Friday, March 31, 2017

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger Episodes 4-7

You all may have noticed during the hiccup of March updates that I've barely touched on Kyuranger. Truth be told I've been sort of avoiding it. After the debacle that was Iron Fist I needed better superhero television in my life. After some recovery time I've been able to look at Kyuranger again and well...I still don't much care for it. Ok, so I should probably elaborate just a little.

When last we covered this show, the group was still searching for one more team member and trying to figure out how to turn the seemingly villainous orange ranger to their side. Episode four was all about the missing part of their team as Raptor, the ships pilot/secretary became the pink ranger complete with a set of wings.....for some reason. We were also given a little bit of advancement for her character along with Sparda. In her case it's that she's very much a daydreamer and with him it's that his protective nature can get a little out of hand. If that doesn't seem like a lot of details it's because this episode was also home to some much needed exposition.

Turns out the evil empire Jark Matter makes a point of mining each planet they conquer for a material called, get this, plantium. It's the life blood of every planet and once enough is siphoned off, everything goes poof. The planet in the most imminent danger just so happens to be Earth so our heroes have an excuse to hunker down in Japan and give the budget a break. Maybe I was expecting too much but when the idea of a galaxy faring team was first presented I didn't expect them to sit around Earth for what is so far over half the series.

Speaking of budget, that's also given a little wink wink joke when the kyu roulette is introduced. The celestial energy the team uses may not be infinite so every mission they have a roulette to see who will make up the team. Normally I'd be for this as a means of ensuring different characters get their chance to shine while finding unique pairings. Problem is certain characters are always included, like Lucky, the annoying pox that he is. Viewers who prefer a more tertiary character like Raptor get to suffer as their favorite is ignored week after week while Lucky hogs the spotlight.

Episode five brought Stinger back to the forefront so he could finally be wrapped up into the team. Turns out he was never a bad guy, he was just under cover for the rebellion, or maybe he is a bad guy since he still seemingly killed the black rangers creator, but he definitely doesn't kill kids so in this shows logic he must be good enough. Yeah....I don't get it either.
There is some deeper storytelling at play here however as Stinger has his own personal quest to deal with. His older brother sold out their people to Jark Matter and became a top assassin for the organization. Family feuds may not be all that original for space opera but I'm willing to give this show a bone when it earns it.

Episode six was pitched as if it might be a focused on Hammy. The primary drama was about her aim to be team leader, and her irritation at Lucky for getting so much so easily while she works and trains like a dog. The lesson of this tale? She doesn't realize how great Lucky is. Oh god dammit! Is this shit for real? When given the opportunity to present some actual drama and talk about the issue of a character who just magically wins at life the show just rubs that character in our face all the more. And the excuse? Lucky is only the most lucky person in the universe because of how positive he is and that positive energy attracts luck. I'm about to throw up. Even the notion of picking a team leader is cast aside because Lucky doesn't think they need one since everybody on the team is a star according to him. Don't ya love it when team praising platitudes come outta the guy who gets all the attention? What a load of horse cum.

Episode Seven was an honest to god attempt at a fully featured team story line. A monster steals Balance's birthday and the whole group has to try and make things right. This almost works except for a completely unnecessary cameo by the current Kamen Rider that only serves to eat up time. Not to mention contued focus guessed it, Lucky.

You've probably noticed I hardly mention the monsters and frankly it's because they're boring. So far there hasn't been a real baddie to latch onto. I suppose that's only natural for a show that doesn't even have time to properly feature its own heroes but the result when combined with the relative ease of each mission is that nothing feels like a threat, There simply isn't much at stake here which makes the action scenes boring.

Nearly two months into the series and Kyuranger still just isn't working. It feels like a show that wants to be the new classic Sentai yet it refuses to put in any of the work. Instead it throws explosions and shiny shit at the screen like a spoiled rich kid hoping to earn your love with sheer dumb spectacle. This is all the more obvious when I watch my DVD's of older series like Kakuranger, a show with likable heroes who find themselves in interesting situations against challenging monsters. That was just a basic show but it succeeds by making an honest attempt to be entertaining. Kyuranger has nothing standing in it's way yet continues to stand in place and wave around sparklers.

I'm gonna give the show a couple more weeks as the episode ten mark usually involves an upgrade in threats and a shift in story line. That's a matter for another day though. I've gotta attempt to sleep before going to work and setting this years April Fools projects in motion. I take my April Fools pretty seriously around here.

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