7 Thoughts About Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger: "Super Stars of Space"

It’s been nearly three years since I enjoyed a Sentai Sentai series.  Not since 2013’s excellent Kyoryuger.  I gave ToQger, Ninninger, and even Zyuohger all their own chances, but ultimately none of them could keep my interest, as I dropped all of them at various points before their finale.  I had even basically given up on the franchise before this series popped up—immediately it’s cool outfits and unique line-up that felt like a genuine change to the static Sentai formula caught my attention, and I resigned myself to giving this series a chance, waiting intently on the first episode.  Well, it’s finally arrived—so let’s dive in!

 1.) It’s so nice to have the classic “EVERYTHING IS EXPLODING” intro to the series back.  Instead of wasting a bunch of time developing characters that are paper-thin anyway, they just leap right into things with a quick, one sentence explanation of Things As They Are Now: “The 88 constellations that make up the universe have been conquered by the Space Shogunate, Jark Matter.”   And just as you’re going, “Wow, that’s a STUPID name, even for Engrish”, you’re distracted by this massive army laying waste to a city of innocent civilians.  It lends the necessary urgency to the desire for heroes, and makes them feel all the more cool when they show up.

2.) I love that, as of now, the team isn’t JUST calling themselves Kyuuranger, they’re also “The Rebellion”.  Going by that, it makes sense they have seemingly small numbers right now—they’re building up an army to fight back against the monsters who’ve conquered the universe.  It even makes sense that we’re going to end up with this massive team of Senshi: Jark Matter has literally conquered the universe. You’re going to beat an army that large with just six people?  Not a chance. Still, it’s early days yet—this is an idea that could be expanded well beyond just the main team, as you could have them help form mini-armies across the universe that don’t have powers but simply want to fight back.

3.) Similarly, it's also great that the group doesn’t start out fully formed.  It’s never made sense that the entire team just always knows each other in the first place.  Especially when every Sentai runs a set number of episodes and it’s so easy to give yourself some “padding” by making the early episodes about the formation of the team.  We start this episode with only Green, Yellow, and Black (a weirder combo you’ll never find), but by the end we have Red and Blue and the next episode hint towards Silver and Gold.  I hope they drag this out at least until episode 5 and then they can start inevitably introducing all the extra weapons and mecha that are the reason for the show existing.

4.) Speaking of Blue and Red, these two start out on nearly opposite sides of the pole, with Red eager to rush off and fight Jark Matter while Blue just wants to be left alone, as JM has clearly already won.  Garu (the future Ookami Blue) seems like this bland, emo wolf guy, but then they explain his angst comes from being one of the last of his race, because Jark Matter just fucking murdered the rest of them.  Garu’s people didn’t have the weapons to battle this advanced group of conquerors and were slaughtered for it, leaving only Garu as a survivor.  That’s the kind of backstory that immediately invests you in a character, and the fact that they did it in only a matter of minutes is all the more impressive. 

5.) I can tell already I’m going to have a problem with Red.  He’s an idiot to be sure, and that’s fine—Sentai’s had plenty of Idiot Reds before (Dekaranger, Magiranger, Ninninger, etc.), but yikes.  They named this guy Lucky but…luck isn’t the word, as he seems to be literally warping reality around himself on an unprecedented level.  He starts out by crash-landing his astro-bike onto an alien planet right on top of the bad guys that were standing between our heroes and their ships to help civilians escape, then claims he’ll be a Kyuuranger merely “because he said so”, even though he doesn’t have the Kyu Globe necessary to do so and doesn’t even begin to know where to find one.   Then, by the middle of the episode, he gets flung into space, and just as he’s about to suffocate in the vacuum, a Kyu Globe is literally created out of nothing more than his desire to keep fighting, allowing him to crash back planetside and join the other Kyuuranger.   Lucky would be unknowingly punching two enemies at once--the rest of this guy's feats were just astronomically (ugh) impossible.   It’d be awesome if there were an explanation beyond “he’s just lucky”, but I saw Kyoryuger and I know better; Red’s just OP, deal with it.

6.) The fact that so far none of this has been set on Earth is pretty great.  Sure, it’s just a matter of time before that changes but how great would it be if they just spent the next 48 episodes traveling between the constellations, landing on planets and saving people from Jark Matter?  I’m not asking for much—the brief bit of Planet Jagama they showed at the end of this episode would be more than enough.  Just do some fun alien cosplay and show off some weird alien cultures, and you’re done.  Even the settings doesn't have to be that crazy mostly--just do the same generic city and landfill backdrops, maybe occasionally come up with a unique set, and voila.  The most geographically fascinating Sentai series ever.

7.) The next episode features the first appearance of Gold and Silver, who are apparently a pair of thieves.  I’m betting they meet up with the Kyuuranger because they want to kidnap them and turn them into Jark Matter for the huge bounty we see at the end of this episode, but I'm hoping they've already stolen the Gold and Silver Kyu Globes.  Their thieving days are probably done the moment they transform (have to be good role models to the kiddies!), so at least let us see they USED to be good at stealing.


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