7 Thoughts about Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger Episode 8: "Secret of Commander Xiao Longbao"
The tenth Kyuuranger arrives!
2.) One cool thing about this episode is it taking advantage of the series' massive cast of heroes to tell three different stories at the same time. Commander Longbao splits the team into two in order to accomplish a pair of completely different tasks--more on the first later, but the second one involves them recovering the Pyxis Kyu Globe for an as-yet undisclosed purpose. Now instead of just leaving who goes where to the Kyu Wheel of Random Chance, this episode the Commander sends out Champ, Naga, and Balance to the Pyxis Galaxy in order to track down the Kyu Globe.
I made the prediction that once Naga and Balance (the former treasure hunters) joined the team they essentially wouldn't be doing anymore hunting, meaning the main aspect that separated them from the rest of team would be erased. Fortunately, I was wrong and we finally get to see the team utilized according to their various skills/abilities.
3.) This entire episode happens basically because the Xiao Longbao isn't taken seriously as a Commander. The main reason the team is split up is so while one half is hunting down this new Kyu Globe, supposedly crucial in the fight against Jark Matter, the other can take down five Consumarz towers back to back in a mission called "Operation: Stardust". It makes enough sense, as Xiao orders them to skip fighting the Malistrates that own each tower and simply nuke the towers from their robots--it's honestly the most logical I've seen any Sentai team in a long while. Why go through the whole process of fighting whole mini-armies when you could just obliterate their base of operations/main weapon?
Unfortunately, Sparda finds it unacceptable to focus wholly on the bigger picture, and points out that the Malistrates need to be taken down as well. And despite having killed no less than three of the five Malistrates along with their Consumarz tower, he sees one terrorizing a group of citizens and stealing their food and abandons the mission to take action. It's a noble enough act, but it leads to some idiotic trouble that would have never occurred if he'd listened to their leader.
Granted, when your leader's been acting like a simpleton who does everything noteworthy seemingly on accident until this episode, it's easy enough to understand how that happened, one supposes...
4.) The rumor is that our eleventh Kyuuranger, a certain "Kouguma Skyblue" is going to be this kid. And if I had any doubt before, it's basically vanished now. I'm kinda bummed out by this as kid Sentai members are always kinda silly--the suit grows around them and makes them look like an adult, then they act all shocked that they're grown, and at some point play obnoxious tricks on either the heroes or the villains to remind us that inside the suit there's still just a kid there.
Still, I respect what they're attempting to do here. From a plot standpoint, this kid is Important. He's the first sign of true resistance we've seen on Earth, which in nearly every other case has only shown us a bunch of terrified children and broken-spirited adults just trying to survive in a world where the bad guys have actually occupied the planet to the point that the Kyuuranger aren't trying to save the world--they're trying to take the world back. This kid, who refused to be broken in that environment and was there the first time the Kyuuranger arrived on Earth and saved a group of humans, is probably the most affected by the actions of this team of heroes, and it makes much more sense to have him join than to have someone with no relation to the team pop up and become a member.
5.) If you're wondering why it turned out so badly for the team this episode, it's not just because Ikagen and Madaako are excellently-costumed bad-asses; it's because the team didn't follow orders. For those paying attention at home, these two managed to fight on equal terms with the Kyuuranger when the team had enough numbers to double-team both of them. Here, with Champ, Naga, and Balance already on a mission the two assassins basically get to pick the team apart...first they take out Raptor, Garu, and Stinger...and then Sparda, Lucky, and Hammy aren't too far behind.
It's almost heart-breaking, except it's not meant to be. Sparda spends the entire episode thumbing his nose at the Commander's orders, and each time leaves the team in a worse and worse position, until near the end half the team is chained up while the other half is lying on the ground beaten to a pulp, and both halves are about to die. This is the team being forced to learn a valuable lesson about proper teamwork and following orders, which I admittedly much prefer to them simply using Nakama Power to fight these two off.
6.) Plus it gives us our first appearance of the tenth Kyuuranger, Draco Violet. I have to say, Commander Longbao's Sentai transformation looked pretty epic--along the line of Ohranger's Kingranger, particularly when he used that speed-dash thing. If you're wondering if there's a difference in power between the rest of the team and Draco Violet, well...he manages to fight both of these two alone while the Kyuuranger all failed even attacking in waves.
There's a huge power gap between our heroes and their Commander, but of course it has to balance out--which is why the preview reveals that this power has a time limit on it, which should've been obvious the moment he popped up and started handing out more work than a teacher before a major holiday. The question is, is his time limit because his transformation isn't complete, his henshin device is damaged, or that's just the inherent limitation of an "early" Kyuuranger--massive levels of power, but limited duration?
7.) In the preview for the next episode, we have what looks to be a flashback involving our two major assassins and, going off the outfits, one of Commander Longbao's former comrades. One of the things I haven't been able to figure out yet is if Longbao is actually afraid of Ikagen and Madaako or afraid for the Kyuuranger facing them. This episode there was a line about how things can go wrong when you're insubordinate and it made me lean more towards the latter, with maybe Longbao having lost the friend pictured above because he didn't follow orders.
As a sidenote, if you were wondering where the eleventh Kyu Globe comes from, there's a good chance that the Skyblue Globe belongs to this guy here--especially given his coloring--and so either the team will have to find that Globe...or Longbao already has it, and the kid from this episode will either steal it or Longbao will (for some unfathomable reason) give it to him.
Eight episodes in, and I think we're on track for a decent plot a lot quicker than most series are. Let's see how that goes as we get through the first fifth of the series these next two weeks.