7 Thoughts About Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger: "The Eleven Ultimate All-Stars"
1.) In a couple was, this episode is as much about Xiao Longbao as it is about Lucky, with him seemingly truly coming into his own as the commander of the Kyuuranger. After getting stomped by the same opponent multiple times, it's Xiao that points out a potential cause for Ikagen's overwhelming ability in battle...
2.) ...And again it's Xiao that sends them into battle long enough to get the data they need, then orders a strategic retreat, something you usually don't ever see from a Sentai team. Generally they fight until the villain runs away because he's losing, or the villain either used his ability on one of the members of the team and they have to deal with that...or they just stomped the team as a whole and they barely escape with their lives. More often than not, they don't pull back while in good health to form a plan. Big Bear was concerned he wasn't ready to lead the team yet, but these are definitely the actions of a leader.
At the same time, it's Xiao that inspires Lucky to overcome his *need* to be the luckiest person in the universe. But more on that in a second.
3.) Give the writers for Kyuuranger an A+ for turning an annoying kiddy catchphrase into a logical affirmation of everything both the character and the team stands for. We established last episode that Lucky wasn't just saying "Talk about Lucky!" because he's fortunate to a reality warping degree, but because he needed to believe he was lucky, otherwise all the pain and loss he'd suffered as a child didn't make sense.
This episode takes that a bit further, with the character expressing a realization that Jark Matter's actions have been oppressing happiness and good fortune everywhere, making it impossible for people in the universe to feel the same luckiness that he does. So now it's less about him convincing himself that he's lucky, and more of a statement of defiance--that no matter what Jark Matter throws at him or his team, he'll proclaim his good fortune to the universe and make things change.
That's the kind of idealistic badassery that lands a show in the upper echelon, if they can keep it up.
4.) ...It also helps that this episode soft confirmed a theory I've held almost since day one, where Lucky is in some way the personified will of the universe. Mid battle with Ikagen, Lucky proclaims that the squid assassin isn't just fighting the eleven of them, but everyone in the universe standing up to Jark Matter, or rather...well.
It's a long way from revealing that's where Lucky's good fortune comes from, but its close enough to my headcanon to work for me.
....Eh. There've been far worse over the past ten years since Go-Onger ended the streak of awesome mecha, I assure you. Granted, there's still room for this to get more stupid, since this is only eight of the available eleven (soon to be 12) members of the team. That combo's going to be embarrasingly stupid, unless someone has a carrier mecha.
6.) I predicted that Ikagen would likely not survive this upcoming episode, but Madaako would. Now will she live long enough to be the Reformed Lady Remnant of the evil society? I can't say. But far more interesting is that Stinger's brother Scorpio is here far earlier than I would've guessed he'd be.
It's making me wonder if he'll end up reforming as well and becoming the twelfth member of the Kyuuranger. More importantly though, I love that Jark Matter is not fucking around with these guys. Every time they wipe out a decent threat, a much larger one appears. To be sure it's the Sorting Algorithm of Evil at play, but it makes sense--they're trying to run a universe so they can't send everyone to Earth all at once to deal with eleven fucking people, but they can escalate the level of threat they use to deal with these guys. Already we've got one of Jark Matter's most dangerous assassins ever on the job. Which really makes one wonder:
What comes after this?
7.) Next episode: Stinger sees Scorpio for the first time in years! And naturally, things don't go well. I'm so glad the writers didn't forget that Champ has a real problem with Scorpio and we'll get to see the two of them go up against a guy who should be more than strong enough to wipe them both out. It's what needs to happen thematically, and hopefully whenever Scorpio goes down (or changes sides) it's how things finish.