7 Thoughts About Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Episode 7: "Take Back the Birthday!"
Sorry about this week's episode being a bit late. I had to do some...things to acquire a subbed version.
1.) And so we get a bit more information on the pair of assassins that Stinger fought last episode. A pair of supremely terrifying assassins with what seems to be a body count in the trillions, Ikaagen and Mardaako are clearly not to be fucked with. Which makes it all the more impressive that Stinger managed to hold them off alone without getting completely wrecked.
More to the point, although each episode now has started off fairly formulaic, I'm actually starting to like it. Every week the team gets together and has a meeting on foes they've faced but have escaped, and they make up plans to decide which lieutenant to attack next from Jark Matter. It's making them like a proper organization--an actual Resistance that's seeking to bring down an oppressive force. Normally by now they would have settled in to scenes of a member of the team doing off-the-wall silliness somewhere in the local city...but as goofy as this team is, they've stayed pretty on topic for sitting through sitreps and mission planning. I've gotta hand it to them; I'm impressed.
2.) Occasionally, Sentai will come up with a villain that is simultaneously evil and funny at the same time. This...is one such occasion, with this week's MotW being named "Too-Me", as in "Happy Birthday, To". His special ability is detecting the birthday of anyone in a nearby radius, then hitting them with his "Birthday Beam" which steals their birthday.
If that sounds absurd to you, know that it gets better. Stealing their birthday means any presents bought for the birthday person vanish and auto-teleported to him. Other forms of celebration are endangered as well, as the Kyuuranger attempt to throw a party for Balance this episode only to have the decorations, food, and even the ability to say the words Happy Birthday all taken away. While this villain is in no way "dangerous", it doesn't keep him from being a total dick. It's so impossible to celebrate your birthday around this guy, Balance had his birthday marked on a calendar and even that vanished.
It's totally stupid, but it's the kind of stupid that had me laughing my ass off the entire episode while also wanting to see this dude catch a beat down. IE, the BEST kind of stupid.
3.) This is probably the most like a legitimate Commander Longbao has acted since the second he appeared on-screen. The team is throwing down with the twin assassins mentioned at the start of the episode, when he orders them all to retreat. By no means were they winning, but they also hadn't had their armor blown off them and reverted back to civilian form either, so it was a bit of a shock to see him call them back to the Orion.
Of course, Longbao had mentioned something about facing the two of them not long ago, so perhaps that had something to do with it? He's probably acutely aware of the team's limitations as of now and knew they didn't stand a chance. Either way, all-around the team is starting to get on their best behavior and I'm loving it. Also, shout-out to the writing team for mentioning that Longbao had "fought [someone] once before" in advance. It's a cute little heads-up given the preview for next week's episode.
4.) Kyu Globe Update: The Aries Globe. It's special technique: forcing the person it's used on to count sheep, which in record time puts enemies into a sound sleep. Ridiculous, but we're not done with the Kyu Globes yet.
5.) Kyu Globe Update #2: When the team's plan to take down "Too-Me" starts going down in flames and they're spread too thin, Lucky requests a new Kyu Globe to help them even the score. Claiming that this was totally "not a coincidence", Longbao sends them a Kamen Rider Kyu Globe, which teleports in Ex-AID in his Level 1 form.
....If you wanna know how devoted you have to be to the Hero life to exist in the Sentai/Rider universe? Ex-Aid didn't even ask that many questions, only "Where am I?" followed by "What bad guy am I fighting?", then instantly went to work on this year's random Shocker villain.
6.) Words cannot express how tired I am--already--of Naga's schtick. The problem is, I can't tell if it's Naga's actor or if the director and all the other creative people are just giving him the worst direction in the world. The base of the idea I get, and even appreciate: Naga's from a planet where they erased emotions, and he's slowly trying to figure them out because he wants to feel things. But because he was seemingly born without them, sometimes he gets mixed up on what emotion to feel at which time. That's a smart sci-fi idea.
...The only problem is, Naga's face always seems to be stuck on the same setting: somewhere between "ugly cry" and "angry shonen hero ready to punch the arc villain for hurting his friends".
It's amazing what a contrast there is too, because Balance absolutely oozes personality and is easily my favorite person on the show right now. Every episode he just approaches the cases with a verve that's just infectious, and when he pops onto the screen I end up smiling.
7.) We're only eight episodes in and already Commander Longbao is having to take the stage as the team's tenth/extra ranger?! Sheesh. They either have a lot of plot stuff to get to later in the series, or we're going to get a lot more Sentai members coming over the course of this series, as this is earlier than even Kyoryuger's Gold appearance was. My bets are on the latter option though; Skyblue is already on it's way and I'd be shocked if the series didn't push for another set of members before things were said and done. Plus Stinger's brother stands a good chance of being an Eleventh Hour member of the team, which means by the time we're all done this team will have more members than Kamen Rider Gaim had Riders.
I can also only wonder what would be such a major threat to the team that it summons Longbao out of semi-retirement, as well as what made him stop fighting in the first place? All questions I look forward to getting answers to over the next couple of episodes.