7 Thoughts About Kyuranger Episode 20:

Welp, we're at the twenty episode mark.  Time to get serious!

1.) It's crazy to think that for the past few episodes, the Kyuranger have functioned at something like 3/4ths of their full strength: with Kotaro in training, Stinger watching over Champ and Champ...well.  Of course, having to make it on seven members isn't really the hardest thing in the world; the Flashman team would be astonished and Sun Vulcan might just break down laughing if they heard you needed eleven people to take down a single alien organization, but still.

 2.) As I'd expected, Stinger had some secret technique that involved stinging himself to increase his own abilities and keep up with his brother.  The thing that bugs me the most in Sentai series is that whenever the word "special technique" is mentioned and it can't be turned into a toy, it's almost always useless.  GekiViolet spent an entire episode once learning to use the ultimate fighting technique and after the main boss saw it once he was able to counter it perfectly.   It would have been nice if Stinger had been able to actually go toe to toe but exhausted himself due to the venom--at least then it would've made more sense than, oh...y'know...using the powers that increase your strength without killing you.

3.) So much of this episode--and the arc involving Stinger and Scorpio in general--is a discussion on the nature of power, and how it can corrupt so easily if you let it.  By all accounts, Stinger was a decent person: he protected his brother (with occasionally extreme methods) and fought against Jark Matter for quite some time before turning on his people, presumably because he began to believe that strength for one's own sake is more important than the strength to protect.  Or that strength is easier to amass when you don't have people you care about.   At the same time, Stinger wants to be strong in order to bring his brother to justice and to help people like he believes his brother once did, but he's so caught up in doing it alone that its often to his detriment, as seen in this episode.

4.) Lucky is becoming one of my favorite Reds of the last few years.  He's a total goof, but gets serious when he has to, like right here.  As the team manages to recover one of the Kyu Globes that helps discover the Argo, Scorpio decides to tell the people of Earth about the army of Consumarz arriving soon that will wipe out the planet, then promptly blames the Kyuranger for fighting back instead of allowing everyone's lives to be miserable.   The obvious result sees the people of Earth turning on the Kyuranger, going so far as to even hurl trash at them while demanding that they leave or turn themselves over.    It's a brilliant plan, and results in some of the most powerful emotional moments I've seen in Sentai in a while, from Lucky proclaiming that regardless of how humans treat them they will save them, and that its better if they just shut up and get out of their way, to Kotaro being ashamed of how quickly humans turn to hatred and shutting people when they're afraid.

At this point Kotaro might well be the best developed kid character in a Tokusatsu ever.  He feels fully formed, not merely playing pranks around the Orion or being a "funny" guy while fighting the villains.

 5.) Twenty episodes in, I'm rather shocked the writing team has managed to keep up the dramatic tension.  By now, most other series that had an abundance of members would also have an abundance of mecha to throw at the enemy; I distinctly recall some episodes of a few Sentai from prior years where the heroes would toss out two mecha just to deal with one robot. 

As much as I enjoy watching the good guys pick on the bad, it did have a habit of sucking the fun out of things.  You just knew they were going to would make it because if one robot got blown up, the second would take the job.  Here not only are they in a tight spot, but they're even outnumbered for once?  Impressive.

 6.) Kotaro and Lucky are purposeful choices for helping to save Stinger.  Lucky was the first member of the base team of Kyuranger to have faith in Stinger that he wouldn't betray them.  Stinger sees himself and his brother in Kotaro, and was determined not to have him go down the same dark path that they did.   He asked Kotaro to use his strength to become someone his little brother can be proud of, and though he hasn't defeated Jark Matter yet, he did risk his life against an amped up Stinger in order to give him the antidote and bring him back to the side of the angels.

On that note, I have to say the action was excellently choreographed this episode--from the beginning Stinger/Scorpio battle to the showdown between Kotaro and brainwashed Stinger, all of it kept my attention from beginning to end.  

7.) Next Week: MagiRed appears to help the team take out...what, that's who?  The Phoenix Soldier??  Never heard of him.  Are we sure its not MagiRed?


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