

Every once in a while a person needs a reminder as to why they love or hate different things. I had one of those moments over the weekend when I visited a mead hall during a Nordic themed festival. It was loud, overpriced, packed with people, just generally lackluster though it served as an excellent reminder of why I do my drinking at home. That may not be the most glamorous or socially accepted form of intoxication but it's how I like it. The connection I'm drawing to viewing Kyuranger is that while it is far from my preferred show, I still love the Super Sentai franchise. Even in it's weakest entries, it provides a unique entertainment cocktail I wouldn't miss for the world. As you recall, the premiere episode was a pretty major flop though I'm pleased to report some marked improvements over the past two weekends. It's not a good show, not yet, but it's my duty to point out progress.

The big improvement thus far is the introduction of characters with a bit of personality. In episode two it was the double dose of Balance and Naga, our gold and silver rangers respectively. Let's talk Balance first. He's a robot or as he prefers to be known a “mechanical lifeform.” He's a blowhard and a tad obnoxious though what sets him apart is that he's very self-serving. Instead of justice or lofty ideals, Balance is on a quest for jewels and wealth.
Also on his own selfish quest is Naga, a young man who hails from a planet that cast off emotions as a means to end conflict. Yes, they're essentially Vulcans but Naga is a little different than the rest of his kind. The guy's on a quest to experience emotions. Often times he tries to react to situations only to pick the wrong emotional response.

Episode two also made the stride of offering small bits of character development for other team members. We learned that Raptor, the pilot and eventual pink ranger has something of a temper. We also witness multiple examples of Sparda being protective of Hammy. Not in a romantic sense, more like an older sibling.

Episode three introduces yet another ranger while providing some backstory for Champ, the robotic bull. The new guy is the Orange ranger, Stinger. What sets him apart from the others is that he seems to be a killer. Granted this is presented in such a way that the writers could back out and claim he never did it, but generally he seems to be a shitty guy. The story is that Stinger apparently killed Champ's creator, Professor Anton. Beyond that, the dick attacks our crew and currently works alongside Jark Matter.

On the subject of Jark Matter, we've gotten a few more details as to their operation. First up, the group utilizes a food pyramid style chain of command which is where all the villains of the week will stem from. For once we don't have to learn the ins and outs of monster creation or rapid growth methods. All the baddies already exist and many of them have large robots or space ships to back them up.
On the evil plans front, Jark Matter has a lust for a material called planetium, which is the life blood of planets. The baddies harvest it to the point that planets become unstable and blow up. Yeah, seems pretty evil to me.

With just these two episodes, this series has made great strides in pushing the storyline and developing its' cast. In particular I'm very happy to see the introduction of rangers wit their own goals separate from simply fighting evil. This is all the more when interesting you consider some of them are morally lacking individuals.
Even with all those improvements, there's still plenty to dislike here. Lucky continues to be very annoying and some of the other heroes are still thin as paper. I haven't even spoken about Garu, mainly because he's as interesting as paper towels. The show also hasn't found its tone quite yet. While the rivalry between Champ and Stinger should have been intense, it was mostly limp.

What's odd is that Kyuranger isn't our only outlet for Super Sentai this year. It was just announced that for the first time ever, there will be an official Korean Spin-off. Turns out Kyoryuger was crazy popular in Korea where it aired under the Power Rangers moniker (cause why not make this franchise more confusing?) and now there will be a twelve part spin-off. Rest assured if this is made available with subtitles I will give it some write-ups.

Is that it? Am I caught up? I'll admit last weeks illness took me out of it for a bit and only now am I recovering most of my common sense. Currently I'm that period where it's great to feel good again but I'm trying to make up for a week of mostly lost time. You know what that means, it's time for me to go. Stay cool kiddies.  

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