7 Thoughts on Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger: "Let’s Go! Phantom Thief BN Team!”
1.) This episode begins with an explanation of the hierarchy of the Jark Matter, something I don’t think any other series has ever done. Which is a little shocking, as some of the evil organizations have actually been quite huge and probably could have done with at least a little explanation, if only for the children watching. For instance, Boukenger had three or four different groups all operating at once and to my knowledge even they never bothered to lay out the structure of their bad guys’ groups. Jark Matter has four levels to their organization: the ordinary foot soldiers, then the “Malistrates”/Daikaan who are essentially the Monsters of the Week, followed by the “Karo”/”Menasters” who each rule over a separate constellation, and finally the Shogun, Don Armage. The fact that they’re ruled by a shogun makes me think of the yakuza a little bit, and it’s a shame they aren’t playing off that more, but that the series bothered to explain it at all is appreciated.
2.) Well, we’ve got our Gold and Silver now, and they’re a bit of a comedic duo. A machine organism (Balance) and a humanoid alien (Naga) from different star systems, it turns out for once it’s the robot teaching the human about emotions, as the people in Naga’s star system eliminated emotions from their race to wipe out conflict. Presumably it worked, but nevertheless Naga’s on a quest to learn how to “feel”, leading to what were actually some hilarious scenes involving him attempting to guess at the right emotions to feel at specific times. Meanwhile, Balance is clearly the less trustworthy of the pair—even going so far as to betray both Naga and Lucky later in the episode in order to steal a precious jewel. Their own contrast together works rather well; despite the two of them hanging out, you wonder whether the two of them are actually friends or if Balance is manipulating the more naive Naga. The only real problem is that within the larger group they don't do more besides add more comedy to an already mostly jokey cast.
3.) Speaking of precious jewels, Lucky somehow did it again. As the team was discussing the utter impossibility of finding four people amongst 88 different star systems, Lucky literally threw a dart at a virtual map, and simply decided to travel to the planet the dart pointed them to. Then simply decided that the first two people he met were clearly fellow Kyuuranger. And despite neither of them having the requisite Kyu Globes to prove it, he hung around them long enough that eventually they found a single gem that somehow produced Globes for the both of them. If eventually it’s explained that Lucky isn’t really a person but “The Will of the Universe” personified or something similar, this show automatically goes from good to amazing because right now we’re literally witnessing the impossible happen and expected to just go with it.
4.) Finally reaching the planet Jagama, we get to see what it looks like outside of that one café and while it’s nothing special it still makes this series look so much more creative, even if that isn’t necessarily true. It’s really only surface facts we’re being given—the alien writing in the skies, the fact that Jagama’s an industrial-focused world and we see lots of factories in the areas the Kyuuranger go into—but it goes such a long way towards developing a believable galaxy for our heroes to exist in. It’s still early in the season though, if they make it past episode five without landing on Earth, that’s when it’s safe to assume this is just the way they want things to be.
6.) The series has introduced the first seven of however many mecha this team will end up with and so far none of them have looked as unconscionably stupid as some of the past year’s. I want to be hopeful, but I’ve seen too many teams botch it up by the end so let’s see where this goes. Hopefully the days of “throw everything on top of everything else, call it a robot” are at least temporarily gone. As a sidenote, it's good that they're playing with the ridiculous combo-focused nature of these mechs a bit--everything seems to be able to combine with everything else, so why not toss the arms that aren't working for a pair that are? Makes as much sense as everything else.
7.) Next episode looks super busy, introducing what seems to be no fewer than three important characters to the series: potentially the person who built Champ, a purple dragon named Xiao Longbao who appears to be the Kyuuranger commander, and Sasori Orange who seems to be the team’s first antagonistic member. Hopefully the latter two—who’ll be joining the cast—will add some much-needed seriousness to this otherwise overly silly team.
This does make me wonder about the pacing of this series, though. Sasori Orange joins by episode three, and I have to imagine that Raptor finds out she's the final member in episode 4. (By the way, it's awesome that for once Pink is the last of the main group, as that's usually given some importance.) We know for certain that their commander becomes "Ryu Commander"/Purple eventually, and that we're getting an eleventh member. The questions now are: how big can the team get, and how quickly are we going to keep rolling members out if we're going to be at eleven Kyuuranger before the mid-point of the show? This isn't Kamen Rider--generally Sentai remain together for the duration of the series, unless they're just going to split the teams up. Oh well--that's something to think about for future episodes, I suppose.