7 Thoughts on Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Episode 23: "You Should Shield Me!"
1.) After breaking into a Jark Matter-owned television station--because of course you'd have the airwaves sending out your truth to people, that's the first thing dictators do--Ohtori Tsurugi promptly sends out a broadcast reminding the universe of his existence...and that he's defeated Don Armage before. But before that broadcast can go too far, one of the first Vice-Shoguns, Tecchu, arrives. Now, there's a few things worth noting about what happens from here.
For one, Xiao had no idea the vice-shoguns existed, and since Xiao was a fairly high ranking member from the Rebellion, that means no one knew these guys existed. Now presumably Armage still had them doing things in silent, but ultimately it means that before the Kyuuranger, no one had ever actually done enough damage to Don Armage's empire to even warrant this group being summoned. This is important because we've established that Armage's goal is to enforce peace through tyranny, so his forces are split across the star systems and he can't just send everyone at the Kyuuranger at once, but at the same time with every strike they demand his attention more.
Secondly, Ohtori Tsurugi recognizes Tecchu...but Tecchu doesn't recognize him. This suggests he's either had his memory erased, or that this is a "new" Tecchu that was built in the image of the original, explaining why no one in Jark Matter except Armage himself even notices Ohtori at all. Finally--and arguably most importantly--Tsurugi points out that Tecchu seems much stronger than he was when the originally fought. This is important to me because it establishes that this version of Jark Matter operates on a higher level than the originals--and potentially, they have been from the start. This effectively "nerfs" Phoenix Soldier, but it explains the nerf rather than just assuming that he's been around for more than a single episode, he should start losing. He IS as strong as he says he is...but the bad guys have gotten even stronger, thus justifying his need to work with the rest of the team.
2.) I just wanted to point out that Tsurugi's technically right here. Even though he was a reckless asshole that clearly didn't care about the safety of the civilians in the television studio he ran in, that doesn't make him any less correct about his point that battling a massive, universe-spanning army with only a handful of people means that you're going to have to make sacrifices. Sometimes you have to choose what's going to save the most lives. Well...you would have to choose that in a show not aimed at 5-8 year olds, I guess.
More importantly, this explains why he views his partners as "disposable" and why he doesn't care if a few lives get lost in the battle. For him, those lives were transitory to begin with--what's a human life span to someone capable of living centuries, or millenia? He's only capable of seeing the big picture; even if he lost a planet, if it meant saving the universe then he made the right decision to him. Now while he's technically "right", this isn't really a hero anyone would want to trust their life with--he's reckless, and doesn't really try to save lives so much as just stop the bad guys.
4.) This bit of backstory made me curious. Because initially, Xiao pointed out that there were different kinds of Kyu Globes--Change Globes and Skill Globes. Change Globes belonged to the nine Kyuuranger, allowing them to transform and use the power of their constellation to battle the bad guys. Skill Globes are meant to give brief usage of the power of a particular constellation, with nowhere near the intensity of a Change Globe. Xiao was able to "hack" a Skill Globe and allow himself to change, but while the power was always great, it was also temporary.
The way this is described suggests that Ohtori gave each warrior from each constellation a Skill Globe, which meant they would have a unique ability for a very brief period of time. Looking at it from that perspective, it makes sense when they explain shortly afterwards that he lost many of his comrades in their war.
7.) Next Week: For whatever reason, Phoenix Soldier has gone from telling the Kyuuranger they should shield him to trying to fight Jark Matter all by himself. Hopefully they make that make sense with what happened this episode, where he cavalierly explained that his old partners were basically dying by the truckload to keep him safe. He didn't care then, and while it would be nice if his character changed and he cared now, it'd be frustrating if the work wasn't put in to explain why he changed.